What are the differences within and outside an academic context? Is there much overlap?
What's the difference between Digital Humanities and New Media?(7 posts) (5 voices)
I think that there is a lot of overlap, in no small part because definitions here are very, very fuzzy -- fuzzy enough that I'd through Ed. Tech. into the Venn diagramming fun.
I've seen "new media" used to describe just about anything on the web, and so it overlaps DH and Ed.Tech. Elsewhere, "new media" is a little more like A/V 2.0 -- knowledge of codecs, recording and conversion tools, best practices for audio and video on the web, etc. (N.B. I don't mean "A/V 2.0" in a disparaging way at all. We're not talking about filmstrips and setting up a VCR anymore!)
It might be interesting to see this thread about common help questions in a DH shop. (Once we got on a role, it also got somewhat amusing a cathartic). The same questions come up in Ed. Tech. groups, and it's notable how many of them are about "new media" in one guise or another.
So I'm clearly not giving info about a difference, but examples of how, healthily, I think, there's too much overlap to pursue a statement of difference.
Strictly speaking, isn't Digital Humanities a discipline of research and study, whereas New Media is an industry and category of technology? There is cross-over, of course, in that the one attends to and makes use of the other.
Sure, but I think what the question is after is the difference between "digital humanities" and "new/digital media studies." And I'm with Patrick here: they have different vectors of approach but so much overlap until thinking about conjunctions might be more productive.
Thanks for the feedback on this folks. I'm not coming from an academic perspective but of that of a technologist, so it's interesting to see that there are different definitions depending on where you're coming from, within academia, and also from various industries. Looking at it from outside of the academy, I see a lot of the overlap as well. However, it seems it can be argued that "digital humanities" may be limited to an academic pursuit. For instance, the NEH-ODH defines their mission this way: "Our primary mission is to help coordinate the NEH's efforts in the area of digital scholarship." "New media" may have academic implications, but it's certainly not limited to that sector.
Just wanted to point out a few bullet-points that might/might not be obvious:
- The "digital scholarship" bit in the NEH-ODH mandate doesn't just apply to universities, but all kinds of institutions doing scholarly work - museums, nonprofits, what we sometimes call the "public humanities." I'd say most people would agree that "digital humanities" extends to these institutions too, plus a whole host of amateur/non-academic writers/artists/etc applying digital tools to humanities problems.
- You can do "digital humanities" research on very old, old media. Text-mining (big keyword searches over old digitized texts) are the most noteworthy example.
- Academics don't always agree with industry people about what constitutes new media, or what kinds of new media are particularly interesting. Academics also don't always agree with each other about what constitutes new media, let alone what is/isn't a "media studies" approach.
- You can also take a very traditional, analog approach to studying new media: interviews, reviewing archives, doing content-based critique.
- Not all digital tools have the same "cred" in digital humanities. Whipping up PowerPoints, bar graphs, or Google searches aren't quite as big-time is writing code and creating new digital tools. (In an older era, this is analogous to the division between lit-theory people who'd glossed Paul de Man and Foucault and folks who were reading late-era Heidegger in German.)
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