Digital Humanities and William Byrd

Digital humanities are hard to miss (if you don’t know what I’m talking about then shame on you!) At the moment USF has a number of Digital Humanities groups and initiatives: Tampa/USF Digital Humanities Group, the History department offers a 400 level course called “Introduction to Digital Humanities” and I believe the library is creating a group too. There is no doubt that the future of history and other humanities fields includes digital components.

William_Byrd_II

William Bryd II

One example of how digital humanities works is my friend Michelle Davison‘s William Byrd project. William Byrd wrote a diary, and Michelle digitized it here http://williambyrdsays.net/index.php and twitter-fied it here https://twitter.com/williambyrdsays. (Byrd tweets about as much as any other celebrity, which is to say hilariously often. Get off your phone William Byrd, don’t you have dancing to do!)

The web page features a daily dose of Byrd and a search function that allows visitors to hunt for the needed document by word. (Ex: you want to read what Byrd says about letters, search “letters” easy peasy)

A while back I had a fit about on-line museums (Digital tourist, shmigital shmoulrist on-line museums are for research,) because people were not recognizing the diverse benefits digital humanities, archives, and exhibits had for researchers and the public alike. Digital humanities offers new ways to interact with the past,through documents. The William Bryd twitter feed reminds us of our human commonalities and difference with past peoples and the web page offers Bryd’s journal in an accessible format.

It is important to recognize that digital humanities are not limited to museum exhibits, they offer an endless opportunity for researchers to create interactive and accessible outlets and for visitors to start interacting with documents.

Take a moment to check out http://williambyrdsays.net/index.php and explore what Digital humanities has to offer!

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