Yesterday was the annual Day of DH, “an open community publication project” in which digital scholars and practitioners document their day’s activities as a way of answering the question “Just what do digital humanists really do?” (Follow the hashtag #DayofDH for tweets and links to Day of DH blog posts from around the world.)
I’m not a digital humanist. I do write about DH a lot. It’s become one of the dominant strands of my work for The Chronicle of Higher Education (see here and here, for instance) and for other publications like the TLS. It’s also one of my favorite subjects, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon, given the astonishing variety of DH work being done and how that work extends and amplifies humanistic traditions and questions. It’s endlessly fascinating.
I’m not in the thick of reporting a DH story right now, so I didn’t think I’d have much to share for #DayofDH. As I thought about my day, though, I realized that there was a strong DH undercurrent running through a lot of what I did. For instance:
- I interviewed a longtime higher-ed observer about the humanities funding scene. The heart of the conversation? How much money the Mellon Foundation has invested in digital humanities in recent years. We also talked about the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities.
- I reviewed and updated my list of spring stories; at least four of them contain a digital-scholarship angle. I used to actively look for DH stories; to some extent I still do, but more and more ideas bubble up that just happen to have a DH component.
- I had exchanges on Twitter and on a private listserv about reading in the digital environment, prompted by this story in the Washington Post, and realized that my skepticism about the kinds of claims made in that story has been informed by conversations over the past few years with digital humanists.
- I made a dinner date with someone whom I first got to know through the digital-humanities conversations on Twitter, a set of conversations I continue to find well worth following.
- And of course I read a lot of tweets, Facebook posts, and blog posts about #Dayof DH.
None of that really tells you what DH is. But it does suggest how much DH has worked its way into what I do on a daily basis.