Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Masking Reality: Baudrillard and the Simulacrum

Having read Jean Baudrillard's  philosophical work, Simulacra and Simulation for a recent MA class, I have come to the conclusion that it is a difficult task to navigate the literary minefield of postmodernist theory, no matter how well you think that you understand it. The following post will attempt to shed some light upon Baudrillard's philosophical musings in this complicated work.

The simulacrum is advocated as a mask or representation which conceals the lack of truth within reality. The word simulacrum is derived from the Latin  which translates to 'likeness or similarity'. Baudrillard presents the simulacrum to be the only truth in this world of falsities. His theory proposes that there is no original, there are only copies of things, which the simulacrum exposes. This ability to expose the truth of falsity represents the simulacrums threat to society.

The key examples which Baudrillard uses to support his argument are that of Disneyland and the Watergate Scandal. These examples are analysed as false distinctions and they are the key to his idea of the "hyper-reality" (Baudrillard, 5). This is said to give us the sense that we can tell the difference between what is true and what is false; what is real and what is imagined; when really it is all just apart of the facade.

From a linguistic perspective it is important to focus upon Baudrillard's use of language; his use of Latin in this case. The very fact that the word Simulacrum is in a different language reinforces his argument upon masks. It evokes the word simulation also. He argues that "to simulate is to feign to have what one hasn't" (2). Baudrillard is questioning whether we have gained meaning from language at all or whether it has been lost in translation and in communication. One language masks another, which exemplifies the fact that there is no end to language in this hyper-reality. The 'word' provides meaning to that which is meaningless. In relation to language, this hyper-reality is endless, as language never ends. What I gathered from this insinuation of linguistics is that there is a cyclical nature evident in language, which effects representation, and how we view reality. What Baudrillard is examining through this idea is the nature of repetitiveness, and its lack of depth.

Nostalgia is strikingly apparent in this piece. Specifically a nostalgia for the real and for meaning. The identity of meaning within concepts of reality is striven for, yet Baudrillard considers it to be irretrievable in a postmodern world. An example of this theoretical application in modern society is the use of media, and its function as a distorter of reality. The image in media and advertising is often heavily embellished to evoke a sense of perfection and to make the consumer want to consume whatever product is being advertised.
Media theorists, especially Jean Baudrillard, have been intensely concerned with the concept of the simulation in lieu of its interaction with our notion of the real and the original, revealing in this preoccupation media's identity not as a means of communication, but as a means of representation (the work of art as a reflection of something fundamentally "real") (Devin Sandoz). 
 In other words, the meaning has been distorted or lost through the misinformation of media. The medium of the messages of the past have been miscommunicated in an effort to save representation. Therefore the aesthetic of truth has been preserved in favour of the actual truth of reality.

Graham Coulter-Smith has analysed Baudrillard's arguments in the following light:
"Baudrillard stands out almost by default as one of the few theorists to address the new postmodern technologies. However, his interpretation of these technologies appears unremittingly bleak and of limited value to contemporary visual artists. . ." (Jean Baudrillard, Art and Artefact, 91). This bleakness effects the message within his work, even going so far as to mask its own simplistic meaning.

Whether there is actually a crisis of identity happening in meaning is yet to be seen. Whilst Baudrillard's work is dramatic and provocative in effect, he fails to explore the nature of preservation which is happening in society, in reaction to the advancements of areas within technology and within new cultures. His opinions are very forceful, but they lack enough evidence. The example of Disneyland in particular does not explore the cultural connections which this theme park has to modern society or how the theme park works to preserve this cultural impact in a similar fashion to a museum. One could argue that the very elements which Baudrillard has discussed work in opposition to his ideas, in that they try to relate back to history and to act as reminders of our cultural journey.

Works Cited

Baudrillard, Jean. Mark Poster ed. Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1988. Print.


Zurbrugg, Nicholas, ed. Jean Baudrillard, Art and Artefact. London: Sage, 1997. Print.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Revolutionary Media in 'The Hunger Games' Trilogy

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
 (Albert Einstein) 
Although this posts' contents are a complete u-turn from my usual interests, I could not resist sharing my insights into the use of Digital Media in The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I was quite skeptical about reading these books, automatically categorizing them within the ranks of tween literature series' such as The Twilight Saga. There's nothing wrong with that franchise of books and films. I have read all of the books and watched all of the films; but I wasn't quite convinced of the hype, or the standard of writing (cough, cough!). However this particular series of books offer a departure from the traditional love story motif, by weaving a discourse on the over-saturation of digital media and the effects that technology can have on society.

