Digital humanities: humanities research in the digital age
Digital humanities: humanities research in the digital age

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Session 1 Why digital humanities? History, challenges, opportunities

This session is written by Francesca Benatti from The Open University.

In this first session, you will learn how digital resources and tools are becoming an integral part of research in the Humanities through the new field of ‘digital humanities’.

After studying this session, you should have:

  • learned some important milestones in the history of digital research in the Humanities
  • familiarised yourself with the main challenges and opportunities presented by digital research in the Humanities
  • reflected on the role of the digital in your life as a learner.

Activity 1 Becoming digital

How many of the following research activities do you accomplish with digital tools and resources? Make a note in the box below.

  • Searching for articles/books/images/sounds
  • Writing your own articles/assignments
  • Reading articles/books
  • Listening to sounds/music
  • Analysing articles/books/images/sounds with digital tools
  • Saving online resources to your own computer/device
  • Sharing articles/books/images/sounds that you created with others
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If you have experience of any of these, congratulations! You’re already becoming a researcher in the digital age. Continue this course to build your skills and learn about different approaches to digital research.

If you don’t, it seems like you are new to the area of digital research. By joining this course, you’re taking the first steps to becoming a researcher in the digital age. Continue the rest of the course to develop new skills and learn about different approaches to digital research.

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