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Alexander Reid

While the term “humanities” is not in itself a particularly contentious one among academics, the addition of the term “digital” creates all sorts of problems, even the…

Abstract

While the term “humanities” is not in itself a particularly contentious one among academics, the addition of the term “digital” creates all sorts of problems, even the superficially illogical contention that digital humanities are not humanities at all. The fundamental rupture between digital and print humanities lies in the turning of a materialist, object-oriented analysis upon the practices of humanistic scholarship. That is, in their newness, the digital humanities are unsurprisingly self-reflective about the materiality of their scholarly practices. This self-reflection has been largely absent from traditional humanities where we had all but naturalized the material composition of dissertations, journal articles, monographs, and so on. As a result, even as we continue to pursue traditional scholarly methods, it becomes increasingly difficult to do so without a self-reflective awareness of the historical-material contingency of these practices. In short, they are no longer the same. To explore this issue, this chapter takes up assemblage theory, and actor-network theory to investigate the intersection of mobile technologies and social media in the digital humanities including conference backchannels and networked research communities mediated through Twitter, Google Buzz, and similar applications. The chapter considers how, even for those who continue to publish in traditional genres on traditional subjects, the development of these digital assemblages are transforming compositional practices.

Details

Teaching Arts and Science with the New Social Media
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-781-0

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Book part

This Chapter provides an overview of the field of digital humanities and examines the arguments that are helping to shape it in a variety of ways. This chapter explores…

Abstract

This Chapter provides an overview of the field of digital humanities and examines the arguments that are helping to shape it in a variety of ways. This chapter explores the unique difference in perspective between the “code” as the basis of understanding the humanities in general and digital humanities more specifically and the focus of pedagogues, who believe that it is indeed the examination and expression of the humanities that help shape the code, thus giving the code meaning. There are also those who focus more on research within the field and are not conversant on how various tools work but instead why they are chosen in the first place. This chapter also explores how the work of students, as user of that which we in the field code, teach and research, impacts the discipline.

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Digital Humanities: Current Perspective, Practices, and Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-689-7

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Article

Hsuanwei Michelle Chen

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how scholars in the digital humanities employ information visualization techniques in their research, and how academic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how scholars in the digital humanities employ information visualization techniques in their research, and how academic librarians should prepare themselves to support this emerging trend.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts a content analysis methodology, which further draws techniques from data mining, natural language processing and information visualization to analyze three peer-reviewed journals published within the last five years and ten online university library research guides in this field.

Findings

To successfully support and effectively contribute to the digital humanities, academic librarians should be knowledgeable in more than just visualization concepts and tools. The content analysis results for the digital humanities journals reflect the importance of recognizing the wide variety of applications and purposes of information visualization in digital humanities research.

Practical implications

This study provides useful and actionable insights into how academic librarians can prepare for this emerging technology to support future endeavors in the digital humanities.

Originality/value

Although information visualization has been widely adopted in digital humanities research, it remains unclear how librarians, especially academic librarians who support digital humanities research, should prepare for this emerging technology. This research is the first study to address this research gap through the lens of actual applications of information visualization techniques in digital humanities research, which is compared against university LibGuides for digital humanities research.

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Article

Casey Daniel Hoeve

Despite its growing popularity, there is a noticeable absence of references to the inclusion of genealogy and family history studies within the field of digital humanities

Abstract

Purpose

Despite its growing popularity, there is a noticeable absence of references to the inclusion of genealogy and family history studies within the field of digital humanities. New forms of inclusiveness, particularly in production-coding and cultural analysis, closely align genealogy and family history with the core tenants practiced among humanities computing and digital humanities. This paper aims to prove that genealogy as family history should be formally recognized within this cohort, as it can serve as a valuable and innovative partner for advocacy and technological advancement of the field.

Design/methodology/approach

By examining the literature, genealogy will be defined according to its use in the digital humanities, as well as its use in family history studies. The core tenants of humanities computing and digital humanities will be identified and compared against the research methodology and technological tools used in genealogy and family history research. The comparison will determine how closely the fields align, and if genealogy defined as family history should be used, and included within the field of digital humanities.

