The reason why adding the ‘digital’ to the ‘humanities’ is vital is that utilizing digital tools and digital media gives us a number of unique affordances in our approach to any problem or issue we want to explore. One positive affect is succinctly described in the first line of “The Expression of Emotions in 20th Century Books”, which reads, “studies of cultural change and evolution have been transformed recently by a new level of accessibility and volume of electronic data concerning human behavior” (Acerbi 1). In addition, they couldn’t have been transformed in any other way – the amount of time it would take for a human to sift through the amount of data used in Acerbi’s article without technology is so large as to be practically infinite. Another affordance given to us by the digital is displayed in the info-graphic about the Great Gatsby which Mark Wilson wrote about. As displayed in the “What we learn from 5 million books?” video we watched, this is yet another example where a digital picture is worth much more than a thousand words. One infographic is a map of all the locations where the book took place, and the other is a nine-chapter timeline. These infographics are bound to make any reader of Great Gatsby increase their understanding of the novel and appreciate how motion and setting integrate with the interpersonal narrative. Investigating these examples of pieces in the digital humanities after reading Hayles’ work only verified Hayles’ claims by providing some concrete examples of some of her remarks. One example is her very first claim, “How do we think? This book explores the proposition that we think through, with, and alongside media” (Hayles, 1) The above two case studies of the digital humanities illustrate examples where there is an unbroken link between our thinking and digital tools and media. So, we know the digital humanities do augment scholarship. Does it augment reality? It certainly does augment our understanding of reality, and on one reading it even augments reality itself. A reality with digital technology, especially when the techology gets to be as pervasive as it is in Neuromancer, is very different than one without it.
Acerbi A, Lampos V, Garnett P, Bentley RA (2013) The Expression of Emotions in 20th Century Books. PLoS ONE 8(3): e59030. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059030
Aiden, E. and Michel, J. (2011, September 20). What we learn from 5 million books? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l4cA8zSreQ Video.
Hayles, Katherine. How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2012. Print.
Wilson, Mark. (2013, July 25). Infographic: “Every Scene in the Great Gatsby”