Notes for Stephen Ramsay Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism

Key concepts: algorithm, algorithmic criticism, deformance, declarative, digital humanities, imperative, Mathews algorithm, overpotentialized text, 'pataphysics, tamperings, textual intervention.

Related theorists: Harold Abelson, Walter Abish, Busa, Vannevar Bush, Derrida, Estelle Irizarry, Alfred Jarry, Kemeny, Willard McCarty, McGann, Franco Moretti, Oulipo, Rob Pope, Lisa Samuels, Saussure, Stefan Sinclair, Gerald Sussman.


Promise to highlight programming that is really only advertised as a potential; will subjectivity itself be questioned?

Primacy of pattern hailed as basic hermeneutic function yet Hayles is not in the TOC.

(x) The “algorithmic criticismproposed here seeks, in the narrowing forces of constraint embodied and instantiated in the strictures of programming, an analogue to the liberating potentialities of art. It proposes that we create tools—practical, instrumental, verifiable mechanisms—that enable critical engagement, interpretation, conversation, and contemplation. It proposes that we channel the heightened objectivity made possible by the machine into the cultivation of those heightened subjectivities necessary for critical work.
(x-xi) Envisioning an alternative to the strictures of the scientific metaphor entails reaching for other, more obviously humanistic models. . . . I argue, moreover, that this important modernist genealogy points to the primacy of pattern as the basic hermeneutical function that unites art, science, and criticism.
(xi) Close analysis of several apparently diverse critical works—from readings of the
I Ching and Saussure's anagrams to medieval poetry and Shakespearean sonnets—reveals the essential deformative nature of critical reading.

Programming redefined in service of critical reading strategy away from generic control.

(xi) Programming, which algorithmic criticism reframes as the enactment of a critical reading strategy, undergirds all of these meditations.


Nod to Busa as founder of digital humanities with project begun in late 1940s to automatically generate Aquinas concordance using a computer, yet not algorithmic criticism.

(1) The founder [of digital humanities] is Roberto Busa, an Italian Jesuit priest who in the late 1940s undertook the production of an automatically generated concordance to the works of Thomas Aquinas using a computer.
(2) But “algorithmic criticism”--
criticism derived from algorithmic manipulation of text—either does not exist or exists only in nascent form. The digital revolution, for all its wonders, has not penetrated the core activity of literary studies, which, despite numerous revolutions of a more epistemological nature, remains mostly concerned with the interpretative analysis of written cultural artifacts.

Busa admits his motivation was to reconstruct verbal system of Aquinas, a rather conservative hermeneutic approach.

Criticism evolving from reflecting about evolution of XML schema for creating an electronic archive or electronic scholarly edition not in scope of algorithmic criticism, although estrangement, defamiliarization, and deformations produced by software are.

(3) Even Busa would have had to concede that the effect is not the immediate apprehension of knowledge, but instead what the Russian Formalists called ostranenie—the estrangement and defamiliarization of textuality.
(3) But text analysis would take a much more conservative path. Again and again in the literature of text analysis, we see a movement back toward the hermeneutics of Busa, with the analogy of science being put forth as the highest aspiration of digital literary study.
(5) The data is presented to us—in all of these cases—not as something that is also in need of interpretation, but as Dr. Johnson's stone hurtling through the space of our limited vision.
(6) Hermeneutically, such investigations rely upon a variety of philosophical positivism in which the accumulation of verified, falsifiable facts forms the basis for interpretive judgment.
(7) In some sense, humanistic discourse seems to lack methodology; it cannot describe the ground rules of engagement, the precise means of verification, or even the parameters of its subject matter.

Data is situated and transformed for literary-critical analysis, thus inherently subjective.

(8) When it comes to literary criticism, however, we find that the “data” is almost entirely intractable from the standpoint of the computational rubric. Paper-based textual artifacts must either be transformed form a continuous field into some more quantized form (i.e., digitized), or accompanied, as in the case of markup, with an elaborate scaffolding by which the vagaries of continuity can be flattened and consistently recorded. . . . Literary-critical interpretation is not just a qualitative matter; it is also an insistently subjective manner of engagement.

Computer as component of symbiosis to provide computational results to for humans to engage in inferences (Licklider, Kemeny).

