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A Definition of Digital Humanities

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  • 3 minutes read
  • Aug 08, 2020

After reviewing all the changing definitions of humanities computing, which eventually turned into what we now know as digital humanities, I have come to my own conclusion on what I believe to be the “definition” of the term digital humanities.

In the short period of the word’s existent, the definition has changed quite a bit, from the earliest date of this word being more focused on the computing aspect and recording the history of computing. Currently, the definition of digital humanities is more considered an umbrella term for the intersection of humanities and technology through projects and programs using technology to better understand subjects of humanities fields.

In my opinion, the definition would be a term that is considered an umbrella term for the field of study we call digital humanities, as truly collaborative in nature between technology and humanities fields. Digital projects, whether small scale or much more considerable sized, are a collaborative effort to bring some understanding to a humanities question through the use of technology. This can be true by using technology to create something, or to utilize a specific technology to answer a question, or as a tool to present information on a humanities topic. The possibilities of a digital humanities project are endless in my mind.  There are many facets to this “definition” and I believe there is no right or wrong way to do a project that is considered a digital humanities project.

This definition of digital humanities is influenced by the examples of various digital projects I have looked at and noticed the one thing they all had in common was that they were collaborative projects and apparently digital in nature. Also, when looking at experts in this particular field and their comments and their own definitions of digital humanities, I focused on two main questions. What is digital humanities’ relationship to technology and what form of activities is digital humanities. This helped me to understand the main focus of this field in the eyes of some of the field’s experts. I found while reviewing, that digital humanities was described in many of the more current definitions, as a tool to interpret, instruct, and present questions and information in the humanities fields. Many of these modern definitions also either explicitly stated or alluded to that digital humanities was project based and collaborative in nature. These were the concepts that struck me as being true to my understanding of what digital humanities truly is.

This definition as seen throughout the years, is always changing as new ideas and more experts enter this field. I can compare the term “digital humanities” as a living document, the term is ever changing, ever evolving as new technologies and new ideas are discovered. This term will continue to evolve as time progresses.

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