Allison Huber

Many do not know what exactly digital humanities is, including those who have chosen this as their professions in life. It is a very complicated and extensive field of study. Digital Humanities analyzes aspects of our culture through technology and the internet. Literature, art, music, and ancient manuscripts can be read and practiced for many years to come because of humanities computing. All of the historical treasures in the world can be shared with everyone and they can be better educated thanks to having these sources so accessible.

I do not agree with Muller, he believes that anyone can be a digital humanist. Everyone can use a computer, but that does not make them all humanists. Unsworth explains that there is a difference between the tool and its uses. When typing a word document or getting on Facebook, one is simply using the computer as a substitute for another machine, like a telephone or typewriter. That is simply using the tool and I do not believe that everyone is capable of collaborating and working with the complexities of digital humanities. It is humanities computing when multiple people are contributing to a manuscript and editing it in order to improve its content.

There are many websites and documents that may seem to be using humanities computing and fail to, such websites are created by “charlatans”. I believe that Unsworth is correct when he explains that in a legitimate website there should be some kind of error or “wrong” in the document to know that it is real and has been worked on. This shows the editing and revisions that it took to produce the information. If it has any form of interactivity like keyword searching, has a set of guidelines, or allows you to change things it is a DH site.

In class, we looked at two different websites that portrayed the work of Jane Austen. In Austen Archive, her work is displayed and there is nothing additional that a reader could take from the site. In the other genuine DH site, her original manuscripts are shown, and one could see her editing and mistakes. The quality of her writing is appreciated more because one can see all her work in addition to the finished copy. Parker’s Dante Project and The Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts are both good examples of websites that are digital humanities.

Digital Humanities is a way of presenting manuscripts for everyone to see and representing information. It is the use of a tool, and the interaction and contributed editing of a document. There are many “pretender” sites and documents that do not let you interact or search anything. I agree with Schreibman, Siemens, and Unsworth when they stated that digital humanities enhances our power “to focus our attention on important questions to be asked and answered”. Humanities computing is a growing line of work and it will continue to expand with advances in technology and more and more people become aware of how to use it.

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