Astronomy went through a brief phase of “digital Astronomy” as a “transitional term” describing an emerging area of technical specialisation in astronomy ( a search search comes up pretty empty- as does google ngrams- digital astronomy has not been used as a term since the internet age -similarly the term ‘space astronomy ‘ peaked in 1989 according to google ngrams-also a transitional term ) . But this term has vanished from the vocabulary and it was clear that the ‘digital’ nature of the information was not conceptually useful but rather that the development enabled new astronomical research agendas facilitated by  easy cross correlation of data sets from different telescopes, coupled to computational and modelling methods ( this was briefly called ‘multi-wavelength’ astronomy, also a transitional term).

What has survived is ”The Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems (ADASS) conference is held each year at a different hosting astronomical institution. The conference provides a forum for scientists and programmers concerned with algorithms, software and software systems employed in the acquisition, reduction, analysis, and dissemination of astronomical data.


So I guess my thought is that the term ‘digital humanities’ is also a transitional term ( useful to funding agencies to focus on particular emerging practices) but is like digital astronomy not a conceptually or theoretically useful term. [..]

Anyway I predict that 30 years from now the term “digital humanities” will have disappeared from our vocabulary ( as has digital astronomy and space astronomy ) and that the unhappy organisations that have the term “digital humanities” in their name will be busy rebranding. The exciting thing is or course that the arts and humanities as well as the sciences and engineering are being transformed by the new research methods that are facilitated by the computational sciences in general.

« I predict that 30 years from now the term “digital humanities” will have disappeared from our vocabulary »

A quote saved on Aug. 10, 2015.


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