I was definitely in earnest. Of course, I recognize a great deal of
exciting work is built upon massive data sets and text collections.
I'm just less interested in that work and more interested in intensive
scrutiny of smaller data sets / collections; again, something we might
call the nanotechnology of digital humanities.

And I absolutely endorse the idea of encoding as an artform. There are
Penguin encodings and Kelmscott encodings; I prefer the latter, though
I have use for the former as well.

As for text being the natural medium of humanities research, let us
not forget that TEI/XML encoding is human-readable text. And even if
we accept that text is the natural medium of humanities research, I
believe it would be impossible to argue that text is the natural
medium of digital humanities research. It is one of many, but not the
only, and perhaps not the natural one.


On Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM, Marjorie Burghart
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Le 22/08/2011 15:35, John A. Walsh a écrit :
> Rather than have at my disposal millions of homogenous and
> interoperable TEI texts provided by Google or whomever, I would prefer
> to make my way through a smaller number of meticulously encoded texts,
> where the mind of the scholar(s)/editors(s) is present in the
> encoding, along with ingenious and clever encoding strategies that
> suggest important critical insights about the texts. This is the
> nanotechnolgoy of digital humanities.
> Assuming that you're in earnest here (apologies if I misunderstood you), I
> would like to seize this opportunity to voice some of my concerns.
> I for one, would rather have at my disposal millions of basically encoded
> texts, rather than a small number of extremely thoughtfully encoded texts.
> And I really believe that thinking of encoding as an art form, and not a
> tool, is one of the problems of the TEI community.
> Let's face it once and for all: there is nothing - nothing -  one can make
> apparent through encoding as an editor, that could not be made just as
> apparent, and maybe more intelligibly so, by a full-text introduction to an
> edition. The natural medium of Humanities research is text, not encoding. So
> to me, the more important part is not to represent a textual phenomenon to
> render account of it, but to be able to process it in some way or another.
> And most of all, to be able to have it processed with a bunch of other texts
> encoded by others, or I wouldn't bother with using the TEI in the first
> place.
> Best wishes,
> Marjorie
> --
> Marjorie BURGHART
> EHESS (pôle de Lyon) / UMR 5648
> Histoire et Archéologie des Mondes Chrétiens et Musulmans Médiévaux
> 18 quai Claude Bernard
> 69007 Lyon - FRANCE

| John A. Walsh
| Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Science
| Indiana University, 1320 East Tenth Street, Bloomington, IN 47405
| www: <>
| Voice:812-856-0707 Fax:812-856-2062 <mailto:[log in to unmask]>