24. March 2017 · Comments Off on Digital Humanities Higher Education in Norway – A Preliminary Survey · Categories: Digital Humanities · Tags: , ,

Last week, DHN had its 2nd conference in beautiful Gothenburg. With nearly 200 participants and 60 presentations, over a dozen posters and three keynotes it was as well received as the Oslo conference in 2016 and supports the initial idea, that the Nordic countries could and should join their efforts in making Digital Humanities (in the broadest sense) more visible, more integrated, and sustainable.

Before the the conference, DHN had invited to participate in a variety of pre-conference workshops and I decided to join the one on Higher Education Programs in Digital Humanities: Challenges and Perspectives, organized by Koraljka Golub from Linnæus University in Växjö, Sweden. – Shortly after enrolling, I was asked if I could report on the situation in Norway which I agreed to do: after all, I thought, there isn’t much to report on anyways but it will give me the chance to do some research on what is happening DH-education-wise in my country of residence!

My initial suspicion was quite true, though: At the present moment, there is no DH-study program in higher education in Norway. (A DH-study program would be called “Digital Humanities” or “Digital Humaniora” but also “Humanities Computing” / “Humanistisk Informatikk”, either on B.A./B.Sc. or M.A./M.Sc. level.) However, finding that there isn’t anything called ‘DH’ does not mean, that there is no such thing like ‘DH’. I expanded my search and attempted also a more systematic approach:

  1. Which disciplines are commonly meant when talking about ‘Humanities’ and what does ‘Digital’ (or the older term ‘Computing’) refer to in this context?
  2. What are the institutions of higher education in Norway?
  3. Where in Norway are institutions located that provide a DH or DH-like or DH-near education?

I created a spreadsheet with all the institutions of Higher Ed in Norway and the study programs (1-year-studies, B.A./B.Sc., M.A./M.Sc.) that would fit – in the broadest and most inclusive way – under the DH-umbrella. This list can be seen here (and comments are welcome!), however, it is not finished yet. In order to get something presentable and discussable, I was rather lax in my categories: I included almost anything related to computer science, data science, data engineering, ICT-teaching; media (and film) studies; interface design and digital design; digital culture; but also statistics, e-Health, e-Administration etc.

This resulted in a large number of study programs on all levels at almost all the institutions of higher education. I think this is actually an advantage: It is easier to delete something from a list after re-evaluation of the search criteria than adding something new. The presentation of my preliminary results can be accessed (and commented on) here.

Although there is very little that would intuitively be considered DH-studies, Norway has a strong focus on the digital / data driven / computational and ICT studies. Especially in its application for society, research, the medicine and health sector, governance and administration (incl. law), and teaching. Within the humanities, the focus seems to be more on the ‘digital’ as an object of study, not so much as a set of methods and approaches to deal with cultural, social, and artistic objects. Almost exclusively within media and cultural studies, digital humanities aspects can be found; especially at the University of Bergen and Norway’s Inland University (formerly University College in Hedmark).

I also discussed what this means for DH in the Nordic countries and DH in Norway specifically: DH in Norway are both young and old, the state endorses higher education (including the humanities) quite substantially, and has a strategic plan for ‘Digital’ Norway as one, if not THE, sustainable industry and (public) service of the future. Which all in all looks pretty promising for DH in higher ed. If this necessarily means that we have to establish DH-study programs (in the narrow sense), I am not sure about. Or if it means that the ‘digital turn’ in ANY field of study, including the humanities, is inevitable. And I believe this is a good thing.

I plan to expand my preliminary study a bit, especially in making a thought-through, transparent selection of criteria as to what counts as DH-proper and DH in a wider sense (in Norway at least) and what I consider to be a study program (perhaps excluding the 1-year-studies altogether) and an institution of higher education. I will also conduct comprehensive interviews with Norwegian academics who research and teach in DH-related programs and future plans and do a more in depth analysis of the strategic plans of the Ministry of Education and Research, The Research Counsil of Norway and other science and education policy institutions in Norway regarding the ‘digital’. So: stay tuned!

18. March 2016 · Comments Off on Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries – 1st Conference, Oslo, March 15-17, 2016 · Categories: Conference Report, Digital Humanities · Tags: , ,


I am exhausted but ever so happy that the first conference of the Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries Association (DHN), held at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian National Library from March 15 to 17, 2016, was such a great experience and success at various levels! Let me say – again – a big THANK YOU to all the busy organisers and assistants, to my colleagues in the program committee and fellow board members of the DHN, to the keynote speakers and panelists, and not least to all of the 232 (!!!) participants that made this event into a truly memorable ‘kick-off’ of our Nordic collaboration and cooperation in the “meeting place” that Digital Humanities can and shall be.

