Experiments in the digital laboratory. What the Computational Humanities can learn about their definition and terminology from the History of Science


The notion of experiment is widely discussed in Digital Humanities, yet a precise terminology is still lacking. This article argues that a narrow set of scenarios in the subfield of the Computational Humanities can implement a definition close to that of the Sciences which transcends the metaphor of playful exploration. It proposes that we should look to those Humanities disciplines which have already integrated experimental methods into their hermeneutic arsenal such as Experimental Archaeology and the Experimental History of Science. These share an emphasis on distinguishing ‘experiencing’ from ‘experimenting’ which I argue should be applied to the Digital Humanities notion of experiment as well.

Fabrikation von Erkenntnis. Experimente in den Digital Humanities. Melusina Press
Sarah A. Lang
Sarah A. Lang
Digital Humanities researcher

My research interests include leveraging Computational Humanities for the historiography of Alchemy and Chymistry. I am the author of the blog LaTeX Ninja’ing and the Digital Humanities.