Digital Arts and Humanities

Potential Roles of Digital Media in the Digital Arts and Humanities

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Like many of those new to the digital arts and humanities movement, I have struggled to construct my own understanding of this concept, what I might be able to offer to the conversation, and potentially, what capacity I may be able to bring to bear to improve campus support.

In terms of a definition, I have come to the conclusion that digital arts and humanities could best be described as "the gains made in teaching, learning, research, and scholarship related to the arts and humanities as a result of the affordances brought about by the digital environment available." In other words, what can we do today that we couldn't do before? And, what are the measurable advances as a result? The profit in the ladder is the essence of digital arts and humanities. I believe optimizing these gains through a rich understanding of user needs is ideally, the framework campus support units should assume to develop this capacity.

In my role as Media Outreach Librarian, my lens is further refined to the role of non-print media (e.g., images, audio, video, etc..) and the services we support in Library Media Services includes both research and teaching contexts related to the digital arts and humanities. While I still have much to learn about how scholars currently utilize digital media in their research (digital media content corpus for content analyses, media production for scholarly output, media output preservation and dissemination, etc..), there are some trends on the horizon that overlap with the digital arts and humanities movement. These trends include, faculty generated dynamic/multimodal eBooks (iBook Author), dynamic/multimodal elearning environments, mobile computing, dynamic/multimodal geospatial objects, and a rise in still image, video and audio recognition capability (see: high quality software driven video transcription) that will make it easier for researchers and students alike to conduct more in-depth "text" analysis across non-print objects.

Here is a presentation that I recently gave, where I emphasized the current state of course integrated student produced digital media projects. Notably, this presentation also expanded to include many of the related use trends listed above, using concepts of media and visual literacy to better communicate the benefits and skill sets necessary to participate more fully in these processes. Finally, I included room for discussion on thinking about the kinds of services libraries and other campus units may need to consider in order to build out capacity with an eye on optimizing these gains.

Of course, these are still the early days for much of this work. I look forward to continuing this discussion, learning more about the needs of digital artists/humanists, and hopefully, taking part in further campus infrastructure development at Minnesota to meet these growing and evolving needs.

1 Comment

  • I feel lucky that I live in this fast-going times, when it is easy to turn your dreams into reality and when you can apply the innovations and technological imporvements in every possible field of the life im the university.

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