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Computing or Humanities? (23 Dec 2004)
The application of computing to research problems in the humanities is not new. One of the acknowledged pioneers in this area, Father Robert Busa, began his work on the Index Thomisticus (an index to the works of the medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas) in the late 1940's, very soon after the first stored-program computer was developed. Many followed his lead, including Antonio Zampolli who pioneered the application of computational techniques in literary and linguistic research from the 1960s. Despite this long association of applied computing with humanities research it is only in recent years that the application of computing techniques has become widespread among humanities scholars. The reason for this is almost certainly that it has taken a long time for computing techniques and technology to advance to a state where they can process the myriad and complex data sources of the humanities and begin to answer the manifold questions asked by researchers.
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