Research | Writing | Digital Humanities | Biblical Studies

Web Dev in the Humanities: What’s the Use?

Web Dev in the Humanities: What’s the Use?

Recently someone asked me what I was up to with my work. I answered that in addition to my New Testament work (a discipline we share), I was doing front- and back-end web development for a project related to biblical studies. The response: “Oh. Well, I’m sure that will come in handy in the future.”

Perhaps it was heartfelt. At that moment, I interpreted the response as a kind attempt to simply say something positive. Afterward I realised an ironic assumption could be in the background: web development skills have little to do with New Testament scholarship.

While I do not assume any irony was intended, it is worth raising the question: What will web development do for New Testament studies and the humanities in general? Lots!

I think web technology/applications will become increasingly central to research in the humanities as they mediate previous scholarship and data, provide tools for finding and analysing data, and facilitate the (re)presentation of data/knowledge in both familiar and genuinely novel ways. Furthermore, web-based applications can be more accessible, affordable, and social than their pc counterparts, and cloud computing is increasingly capable.

An understanding of the effects of these technologies on the production and representation of knowledge in the humanities is extremely important. A good critique along these lines will probably require those who both understand the technology and a discipline within the humanities.


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