Ok. Digital Humanities. Everybody is talking about it, so am I right now. But this talking talking is not Digital Humanities (DH). The discussion about DH is not DH. The definition of DH is not DH. This post is not DH. Yep, it doesn’t matter it is on the tweeter, facebook or blogs. The problem is that everybody is giving an opinion, and opinion over opinions, and then I don’t really know what is people talking about.

So, what is this DH about? Does it makes sense? It seems is something related with humanities and digital. Humanities includes a lot of other areas and the term digital is already corrupted. Originally the term “digital” is related with discrete values in contrast with “analog” (continues values).  A discrete system is for example the binary. Other discrete system is the alphabet, which is used to write novels, which are studied by the area of literature that belongs to humanities. Therefore wasn’t the literature already digital?

I guess they mean something else with digital here. It seems to be more related with either Internet or computing. In the first case, Internet, I agree that there are new forms of expressions (Orsai or Balada/Track) that deserve being studied separately because they include new elements to the “traditional” literature. Before the Internet, those elements didn’t exist. Other examples are studying the behaviour of people in social networks or analysing the work of graphic designers. I agree that they are new forms of expressions that need theories that have to be developed. But not all out there is new. Most of the change that we are seeing nowadays is because of there is much more information that could be studied. From independent movies or books to interactions between individuals.

This take me to the second case, computing. Specially processing lots of information. Here, the possibilities are huge. Not just to study the new forms of expressions but also the old ones. For example, processing a whole collection of the Spanish golden age period. However, things here are also not necessarily that new. For example, computational linguistics has been there for a while. Note the use of more specific name. It requires a big deal of linguistics, statistics and computer sciences. And yep, it is claimed to be part of DH.

There are clearly two big areas here. And, each one, contains also big areas.  A criticism of digital graphic design should be way different of that girl who is dealing with understanding Orsai. What about computer linguistics and artificial societies (simulation of social interaction)? Is digital humanities all of this? Seems a bit too much. I think it would make more sense to start (1) listing all the new forms of expression and (2) study which new tools are being applied to the already existing areas of humanities. DH is just an umbrella for all this but I cannot think in a curriculum for all of that…

Anyway, this is just me increasing the bubble of Digital Humanities… talking talking…

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