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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Digital Humanities: Introduction

Learn how to integrate technology into your research and teaching.


"DH" by Quinn Dombrowski is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There is no one universally agreed upon definition for digital humanities. In general, digital humanities is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of activities at the intersection of technology and the humanities. Executive Director of Digital Scholarship Services at Rice University's Fondren Library Lisa Spiro has argued against having some kind of set definition. As she writes in Debates in the Digital Humanities, "instead of trying to pigeonhole digital humanities by prescribing certain methods or theoretical approaches, we can instead focus on a community that comes together around values such as openness and collaboration." For more definitions, check out the links below:

Getting Started

Interested in digital humanities? Don't know where to begin? Here are our tips for getting started:

  • Explore what's been done at Lehigh. Check out the DH @ Lehigh tab to see the many digital projects the Library has created and supported over the years.
  • Do some background reading. Check out the Resources tab for relevant journals, blogs, and digital publications that will help you better understand the history of digital humanities as well as current debates.
  • Get on Twitter. The most up-to-date DH conversations happen there. Check out #digitalhumanities or #dh, and follow others whose work you are most interested in.
  • Attend a THATCamp. These informal, regional gatherings bring together digital humanities folks from a wide variety of backgrounds and skill levels. They're a great opportunity to meet potential collaborators.
  • Get some training. Lehigh's new Mellon Digital Humanities Initiative sponsors workshops and lectures on various digital topics. But remember: most digital humanists are self-taught. Don't be afraid to dive in and start trying out certain tools on your own.
  • Find a digital project and get involved. The easiest way to do this is to join someone else's project. The Projects tab features a number of crowdsourcing projects that need assistance with transcription and other tasks. If you want to do more technical work, check out DH Commons, which lists projects and people looking for help.
  • Or, start your own project. Head to Lehigh's Special Collections to get ideas.
  • Once you've identified a topic, talk to people at Lehigh (professors, students, librarians) who might be interested in working with you. Make sure you assemble a team with a diverse skill set. Collaboration is key to any successful digital humanities project!