@mlemweb hi! Sorry for messaging you out of nowhere. I was listening to LibreLounge and looked the hosts up on the fediverse and on birdsite, which suggested me your profile. I'm an academic in the field of music history and musicology and a free software enthusiast, so I got interested in the "digital humanities" and even more the "free software in academia" mentioned in your profile, as I've been trying to bridge these interests of mine. Do you have any resources to point me to, please?


A lot of the digital humanities work that really engages with free software is done by librarians or IT people rather than the principal investigators.

I was on a panel at last year's Libre Planet on Free Software in Academia that you might find interesting: I led a panel at LP2018 you may be interested in: media.libreplanet.org/u/librep

@mlemweb with regards to the panel, I got greatly interested in taking part in whichever discussion group, mailing list or any other form of being in contact with people who are working in this field. By the way, I think DebConf this year will be here in Brazil. Is there anything planned related to these fields we’re talking about?


I've met several individuals at various conferences, but I haven't found a central location yet. I think what we need is more Free Software dialogue at Digital Humanities conferences.

I've never attended DebConf (I use Debian, but I'm not a Debian Developer), so I'm not sure what's planned. I attended LibrePlanet in 2017 and asked around for people working in FS & DH, and the response I frequently got was, 'why don't you do a talk on it', and I did, maybe you could do the same?

@mlemweb don’t you think we could try to create some form of “online gathering point” (I’m sure there’s a better word for this in English, but it’s not coming to me now) for people who are interested in this? I don’t know, a discourse forum, a website, a podcast... I’m really interested in working towards improving this. Most people simply don’t realize the implications...

@fredmbarros I think this would be a great idea. I'd be interested, but I don't know that I have the time right now to set it up myself. I do however know someone with a free software podcast ... @cwebber ?

@mlemweb @fredmbarros I think bridging free software / culture and digital humanities / academia is a great topic for a future @librelounge. What do you think @emacsen ?

@cwebber @mlemweb @fredmbarros @librelounge I think it's worth discussing. We're also discussing other issues around academia that people brought up.

I'd like to hear more specifics about what we'd discuss. Email me and let's talk more.

@aminb and @eylul, welcome!

(People, please tell me if I left someone out, as it’s kind of hard to keep everybody in the loop)

@emacsen @librelounge @_emacsomancer @cwebber @mlemweb

I don’t know whom among you followed the earlier conversation about a platform for the creation of collaborative text.

And there’s @wolftune joining in too
@aminb @eylul @emacsen @librelounge @_emacsomancer @cwebber @mlemweb @teinturs

As most academics won’t be willing to learn version control, I started thinking: what if there was a text editor embedded in a website that acted like a fronted for Git?

@wolftune @aminb @eylul @emacsen @librelounge @_emacsomancer @cwebber @mlemweb @teinturs

@fredmbarros @wolftune @aminb @eylul @emacsen @librelounge @cwebber @mlemweb @teinturs I'm not that keen on working/forcing people to work in a browser though, but it makes a sort of sense. Has anyone tried GitHub's Desktop (desktop.github.com/)? I wonder if the right sort of GUI could at least ease pain for some people.


@_emacsomancer the thing is that @mlemweb and I were discussing about how to make it possible for academics to do version control working on a project for a collaborative history book. Then I think it makes some sense to use a website, as people would find the “base text” online and be able to offer suggestions, alter what’s written etc.

@fredmbarros @mlemweb So the thing I'm (trying to) do is also a collaborative book project, but the book is written in LaTeX, so the website would need to be more complicated to work well. GitLab, I realised yesterday, does allow for editing files directly in the website, which might work as a stopgap.

@_emacsomancer @fredmbarros

The problem with all of this is getting the authors to understand the need for version control. So many academics see no problem with just emailing a document around or having a dropbox full of numbered versions of the same document

@mlemweb @fredmbarros Re: getting academics to understand use of vc: for a collaborative project, there are other reasons as well, because it means emailing around numbered versions of the same document, which is exponentially worse than numbered versions of your own single-authored doc. There are tools like Google Docs or Overleaf, but both of these have major drawbacks, particularly the former (the latter is costly).

@_emacsomancer @mlemweb The way regular academics do this is a total mess. I was talking to two colleagues that I disagreed with demanding paper submission in MS Word format and they asked me how wrote my papers. I had barely started the whole plain-text/markdown thing and their eyes got lost and they went like “oh, no, you want me to learn how to code to write my papers!” Asking them to leave Word/Gdocs is already too much. >>

@_emacsomancer @mlemweb That’s why I think a regular editor with Git under the hood would be the best option. Some themes in Atom, for instance, show formatted markdown on the editor itself. If there were those buttons for bold, italic etc. it would do it all. Every time a contributor started an edit or addition, the editor would create a branch for them. “Save” would be a commit and then, at the end, it’d ask “submit?” and “yes” would lead to a pull request.

@_emacsomancer @fredmbarros

Also, LaTeX is scary and has a steep learning curve that most people I know wouldn't be willing to learn

@mlemweb @fredmbarros Three of the five people involved already know & use LaTeX. It may be initially scary, but essentially all other alternatives are horrible. I consider learning LaTeX an essential skill for students who are training under me.

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