Journal Article

As It Almost Was: Historiography of Recent Things

Willard McCarty

in Literary and Linguistic Computing

Published on behalf of ALLC: The European Association for Digital Humanities

Volume 19, issue 2, pages 161-180
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0268-1145
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-4615 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/llc/19.2.161
As It Almost Was: Historiography of Recent Things

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Within the last twenty years historians of science and technology have asked how a recent history might be written, and within the last ten interest has significantly increased, culminating in an online project at MIT. Since humanities computing owes its existence to developments in recent technology, and needs to become historically self‐aware to be fully <it>of</it> the humanities, work toward an historiography of recent things is deeply relevant. In this essay I draw on this work to highlight the difficulties and opportunities of such an historiography, in particular its ethnographic character and the tempting lure of prediction. I focus on the crucial question of tacit object‐knowledge, concluding that it is gained by concernful action. I recommend that we awaken from a progress‐and‐democratization chronicle to a genuine history of scholarly technology.

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Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning ; Computational Linguistics ; Bibliography ; Digital Lifestyle ; Information and Communication Technologies

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