Research | Writing | Digital Humanities | Biblical Studies

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Joshua Mann
SBLCentral: A personalised (digital) research assistant for SBL members

SBLCentral: A personalised (digital) research assistant for SBL members

I recently presented at the SBL in a section in which John F. Kutsko, executive director of SBL, also presented. He shared about funding the Society has received to pursue the development of SBLCentral, which “…envisions a highly customized and automated research platform…”. “The research platform would provide access to specialized content, including books, reviews, journal abstracts, and conference papers, and would deliver custom alerts to users when new research-specific resources are published.” He indicated it may be available as soon as next year, likely nearer the end of the year. kutsko

SBLCentral takes your SBL profile, in which you specify the research subjects in which you are interested, and automatically send you alerts when relevant articles, books, book reviews, and so on, appear. He indicated it would be highly customisable.

The title and abstract of Kutsko’s presentation are included in full below:

Building a Digital Platform that Serves Research and Supports Publishing

This paper will first describe the raison d’être of the Review of Biblical Literature in 1998 and how and why it became SBL’s most active digital resource. RBL’s impact on research and scholarly publishing has been significant in a field marked by many methodologies and specializations, as well as by a significant publishing output. Can RBL provide a proof of concept for something bigger, an online research platform that responds to a perfect storm of challenges that face academic publishers and researchers? Building on its strengths and recognizing new challenges, two years ago SBL undertook a new phase in RBL’s evolution that will harness more digital tools, metadata, tagging, and community. A project called SBLCentral envisions a highly customized and automated research platform that could serve as a model for any field in humanities and social sciences, and could integrate them as well in interdisciplinary study. The research platform would provide access to specialized content, including books, reviews, journal abstracts, and conference papers, and would deliver custom alerts to users when new research-specific resources are published. An exploratory grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will help SBL refine this project and solicit feedback from scholars, publishers, librarians, and other associations. This paper will outline the project, update members on its development, invite interaction, and discuss next steps. Third, the paper will highlight higher-ed-wide issues on how to sustain digital humanities in general and projects such as this one in particular. How can and should a learned society uniquely serve its guild? How can the members of that society produce new layers of crowd-sourced, peer-reviewed content? How can we, as a scholarly community, commit to resources that are widely accessible as well as sustainable?

Three thoughts on commentaries on Luke and Acts

Three thoughts on commentaries on Luke and Acts

I spent a lot of time with Luke-Acts the past few years, including with many of its commentators. Here are three random thoughts from recent reflection: Howard Marshall’s NIGTC Luke commentary from 1978 is still one of the most useful commentaries for quickly thumbing to a specific passage and finding the major issues laid out. And he did it in… Continue Reading

Filed Under: NT

My book picks from Princeton Profs’ Summer Reading

My book picks from Princeton Profs’ Summer Reading

I am always interested in the books that other academics are hoping to read. Recently Princeton released the summer reading that a handful are hoping to tackle this Summer. From those recommendations, I have highlighted the following for my own list: From AnneMarie Luijendijk’s list: Carol Harrison, The Art of Listening in the Early Church… Continue Reading

Reducing Oneself to a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Reducing Oneself to a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

It recently occurred to me that the academic Curriculum Vitae (CV) is not only an instrument through which a scholar presents the scholarly self to the scholarly world, but also an instrument through which the scholar presents the self to the self. In other words, the CV functions like a (highly skewed) window through which the world can see… Continue Reading

Machine Override: Artificial Intelligence and Human Agency

Machine Override: Artificial Intelligence and Human Agency

One of the concerns that many share about training computers to perform certain tasks (like driving) is when or whether to allow a human to override the machine’s decision(s). I have encountered three recent discussions of this to serve as some food for thought. First, the example that gets trotted out frequently is a self-driving car that must… Continue Reading

Chad Wellmon on Reading, From Augustine to Digital Humanists

Chad Wellmon on Reading, From Augustine to Digital Humanists

Chad Wellmon, in “Sacred Reading: From Augustine to the Digital Humanists,” recounts various shifts in the conception of reading over the centuries–how we read, for what we read, the telos of reading, etc. Underlying the compelling narrative Wellmon crafts is a comparison of ‘close’ and ‘distant’ (sometimes equated with ‘computational’) reading: Continue Reading