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Digital Scholarship

What is Digital Scholarship?

Digital Scholarship is an ever-changing creative field that utilizes digital tools & techniques, such as data visualization, text analysis, mapping, and scholarly multimodal publishing, to extend traditional methods of research. As an evolving field, digital scholarship projects can range from simple word cloud creations like the one below to large-scale interdisciplinary funded projects involving several people.

Some aspects of Digital Scholarship are:

"Digital scholarship is scholarship

Digital scholarship facilitates new modes of research. For instance, sources of evidence ( media data, biometric data, sensor data), approaches to research (i.e. database development, sentiment analysis, 3D printing), and outputs (i.e. podcasting, interactive narratives, digital exhibits, Github) common to digital scholarship challenge and alter the way researchers do research. But at the centre of digital scholarship is research; one designs and carries out the study of a particular topic in order to discover new information or arrive at a new understanding of a particular phenomenon.

Digital scholarship is interdisciplinary

Doing digital scholarship draws on a range of expertise from across the university. This can happen in the traditional way that we think about interdisciplinarity, such as by bringing together researchers from different scholarly disciplines, but it also means drawing on resources from distinct units on campus. 

Digital scholarship is collaborative

In the immediate sense, digital scholarship is collaborative because it is produced or conducted by people working together. Collaboration, however, includes also conscientious relationship and community building. In this respect, collaboration in digital scholarship entails identifying who the project’s stakeholders are, the intended audience and its ties to the research and resources being used, and by acknowledging everyone who contributed to the project.

Digital scholarship is critical

We ask a lot of questions in order to address the ways in which digital tools and methods can exacerbate inequities and injustices. Why do we not all have access to the same information, skills and experiences? How do we reduce barriers to these things?  Digital scholarship presents opportunities to work collaboratively on projects that merge critical digital literacy and social justice.

Digital scholarship is inventive

Digital scholarship imagines new ways to do research and disseminate results. Your project might have a large digital component — or, a small and tangential one. In the end, considering digital resources and possibilities means making choices about the best ways to pursue a question, and engage scholars, students, and the public."


Most importantly, the wide variety and range of tools and projects means that Digital Scholarship is for everyone!


Adapted from McMaster University's Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship -  retrieved from:

Above is an example of an interactive cirrus visualization from Voyant Tools that uses various definitions of digital scholarship and digital humanities to generate a word cloud. The more times a word appeared in the text, the larger it is. Hover over the words to see the number of times they appeared in the text. You can also adjust the number of frequencies that appear by clicking on the slider tool in the bottom left.