Day of Digital Humanities 2012

Day 158: Diffusion of KnowledgeYesterday marked the fourth iteration of Day of Digital Humanities, an annual event of blogging about the experience of digital humanities by graduate students, professors, alt-academics, librarians and other participants who identify with the field. As Jason B. Jones noted when the second iteration of Day of DH came around in 2010, the conversation can help answer the question of what the digital humanities really looks like—and the answer definitely varies from participant to participant.

One of the most interesting pages of the project is the “How Do You Define DH?” collection. Each year, new participants are asked to add their voice to the definitions, so you can browse four years worth of answers to the question on the site. The answers range from the thoughtfully humorous—such as Graeme Earl’s “Taking people to bits”—to the speculative—such as Davor’s “Digital Humanities are the first step towards Future Humanities”—and everything in between. The day also brings blog posts on a range of issues surrounding the DH community, such as Tanya Clement’s evocative post “I am a woman and I am a mother and I do DH” and Melanie Kohnen’s post on #transformdh. Many online conversations also stemmed from presentations on DH happening around the world today, such as Francesca Benatti’s post on ten thoughts on digital scholarship from a presentation by Marin Weller. These are the same types of conversations circulating every day on Twitter, but having a focused day, collaborative blog space, and hashtag helps pull the conversation together into a single sphere.

Any discipline can have this type of dedicated day, but it is particularly fruitful for those who see digital technologies as already part of practice, as thus conversation on Twitter and blogs fits naturally into a day. The 328 registered participants blogged on their meetings, projects, pedagogy and challenges throughout the day, offering windows into their offices (sometimes literally) and practices. The very process can be an opportunity for reflection, as Natalie Houston noted in her Day of DH post on paying attention: “Obviously, Day of DH isn’t meant to change behavior in the same way that tracking how many minutes of exercise I do each day might — but it’s having an effect on me nonetheless. I’m more aware of what percentage of my emails this morning were about digital projects, many of them with collaborators or potential collaborators. I’m aware of how many people in my tweetreader are participating. I’m more aware of when I’m thinking or writing about DH-related ideas, and when I’m not.”

Have you participated in Day of DH, or have you been involved with something similar in your field? Did you see any interesting conversations come out of the project? Share them in the comments.

[Creative Commons Licensed Photo by Flickr User Quinn Dombrowski]

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