Carpe diem

Stray visitors may be forgiven for wondering what *did* happen during 2011: was disaster adverted? Is he alive, and if so did he have a thought?

So: yes, yes, and yes; chalk up this still interlude to blogger’s block, pithier observation-release venues, and — most of all — the day to day work of moving the ball in the suddenly crowded game of digital humanities.

Time was, children, that an MLA panel called “Why I (Do Not) Use Digital Resources” attracted a thin crowd indeed, just a few enthusiasts, cranks, and outliers — maybe a handful of more established academics with furrowed brows worried that they might have to worry about this stuff someday (librarians already knew they would). That time has passed, and all its aching joys are now no more, and all its dizzy raptures — the mindset of late 2003 is almost beyond recall.

Where is the world of _eight_ years past? _’T was there_–
I look for it–‘t is gone, a globe of glass!
Cracked, shivered, vanished, scarcely gazed on, ere
A silent change dissolves the glittering mass.

That’s from Byron’s Don Juan, by the way: change ’twere ever thus. You can read it in context here — if you do, beware annoying autoplay pop-ups, and take a moment to consider that presentations of canonical pre-copyright texts have not really changed these past eight years.

Anyway, I now hear graduate students invoke “digital humanities” constantly, insistently, desperately: finally, a future — finally, room for change. And though a year of not-blogging is tantamount to retirement in these fleeting days (when “change grows too changeable” — guess who), I’ve been manning the digital trenches and owe you an report.

For now, here’s a summary of my most consuming project, a multimedia analysis tool christened Mediathread some two years ago.

When it comes to shaking up learning and scholarship, a tool like Mediathread seems as promising and disruptive as, well, wikis did back at the dawn of antiquity, sometime back in Bush II’s first administration. But eight years hence…

“carpe diem,”_ Juan, _”carpe, carpe!”
To-morrow sees another race as gay
And transient, and devoured by the same harpy.

Comments are closed.