Category: Non classé

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The energy of despair, the energy of passion

Two weeks to the first time a PhD candidate I tutored defends her PhD. Four days until summer term starts. One week to the March for Science. Is it a beginning or an end? It is, in any case, a moment of some quiet before a surge of energy. Preparing, hoping, wondering. Will any of it change anything? Will it make a difference? Does it even matter if it does – or doesn’t? Why do we choose to do one thing rather than the other – like, say, preparing the March for Science instead of writing a grant application? We make choices in...

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What are we marching for? (#MarchforScience, in Berlin and Paris)

The Marches for Science are gaining momentum all over Europe now. While it is still not easy to predict what the 22nd of April will actually look like, it is interesting to see how each country or city gives their interpretation of the meaning of the March for Science. For me as a researcher moving between Germany and France, the differences between what comes from France and what I experience in Berlin are palpable, but the initiatives all have a common ground behind their national or local specificities.

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Families, I do not hate you

For the third time since I started the project “Berlin intellectuals 1800-1830”, great luck has come to me from descendants’ families. Unexpectedly, material turns out to be recoverable. Letters – answers to other letters we have edited in Letters and Texts – happen not to be lost after all. They are in a box, the box in a cabinet, the cabinet in the home of an elderly lady. And they have been there at least since the first edition (a censored edition, of course) was realised in the 1930s. The moment when you get a phone call at your office with someone...

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Peer review says “bof”

There are some words that are hard to translate in every language. Giving a sense of the French “bof” is one of these tricky cases. Basically, it means something close to “so-so”, but it is better impersonated by the Comics figure of Achille Talon (there is a section of the English wikipedia article on Achille Talon dealing with his favourite quotes that tries to grasp the essence of “bof” as well). “Bof” is an attitude of indifference, disdain, not wanting to acknowledge reality. And “bof” has to do with the data journals session at the Prague DARIAH HaS Winter School I taught yesterday....

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The de facto standard

There is this hate/love affaire between DH and the TEI, which seems to me to be best expressed in the way DH scholars call the TEI the “de facto standard”. It’s not the standard you’d wish, but it is recommended, especially by the funding agencies who give money to DH projects. Also, it works, you can actually do things with the TEI that won’t disappear tomorrow. Of course, it is sooo heavy machinery compared to the time and funding you actually get from the funding agencies. But bummer. De facto, it is the standard.