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Digital Humanities: General Information

A guide to digital humanities, including definitions, sample projects, and tools.

What are the digital humanities?

Where to begin?

Providing a definition of digital humanities is a contentious endeavor. The field of digital humanities includes a wide range of disciplines and methods, and debates about the nature of the field are common. To get an idea of the wide variety of responses to the question, visit What Is Digital Humanities?, which randomly displays one of a crowdsourced set of definitions each time the page is refreshed.

One of the biggest questions in digital humanities work is "Where do I start?" In his blog post addressing that question, Trevor Owens advises the researcher to "start wherever, as long as where you start is anchored in your goals." For some help getting started, try DevDH to access a collection of short lectures and workshops designed to help you get familiar with DH methods.

What does a DH project look like?

Around DH in 80 days and NYTimes Labs are both great examples of the wide variety of forms a DH project can take. Around DH in 80 days was a blog showcasing one DH project from around the globe each day. Each project has a short description and link. The NYTimes Labs showcase DH projects done by the New York Times Research and Development group.

Maintaining and updating projects can be expensive and time consuming. Anticipating issues of preservation and creating a comprehensive plan from the beginning will help alleviate stress and confusion. The Socio-Technical Sustainability Roadmap developed at Pitt is intended to answer many of these questions. It was created by Alison Langmead and her team to address sustainability concerns in DH.

Image from Gettysburg College

Interested in getting involved?

The Digital Scholarship Librarian can help! Contact her to learn more about digital humanities methods, incorporating DH into pedagogy, ways to jump into the field, and more.

Gesina A. Phillips

Digital Scholarship Librarian

Gumberg Library

412.386.1086 | phillipsg@duq.edu

Grants and Support

Finding funding for Digital Projects can be challenging, but opportunities are increasing. The NEH and DHNow both have pages dedicated to guiding researchers to funding opportunities.

NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grants

Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities (NEH ODH)

Digital Humanities Now Funding

Conferences

Conferences are an integral part of DH work. There are local, national, and international conferences to help connect Digital Humanists so that they can share skills, research and expertise.

ADHO Annual Conference: An annual international conference sponsored by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.

ACH Conference: The Association for Computers and the Humanities is holding a new, US-based DH conference. Find other conference opportunities on their conference page as well.

Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI): An annual summer institute for digital humanists held at the University of Victoria and focusing on "intensive coursework, seminars, and lectures."

Digital Mitford: A project at Pitt-Greensburg centered on the Digital Mary Russell Mitford Archive. These workshops tend to focus on text-based analysis, such as text encoding using TWI XML

Publications

Beyond knowing the general scope of Digital Humanities, it is useful to keep up with the most up-to-date information. While this is by no means a complete and exhaustive list of materials, the following are some good resources to help you keep up with this ever-changing and dynamic field.

DH Now: Digital Humanities Now is an aggregator which collects various feeds and pushes the content out under one source. They collect calls for papers, funding, conferences, and other information in regards to Digital Humanities.

Journal of Digital Humanities [on hiatus]: An  "experiment in scholarly communication," JDH seeks to publish the "most interesting and innovative digital humanities gray literature." ‚Äč

DH Quarterly: DH Quarterly is an open access peer-reviewed journal. It is published by the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.

DH Debates: An interactive online platform for the Debates in Digital Humanities book series.

Organizations

Local Organizations

Getting involved locally is key! The Pittsburgh DH community is very active and welcoming. There are a variety of ways to get involved. Here are some links for local organizations to collaborate and cooperate with.

PGH|DH: Bringing together various local institutions, PGH|DH holds workshops and other information sessions through the year with the goal of sustaining the welcoming and open atmosphere of DH scholarship in Pittsburgh.

Keystone DH: The statewide DH community holds a yearly conference. 

DHRX (Digital Humanities Reseach at Pitt): The DH community at the University of Pittsburgh is very active, and collaborates frequently with other local institutions. They host many DH events and workshops on campus that are linked here on their website.

Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center: While it isn't DH work, the open data found here can be very useful for local projects. It is all open and comes in a variety of formats. Many datasets are updated frequently.

National and International Organizations

The Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH): The website of this professional association includes many conferences, links, publications, and other information about the Digital Humanities. ACH is international in scope, and is the US-based consortium of ADHO.

Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO): This organization boasts international representation from around the world, and focuses on research, publications, collaboration, and training. 

The National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities: This office of the NEH collects information about DH from a variety of sources, but mainly focuses on NEH-affiliated grants, funders, and programs.

HASTAC: The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory is an organization that brings together scholars of all disciplines to focus on advanced teaching and learning through their network of 16,000+ scholars from 400+ organizations.

Global DH

Digital humanities is a field with global implications. It is incumbent upon the field to seek to establish a diverse and inclusive community early in its development. Transform DH is a website dedicated to collecting resources to help make DH more inclusive. It started as a hashtag on Twitter, and grew into a platform to increase the diversity of digital humanities scholarship.

As Roopika Risam notes in Beyond the Margins: Intersectionality and the Digital Humanities, digital humanists who work with issues of difference fear for its viability. It is of the utmost importance to continue to include and elevate these voices and perspectives so DH work does not fall into the same exclusionary patterns as other forms of scholarship. As Kim Gallon, paraphrasing Kirschenbaum, says in her article Making a Case for the Black Digital Humanities, "there are high stakes for who is and who is not considered to be a digital humanist, and for what is or is not considered to be digital humanities, when federal grants are hard to come by and academic jobs may hinge on the term."

Attribution

This guide was originally created by University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information MLIS student Alexander Sanford during his Summer 2018 field placement with the Digital Scholarship Librarian. It is actively updated and maintained by Gesina A. Phillips, Digital Scholarship Librarian.