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12. January 2016 · Comments Off on What to Expect in 2016 – a Rough Sketch · Categories: Research Dissemination · Tags: , ,

Neues Jahr, neues Glück!

My last blog post was a while ago and I haven’t been able to stick to my blogging schedule, too. However, since it’s only 12 days in the new year 2016, it’s still fine to make some resolutions. Shall we?!

#1 First of all, I want to update this blog more often, I guess, at least once a month should be reasonably doable. (Also: this post will serve as the once per month for January, unless I decide to create another, more thematic one later.) The main reason I do that for is to keep track of my various academic activities and at the same time tell my audience about what it is I do: too often I found myself taking for granted that people I meet, on-line as well as off-line, know what a humanities researcher does in her day-to-day work. They don’t. So I decided to talk about it more!

#2 Finish THE project aka the doctoral dissertation. I have invested a lot in this project and I am at the point where I want it to be finally done: and out of the way. I will use this year to present my work at a couple of specialist conferences, discuss it with my supervisors and colleagues, but mainly: finish the write-up. The database, which is a pivotal part of my dissertation, will get updated and edited, too; I hope to get all the relevant publications of 2016 in before I deliver the thesis.

#3 Finish a couple of articles that are not related to my doctoral dissertation but I agreed on doing. This will be: an article (comprised of a series of blog posts on my Georg Greflinger project blog) on the Nordischer Mercurius and the spreading of news in C17th Germany. An article on the digital scholarly edition of early modern prints (from the perspective of German edition philology). Additionally, there are three articles in submission/peer review that I hope to get published in 2016.

#4 Publish the inaugural volume of the Georg Greflinger digital edition, the Ethica Complementoria edition. It looks like the edition, incl. studies on the Ethica and its transmission and transformation will be published within a book series as well as (the edited texts) online and open access. A lot of work has gone into making this project happen that has had no and still doesn’t have any funding or institutional affiliation. I am confident that it will see the light of day in 2016. More on this project can be found on the project website blog.

#5 And last but not least: Have the 1st conference and members meeting of the association for Digital Humanities in the Nordic countries (DHN) here in Oslo in March. I am very much looking forward to see the product of our combined efforts and experience a thriving, vibrant DH community in Norway and Scandinavia!

So: stay tuned!

“Textkritik som analysemetod” (textual criticism as a method of analysis) was the title of this years conference of the Nordic Network for Edition Philology (NNE), held in beautiful Gothenburg in the first week of October. The NNE gathers bi-annually editors, edition philologist, book historians and literary scholars from all the Nordic countries to discuss developments in recent research and editorial method, and present scholarly editions.

This year’s conference was the 14th in a row of successful gatherings in the North and the 20th anniversary of the NNE – with 60 participants (and an amazing 50/50 gender distribution!) and 12 talks in three languages (Swedish, Norwegian & Danish) on various subjects more or less closely tied to this year’s topic. The talks will be published in the NNE-book series and made digitally (XML-TEI P5 encoded!) available afterwards.

What became obvious in the discussions and debates not only here at the NNE meeting but generally in edition philology, is, that the scholarly editions we editors prepare in a very sophisticated manner and with a special eye for detail are not really suited for computer aided corpus analysis like topic modeling, text mining, stylistics etc. The issue is not under-complexity of the (digital) scholarly editions, but rather their complexity and depth of encoding and enrichment. In a corpus of 100.000 books, a textual error is statistically insignificant – no need to make the effort of emendation or provide an explanation and possible rectification. – I think it has to ‘sink in’ that especially quantitative (digital) literary or text studies ask very different questions from those commonly anticipated by edition philologists (that is: those of traditional literary studies). And since editions are not an end in itself but user oriented, what do we have to change in order to meet the needs (also) of those literary scholars who are interested in quantitative, corpus-based analyses & distant reading?

24. May 2015 · Comments Off on My Day of DH 2015 – Recap · Categories: Digital Humanities · Tags: , , , , , ,

Puh! DayofDH2015 is long over now – thank goodness! That day was crammed with non-work related stressful appointments and my neat schedule eventually turned into a chaotic mess…

Well! In the meantime, I made some progress regarding the projects I had to-do-listed for Day of DH 2015:

