Organized Panel Session
This panel will focus on specific challenges of employing digital humanities methods to South Asian-language materials and on practical ways forward for the field. Among the challenges addressed in the panel are roadblocks to the preservation and digitization of fragile and rare materials, the reception of open-access materials in South Asia and abroad, pedagogical training in computational methods for analysis of South Asian texts, and the creation of multi-language tools to expedite scholarly work.
Ellen Ambrosone and Anandi Silva Knuppel will discuss the challenges of preserving and digitizing an eighteenth-century palm-leaf manuscript of part of a Telugu Mahabharata and how using digital annotation tools can highlight the material object while also preparing its content for analysis. Showcasing the Rapid Online Search Engine for Scanned Materials (ROSES) for the first time, Gil Ben-Herut will discuss the obstacles in digitizing and using digitized texts across South Asian languages and show how the ROSES tool helps scholars bypass some of these difficulties for alphabetized lexicons and indexed books. Building from the challenges of digitization already mentioned, Christopher Handy shows how his course in the digital humanities teaches students the fundamentals of coding to help them create language toolkits that take into account issues specific to South Asian languages. Finally, Benjamin Fleming will present on greater questions of the reception of digitized texts in South Asia with particular reference to the British Library-sponsored Rāmamālā Library manuscript project in Bangladesh and will illustrate the complexities of open access in a global digital humanities community.