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Humanist Archives: Nov. 12, 2019, 8:17 a.m. Humanist 33.392 - digitization vs digitalization

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 392.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

    [1]    From: savoye@eapoe.org
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization (70)

    [2]    From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization (24)

    [3]    From: Dino Buzzetti 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization (39)

    [4]    From: Simon Tanner 
           Subject: RE: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization (72)

    [5]    From: Benjamin Vis 
           Subject: RE: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization (15)

        Date: 2019-11-11 13:28:38+00:00
        From: savoye@eapoe.org
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization

I smell clever marketing at play. There may not be a distinction in
current usage, but we shall see if they are successful in creating one.
(If there is money or other forms of personal gain at stake, someone
will at least attempt it.) English does have a lot of words with very
close but slight nuances of special meaning.

Jeffrey A. Savoye
The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore

On 11/11/2019 1:18 AM, Humanist wrote:
>                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 390.
>              Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                     Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                         www.dhhumanist.org
>                  Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>          Date: 2019-11-10 09:35:52+00:00
>          From: Claire Clivaz 
>          Subject: Digitization VS Digitalization: is there any difference?
> Dear colleagues,
> Since some months, I have been thinking about the distinction between
> "digitization" and "digitalization", a difference that does not exist in
> French for example.
> The word "digitalization" can often be found on Google in DH volumes,
> but generally, it simply refers to this collected essay:
> Willard McCarty (ed.). 2010. /Text and Genre in Reconstruction: Effects
> of Digitalization on Ideas, Behavious, Products and Institutions/.
> Cambridge, OpenBook Publishers.
> However, "digitalization" is present only in the title of this book.
> Willard kindly explained to me that it was the publisher wish to get it
> in the title. Moreover, we have apparently only one article of
> definition of both concepts (not in OA):
> J. Scott Brennen and Daniel Kreiss. 2016. Digitalization
> (<)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781118766804.wbiect111).
> /International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy/ 23
> October:1-11.
> As for me, I did a first lecture on this binomial expression in France
> (Nice 2019), with the video here
> (<)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEWyrmGRkoA&list=PLwfNs3lhppctnSaZhAsFzjDZk
> rJUx&index=4&t=0s),
> and I have a paper accepted on the topic at the AIUCD 2020. I am now
> interested in raising the debate here: do you think that there is any
> difference between these two English words? In DH in particular?
> All the best,
> Claire
> --
> Claire Clivaz
> Head of DH+
> SIB | Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics
> Amphipole 187 - Quartier Sorge, Dorigny - CH-1015 Lausanne
> t +41 21 692 40 60
> claire.clivaz@sib.swiss

        Date: 2019-11-11 11:47:37+00:00
        From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization

Dear Claire,

in Germany it seems quite clear that the one word "Digitalisierung" has two
different meanings:

a) the expansion of digital tools and media all over the subsystems of the
modern society; as example, yesterday broadcasted:
Digitalisierung der Landwirtschaft - Daten säen, Daten ernten
https://www.deutschlandfunk.de › digitalisierung-der-landwirtschaft-daten-
sa... vor 21 Stunden - ... Big Brother im Kuhstall Digitalisierung in der
Landwirtschaft mit Nebenwirkungen. Präzision ...
b) in contexts of preserving the cultural heritage, or preparing research
objects in DH contexts:
Digitalisierung - Das Museum der Zukunft (Archiv)
https://www.deutschlandfunk.de digitalisierung-das-museum-der-zukunft.1...
20.11.2014 - Digitalisierung des kulturellen Erbes – Grenzenlose Wissenswelten
... Allensbach-Studie Schule, Digitalisierung und die Arbeitswelt

In my understanding of the english words "digitization" stands for the
transformation of information from the analogue to the digital, while Willard's
publisher obviously with "digitalization" had in mind the a) meaning above.

Best regards, Herbert

        Date: 2019-11-11 11:00:07+00:00
        From: Dino Buzzetti 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization

It would be enough to refer to the Oxford English Dictionary respective

*digitization, n. *
 1. The action or process of digitizing; the conversion of analogue data
(esp. in later use images, video, and text) into digital form.
 2. = digitalization n.2 2.

