A Short Guide to the Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities, or more trendily know as ‘DH’, seems easy enough define.  It’s digital, it’s humanities, it’s Digital Humanities!  While the moniker seems fairly transparent for explaining what is Digital Humanities oftentimes after listening to someone talk about their DH Project many people are struck by the urge to say, “Yes, but what exactly IS Digital Humanities?”

Enter Digital_Humanities by Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner and Jeffrey Schnapp.  No, really, the overview for the book on MIT Press’ website literally states that.  And while being the digital savvy person you are, you know you can’t believe everything you read online these days please make an exception in this case.  The entire book is worth reading cover to cover but if you enjoy to jump around the two must read sections are:

  • Humanities to Digital Humanities: The first chapter in the book captures pretty much all you need to know for an introduction to DH.  It defines Humanities, provides a brief history of the role digital technologies has played with Humanities projects, and then proceeds to introduce the reader to the basic terms and technologies involved in being a practicing Digital Humanist.
  • A Short Guide to the Digital_Humanities: Appearing at the end of the book and also being distributed as a standalone short guide the authors have written their own sparknotes version of the larger book.  It has a different format that than the chapters with Q&A and overviews of projects, their roles in institutions, and how to review DH projects.  A must read for any DH committee or center.

You can access the entire book online through the MIT Press Open Access Edition of the book.  The table of contents starts on page 6 of the interactive PDF.  From there you can just click on the sections you want to read and it will jump directly to them.

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