Digital Humanities

Digital humanities are the combined efforts of all modern scholars.  It is the gathering of all information of the humanities into the digital world.  This means that it’s being accessed by scholars from all over.  It means putting information on the internet and giving others the ability to analyze and look over work on the humanities.  It means creating virtual recreations through computer systems that could not have been done before by hand.  Digital humanities allow information to be centralized and organized for easy access.  For example, digitally archiving photos, videos, and audio recordings by location or some sort of tag is something that digital humanities encompass.  Similar to the printing press, computers have revolutionized the way we look at and analyze data and migrating to the new virtual age is a long process that will ultimately change the way humanities are viewed.

In my literature class last year, two students had to present on the reading each day.  This meant they would pick out a few topics, come up with a short script and a few questions, and then read it through during class.  I think that digital humanities could have helped out in this situation.  We occasionally had meaningful discussions at the end of each presentation, but some sort of blog could have facilitated that discussion even further.  If we had been able to all put up our thoughts whenever we wanted without having the problem of two people talking at once and allowing for several smaller discussions to branch off, those topics would have been analyzed much more thoroughly.  It would have also allowed us to archive our thoughts and conversations and tagging each topic would allow us to jump back later in the year and compare themes of different books or authors.

The Archimedes Palimpsest is a very cool project.  It combines several different fragments and full texts that would normally be inaccessible to almost every person on earth.  Two of the texts have only one existing copy which now resides in a museum.  This kind of project allows people to read important historical literature no matter their status so long as they have access to the internet.  I think that this site could take it a step further and have some sort of forum for readers to access and discuss said literature allowing collaboration and spread of ideas.  While it may be a fairly small and simple project, just typing up a few hard to read texts, the idea it embodies is important.  Spreading knowledge and letting people learn and make their own decisions is key to future generations.