The digital humanities is an academic community, its members united by interest in (and use of) digital tools to 1) redefine their research and analytical practices and/or 2) cultivate new forms of academic collaboration and dialogue. Its sustainability, emergent goals, and politics are reactive to wider industry developments and economic forces.
The Digital Humanities is an emerging discipline within the field of information science.
I have found it exciting to follow DH issues and studies that are continually emerging in networked spaces, shaped by a dynamic community that seems to self-identify and develop new ideas at a rapid pace. Discovering the latest questions and critique within the discipline itself has piqued my interest in understanding the trajectories of those discussions. But while I think the world of DH-introspection enriches the discipline and fosters its growth, it at times seems a veil for the natural growth and potential for the field. Given the rapid adoption of digital tools, computational frameworks, and data mining in most areas of contemporary scholarship (and industry, government, etc.), I’m interested in why proving the value and relevance of digital methods within the humanities is a different process than it is in other realms.
As a result, I’d like to further explore how DH, as a practice, resonates with larger trends in digital practices, and how deeply interdisciplinary projects manifest the value of DH methodologies — perhaps in ways that transcend semantic qualms and curb the agency of an Analog vs. Digital duality.
But if DH is contingent on dualism (at least for the time being), perhaps alternative definitions of DH arise when one of its basic value propositions (that digital tools will deliver new value to the humanities) is inverted. For instance, there are computer and social scientists interested in questions of language, interpretation, expression, philosophy….so how can longstanding lines of inquiry in the humanities bring new dimensionality to the methods that those social and computational scientists use? I am hoping to come to a 3rd definition of DH that fortifies the idea (in practice as well as theory) that the digital needs the humanities just as the humanities need the digital.