Reflective Post 3

Reflective Post #3

The Digital Humanities is going to be constantly developing. The reasons behind this fall among the lines that the subject is still relatively new and will advance as long as technology does. This means we will see uncertainties about the Digital Humanities in everyday life and will encounter new questions and possibilities about them. Since the digital world is far more accessible in the modern era, the knowledge it shares also becomes easier to reach. People can work communally and on different platforms to share this information. This social and academic open access also forms questions about intellectual property.

While reading about the Digital Humanities, Burdick, Drucker, Lunenfeld, Presner, and Schnapp posit questions about open access knowledge through technology. One of these questions (as referenced in the prompt for this week’s reflective post) is:

“What happens when anyone can speak and publish? What happens when knowledge credentialing is no longer controlled solely by institutions of higher learning?”

I tried my best to construct a somewhat decent/ coherent thought about this subject. Obviously, the situation is far more complicated than what I can put into a blog post, but this was my attempt at it.

As previously mentioned in the prompt, the fellows are not being paid to do research, but to create knowledge. While this adds a level of formality to our work, there was nothing stopping me from investigating my topic with a self directed approach had I not been part of this program. I am fortunate that I have the capabilities to work with the library, have a committee supporting me throughout this program, and the ability to do this program full time. While it would have been possible to do this project without all the resources that the library has offered to me, the final project would likely look completely different from what it will be currently. The timeline of my work would probably be different. The entire outcome would not have the same advantages as I currently have.

While I think it is a good thing for people to speak and publish knowledge with the current technological tools, I acknowledge that the road to this shared knowledge will likely face different obstacles. Therefore I posit that even if anyone can speak and share knowledge, it would not be received the same way. It would be up to the user to determine what knowledge they want to learn or use. While it is a good thing that this knowledge can have multiple outlets, there is always going to be a question of the quality of this knowledge. A person getting their information from a social media post would have a far different outcome from a person reading an academic webpage. Of course, this becomes more complicated when we look into cases of intellectual property. It’s also important to note that there is a social and academic aspect to consider with this topic. Many of these pieces of knowledge can be created or altered collaboratively.

Collaborative work in a digital setting also makes for a more accessible project. There are multiple points of view when it comes to sharing this knowledge.

Ultimately, I think knowledge was made to be shared, and technology is one of the right ways to share it. It is a good thing that this knowledge can be created and shared publicly and easily, even if it is subject to flaws. While it may have its imperfections, I believe that they can be solved as the technology and social culture surrounding the Digital Humanities advances.

Written by Nicole Parisi, Gettysburg College Class of 2023 and member of the DSSF 2021 Summer Cohort.

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