Sarah Gorr

What is digital humanities? The top scholars and researchers who have been working in the field of digital humanities, or DH, still do not have a concrete definition. DH is a very complex field and it is difficult to define. I, along with the scholars find that defining this field of study to be a very daunting task. Like Unsworth, I believe that before we define DH we need to differentiate the tool, which in this case is the computer, from its uses. Most people  word process and blog on different sites. This however is not DH because it lacks guidelines to inform readers where to find things and what to be looking for while they are on the site. DH includes these guidelines and research purposes.

Technology is becoming very prominent in today’s society. DH allows for original manuscripts, such as those of Jane Austen, to be available to all through the internet. This is potentially a good thing. Everyone can have access to such great masterpieces that they may not have had access to before. However, there are many “Charlatans” according to Unsworth who do a “quick-and-dirty” edition of these precious manuscripts. These sites, such as Austin Archive and Dante’s Divine Comedy, simply put up a typed version of the manuscripts online for pleasure reading. A good example of DH would be Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts and Parker’s Dante Project. Both of these have guidelines as to what the purpose of the site is and inform you what you are going to find on the site. These also give the original text with a english translation on the side.

DH can also be thought of as a spectrum according to Mullen. The spectrum ranges from those who do not even know that they are digital humanists to full DH projects that are currently going on now. Everyone uses DH in one way or another, even if they do not identify with it. Everyone falls onto the spectrum somewhere. He argues that we are all being transformed into digital humanists. DH includes publicly funding texts and tools that can be used for research and learning.

I believe that DH is all of the humanities, such as novels and art, posted on the web for everyone to access for research and learning processes. I also believe that it is a collaborative effort that allows people to critique, edit, and speak their opinion about others work. The blog our class is doing right now is a good example of this. Unsworth states “the more room a resource offers for the exercise of independent imagination and curiosity, the more substantially well thought-out, well-designed, and well-produced a resource it must be.” To sum it all up, DH encourages dialogue about a given subject which can ultimately lead to a concusses definition. this allows for a deeper exploration and  understanding of the subject.  DH is an exciting field that will open many doors for those who are open to it.

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