Digital Problems, Digital Solutions

Conference/workshop presentation

Digital Problems, Digital Solutions

Alimila Akdag Salah gave a presentation at the workshop "The Computational Turn" at the Swansea University (see titeled "Digital Problems, Digital Solutions".

Digital humanities faces – at least – two major problems: First, humanities scholars need to work with scientists and programmers in order to execute computational methods, and this requires new types of collaborative environments. Second, there is a gap between the critical thinking of humanities research and the quantitative approach common to computational studies. Concerning the first point, unlike typical collaborations, where either research questions, means or methods are shared, the new collaborative environments work by churning the research questions of a humanities scholars through the skills of scholars coming from different research paradigms with different research aims. What is asked for is a new division of labor, which influences the research practices and work flows of humanities scholars, computer scientists and institutional frameworks supporting them. The second problem relates to the difference in the goals and epistemic traditions of these groups, which creates a major research hurdle. In order to be able to negotiate new forms of specialization and their re-integration into research agendas of the humanities, the above mentioned gap has to be bridged. One aspect of this task is the ability to reformulate abstract research questions in such a way that quantitative analysis could be useful. However, this requires insights into the potential of computational methods and quantitative analysis. Eventually, a new mixture of curricula is required to seamlessly integrate traditional and digital humanities. This paper empirically illustrates and conceptually discusses the struggle around digital humanities based on two case studies the author has been working on.

Locations: Swansea, UK
Institutions: Swansea University

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