What is Digital Humanities?

What is Digital Humanities?

Digital Humanities is the critical study of the intersection between digital technologies, disciplines in the Arts and Humanities, and scholarly communication.

The University of Reading sees Digital Humanities as a discipline in its own right. As such, work that engages with Digital Humanities is inherently interdisciplinary.

Engaging with DH

There are two main ways in which you might engage with Digital Humanities methods and principles in your research:

  • Using digital tools and software in interpreting and addressing Arts and Humanities research questions, including in the collection, manipulation, or visualisation of Arts and Humanities research data
  • Applying critical traditions in Arts and Humanities research to digital technologies, including assessing the impact on research outcomes of using such technologies in research

Adopting digital approaches that require collaboration with a wider range of experts does not mean replacing the humanities researcher; indeed, Arts and Humanities expertise is even more crucial in digital projects, to ensure that questions about how research is conducted in the new digital environment are answered by as wide-ranging a community as possible.

Issues fundamental to the discipline of DH include:

  • Accessibility and inclusivity
  • Sustainability (including environmental sustainability)
  • Reproducibility of data and open access
  • Transparency and documentation practices
  • Research ethics
  • Infrastructure and equity
  • Critical approaches to technological advances

We in the DH Hub and DH Community of Practice encourage and support projects which use digital technologies in original and critical ways, to inform their research questions, methods and outcomes. We can help you to develop such research projects, in which Digital Humanities methods and principles are fully integrated.

Even if you do not use digital methods in your own research, we invite you to think of Digital Humanities as a vehicle by which to ask not only new and innovative questions about your discipline but also the oldest and most fundamental ones, at this time when the landscape of research is changing. Who gets to tell stories? What gets digitised – in other words, which sources are made available? Who hears the stories of people with no resources to fund making them available?  These are all questions that we, as researchers, owe it to future generations of students and colleagues to take seriously.