The books are set in the dystopian world of Panem, in which an uprising has led to society being re-arranged into districts labelled one to twelve. Every year these districts must participate in a reality televised competition known as the Hunger Games. This reality tv show consists of a 'fight to the death' formula, in which two tributes from each district are chosen each year for the entertainment of 'The Capital'. The books developed an argument on the decay of morality which results from the over-saturation of media and technology upon society. The fact that the upper echelons of society in the books watch the suffering of others for entertainment, highlights this challenge to our interpretations of the power of media. The main character, Katniss, acts as a symbol throughout for the fight against this decay of media and technology.

These books carry a heavy political message on our responsibilities to use technology properly. After all, media can be the most manipulative weapon that we have in society. These three books, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, are categorised as Science Fiction, which I would have to agree with, considering the heavy emphasis on technology throughout. The Independent's review of the books by Paddy O' Doherty describes them as follows:

The Hunger Games is a hybrid comprising many modern cultural references. It has the voyeuristic magnetism of the original Big Brother TV show, the deprivation and reward system of I'm a Celebrity ... get me out of here, the glamour of Next Top Model and the harshness and the tragedy of a war documentary.
The misuse of media throughout these three novels has contributed to the decay in society, which leads to a further uprising in the final novel and the abolishment of the dictatorship regime overseen by President Snow. The books are inspired by contemporary and antiquarian elements, which Collins talks about in interviews which she gave on the books. The classical inspirations are drawn from the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. On an annual basis, Athens has to send seven young women and men to Crete, who are put into the Labyrinth with the minotaur, to try and survive. The Contemporary inspiration for these novels is drawn from various reality tv shows. Collins talks about our "fascination with reality television", which she employs in the books to draw attention to the desensitization which is emerging due to our over-exposure in this mass digital media culture.

(Clay Shirky's talk on how the internet could one day transform the government, if handled properly of course!)

My main argument for these books is that they create a powerful dialogue upon modern issues in the use and abuse of technology and media tools, which could be detrimental to how we approach our future. Collins advocates a mindful approach to the use of media as a platform, instilling a belief through these books that in order to retain our humanity, we need to reinforce the real, and see the value in moral technology, rather than  demoralized technology for entertainment. The careful, monitored use of digital tools is something which I believe is essential to the prevention of their detrimental effects upon our perceptions of culture. However, this is not to day that media should be censored, rather it should be used for it's true purpose, to communicate and educate, rather than for mindlessness. These books have eluded to the fact that mass media consumption through technology is creating a sense of de-socialization and de-sensitization, which could in theory be a threat to how the social progresses. This is turn could effect how our cultural identity is formed.
Part of us is immersed in world culture, but, because there is no longer a public space where social norms could be formed and applied, another part of us retreats into hedonism or looks for a sense of belonging that is more immediate. . . both individuals and groups are therefore less and less defined by the social relations which until now defined the field of sociology, whose goal was to explain behaviour in terms of the social relations in which actors were involved (Public Connection Through Media Consumption, 251). 
While I recognise the perils of the influx of digital media, it also has had many rewards. I believe that navigation is a key issue, and the education of younger generations upon the navigation of this media is essential. Now to the comments. What are your thoughts upon this view purported by Collins? Have you read the novels or seen the film adaptation of the first novel? If so, what are your own views on them? Is social media our new society?

Works Cited

Couldry, Nick and Tim Markham. "Public Connection through Media Consumption: Between Oversocialization and De-Socialization?", Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Vol. 608 (2006). 251-269. Jstor. Web.

Monday, 7 January 2013

More Ramblings of a DH Novice

Does anybody know what Digital Humanities really is?
(Words highlighted in red are keywords within this piece.)

Looking at Digital Humanities from an outsider’s perspective is quite a daunting experience. There is a fundamental lack of a comprehensive, all inclusive definition for this movement, which cannot be ignored. The Digital Humanities novice faces a clear challenge in trying to navigate such a scholarly movement, without a proper road map for classification. Alan Liu supports this argument:
The Digital Humanities, clearly, are in a state of rapid expansion. But giving an account of that state of expansion without relying on anecdote is difficult. Empirical evidence of the field’s growth is uneven due to uncertainty about what exactly should be counted (programs, jobs, conferences, publications, projects, funding competitions, usages of the phrase ‘digital humanities’?) (The State of the Digital Humanities, 1).

