I worry that the answer is nostalgia.
Why? Justified by the oft-repeated, but rarely substantiated claim that the humanities is undergoing a crisis, digital humanities constructs the high technology of the present moment in much the same way as proponents of the now largely-forgotten field of new media —as a shift in the means of production that is synonymous in its historical and cultural implications to the introduction of the printing press. The crucial difference, though, is that for proponents of new media, this technological determinism is almost always symptomatic of a larger positivism. Convinced that society is in the throes of a far reaching “information revolution,” they construct computers and the various innovations that computers enable as a means of remedying, and, ultimately, transcending the inherent limitations of human subjectivity.
By contrast, digital humanists imagine computers and the innovations they enable as a means of returning to and thereby recovering the types of performances that, in various formulations, they celebrate as embodying human subjectivity in the ideal. Fascinated with the potential of digital technologies to re-imagine what they construct as great or valuable works, they turn to e-editions and digital archives not as a means of remedying the limitations of human subjectivity but of perfecting it: of teaching a generation of born digital subjects how to appreciate the timeless values manifested in classic (analog) works of art and literature.
Via Andrea Naranjo, Pierre Levy