  • I edited the #NordicDH conference call for papers; the program committee is about to finalize it and we hope to get it out by end of May / start of June 2015. Time schedule and budget are also in their final editing stages!
  • I outlined the Ph.D. seminar Academic Blogging for Early Career Researchers. An Introductory Seminar and Hands-on Workshop, including a budget, schedule etc. and submitted it to the Ph.D. program board. Hopefully, I’ll get funding from the Faculty of Humanities at UiO to do the one and a half day seminar. If so, it will be a great learning and teaching experience and there will be awesome academic bloggers who ‘talk out of school’ and do the practical, hands-on intro! The seminar will also be part of the Digital Humaniora Forum seminar series at the University of Oslo and is (roughly) scheduled for mid-September 2015.
  • Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the #DHOslo steering committee’s monthly meeting, however, there will be another course of seminars in the DH forum series in the fall semester 2015 (probably monthly, on Tuesdays) at UiO. I prepared an internal report on DH Forum; in my judgement, the series went really well, we covered a broad spectrum of topics and humanities disciplines and attracted a diverse audience (and a small group of hardcore DHers who attended almost all of the seminars, regardless of topic and specialization). Audience sizes varied between 15 and 40, which is quite large, considering that the series is a local, small-scale initiative, held on a weekday between 2-4pm.
  • I accepted the invitation to the Wolfenbütteler Arbeitsgespräch and hinted a topic I would like to tackle (and that the ones who invited me would like me to elaborate on). If everything goes well, I’ll be re-visiting the wonderful Herzog August research and special collections library in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, in November 2015. It would also be great to spend some additional days there to do some critical editing and descriptive bibliography for the Ethica Complementoria-edition in my digital edition of the works and writings of baroque poet, journalist, historian, and entrepreneur Georg Greflinger (1620-1677).
  • I successfully transferred my old MS-Word project bibliography into Zotero. It was, however, more manually than semi-automatically. A very common (and very frustrating) characteristic of my field of research is, that a lot – if not most! – of the articles are not journal articles but articles in collections, conference proceedings, anthologies etc. And since my work – at least partially – deals with (modern) history of philology, they are also OLD, but, unfortunately, not old enough to be already out of copyright, digitized, and neatly catalogued with clean metadata, so that ‘picking’ them with the Zotero-button in the browser is easy done in 2 seconds. What adds to the frustration is that Zotero, unlike Citavi (and maybe other reference databases, I don’t know), is designed for disciplines that heavily rely on (digital) journal articles and for some reason does not feature an in-built connector for single articles in collections and the collection (and its editors, publisher, place, date…) itself! Which basically means that one has to type all the crucial information for each and every article of the same collection every single time. (OK: if you already know there is more than one you want to add, you can use the “duplicate this entry”-function. However, if you’re adding a lot of entries this is prone to failure (page ranges get duplicated as well as tags and other stuff you don’t want to have…) which leads to still a lot of manual editing and typing (or in my case: dictating & spelling… oh, those names and those fancy titles… how I hate them!)) – I did it, though, and will transfer some other MS-Word bibliographies as well as a number of pdf-scanned ones when I feel up to it ;)
  • Apart from this: I really, really love Zotero! I will probably teach another Zotero intro course in the fall semester at UiO and try to convince my humanities colleagues of the many advantages of using a database instead of text-file bibliographies.

So, even though my (first) Day of DH wasn’t very representative of my usual days at work and also not very DH-ey, at least I got some work done afterwards and a couple of DH-projects are on their way! Looking forward to the fall semester at UiO!

19. May 2015 · Comments Off on Day of DH 2015 – Getting Ready · Categories: Digital Humanities · Tags: , ,

(Since the official DayofDH2015 website is was down due to traffic I’ll posted this one instead here and reblog later…)

Today is #DayofDH2015 – and I’ll be blogging and tweeting along…!

On the agenda today are:

  • polishing the Call for Papers for the upcoming, 1st Nordic Digital Humanities conference and constitutive meeting of the association for Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries in Oslo, March 15–17, 2016
  • outlining (and budgeting) a one-day (or one and a half day) hands-on workshop on academic blogging for (early career) researchers at the University of Oslo, Faculty of Humanities in September 2015
  • preparing an application for the ‘Norwegian Academy for Young Researchers’
  • ordinary monthly meeting of the steering group of the Digital Humanities research network at the University of Oslo. Today’s topics: #1 DH forum seminar series (recap of spring semester, plans for the fall semester), #2 founding of DHN and DH conference in Oslo 2016, #3 general information and discussion
  • lunsj with fellow PhD candidates at the Department for Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
  • responding (positively) to an invitation to join the famous “Wolfenbütteler Arbeitsgespräche” on a topic that might also include DH
  • semi-automatically transferring my older (but substantial) MS Word-bibliography on my dissertation topic into my newer Zotero-bibliography (estimated items when done: 7000)
  • interacting with DHers around the globe!