Digital Humanities is the use (and subsequent development) of technologies that facilitate collaboration, collecting and sharing information, experiences and events related to the humanities. Digital Humanities projects cover a plethora of subjects, from historic events to performance art and everything in between. Due to the variety of subjects, DH projects also take many forms, from small digital stockpiles of data to discussion forums and online communities. In fact, almost anything with enough information or intellectual curiosity behind it can take the form of a DH project; a great example is the Bracero History Archive, an online database comprised of personal accounts and artifacts that tell the story of the Bracero work program, which affected millions of Mexican agricultural workers in the 1940’s. Despite the relatively specific nature of this event, the project is the culmination of hundreds of historical sources and thousands of user-submitted anecdotes, as well as a collection of substantial resources for teaching and further study. In this way, DH projects not only shine light on particular events, but they serve to advance both the subject in question and technology itself, as technological limits are pushed by innovative layouts and visual representations. Although relatively simple in technological terms, The Bracero archive demonstrates the versatile and comprehensive nature of DH projects, and highlights the potential for the field to become a more efficient way of preserving and discussing the myriad topics that fall under the umbrella of the humanities, as technology continues to evolve and history continues to unfold.
- The Difficulty of Defining Digital Humanities
- Exercise One: What is DH?