Digital (In)Humanities: Re-reading Digital Archives as a Form of Cultural Expression
Nell Smith, Martha
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A 2007 PMLA article discussing the <italic>Walt Whitman Archive</italic> juxtaposed narrative and database as competing forms of cultural expression. This article incited a flurry of responses which continued to use the database and narrative comparison. Dinin, in his article "Digital (In)Humanities," reassesses the terms of the digital archive debate, arguing that the terms "narrative" and "database" are both constricting and misleading. The juxtaposition shouldn't be database versus narrative to see which one becomes the dominant form of cultural expression because narrative, he argues, is a form of database. The more proper juxtaposition, as presented by the paper, is one that places "digital archive" alongside "narrative" because both are products of database and both are forms of cultural expression. Dinin, in his article, then goes on to explore the potential of digital archives as a form of cultural expression.