This manuscript (reviewed and accepted for publication at Routledge; currently in editorial production) explores late medieval and early modern medical debates about the nature of poison (venenum). Drawing from an unusually wide range of medical and natural philosophical texts–especially treatises on poison, pharmacy, pharmacology, plague, and the nature of disease–this book explores a neglected but enlightening ontological debate about the existence of a category of substance fundamentally harmful to the human body (that is, poison) and the corresponding implications for medical theory and practice.
This manuscript-in-progress formulates a basis for how to evaluate new processes and forms of humanities scholarship. In considering the changing forms and goals of scholarship and scholarly service, it takes the much-needed step of outlining rigorous definitions, fundamental values, and evaluative criteria of humanities scholarship in the digital age, and how they might best fulfill the goals of the humanities in the twenty-first century.
The Spatial Humanities Working Group aims to build connections across disciplinary boundaries by providing an informal setting in which students and faculty across the university can meet to discuss theoretical, conceptual, and methodological questions regarding space and human societies.
Programming Historian offers novice-friendly, peer-reviewed tutorials that help humanists learn a wide range of digital tools, techniques, and workflows to facilitate their research. As a general editor since 2012, I have carefully edited and sheparded over a half-dozen lessons through the publication process. More importantly, I have focused my efforts on developing and documenting a transparent and sustainable editorial process anchored with free, open source tools and a committment to open access.
This project was an experiment to see if a small academic workshop (on speculative futures in the history of science) could produce and make available a collection of scholarly work in an open access web format that would remain more visible an active than the results (and papers) from a typical academic workshop. Our work lives on at histscifi.com.
This project developed a prototype (initially funded by the Mellon Foundation) to ease the process of mapping historical data and clean up (inevitably) messy data in the process. MIVIAM’s rich user interface allows users to map specific sets of data—about which they have expertise—and thus can easily recognize and correct problems with metadata, thus improving their own maps and making the data more useful for everyone else at the same time.
With funding from one of the twelve Google Digital Humanities Grants, Dan Cohen and I explored the massive corpus of Victorian literature held at Google Books in order to reevaluate and complicate the stereotypical characterizations of the Victorians based on anecdotal sampling of the traditional literary canon.
The Criminal Intent project demonstrates the potential roles for text mining in historical practice, showing that greater historical rigor can be achieved, and new insights gained, by moving from a single trial or narrow run of relevant examples to an analysis of statistically significant textual patterns found in Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London’s central criminal court over a period of 240 years, as a single, massive whole. In addition to the Old Bailey Proceedings, our work builds on the successes of Zotero virtual collections, TAPoR and Voyeur analytics.
Most online education tools remain far too closed, proprietary, and complex for most of the essential tasks that scholars need to do on a daily basis. Scholarpress created a suite of focused plug-ins for the ubiquitous blogging platform WordPress to help humanities teachers and researchers create syllabi, course websites, and display bibliographies.
My work centered on citation formatting, an effort fundamentally about abstracting and standardizing non-standardized data and theories about data, both of which greatly enhanced my knowledge of bibliographic metadata and standards and reflection on what I call the metaphysics of metadata–how our taxonomies and categories have important implications for access to information and research questions.
As the web developer and designer for the UW Center for the Humanities, I worked closely with the directors and staff to help redefine and modernize their web presence, as well as to identify ways of using the website to carry out the Center’s core mission. This has entailed establishing and documenting best practices for how to better integrate content creation and deployment with the Center’s workflow.
I architected, designed, coded, and implemented a robust content management system for a conglomeration of about twenty separate programs under the SAA administrative umbrella. I embarked on a three-year plan to gradu- ally implement new features while managing productive relationships with each of the constituents.
As the lead designer and programmer, I focused on designing the clearest possible user interfaces to help farmers reduce energy costs. On a larger scale, I also served as a project manager, developing milestone driven timelines, as well as to establish more efficient processes for content review and testing efforts among the core team.
I’ve been fortunate to work with over a dozen different organizations and research scholars to create websites that best reflect their individual personalities and goals. The cumulative experience remains highly influential on my sense of design, interaction, usability, and how scholars most comfortable with text tend to think in terms technological familiarity rather than innovative possibilities.