Thanks to a grant awarded to Guilford College by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Digital Directions for the Arts and Humanities, our community can explore the realm of digital scholarship, specifically as it relates to the growing field of the digital arts and humanities. From harnessing IBM punch card technology in the 1950s to using scores of Dominican monks to create a concordance in the 1200s, there is a rich history of scholars using available technology to analyze historic texts.
Digital Humanities is a broad area of scholarship, as evidenced by the website What Is Digital Humanities?, which generates a different definition of the term every time you refresh the page. Here's a relatively brief overview of Digital Humanities by Jeffrey Schnapp of Harvard University, and a larger body of work by a group of scholars at MIT, Digital_Humanities. Novices may find these examples useful or this video presentation by Miriam Posner.
There are a number of liberal arts institutions whose digital humanities programs may serve as frames of reference. For example, The Rutgers Digital Humanities Initiative suggests, "Scholarship in the Digital Humanities brings digital tools to bear on traditional humanistic areas of study and prompts critical reflection, in the best tradition of the humanities, on the digital mediation of modern life." Its emphasis is on the use of digital tools "to assemble, transform, or manipulate digital archives, to the use of computational methods to advance or question conventional methods of analysis, to the critical scrutiny of our computer-mediated culture."
Digital humanities projects, as identified by Rutgers, include:
Textual analysis: digital editions of literary texts; websites that invite linguistic, social, and historical analysis of literary works; text aggregation sites that link author or subject-oriented digital collections; and the development of tools for digital textual analysis.
Geospatial approaches to literary texts and historical problems.
Network analysis of literary texts and historical problems.
Data-mining of large corpora for insights into genres, discourses, and the sociology of knowledge.
The creation of small or middle-sized archives of digitized texts, often in close collaboration with libraries, designed to serve particular groups of scholars.
Digital projects whose aim is primarily pedagogical, often undertaken with civic or public arts and humanities goals in mind.