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.