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Digital Humanities

A Wenzhou-Kean University 2018 Student Partnering with Staff (SpS) Research Program Project, A Pathway to Digital Humanities, seeks both to gauge and stimulate interest in digital humanities.



Digital Humanities has existed for as long as there have been personal computers. The U.S National Endowment for the Humanities has been giving Digital Humanities project grants for 10 years, starting in 2008.  Digital Humanities describes a variety of contemporary ways that scholars do research at the intersection of computing or digital technologies in the disciplines associated with the Humanities, such as ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, geography, history, religion, art, and musicology. In modern times, humanistic disciplines have expanded to include global studies, cultural anthropology, history, and law. Digital humanities can offer rich opportunities for collaboration between faculty and humanities students. Digital humanities create scholarship that transcends textual sources, such as multimedia sources, cultural datasets, and historical documentation. Engaging WKU faculty in computer science with no previous background but with access to many computer science students is also part of the project design and goals. There is less experience with Digital Humanities in China, and there are currently no research grants obtained by Wenzhou-Kean faculty explicitly targeting Digital Humanities. Opportunities to conduct Digital Humanities research can exist at today’s Wenzhou-Kean University.

Definition Source: Burdick, A., Drucker, J., Lunenfeld, P., Pressner, T., & Schnapp, J. (2012). Digital Humanities. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from

An Introduction to the DH

Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities: Emerging Methods and Genre

It is a brief introduction to the "Emerging Methods and Genre" from Digital_Humanities, which was published by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  For those interested in Digital_Humanities, the E-book is available below.

Emerging Methods and Genre of the DH
Along with the central role of theory, methodologies drive much digital humanities work. However, DH methodologies vary and should not been seen as explicitly linked with, or confused for, DH technologies (Kraus, 2013). In many ways, understanding digital humanities is easiest through grappling with its many methodologies, which may be why so many DH presentations focus on process and project. It’s difficult to collocate the totality of DH methodologies, but in the book Digital_Humanities (2012), the authors dedicate a chapter to “emerging methods and genres” which we synthesize below by way of an introduction.

  • Enhanced Critical Curation
    Object-based arguments through the curation of digital media, including collection repositories and scholarly narratives supported by digitized or born-digital primary source materials.

  • Augmented Editions and Fluid Textuality
    Digital critical editions, marked up and encoded texts, often created through crowd-sourced methods and open to perpetual revision, annotation, and remix.

  • Scale: The Law of Large Numbers
    As data sets grow larger and larger, humanists hope to create new findings through computational- and algorithmic-enabled interpretations of our digitized and born-digital culture materials.

  • Distant/Close, Macro/Micro, Surface/Depth
    In contrast to, and often in conjunction with, close reading, distant reading looks to understand and analyze large corpora across time through “trends, patterns, and relationships.”

  • Cultural Analytics, Aggregation, and Data-Mining
    Through computational means, cultural analytics mines, studies, and displays cultural materials in new aggregated or remixed forms, often including interactive and narrativized visualizations

  • Visualization and Data Design
    Arguments made from the visualization of data, including virtual/spatial representations, geo-referencing and mapping, simulated environments, and other designs constructed from and informed by data.

  • Locative Investigation and Thick Mapping
    The creation of “data landscapes” through connecting real, virtual, and interpretive sites, often manifesting as digital cultural mapping or geographic information systems (GIS).

  • The Animated Archive
    In which the static archive of the past is made alive and virtually experiential, including the active archiving of physical spaces through virtual means, and multi-modal/faceted approaches to collection access and interactivity.

  • Distributed Knowledge Production and Performative Access
    Digital projects take collaborative teams that cross both disciplines and borders and that often challenge the idea of “the author” through team contributions, crowdsourcing, and the user-based performance of the “text.”

  • Humanities Gaming
    Taking on “historical simulation,” humanities gaming uses virtual learning environments to create interactive narratives that engage users and enable the exploration of humanist themes.

  • Code, Software, and Platform Studies
    Humanists have studied texts, the book, and many other forms of writing, so what to make of the code programmers write, the software computer users use, and the platforms that shape our social and cultural interactions?

  • Database Documentaries
    Multi-modal narratives formed from a database, branching out into multiple paths users explore, possibly incorporating live-feed data, all calling into question authorial control/intent and the role of the reader.

  • Repurposable Content and Remix Culture
    Digital content can be read, written, and rewritten, and as such all digital objects are subject to sample, migration, translation, remix, and other forms of critical reuse.

  • Pervasive Infrastructure
    Our digital realities encompass many types of machines and screens and increasingly our objects are stored in the cloud, distributed over servers in multiple locations, so what does that mean for humans and data?
  • Ubiquitous Scholarship
    Print publication no longer is the only way forward, and as new modes of publishing proliferate, and new players in publishing participate, publishing becomes increasingly ubiquitous and open.

WKU Library Resources on the DH

Digital Humanities News

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Digital Humanities in China

The digital humanities (usually translated as shuzi renwen 数字人文 in mainland China and shuwei renwen 數位人文 in Taiwan) become an emerging field in China.  Even though established research centers are very rare in China now, research have been conducted in this field. Several Chinese key universities have centers for developing relevant project.

Tools and Resources

Digital Research Tools (DiRT) Directory

Description: The DiRT Directory is a registry of digital research tools for scholarly use. DiRT facilitates digital humanists and others conducting digital research to find and compare resources ranging from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mindmapping software. (Description is from DiRT Directory's "About" page)

Methods Commons

Description: Method Commons is a collection of research methods and techniques for analyzing text. This site describes common or interesting sequences of actions, or recipes, showing users how to combine freely accessible resources to perform various analytic tasks. (Description is from the Methods Commons’ home page)

The Programming Historian

Description: The Programming Historian offers novice-friendly, peer-reviewed tutorials that help humanists learn a wide range of digital tools, techniques, and workflows to facilitate their research. (From The Programming Historian's "About" page).

The Sourcecaster

Description: Sourcecaster explains how to use the command line to solves common challenges in digital primary sources.

Text Analysis Port for Research (TAPoR)

Description: TAPoR discovers the commonly used or widely respected groups of tools for manipulating, analyzing and presenting text. You can can also rate and rank different tools used by DH scholars.

Taxonomy of Digital Research Activities in the Humanities (TaDiRAH)

Description: The Taxonomy of Digital Research Activities in the Humanities is a community-driven site that helps to structure relevant information and to discover the language.