Do humanists need BERT?

Do humanists need BERT?

Introduction: Ted Underwood tests a new language representation model called “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers” (BERT) and asks if humanists should use it. Due to its high degree of difficulty and its limited success (e.g. in questions of genre detection) he concludes, that this approach will be important in the future but it’s nothing to deal with for humanists at the moment. An important caveat worth reading.

The Uncanny Valley and the Ghost in the Machine

The Uncanny Valley and the Ghost in the Machine

Introduction: There is a postulated level of anthropomorphism where people feel uncanny about the appearance of a robot. But what happens if digital facsimiles and online editions become nigh indistinguishable from the real, yet materially remaining so vastly different? How do we ethically provide access to the digital object without creating a blindspot and neglect for the real thing. A question that keeps digital librarian Dot Porter awake and which she ponders in this thoughtful contribution.

Towards Semantic Enrichment of Newspapers: A Historical Ecology Use Case

Introduction: Ecologists are much aided by historical sources of information on human-animal interaction. But how does one cope with the plethora of different descriptions for the same animal in the historic record? A Dutch research group reports on how to aggregate ‘Bunzings’, ‘Ullingen’, and ‘Eierdieven’ (‘Egg-thieves’) into a useful historical ecology knowledge base.

Zur Epistemologie digitaler Methoden in den Geisteswissenschaften

Introduction: What is the precise impact of digital humanities on the humanities in general? That this influence exists seems a given, but how the digital humanities impact humanities methodology en epistemology is still an open question. This article delves deeper into this problem of epistemology and presents a model of five ‘polarities’ along which these influences can be positioned.