I think what struck me most this semester was the ability for digital tools to actually enhance, rather than just present, scholarship. Tools like text mining and visualizations which actually help scholars produce work that wouldn’t have been physically possible to produce in the past are for me, the most surprising aspect of digital humanities. I was also frankly surprised by how much work has already been accomplished in the digital humanities, despite not always receiving recognition from traditional academia. Although there has not been full recognition in terms of tenure, promotion, etc., digital humanists seem to be steamrolling ahead in their goals for open access, digital learning, and more. Although a lot of what digital humanists are up against seem like the most entrenched aspects of society–traditional tenure programs and subscription-only access to academic journals, etc.–it appears that they are not deterred, and because of that, are starting to gain a lot of attention. I wonder if people’s skepticism about the educational possibilities of games echoed people’s reservations about the digital humanities in general many years ago. Although I too am skeptical about games, this class made me think twice about being too shortsighted in terms of technology’s roles in society.
The other aspect of the the class that was most enlightening to me was the ability of social media like blogs and Twitter to actually become part of scholarly conversation. From the comments and responses on my own blog and Twitter feed, to the use of these media by scholars, it’s now clear to me that having an internet presence is not a distraction from academic work, but an enhancement. I’m not quite sure that I will keep blogging personally, but I hope to be involved in a blog in some professional way in the future. I think I will also continue to use Twitter, because it seems like a great place to share ideas or find out about opportunities or events. In contrast, I think I would try to keep Facebook separate from anything professional because it has so much personal information associated with it.
Keep in touch with me @shiragmuARTH!