Independent Scholar and Digital Humanist
Presented in digital forms
Enabled by digital methods and tools
About digital technology and culture
Building and experimenting with digital
Critical of its own digital-ness
Digital humanities scholarship is grounded in
theory and critical in the tradition similar to
many scholarly practices.
However, and in addition, DH is often also
grounded in a humanistic self-criticism,
including the criticism of the very tools,
technologies, and platforms that enable its
own practices and publications.
As the authors of Digital_Humanities (2012)
write, “one of the strongest attributes of [DH]
is that the iterative versioning of digital
projects fosters experimentation, risk-taking,
redefinition, and sometimes failure. It is
important that we do not short-circuit this
experimental process in the rush to normalize
practices, standardize methodologies, and
define evaluative metrics.”
Digital humanities texts often have multiple
authors, but more subtle and robust
collaborations are the foundation of many DH
projects, involving distributed networks of
expertise including scholars, students,
programmers, technologists, librarians,
designers, and more.
Not always confined by the strictures and
structures of print, digital humanities
scholarship embraces many modes—text,
audio, video, etc.—while also being
expressive and performative in and of
These performative texts use design and
multiple modes of expression to put forth an
argument, often breaking down the
reader/writer dichotomy in new ways.
While not exclusively open access, most
digital humanities scholarship embraces open
and public forms of publishing, from the pre-
and post-publication peer review of Twitter
and blog posts, to Creative Commons-enabled
digital publications, curated digital archives,
and interactive digital projects.
Digital humanists understand that there may
not be someone immediately available who
can teach what is needed to know.
There is a value in figuring it out on one’s
If an immediate tool or authority is not
available, the skill need can be learned, rather
than wait for someone else to provide it.
Yielding to the impulse of the moment rather
than sticking to a prescriptive notion of the
Screwing around can lead to serendipitous
Developing an idea for a project by thinking
about what the field or sub-field needs, but
does not have.
Rather than thinking of scholarly production
as a long process yielding a single, polished
whole, DH values shorter time frames
yielding a series of gradually-expanded
versions of a product.
Traditional forms of academic scholarship
encourage students to work towards a final
product that presents the distilled knowledge
to the public.
In contrast, the ethos of digital humanities
encourages participants to openly discuss the
process from the point of ideation.
Instead of revising away any failures to
present a “correct” final product, unsuccessful
or partially successful attempts are considered
to have useful learning potential.
Scholarly work should be available to
readers/viewers/users, and that the writer
and production of the work is only half of its
Present what is known and learn from it
Garner encouragement and feedback from
other DH practitioners and scholarly
Contribute to the larger academic community,
even before projects are finished.
Makes all work valuable, as opposed to the
Scholarly review and evaluation benefits from
transparency in terms of creation, revision,
In keeping with the value of public
scholarship, digital humanities peer review
expands the idea of “peer” to include scholars
from various fields, departments, and/or
The notion that scholarly work has relevance,
value, and audiences beyond the bounds of
the ivory tower.
Object-based arguments through the curation
of digital media, including collection
repositories and scholarly narratives
supported by digitized or born-digital
primary source materials.
Digital critical editions, marked up and
encoded texts, often created through crowd-
sourced methods and open to perpetual
revision, annotation, and remix.
As data sets grow larger and larger,
humanists hope to create new findings
through computational- and algorithmic-
enabled interpretations of our digitized and
born-digital culture materials.
In contrast to, and often in conjunction with,
close reading, distant reading looks to
understand and analyze large corpora across
time through “trends, patterns, and
Through computational means, cultural
analytics mines, studies, and displays cultural
materials in new aggregated or remixed
forms, often including interactive and
Arguments made from the visualization of
data, including virtual/spatial
representations, geo-referencing and
mapping, simulated environments, and other
designs constructed from and informed by
The creation of “data landscapes” through
connecting real, virtual, and interpretive sites,
often manifesting as digital cultural mapping
or geographic information systems (GIS).
In which the static archive of the past is made
alive and virtually experiential, including the
active archiving of physical spaces through
virtual means, and multi-modal/faceted
approaches to collection access and
Digital projects take collaborative teams that
cross both disciplines and borders and that
often challenge the idea of “the author”
through team contributions, crowdsourcing,
and the user-based performance of the “text.”
Taking on “historical simulation,” humanities
gaming uses virtual learning environments to
create interactive narratives that engage users
and enable the exploration of humanist
Humanists have studied texts, the book, and
many other forms of writing, so what to make
of the code programmers write, the software
computer users use, and the platforms that
shape our social and cultural interactions?
Multi-modal narratives formed from a
database, branching out into multiple paths
users explore, possibly incorporating live-feed
data, all calling into question authorial
control/intent and the role of the reader.
Digital content can be read, written, and
rewritten, and as such all digital objects are
subject to sample, migration, translation,
remix, and other forms of critical reuse.
Digital realities encompass many types of
machines and screens and increasingly objects
are stored in the cloud, distributed over
servers in multiple locations.
Print publication no longer is the only way
forward, and as new modes of publishing
proliferate, and new players in publishing
participate, publishing becomes increasingly
ubiquitous and open.