Modelling between digital and humanities: thinking in practice

Øyvind Eide, Arianna Ciula, Cristina Marras, Patrick Sahle


The proposed poster will present “Modelling between digital and humanities: thinking in practice,” a newly started 18 month project with the aim of bringing together scientific and scholarly modelling with creative cognitive practices of coming to know. Modelling is a creative process of reasoning in which meaning is made and negotiated through the creation and manipulation of external representations. Making external representations to reason with has been part of the scholarly Western tradition at least since the Enlightenment; digital humanities extends this practice by actively creating digital artefacts in different media.

To integrate these theories of how humans think through things with a practical dimension, the project will make use of digital humanities as an interdisciplinary departure to study modelling as anchored both to computer science and to the humanities. The project aims to link scholarly modelling as a formal and informal reasoning strategy across disciplinary boundaries, spanning also social, life and techno-sciences and culture heritage modelling, and bridging across modelling in research and in teaching.

Our working hypothesis is that in digital humanities research, implicit and explicit models of cultural phenomena are integrated into external metamodels, e.g. graphical representations, which often embed natural language and are informal. These metamodels can be iteratively translated towards computable implementations via a variety of more or less formal models: models for. The analysis of modelling practices in the areas outlined above will hence aim at gaining new insights in the epistemology of modelling.

While textuality mediates the world we live in, events are central to an epistemological perception and description of the processes shaping this world. In the proposed poster the links between the project and modelling in cultural heritage will be highlighted, with a focus on archaeology and with event modelling as the central case study.