Paolo Monella, Are tools all we need? Digital Humanities in the time of its institutionalisation

Three key features of the Digital Humanities today are its quantitative growth, its institutionalisation and its definition as a discipline. In the first part of this article (2. Institutional models) I shall pinpoint some models of institutionalisation that are emerging in the international scenario. Against this background, I shall then discuss (3. Tools) some concepts central to Digital Humanities’ self-definition, such as those of practice, ‘building’, centre, project, product and tools, particularly questioning the opinion that the creation of friendly digital tools is the key issue in the future of the field. I shall finally suggest that ‘instrumentalism’, ‘project fever’ and an excessive focus on friendly tools should not get the upper hand over the methodological work necessary to build digital applications which possess real added value by comparison with traditional research practices.

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