The mapping of Digital Humanities is essential to its fruition as a contender for the ‘Humanities 2.0’. The first part of this process is to reach a level of agreement in terms of Defining DH. Perhaps this seems rather simplistic, but in actual fact it is quite a complicated wish for this discipline, as it contains so many different fields of thought, with conflicting approaches. The question remains as to how we can govern an interdisciplinary system, when there are different standards for the various different skill sets within this? This piece will examine the idea of whether the Humanities and I.T. can truly combine their scholarly ethics to create an answer to the waning influence of the Humanities in the Modern world.

Fusion is an interesting word to use when describing the Digital Humanities. It evokes both mechanical and artistic connotations, which in a sense is what DH is all about. In Digital Humanities we merge the digital with the artistic, literary, cultural, and scholarly world. This movement is about accessibility as opposed to exclusivity. It combines the traditions and skills of so many different areas within the arts, under the umbrella of I.T. Arguably, the Humanities have been looking for a new home for quite some time now, which they have found in the increasing manipulation of technology. The process by which this is occurring is one of skill sharing and co-operation. Perhaps this co-operation may seem slightly forced to begin with, but as time progresses it is hoped that it will become more fluid.  The rewards of the knowledge sharing economy are undeniable. It is how we use this ‘economy’ that will make the immediate difference in expanding the horizons of the arts.

There is always the fear that I.T. will overtake the Humanities as opposed to aiding its renewal. This fear requires dispelling through the further efforts of Digital Humanists to marry the two overarching fields. Unification is essential in ensuring the future of the Humanities. James O’ Sullivan has argued that:
 Digital humanities is more than the use of technology to display research findings in electronic form. Rather, it resides at the juncture between complex or novel uses of new media and traditional humanities research and artistic endeavour. It is concerned with the use of technology to reproblematise humanist questions, or oftentimes, the exploration of technology from humanist perspectives (What makes Digital Humanities, Digital?).
 It is important to mention some of the essential elements of this merge. For the text specialists there is TEI, the use of HTML and XML to digitise the body of text, and expand its parameters for interpretation. For the historians, the use of the database is a valuable way to interpret historical data for research. Graphic design is well catered for in this movement, for those artistically inclined. These are just a few brief examples of ‘new ways of doing things’ using technology. The visual element of data is now of equal import to the physical data, in analysing, interpreting and displaying research and development within this sector.

Virtual learning is fast becoming a central principle within DH. Digital Pedagogy absorbs traditional teaching methods and then transforms them in an online environment. Conceivably, this type of e-learning could revolutionise the way we teach and learn for the next generation. Arguably, if the humanities are to survive in this Modern, technology saturated era, the classroom or lecture hall, will have to move online. This is not to say that the physical act of teaching should be abolished. Rather, further digital learning facilities are needed to aid the rapid expansions in technologies which are impacting our education systems. Conceivably, this could be viewed as a lifeline for Humanities teaching and learning. It could also lead to further innovation within these fields and within pedagogy in general.

Page to stage is a concept which resonates within the Digital Humanities hymnbook. In this sense the humanities is moving from a closed book mentality to the stage of the world, through its usage of the internet as a central means for communication and publication. Jerome McGann has argued that we need to “reform the text through computer assistance to provide new insights” (A Companion to Digital Humanities, np). Limitation is something which could hinder the humanities cause. The internet provides the freedom which this sector has needed for quite some time in order to adapt to the ever changing needs of society. However the online world has rules too. It is not a completely free space by any means. The availability of information needs close regulation and strict observations of copyright laws. Credit has to be given where credit is due in order for success to be achievable. Perhaps what the humanities needs is a little help from its friends. Communities of practice provide new methods and new tools for analysis.

 There can only be further benefits to come from working with others to strengthen this movement. This can be determined as the quintessential core of the development of Digital Humanities. A solution was needed to the problem of the future of the Humanities. Although Humanities Computing has existed for decades before it was renamed in this vain, DH expands the parameters of possibilities which using digital aids for Humanities research can provide. It is encouraging innovative thinking and pure creativity in the use of technology to transform the Humanities.

