Digital technologies have changed historians' methods of reading and writing. Inherent in the structure of Department III is a recognition that digital technologies have the ability to change the scope and approach of research. Digital methods harness the availability of texts and technologies to create new knowledge that is meaningful in the context of historical research. By bringing researchers and computer scientists together on projects that focus on the history of science and technology, we work to address historical questions that are not otherwise easy to answer. We engage in computational analysis of sets of sources that are too large to manage otherwise, we develop new methodologies combining historical sources and digital technologies, and we share our findings with others.
We understand Digital Humanities not merely as a set of tools, but as a process. Digital Humanities allow scholars to discover the possibilities of computers, absorb the fundamental concepts in computer science, and incorporate those ideas into their research methodologies. Furthermore, we extend Digital Humanities methods previously focused on European-language texts into the realm of East Asian sources.
Shih-Pei Chen directs the digital humanities efforts of Department III. The activities she conducts include consultations on individual research projects with digital components to their research or analysis, collaborations with researchers on large-scale digital-centered efforts, and direction and management of technology staff.
Digital Humanities is essential to the work of Department III. Led by Chen, individuals within the department make use of the potential of digital humanities in numerous ways. The digital humanities work within the department includes building and curating Digital Projects; Academic Outreach; and the implementation of Methodological Tools.