Digital technologies: help or hindrance for the humanities?

Barker, Elton; Bissell, Christopher; Hardwick, Lorna; Jones, Allan; Ridge, Mia and Wolffe, John (2012). Digital technologies: help or hindrance for the humanities? Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 11(1-2) pp. 185–200.



This article offers reflections arising from a recent colloquium at the Open University on the implications of the development of digital humanities for research in arts disciplines, and also for their interactions with computing and technology. Particular issues explored include the ways in which the digital turn in humanities research is also a spatial/visual one; the tension between analysis based on the extensive ‘hard’ data generated by digital methodologies and the more subtle evaluations of traditional humanities research; the advantages and disadvantages of online resources that distance the researcher from the actual archive, book, artefact or archaeological site under investigation; and the unrealized potential for applying to the humanities software tools designed for science and technology. Constructive responses to such challenges and opportunities require the full rigour of the critical thinking that is the essence of arts and humanities research.

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