Works Cited

Liu, Alan. "The State of the Digital Humanities: A Report and a Critique". Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 11.1(2012): 1-34. Print. 
McGann, Jerome. A Companion to Digital Humanities. Ed. Susan Schriebman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. Web. 
O' Sullivan, James. What Makes Digital Humanities, Digital? josullivan.org. Web. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

'Vlogging': Digitizing the Personal to Educate the Public

Some may look at the title of this post and wonder what vlogging is. This post will explore the meaning and use of vlogging, and how this could be applied in an educational setting.

Firstly vlogging, quite like blogging is the activity of keeping a log of information via the medium of video. It has been used, essentially, as a video diary. This medium has become very popular on social media sites, such as YouTube.

Although its main occurrence appears to be in the United States, us Europeans are now getting in on the action.  An example which stood out when I was investigating occurrences of vlogging, was of the Irish couple, Jonathan and Anna Saccone-Joly, who vlog every single day, and have done so for the past two and a half years. This has included their wedding, the pregnancy and birth of their daughter Emilia, along with daily occurrences in their lives such as walking their dogs.

 Although this seems like a very intrusive idea, and some may well think that it is, it has benefits in terms of its application in an educational setting. After all, it has been very beneficial to the Saccone-Joly's, who are now YouTube Network Partners, and make their living from these videos.

I am not suggesting that we all bring our cameras along to school or college everyday to vlog the experience, but for group projects, presentations and much more, this could prove to be a useful tool for the dissemination of knowledge. Digital Humanities is all about the application of media tools within our education, so why not live by this motto in a more literal sense. It could also prove to be an essential element of publicising the work which is being done in the Digital Humanities sector.

An interesting site to have a look at is TubeTeaching. This site is run by Dr. Chareen Snelson from the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University. Snelson runs a course called YouTube for educators, which applies the principles of vlogging to education.

Another site which advocates the use of vlogging for educational purposes is the desktop video section on about.com. This section looks at the benefits of video blogging for teachers.

The Benefits:

  • Educational activities: By letting students record and edit video you are teaching them valuable technological and artistic skills. It’s a fun and low pressure way for kids to become comfortable with electronics and computers.
  • Better communication: A vlog is a great way to let parents see what’s going on at the school and in your classroom.
  • A visual record: A vlog can be considered a video portfolio of the work that goes on in your classroom. It’s a concrete demonstration of your skills and those of your students, which can be beneficial for promoting the school or during teaching reviews.
These advantages are geared towards primary and secondary level students, but one could argue that they are also applicable in a third level environment.

I don't know if I have the confidence to pilot such a scheme single-handedly, but the use of vlogging could be rewarding for analysing the experience within a group project.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Blogs I Follow......

The Blue Lantern- For all things Modern/ Postmodern in nature. This is a beautiful blog full of little gems to discover everyday. Jane Librizzi brings life to these pieces through her intricate posts, littered with art and literature.
The introduction to this blog describes the reason behind the chosen title for this web-page:
A blue-shaded lamp served as the starboard light for writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette's imaginary journeys after she became too frail to leave her room. Her invitation, extended to all, was "Regarde!" Look, see, wonder, accept, live.
What I take from this introduction is that even though one might be confined to their room or to their bed, the use of the blog extends the realms of the imagination past the problem of location. This is the essence of the blog for me. It has been a great aid to me in my particular research interests, as it allows me to keep up to date with areas pertaining to the 19th and 20th centuries.

Sample Reality-  Mark Sample's blog blends his knowledge as a Professor in the Department of English at George Mason University with debates in the Digital Humanities. He is particularly interested in how DH is approaching contemporary literature within its research. He asks the question, is enough being done to include this field within DH and is innovation possible here?

 Mark's blog reflects his interest in open source pedagogy in particular. This blog has been very helpful for thinking about my own questions in relation to fitting Modern literature into the world of Digital Humanities. It has been reassuring to know that it is an ongoing struggle for many. It is also useful in terms of Sample's research in the pedagogy side of things.

Below is an example of the debates on pedagogy which are being waged within Sample's blog:

Training wheels are a kind of scaffolding. But they are intrusive scaffolding, obstructive scaffolding. These bulky metal add-ons get in the way quite literally, but they also interfere pedagogically. Riding a bike with training wheels prepares a child for nothing more than riding a bike—with training wheels.

