Digital humanities

Maintained by: David J. Birnbaum ( [Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported License] Last modified: 2016-01-04T00:24:15+0000

Interesting Digital Humanities projects

2010 census block data
A sophisticated mapping project that illustrates racial distribution in the US. See the explanation at
America’s least popular war: Augmented War of 1812
America's least popular war uses a smartphone app to add interactive historical primary source documents to public spaces, and documents the results and ongoing project on its blog.
The American Yawp
The American Yawp offers a free and online, collaboratively built, open American history textbook designed for college-level history courses.
Arab image foundation
The Arab image foundation is a photographic archive with materials from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.
Archimedes palimpsest project
A thirteenth-century prayer book sold at auction to a private collector in 1998 contains erased texts that were written several centuries earlier still, including two treatises by Archimedes that can be found nowhere else, The Method and Stomachion. The Project provides digital images and transcriptions.
Çatalhöyük Living Archive
The Çatalhöyük Living Archive is a digital archive of the Neolithic-era archaeological findings at Çatalhöyük in Southern Turkey. It features a layout of the dig site, photographs, journals, and descriptions of found artifacts.
A crowd-sourced history project at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) to collect anecdotes, videos, photos, etc., pertaining to the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010–11.
Classroom electric
The Classroom Electric is a constellation of web sites on Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and nineteenth-century American culture. Here users can explore images of original manuscripts, rare photographs, notebooks, scrapbooks, letters, and maps in sites informed by cutting-edge scholarship. While each site works as a stand-alone case study useful to students and teachers, the sites also link to each other, to other resources, and to the Dickinson Electronic Archives and the Walt Whitman Archive.
Costar archives
The Costar archives is hosted by the Costume Program in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where it provides web support for several collections of garments associated, primarily, with university and professional theatrical costume programs. See especially the faceted search interface that you can open at the bottom of and try clicking on the gold stars in the upper right corner of the pictures.
Cultures of knowledge
This project compiles extensive databases of letters and other forms of intellectual correspondence among scholars and scientists from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. The team extracted metadata from the letters, supplemented with biographical data about the authors, and presents maps and social networks based on that information. (Howard Hotson [Director], Oxford University)
This TEI-compliant site allows the user to search the corpus (Nuova ricerca) according to different criteria. Mousing over words in the browing interface (Corpus) causes linguistic information to materialize as tooltips.
Digital Silk Road
The Digital silk road provides access to the cultural heritage and remnants of the Silk Road across China and Central Asia, especially via maps and photographs. Some of the databases in it lack visual attractiveness, though.
Digital Thoreau
Digital Thoreau is a resource and a community dedicated to promoting the deliberate reading of Thoreau’s works in new ways, ways that take advantage of technology to illuminate Thoreau’s creative process and facilitate thoughtful conversation about his words and ideas. See especially the Reader’s Thoreau, which allows visitors to leave comments and discussion questions in the margins of the digital text.
First voyage of Othere
The first voyage of Othere applies dense linguistic XML markup of linguistic data to Old English prose. The text is the first five paragraphs of King Alfred’s record of Ohthere’s tale of his voyage to the north along the Norwegian coast to the White Sea region. The voyage took place around 890, and is the first known voyage around the North Cape. Ohthere (Ottar) was a viking trader. Alfred included the story in his world history, The Old English Orosius, which mainly consists of a translation of the writings of the Spanish cleric and historian Paulus Orosius, dating from around 400 AD.
For better for verse
Interactive tool for teaching prosody. (Department of English, University of Virginia)
The Future of the Past
This project used a database run by the National Library of Australia (Trove to explore digitalized newspapers and found over 10,000 instances of the future, with the goal of examining how people in the past thought about the future.
Using a digital text of Herodotus’s Histories, Hestia uses web-mapping technologies such as GIS, Google Earth and the Narrative TimeMap to investigate the cultural geography of the ancient world through the eyes of one of its first witnesses. Explore the texts at
Inner life of empire
The inner life of empire accompanies Rothschild’s book by the same name, published in 2011. It features a variety of social network graphs from Gephi that detail the social, familial, and economic connections that bound a single Scottish family to the wider world in the eighteenth century. The variety of biographies, social network graphs, and Google Earth visualizations provides a robust view of Rothschild’s evidence and conclusions. (Emma Rothschild and Ian Kumekawa, Harvard University)
Kafka’s Wound
This digital literary essay has been designed to allow both the text of the essay and a wealth of related digital content to be discovered and explored by each reader individually. In addition to the central essay and related author’s notes, there are videos, texts, image galleries, audio files, and a game woven through the text. See the guide to use at
