Posts Tagged ‘archives’

Geolocation, Archives, and Emulators (not all at once)

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

My involvement in the digital humanities is wide-ranging, but there are three areas that I would particularly want to focus on at THATCamp.

First, I have a pedagogical interest in geolocation and mobile computing. While some of the benefits of geolocation are immediately apparent to historians and teachers of history, very few people have thought about using geolocation in a literary context. Even less attention has been paid to the ways geolocation can foster critical thinking in students. I am currently thinking of ways to “re-purpose” Foursquare in ways unintended and unforeseen by its creators, for use in a new media studies class in Spring 2011.

My second area of interest concerns digital preservation, social networking, ephemerality, and creativity. That sounds like a muddle, and it is. What I’m fascinated by is the tension between (1) digital preservation as a social act and (2) erasure, fallibility, and unreliability as a creative or political act. I see pedagogical, scholarly, and artistic implications in this tension that are worth exploring among other like-minded (and differently-minded) digital humanists.

And finally, I’ve recently realized we need to think more critically about the use of software emulators (those programs that mimic other platforms, allowing you to run otherwise inaccessible programs and games using the original ROMs). As I wrote in a comment to John’s post on Hacking Ethics for Edupunks, these emulators are crucial for our scholarship, but they often rely on copyrighted BIOSes and ROMs that are, strictly speaking, illegal to possess (unless you happen to have gotten the ROM from a legal copy of the original software that you already own). So, there are ethical concerns to consider. But there are also important process-oriented questions we should be asking. How does an emulator change our experience of a program? What does an emulator add or take away from the original program? What about the emulation gap—the technological, methodological, and epistemological gap between studying software on its original platform and on an emulator?


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