What is Digital Humanities?
Digital Humanities combines the methods of traditional humanities with the tools provided by computing (wikipedia). In this website and my classes, I focus on how digital media can allow us to create a dynamic, multimedia environment for interdisciplinary scholarship. I am particularly interested in how students can use digital tools to explore what it means to curate and create their own exhibits related to material culture. For examples of this in action, see the Using Omeka page and the Sample Lesson Plans.
When doing digital humanities, I usually ask how can computers help me do what I am already doing better, or allow me to do something I couldn’t previously do, or ask new questions. (If it isn’t new or better, one’s time may be better spent doing it the old-fashioned way.) Although I am amused by the video below, I want to avoid the humanities equivalent of “lighting the menorah engineering style.” That is, I want to use digital tools do things I couldn’t already do, not do the same things in a more complicated fashion:
Here are some of the basic things that people tend to do in Digital Humanities:
- Digital Curation (see the Using Omeka page)
- Text Encoding and Text Mining; Although I don’t tend to spend much time on this in my classes, I recommend the Perseus project as a good example of the variety of ways one can mine data from texts after encoding them.
- GIS related to cultural materials
- The CUNY Digital Humanities Resource Guide
- A Companion to Digital Humanities
- A Companion to Digital Literary Studies
- Digital Arts & Humanities: http://www.arts-humanities.net/ A place to “share and discuss ideas, promote your research and discover the digital arts and humanities”