Open Sesame: Interoperability in Digital Literary Studies

MLA 2013 Association for Computers in the Humanities Panel

Friday, 4 January, 12:00 noon-1:15 p.m., Berkeley, Sheraton
Presiding: Susan Brown, Univ. of Guelph
Speakers: Travis Brown, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Johanna Drucker, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Eric Rochester, Univ. of Virginia; Geoffrey Rockwell, Univ. of Alberta; Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Victoria; Susan Schreibman, Trinity Coll. Dublin
Working only with set texts limits the use of many digital tools. What most advances literary research: aiming applications at scholarly primitives or at more culturally embedded activities that may resist generalization? Panelists’s reflections on the challenges of interoperability in a methodologically diverse field will include project snapshots evaluating the potential or perils of such aims.

Links (in order of presentation)

Association for Computers and the Humanities

Travis Brown

Susan Schreibman

Eric Rochester
ArcGIS (
Google Earth (
Neatline (
Pleiades Project (

Jentery Sayers,

Geoffrey Rockwell
Monk Project:

Bios (in the order of presentation):

Johanna Drucker is the inaugural Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in UCLA’s Department of Information Studies. Her titles include SpecLab, Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide (with Emily McVarish), and the newly released Digital_Humanities (MIT Press), co-authored with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp. Her book, Graphesis: Visual Knowledge Production in a Digital Era is in process.

Travis Brown is the Assistant Director of Research and Development at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, where he has worked as a research programmer for Project Bamboo, principal investigator of the Active OCR project, and director or lead developer of a number of other projects. His research interests center on the application of techniques from computational linguistics and natural language processing to the study of large collections of literary and historical texts.

Susan Schreibman is the Long Room Hub Associate Professor in Digital Humanities at Trinity College Dublin. She is the co-editor of The Blackwell Companion to Digital Humanities and the book series Topics in the Digital Humanities.

Eric Rochester has a PhD in medieval literature and linguistics from The University of Georgia. Currently, he’s senior R&D developer in the Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia. Lately, that’s involved contributing to the Neatline project and mentoring in the Praxis Program.

Jentery Sayers is an Assistant Professor of English and the Director of the Maker Lab in the Humanities at the University of Victoria. He is a researcher and board member for the Modernist Versions Project, which advances comparative interpretations of modernist texts that exist in multiple forms and witnesses.

Geoffrey Rockwell is a Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Computing at the University of Alberta. He is also Interim Director of the Kule Istitute for Advanced Studies.