Writing Assignment 1: What is Digital Humanities?

Digital humanities is more of an ever-changing concept than a clearly definable topic with evident borders around its definition. It is an interdisciplinary field that uses advanced technology and different methodologies in order to further research on life questions within a certain area of study. Within digital humanities, there is a remapping and renovation of the traditional field practices; print is no longer the primary medium of research.

The process of research within the field of digital humanities is important due to the fact that that new methods of investigation yield new information. According to McCarty, “The primary question here is how our insight is sharpened and imaginations empowered to gain genuinely ‘‘new liberties of action’’ from computing” (McCarty 2003, 1224). The research question does not need to be explicitly answered; however, it is meant to be redefined and explored with great importance placed within the process. The idea of process over product emphasizes the idea that failure is an important step in the quest for new information in the field of digital humanities.

Digital humanities forms a link between humanities, social sciences, arts, and natural sciences. Its audience is expanding due to the growing social impact on humanities. New and refurbished methods are combined to form a new type of scholarship. The decreasing number of “barriers between traditional scholars and digital scholars” causes some traditionalists to worry, although the print industry is slowly dwindling and relevant information is now becoming digitized (Mullen 2010). Through different projects, every site offers its own narrative and poses a specific research question or questions. For example, the project ‘Quijote interactivo,’ is “an impressive interactive digitization of the original edition of Miguel de Cervantes’ cult 1605-1615 novel, Don Quixote” and adds another dimension to the classic piece of literature (Popova). Digital humanities is not just for furthering humanities research; it is about bringing a body of work online to the masses with a specific goal in mind.

Works Cited

McCarty, Willard. 2003. “Humanities Computing .” Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science , 1224-1235.

Mullen, Lincoln. 2010. Digital humanities is a spectrum; or, we’re all digital humanists now. April 29. Accessed Febuary 6, 2017. http://lincolnmullen.com/blog/digital-humanities-is-a-spectrum-or-we8217re-all-digital-humanists-now/.

Popova, Maria. n.d. Digital Humanities Spotlight: 7 Important Digitization Projects. Accessed Febuary 6, 2017. https://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/08/12/digital-humanities-7-important-digitization-projects/.


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