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Digital Humanities and Cornell University: Research Guide: DH definitions and
best practices

Selected resources on digital humanities; links to support at Cornell University Library.

Definitions of Digital Humanities (DH)

     "... digital humanities as community, or more precisely, as a set of overlapping communities, each one centered around individual, self-identified digital humanists.  Thought of this way, digital humanities starts to look a lot like a social network, built, for better or worse, on Twitter's platform." Tom Scheinfeldt, "Stuff Digital Humanists Like:  Defining Digital Humanities by its Values,"  retrieved January 12, 2011, from his Found History blog.

     “A digital humanities center is an entity where new media and technologies are used for humanities-based research, teaching, and intellectual engagement and experimentation. The goals of the center are to further humanities scholarship, create new forms of knowledge, and explore technology’s impact on humanities based disciplines. To accomplish these goals, a digital humanities center undertakes some or all of the following activities:

  • builds digital collections as scholarly or teaching resources; creates tools for 
    >authoring (i.e., creating multimedia products and applications with minimal technical knowledge or training)
    >building digital collections
    >analyzing humanities collections, data, or research processes
    >managing the research process;
  • uses digital collections and analytical tools to generate new intellectual products;
  • offers digital humanities training (in the form of workshops, courses, academic degree programs, postgraduate and faculty training, fellowships, and internships);
  • offers lectures, programs, conferences, or seminars on digital humanities topics for general or academic audiences;
  • has its own academic appointments and staffing (i.e., staff does not rely solely on faculty located in another academic department);
  • provides collegial support for, and collaboration with, members of other academic departments within the DHC’s home institution (e.g., offers free or fee-based consultation services; enters into collaborative projects with other campus departments);
  • provides collegial support for, and collaboration with, members of other academic departments, organizations, or projects outside the DHC’s home institution (e.g., offers free or fee-based consultation to outside groups; enters into collaborative projects with external groups);
  • conducts research in humanities and humanities computing (digital scholarship);
  • creates a zone of experimentation and innovation for humanists;
  • serves as an information portal for a particular humanities discipline;
  • serves as a repository for humanities-based digital collections (e.g., Web sites, electronic text projects, QuickTime movie clips);
  • provides technology solutions to humanities departments (e.g., serves an information”

Diane M. Zorich,  “A Survey of Digital Humanities Centers in the United States.” November 2008. Pages 4-5.