Keenan Chesnick

To best understand what digital humanities means we have to start with the operational definition of the words used to name it.

The first word being “digital” which we can definte as “with the use of computers”. The second word being “humanities” we we can characterize as “the study of classical language and classical literature”. We can also categorize classical philosophy, art and theater.

These two words together lead us to understand that “digital humanities” is the study of classical arts through the use of computers. The mainstay of these computers is in a categorical way through databases. The digital aspect can also be used in the terms of the internet and through online discussions and collaborations.

This operational definition gives us a general idea of what digital humanities is, but we do not truly understand the nature of what it is. This is because digital humanities goes beyond just online categorization and discussion of classical arts. Unsworth feel this would be to broad of a generalization of the meaning of the concept. He feels that if it is simply categorized as this, we create those that are what he call charlatans (of which in my opinion is a bit harsh and implies that these people have malicious intent when they may be people with good intentions but poor execution). A charlatan lacks the creative dissection of literature.  To truly reach the level of “digital humanist” one must try to understand the humanistic arts intellectually  and rationally. They must be able to understand the context of the literature, art, philosophy, etc. on more than one level.

One must also debate on what makes something to be a part of the digital humanities. A piece of work cannot be judged simply as part of DH just because it is on a digital form of media. It must garner access to an important thing called “knowledge”. That is to say a funny picture or video on the internet is not DH because it may not have the depth of knowledge required. One could argue that a creative piece of work presented over an online outlet could be digitally humanistic.

They key importance of the digital humanities is that it allows knowledge to last on far longer than the physical forms. For as long as information can be contained digitally, the knowledge can be saved and passed on.

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