From the Past to the Future. Some reflections after DH2016 #1

da | Lug 28, 2016 | Digital Humanities, Team

Back home from Krakow after four rich days, full of suggestions, I try to give an order to a few scattered thoughts that I took home after this beautiful experience of sharing with the global community of digital humanities, who met in Europe together this year for the DH2016 conference.

It is quite hard to give a complete picture of the many inputs received. The conference was attended by over 900 people, the tweets with the hashtag #DH2016 built a live parallel conference, and in the conference program I still can not extricate myself, despite having always carried it with me, as a Bible, on paper, and consulted here on the web while annotating it with Pundit.

I’m going to cut my reflection into three chapters. The first one follows, while the second and the third ones will be published here in the next days.

The first one comes out from this year conference title, “From the Past to the Future”, which I approach with some memories from the past. I look at the website of the first conference of the series that I attended, which was in Göteborg in 2004. At that time it was still under the hat of ALLC/ACH associations, the two acronyms respectively for the Association for Computers and the Humanities and for the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing, a sign of the original imprinting oriented in identifying the application of ICT technologies to the Humanities with Linguistic Computing and its strictly related disciplines. On the old website, which I found here on the Internet Archive, there are some photos of the cruise on the boat which conducted us to the social dinner in the dark fortress  Älvsborgs fästning, on the Göta älv mouth.


An image of the Göta älv mouth

From my memories surface the excellent swedish breakfasts, the fruitful exchanges with Elena Pierazzo, who we met there for the first time and then found again in Pisa, and the camera won by Michele Barbera, who was there with me to present the poster “The Hyper-Learning project” and was awarded with the first prize. This success was a surprise for everyone. I also remember very well the striking conference of Susan Hockey, Roberto Busa Award Lecture for 2004, and, most of all, the long discussions on the XML-TEI standards and its developments. The number and variety of participants, as reflected by Göteborg’s conference program, was very limited if compared with those of this year.

But time has not passed in vain, and it has been spent in the name of continuity, as demonstrated by the prize Antonio Zampolli attributed in Krakow to the TEI Consortium, which  proves that the accreditation of the initiative aimed at creating a common standard for the XML encoding in the community of digital humanists is now totally completed.

From the Past to the Future. Some reflections after DH2016