Selections from Debates in the Digital Humanities

These chapters from Debates in the Digital Humanities covered various issues that DH continues to deal with. Matthew Wilkens chapter about canons was one of the points of view that stood out to me, as I became familiar with this text. Wilkens speaks about how canons have become a status quo in DH.   He writes about how this way of thinking is detrimental to the growth of DH. Wilkens writes about how projects in DH have increased our awareness, as we continue to celebrate some of our most notable intellects. Consequently many of our traditional scholars continue to refute the notion that new technologies act as a trailblazer for traditional practices. Why is this an issue? Pedagogy should be based on results, not techniques (I’m not saying that techniques are not important). But if we are truly committed to advancing academia, we must embrace various methodologies, as we work to expand the academy.

The next text that caught my eye was from Paul Fyfe. Fyfe unpacks the relationship between digital publishing and contemporary editing. He argues that methods such as peer review and traditional proofreading have become inadequate as we approach new methods of presenting academic work in the digital world. He quotes Dan Cohen, as he explains that in the open web, true quality trumps minor errors. I definitely see Cohen’s point of view. Is it realistic to expect perfection from academic publishing? With that being said, what methods of editing produce perfection? As someone who has done some work in publishing, I understand the rigorous process that must be undertaken when striving to produce perfected product. As a graduate student with less experience in academic publishing, I question Fyfe’s expectations. Is it fair for us to expect more from academic publishing, in oppose to publishing in general? Ultimately I believe perfection is possible, but I’m not sure what would need to be done to achieve it.

2 thoughts on “Selections from Debates in the Digital Humanities

  1. Hi Jeff, thank you for this provocation. I’m enjoying the readings in “Debates in the Digital Humanities” and am adopting it as my tome for understanding all things “DH” better. I like the themes of “embracing methodologies to expand the academy” and the rhetorical “perfection in academic publishing” that you bring up. I see these as both united by the dichotomy of resistance to vs. building/creating/making technology tailored to the Digital Humanities. It seems logical to me that creating unique technologies for use within DH would be the better route to take, as opposed to squeezing humanities research and findings in to PowerPoint and business-oriented software. What do you think?

  2. Hi Carolyn, I’m not quite sure what you would consider unique technologies, but it makes sense to work to enhance DH. So I would probably agree that PowerPoints and business oriented software would definitely need to be inserted, on an as need basis. If we approach teaching and learning from another perspective, we position ourselves for growth. But if we are trying gain notoriety about new technologies a Powerpoint and business-orientated software might come in handy. I hope I answered your question.

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