Digital humanities are the research of the technology and humanities and how they intersect with each other.
While that is the definition of the phrase, the actual study of it is more complicated than merely that. As Mark Sample explains in “The Digital Humanities is Not about Building, It’s about Sharing,” there have been debates of whether the digital humanities should be practical application (for lack of a better phrase) or theoretical. However, rather than the production of knowledge for either points, it should be the reproduction, “the way the digital reshapes the representation, sharing, and discussion of knowledge.” Sample puts an emphasis on the new forms of communication, trusting it to be what the digital humanities is about, noting that communication is how the communication will aid in identifying who is credible.
While what the author writes is true, that the digital humanities center around sharing information, that is not what the digital humanities are about. Sharing plays a huge role, but the actual study banks on, as Sample himself explains, either the practical application or the theoretical. The new forms of media are merely the vehicles that propel the idea forward.
Lisa Spiro appears to be in accordance with Sample’s idea that there have been debates concerning what the digital humanities are about. However, she takes a more proactive view on how the definition of the digital humanities should be settled, attempting to identify certain regulations that will make the digital humanities and its researchers more credible and legitimate. She suggests a statement of values that will unify said researchers as it will set a common goal, and further explains how to develop one. Spiro emphasizes that the community must come together and agree on a set value in order for it to have a value. However, the digital humanities is quite different from other traditional studies, having different focuses, making it difficult to define in a traditional sense. the digital humanities’ intrinsic values are vastly different as well, the internet being a novel medium of freedom and morality. The author brings all of the information together by proposing values, including openness, collaboration, diversity, and several others.
In class, we learned about the various programs and theories behind the digital humanities that seem to promulgate what the digital humanities are about. Voyant is a tool that aids in capturing the style of writers, dissecting their words and comparing them to other writers, representing the “practical aspect.” On the other hand, representing the theoretical, myriads of articles explain of the hazards or benefits of digital devices. Just as other studies encompass both a practical and theoretical aspect, so do the digital humanities. Both forms add to the knowledge of how technology has changed humans and vice versa. Thus, the importance of studying the digital humanities lies in what we gain from the studies; an understanding of the impacts of technology and how we can further/stop using the technology should it prove to be beneficial/harmful to us.