“What exactly has happened to the study of the humanities in the digital age? To answer this question one need only review the last thirty years and remember how scholarship used to be carried out. In order to find books and articles, we had to look through various catalogs (card, National Union) as well as printed bibliographies. Fledgling institutional digital catalogs existed, but hardly contained everything we needed. Few journals offered digital access to publications. A researcher’s data was often stored on a desktop computer, or even just in paper copy on a shelf. At conferences, we arranged photographic slides in a carousel to project them on the wall.
In today’s connected world a stunning variety of virtual, networked resources are now available to researchers: electronic books and other platforms for document delivery, digitized archival collections, new environments for scholarly communication and web publishing, open data repositories, even cloud and high performance computing. Not all humanists are using these resources, but increasing numbers are, and as a result, our scholarly work is taking on a diversity, and creativity, of new forms. The transition to an era of “software intensive” humanities-it is, after all, a slow change-is bringing about new possibilities for trans-disciplinary scholarship. But what are the implications of more machines in our profession? Are we ready to confront the challenges and the results of such research? How many of us actually understand how to navigate these new data-rich environments to our benefit? …”
The rest of the NYU Abu Dhabi Digital Humanities Year in Review 2017 document can be downloaded here.