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European Summer School in Digital Humanities

01/10/2018

ESU 2018. Photo Credit: Christoph Draxler.

Text by Cecília Magalhães (Reprinted from the CLARIN-D Blog).

The city of Leipzig was, in the two last weeks of July, the perfect stage for productive academic practices concerning the Digital Humanities field. In this period, the “European Summer School in Digital Humanities”, hosted by the University of Leipzig, offered a variety of workshops with distinct approaches, about textual and data analysis, XLM-TEI schemas, data visualisation and so on. Further, the event was enriched by international talks which, beyond reinforcing some topics of the technical and theoretical subjects already practiced in class, reminded us of the importance of actively taking part, as digital humanists, in the academic, political and social discussion into the global DH community.

I took part in the “Hands-on Humanities Data Workshop – Creation, Discovery and Analysis”, led by Lauren Tilton (University of Richmond, USA) and Carol Chiodo (Princeton University, USA). The classes were focused, initially, on introducing the concept of data in its complexity and diversity. More than that, we discussed how to handle multiple data by critically selecting and working with combined tools and platforms. Text analysis, text mining, topic modelling, mapping, networks analysis, data visualisation were topics which were presented through fascinating examples of projects in DH.

I have been investigating the interactional component of the LdoD Archive (PORTELA & SILVA, 2018, ldod.uc.pt), a digital edition based on the textual fragments of Fernando Pessoa’s unfinished book, the Book of Disquiet. This platform creatively enhances the users’ reading, editing and writing practices through the comparison and handling of the fragments as independent textual units, represented here by the digitised and transcribed facsimiles, as also by the four main transcribed critical editions (COELHO, 1982; SOBRAL CUNHA, 2008; ZENITH, 2012; PIZARRO, 2010). LdoD Archive is, indeed, a literary simulator which enables the users to create new virtual editions of Book of Disquiet, according to their reading circumstances. In this context, these two intense weeks of learning gave me the opportunity to revisit the methodological challenges of my thesis from another perspective. Since my corpora are specifically related to the users’ creative practices and platform usage, “Hands-on” gave me theoretical and methodological tools which have helped me to figure out how better to select, manage and refine intermedia and ethnographic data with a more granular and accurate approach.

Finally, taking part in the Summer School was a unique cultural opportunity since I could have close contact with scholars from different parts of the world, from diverse backgrounds. As a Brazilian researcher and the only representative of the Lusophone community in the event, being in Leipzig gave me the chance to establish a productive dialogue regarding the contrasting perspectives between Humanidades Digitais and Digital Humanities. In this sense, it is important to say that, with CLARIN-D scholarship, I had the chance of presenting and discussing one of the most important canons of Portuguese Literature, Fernando Pessoa, as well as showing the advances of digital archives studies in the Portuguese DH community, represented here by the innovative reading simulator LdoD Archive. In this way, CLARIN-D deserves my most sincere gratitude by promoting knowledge as well as by expressing a critical concern regarding the necessity of an inclusive environment in DH, which it is built far beyond the regular open access and geopolitical discussion. CLARIN-D makes, in this regard, an excellent investment in practices in practice, by creating opportunities to promote diversity in Digital Humanities, as a more democratic no-borders field.

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