The distinction may seem merely semantic, but there are several reasons for choosing the former term. First of all, although Digital Scholarship @ Oxford may be located in the Humanities Division, it is not restricted to the Humanities. It aims to collaborate with and to learn from disciplines throughout all four Divisions of the University as well as all of its library and museum collections. As such, it represents a sister institution to the Oxford Internet Institute (in Social Science) and the Oxford e-Research Centre (in the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division). ‘Digital Scholarship’ captures that fluidity better than ‘the Digital Humanities’.
Second, although the Humanities are a set of academic disciplines, digital scholarship, as practiced in Oxford, is not: it is a set of methods and technologies potentially applicable to any academic field. The simultaneously launched MSc in Digital Scholarship is expressly designed, not to establish a new discipline, but to equip students for innovative work in existing disciplines.
Third, ‘the Digital Humanities’ may seem to imply the existence of a set of disciplines over against the traditional Humanities. In some settings, an aggressive promotion of advanced digital methods has bred antagonism between practitioners of traditional and digital methods. Digital Scholarship @ Oxford will aim to avoid this outcome by serving the gradual transformation of academic practice from within established disciplines rather than demanding transformation from without.