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  • All the Work that Makes It Work: Digital Methods and Manual Labour

    Johan Jarlbrink

    Chapter from the book: Fridlund, M et al. 2020. Digital Histories: Emergent Approaches within the New Digital History.


    The chapter explores how digital graphs, maps and trees can reveal things never seen before, but how they may also hide all the manual work that lies behind them. The most basic rationale behind digital humanities is the idea that machines should do most of the dull tasks for us. If all the extracting, counting, matching, and plotting is left to computers, researchers can focus on the intellectual parts of the process, interpreting and presenting the results. In many cases, however, digital tools need assistance to work properly. This kind of manual or semi-automatic work may involve compiling, cleaning and filtering datasets, tagging images, transcribing texts, correcting bad matches, adjusting graphs, and so on. Yet, it is rare to see it mentioned when results are presented. The aim of this chapter is to describe and discuss the role of this invisible (semi-)manual work within digital research.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Jarlbrink, J. 2020. All the Work that Makes It Work: Digital Methods and Manual Labour. In: Fridlund, M et al (eds.), Digital Histories. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-5-7

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Additional Information

    Published on Dec. 7, 2020


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