Even as one that identifies himself as a Digital Humanist, I often find it hard to accept using “out of the box” software for my own academic work. This is not because I am afraid or opposed to software in my own work, it is because I often cannot fully comprehend what goes on in that piece of software. I come from the more Hack less Yack school of DH, but even I have trouble understanding these large pieces of software of the web that could be used for some amazing Digital Humanities projects.
So what can I do? I could write my own piece of software that would take all of these considerations in mind, but I doubt that would that be fruitful endeavor. First, it would take me an extremely long time to construct without utilizing a developer. I could use a developer, but that could be an expensive endeavor. Secondly, I doubt that it would be recognized as an academic endeavor (even though it is!) because we do not have models to evaluate software as scholarship in the humanities realm. It is my belief that the term collaboration needs to be expanded, that we should see more papers coauthored by computer scientists and humanists. I am guilty of adopting the traditional humanities way of doing scholarship, so I am trying to spend more time in the CS department, attempting to open up conversation and to collaborate cross disciplinary. . Hopefully others are having this same type of trouble with utilizing software they don’t entirely understand.