Alessandro Grazi is a research associate at the Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz, carrying out a Digital Humanities research project on 19th-century Jewish Italian prayer books. He attended the recent online ReIReS training on DH and Jewish Studies and we asked him about his experiences.
Transition towards the Digital World
I attended the ReiReS DH course, because I need to refine and expand my DH knowledge for my current project. As I come from a traditional approach to the study of Jewish intellectual history, I am working on my transition towards the digital world. This means I wish to catch every possible occasion to get to know about the different tools available and to increase my familiarity with those I already know.
Digital Approaches to Hebrew Texts
This course was particularly relevant for me, as it focused on the DH as they are applied to the specific field of Jewish Studies. It was primarily a wonderful opportunity to get a general overview of what is already available when it comes to digital approaches to Hebrew texts and what is being developed. But it was also an excellent occasion for professional networking with the experts and developers of such tools. This is of no less importance for a young scholar with a traditional background who is working towards a digital transition.
In addition to these elements, I particularly appreciated the hands-on sessions throughout the course. When they are well taught, as in this case, practical sessions are crucial to a successful knowledge transfer of technical methodologies.
I will certainly use some of the tools I have learnt during the course for my research. The other tools that were presented, even when not specifically necessary for my current project, will continue being part of my digital portfolio, a “possession for all time”, in Thucydides’ words.
In fact, I am convinced that at least a basic knowledge of digital methodologies will be, an already is, an essential prerequisite for a scholar in the humanities, just like knowledge of the relevant languages. And this is how I consider this digital transition within my academic career: an irreversible process.
Thank you, Alessandro! We wish you good luck with your research.