Digital Humanities Academic discussion


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Digital Humanities – a New Field of Science and Studies?

An overview of the academic discussion
16/05/2018

The VMU Multidisciplinary Science and Study Center held an academic discussion (workshop) “Digital Humanitarities – a New Field of Science and Studies?” they can be used to explore public and cultural phenomena, to present collected material in public space.
In the introductory part of the event ethnologist doc. dr. Egidija Kiskina presented the idea of ​​a digital humanities (SH) project for research on the processes of cultural groups, created together with informatics. The invented data register contains digitized and collected text, audio and visual research data collected by narrative and ethnographic methods, and one of its functions is the visual presentation of data processed by computer tools and results to students and the general public. Professor of Informatics dr. Daiva Vitkutė-Adžgauskienė gave a detailed presentation of the issues of SH starting with artificial intelligence, which is based on the recognition of natural speech, written texts, sound, image and tools for data visualization. SH community members linguist doc. dr. Andrius Utka, historian dr. Marius Sirutavičius, computer science dr. Judita Kasperiūnienė, HMF Vice Dean Historian Assoc. dr. Giedrius Janauskas shared his thoughts with the participants of the discussion about how digital humanitarian can contribute to the development of various fields of humanities and social sciences. Literary scientists raised issues of their discipline. Prof. dr. Egle Ingrid Žindžiuvienė would be interested in how SH tools could help in analyzing the language style and text structure of writers. Doc. dr. From the point of view of Indre Žekevičienė, “with the help of appropriate programs, it would be possible to cover all of our literature field and to look for certain regularities, not only seeing the most recognized texts, but also the entire array of popular literature. Literatureology is so mature that further movement will inevitably require new instruments ”. In the opinion of the interviewers, the cooperation of humanities with informatics can make a significant contribution to the further improvement of the quality of teaching.
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Message for students
Participants of the discussion agreed that the use of computer tools in research is not only a topic for experienced researchers and doctoral students, but also for undergraduate and postgraduate students who prepare various types of study, thinking about new future projects, prospects for practical work.

The event was a pleasant surprise for alumni representatives. Evaldas Pravalauskis has been working in the IT field for about 10 years, recently representing a state-owned company that stores, manages and keeps up-to-date records, has a large document cache that stores various documents in pdf and tif formats, some of which are handled by OCR tools. Evaldas already knows from practice that there is a growing number of jobs that require humanitarian knowledge and good computer literacy. Such knowledge is combined with digital humanities. “I would definitely recommend choosing Digital Humanities Studies for IT, Ethnology (Cultural Studies) students, Lithuanian or their city history and culture researchers and lovers, and all humanities” (Evaldas). Speaking about the design ideas of SH and IT cooperation, Evaldas offered to digitize and present to the public the documents of a specific area of ​​Lithuanian history, using Wiki, involving VMU students, teachers or volunteers. Many possibilities, in his opinion, open up the application of new technologies (big data, blockchain, timeline and 3D maps) in the humanities. According to Evaldas, “it would be nice to have parallel and co-operative co-operation between IT and Humanitarian professors, students and scientists”.

VMU Alumni Aidis Stukas participated in the discussion and studied history, ethnology and philosophy at the University. graduated from the philosophy study program. Aidis emphasized the importance of Python programming language for humanities. In his view, programming language is a self-evident tool: “Humanity is hardly perceived without writing and printing. Asked when and what circumstances triggered self-learning to program Python, Aidis identified a number of reasons: “I needed to create a visualization for a data article, wanted to create my own computer game (a friend surprised me) I wanted to make money by saying the price). Aidis advises students to study Piton for humanities, he says, “students of history, ethnology, linguistics or law would find a lot of wonderful things.” Recently, Python has become the main tool of his work, and the main field of activity is data collection from the web (web scraping). Aidis proposed to continue the discussion, focusing on every discipline of humanities and social sciences.

The second graduate student of mathematics, Zenonas Aužbikas, came to the discussion with the idea of ​​interdisciplinarity itself: “It was interesting to see how different disciplines can merge and what comes from joining them. I wanted to see real examples to make it easier to imagine what it is, because the term ‘digital humanity’ itself does not tell me personally ‘(Zenon). Asked what the issues touched in the discussion seem to be important, Zenonas mentioned communication between students from different disciplines and suggested a specific step: “Maybe if a student of humanities publicly announced in a dedicated group what topics they were interested in, what they would like to do, maybe a different discipline it would also be close to the subject, or would like to try to get someone done together. ‘ After the debate, Zenonas expressed his desire to try to do something simple about digital humanitarian. He thinks he’s too little knowledgeable to decide whether to do it in the future, so it’s worth trying. For other students, he recommends at least trying to understand what this is about, seeing projects already made.

Participants of the discussion reminded that the first and second year students of VMU studying for humanities and social and exact sciences, have a good opportunity to get acquainted with SH in the VMU group A “Digital Humanities”.


Event organizers – VMU Digital Humanities Community.
Contacts (for questions and feedback): agne.kalediene@vdu.ltReview by Egidija Kiškina