Sharing Research with a Digital Humanities Audience

What better time to jump back into blogging than the Digital Humanities Winter Institute? I’m spending the whole week at this wonderful event at the University of Maryland, College Park. The program offers a wide range of digitally-focused courses. I’m taking the core course “Project Development” and working to imagine some future directions for my dissertation project that have a digital humanities component…and thinking about ways to make these potential projects attractive to external funding agencies.

Today, I’ll have the opportunity to present my research in front of most of the rest of the DHWI at the Ignite! event. This event is geared at new and emerging DH scholars at the Institute. Presenters submit 20 slides and go through them in five minutes, with the slides advancing every 15 seconds. I’m going to briefly explain what cryptomnesia means and then talk about one particular issue related to cryptomnesia where I’m thinking about possible DH interventions. Specifically, I want to think about whether DH tools used for text analysis, tracking memes, and detecting plagiarism might be applied to finding the kinds of congruences between literary works that might be considered possible examples of cryptomnesia. My current goal is simply to get a large swath of this kind of data. What I’d ultimately like to do is maybe ask people to vet similar passages between literary works and give their opinion on whether its plagiarism, pastiche, homage, cliche, or something else. In particular, I want to consider whether ideas about plagiarism might be shifting as people experience different kinds of access, openness, and barriers in the digital world.

Update: The event went well! My favorite part was being told I had “hacked” the presentation following my repetition of the 19th slide as slide number 20….I knew I wouldn’t get through the slide in one go, so I used it twice to gain additional seconds! I received some helpful feedback on using digital tools to review potential plagiarism in texts.

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2 thoughts on “Sharing Research with a Digital Humanities Audience”

  1. Is the idea to develop a taxonomy of information sharing – plagiarism, pastiche, homage, etc – and the digital tools to find and classify examples? That’s how I understand it. Maybe the slides would help.

    1. Basically the idea is to figure out how to collect some data on similarities like what was collected in the case of Kaavya Viswanathan (which, yes, there are examples in the slideshow.) Saavy readers linked passages in her novel to their own favorite books. I want to know if there are digital tools that can do the same for a wider range of women’s genre fiction. It would allow me to look at the structural elements of what gets called plagiarism or cryptomnesia. Maybe not to create a taxonomy, but just to have more instances there to look at. Still working on getting the slideshow loaded….

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