Matt Wilkens.com- Like Sample Reality, Wilkens's blog focuses on marrying English literature with Digital Humanities. Although his blog has been slightly neglected of late, the posts which Wilkens has published focus upon the impact of areas ranging from theory to technology in English Literature research and study.
He has a detailed post relating to the construction of a syllabus for a graduate seminar in DH. I found this to be quite helpful for comparative purposes to my own postgraduate course.

I will link this post below:
Digital Humanities Grad Syllabus

To be continued........

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

'What The Water Gave Me': Woolf and Water.

I came across this post from my old e-portfolio, which I created for my MA in English last year. I felt that its sentiment was appropriate to my own adaptation to the world of Digital Humanities. Woolf adapts water in the same way to fit her writing style. This can be seen in nearly every single major work which she has written. However this piece focuses on a slightly dryer piece of writing by Woolf, set in the English countryside. The work that I am writing about is of course Between The ActsDH challenges the traditional written identity in the same way that Woolf uses water to mock the traditional novel format. Obviously, this movement challenges a whole lot more than that, but in terms of my own area of interest this fits the bill nicely.

Image courtesy of http://saltysbrainflash.blogspot.ie

Virginia Woolf's writing has had a lengthy relationship with water, or what could be labelled as ocean imagery. This post will examine the significance of water in relation to Woolf's work.
The title of this piece is taken from a 'Florence and The Machine' song of the same name, written by Florence Welch. Welch has surveyed the significance of water to Woolf. She cites Woolf's work as one of the main influences for this song.

What the Water Gave Me- Performed by Florence and The Machine.

"The ocean seems to me to be natures great overwhelmer. ...... "It's about water in all forms and all bodies. It's about a lot of things; Virginia Woolf creeps into it, and of course Frida Kahlo, whose painfully beautiful painting gave me the title." ( Florence Welch, Digital Spy)
The water can be analysed as a powerhouse for influence. Perhaps what the water gave to Woolf was an outlet for a new form of the novel. Many of Woolf's allusions to water or to the beach profess a change or a loss within the realm of the novel. She can be argued as adapting the novel to Modernism, in the way that water adapts to its surroundings.
Woolf clearly toys with this idea in her final novel Between the Acts. She mocks the 'traditional' novel form, which she suggests provides outdated and unimaginative representations of society. This is visible in William Dodge's observation of Isa and Giles' relationship, which was "as people say in novels 'strained' "(Between the Acts, 973).
The water of Woolf's work is all encompassing. It seems to engulf the majority of her writing, whether the setting is London, as in Mrs Dalloway, or the beach in Cornwall from Jacob's childhood in Jacob's Room. "The waves" in the water of Jacob's Room "showed that uneasiness, like something alive, restive, expecting the whip" (Jacob's Room, 13).  One could argue that this uneasiness centers around both the character and the form employed in the novel.

"It,(Jacob's Room), was Immediately hailed as a radically innovative text that broke with tradition and established the groundwork for a new kind of fiction: in its nonlinear modernity it was likened to a portfolio rather than a novel" (Francesca Kazan, 701).
Obviously this post cannot examine all of the references to water in Woolf's substantial collection of writing. However, from what has been discussed thus far, the water can be viewed as the creative process, which changes with the mood of her work, much like water does in reality, when it is disturbed or there is a change in the weather. It acts as a signifier for Woolf's uneasiness with what she was creating, yet at other times it provides a joyous sense of achievement with the unification of her ideal for a new type of fiction.
Therefore, 'what the water gave' Virginia Woolf was a podium upon which to calculate a distinct form of writing.The water of Virginia Woolf's writing offers an analogy for the struggle to create something new. When the "wave has broken", Woolf worries that something new may not be allowed to form. This is seen in Between the Acts, her last work.
"Dispersed are we, Isabella followed her humming. All is over. The wave has broken. Left us stranded, high and dry"(Between the Acts, 968-9).
Conceivably, the water was Woolf's attempt to open her work up to criticism, about the changing shape of its writing. There is a fearful voice inherent in the water imagery of whether Woolf has succeeded in changing the mould of fiction, or whether her work is drowning in its own failure.

