Each year since 2009, the sponsors of the annual Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities event have invited participants to respond to the question: “How do you define the digital humanities?" (Includes hundreds of answers gathered since 2009).
Scholarship in the "Digital Humanities" is necessarily collaborative and interdisciplinary. It comprises a broad collection of scholarly activities that apply new technologies to humanities research while expanding traditional forms of scholarly communication. Some of its many facets include:
"This final section of Digital Humanities reflects on the preceding chapters, but can also stand alone as a concise overview of the field. As digital methodologies, tools, and skills become increasingly central to work in the humanities, questions regarding fundamentals, project outcomes, assessment, and design have become urgent. The specifications provide a set of checklists to guide those who do work in the Digital humanities, as well as those who are asked to assess and fund Digital Humanities scholars, projects, and initiatives."
The "Digital Humanities" (or DH) began more than sixty years ago as "humanities computing" with the development of projects such as Index Thomisticus in 1949 (Busa, 1980): an electronically-compiled concordance of Thomas Aquinas's corpus which was undertaken by IBM (using punch cards technology) over a period of 30 years.
Since the Index, DH research has developed into broader and more complex directions. A nascent and transformative approach to research and learning in the humaniies, it is now highly collaborative and draws contributors from many backgrounds: the eventual and sustainable forms of directions that it will take continue to evolve.
The "Digital Humanities" (or DH) are currently seen as an interdisciplinary form of humanities research which has evolved to enhance and to transform traditional humanities scholarship through digital means.
"The particular contribution of the digital humanities, however, lies in its exploration of the difference that the digital can make to the kinds of work that we do as well as to the way that we communicate with one another" (Kathleen Fitzpatrick, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 8, 2011).
"The digital humanities today is "a scholarship and pedagogy that are collaborative and depend on networks of people and that live an active 24-7 life online" (Matthew Kirschenbaum, ADE Bulletin, Vol. 150 (2010), pp. 55-59).
For a chronology of DH initiatives (1949-2012) and live links to resources, see John Unsworth's blog entry, "What's 'digital humanities' and how did it get here?" (Oct. 9, 2012).
Busa, R. (1980). "The Annals of Humanities Computing: The Index Thomisticus," Computers and the Humanities 14: 83-90. http://www.alice.id.tue.nl/references/busa-1980.pdf