When I think of the humanities, I usually think about old, dusty books about religions, or big events, like the holocaust or the great migration. I never think about using technology to study humanities. however, that is exactly what I started doing when I got into the 340 English class, Digital Humanities.
In order for me to study the humanities, I would need information about past events. Now of course, I can go to a library and pull out whatever books I need to study, but that becomes a tedious task. I would have to sort through the library’s selection of thousands upon thousands of books just to find maybe three certain books that have to do with my topic. Even with a good organizational system, it could take hours to find the right books. This is where technology comes in to help. Nowadays, almost all libraries have all of their books mapped out through an online system. Finding a physical book can become as simple as searching certain keywords in their website and having the computer find it for you. This can make a process that usually take hours turn into only a few minutes. Now sometimes, you don’t get access to a library because maybe there’s none in your area, or maybe your library gets asbestos and closes down until 2024. Either way, that doesn’t mean that information isn’t available anymore. In fact, there’s so much information floating out in the world it becomes hard to keep track of physically. According to what James Gleick says in his book The Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood, “As the role of information grows beyond anyone’s reckoning, it grows to be too much.” With so much information out there, how do you keep it all under one library roof? Again, this is where technology comes in to help. The internet has unlimited storage, so infinite information can be stored there. Now, finding information to study the humanities is as simple as just looking up the keywords and clicking on whatever I need. That is only the beginning of digital humanities.