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Digital Humanities

A guide to the concepts and tools of the expanding field of digital humanities

What are the Digital Humanities?

The digital humanities (DH) is a broad spectrum of tools and practices that bridge the humanities and computer science. By applying analytical and visualization tools to areas such as history, literature, art, and music, researchers discover new patterns and questions to ask. At the most basic level, digital humanities simply refers to the use of digital tools and methods to further scholarship. At its more complex, digital humanities involves reimagining the way we approach sources and data, research, narrative, and the publication and interpretation of scholarship.

The answer to "what is digital humanities?" will often differ depending upon whom you ask. A great example of this is Jason Heppler's What is Digital Humanities? website. Each time you refresh the page you will receive a different answer to the question. Heppler created this site based on responses from participants who attended the Day of DH between 2009 and 2014. In January of 2015, his database of responses contained 817 rows--meaning that for his site, there are 817 different answers to the question of what is digital humanities.

These resources will provide you with a more comprehensive idea of what the digital humanities are, the history of and challenges within the field, and debates about methodologies.

Digital Humanities at George Mason University

Research centers

  • Center for Mason Legacies. The Center for Mason Legacies (CML) is an interdisciplinary and collaborative research center established by the University Libraries and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. CML's mission is to preserve and examine the legacy of George Mason IV (1725-1792), his ancestors and heirs, and the people he enslaved. CML engages student researchers in studying the past and present influences of our university's namesake though a combination of scholarly research, public history, teaching innovation, and community outreach. 
  • Digital Scholarship Center. Data & Digital Scholarship Services partners with students, faculty, and staff by providing research support to facilitate digital research and teaching across all disciplines at George Mason University. Access tutorials and data, sign up for workshops, or schedule a consultation with a staff member.
  • Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media develops online teaching resources, digital collections and exhibits, open source software, and training in digital literacy and skills. The Center is known worldwide for creating and maintaining Omeka, Zotero, and Tropy

Course offerings

  • Graduate certificate in digital public humanities. Graduate students can enroll in this program and take courses that include an introduction to digital humanities, teaching and learning history in the digital age, and digital public history. Students are also required to complete an internship. 
  • Undergraduate minor in digital humanities. The digital humanities minor is designed to help students expand their ability to make humanities arguments using digital tools. This minor takes an interdisciplinary approach to the humanities, including courses from across the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Related Infoguides

See these guides for more help with your digital scholarship project.

  • Data Visualization. Learn about best practices and tools to visualize data using charts and maps
  • Humanities GIS. Use this guide to discover ways to think space, place, and geographic thinking in the humanities
  • Learn R. Resources to learn and use the open source statistical software R
  • Network Analysis. This guide defines network analysis and discusses several network analysis tools and methods
  • Omeka Classic. A guide describing Omeka Classic and the basic functions of the software
  • ProQuest TDM Studio. A guide on how to access and use ProQuest TDM Studio
  • Text Analysis Tools. A companion to our Text and Data Mining Sources infoguide, this guide will take you through how to use several text analysis tools
  • Text and Data Mining SourcesAccess text and data mining sources and text analysis tools

Data & Digital Scholarship Services staff have created many guides about digital scholarship, which you can view here.