This is it: DH Box is officially launching. The Digital GC is presenting an evening of short talks from various CUNY Graduate Center digital initiatives today, May 12 — starting off with DH Box.
I wanted to take a moment to reflect on where DH Box started and how far we’ve come. We introduced our project in early February:
What is DH Box?
Not much, so far. But we intend it to be a portable, customized linux environment for Digital Humanities learners that can rely on incredibly inexpensive technology. All you really need is a computer that runs Linux (and a monitor and keyboard, of course!) — but the platform that excites us most is the Raspberry Pi, a tiny computer that sells for just $35. Imagine a collection of DH tools, pre-installed and configured, and a set of texts for users to interrogate — all on a portable and inexpensive device.
That’s a quote from our first blog post — and it illustrates the most drastic change to our project. DH Box’s founder, Stephen Zweibel, had originally envisioned DH Box as being scripts that, when run, installed common DH applications (think Omeka, MALLET, NLTK) onto the user’s system; additionally, DH Box could be shipped as its suite of tools pre-installed on the light and portable Raspberry Pi computer.
As DH Box developed, it took a shift in platform, moving away from the issue of dealing with the idiosyncrasies of each individual’s system, to hosting instances of a virtual computer that any user could launch.
This was a vast and visible shift. But, despite not being as drastic, many other project elements developed in the journey from DH Box’s inception to its official launch.