Week 2 – Digital and Analogue

Lecture: Comparing analogue and digital; databases and interfaces; algorithms and analytics; differentiating between digital media studies and digital humanities. [slides]

Dewdney, Andrew. & Peter Ride. 2014. The digital media handbook. (2nd edition)  Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Chapter 16-17, pp222-240) [pdf] (Also available from library as ebook)


Before your class:
On at least one occasion in the 24 hours before the class, when you reach for a device stop and ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I trying to achieve using the device?
  • Could I achieve the same aim without using the device? If so how?
  • If there is no alternative, what do you think people did before they had such devices?

Be prepared to describe your experience in class; take notes if necessary (you could take notes on your device, but then you should stop and think about what you are doing, then  you will have to take notes about that experience…. just stop – it’s turtles all the way down!)

In class:

Divide into small groups (maximum 4 students). Each group should choose a location on campus (close to your class room please!) – campus maps are here if you need to look at them. Go to your chosen location and document some aspects of it using only analogue tools, paper, pen, pencils, but absolutely no digital aids. Some of the things you should do are:

  • draw a large-scale map showing your location in relation to the rest of the campus
  • draw a small scale map or maps showing interesting (to you) aspects of the local topography
  • make drawings of salient visual features (we don’t care about the quality of the drawings – to break the embarrassment, here is one of Simon’s efforts, with photographic comparison)
  • try to find ways to record information about what people are doing at your location.

Back in class, you will compare what the different groups have done and discuss the problems you encountered.


This week you will learn about entering text, the differences between posts and pages, and how to use tags and categories to organise online content. You will also learn about linking to other pages and other content, and as a specific example of how that works, we will show you the way we want you to handle referencing in online material.

Referencing Exercise:
These are the bibliographic details for an important recent contribution to debate about the history of the humanities:

Turner, James. 2014. Philology: the forgotten origins of the modern humanities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

And this is an important review article making a further contribution to the debate (and a reading for week 3):

Collini, Stefan. 2015. Seeing a Specialist: the Humanities as Academic Disciplines. Past & Present 229(1). 271–281. doi:10.1093/pastj/gtv029.

To carry out this exercise you have to:

  1. Find two online reviews of Turner’s book (don’t worry, there are plenty of them out there!)
  2. Create a post on your site consisting of a paragraph of connected prose which mentions Turner’s book and the three reviews of it.
  3. Include citations for all four sources with bibliography entries for the printed ones, and also with links between citations and bibliography or source pages, as shown in the notes and video.

Note: We are not interested in the content of your paragraph; you do not have to read the sources (except Collini’s article), you just have to put together a few sentences which mention all of them.

Header Image: By Hi-tech@Mail.Ru [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons