How Do You Define “Digital Humanities”? TAPoR Builds a Wiki to Answer...

James Harker
June 28, 2010
Image of the T A P oR logo.

TAPoR, or Text Analysis Portal for Research, is a collaboration of six Canadian universities and acts as a hub for text-based research projects. One of their projects is a wiki that consolidates answers to the question, “How do you define Humanities Computing / Digital Humanities?” The answers show a range of understandings of the term and of its scope.

For some, digital humanities is simply “using computers to advance scholarship,” or “humanities by digital means.” Others observe that certain kinds of projects are possible only through digital technologies, and thus “digital humanities” refers to a more specific kind of scholarship involving perhaps “production, sharing and co-creation of experience with digital tools.”

Others see a more fundamental critical distinction, and define digital humanities as, for example, “examining the methodology and provision of possibilities for enabling that research or new conceptions of related research.”

One of the most interesting elements of the digital humanities wiki is that it seeks a definition of digital humanities using some of the very tools that constitute it—a web 2.0 technology, a pool of humanities scholars, and a question that considers the role of technology itself.

What is your definition of digital humanities? Help the project evolve by contributing your own definition!