[globaloutlookDH-l] DH Awards

James Cummings James.Cummings at it.ox.ac.uk
Tue Feb 4 03:47:25 MST 2014

On 04/02/14 02:47, igalina wrote:
> Dear All, This email goes out as a result of reading
> Domenico's remarks about the writing of DH history but I
> thought it would be best to start a new thread as I would like
> to hear other people's opinion about something specific
> regarding the DH Awards. I would like to say first that I
> really like the DH Awards and I think it is a great idea.

Hi Isabela,

I think I can answer some of your queries.

> I
> promoted the nominations through the RedHD. I was very
> surprised however to find when the nominations came out that
> all DH projects that are not in English are grouped under one
> category (Best DH contribution not in the English language)
> whilst English DH projects are divided under five different,
> separate categories.

The implication here isn't actually true. We only moved DH 
resources from the categories they were nominated for if they 
were really in the wrong category. For example, there is a German 
and Japanese entry in the Visualization category.  We are more 
than happy for any nominations in any category in any language. 
There were nominations of non-English materials in some of the 
other categories however these all sadly fell at the main 
criterion of 'Major update/launch in 2013'. By and large the 
people nominating resources in foreign languages nominated them 
in that 'resource in a non-English language' category. This is 
possibly regrettable, but last year we got so *few* non-English 
resources nominated that we wanted to encourage them to do so. 
Hence the argument for this category this year. We decided on 
balance it was better to have a category to encourage non-English 
submissions even if that meant non-English nominations were made 
in that category rather than the others.  (i.e. better to have 
them at all than not have them.)

> Reading the About section of the DH
> awards I see absolutely no practical or specific reason why
> this is done.

Again, we didn't *do* this, the people nominating them did so. 
They were free to nominate them in any category and asit says on 
the site "Awards are not specific to geography, language, 
conference, organization or field of humanities that they 
benefit." As far as I can recall, we did not move *any* 
nominations to the non-English category. If we do the awards 
again next year I'll certainly remember to explicitly remind 
people that any language is allowed in any category.

>The section reads: "Digital Humanities Awards
> are a new set of annual awards given in recognition of talent
> and expertise in the digital humanities community and are
> nominated and voted for entirely by the public. These awards
> are intended to help put interesting DH resources in the
> spotlight and engage DH users (and general public) in the work
> of the community. Awards are not specific to geography,
> language, conference, organization or field of humanities that
> they benefit." So why then this distinction?

To encourage nominations from other languages since the feedback 
last year was that people felt it was just for anglo resources. 
The awards were always designed and intended to help raise 
awareness of DH worldwide and specifically to break away from 
anglo-centric notions of DH.

> A "Best DH
> visualization or infographic" or "Best DH project for public
> audiences" should be the best one regardless of what language
> is it.

I agree. Next year, plaase nominate more resources for those 

> Especially if the voting is done by us. I might
> understand if there was a committee in charge of making the
> selection and they could argue that they need to understand
> the resource in order to vote but this is not the case.

I agree. One of the reasons I've tried to get an international 
nominations committee was specifically to make the assessment of 
sites more easily. However, if a site was nominated in Swahili 
then the committee would seek out a Swahili speaker to reassure 
us that it made the very minimal criteria. Which, as a reminder, are:
1) It is Digital Humanities in some loosely-defined way
2) It is suitable for the category it is nominated in (or can be 
moved to another category)
3) It has a major update / launch in 2013.

It is mainly the last category where nominations fumble (and 
there are some debatable ones which got through). We've always 
tried to err on the side of inclusiveness.

> And
> if it were, then should it not read "DH Awards in the English
> language". However, the voting is done by the "community" and
> I feel that the Spanish speaking DH community, or the Russian
> or the Italian should be able to vote for the projects that
> they feel are interesting within the main categories and not
> in a separate, different one. What do other people think?

They are free to vote for resources in all categories! I 
understand your point and agree with it, that resources in 
non-English languages should be available in all categories. In 
2012 we got some non-English (though mostly European) resources 
being nominated in some categories, and the inclusion of this 
category was entirely designed to encourage more.  It is sad that 
you feel that having this category is further ghettoising 
non-English resources -- its intent was to encourage more 
nominations overall of non-English resources which did not fit 
into any of the other categories.  There is always the problem of 
the public at large assessing the resources they are voting for 
in languages they do not speak (but that is true of all 
languages).  Perhaps next year we shouldn't have the non-English 
category at all? Its intention, believe it or not, is good.

Best wishes,
(Founder of DH Awards)

Dr James Cummings, James.Cummings at it.ox.ac.uk
Academic IT Services, University of Oxford

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