Findings

The progression of genealogy and family history from production to cultural analysis corresponds with the transition of production and coding (influenced by humanities computing) to the inclusion of experimental cultural research adopted by the digital humanities. Genealogy’s use of technological tools, such as databases, text encoding, data-text mining, graphic information systems and DNA mapping, demonstrates the use of coding and production. Cultural analysis through demographic study, crowdsourcing and establishing cultural connections illustrates new methods of scholarship, and connects coding and cultural criticism, serving as a bridge between digital humanities and the humanities at large. As genealogy continues to create new partnerships of a collaborative nature, it can, and will, continue to contribute to new areas of study within the field. As these practices continue to converge with the digital humanities, genealogy should be recognized as a partner and member in the digital humanities cohort.

Originality/value

Despite its growing popularity, there is a noticeable absence of references to the inclusion of genealogy and family history studies within the field of the digital humanities. The term genealogy resonates differently within the digital humanities, primarily articulating the history of the field over the study and research of family lineage. This study seeks to demonstrate how genealogy and family history can fit within the digital humanities, providing a new perspective that has not yet been articulated in the scholarly literature.

Details

Digital Library Perspectives, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5816

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Article

Ying Zhang, Shu Liu and Emilee Mathews

Digital humanities (DH) has become a much discussed topic among both humanities scholars and library professionals. The library and information science (LIS) community has…

Abstract

Purpose

Digital humanities (DH) has become a much discussed topic among both humanities scholars and library professionals. The library and information science (LIS) community has taken efforts in providing new facilities and developing new services to meet humanities scholars’ changing research behaviors and needs employing digital tools and methods. How to effectively collaborate with the DH community has been a challenging task to LIS in their digital library (DL) development endeavors. The purpose of this paper is to discover productive ways for LIS to support DH scholarship, specifically, what DL components, including content, technology, and service, should and could be developed for digital humanists.

Design/methodology/approach

As an initial effort of the Digital Humanities Interest Group at University of California, Irvine Libraries, the examination is primarily based on a cross-boundary environmental scan in both DH and DL fields. The environmental survey includes both a literature review and web and physical site visits. The survey results, especially a gap analysis between the behaviors and needs of humanities scholars and the digital content, technologies, and services currently offered by the DL community, are used to shape the proposed roles of DH librarianship.

Findings

First, DH’s innovative approach to research and teaching practices brings opportunities and challenges. Second, DH research is collaborative work. Third, major channels are established for the DH community. Fourth, various tools and data sets are developed to support different types of projects. Fifth, DH community has unbalanced geographical and disciplinary distribution. Sixth, DH research output still lacks attention, integration, and sustainability. Finally, LIS professionals play unique roles in DH projects. Overall, the communities of DH and DL share common goals and tasks.

Practical implications

This paper proposes these present and future roles of LIS professionals: creator and contributor; curator; messenger and liaison; educator; mediator and interpreter; host; partner; innovator; “hybrid scholar”; advocate; consultant. At the organizational level, libraries should demonstrate higher efficiency and effectiveness in the services by revamping organizational culture or structure to stimulate and realize more and deeper cross-boundary conversations and collaborations. On a larger scale, the DL community should strive to become more visible, valuable, and approachable to the DH community; and even better, become part of it.

Originality/value

This paper examines both DH and DL fields critically and connects the two communities by discovering gaps and commonalities. Based on the findings, the authors recommend roles and actions to be taken by LIS professionals, libraries, and the DL community. This paper is valuable to both humanities scholars who are seeking support in their research using digital methods and LIS professionals who are interested in providing more effective and suitable services. The paper also helps library administrators and aspiring librarians better understand the concept of DH and grasp insight on the present and future of DH librarianship.

Details

Library Management, vol. 36 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article

Alex H. Poole

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…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 73 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article

Claire Warwick, Melissa Terras, Isabel Galina, Paul Huntington and Nikoleta Pappa

The purpose of this article is to discuss the results of the Log Analysis of Internet Resources in the Arts and Humanities (LAIRAH) study. It aims to concentrate upon the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to discuss the results of the Log Analysis of Internet Resources in the Arts and Humanities (LAIRAH) study. It aims to concentrate upon the use and importance of information resources, physical research centres and digital finding aids in scholarly research.

