Stanford Literary Lab Announces New Blog: Techne

The Stanford Literary Lab is pleased to announce the launch of our new blog, Techne (https://litlab.stanford.edu/techne).

Considering the form of the technical blog as expansively as possible, Techne will give our members and collaborators a forum to present the internal work of the Lab to a broader audience, and to share our methods and research processes with the wider community. Our posts, although wide-ranging according to the interests and specialties of our members, will fall into five broad categories of technical work:

1. Supplements to the pamphlets. As our emphasis in the pamphlets is on the literary aspects of the argument (a primary goal of the Lab), details on our methods and technical processes are, by necessity, subordinated in our publications. As we craft methods to fit the needs of each project, Techne will allow us the opportunity to focus on this aspect of the Lab’s work. Not every pamphlet will have an accompanying post here, but where the methods warrant it, this will give us the opportunity to share the technical side of our primary work.

2. Technical infrastructure. In the last few years, our corpus has grown exponentially and our methods have, in turn, become more complex. There is much background work, therefore, that has to happen in order to make the projects that we do possible. From collecting and managing our corpus, to computing on a High Performance Cluster, these aspects of the lab underlie every project, yet are not, on the surface, a part of any. In this forum we will have the opportunity to share our code and discuss the choices that we have made.

3. Dead ends, untaken roads and failed experiments. Every project takes unanticipated turns that render early results, even successful results, obsolete. Some of these, however, while superfluous to the projects that birthed them and unable to stand on their own, remain interesting in and of themselves. Techne will offer a place to present and discuss these.

4. Pedagogy. Often overlooked in favor of the excitement of discovery, teaching quantitative textual analysis within the humanities comes with a host of unique challenges. Here, those lab members and collaborators who have taught classes within and adjacent to the Lab can discuss their classroom strategies, sample experiments, and the remainder of the work that goes into the instructional process.

5. Critical Discussion. Perhaps the least technical aspect of our technical blog, but by no means the least important, the critical milieu of the lab is the locus of the inspiration for our projects. Whether in discussion of critical or digital work inside or outside of the lab, Techne will offer us the space to reflect on the critical processes of the Digital Humanities.

Through all of these areas, our goal is for Techne to make visible the invisible work of the Literary Lab; to present different stages of investigation and alternate modes of research and to give a voice to the individual members and collaborators that, together, make the Lab possible. The pamphlet series will remain our primary research output, and, in many ways, our posts here will be a supplement to them. But, in our updates, which we will announce on our Twitter account and our RSS feed, we hope that Techne will offer an alternative and equally rich insight into our work.