Editors' note on the August 2022 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities
Roopika Risam and Jennifer Guiliano
Welcome to the August 2022 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities! The last month has been a busy one for the journal. We’ve been wrapping up the work on our grant from the Mellon Foundation, which has included focus groups with a range of colleagues. Thank you to Catherine Ahearn, Brett Bobley, Michelle Chesner, Sylvia Fernández, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Julia Flanders, Jeffrey McClurken, Geoffrey Rockwell, Roxanne Shirazi, Dhanashree Thorat, and Laura Wexler for offering critical feedback that we’re using to shape the future of the journal. We’re also grateful to Brandon Locke and Katherine Skinner of the Educopia Institute whose knowledge and expertise supported our work during the Mellon grant period.
We’re also grateful to readers who’ve taken the time to participate in our annual survey. It’s not too late to share your thoughts on the journal with our three-question survey!
We have also been working on a proposal for another round of funding, with the goal of expanding our capacity to offer peer review in key areas of demand and planning for the financial future of the journal. We look forward to sharing more about our plans in due course.
This month, we’re pleased to bring you four projects drawn from our open submission process. These projects all share a quality we highly value at Reviews: they are proverbial gifts that keep on giving. Each project is valuable in form and content — and paves the way for future scholarship. This issue includes:
jsLDA, a browser-based tool for topic modeling, developed by David Mimno and reviewed by Quinn Dombrowski;
A People’s Atlas of Nuclear Colorado, a project on the Cold War's nuclear legacies, directed by Shiloh Krupar and Sarah Kanouse and reviewed by Elli Mylonas;
Pelagios, a network promoting semantic geo-annotation, directed by Elton Barker and reviewed by Ivo Zandhuis; and
Mina Loy: Navigating the Avant-Garde, a multimedia digital project on the avant-garde works of modernist writer and artist Mina Loy, directed by Suzanne W. Churchill, Linda Kinnahan, and Susan Rosenbaum and reviewed by Kathryn Holland.
jsLDA provides a solution to a perennial barrier to topic modeling: the challenge of using tools like MALLET for users unfamiliar with command line environments. Offering a graphical user interface, jsLDA puts the power of topic modeling in the hands of users while its built-in test case demonstrates the utility of the method.
Through its innovative use of Scalar, A People’s Atlas of Nuclear Colorado offers an important example of how to use digital humanities to challenge established histories, confronting technocratic narratives of nuclear development with a shadow history that speaks to its impacts on communities. The project’s method has value for both expanding studies of the nuclear complex beyond Colorado and for using Scalar’s path features to provide counter-narratives to dominant ones.
Following on a review of the semantic annotation platform Recogito that was published in the second issue of Reviews, we offer a review of Pelagios, the scholarly network that made Recogito possible. Peer reviewing a network is no easy task but points towards the important model that Pelagios offers for leveraging decentralized scholarly practices to build a thriving community of practice.
Finally, Mina Loy: Navigating the Avant-Garde is innovative in its multimodal approach to studying Loy’s work and, equally as important, in the ways it points users towards the possibilities of replicating the project’s methods. This is particularly notable in the project directors’ release of their custom WordPress theme (“DH Scholarship Theme”) and toolbox intended to provide guidance on how users might iterate on the important work of the project — for further study of Loy, modernism, and beyond.
We’re grateful to this month’s project directors and reviewers for allowing us to share these important projects!
If you are interested in editing a special issue of Reviews, drop us a note! You can also submit a project for review, nominate a project you admire, volunteer for our reviewer pool, and tell your colleagues and students about the journal.
Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Contact the editors, Jennifer Guiliano and Roopika Risam, by email or through the Twitter hashtag #ReviewsInDH.