The conceptual ecology of digital humanities

Alex H. Poole (Department of Information Science, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 9 January 2017



The purpose of this paper is to dissect key issues and debates in digital humanities, an emerging field of theory and practice. Digital humanities stands greatly to impact the Information and Library Science (ILS) professions (and vice versa) as well as the traditional humanities disciplines.


This paper explores the contours of digital humanities as a field, touching upon fundamental issues related to the field’s coalescence and thus to its structure and epistemology. It looks at the ways in which digital humanities brings new approaches and sheds new light on manifold humanities foci.


Digital humanities work represents a vital new current of interdisciplinary, collaborative intellectual activity both in- and outside the academy; it merits particular attention from ILS.

Research limitations/implications

This paper helps potential stakeholders understand the intellectual and practical framework of the digital humanities and “its relationship” to their own intellectual and professional work.


This paper critically synthesizes previous scholarly work in digital humanities. It has particular value for those in ILS, a community that has proven especially receptive to the field, as well as to scholars working in many humanities disciplines. Digital humanities has already made an important impact on both LIS and the humanities; its impact is sure to grow.



Poole, A. (2017), "The conceptual ecology of digital humanities", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 73 No. 1, pp. 91-122.

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