DigiPal 'Highly obscure' says Times Higher Education
In his cover story piece 'Surfdom' in the Times Higher Education Supplement (8-14 December 2011), Matthew Reisz investigates the field of Digital Humanities and points to what he sees as the revolution created by researchers in this burgeoning field. 'Ancient inscriptions are being catalogued and deciphered,' Reisz notes. 'Virtual theatres are taking shape, Wittgenstein's letters are being put back into context, and we can now find databases listing every 18th-century clergyman and every single person recorded in Anglo-Saxon Britain.' Commenting on the use of digital technologies to take us into unknown and undiscovered territory, Andrew Prescott, the incoming head of the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London, observes that 'the transformation is just breathtaking. Now there's no need for lengthy journal searches, which required an incredible amount of shoe leather.'
Amongst the digital projects that Reisz lists in his feature are the University of Oxford's Oxyrhynchus crowd-sourcing initiative Ancient Lives, and four projects based at the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London: the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music, Linguistic Geographies: The Gough Map of Great Britain, and the Online Chopin Variorum Edition.
Of course, it would be remiss to discuss digital humanities without mentioning another project based at the Department of Digital Humanities: DigiPal. Reisz is aware of this: 'there does seem to be evidence that even highly obscure topics generate more interest than one would ever expect. DigiPal, the Digital Resource for Palaeography, based at King's College London, focuses on the study of 11th-century handwriting. Although the website is still rudimentary, it has already had about 2,000 hits over the past three to four months.'
In the weeks since Reisz's pilgrimage to DigiPal, the number of visits to our site has exceeded 8,000, with a particular favourite being 'Describing Handwriting Part V' (sequel to the parts that our other blog posts haven't reached). Not world-conquering numbers as yet, but not so small as to be inaudible either. And just think of the incredible amount of shoe leather we have saved.
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