The plight of the “digital humanities” – the integration of technology into the humanities – was tackled in an unflinching speech at an international conference.

Melissa Terras, senior lecturer in electronic communication at University College London, described her keynote speech at the Digital Humanities Conference last week as “necessarily negative”, warning that, as a discipline, “our web presence … sucks”.

Reciting a story about the corpse of UCL’s spiritual father, Jeremy Bentham, being wheeled into senate meetings at the institution and listed in the minutes as “present, not voting”, she told delegates if the digital humanities did not improve its standing online, it too risked being “present, not voting” within the academy.

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