What is Digital Humanities?
The truth is that I have more questions than answers to this matter.
John Unsworth said that DH is “using computational tools to do the work of the humanities”…That tell us of the use of technology in the humanities, but it simplify the DH as a methodology. In the same topic Ernesto Priego says that DH is “The scholarly study and use of computers and computer culture to illuminate the human record.” Once again we fall in an open basic description.
Mark Marino describes DH as “a name that marks a moment of transition…” If DH is only a transition period, why there is such a significant need to consider it a field or a discipline?
Obviously there’s not only one answer. There are clues of what it is but not a certain definition that could enclose the real meaning of it, without falling in an immature, basic, exclusive or too ambitious description.
I think that Digital Humanities is:
- A paradigm shift that empowers diversity
- It’s a new way of producing and consuming (information, knowledge)
- It’s a methodology and at the same time it’s a result
- Its collaboration and NEGOTIATION
- It’s a different way of audience engagement and production of knowledge
- It’s an interdisciplinary field that needs to have a set of rules, or as Lisa Spiro says “values” Those are fundamental in order to define it and validate it.
Many times the answer of what something is or what path is following it’s in the past.
I consider that one of the biggest visionaries in communication theory and mass media was McLuhan. He was able to envision the future of the media by studying the past. “One must remember that Marshall arrived at these conclusions not by hanging around, say, NASA or I.B.M., but rather by studying arcane 16th-century Reformation pamphleteers, the writings of James Joyce, and Renaissance perspective drawings. He was a master of pattern recognition…” Coupland, Douglas. Marshal McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work! Ed Atlas & Company, 2010.