Title, Author & Summary


Ideas of the Decade

April 23, 2014

Big Data

Jonathan E. Abel

Big data and digital humanities can not threaten traditional humanities, they can only inform them. As a set of tools to be used by humanists (on the same order as such traditional humanist tools as bookmarks, indexes, footnotes, underlinings, notecards), digital humanities will never rise to the point of becoming ends of humanistic inquiry in themselves. The recent flurry and fetish for a digital humanities, however, is but part of a long history of quantitative, positivistic humanist inquiry which supplements but cannot supplant the quests for information, knowledge, and truth which have and will continue to have formed the humanities.

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