It is a truism to say that digital technology is changing the humanities. In the classroom we are told to adapt ourselves to the new ways our students organise and communicate knowledge. In our research, we have far greater access than ever before to secondary literature, facsimiles of primary material, and even work-in-progress. The newest digital archives, editions, and research sites use technology that many traditionally-trained humanities scholars confess to finding extremely intimidating.
This paper looks at the role of domain knowledge and expertise in the Digital Humanities. What do traditionally trained humanities scholars need to know about technology? What do their skills and training contribute to the successful digital project? As the use of digital technology in the humanities becomes mainstream, we need to ensure that domain knowledge and skills in the humanities are properly captured and communicated. In fact, doing so also makes good technological sense: if the last ten years have demonstrated anything, it is that some of our most important technologies have arisen in response to questions and research by traditionally-trained humanities scholars.
O'Donnell is a Professor in the Department of English at the University of Lethbridge and the University Library. In the Department of English, he is responsible for teaching most of our courses on Digital Humanities, medieval literature, the History of the Book, History of English, and the English language/grammar. In the Universirty of Lethbridge Library, O'Donnell is the interim director of the new Centre for the Study of Scholarly Communication and a member of the Research Services Committee. His main research interests include Digital Humanities, Scholarly Communication, Old English language and literature, the history of the book, editorial and textual scholarship, and reception-oriented criticism.