Boys & Unicorns & SPARKLES

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I have read a fair amount regarding the definition of Digital Humanities, and I would like to take this time to define what I think Digital Humanities means from my librarian in training perspective. I see the future of DH and my own work in said field in two different categories:

  • Alternative publication structures: I think the scientific publishing structures work very well for technically minded scholars continually testing models on new bodies of data. This publishing aesthetic favors the fast publishing of findings. Humanities scholarship is at a serve disadvantage in this publication structure. Humanities scholars are not made over night, they are made with a life time of scholarship. I wonder what the world would look like if Humanists published their findings in different formats? If romantic poetry scholars made posters or movies. If medievalists curated book exhibitions. This is already happening but under the umbrella of New Media and Museum studies. I would like to encourage the thought that multimedia and public exhibition are valid publishing structures for Humanities scholarship. These alternative spaces and places might encourage a different discussion regarding the meaning and findings of Humanists.
  • Information Literacy: In the library world we talk a lot about information literacy practices and policies. I would like to curate my own definition of Information literacy. Information literacy is one part technical, it requires an ability to cobble together or the bricolage of digital tools and languages to produce the desired functionality. The other piece of information literacy is what librarians have been doing since their inception, attempting to understand structures of information. Librarians teach discerning reliable content, and unpacking the intertwining Indexes of the universe to strive towards the never ending goal of referencing everything every published on a specific topic.

Digital Humanities library support lies in a combination of these practices.

Discussions of DH Definitions:

Drucker, Johanna. “Humanistic Theory and Digital Scholarship,” in Debates in the Digital Hummanities, pp. 85-95.

Earheart, Amy. “Can Information Be Unfettered?”Debates in the Digital Hummanities. p. 309.

Flanders,  Julia. “Time, Labor, and ‘Alternate Careers’,” Debates in the Digital Hummanities. p. 292

Kirschenbaum, Matthew. “What Is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments.” 2010, rpt. in Debates, pp. 3-11. If you can’t get Debates yet, the original version is available at:

Liu, Alan. “Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities,” Debates in the Digital Hummanities. p. 490.

Parry, Dave. “The Digital Humanities or a Digital Humanism,” Debates in the Digital Hummanities.p. 429.


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This entry was posted on May 7, 2012 by .


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