Digital Humanities Inspiration

This is a republishing of an article I wrote for the Strange Bedfellows project.  The original url is here.

While I have been researching digital humanities and digital humanities centres, I have come across a lot of interesting ideas and quotes, especially regarding the relationship between the humanities and computing.   Here is a small collection of the quotes I have found, arranged in a pseudo-meaningful way.  I am not quite sure of the point that I am trying to make here, perhaps it is several.  Hopefully you will find these as interesting as I do.

“Only very recently we have begun to understand that this informed, connected-up technical practice is an expression of the humanities rather than their servant or helpful side-kick—a computing that is of as well as in or alongside them”. (McCarty 4)

“Over the last half-century, practitioners have thus been motivated to ask the standard question of computer science—’what can be automated?’” (Denning 16)

“If infrastructure is required for an industrial economy, then we could say that cyberinfrastructure is required for a knowledge economy”. (Atkins 5)

“In his essay, “The Renaissance of Books,” Northrop Frye recounts a childhood sight of cultural authority:

several shelves of portly theological tomes in black bindings. . . [O]n a child,” he wrote, these tomes . . . gave an effect of immense and definitive authority, of summing up the learning and wisdom of the ages. . . And yet when I was old enough to begin to try to use these books myself, I became aware of [an] important principle connected with books: the principle of the mortality of knowledge. . . [T]here was hardly a statement in any of these volumes which had not become demonstrably false, meaningless, or obsolete. . . The black bindings were appropriate: the books were containers of dead knowledge. Their impressiveness as physical objects was grotesquely inconsistent with the speed at which scholarship moves, and it was clear that books ought to have a very different sort of appearance if they are to symbolize the fact that genuine knowledge is always in a state of flux”. (McCarty 5)

“More than terminology is at stake, as Brown University’s Julia Flanders, editor of Women Writers Online, suggests in her provocative essay ‘Trusting the Electronic Edition. Scholars need to make a distinction, she writes, between ‘editions which are primarily pedagogical in their aims, those which aim above all at scholarly authority, and those which attempt to provide textual information as high-quality data which can be analyzed and processed’. (Brogan 4)

Atkins, Daniel E. (Chair). Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure: Report of the National Science Foundation Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure. <>. 2003.

Brogan, Martha L. A Kaleidoscope of Digital American Literature. Washington D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2005. <>

Denning, Peter J. What is Computer Science?. American Scientist (1985) 73: 16–19.

McCarty, Willard. Being Reborn: The Humanities, Computing and Styles of Scientific Reasoning. 2008. <,%20Being%20reborn.pdf>


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