Digital humanities is a multidisciplinary field between informatics and humanities, aiming at solving humanistic problems using informatics methods to gain new knowledge or insights, or at exploiting new fields of informatics using humanistic problems as new opportunities. In addition, Digital Archives is one important way for the publication of research outcomes of digital humanities.
We have two main projects as follows.
We propose to extend the method of textual criticism to data, and develop a method for the critical usage of visual sources such as maps and photographs. Textual criticism is a well developed field, but criticism for non-textual criticism is not well studied. Digital sources and information technology will enable a new way of "reading" sources.
We study how to markup the literary work using TEI (Text Encoding Initiative), and start the digital analysis of literary work by extracting and converting elements of markup documents.
National Institute of Japanese Literature is working on Project to Build an International Collaborative Research Network for Pre-modern Japanese Texts, and the challenge here is how to search digitized images. We are working with them to develop a method to perform the matching of images to detect different versions of old books.
Digitized sources are easier to share on the web, and the advantage of openness of data is expected to be significant in terms of academic research. For example, if open data can be accessed without restrictions, researchers with geographical disadvanrage, financial limitation, or lack of human network can also work on the data on competitive equality. Moreover, the open data can invite researchers from other domains, and may lead to the larger diversity of research results. Furthermore, collaboration beyond disciplines, or even beyond academic communities will contribute to widespread usage of research results in the society, and may open up new types of relationship between citizens. One crucial point, however, is the evaluation of researchers who are involved in this type of activities, because the openness of research is not included in the traditional metric of research contribution.
This kind of open research environtment is called open science in recent years. This concept will become popular in humanities in the near future. One challenge of digital humanities is to realize more open humanities along the same line with open science.