Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Hans Christian Andersen and eresearch

I've been throwing stones:

for a long time I've felt that after all the excitement of being able to do new things with big data sets basically all that was happening was not sufficiently different to justify being called digital humanities or eresearch.

Basically computation based research is happening in climatology, in genomics, in astronomy, and no one thinks it remarkable. The same should be the case for the humanities and the other traditionally less numerate subjects, because, as we begin to collect data, and storage and computing becomes cheaper, we can try new things.

Like the linguist who did a frequency count on a whole load of prolog (remember prolog?) scripts to work out the key manipulations that should be covered in Prolog101, having access to cheap compute allows new things and also allows us to do the old things more quickly, more easily.

It doesn't add understanding or insight, or radically change things, it just means that some things that weren't possible now are, and unsurprisingly we end up with some unexpected results ...