(9) The computer is certainly incapable of offering “the shift to a redemptive worldview” as a solution to the problem at hand; it is wholly incapable of inferring this from the data. But it is likewise the case the computational results—the data and visualizations that the computer generates when it seeks to quantize and measure textual phenomena—cannot be used to engage in the sort of discussion that might lead one to such a conclusion?

Category error mistaking questions about properties of objects with phenomenal experience of observers.

(10) The category error arises because we mistake questions about the properties of objects with questions about the phenomenal experience of observers.
(10) If text analysis is to participate in literary critical endeavor in some manner beyond fact-checking, it must endeavor to assist the critic in the unfolding of interpretative possibilities. . . . The evidence we seek is not definitive, but suggestive of grander arguments and schemes.
(11) Criticism drifts into the language of mathematics. . . . A term frequency list is therefore the set of
tf values for each term within that speaker's vocabulary. Such lists are not without utility for certain applications, but they tend to follow patterns that are of limited usefulness for our purposes.
(12) The list is a paratext that now stands alongside the other, impressing itself upon it and upon our own sense of what is meaningful.

Methodological questions of algorithmic textual analysis may be as provocative as hermeneutical ones.

(13) These are provocative results, but the provocation is as much about our sense of what we are doing (the hermeneutical question) as it is about how we are doing it (the methodological question).
(15) We would do better to recognize that a scientific literary criticism would case to be criticism.
(15) No serious scientist could ever deny that interpretation, disagreement, and debate is at the core of the scientific method. But science differs significantly from the humanities in that it seeks singular answers to the problems under discussion.
(15-16) The understanding promised by the critical act arises not from a presentation of facts, but from the elaboration of a gestalt, and it rightfully includes the vague reference, the conjectured similitude, the ironic twist, and the dramatic turn.

Algorithmic criticism already built into reading practices.

(16) If algorithmic criticism is to have a central hermeneutical tenet, it is this: that the narrowing constraints of computational logic—the irreducible tendency of the computer toward enumeration, measurement, and verification—is fully compatible with the goals of criticism set forth above. . . . This is possible because critical reading practices already contain elements of the algorithmic.
(16) Any reading of a text that is not a recapitulation of that text relies on a heuristic of radical transformation. . . . In every case, what is being read is not the “original” text, but a text transformed and transduced into an alternative vision, in which, as Wittgenstein put it, we “see an aspect” that further enables discussion and debate.

Seeking patterns, but no mention of Hayles.

(17) Or rather, it is the same thing at a different scale and with expanded powers of observation. It is in such results that the critic seeks not facts, but patterns. And from pattern the critic may move to the grander rhetorical formations that constitute critical reading.
(17) It would not be averse to the idea of reproducibility, but it would perhaps be even more committed to the notion of “hackability.”

Interested in evaluating robustness of discussion inspired by particular procedures of textual analysis over fitness of the procedures; in Janz terms, asking what does it mean to do philosophy in this place versus what are the philosophical conclusions.

(17) Algorithmic criticism seeks a new kind of audience for text analysis—one that is less concerned with fitness of method and the determination of interpretative boundaries, and one more concerned with evaluating the robustness of the discussion that a particular procedure annunciates.


Etymology of algorithm from al-Kwarizimi to step-by-step machine problem solving.

(18) Most scholars now believe the word relates back to the word “algorism,” which is in turn a corruption of the name of the Persian mathematician al-Kwarizmi from whose book Kitab al-jabr wa'l-muqabala (“Rules for Restoring and Equating”), we get the word “algebra” (Knuth 1). . . . During the twentieth century, however, the word “algorithm” came to be associated with computers—a step-by-step method for solving a problem using a machine.
(18) If computational methods are to be useful in the context of literary study, however, we must consider the use of algorithms loosed from the strictures of the irrefragable and explore the possibilities of a science that can operate outside of the confines of the denotative.

Jarry pataphysics as apothesis of perspectivalism.

(20) To the degree that algorithmic criticism tries to enter this debate, it does so by considering a third culture that is at once the product of both scientific and artistic investigation and has subtly suffused both cultures since the turn of the twentieth century. It begins with the “'pataphysicsof Alfred Jarry, and in particular with that extraordinary “neo-scientific” novel Gestes et opinions du docteur Faustroll, pataphysician, in which the science of “imaginary solutions” is put forth.
(21) At its most fundamental level, 'pataphysics is the apotheosis of perspectivalism—a mode, not of inquiry, but of
being, which refuses to see the relativity of perspective as a barrier to knowledge.
(22) Bok correctly intuits the continuities between Jarry's critique and the anarchic science of Feyerabend.

