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What do girls dig?

Has data mining in the humanities emerged as a gentleman's sport?


  1. A two-day conference has been announced, associated with an international funding program rightly (I think) hailed as transformative for the humanities.
  2. I was excited. I clicked the link. I scrolled down.  I did a double-take, which means I scrolled up and then down again. Next, I scrolled very slowly, counting.

    I almost didn't tweet this, but then I did:
  3. Instant feedback:
  4. There were some other comments, and re-tweets, too.  I was starting to feel a little sheepish, but knew that the group would shortly hear from the NEH's Office of Digital Humanities -- one of several funders of the program.  These guys are always plugged in and ever-responsive.

  5. If you "welcome suggestions" on Twitter, you will get them.  More with the instant feedback:
  6. Those were the serious suggestions, taken seriously.  (Another NEH staffer picked up the thread on my Facebook page and gave a very sensitive and cogent response, including an appeal for names of particular researchers and communities of practice to reach out to.)

    Meanwhile, things on Twitter seemed to get silly. But maybe  these questions about the rhetoric of data mining actually get at another side of a serious issue. At the very least, they gesture at a subtler, but equally worthwhile brand of digital humanities outreach: attention to our language.

    So... what do girls dig?