*digitalization, n. (2)*
 1. = digitization n. 1.
 2. The adoption or increase in use of digital or computer technology by an
organization, industry, country, etc.

From which I gather that the two terms can be used interchangeably in their
primary sense, i.e. "the process of digitizing", and that both of them have
a secondary sense as well , i.e. "the adoption of digital technology by an
organizion", so that they are interchangeable, in use, also in this secondary

To you the choice of insisting in assigning to them only distinct meanings.

-dino buzzetti

Dino Buzzetti
Department of Philosophy    
University of Bologna
Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII
via san Vitale, 114                  
I-40125 Bologna BO
e-mail:  dino.buzzetti [at] gmail.com
              buzzetti [at] fscire.it
Web:  http://web.dfc.unibo.it/buzzetti

        Date: 2019-11-11 10:34:05+00:00
        From: Simon Tanner 
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization


I have found the difference to be significant enough to seek to define it for my
current book and in the past it has been a source of confusion or conflation
that has not been helpful. I make it very clear to our students in the Masters
of Digital Humanities or the MA Digital Asset and Media Management that they
should not use the interchangeably.

So from my book I make the distinction in use:

"Digitisation vs digitalisation
This book refers to ‘digitisation’ and rarely to its counterpart
‘digitalisation’. While closely associated, they are distinct terms that should
not be used interchangeably. This definition most clearly describes the
We define digitization as the material process of converting individual analogue
streams of information into digital bits. In contrast, we refer to
digitalization as the way in which many domains of social life are restructured
around digital communication and media infrastructures. (Brennan and Kreiss,
Brennan, S. and Kreiss, D. (2014) Digitization and Digitalization, Culture
Digitally. Available at: http://culturedigitally.org/2014/09/digitalization-and-

Where I have found the main areas of interuse have been:
- with German speakers where the use of the full word digital and addition of
isation is just a natural way the German language seems to work. It seems to
indicate a straight translation to English, not conflation.
- with digital culture and media studies subject specialists who came to
digitalisation first and thus think that covers everything such that they don't
distinguish but only use digitalisation and never digitisation. So there is an
element of Derrida driven thinking that leads to conflation of the two giving
one precedence.

As someone who worked in digitisation since the mid-1990's it was from my
library, museums, archives stance very much the dominant term and I only
occasionally came across digitalisation (usually German speakers) until the
mid-2000s - say 2004 onwards. As topics such a big data and the study of social
media became bigger topics of study then digitalisation came up very much more
frequently and by now I would say became the dominant term and digitisation is
the lesser used. I think this is sensible as digitisation is a very particular
term for a specific process that is thus limited. Digitalisation is bigger in
scope and coverage and thus will be used more frequently.

You could thus say that for the DH community the rise of one term to take over
from the other in frequency of use is indicative of the shift in focus of some
of DH from getting lots of historic content available in research arenas such
that humanists can do interesting things with them. There might be come
interesting mapping that could be done to view the use of terms in DH literature
and the increase of one as the other plateaus and then decreases in its use to
describe DH activity. Digitisation obviously links to big programmes such as
Google Book digitisation, mass newspaper digitisation programmes, HATIITrust etc
etc and these have quieted in the last 5 years compared to other DH topics of
interest that are in a period of significant growth.

Hope this helps.


Book: Tanner, S. (2019) Pre-publication draft to be published in Delivering
impact with digital resources: Planning strategy in the attention economy, Facet
Publishing, ISBN: 9781856049320.

Simon Tanner
Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London | S3.18 Strand Campus | London WC2R 2LS

Pro Vice Dean (Impact & Innovation), Arts & Humanities
Email: simon.tanner@kcl.ac.uk
Research: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/simon.tanner.html

        Date: 2019-11-11 09:50:14+00:00
        From: Benjamin Vis 
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 33.390: digitization vs digitalization

Dear Claire,

At the risk of coming across more pragmatic than critically reflective, when I
arrived in Britain I was taught "digitalisation" is an error, and the correct
term is "digitisation". In my mother tongue only the former form of the word
exists, so I have never sought any further explanation. Certainly, in my fields
I'm not aware of both terms existing alongside each other nor having different



|| Dr Benjamin N. Vis | https://kent.academia.edu/BenjaminVis ||

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