Design/methodology/approach

Results are presented of web server log analysis of portals for humanities scholars: the arts and humanities data service (AHDS) website and Humbul Humanities Hub. These are used to determine which resources were accessed most often, or seldom. Questionnaire data about perceptions of digital resource use were also gathered.

Findings

Information resources such as libraries, archives museums and research centres, and the web pages that provide information about them are vital for humanities scholars. The university library website was considered to be the most important resource, even compared to Google. Secondary finding aids and reference resources are considered more important than primary research resources, especially those produced by other scholars, whose output is less trusted than publications produced by commercial organisations, libraries, archives and museums.

Practical implications

Digital resources have not replaced physical information resources and the people who staff them, thus both types of information continue to require funding. Scholars trust the judgment of information professionals, who therefore need to be trained to evaluate and recommend specialist digital research resources.

Originality/value

LAIRAH was the first research project to use quantitative data to investigate resource use. Findings about the type of resources used are based on evidence rather than opinions alone. This gives a clearer picture of usage that may be used to plan future information services.

Details

Program, vol. 42 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0033-0337

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Article

Chih-Ming Chen, Chung Chang and Yung-Ting Chen

Digital humanities aim to use a digital-based revolutionary new way to carry out enhanced forms of humanities research more effectively and efficiently. This study…

Abstract

Purpose

Digital humanities aim to use a digital-based revolutionary new way to carry out enhanced forms of humanities research more effectively and efficiently. This study develops a character social network relationship map tool (CSNRMT) that can semi-automatically assist digital humanists through human-computer interaction to more efficiently and accurately explore the character social network relationships from Chinese ancient texts for useful research findings.

Design/methodology/approach

With a counterbalanced design, semi-structured in-depth interview, and lag sequential analysis, a total of 21 research subjects participated in an experiment to examine the system effectiveness and technology acceptance of adopting the ancient book digital humanities research platform with and without the CSNRMT to interpret the characters and character social network relationships.

Findings

The experimental results reveal that the experimental group with the CSNRMT support appears higher system effectiveness on the interpretation of characters and character social network relationships than the control group without the CSNRMT, but does not achieve a statistically significant difference. Encouragingly, the experimental group with the CSNRMT support presents remarkably higher technology acceptance than the control group without the CSNRMT. Furthermore, use behaviors analyzed by lag sequential analysis reveal that the CSNRMT could assist digital humanists in the interpretation of character social network relationships. The results of the interview present positive opinions on the integration of system interface, smoothness of operation, and external search function.

Research limitations/implications

Currently, the system effectiveness of exploring the character social network relationships from texts for useful research findings by using the CSNRMT developed in this study will be significantly affected by the accuracy of recognizing character names and character social network relationships from Chinese ancient texts. The developed CSNRMT will be more practical when the offered information about character names and character social network relationships is more accurate and broad.

Practical implications

This study develops an ancient book digital humanities research platform with an emerging CSNRMT that provides an easy-to-use real-time interaction interface to semi-automatically support digital humanists to perform digital humanities research with the need of exploring character social network relationships.

Originality/value

At present, a real-time social network analysis tool to provide a friendly interaction interface and effectively assist digital humanists in the digital humanities research with character social networks analysis is still lacked. This study thus presents the CSNRMT that can semi-automatically identify character names from Chinese ancient texts and provide an easy-to-use real-time interaction interface for supporting digital humanities research so that digital humanists could more efficiently and accurately establish character social network relationships from the analyzed texts to explore complicated character social networks relationship and find out useful research findings.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

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Article

Qing Wang

The purpose of this paper is to conduct a retrospective bibliometric analysis of documents about digital humanities, an emerging but interdisciplinary movement. It…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conduct a retrospective bibliometric analysis of documents about digital humanities, an emerging but interdisciplinary movement. It examines the distribution of research outputs and languages, identifies the active journals and institutions, dissects the network of categories and cited references, and interprets the hot research topics.

