Study Guide

Digital Humanities Timeline

How It All Went Down

1949: Father Roberto Busa goes to IBM

This mythical meeting is often taken to mark the beginning of Digital Humanities as we know it. Seriously: a priest goes to meet Thomas Watson, founder of IBM.

1964: The Literary and Linguistic Computing Centre (LLC) is founded

The LLC, which was founded at Cambridge by Robert Wisbey, is one of the first centers dedicated to the computational analysis of literature and linguistics. A new era has arrived.

1965: "Computers for the Humanities?" conference held at Yale University

The digital wave hits America. This conference, sponsored by IBM, is the first to consider what role computers can play in humanities scholarship.

1971: IBM publishes manuals such as Computing in the Humanities: Introduction to Computers in the Humanities and Literary Data Processing

Who said all those IBM guys knew about was about computers? Apparently, they also knew a little something about humanities computing.

1973: Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing is established

This is one of the earliest associations focusing on computing in literary and linguistic scholarship—and this is back when people were still saying, "Huh? Computers? What are those?" (There was such a time, folks.)

1978: Association for Computers and the Humanities is established

Another important association is founded. Back in the 1970s, these people were way ahead of the game.

1986: Literary and Linguistic Computing, an academic journal, is founded

This journal would prove to be way important in the development of the field of Digital Humanities.

2004: A Companion to Digital Humanities is published

The publication of this collection of essays marked a big moment in the history of the field: it was the first publication that popularized the term "Digital Humanities," as opposed to the old-school term "Humanities Computing."

2005: Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) is founded

This Alliance is formed to bring together all of the Digital Humanities groups mushrooming all over the place.

2013: Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader is published

Here's another big book in the field. Following up on A Companion to Digital Humanities, this collection confirmed that the Digital Humanities was aiming to be the new kid on the block.