Who knew that such a thing existed?! Well, not me… But then again, I have been in the trenches and not the war room for a good many years. I am very fascinated with what I am finding, however ironic that happens to be. Humanities was the only subject I ever failed in my undergraduate classes and the only grade I received that was lower than a B. I thought it was SO boring when I was 19-years old!
The bottom line understanding I gleaned from reading through the following pages is this, simply reading/studying historical documents in the traditional way leaves a lot undiscovered. When one uses technology to process art, literature, wartime maps/troop movements, or various other historical material, altogether new perspectives can be found. In addition, new digital collection methods provide previously unimaginable access to information.
Before launching into a comprehensive search for an understanding of the definition of digital humanities, a novice like myself might appreciate a glance over a few important and relevant terms. The following glossary from The Humanities and Technology Camp of St. Edward’s University will fill that bill.
Lisa Spiro, executive director of Digital Scholarship Services at Rice University’s Foundren Library provides a great jumping off place for understanding “Why Digital Humanities?” Her slideshow was designed for undergraduates, but I found it especially helpful. In addition to her slideshow, Ms. Spiro’s blog entry titled, “Getting Started in the Digital Humanities,” gives beginners many tips in the form of links for finding information about the topic. One of those links is CUNY’s Digital Humanities Resource Guide. From this page, one can really find a number of good resources.
New York Times writer Patricia Cohen is the author of In Our Prime: The Fascinating History and Promising Future of Middle Age. Ms Cohen wrote about how “Digital Keys [are] for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches,” in her November 16, 2010 New York Times article.
In the ADE Bulletin, Number 150, 2010, Matthew G. Kirschenbaum discusses, “What is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?” Besides being an associate professor, Kirschenbaum is the University of Maryland’s associate director of the Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities. He explained about how they arrived at the name, digital humanities instead of humanities computing and suggested some social applications.
When he became the head of the digital humanities program at London’s King’s College, Andrew Prescott presented the following speech titled, “An Electric Current of the Imagination: What the Digital Humanities Are and What They Might Become.” This is a VERY long read, but some of the ideas about what technology can do with poetry and art are interesting to think about.
Finally, Dan Cohen, Vice Provost, Dean, and Professor at Northeastern University relates pop-movie culture to digital humanities in his May 14, 2018 blog entry titled, “Haunted by the Past.”