Science turning to narrative to explore meaning and implication of phenomena (Bok and Feyerabend).

(23) In the light of such marvels, we witness modern science turning to narrative—not merely as a way to explain complex phenomena, but as a methodology for exploring the meaning and implication of phenomena. While Jarry was formulating his new science, the scientist-turned-philosopher Ernst Mach was coining the term “thought experiment” to describe these new meditations.
(23) In both cases [Maxwell's demon and Schrodinger's cat], the narrative amounts to an impossible fantasy constructed for the purpose of divining the possibilities of the real. In a sense, thought experiment is the hyperbolic extreme of reductio ad absurdam—the 'pataphysical expansion of reality to the point of absurdity, which, like the ancient
reductio, has truth as its ultimate object. Jarry's awareness of the narrative possibilities of such experiments are everywhere apparent in Faustroll.
(25) Oulipo, indeed, might be said to do with (and for) mathematics and structural linguistics what Jarry did with physics: use the terms of its vision in order to seek not denotative truth, but imaginative insight.

Oulipo imaginative meaning at intersection of potentiality and constraint, for example Abish Alphabetical Africa.

(25) For Oulipo, that imaginative meaning arises at the intersection of potentiality and constraint. . . . Oulipo thus approaches the literary work as Jarry approaches the watch face—as an object rife with exceptions, brimming with paths not taken and possibilities unexplored.
(27-28) Constraint, which might at first seem to oppose the exuberant perspectivalism of potentiality, reveals itself in the work of the Oulipo as the condition under which perspective shifts and potential emerges. The constraints of form—like the strictures of scientific and mathematical reasoning—alter one's vision and expose the explosive potentiality of the subject and of subjectivity.
(28) Few Oulipian works illustrate the liberation of constraint as well as Walter Abish's
Alphabetical Africa (1974), which uses a series of seemingly impossible strictures to construct a coherent prose narrative. The first chapter permits only the use of words that begin with the letter “a”; the second with the letters “a” or “b”; the third with “a,” “b,” or “c”; and so on until the full range of letters has been employed, at which point the process reverses itself. . . . The intelligibility of Abish's text—which, as Schirato demonstrates, extends to the richness of political metaphor—is not a fortuitous accident of its form, but a direct result of its constraints. As Jarry asks (of the objects of reality) what infinite smallness would entail, so Abish's text asks what narrative might emerge from a text in which no one can “die” until chapter 4 or “suffer” until chapter 19.

Algorithmicly generated poetry like Mathews algorithm instantiating phonemic potentiality of ordinary words.

(29-30) There is, however, a third type that represents the most obvious literary analogue to computer-assisted criticism—namely, poetry generated by purely algorithmic processes. One of the most famous of these is the so-called Mathews algorithm, which remaps the data structure of a set of linguistic units (letters of words, lines of poems, paragraphs of novels) into a two-dimensional tabular array. . . . These maneuvers create a serendipitous morphology—an instantiation of the phonemic potentiality of ordinary words.
(30) The algorithm therefore represents “a new means of tracking down this otherness hidden in language (and, perhaps, in what language talks about)” (126). Form, in other words, is both a means of poetic communication and an enunciation of possible procedures for analyzing that communication.

Sonnet form as example of procedural rhetoric.

(30-31) As a critical work, the new poem makes obvious a long-standing intuition about sonnet form—namely, that the form itself has a rhetorical structure that is almost independent of the words themselves, insofar as the form raises expectations that may condition us to pursue particular patterns of sense making.
(31) The computer revolutionizes, not because it proposes an alternative to the basic hermeneutical procedure, but because it reimagines that procedure at new scales, with new speeds, and among new sets of conditions. It is for this reason that one can dare to imagine such procedures taking hold in a field like literary criticism.


Pope textual intervention, McGann and Samuels deformance, Irizarry tamperings base eisegesis/katagesis rather than radical exegesis that deliberately and literally alters semantic codes of textuality.

(32) The hermeneutic proposed by algorithmic criticism does not oppose the practice of conventional critical reading, but instead attempts to reenvision its logics in extreme and self-conscious forms. As such, it is of a piece with recent work on the notion of “textual interventionas set forth by Rob Pope; of “deformanceas proposed by Jerome McGann and Lisa Samuels; and with the computationally enacted “tamperingsundertaken by Estelle Irizarry. All three set forth a bold heuresis—one that proposes not a radical exegesis, but a radical eisegesis (perhaps a katagesis) in which the graphic and semantic codes of textuality are deliberately and literally altered.

