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Posts by Michael Winter
“Games Without Frontiers” is a multi-faceted initiative sponsored by the Program Committee of the Librarians Association of UC Davis. It includes a comprehensive Library Exhibit, curated by Roberto Delgadillo, and other supporting materials, including Roberto’s comprehensive bibliography of the growing and increasingly significant “military-entertainment complex,” where gaming technology meets increasingly digitized means of waging war. On Thursday April 16th the Program Committee also hosted a symposium of invited speakers addressing various aspects of this topic. (For a response to and review reporting on and assessing the events of the symposium, see the recent review by Stephanie Maroney of the Davis Humanities Institute.) Interested parties should be sure to read the excellent and provocative introductory essay written especially for the occasion by Chris Hables Gray, one of the Symposium’s speakers.
Organized by UCD Davis professor emeritus of Political Science Alexander Groth, and University of Santa Clara Law School professor Tony Tanke, this four-day conference , which will run from March 16 to March 19, 2015, at the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem, features presentations by a number of the best-known holocaust scholars.
H-Net, a humanities research information network, carried recently an announcement of great interest to scholars working on occupied France and the French during World War II: EGO 39-45 – War and occupation writings (1939-1945). Sponsored by the French government’s national research agency, the first phase of the project is a catalog of first person accounts, memoirs, autobiographical narratives, notebooks, and private journals kept by a wide variety of persons during the occupation. Database records include standard bibliographic descriptions along with fields identifying the libraries where items are held, and where available call numbers or indications of shelf-location. Future plans include links to the fulltext versions of the documents, as they are digitized and added to the online collection.
If you’ve every wondered how it could be that “being” and “nothingness” are actually two different words for the same thing–however opposite they may seem–you can shed light on this and many other puzzles by watching a You Tube clip about the work behind the Oxford English Dictionary. (Hint: it’s clearly illustrated by the concept of a doughnut hole). And for links to a number of additional clips offering behind-the-scenes looks at how the OED is produced, click here.
In a recent blog entry I called attention to UC President Janet Napolitano’s insightful take on the role of online services in research university education today. A recent addition to the library’s collections, currently on the new book shelf on the first floor of Shields near the picture window overlooking the Main Quad, both confirms and extends her analysis, by focussing on the question, what are major factors in a successful higher education experience? (This new item is also available in digital format). Turns out, it isn’t the technology you choose to deliver the services, it’s whether or not you can create and sustain the kinds of conditions that favor the achievement motive and the desire to learn. These conditions aren’t necessarily unrelated to available technologies, but they have mainly to do with bringing people together in the kinds of environments that stimulate them to learn. Too often, one-sided discussions about the alleged panaceas of online learning ignore this question entirely, and focus on the fact digital platforms can offer increasingly wide ranges of content.
For some thoughtful and very incisive observations on onine education in the research university, read about or watch UC President Janet Napolitano’s recent policy address on this issue.
As the fashionable cant of the day has it, who needs foreign languages?–the kind of sentiments by which we know and love such towering intellects as Lawrence Summers and too many others to mention. All the essentially insightful counterarguments to the contrary–national security, globalization, improving diplomatic relations, working with crucial trading partners, etc–a recent article on the subject kind of hit the nail on the head by observing that “Maybe it’s less about knowing how to conjugate verbs, and more about just not being an asshole.”
For an excellent–and remarkably clear–discussion of how formal hierarchical semantic modelling can be applied to the subject domain of philosophy, interested readers should take a look at a recent paper by Colin Allen and the InPho group at Indiana University: “Cross-Cutting Categorization Schemes in the Digital Humanities,” ISIS 104, 3 (September 2013): 573-583; DOI: 10.1086/673276. For a sense of what a sample end-product model might look like, see especially Fig. 1 on p. 582, which presents a representational map that depicts the similarities and differences in how the German philosopher Immanuel Kant is treated in two different domain-specific encyclopedias.
From a recent article: “Say goodbye to the go-go years of fast-paced ebook growth — at least for now. Ebook growth, once in the triple and double digits, with no signs of abating, has slowed to a crawl in 2013,” writes Jeremy Greenfield in the trade publication dbw/Digital Book World. Nonetheless, Greenfield added, ebooks, while not currently hot commodities, are still warm; and according to the same article–based on numbers from the Association of American Publishers–“now account for a larger percentage of overall publisher revenues than they ever have.” Ebooks now account for about 27% of adult trade sales. The same phenomenon has also recently been noted by industry standard, PW/Publishers Weekly.