Digital Humanities

Last Updated: November 3rd, 2016

Tool Types:

Overview

Digital Humanities is the intersection of computing with social, scientific and humanities studies that enables scholars, technical experts and students to expand traditional disciplines like history, philosophy, literature, art, and archeology through the use of digital tools, often through digital reproductions and tagging of original works.  Technology has enabled projects to use 3-D mapping and printing of artifacts, digitization of texts, reconstructed virtual realities, and other interdisciplinary experiments and research of primary source materials for use in the online classroom. Most of the projects are open-source and seek global collaboration for project development.

Application to All Courses

The use of digital archives and experiences can be utilized in nearly all online courses. Digital resources can be a way to engage students through active learning as they interact and manipulate them while providing instructors with a more authentic assessment of learning.  Many digitization projects are also expanding as newly sourced content is digitized and reconstructed in various ways.  Many digitized texts and artifacts that are tagged are also searchable allowing students and scholars to reference the material easily.
While few courses should be devoted entirely to digital reproductions, they can be powerful tools to enhance any course. Consider enhancing the online experience by designing course content that utilizes resources for mapping scientific or demographic data on Google Earth, using text visualization tools such as word clouds, travel through reconstructed virtual realities, or examine details of digitized artifacts.

Examples

Garden of Earthly Delights by Jhernominus Bosch
Have students wander through this famous work of art or tour an annotated narration of scholarly ideas on this interactive version.

Google Ngram Viewer
Have students perform analysis of the frequency of small phrases in Google’s books throughout time and compare it to other data that might have significant corrleations:

Rome Reborn: A Virtual Tour of Ancient Rome in 320 CE
Immerse students in a virtual tour of Rome reconstructed from archeological evidence as it appeared in 320CE

Word Cloud Generator for Topic Modeling
An assignment around visualizing the frequency of texts could be used to compare cultural lexicon, important texts, speeches or differences of historical perspective.

Getting Started

UF hosts its own large digital collection developed and managed by the Digital Services Department at the Digital Library Center.  The resources in this searchable database can be used in many courses that might utilize antique maps, unique manuscripts, museum objects, oral history recordings, songs, and other items.  The largest and most utilized collections are:

Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC)

Florida Digital Newspaper Library

Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature Digital Collection

Institutional Repository, IR@UF

Additional Resources

UF’s Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere’s Digital Humanities Resource page

The Digital Humanities Commons, a collaboration hub

Stanford University Libraries’ Digital Humanities

Ideas for Seminar Projects Using the Digital Humanities

The John Carter Brown Library Digital Book and Image Collections

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