Eisegesis examples of reading poem backward and entropic poem.

(33-34) Reading a poem backward is like viewing the face of a watch sideways—a way of unleashing the potentialities that altered perspectives may reveal. . . . In pouring the “well of English undefiled” through the thin opening of Von Neumann's bottleneck, we discover strange tensions, exceptions, and potentials.
(36) Irizarry's work, in what the Oulipians might gleefully call an instance of “anticipatory plagiary,” enacts the principles of deformance in explicitly machinic terms. . . . Irizarry thus envisions a group of what we might call “deformance machines”: small programs designed to effect algorithmic transformations of poetic works.
(37) The entropic poem shares a family resemblance with the output of word-frequency analysis tools, which are among the fundamental computational primitives of text analysis. . . . It is a readable work that maintains its coherence fully until the thinning logic of compression overtakes it.
(38) The entropic poem does not so much provide data about the original poem as focus our attention on certain energies in the original—in this case, similar movements in thought redescribed in new terms at the ends of stanzas.
(38) To speak of algorithmic criticism is to take a further step and imagine this generalization as an explicit technological program for critical reading. Texts that have become proverbial among students of new media, like the Talmud and the
I Ching, are particularly useful here. Because they are often held up as foreshadowings of the ergodic, the interactive, and the hypertextual—there has been a tendency to deemphasize their continuity with the more normative practices of reading and writing.
(41-42) The minute someone proposes to explain the meaning of a narrative—to speculate, conjecture, extrapolate, or shout abuse at it, whether in the privacy of one's thoughts or in a critical journal—the narrative changes, because we are no longer able to read it without knowledge of the paratextual revolt. Chinua Achebe's charges of racism in Joseph Conrad's
Heart of Darknessis a case in point.
(45) Both the
I Ching and the work of the Oulipo call attention to the always dissolving boundaries between creation and interpretation. Despite this, both productions are ordinarily considered aesthetic in nature and thus impervious to the objections often leveled against more overtly interpretative works, The agonistic relationship between artistic deformation and critical legitimacy are far more evident when a work declares itself as primarily interpretative, and nowhere is this anxiety more poignant than in Ferdinand de Saussure's research on pre-classical Latin poetry, the details of which form the subject of a number of unpublished notebooks written between 1906 and 1909.
(47) In dozens of examples Saussure finds an encrypted message running alongside, over, and against the aural and graphic elements of the text.
(47-48) Such questions seem so natural to us that we tend to overlook the obvious similarities between Saussure's apparently eccentric inquiries and the more ordinary act of literary-critical interpretation. . . . Like any literary critic, Saussure deforms and reforms his text, revealing unknown aspects of its ontology—literally creating it anew.
(48) In one sense, deformation is the only rational response to complexity. . . . It is precisely this fear of an eviscerated objectivity that gives rise to those rhetorical structures that work to conceal the deformations that lie between text and interpretation.
(50) The “multiple clamor” is nothing less than the text's status as a work already deformed, already mediated by the accumulated experience of language that produced it and that the reader must have in order to read it. It lies “hidden” only if we believe that the new organizations that arise from deformative activity are revelatory of something inherent in the text before the act of interpretation.

Acknowledge deformance of all interpretation, though more obvious in algorithmic operations.

(50-51) Saussure's anxieties are rooted in a basic assumption about text and meaning. Statements of methodology, generalizations about literary significance, surmises concerning authorial intention, and various other forms of literary-theoretical philosophizing about these engagements all give the appearance of existing outside or somehow above the textuality of the object under discussion; even when we speak of meaning as “in” or arising “from” the text, we nonetheless proceed as if the meanings we generate and the texts themselves were separate entities. This same belief does not obtain from algorithmic procedures, which, because they explicitly deform their originals, tread upon the rhetorically maintained separation between text and reading. . . . To read a poem as postcolonial artifact, as evidence of generic protest, as cultural touchstone (the preposition in each case signalizing the onset of deformation) is to present a narrative that depends upon a number of discrete (de)formal procedures.
(52) The existence of so many competing, perhaps incommensurable readings of a work of literature is part of the normal course of literary studies. . . . The paragraph almost resembles the control structures of modern programming languages:
if x is true, then y is also true, or else we must default to a different set of variables or pursue a different procedure.
(54) We might conclude that “The Wife's Lament” is a testimony to the poststructuralist insight that textuality is a shifting pattern of signification incapable of coalescing into any stable textual identity. We would do better to conclude that “The Wife's Lament” is a work that is always coalescing into stability by virtue of the readerly process of deformation.

