Documentation, Informaiton & Knowledge ›› 2023, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (5): 16-27.

• Special Topic: Digital Academic Infrastructure in the AI Era • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Using "Specialized Databases" as a Method: Reimagining Digital Humanities and Its Development Trends in the AI Era

XIAO Peng   

  1. School of Information Management, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510006
  • Online:2023-09-10 Published:2023-10-22
  • Contact: Correspondence should be addressed to XIAO Peng,, ORCID:0000-0002-6668-8122
  • Supported by:
    This is an outcome of the project "Research on Digital Humanities High Frequency Terminology and its Application in National Humanities Data infrastructure"(YB2022020)supported by China National Committee for Terminology in Science and Technology.

Abstract: [Purpose/Significance] The purpose of this paper is to strengthen the foundational theoretical research and critical discourse of digital humanities, and provide better support for the research and practice in digital humanities. [Design/Methodology] Based on self-constructed dataset and interview materials, this paper employs grounded theory and qualitative analysis methods. [Findings/Conclusion] Beyond being a collection of "resource/data", the other five new characteristics of specialized databases within the scope of digital humanities are revealed: instrumentality, problem-solving nature, experiential quality, social dimension, and stability. The paper also identifies the unique engineering traits, media attributes, material dimensions, and ecological components of digital humanities as a field. Finally, based on the theoretical framework of "engineering-media-material-ecology", this paper analyzes the impact of AI on digital humanities, and proposes to focus on the restructuring of digital humanities working patterns in the AI context, carefully consider the media characteristics of digital humanities in the AI era, be aware of the deepening of digital infrastructure divide, and establish digital humanities ecological rules tailored to AI. [Originality/Value] The specialized databases essentially serve as an interface connecting the humanities community with technological trends, forming the cornerstone for bridging humanities critique and technological transformation. Drawing from recent thoughts on "XX as a method", this paper utilizes "specialized databases" as a method to establish a "bottom-up" theoretical framework for understanding and reimagining the digital humanities.

Key words: Humanities and social sciences specialized databases, Digital humanities infrastructure, Digital humanities, Artificial intelligence