Defining DH

I am participating in the Day of Digital Humanities 2011 they asked applicants to define the digital humanities. I have first listed my definition of DH and then I have re-posted Dan Cohen’s definition and short reflection.


At its core, the Digital Humanities is the use of digital tools to gather, organize, analyze, and present scholarly research in the humanities. Humanists seek to understand the world and cultures in which people live and have lived through a variety of disciplines including literature, English and other modern languages, philosophy, art, art history, and history. While many of the questions humanists seek to answer have not changed, new technology, like text mining, dynamic visualizations, and spatial analysis, provide humanists ways to ask new questions and view old questions differently.

Dan Cohen:

Defining Digital Humanities, Briefly

I’m participating in the Day of Digital Humanities this year, and the organizers have asked all participants to briefly define “digital humanities.” It’s a helpful exercise, and for those new to the field, it might be useful to give the many responses a quick scan. I wrote this one-sentence answer out fairly hastily, but think it’s not so bad:

Broadly construed, digital humanities is the use of digital media and technology to advance the full range of thought and practice in the humanities, from the creation of scholarly resources, to research on those resources, to the communication of results to colleagues and students.

The best answer to “How do you define digital humanities?” came from Lou Burnard: “With extreme reluctance.”