Frida Kahlo: 'What the Water Gave Me'

As I progress in my MA in Digital Humanities, I am beginning to realise that if I am to achieve something from this degree it has to come from the marriage of my own interests with this movement. As I struggle to create an idea for my thesis, I have increasingly turned to my old favourites, such as Woolf and Djuna Barnes, to garner some inspiration. They created new landscapes of literature in the Modernist period which I am attempting to undertake in Digital Humanities. Ultimately, I want my thesis to be a representation of the creation of a new embodiment of writing, in quite the same way that these authors did in their own time.

Works Cited
Corner, Lewis. "Florence and the Machine debut new track: What the Water Gave me." Digital Spy. Hachette fillipaci Media. 31 Jan. 2012. http://www.digitalspy.ie/music/news/a336706/florence--the-machine-debut-new-track-what-the-water-gave-me-video.html. Web.
Kazan,Francesca. "Description and the Pictorial in Jacob's Room." ELH, 55:3 (1988). 701-719.  http://0-www.jstor.org.library.ucc.ie/stable/2873190. Web.
Woolf, Virginia. The Selected Works of Virginia Woolf. London: Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 2007. Print.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Mind-Flow: The Drafting Process using Stream Of Consciousness Writing

(An example of the fruits of stream of consciousness mind-flow, in art-form)

The following is my own contribution which was spliced together with my fellow collaborators to become the collective piece, Evaluating Digital Scholarship, which I also posted below.

I thought that it would be interested and perhaps even valuable to see the original thought process, which I developed using the stream of consciousness writing method, in comparison to the final product. This provides a worthwhile example of the editing process in collaborative writing.

Apologies for being so cliché, but as I have found, honesty is always the best policy. I think that this theory should apply to education also. Thus far, Digital Humanities has baffled me to say the least. Words like collaboration, TEI, temporality, remediation, and xml have been passed back and forth in our classes like we were all aware of their meanings. Until recently I was not enlightened by these terms. Coming from a traditional humanist school of literary studies, my initial reaction to this movement was to run and hide with all of the physical books in my possession. There was no way that they would take my beloved copy of The Collected Works of Virginia Woolf and turn it into an ebook.  


The ruination of the book as we know it!


However, recently this fear has abated somewhat. I don't want to alarm anyone, but I am considering getting a Kindle this Christmas. Many may be of the opinion that I am a bit late to the game, but the way that I view it, Digital Humanities is still an emerging field. Gadgets are central to this movement. For example, the eReader has now gained widespread availability. Even those who do not shop online are now inundated by its display in their local Tesco. The process of reading and learning is, to paraphrase Yeats, “changed, changed utterly”, but is this change a “terrible beauty”? (The Collected Poems, 193).

When evaluating Digital Humanities, the benefits cannot be ignored. Elements such as Skype and Google Hangouts enable the perimeters of the classroom to be endlessly extended. In terms of linking this back to Digital Humanities, I have discovered a line in D. Randy Garrisons E-Learning in the 21st Century which summarises the change in educational focuses which I believe Digital Humanities represents: “To be constrained by the restricted frame of traditional classroom presentational approaches is to ignore the capabilities and potential of e-learning” (54).   Having commuted to college from a sizeable distance for the past few months since I have started this course, I can understand the immediate profits which this method offers to participation and inclusion in class discussion. DH encompasses the acknowledgement that the physical days of education can no longer stand alone as a means for learning.

Arguably, trying to find a sense of identity in the digital world represents one of the main struggles which has led to the emergence of Digital Arts and Humanities. After all, the Humanities need to carve out a digital persona just as much as any large corporation, in order to make their presence felt in an ever changing digital atmosphere. There is a sense of not wanting to be left behind evident in this move into the realm of I.T. Jaron Lanier explores this concern in his work, You Are Not a Gadget. His concluding thoughts in this book express this Humanist need to stay true to ones self while entering into the digital:
The most important thing about postsymbolic communication is that I hope it demonstrates that a humanist softie like me can be as radical and ambitious as any cybernetic totalist in both science and technology, while still believing that people should be considered differently, embodying a special category (You Are Not A Gadget, np).

