Sustainable (and Political?) Research Practices

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 While data management plans might seem like pro forma requirements for digital humanities grants, they also encourage scholars to chronicle the details of and the infrastructures that support their projects. For example, a grant application to digitize a mural in New Mexico mentions that “hundreds of digital images will be stitched together to create a composite panoramic image” for display on a website, which seems clear enough (HD-51506-12). Yet this same data management plan also mentions that the original images will be high-resolution Canon Raw files that the team will upload via SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) to a server at the University of New Mexico (HD-51506-12). Thinking through my own work, at this level of detail, would certainly force me to acknowledge the apparatuses—the libraries, information technology departments, and even public utilities—that support it. It would also force me to think about the sustainability of my work far in advance of its completion. How others might access my work, not only upon its completion but years in the future, would no longer be an afterthought. Instead, it would become central to the production of scholarship itself.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 An increased attention to the details, infrastructures, and sustainability of research, in turn, has contemporary political import. For example, a recent New York Times article describes a growing sense of unease, among scientists and academics, about access to and preservation of important government databases: “‘At the moment, more people than ever are aware of the risk of relying solely on the government to preserve its own information,’ two government document librarians … wrote” (Harmon). Given the current administration’s indifference to scientific data, and given the fragmented access and preservation practices of government agencies, data management plans make sense. They provide scholars with a framework to log the technical details of their projects, understand how a host of institutions can support them, and consider how to sustain them after their initial releases.

Works Cited

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Harmon, Amy. “Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data — If They Can Find It.” New York Times, 6 March 2017,

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 HD-51506-12. “Digital Dialectic: Forging New Paths of Inquiry in the Humanities,”

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  • Welcome to Digital Praxis 2016-2017

    Encouraging students think about the impact advancements in digital technology have on the future of scholarship from the moment they enter the Graduate Center, the Digital Praxis Seminar is a year-long sequence of two three-credit courses that familiarize students with a variety of digital tools and methods through lectures offered by high-profile scholars and technologists, hands-on workshops, and collaborative projects. Students enrolled in the two-course sequence will complete their first year at the GC having been introduced to a broad range of ways to critically evaluate and incorporate digital technologies in their academic research and teaching. In addition, they will have explored a particular area of digital scholarship and/or pedagogy of interest to them, produced a digital project in collaboration with fellow students, and established a digital portfolio that can be used to display their work. The two connected three-credit courses will be offered during the Fall and Spring semesters as MALS classes for master’s students and Interdisciplinary Studies courses for doctoral students.

    The syllabus for the course can be found at

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