Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Digital Humanities Toolkit: Questions and Issues

Pitfalls to Watch Out For

It is easy to be seduced by the glamour, fun, and ease of use of some of these digital tools. HOWEVER, Wordseer is not a magic wand. It cannot provide critical analysis or evaluate sources. Dumping a text in just to see what happens will get you nowhere. It is still the researcher's responsibilty to develop a question and thesis. If you approach any tool without a firm research question in mind, extracting useful information will be difficult. 


Q: Aren't digital assignments easier or less rigorous?

A: No. Doing a digital assignment well requires the same level of critical insight as an analog equivalent. In fact, digital assignments are often more difficult as researchers need to learn new skills and strategies for coaxing useful information out of large amounts of data. 

Q: So what can be made easier using digital tools?

A: Digital tools shine best when applied to large scale data. Using something like Wordseer allows a researcher to look for trends across an author's entire corpus, an otherwise time-consuming task. Historical data that is just endless columns of numbers on paper can gain new life when mapped or visualized.

Digital formats also conducive to collaboration. An entire class of students can view and contribute to one map, document or discussion. 

Digital Learning Center Specialist

Profile Photo
Michael Benson