Exploring Digital Humanities

In our first workshop we discussed the meaning of Digital Humanities, and there is a lot of them. Amanda Visconti, who we read and discussed, explains it as doing research, teaching, or learning about literature, history, or the arts using digital tools. At the end of her piece she also poses the question, can Digital Humanities be considered scholarship? This made me think a lot about accessibility in scholarship and the elitism and barriers to publishing within the institution. I think that Digital Humanities should be considered scholarship because it furthers understanding and scholarship should not be limited to only papers that can be published.

To me Digital Humanities is the use of digital tools, like websites or recordings or videos, to explore a topic in a deep way. They all still have a main statement, like a thesis statement, that is what the project is about or will work towards proving. Some Digital Humanities projects come to a definite conclusion and some do not come to a definite conclusion. This can either be an understanding goal or an argument that the creator is making. The goal/argument can be broad, like to organize the information and guide the viewer through the information, but ultimately like with papers published in an academic journal it is up to the reader/viewer to come to conclusions about a topic. This falls into how Digital Humanities should be considered academic scholarship, since it is providing information to a viewer/reader with an argument or goal in mind. Digital Humanities allows the information to be organized in many different ways.

My project, exploring the history and architecture features of three old buildings on campus falls into both of these categories of making an argument and having a goal. The goal is to recognize the importance of these buildings, as well as the argument is about why these buildings are important. By recording the history of the building and the features I am also showing why they are important and deserve to be remembered. I am using digital tools like a timeline or a map to record the history of the house and allow it to be explored in a non-linear way. If it was a paper it could only be explored in a linear way. This also makes it more accessible to people, since there are many different types of learners some who don’t comprehend papers the same way that other people do.

My expectations for Digital Humanities are to make information more accessible and to present new ideas through the way that the information is organized and selected. I have chosen these three buildings because of their long history and many different uses. These histories are very reflective of the Gettysburg community and college, the different needs of the community/college were placed on the buildings and reflected in different ways, like how Brua Hall was converted from the chapel to a music building. These different uses are important because they are not just a reflection of the building they are a reflection of the community.

2 Replies to “Exploring Digital Humanities”

  1. I think Amanda Visconti would be happy to hear that you’re questioning the nature of scholarship after a week of DH engagement. Is scholarship inherently elitist? If so, how can DH lower some of those barriers? I think you address that issue with your comment about community. Buildings change because communities change. Gettysburg College might seem like its own isolated community sometimes, but it’s influenced by local, national, and global events. A project about campus architecture has the potential to address more than the decisions made on the institutional level.

  2. Deep and non-linear are two great ways to think about DH! Accessibility is one of the key things about DH, but also one of the things that can get overlooked, depending on what you are doing in DH. Accessible often means more time and resources need to be put into things, so it may often fall to the wayside if we’re not willing to break out of our routines of how we do scholarship and keep openness and accessibility in the foreground of any project we work on. I also think DH is great for understanding change, because of the inherent changing-ness of technology and the web.

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