How do we go about defining the Digital Humanities (DH)? As opposed to coming up with a definitive definition, because I’m not qualified to do so (if such a thing is possible to begin with), I’ll attempt to describe what others have postulated DH as being. A salient feature of DH is that it is a social (social connotates humans - what about our nonhuman equals in undertaking work?) undertaking where networks of people come together to work, contend, challenge, and shape a topic of inquiry (do you all think it is purely inquiry based, that is to say, I'm not sure this encapsulates the exploratory nature that is possible in DH. Sometimes patterns or topics are looked for, and sometimes they are emergent in materials.) . This page is an example of DH at work; it is an open source, an outlet of data, not just available to those involved in the institution but to anyone searching this page on the web. Moreover, it represents the aggregate work of a handful of colleagues.
Perhaps rather than a social undertaking, DH is a collaborative method. It relies on collaboration between technology and humans, humans and other humans, etc. DH is all about connecting information across departmental divisions.
In Library and Information Science literature, DH is seen as a collaborative effort. One article tries to define it by saying that "Digital humanities focuses both on the application of computing technology to humanistic inquiries and on humanistic reflections on the significance of that technology. . . . [DH includes] topics ranging from text analysis and visualization to digital pedagogy and new platforms for scholarly communication" (p.16; Sula, Chris Alen. "Digital Humanities and Libraries: A Conceptual Model." Journal of Library Admin. 53.1 (2013): 10-26.)


There is no concrete definition of DH. I will not refer to DH as a field or a discipline because I do not have enough authority to qualify that assertion. However, DH is a discourse community, comprised of human and nonhuman actors, with a range of specific lexis (data, network, open-access), discursive practices that highlight its collaborative infrastructure, is dependent upon participatory mechanism (not only for the discourse community itself but for the advancement of scholarship and pedagogy), and there is surely a threshold level (insiders/newcomers) - (what do you all mean by this?). It's broadly agreed upon goals include inquiry and critical thinking


I would therefore define DH, amongst other definitions, as open, collaborative, cultured--where information is shared and exchanged in the pursuit of inquiry, where knowledge is transdisciplinary and networked, and where people connect to create knowledge within such networks to advance not only our understanding of methods and pedagogies but advance the very terms--composition, rhetoric, and human identity--as 'constructs' and 'acts of construction' in a digital age.

By Rg