The Digital Humanist

From Domenico Fiormonte:

We are happy to announce the publication of our new book: L’umanista digitale, by Teresa Numerico, Domenico Fiormonte and Francesca Tomasi (Il Mulino, Bologna, 2010).

This work follows the collective Informatica per le discipline umanistiche (ed. by Teresa Numerico and Arturo Vespignani, 2004), a small best-seller in our field, as it was widely used in many humanities computing courses across Italy. In the last six years so many things have changed, so we decided to write a completely different book, and organized it around the idea of an essential “digital trivium”. Not just an introduction to DH, but a critical reflection on current tools (Google, among others) and practices.

Accordingly, the volume is divided in three main sections: Writing & producing content (Scrivere e produrre, by D. Fiormonte); Representation and preservation (Rappresentare e conservare, by F. Tomasi); Searching and organizing (Cercare e organizzare, by T. Numerico). The book was conceived from a genuinely interdisciplinary perspective, as we all work in different fields: Teresa is a philosopher of science and CS historian, Francesca is a computer scientist and digital archivist, and Domenico is a linguist and new media student. Perhaps the most challenging output of this collaboration is the first chapter on the “humanistic roots” of computer science, written by T. Numerico, but discussed among us at length. Teresa, who has been working for years on this topic, describes an epistemological turn: from the computer as “computing machine” to idea of “interface” and communicative
tool, explaining how this idea derived from people and scholars who had a humanistic approach to knowledge.

Interesting to the DH community would be also the Appendix: The international scenario of digital humanities, a concise summary of geo-political trends, research scenarios and projects in our field. The prospect provided here is deliberately international, but also attentive to the specific cultural needs of each national DH community.

Finally, registered readers can access the publisher’s online environment AulaWeb, where they can find more material, i.e. unpublished chapters, tests, slides, and tutorials.

So, you’ll say, another Italian HC/DH book that nobody outside Italy will ever read? Maybe. Or may be you can help us to translate bit & pieces, summarise, and abridge paragraphs and chapters, and post them in your blog and web sites. We can send you the italian text and help you to translate anything you’re interested in. Especially the introduction Storia dell’interazione tra tecnologia e sapere umanistico is something quite new in our field: we don’t remember many publications, except perhaps Willard ‘s “Humanities Computing”, reflecting on how important has been our theoretical and practical contribution to the birth of Informatics and Computer Science. If you need more info, or want a review copy of the volume, please contact the publisher at, or feel free to write us:

Teresa Numerico
Domenico Fiormonte
Francesca Tomasi

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