This article outlines the background to the divide between ‘the digital’ and ‘the humanities’ in contemporary South Korea. Since the late 1990s, the government of South Korea has made concerted efforts to digitize information, resulting in increased access to an unusually high quantity of heritage sources. However, the massive investments in the building of online resources have not inspired a ‘digital turn’ in the mainstream of South Korea’s departments in the humanities. This indifference to ‘the digital’, or what might be called a ‘digital/humanities divide’ has a history going back to the 1980s, when the Korean government and business leaders prepared for a post-industrial transition without drawing the interest of humanists and without expecting the nation’s remarkable success in ict.
BaikOkjeong Monica‘South Korea: Information and Communication Industry’2011Retrieved 29 October 2014 from: http://workspace.unpan.org/sites/internet/documents/S2KR11%20South%20Korea%20Information%20and%20Communication%20Industry.pdf.
Honam Kirok Munhwa Sisŭt’em‘Honam chiyŏk komunsŏ tijit’ŏlhwa saŏp wallyo pogohoe podo charyo (Reports for public briefing upon concluding the project for the digitization of documents from the Honam region)’2007Retrieved 29 October 2014 from: http://honam.chonbuk.ac.kr/admin/bbs/s_board_detail.jsp?currentPageNum=2&bbs_seq=22&show_num=4&is_new=1&page_id=&bbs_category=1&totalPageCount=16&search=&keyword=.
Inmun Sahoe Haksul Chinhŭng Changgi Pijŏn Surip Ch’ujin Wiwŏnhoe2030 inmun sahoe haksul chinhŭng changgi bijŏn (A Long-Term Vision for Promoting Research to Build a Humanistic Society by 2030)2010Unpublished Report
SchreibmanSusanSiemensRayUnsworthJohnSchreibmanSusanSiemensRayUnsworthJohn‘The Digital Humanities and Humanities Computing: An Introduction’A Companion to Digital Humanities2004MaldenBlackwellxxiiixxvii
The Financial News‘Miraebu “tijit’ŏl herit’igi p’orŏm” ch’ulpŏm: munhwa yusan k’ŏnt’ench’ŭ hwa sŏndo (The Ministry of Future Planning Launches “Digital Heritage Forum”: Pioneering the Digitization of Cultural Heritage)’2014April1Retrieved 29 October 2014 from: http://www.fnnews.com/news/201404011731591681.
For the year2012the official oecd figure for ‘percentage of households with access to the internet’ in South Korea was 97.3%. To put this in perspective the equivalent figure for the Netherlands was 93.6% while the United Kingdom scored 86.8% the United States 71.7% and Canada 80.5%. The official itu estimate for South Korea stated in itu (2011: 11) is 95%.
On 9 July1990Daniel Bell gave a public lecture about information society and South Korea’s future role in the Asia-Pacific region. Korea Telecom organized this event which also marked his first visit to the country. See Maeil Kyŏngje Sinmun (1990: 15); Tonga Ilbo (8 July 1990: 15); Tonga Ilbo (9 July 1990: 16); Hankyoreh (1990: 8).
From Kim Hyŏn2012:601and National Information Society Agency http://www.nia.or.kr/Contents/06_public/mainbusiness.asp?BoardID=201112131559429988&order=070400 (retrieved 29 October 2014).