Merely a means to an end?

It seems to me that the central question of this week’s readings was whether Digital Humanities is a means to an end or an end to itself.  I was particularly taken with Rafael Alvarado’s piece, in which he states, “the process of interpretation is often as rewarding as its products” (54).

Part of what I find so intriguing (or is it beguiling?) about DH is the possibility that its output–projects, tools, etc.–could, in fact, be the “future of the book.”  The arrival of the codex, and later, moveable type, is often credited with revolutionizing scholarship and democratizing knowledge; I see much of DH as the logical next step in this continuum.  And, just as the act of writing in a traditional book context helps to form and refine arguments (not just disseminate them), the “building” that digital humanists do–and studying the process of building–is as important as the product that is built.  Perhaps DH is the Rhetoric/Composition of the digital, post-book era?

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1 Response to Merely a means to an end?

  1. Steve Brier says:

    A provocative insight, Roxanne. The idea that what we write and what we think changes in response to how we do both of those things is a time tested maxim. It’s why Plato objected so strenuously to the replacement of verbal disputation with written tracts. You couldn’t truly be educated, in his mind, if all you did was write rather than talk.

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