Study Guide

Digital Humanities Buzzwords

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Humanities Computing. This is the old-school term for Digital Humanities. People threw this baby around a lot in the 1980s and 1990s, but in the 2000s, the oh-so-much-cooler term "Digital Humanities" took over and took no prisoners.

Coding. That's right: we're talking programming. Which is something most of us—unless we're computer geeks—have no idea how to do. A big debate in the field is whether Digital Humanists need to know how to code or not.

Text Encoding. This is the process of transcribing all those books and manuscripts into digital form. Think of GoogleBooks, or the Kindle or Nook. There are millions of books online now, which means you hardly have to leave your chair to skim through one. It also means that people without a lot of access to physical copies of books have a better chance of finding them on the Internet. Woohoo!

Text Mining. There's all kinds of stuff to find in a text if you know what to look for. Text mining's all about searching digitally through texts to identify linguistic and thematic patterns, things that keep happening over and over again but that the human eye might miss.

Visualization. Visualization's all about using computer programs to create maps or diagrams of linguistic and thematic patterns in a text—you know, so that we can more easily visualize them. This is the kind of thing that would take an ordinary human forever to do, but a computer can do it just like that.

Open-Access. Wouldn't it be great if we could all just share things? Well, that's what the "Open-Access" model is all about. Digital Humanists are into promoting open access to content (especially scholarly content) on the web, without pesky things like copyright getting in the way.

Data Modeling. Structuring and organizing data in a way that makes it easier to for us to understand it. Digital Humanists are interested in how we can structure and organize literary data (or other humanities data) so that we can analyze it better.

Information Technology. So, it's information, and it's technology, right? Yep. IT is the use of computers and computer systems to store, retrieve, process, manage, and analyze data. It's pretty much everythingand anything that has to do with computers.

Multimedia. The term refers to content that's available in different forms. Nowadays, literary texts are often available in both print and digital editions, for example—and you can listen to a lot of texts in audio form if that's what floats your boat. That's multimedia for you.

Hypertext. Hypertext is the organization of information on a screen (like on a computer, iPad, or Kindle screen, for example) into connected associations. Say what? Well, that's just a fancy of way of saying that if you're reading a text on something like a computer screen, you can click on links within that texts to get to other texts. Guess what, folks? This text, the one you're reading right now, is a hypertext.

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