Design/methodology/approach

The source data are derived from the Web of Science (WoS) core collection. To reveal the holistic landscape of this field, VOSviewer and CiteSpace as popular visualization tools are employed to process the bibliographic data including author, category, reference, and keyword. Furthermore, the parameter design of the visualization tools follows the general procedures and methods for bibliometric analysis.

Findings

There is an obviously rapid growth in digital humanities research. English is still the leading academic language in this field. The most influential authors all come from or have scientific relationships with Europe and North America, and two leading countries of which are the UK and USA. Digital humanities is the result of a dynamic dialogue between humanistic exploration and digital means. This research field is closely associated with history, literary and cultural heritage, and information and library science.

Research limitations/implications

This analysis relies on the metadata information extracted from the WoS database; however, some valuable literatures in the field of digital humanities may not be retrieved from the database owing to the inherent challenge of topic search. This study is also restricted by the scope of publications, the limitation regarding the source of data is that WoS database may have underrepresented publications in this domain.

Originality/value

The output of this paper could be a valuable reference for researchers and practitioners interesting in the knowledge domain of digital humanities. Moreover, the conclusions of this retrospective analysis can be deemed as the comparable foundation for future study.

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Article

Chih-Ming Chen and Chung Chang

With the rapid development of digital humanities, some digital humanities platforms have been successfully developed to support digital humanities research for humanists…

Abstract

Purpose

With the rapid development of digital humanities, some digital humanities platforms have been successfully developed to support digital humanities research for humanists. However, most of them have still not provided a friendly digital reading environment and practicable social network analysis tool to support humanists on interpreting texts and exploring characters’ social network relationships. Moreover, the advancement of digitization technologies for the retrieval and use of Chinese ancient books is arising an unprecedented challenge and opportunity. For these reasons, this paper aims to present a Chinese ancient books digital humanities research platform (CABDHRP) to support historical China studies. In addition to providing digital archives, digital reading, basic search and advanced search functions for Chinese ancient books, this platform still provides two novel functions that can more effectively support digital humanities research, including an automatic text annotation system (ATAS) for interpreting texts and a character social network relationship map tool (CSNRMT) for exploring characters’ social network relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted DSpace, an open-source institutional repository system, to serve as a digital archives system for archiving scanned images, metadata, and full texts to develop the CABDHRP for supporting digital humanities (DH) research. Moreover, the ATAS developed in the CABDHRP used the Node.js framework to implement the system’s front- and back-end services, as well as application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by different databases, such as China Biographical Database (CBDB) and TGAZ, used to retrieve the useful linked data (LD) sources for interpreting ancient texts. Also, Neo4j which is an open-source graph database management system was used to implement the CSNRMT of the CABDHRP. Finally, JavaScript and jQuery were applied to develop a monitoring program embedded in the CABDHRP to record the use processes from humanists based on xAPI (experience API). To understand the research participants’ perception when interpreting the historical texts and characters’ social network relationships with the support of ATAS and CSNRMT, semi-structured interviews with 21 research participants were conducted.

Findings

An ATAS embedded in the reading interface of CABDHRP can collect resources from different databases through LD for automatically annotating ancient texts to support digital humanities research. It allows the humanists to refer to resources from diverse databases when interpreting ancient texts, as well as provides a friendly text annotation reader for humanists to interpret ancient text through reading. Additionally, the CSNRMT provided by the CABDHRP can semi-automatically identify characters’ names based on Chinese word segmentation technology and humanists’ support to confirm and analyze characters’ social network relationships from Chinese ancient books based on visualizing characters’ social networks as a knowledge graph. The CABDHRP not only can stimulate humanists to explore new viewpoints in a humanistic research, but also can promote the public to emerge the learning interest and awareness of Chinese ancient books.

Originality/value

This study proposed a novel CABDHRP that provides the advanced features, including the automatic word segmentation of Chinese text, automatic Chinese text annotation, semi-automatic character social network analysis and user behavior analysis, that are different from other existed digital humanities platforms. Currently, there is no this kind of digital humanities platform developed for humanists to support digital humanities research.

Details

The Electronic Library , vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

Keywords

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