Dickinson implicit faith that something will overtake the mind.

(55-56) It is precisely the absence of this detail that renders Dickinson's suggestion (and the algorithmic criticism from which it descends) so strange. The apparent randomness with which she suggests the procedure and the implicit faith in the “Something” will overtake the mind deliberately eschews those rhetorical procedures that seek to conceal the status of a text as alternative.

Place re-performances already exercised in print texts into computational environment; replace fear of breaking faith with text with faith in liberating capacity of subjective engagement.

(57) Algorithmic criticism is, in this sense, nothing more than a self-conscious attempt to place such re-performances into a computational environment. But within this move there lies a fundamental remonstration against our anxiety about the relationship between text and reading. Those activities that are usually seen as anathema to the essential goal of literary criticism—quantitative analysis chief among them—will need to be reconsidered if it turns out that backward poems lie at the root of our forward endeavors. Our fear of breaking faith with the text may also need to give way to a renewed faith in the capacity of subjective engagement for liberating the potentialities of meaning.

(62) Something like this occurs when one considers text-analytical results generated using imperative routines. If something is known from a word-frequency list or a data visualization, it is undoubtedly a function of our desire to make sense of what has been presented. . . . As with the Turing test, the reader invariably engages not one text, but two texts operating within an orbit of fruitful antagonism: the text that creates the results (the code) and the results themselves.

Machinic inflection of programming at the base of algorithmic criticism, hermeneutics of how to; different from mathematical text because it describes the step by step movement of the process.

(63) Algorithmic criticism is easily conceived as the form of engagement that results when imperative routines are inserted into the wider constellation of texts stipulated by critical reading. But it is also to be understood as the creation of interactive programs in which readers are forced to contend not only with deformed texts, but with the “how” of those deformations. Algorithmic criticism therefore begins with the machinic inflection of programminga form of textual creation that, despite the apparent determinism of the underlying machine, proceeds always in organic and unexpected ways. . . . It is by nature a “meticulous” process, since to program is to move within a highly constrained language that is wholly intolerant toward deviation from its own internal rules. But the goal of such constraint is always unexpected forms of knowing within the larger framework of more collective understandings. . . . The hermeneutics of “what is” becomes mingled with the hermeneutics of “how to.”
(65) What is needed, then, is not a mathematical text, but an algorithmic text. . . . The former tells us that the definition of
F for numbers greater than 1 is related to F in a particular way; the latter describes a process in which we move step-by-step through the relationship itself.

Programming languages emphasize imperative versus declarative descriptions of mathematics (Abelson and Sussman).

(65-66) Harold Abelson and Gerald Sussman, in The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs explain: “ . . . In mathematics we are usually concerned with declarative (what is) descriptions, whereas in computer science we are usually concerned with imperative (how to) descriptions” (26). Mathematics undergirds computing at every turn, and yet “executable mathematics” is more dream than reality for designers of programming languages. . . . If code represents a radical form of textuality, it is not merely because of what it allows us to do but also because of the way it allows us to think.

Hermeneutic understanding required to develop programs for textual deformation; toys with difference between a run once arrival at a deformation to interpret versus constantly operating under the condition of reciprocal transformation between programs and texts.

(66) In order to write the program, the critic must consider the “how to” of a deformative operation, but once that text is written, the output will be one that places the same critic into a critical relationship not only with the text of the result but with the text of the program as well. . . . But in another sense it is a recursive process. In order to understand the text we must create another text that requires an understanding of the first text. The former might suggest analogies with science, but the latter suggests analogy with the deepest philosophical questions of the humanities, including the hermeneutic circle that has so preoccupied poststructuralist thought.
(66) I was attempting to write a program that could draw directed graphs of the scene changes in Shakespeare's plays.
(67) Questions will be raised about any possible choice. Suspicions will arise about the machinic text that underlies the apparent. Yet even as we consider such matters, the computer waits. It still demands an answer.

OHCO needs analysis in part because it fits so well with computer forms.

