A Definition of Digital Humanities

Definition: Digital Humanities encompasses both an academic discipline and digital representations of research that, when put together, seek to act as a mediator between the academic and the public. The current landscape of the field tends to focus on tackling difficult topics: representation, intersectional analysis, accessibility, and other areas that are discussed through digital mediums globally. This endeavor must be multidisciplinary in nature, while fostering an environment that encourages new types of research as digital tools only increase in effectiveness and capabilities. Digital Humanities is at its best when its foundation is based on expanding knowledge upon different cultures, structural issues, and the experiences of others with the explicit goal of better understanding the world around us.

Explanation: This original definition is guided by the current understanding of Digital Humanities and engaging with scholars writing about the field. More recent definitions emphasize ideologically-driven research that seeks to aid the public in understanding the world around them through digital means. Contributing to the field now tends to mean conducting and publishing research that is informed by the everchanging social landscape of any locality one is focusing on. Although not exclusive to these topics, there is a broad utility in educating the public on digital tools, media literacy, intersectional analysis, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Just as museums have seen a shift from essentialist preservation techniques regarding its collections to a more collaborationist stance, Digital Humanities has seen a similar shift occur since the early 2000s; where serving the public is just as important as the research itself in a way. Since target audiences are overwhelmingly a factor in the creation of research, it is important to adapt to the needs of the public; just as a successful manufacturing company would strive to achieve.

Overall, research conducted under the umbrella of Digital Humanities will never perfectly achieve the goals it sets out to achieve. Therefore, the current focus of the field should be technological advancement in terms of accessibility and presentation, while also striving to represent as many voices as are desired in order to create richer and valuable research for a growing population.

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