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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities Tools and Methods

Digital Humanities Centers and Labs At Other Universities

Digital Initiatives, CUNY Graduate Center 
"The CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative aims to build connections and community among those at CUNY who are applying digital technologies to scholarship and pedagogy in the humanities."


Digital Innovation Lab, UNC Chapel Hill 
"Launched by the College of Arts and Sciences in July 2011, the UNC Digital Innovation Lab is a project-focused hub for collaborative, interdisciplinary discovery, experimentation, implementation, and assessment in the use of digital technologies to advance the work of the University in the humanities and humanistic social sciences."
 

Digital Scholarship Commons, Emory University 
"Emory University’s Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC) offers faculty members and graduate students the space, expertise, and project management assistance they need to develop innovative multidisciplinary projects."
 

Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Kansas 
"The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities provides resources and trai­ning in the practices and tools of the digital humanities, facilitating interdisciplinary academic collaborations and innovative externally-funded research."
 

Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media, George Mason University 
"RRCHNM uses digital media and technology to preserve and present history online, transform scholarship across the humanities, and advance historical education and understanding."
 

Scholarly Commons, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
"The Scholarly Commons provides library, information, and technology services that support traditional and emergent forms of scholarly inquiry, and thereby contribute to the Illinois tradition of innovation and excellence in teaching, research, and public engagement."
 

Scholars' Lab, University of Virginia 
"At the University of Virginia Library Scholars’ Lab, advanced students and researchers from across the disciplines partner on digital projects and benefit from expert consultation and teaching. Our highly-trained faculty and staff focus especially on the digital humanities, geospatial information, and scholarly making and building at the intersection of our digital and physical worlds."
 

Stanford Literary Lab, Stanford University 
"The Stanford Literary Lab is a research collective that applies computational criticism, in all its forms, to the study of literature. The Lab is open to students and faculty at Stanford, and, on a more ad hoc basis, to those from other institutions."

Digital Humanities Values & Methods

The College of Charleston's has shared Josh Honn's insightful introduction to the "Values and Methods" from  A Guide to Digital Humanities, which expound upon the "form and content, theory and practice" of digital humanities scholarship.  A Guide to Digital Humanities is licensed under a creative commons license.  

VALUES

Whether or not digital humanities, this hard to define field/thing, has certain values inherent to it, may be equally hard to prove, but many DH projects, often due to their digital nature, do have characteristics and traits in common to the point where one can see a community of practice built around, supported by, an interested in building upon, a set of common values. Even if the term “values” is problematic, these threads common to DH are an interesting way in getting to understand digital humanities itself, in both form and content, theory and practice.

  • Critical & Theoretical
    Digital humanities scholarship is grounded in theory and critical in the tradition similar to many scholarly practices. However, and in addition, DH is often also grounded in a humanistic self-criticism, including the criticism of the very tools, technologies, and platforms that enable its own practices and publications.

  • Iterative & Experimental
    As the authors of Digital_Humanities (2012) write, “one of the strongest attributes of[DH] is that the iterative versioning of digital projects fosters experimentation, risk-taking, redefinition, and sometimes failure. It is important that we do not short-circuit this experimental process in the rush to normalize practices, standardize methodologies, and define evaluative metrics.”

  • Collaborative & Distributed
    Digital humanities texts often have multiple authors, but more subtle and robust collaborations are the foundation of many DH projects, involving distributed networks of expertise including scholars, students, programmers, technologists, librarians, designers, and more.

  • Multimodal & Performative
    Not always confined by the strictures and structures of print, digital humanities scholarship embraces many modes—text, audio, video, etc.—while also being expressive and performative in and of themselves. These performative texts use design and multiple modes of expression to put forth an argument, often breaking down the reader/writer dichotomy in new ways.

  • Open & Accessible
    While not exclusively open access, most digital humanities scholarship embraces open and public forms of publishing, from the pre- and post-publication peer review of Twitter and blog posts, to Creative Commons-enabled digital publications, curated digital archives, and interactive digital projects.

METHODS
Along with the central role of theory, methodologies drive much digital humanities work. However, DH methodologies vary and should not been seen as explicitly linked with, or confused for, DH technologies (Kraus, 2013). In many ways, understanding digital humanities is easiest through grappling with its many methodologies, which may be why so many DH presentations focus on process and project. It’s difficult to collocate the totality of DH methodologies, but in the book Digital_Humanities (2012), the authors dedicate a chapter to “emerging methods and genres” which we synthesize below by way of an introduction.

  • Enhanced Critical Curation
    Object-based arguments through the curation of digital media, including collection repositories and scholarly narratives supported by digitized or born-digital primary source materials.

  • Augmented Editions and Fluid Textuality
    Digital critical editions, marked up and encoded texts, often created through crowd-sourced methods and open to perpetual revision, annotation, and remix.

  • Scale: The Law of Large Numbers
    As data sets grow larger and larger, humanists hope to create new findings through computational- and algorithmic-enabled interpretations of our digitized and born-digital culture materials.

  • Distant/Close, Macro/Micro, Surface/Depth
    In contrast to, and often in conjunction with, close reading, distant reading looks to understand and analyze large corpora across time through “trends, patterns, and relationships.”

  • Cultural Analytics, Aggregation, and Data-Mining
    Through computational means, cultural analytics mines, studies, and displays cultural materials in new aggregated or remixed forms, often including interactive and narrativized visualizations

  • Visualization and Data Design
    Arguments made from the visualization of data, including virtual/spatial representations, geo-referencing and mapping, simulated environments, and other designs constructed from and informed by data.

  • Locative Investigation and Thick Mapping
    The creation of “data landscapes” through connecting real, virtual, and interpretive sites, often manifesting as digital cultural mapping or geographic information systems (GIS).

  • The Animated Archive
    In which the static archive of the past is made alive and virtually experiential, including the active archiving of physical spaces through virtual means, and multi-modal/faceted approaches to collection access and interactivity.

  • Distributed Knowledge Production and Performative Access
    Digital projects take collaborative teams that cross both disciplines and borders and that often challenge the idea of “the author” through team contributions, crowdsourcing, and the user-based performance of the “text.”

  • Humanities Gaming
    Taking on “historical simulation,” humanities gaming uses virtual learning environments to create interactive narratives that engage users and enable the exploration of humanist themes.

  • Code, Software, and Platform Studies
    Humanists have studied texts, the book, and many other forms of writing, so what to make of the code programmers write, the software computer users use, and the platforms that shape our social and cultural interactions?

  • Database Documentaries
    Multi-modal narratives formed from a database, branching out into multiple paths users explore, possibly incorporating live-feed data, all calling into question authorial control/intent and the role of the reader.

  • Repurposable Content and Remix Culture
    Digital content can be read, written, and rewritten, and as such all digital objects are subject to sample, migration, translation, remix, and other forms of critical reuse.

  • Pervasive Infrastructure
    Our digital realities encompass many types of machines and screens and increasingly our objects are stored in the cloud, distributed over servers in multiple locations, so what does that mean for humans and data?
  • Ubiquitous Scholarship
    Print publication no longer is the only way forward, and as new modes of publishing proliferate, and new players in publishing participate, publishing becomes increasingly ubiquitous and open.