ARST 5170 Week 13 Digital Humanities
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ARST 5170 Week 13 Digital Humanities


  • Describe the field of digital humanities and its relationship with archives
  • Describe the use of science resources and archives


  • Patrik Svensson, “The Landscape of Digital Humanities,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 4:1 (2010)
  • Miriam Posner, “What Are Some Challenges to Doing DH in the Library?,”
  • Kate Theimer, “Archives in Context and as Context,” Journal of Digital Humanities 1:2 (Spring 2012)
  • Tracey P. Lauriault et. al., “Today’s Data are Part of Tomorrow’s Research: Archival Issues in the Sciences,” Archivaria 64 (Fall 2007): 123-179.
  • Barbara Losoff, Caroline Sinkinson, and Elizabeth Newsom, “Special Collections Instruction in the Sciences: A Collaborative Model” in Past or Portal? Enhancing Undergraduate Learning through Special Collections and Archives by Eleanor Mitchell, Peggy Seiden, and Suzy Taroba eds. (Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries, 2012): 137-141.


Digital Humanities Defined

  • Explain definition, which is a modified version of from google. 1.
  • It’s as much about tools for research as is it is about presentation of research.
  • Ask about what the different needs for researchers would be for a digital only project?

The Landscape of Digital Humanities

  • Array of convergent practices
    • Print isn’t the end for research
      • Discuss methods for dissemination that could be possible. (Slave public history youtube)
    • Digital media has changed the way information is shared and consumed
      • How is info consumed now?
    • Tech can be studied as an object of research
      • what might be some ways to view tech as an object.

Tech as an Object of Research

“The digital may not have to be the main focus itself, but rather phenomena, cultural artifacts and processes that are digitally inflected”

  • what does the tech object mean for the researcher?
  • How can archives handle researching technical experiences?

As tool:

  • Some instrumental uses of digital technology in humanities contexts introduce an exploratory methodology, where the researcher or student is encouraged to explore materials, datasets or issues in an experimental fashion.
  • Dynamic visualization can offer a window to large data sets and possibilities to visualize or enact complex objects of analysis.
  • Interactive tools can help the researcher to get an intuitive sense of objects of analysis and the model, and allow fast what-if analyses.
  • On a more profound level, researcher interaction can change the models themselves, or their parameters, data and relations to allow the study of hypothetical correlations or comparison of outcomes from different models applied on the same object or situations.

Note: Get example tools for next class


What is the role of an academic libraries/Digital Humanities Centers?

  • Builds digital collections as scholarly or teaching resources,
  • Creates tools for authoring, building digital collections, analyzing collections, data or research processes, managing the research process,
  • Uses digital collections and analytical tools to generate new intellectual products,
  • Offers digital humanities training,
  • Offers lectures, programs, conferences or seminars on digital humanities topics,
  • Has its own academic appointments and staffing,
  • Provides collegial support for and collaboration with members of other academic departments at the home institution,
  • Provides collegial support for and collaboration with members of other academic departments, organizations or projects outside the home institution,
  • Conducts research in humanities and humanities computing (digital scholarship),
  • Creates a zone of experimentation and innovation for humanists,
  • Serves as an information portal for a particular humanities discipline,
  • Serves as a repository for humanities-based digital collections, and
  • Provides technology solutions to humanities departments

What’s the role of the archives outside of the archives?

  • greater access and dissemination
  • Posner:
    • DH was being done in the library (and in the archive) well before it made its way into academic departments
    • Many DH projects don’t meet any particular demonstrated need — they’re done to find an interesting answer to an interesting question

Archives in Context and As Context

  • “What concerns me“ is that in the broadening of “archives” to extend to any digital collection of surrogates there is the potential for a loss of understanding and appreciation of the historical context that archives preserve in their collections, and the unique role that archives play as custodians of materials in this context
  • What defines the work of an archivist, and so “an archives” in the mind of an archivist, is what materials are selected and how they are managed, provenance, and value
    • What is an archives for a digital humanities person?

Examples of Digital Humanities Projects

  • ATL Maps GSU
  • Stanford University Republic of Letters,
  • Use google to find more in class

Scientific Data

  • Data Portals etc
    • Much but not all of the data derived from portals are raw in nature and require the user to interpret, analyze, and/or manipulate them. The reasons for their creation are one-stop shopping, distributed responsibility over data sets, discoverability, and reduction in cost, since data are stored once and used many times
  • Preservation issues and access issues
    • The problem of preserving authentic and reliable digital data and records for the near and longer terms is not unique to the sciences.
    • It faces everyone who now or in the future will require research data, legal documents, and administrative records to conduct their business, because more and more material is being created only in a digital form and will be communicated, stored, and accessed only in digital systems
  • Metadata are essential for the dissemination of scientific data
    • Archiving of scientific and geomatics data is technologically complex; however, the greatest obstacles are not technology, techniques, or know-how. The greatest obstacles are the lack of institutional will and the financial resources needed to implement what is already known, and to finance research on unresolved issues
  • Scientists need metadata to make fit-for-use decisions and, within metadata, they need respect for specific data quality parameters that relate to accuracy, reliability, and authenticity

Joshua Kitchens

Joshua Kitchens
Joshua Kitchens is an archivist, history phd student and beer nerd. These are his research notes

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