Knotted Line
The Knotted Line is a tactile, interactive experience for exploring the historical relationships between freedom and confinement.
This project by Emory University researchers uses the Voyant text analysis tools to compare the language in the legislation, arguments, and opinions of the US Supreme Court from both parties of the same sex marriage debate. The project is short and digestible, with a tutorial-like presentation of the methodology, and the documents are made easily available, which makes it possible to replicate the results.
Lincoln logarithms: Finding meaning in sermons
This project by Emory University researches uses a multitude of language-based tools and methodologies, including topic modeling, text mining, and mapping, in an attempt to uncover patterns or new insights about his memorialization, with a tutorial-like presentation of the methodology.
Letters of 1916
Digital collection of letters written around the time of the Irish Easter Rising (1915-11-01 – 1916-10-31). Among other things, visitors can contribute to the project by transcribing any letter that hasn’t been done yet.
Lord Byron and his times
This unusual digital archive collects, presents, annotates, and makes searchable the contextual documents (books, pamphlets, periodical publications) that interested and worried Lord Byron and his social circle and helps to highlight the social relationships among early nineteenth-century writers, publishers, and readers. The data collected in this site are well integrated with the semantic web, and the visual design of the pages appeals for its subtle and effective reproduction of nineteenth-century print and layout.
Map of early modern London
The Map of early modern London maps the streets, sites, and significant boundaries of late sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century London (1560–1640). Taking the "Agas" map as its platform, the project links encyclopedia-style articles, scholarly work, student work, editions, and literary texts to the places mentioned therein. Students will view the landmarks of Shakespeare's London, and learn about the history and culture of the city in which he lived and worked. Teachers will find the map and index useful in teaching Renaissance plays and other texts set in London. Scholars are welcome to contribute articles, links, or compilations of data.
Mapping decline: St. Louis and the American city
Mapping decline uses interactive historical maps of St. Louis to supplement the book of the same title, which examines the causes of urban decay.
The most timeless songs
This site uses Spotify playcounts to quantify and understand how generations remember music over time. Developed by Matthew F. Daniels, who also produced the Largest vocabulary in hip hop project (
Music theatre online http://dougreside/mto/
Digital archive of texts, images, video, and audio files relating to musical theater. Watch the video guide on the About page for information about how to interact with the site. (Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities)
Pelagios (Pelagios: enable linked ancient geodata in open systems) aims to help introduce linked open data into online resources that refer to places in the historic past.
Petrus Plaoul
Transcription of Peter Plaoul’s Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Visit a transcribed page (e.g., and explore the mouse-over and menu interfaces.
Princeton Charrette project
The Princeton Charrette project is a complex, scholarly, multi-media electronic archive containing a medieval manuscript tradition—that of Chrétien de Troyes’s Le chevalier de la Charrette (Lancelot, ca. 1180). See especially the two interactive interfaces. (Princeton University)
Saint Patrick’s Confessio
Explore St. Patrick’s writings. Notice the treatment of the traditional parts of a critical edition (e.g., left margin of; drop down the categories and mouse and click around). You can learn more about editorial apparatus in Section 7 of
Selfiecity is a project aimed at understanding the selfie by collecting and analyzing, with attention to features such as age, gender, angle, and expression, photographs taken in five of the world’s most populous cities. The selfiexploratory can be used to view a subset of the archive based on the criteria used for analysis.
Shelley-Godwin archive
The Shelley-Godwin archive digitizes the manuscripts of Percy and Mary Shelley, and Mary Shelley’s parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft—manuscripts often written in multiple hands. Provides an important study of the Frankenstein notebooks to demonstrate how much of a role Percy Shelley played in the writing of Frankenstein. The archive provides a good model of the use of TEI for manuscript encoding and of complex and multiple visualizations of manuscript texts.
A text visualization, analysis, and play tool. (Brian L. Pytlik, University of Nebraska, Lincoln)
Topic modeling Martha Ballard’s diary
This project employs the topic-modeling software MALLET to identify salient topics within one extensive diary from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, which include Midwifery, Church, Gardening, and others. It then traces the changing prominence of these topics within the diary over time, thereby introducing a diachronic dimension to the study. (Cameron Blevins, Stanford University)
Virtual Pauls Cross project
This project is a digital recreation of John Donne’s Gunpowder Day ceremony and allows you to explore London in 1622.
What’s on the menu?
With approximately 45,000 menus dating from the 1840s to the present, The New York Public Library’s restaurant menu collection is one of the largest in the world, used by historians, chefs, novelists, and everyday food enthusiasts. The trouble is, the menus are difficult to search. To solve this, they’re working to improve the collection by transcribing the menus, dish by dish. Doing this will allow them to expand dramatically the ways in which the collection can be researched and accessed, opening the door to new kinds of discoveries.