Certain questions are at the core of the assessment process for Digital Humanities For example, what categorises digital scholarship? Is the computer truly a scholarly tool? Is there limits to what can be defined as digital scholarship? Is it legitimate scholarship? An area which stirs up an array of controversy is the use of blogging within Digital Humanities and education in general. There are issues relating to this tool which need to be addressed. Such as whether the blog will be considered a legitimate tool for research, which can be cited in an academic paper. The amount of time and effort which is being put into scholarly publications, is now being directed into the blogosphere. Alan Liu offers an entry point for such examples of social media to become more respected:

In the digital humanities, cultural criticism–in both its interpretive and advocacy modes–has been noticeably absent by comparison with the mainstream humanities. . . . How the digital humanities advance, channel, or resist the great postindustrial, neoliberal, corporatist, and globalist flows of information-cum-capital, for instance, is a question rarely heard in the digital humanities associations, conferences, journals, and projects with which I am familiar (Where is Cultural Criticism in The Digital Humanities, np).
  Engagement with more thoughtful scholarship which directs itself towards cultural criticism could strengthen the consideration of blogs and other social media tools for DH scholarship, through the fusion of discussions of the data use with cultural commentary. I am of the opinion that social media is fast becoming the leading Publishing house for new material. Could one go so far as to argue that web 2.0 is the Humanities life-support system?

Tara McPherson advocates this lifeline theory in her essay Media Studies and The Digital Humanities:
 More recently, we have seen an explosion of what I might call the "blogging humanists"—folks very interested in the hopes for participation promised by emerging Web 2.0 technologies. Faced with severe cutbacks at academic presses and dated systems for peer review, this second breed of digital humanists port the words and monographs of humanities scholarship to networked spaces of conversation and dialogue. (Introduction: Media Studies and the Digital Humanities, 119).

The humanities is in the process of a reformation, which I hope will see it become more accessible to the masses. Contribution is a quality which should not be overlooked in this process. In terms of my own background, a Masters holder of Modern English, where is the revolution situated in this school? Does it fit with the study and criticism of the physical text? I fear that many will not able to disassemble their preconceptions about literary studies in order to embrace the study of literature through digital humanities. I always find it slightly ironic when I see a book written on Digital Humanities or Humanities Computing sitting on a bookshelf.

Matthew Kirschenbaum attempts to answer the question of how Digital Humanities fits into English literature studies, in his chapter 'What is Digital humanities and what's it doing in English Departments?':
The answer to the latter portion of the question is easier. I can think of some half a dozen reasons why English Departments have historically been hospitable settings for this kind of work. First, after numeric input, text has been by far the most tractable data type for computers to manipulate (Debates in the Digital Humanities, 8).

This is a very logical statement. But is the computer necessary or is it simply a case of laziness within the humanities? My own reasoning behind the seeping of DH into the walls of English Departments throughout the world is that it is simply inescapable. Evolution has called for it, so to speak. For some time, English literature has called out for its voice to be heard amongst the changing landscape of research. The standards within DH need distinction for such a traditionally technophobic discipline. There needs to be some synergy between disciplinary standards of governance and the increasing use of more liberal forms of research using technology. Julia Fraser conceives that “digital humanities as a whole has revealed precisely how interwoven and mutually consequential 'technical' and 'disciplinary' standards often are (Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities, 68). DH demands these sectors to strike the right balance when merging in research.

As I come towards the end of this piece of writing I feel my fear creeping back up on me. Reassurance is needed that the book will not be destroyed by the computer. But is this just evolution happening before our eyes? Could someone please inform me of the method of citation which this movement will use? Or, shall it be a mixture of the true level of patchwork happening in this movement at the moment? How will material be governed in a field which hosts a variety of expertise? Unified standards need to be implemented to guide us through the world of Digital Humanities.  

On a note of conclusion, Digital Humanities is in transit. It is moving from a world of constraint to a world of scholarly freedom. FAST. It is up to us all to navigate this transition in a thoughtful, cautious manner.

Works Cited
Deegan, Marilyn, Willard McCarty. Collaboration in the Digital Humanities: A Volume in Honour of Harold Short. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2012. Print.

Garrison, D. Randy. E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

Gold, Matthew K. Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minnesota: University of Minnesota P, 2012. Print.

Lanier, Jaron. You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto. New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 2010. Print.

Liu, Alan. 'Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities'. The History and Future of the Digital Humanities. Modern Language Association Convention. Los Angeles, 7 January, 2011. Web.

McPherson, Tara. "Introduction: Media Studies and the Digital Humanities." Cinema Journal 48.2 (2009): 119-123. Project MUSE. Web. 24 Nov. 2012. <http://0-muse.jhu.edu.library.ucc.ie/>.

Yeats, W.B.  Richard J.Finneran, ed. The Collected Poems of W.B.Yeats. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989. Print.