"A Candid Chat About the NEH's Digital Humanities Initiative"

by BRETT BOBLEY

Digital technology has changed the way scholars research, preserve, and present humanities materials. The NEH, through its Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI), has taken a leadership position in bringing these new technologies to bear. In 2006, the American Council of Learned Societies released Our Cultural Commonwealth, which is their now-famous report on cyberinfrastructure for the humanities. This report states that: "The emergence of the Internet has transformed the practice of the humanities and social sciences-more slowly than some may have hoped, but more profoundly than others may have expected. Digital cultural heritage resources are a fundamental dataset for the humanities: these resources, combined with computer networks and software tools, now shape the way that scholars discover and make sense of the human record, while also shaping the way their findings are communicated to students, colleagues, and the general public."

[http://www.acls.org/cyberinfrastructure/OurCulturalCommonwealth.pdf, from Executive Summary]

The NEH is encouraging the field to build the basic infrastructure-what we call "cyberinfrastructure"AA?-needed for humanities scholarship. This includes funding the creation of tools, databases, and other technology products used for humanities research, education, public programming, and preservation. It also includes "human infrastructure"AA?-that is, funding digital humanities centers and other organizations which bring together humanities scholars with computer scientists, engineers, librarians, and others towards the goal of excellent scholarship.

BRETT BOBLEY will provide an overview of the NEH's DHI program including information about our future directions. Bobley serves as the Chief Information Officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is also the Director of the agency's Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI). Under DHI, he has put in place new grant programs aimed at supporting innovative humanities projects that utilize or study the impact of digital technology. Bobley has a master's degree in computer science from the Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago.

Coming up @MITH 10/23, Martha Nell Smith (English): "Agora.Techno.Phobia.Philia: Gender (and other messy matters), Knowledge Building, and Digital Media"

View MITH's complete Fall Speakers Schedule here:

  • http://www.mith2.umd.edu/programs/mith_speakers_fall_2007.pdf
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