Building v. Sharing
Mark Sample’s recent blog post continues the conversation started back at the MLA convention in January. What do the digital humanities do? Are we digital humanists if we don’t build anything? These questions were in the air this past weekend, too, at Computers and Writing. In fact, Saturday’s town hall was devoted to the question of what defines a digital humanist. All these conversations are so interesting and important, especially since we HASTAC-ers are in the crux of it all. We come from different fields, different techie talents and interests, and we are arguably very in-tune with what’s going on in conversations about the digital. In response to Sample’s post, we here at HASTAC are a group of “sharers”–we talk about, repost, link to, and make new connections. We don’t, necessarily, build things. The recent Code forum delt with many of these issues–can we talk about software studies if we don’t know (how to) code? What are the limitations of not knowing code if we’re trying to understand the usability of technologies? We need people to make digital spaces, just as much as we need people to think through these spaces and applications. So, who gets to be a digital humanist? Why are we so interested in naming who is and who isn’t? Isn’t one of the benefits of this field its cross-disciplinarity? Can’t we be builders and sharers?