As I continue to finalize my project, I’ve been growing aware of the gap between what DH does within and out of the walls of academia. From the current scholarship we’ve read in class, it seems that the field primarily concerns itself with the humanities subjects emphasized in English, History, and other humanities departments. Though DH as a field is relatively new, even when considering its roots in humanistic computing, it still seems a bit behind when applying methodologies and approaches to studying actual human behavior. Granted, digital tools and DH methods have done an excellent job pioneering their presence in better assessing historical documents, literature, and other platforms of research; nevertheless, the studies conducted seem a bit limited to those that stop at the university’s borders, applying little to the actual human interaction and communication that occurs in the personal, social, and professional world.
To theorize reasons for this dearth of inquiry, we might say that DH is still in its experimental phase, as if its still unsure of itself, its methods, and its influence. Scholars, then, seem to purse very specific research that applies to a small population of individuals to test out the effectiveness and relevancy of their approaches. For example, rather than using DH methodology and tools to better understand general literacy outside of the classroom, researchers use their time and resources to better analyze literary texts and their place in historical culture. This begs the question, then, of when the DH field will feel ready to pursue larger and more globally relevant studies. Additionally, what kinds of projects will initiate this shift from academia to non-academic fields and concerns? As methodologies continue to grow and re-shape themselves, the tools and goals of DH, I believe, will prove largely beneficial to the larger, non-academic community.