"The .txtual Condition: Digital Humanities, Born-Digital Archives, and the Future Literary"

Matthew Kirschenbaum has published "The .txtual Condition: Digital Humanities, Born-Digital Archives, and the Future Literary" in a preview issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly.

Here's an excerpt:

Here then are some specifics I have considered as to how digital humanities might usefully collaborate with those archivists even now working on born-digital collections:

  • Digital archivists need digital humanities researchers and subject experts to use born-digital collections. Nothing is more important. If humanities researchers don't demand access to born-digital materials then it will be harder to get those materials processed in a timely fashion, and we know that with the born-digital every day counts.
  • Digital humanists need the long-term perspective on data that archivists have. Today's digital humanities projects are, after all, the repository objects of tomorrow's born-digital archives. Funders are increasingly (and rightfully) insistent about the need to have a robust data management and sustainability plan built into project proposals from the outset. Therefore, there is much opportunity for collaboration and team-building around not only archiving and preservation, but the complete data curation cycle. This extends to the need to jointly plan around storage and institutional infrastructure.
  • Digital archivists and digital humanists need common and interoperable digital tools. Open source community-driven development at the intersection of the needs of digital archivists, humanities scholars, and even collections' donors should become an urgent priority.

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