Monthly Archives: September 2013

DH vs. DATA

Well, it is that time of the year again, so I might start writing again on a bi-weekly basis :-) The summer was good: I was on DH2013 and got a lot of good feedback on my project about the representation of the face in human paintings, as well as nice outcomes for the rest of the team who traveled to Nebraska by van. Yes, by van. I have to admit that it was fun some parts. I also went to Iceland to present a poster in DATA2013 about our own graph database management system SylvaDB. None of those conferences were what I was expecting.

DH2013, that stands for Digital Humanities, wasn’t engaging enough. To say the truth there were really good presentations and talks, although usually bad speakers were working in really interesting projects, and poor projects had very profesional sellers. On the other hand, the digital humanities thing (that doesn’t have anything to do with humanitarian –disclaimer: anecdote sponsored by the customs officer of Homeland Security of United States of America, right before crossing the border) is becoming its own thing, and its own cult with its own rituals and beliefs. And as in any other cult, there are people doing stuff, or practicants, and people just blowing the bubble and doing some meta-discussing, or believers.

It looks to me like if the Digital Humanities thing were officially established and everybody were just looking for maintaining the thing as it is now (with some honorable exceptions, like Isabel Galina). In contrast, I enjoyed a lot the talks on the DATA Conference: they were clear, wonderful and to the point. It is a shame that the conference covered so many topics and were too specific. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve lost the practice in computer-related conferences. Anyhow, the approach that I saw to relate academia to software development looked to me so money oriented. That’s not necessarily negative, but what about research for knowledge or the pleasure of solving a problem, as we see in other fields. Well, that DATA Conference didn’t have any of that.

In the end, software is led by the industry in order to make money, and digital humanities is led by the academy to keep being the same once settled.

In this scenario, I think it’s better to do my research as best as I can. And there will be already someone to put labels on my work 😀

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