(67-68) Even if we are loath to regard texts as being, in the words of one commentator, “ordered hierarchies of content objects” (DeRose), we must acknowledge that this is the way the computer would prefer to have it.

Immateriality of code may arise from this distinction between the form inhering in the material versus arising from potentialities.

(68) The word processor or Web browser does not inhere in the material. It is not, as Michelangelo is said to have believed, a matter of chipping away all that is not the sculpture. To contend with the “how to” of programming is to discover that potentialities of constraint. To read the outputted text is to do the same.
(68) The goal, after all, is not ato arrive at the truth, as science strives to do. In literary criticism, as in the humanities more generally, the goal has always been to arrive at the question.


Beating on TAPoR as text analysis toolset.

(74) Again and again, the language of TAPoR [Text Analysis Portal for Research] points not to methods or procedures, but to “tools”--things to be wielded against any text on the Web (the default examples optimistically include both a corpus of French medieval poetry and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Yet despite these metaphors, all of which mingle marketing with mechanization in a way that suggests anything other than the sober, meandering parole of humanistic discourse, TAPoR confidently asserts a rhetoric of self-interrogation. . . . However foreign its interface might be, text analysis is insistently put forth by TAPoR as “an interactive practice of discovery with its own serendipitous paths comparable to, but not identical to, the serendipitous discovery that happens in rereading a text.” (Rockwell, “What Is Text Analysis”)
(74) Few tools better illustrate these serendipitous paths than Stefan
Sinclair's HyperPo, one of the tools for which TAPoR acts as a portal.
Goblin Market becomes what Jacques Derrida, in “Ulysses Gramophone,” called an “overpotentialized text.”
(77) Text analysis of the sort put forth by
WordHoard, TAPoR, and HyperPo suggests other antonyms to close reading, including what Franco Moretti has called “distant reading.”

Reference to Derrida overpotentialized text; Hayles is more measured in her critique of algorithmic deformation.

(78) What is different about digital archives is the way in which text analysis procedures (including that most primitive of procedures: the keyword search) has the potential to draw unexpected paths through a documentary space that is distinguished by its overall incomprehensibility. Even Vannevar Bush, amid a conception of hypertext still more sophisticated than that offered by the World Wide Web, imagines the negotiation of the document space as it has been for centuries.
(80) The “result” of a system like
MONK [Metadata Offer New Knowledge] is the same as that for virtually any text-analytical procedure: a textual artifact that, even if recapitulated in the form of an elaborate interactive visualization, remains essentially a list.

Computational practices may not become critically tractable until they are also commonplace, when hacker/scholar are not mutually exclusive.

Add Plato Symposium to texts susceptible to algorithmic reading, although in the case of symposia the outcomes are sonic experiments and readings informed by consideration of generating audio environments from the text rather than the lamentably inevitable list; that is is accomplished as a programming exercise reiterates Kemeny vision of making coding a basic skill of all intelligent citizens.

(80) It may be that the tools of algorithmic criticism are like Wittgenstein's ladder. When we have used them to “climb up beyond,” we recognize them as nonsensical and case the ladder aside (Tractatus 74).
(81) If algorithmic criticism does not exist, or exists only in nascent form, it is not because our critical practices are computationally intractable, but because our computational practices have not yet been made critically tractable. . . . Once those changes are acknowledged, the bare facts of the tools themselves will seem, like the technical details of automobiles or telephones, not to be the main thing at all. . . . For by then we will have understood computer-based criticism to be what it has always been: human-based criticism with computers.

(84) Humanities computing was part of—and, indeed, the result of—the same set of epochal changes that had produced the personal computer and at that very moment were in the process of producing the World Wide Web.

Wondering at the radical shift in building versus just theorizing programmed objects without citing any working code indicates continued hegemony of literary criticism; critical programming considers working code.

(84) Humanities computing had its theorists, its administrators, its teachers, and its historians, but nearly everyone in the field was involved, in one way or another, with building something.
(84) But it is nowhere near as jarring—or, frankly, as radical—as the shift from theorizing about games and Web sites to building them.
(85) Humanists concern themselves with the study of the human experience; digital humanists find that building deepens and enriches that engagement.

Algorithmic criticism provides domain for hacker scholar besides toiling with TEI.

(85) Algorithmic criticism offers a vision of the hacker/scholar as unperturbed by the tension these two words elicit.

Ramsay, Stephen. Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011. Print.