Sharing knowledge is more important than continuously building digital systems.

In the book Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader, Mark Sample states in reference to the promise of the digital, ‘Its not about building, it’s about sharing.’ (p.255)

The viewpoint on the influence of the digital industry seems to be centered on three focal disputes. One side seems to favour more traditional, possibly archaic values, opposing to fully accept its ever-growing nature. On the other hand, the second side is very encouraging of the rise and usefulness of the digital industry and its ability to aid and enhance pre-existing standards and research. The third side attempts to create a symbiosis of both in order to create a happy medium. This is the side that Sample, as well as myself is seemingly on.

This essay will formulate the argument that Sample’s statement is true to its fullest extent, highlighting the importance of sharing knowledge over mass- construction of digital systems. Sample’s emphasis of the significance of sharing, complies with my own research into crowdsourcing/community sourcing tools and databases/projects that I have studied in class. Sample also states ‘The heart of the digital humanities is not in the production of knowledge; it’s the reproduction of knowledge.’ (p.256) This not only affects the theoretical approach to the question at hand but also opens up the exploration of databases such as Wikipedia and the Early Novels Database (END). These are two resources that will help evidence the argument that sharing knowledge is more important than building knowledge. This battle between the correct applications of digital knowledge is important due to the volatile nature of the industry, and the quality of potential excellence that the digital world has due to its ability to reshape the representation, sharing, and discussion of knowledge.


One thought on “Sharing knowledge is more important than continuously building digital systems.

  1. Nicely trenchant! I wonder – when you describe digital knowledge as an ‘industry’ – whether you are consciously emphasising the *economic* drivers of academic and non-academic digital knowledge? Does ‘sharing’ disrupt that?


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