Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Digital Humanities

To define digital humanities is essentially moving what we see as information, communication, and entertainment into a digital or non-physical form. A lot of the information we see as “legitimate” has converted from physical media to digital media. Documents such as Newspapers, Encyclopedias, Books, and Academic Journals usually have both a physical copy as well as a digital copy published, but I believe that digital humanities expands the concept of “legitimate” information. Why digital humanities is becoming such a relevant subject is because most people are on the internet and leave a “digital footprint”. If only a few people were on the internet speaking with each other digital humanities would not be very helpful unless someone in the future was researching those few people. Digital humanities will allow everyone who has left a digital footprint to be researched in the future.

From the first reading Twitter was brought up as a possible form of legitimate material. I believe this could be the case but I also believe that it can only be legitimate if both parties are experts on the topic of conversation. Reading the conversation between two Academic Journal Authors could be like summarizing both of their Journals. Rather than reading both their Journals which can be very dense and hard to understand here you have summaries of what each of them have researched and what they have concluded after doing that research. The second reading sort of agreed with the first in that we should be more receptive as well as open with information online. When events unfold in the real world yes they are documented but how the event affects people is not always mentioned. For example, look at the Chinese Economy. As a normal person we may hear that the United States believes that China’s economy has taken a hit and is not doing as well but what does that mean for the people here? How would a normal person with no knowledge of  world markets know how they will be affected by the change? One helpful tool could be “Reddit” and to be more specific the sub “ELI5 (explain it like I’m 5)”. Here people pose questions about things they have little to no knowledge in and people with more knowledge in the particular subject try to explain in a manner almost everyone can understand. People in the community who also have knowledge about the subject may also chime in but eventually a “top post” arises because other users agree that this is an accurate description and it is also conveyed in a way that most people can understand. This is an example of pulling knowledge from a bunch of people, maybe even experts and putting it in a form of digital media that may not be in the conventional “legitimate research material” of today.

I believe that in the future things like Reddit as well as Blogs, Twitter, and even Wikipedia could be some of the best research materials in the future. If more credible people used as well as identified themselves as credible (website runs a background check before) I believe that research material could be consolidated into just a handful of websites. Digital humanities is making information more readily available as well as accessible to the average person but also making it easier for scholars to research more thoroughly.

1 Comment

  1. Considering that we are in an “Internet era,” I found it interesting that you introduced the fact that people leave “digital footprints.” I also found it interesting how you expanded Digital Humanities to pertain to entertainment, such as Twitter and Reddit. Lastly, I especially agree with your closing statement – digital humanities is breaking ground for research scholars and its contributions will benefit the average people.

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