History, Department of


Date of this Version



William G. Thomas III, "The Promise of the Digital Humanities and the Contested Nature of Digital Scholarship, in Susan Schriebman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, A New Companion to Digital Humanities, 2nd Edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016): 524-537.


This essay examines the contested qualities of digital scholarship and why, paradoxically, the twenty-year surge in the digital humanities--from 1993 to 2013--has produced relatively little interpretive or argumentative scholarship. In this first phase of the digital humanities, scholars produced innovative and sophisticated hybrid works of scholarship, blending archives, tools, commentaries, data collections, and visualizations. For the most part in the disciplines, however, few of these works have been reviewed or critiqued. Because the disciplines expect interpretation, argument, and criticism, it could be argued that digital humanists have not produced enough digital interpretive scholarship and what we have produced has not been absorbed into the scholarly disciplines. This essay seeks to categorize several different types or genres of digital scholarship (see attached table) and to provide the basis for the production of digital humanities works for circulation and review.