Category Archives: Digital Humanities


New Syllabus Archive Opens the ‘Curricular Black Box’

Course syllabi are a potentially valuable source of information for teaching and scholarship. Their contents could shed light on the evolution of fields (How has Foucault’s popularity changed over time?) or help professors develop new courses (What are best practices for teaching digital humanities?). But gathering and sharing syllabi can be a messy business. Privacy concerns, legal uncertainty, fragmented and inconsistent sharing practices—all present challenges.

A group of scholars is taking a…


This Guy Drew a Cat. You Won’t Believe What Happened 4 Centuries Later.

Franz Helm’s illustrated manual on pyrotechnic weapons was around for more than four centuries before it went viral.

When the German artillery expert wrote the manual, in the mid-1500s, he unwittingly created a piece of media ideally suited to the tastes of 21st-century Internet culture: Cats that appeared to be wearing jet packs.

Helm appears to have been describing a creative siege tactic. In order “to set fire to a castle or city which you can’t get at otherwise,” he advised in the manuscript…


New Repository Offers a Home for Data That Aren’t Numbers

After spending months or years collecting data from focus groups, surveys, and other sources, what are scholars doing with the mountains of information that may or may not have made it into their published research?

In the quantitative-research world, where data come as numbers that can be collected and stored in an organized way, the answer has been to share the data. But for qualitative and multi-method researchers, whose data might come in the form of lengthy interview transcripts, fiel…


MIT Is Still Working on Its Response to Aaron Swartz Case

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is still trying to figure out how to answer criticism of its response to the controversial federal prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the hacker and activist who was arrested on the MIT campus in 2011.

On Thursday university officials charged with reviewing MIT’s existing policies and practices flagged several ways the university could do more to protect digital privacy and encourage open-access publishing, according to an update from MIT’s news office.

But no…


U. of Southern California Gets Mellon Money to Train Digital Scholars

In yet another sign that the digital humanities are working their way into higher education at every level, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a five-year, $1.9-million grant to the University of Southern California to support graduate-level training in digital scholarship, the university announced on Tuesday. The grant will pay for two-year fellowships for humanities Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral researchers.

It also includes money to run workshops, to digitize and preserve researc…


QuickWire: Anthropology Journal Moves to Open-Access Model

The journal Cultural Anthropology has just published its first free, open-access issue, which it says will help in “returning publishing to the commons, where academic life begins.”

“The editors hope this move will expand the audience of the journal to curious readers—academic or not—who would not normally have access to the latest research in anthropology,” the journal said in a news release. The release also said that the Society for Cultural Anthropology, which publishes the journal, hopes th…


4 Digital-Humanities Projects From ‘Chronicle’ Readers

A collection of articles in this week’s issue of The Chronicle explores how the digital humanities play in the undergraduate classroom, whether they pay off in tenure and promotion, and what it takes to create a work of digital scholarship that will last. As part of that collection, we asked readers to tell us how they integrate digital platforms into their humanities teaching and scholarship. Following are four submissions we found particularly interesting.

When we hear the phrase “I Have a…


QuickWire: ‘Frankenstein,’ Online and Kicking

Digital facsimiles and transcriptions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein notebooks went live on Halloween, marking the debut of the long-planned Shelley-Godwin Archive. The Chronicle wondered what kind of web traffic Shelley’s monster had attracted since then, so we asked Neil Fraistat for an update. Mr. Fraistat is a professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park, where he directs the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, or MITH; he and Elizabeth C. Denlinger, a …


QuickWire: Acrimony Accompanies Dickinson Papers to Online Archive

A bitter feud that has vexed Emily Dickinson’s poems and papers since the late 19th century appears to have followed them onto the Internet, where Harvard University’s Houghton Library will soon open an archive with high-resolution images of all the poet’s manuscripts and letters, as well as transcriptions and other information. The library holds roughly 60 percent of the Dickinson manuscripts; the remainder are in the library at Amherst College.

The split came about soon after the poet’s death,…


JSTOR Tries Individual Subscription Service for Researchers

JSTOR’s archival database of scholarly journals is a plum resource for researchers—if they can tap it. Scholars with college or university ties can dive in via institutional subscriptions. The unaffiliated often have a harder time getting in.

JPASS, a new subscription service for individuals, aims to get more of JSTOR’s archives into the hands of people who might otherwise be cut off from them. For a smallish monthly or yearly fee, researchers can buy the right to read an unlimited number of art…