What is Digital Humanities? OK that is actually the title of my first seminar in the course I am teaching from next week onwards.
But that wasn’t the point of this post today. More on that another day. Yesterday was the re-occurring Day of Digital Humanities where those of us who think of ourselves Digital Humanists come together to blog about how we spend our days (or day to be exact).
If you want to know more about Digital Humanities, what it is, whether it is for you, or not head on over to the Day of DH 2013 blog.
Yesterday I was feeling unusually reflective (mainly because I was preparing for the above mentioned class as well) so I got down on paper (and by paper I mean – actual analog paper, with a real pen) how I define myself as a DH.
As a Digital Humanist, I negotiate/translate between scholars/data in the field of Humanities and programmers/digital tools. I can do this because I, 1) have a background in Humanities and an understanding of the main issues of this field and 2) have the technical knowledge to understand how best to accommodate these issues digitally.
I like to think of myself as the piece connecting the rest of the puzzle in our modern world, where everyone uses IT, and new tools are developed all the time. This view of myself comes from my academic work of course, but also to an extent from a 10 year long “consultancy” to my parents in each their field of health care and social work. I regularly hear about the issues they come across with the systems they use for registering cases and just doing their work in each their fields. I like to think, that I have given them a different perspective on how IT tools can be developed for their particular tasks and also that I have equipped them to better understand and talk to programmers and IT consultants. One of the trend for a long time in both fields seems to be the wish to measure things. It can be difficult for middle managers, such as my parents, to stand up and say that their gut feeling tells them that some things can’t be measured, and here I feel I can help them by passing along to them the knowledge that things don’t have to be measurable in order to build good IT tools to record them.
This I see as my biggest challenge (and biggest task) as a Digital Humanist who understands the uncertain nature of Humanities and the more structured nature of technology.
You can read more about what I did yesterday on the My Day of DH 2013.