As a museum type person I found one common theme in the readings to be of particular interest.  That was that many writers recognised that the increase in popularity of visualisations in the digital humanities necessitated that scholars old and new be taught how to ‘read’ and ‘write’ them (Burdick, 10).  This awareness can be seen throughout the readings with Jessop and Foster suggesting that ‘reading’ visualisations should be taught in classrooms as a component of the core curriculum (Jessop, 288) (Foster, 32).  I think that this is of vital importance.  If we are to utilise such tools successfully in museums or academia we must ensure that they are accessible and understandable.

In addition to this we might also think about how new approaches or tools in the digital humanities may be received by wider audiences.  I found the idea of ‘distant reading’ to be intriguing but it seems from this article printed in The New York Times in June 2011 that not everyone is convinced.

Distant reading of Hamlet Diagram

A diagram produced by the Stanford Literary Lab from a distant reading of Hamlet

I think this neatly demonstrates the need not only to teach the public how to ‘read’ these tools but to explain their potential in a meaningful way, perhaps through real-world examples.  This could even serve to involve more people in the digital humanities, making collaborations such as those described by Sprio and the Young Researchers in Digital Humanities manifesto possible.

Advertisements