Magazine December 31, 2020, Issue

How the Internet Has Revolutionized Research in the Humanities

The main reading room of the New York Public Library (Mike Segar/Reuters)

In recent years, research in the humanities has fundamentally im­proved. As a result, writing about history and literature should get significantly richer in decades to come. For the past four decades, researchers have had to work in two realms: paper and electronic. Those conversant with both realms enjoy a signal advantage. But the old-fashioned scholars not conversant with computer research are at a distinct disadvantage. Our newfound ways of aggregating and getting at knowledge now allow researchers to make connections never before made.

Two vignettes from my own experience in grammatical and linguistic research might illustrate what’s happening millions of times

This article appears as “Our Brave New Knowledge” in the December 31, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Bryan A. Garner — Mr. Garner is the author of The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation, Garner’s Modern English Usage, and The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing.

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