It’s a hard life amongst nerds!

da | Set 12, 2016 | Digital Humanities, Team

Hi, my name is Chiara, and I work as a developer at Net7.

My path to getting here was strange: I graduated from high school studying Latin and Greek, I studied digital humanities in Pisa, then I started working in Net7 as a real programmer.

This is probably why my “nerd” score is one of the lowest in the company! While around me couriers seem to be constantly delivering new devices to my colleagues, the best I have got is an e-book reader, now my inseparable companion.. I know that the many “But paper is so much better” fans will turn up their nose at my single electronic gadget , but I keep hard.

After almost six years, when my father asks me: “Can you explain to me what your job is?” I respond: “I develop software for the Digital Humanities, for example Digital Libraries” … but I can see the empty look in his eyes … I confess that, in the tide of definitions related to the field of Digital Humanities, many times I have felt lost myself!

So I’m going to explain what I do here at Net7, by talking about the people I’ve worked with:

I worked with a research team who toured Europe to retrieve the correspondence of an important Swiss Art Historian of the 19th Century. They needed to describe letters, to transcribe texts, and to show scanned versions of these texts.

During this project I thought: “It would be nice to see the image side by side with the text.” And at the end of this experience, by reviewing and correcting Burckhardt’s letters I was almost fluent in German!

And we achieved a great result, which you can see published on Burckhardtsource.

I also met a philosopher, an outstanding scholar of Nietzsche, with a truly ambitious project: to collect the works of Nietzsche, transcribe, photograph them and create links among all this material. And the final item on his wish list: “I would also like to create an online Journal, linked to primary works.”

And after a huge amount work we created NietzscheSource and Studia Nietzscheana.

So, what I do in Net7 along with the Muruca team is this: you talk to us and describe your project and your wishes, and we give you back a set of tools to collect, manage, search, publish and display data according to your needs, and as effectively as possible.

The thing that fascinates me most at work is when I come across, at work, a topic I am familiar with – because I studied it in the past. Then I become both the developer and the first user of the Digital Library, and I think how nice it would have been to have come across one of our platforms when I was a student.

Humanities are often seen as “old”, “static”, and tied to the past. Working at Net7 has helped me to discover that, on the contrary, ICTs applied to Humanities can be highly innovative. It works in the same way as the e-book reader for me: it seems to break the “sacredness” of the physical object, the book, and it doesn’t have the same charm as a handsome volume bound with a leather cover, but without this object I could never read the entire saga of the Games of Thrones on the plane or on the bus! It’s a different way to enjoy content that in the past would have been almost inaccessible, and with tools that can make your work easier and more effective.