Tim Sherratt (University of Canberra) has posted the text of a recent keynote presentation, “The Practice of Play.” In it, Sherratt reflects on several of his playful “hacks”—projects like Headline Roulette, Closed Access, and Historic Hansard—and situates them within the larger context of digital humanities research, both within and outside of the academy. He also discusses the limits and challenges of interfaces to digital collections, and what it means to work with them computationally:
Terms like ‘data mining’ and ‘text mining’ fly around all the time, making it seem as if the the accumulation of data is a mechanical process – as if we’re just digging it up. But the practice of screen scraping, or of liberating data from any cultural heritage source, is not simply extractive – it’s iterative and interpretative. It’s a process through which you begin to understand how the data is organised, what its limits and assumptions are, what its history is. What it means. We’re not just taking things out, we’re putting them back.
The talk was delivered at the Deakin University Faculty of Arts and Education HDR Summer School, Geelong, in February 2017.