About Digital Humanities
The Digital Humanities is a fast growing multifaceted field incorporating research methods which utilise a diverse range of existing and emergent digital technologies to develop innovative techniques in data processing, analysis, presentation, and visualisation, with a view to enrich interpretation of existing datasets, augment research opportunities within the traditional fields of the humanities and exploit the potential to facilitate greater interdisciplinary research.
The Digital Humanities has developed into an area of study in its own right due to the need to equip researchers in the humanities with the knowledge of how digital tools can enhance or inform their research, and the skill sets necessary to employ the appropriate technologies effectively. The increasingly expansive range of techniques used within the field includes: digitisation and digital archiving of artefacts, art, manuscripts, images, and texts; encoding of historical or literary sources with Meta information, data mining; 3D printing, virtual 3D models; geospatial technologies, and how new techniques, for example Lidar scanning, can be combined with other data sources to enrich interpretation or reveal new insights.
In addition to emergent technologies, creative use or adaption of existing technologies has also proved very effective in aiding research and interpretation. For example, The Battle of Mount Street Bridge project used existing gaming technologies to facilitate the creation of a 3D interactive digital model which greatly enhanced spatiotemporal understanding of the 1916 battle site. The addition of ballistics trajectory data allowed the validity of traditional documentary accounts to be tested in a virtual environment where possible scenarios could be modelled. The project made a valuable contribution to the understanding and interpretation of the historic battle events for both professional historians and the general public through creative conflation of existing technologies and data sources.
As technology develops it will further inform new areas of research and increased exploration of interdisciplinary approaches, which will not replace but enhance traditional research greatly.