We understand digital humanities (a) as the study of means and methods of constructing formal models in the humanities and (b) as the application of these means and methods for the construction of concrete models in the humanities disciplines. Thus, it has very little to do with “tools”—a piece of software or a particular technology—but it is primarily concerned with abstraction and formalization in order to create models that can be processed and manipulated using the computer.
This may sound daunting at first, but if you know that the word “formal” means nothing more than “logically coherent + unambiguous + explicit” (to paraphrase Gladkij and Melʹčuk, 1969), it is primarily a disciplinary task, independent of any particular technological choice.
In these two days, we will talk about theoretical approaches to modeling (such as Stachowiak’s Allgemeine Modelltheorie (1973)) and reflect about their application to research in the humanities. We will then look at Semantic Web technologies as an example of a computational modeling approach.