Authoring Digital Scholarship for History: Challenges and Opportunities

AHA Session 158
Association for Computers and the Humanities 4
Sunday, January 4, 2015: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Beekman Parlor (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
Edward L. Ayers, University of Richmond
Edward L. Ayers, University of Richmond

Session Abstract

Digital historians have been concerned with reshaping scholarly activity and institutional structures for a natively digital world. They have been open to multiple forms of analysis, to sharing sources and materials (data), and to adopting large-scale, distributed models of scholarship. They have proceeded from an important recognition: that we are now in an era of capaciousness, of ubiquitous storage, of networked information, and of unprecedented access. Rather than orienting scholarship around a model of scarce materials, limited access, and expert gate-keeping, the digital humanities at its most vibrant has been about widening the scope of the humanities, opening access to sources, and broadening definitions of scholarly activity. This panel explores the characteristics of scholarship in the digital environment and interrogates disciplinary ideas about authorship, audience, and what constitutes scholarship. The AHA has recently formed an ad hoc Committee on Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship, charged with developing guidelines for departments. This panel features scholarship and scholarly communication explicitly created for and in the digital medium, blending tools, sources, and interpretive analysis. Panelists address several critical questions: does digital scholarship fundamentally break with the traditional forms, is a more hypertextual history possible, how is the representation of historical knowledge changing, is the digital medium suitable for historiographical questions?

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