The Digital Dissertator: Introduction


“Digital humanities” is perhaps the biggest buzzphrase in academia right now, already (and inevitably) the subject of anthologies, conferences, Twitter hashtags, websites, symposia, etc. I still have barely dipped my toe into the literature, though I’ve always been interested in digital formats specifically as they relate to the publication and presentation of academic work: ways that we can get ideas “out there” besides print journals (and their online PDFs). This is one of the reasons for this Tumblr, and also why I’ve been closely following the development of the Scalar project and other academic digital platforms.

If you click through to the Scalar link, you’ll notice another buzzphrase front and center: “born digital.” This usually means projects that were conceived with digital presentation or distribution in mind, as articulated in this “born digital” dissertation archive concept. As obvious as it may seem, though, today every academic project is “born digital” at the level of writing—unless you’re still writing with a typewriter, or pen and paper, in which case more power to you. So when I officially started my dissertation in the fall, I wanted to write in a way that would be accessible from a variety of platforms (laptop, iDevice, other computers and operating systems), easily translatable into a variety of formats, and generally “ready” for digital publication, distribution, and/or annotation.

I’ve finally gotten around to sharing some of the tips and tricks I’ve been using to these ends in my dissertation over the last year or so. These will generally be in the style of “profhacking” posts—quick tips on digital writing, research, or presentation. I’m going to call this series “the digital dissertator”—use the tag link to find more posts like this one.

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