People who like seeing mice in the subway

Since I have been fairly untrue to this blog over the past week(s), I took a quick look at the keywords that drive most readers here. The quick look turned out to be edifying. “Interesting blogs on digital edition” is the first hit (thank you!), followed by “lettres de paris dans les annees 1800” (don’t have any), “caroline von humboldt prize” (which I received 3 years ago), “facts on intellectuals 1800” (that, we have plenty of), “18th century german script” (probably the most stable hit along time), then “sophia zeil” (new on my team, more info on her here), and I give you the next one: “people who like seeing mice in the subway”.

I really do like observing mice in the subway. Yesterday, I saw one with incredibly dark hair while I was waiting for the U7 at Yorckstrasse. More importantly, I don’t deny that the blog post “N.N.(mouse over) (on the subway tracks)” was worth reading. It dealt with a question still unsolved, the short IP of my edition – should it be called just “”? “berlinerintellekuelle”, just “intellectuals”? I have postponed answering it as long as I don’t have a solution to the long time archiving /accessibility of the edition. This worry is growing bigger along time, for two reasons. First, I don’t know what my affiliation will be in 2, 4, 6 years, and I would like to find a stable hosting solution that guarantees not only that my data stay safe, but also that we will  still be able to display them in 2, 4, 6 – even 12 years. I am considering migrating to the TextGrid Repository to that end. The other reason why the topic is getting hotter is that there have now been 3, 4 persons considering more or less seriously to publish the unedited material they work on in my edition. I can to some extent risk working in a only half stable environment when it is all my responsibility and my team providing for content, but I can’t afford (at least according to my personal work ethics) leaving anything in the blur when it comes to hosting somebody else’s work.

As hot as the topic is, I have not had so much time to deal with it seriously. These have been busy, busy days. Last week, I attended a TextGrid meeting at the MPIWG and this week, I co-organized a workshop at the Centre Marc Bloch (I blogged about it in French, see post 1 and post 2, and if you really want to know what happened, check the hashtag #dhcmb on twitter – my prezi is available as well). We had Wikipedian Marcus Cyron come to the class and talk with us (I will eventually blog about it there). I have had money awarded by the Faculty to go on with the Boeckh project: we can now think about a workflow allowing us to enrich kalliope data and feed it in our platform as well as in kalliope.  We will finally get online with the new layout (hopefully at the beginning of May – the titles look fine now :-)) and Alex has already sent us the info so that we can reshape our headers according to the new architecture, which has new entries for each file  (“type of text” and “topic”) that we had not encoded before.

And the 2 DH-related workshops I am working on are beginning to look good as well. Sophia has prepared a first of the flyer for June, 28th – I will post it as soon as the whole DH-Berlin-circle has agreed on that. Technique and catering are completely organized, I still have to send some invitations for chairing, etc., but our guest speakers are in already. Soon, it will only be about the fun part – exchanging ideas, learning, putting things in perspective. In perspective and on paper, too, as we (the organizers) have planned to meet on the day after the workshop in order to write the results down.

As for the Digital Letter Edition workshop of May 2014, I have finally managed to begin re-writing the accompanying paper with the big ideas and questions., so that I hope to be able to send the last invitations soon.

No time for encoding, but there are only that many fronts I can be active on in parallel…


Anne Baillot

I studied German Studies and Philosophy in Paris where I got my PhD in 2002. I then moved to Berlin, where I have been living & doing research ever since. My areas of specialty include German literature, Digital Humanities, textual scholarship and intellectual history. I am currently working at the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin as an expert in digital technologies for the humanities.

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