Volume 13, Issue 2

Exploring Digital Humanities at UC

By Arlene Johnson, Associate Senior Librarian, Digital Humanities Strategist, Selector and Liaison for the Romance Languages and Literatures Department

(l to r) Byron Hutchins, Lee Skallerup Bessette and Arlene Johnson

Exactly what is digital humanities? Many definitions have been expressed in scholarly publications (see http://www.libraries.uc.edu/digital-scholarship/digital-humanities-social-sciences.html), but a simplistic definition is that digital humanities represent the intersection of traditional humanities research and digital/computer-based technologies.

As of fall semester 2014, there is a group at UC exploring this very question at the university.

In May 2014, the University of Cincinnati Libraries launched a Strategic Plan. As an outcome of the collaborative planning process, ten strategic initiatives have been identified to be undertaken in the 2014/15 academic year. Exploring Digital Humanities/Digital Scholarship (DH/DS) is one of these ten initiatives. Early in the 2014 fall semester, a group was formed to focus on research in this area, and to build engagement and awareness of digital humanities and digital scholarship within UC Libraries and UC. The Digital Humanities/Digital Scholarship Group has already become an exemplar of cross-disciplinary collaboration at UC with highly engaged and enthusiastic faculty, students and staff members from many UC departments, colleges and initiatives. Our group sponsors are Xuemao Wang, dean and university librarian, and Cheryl Albrecht Associate Dean for library services, humanities and social sciences. The group members include:

  • Carlos M. Gutiérrez, Professor and Head, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures
  • Todd Herzog, Associate Professor and Head, Department of German Studies
  • Jay Twomey, Associate Professor and Head, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Janine Hartman, Professor of History
  • Michèle Vialet, Professor of French, Romance Languages & Literatures and Affiliate of Women’s Studies
  • Juan Camilo Galeano Sánchez, Graduate student, Romance Languages & Literatures
  • Heidi Foote, Undergraduate student, Classics
  • Janine Morris, Graduate student, English & Comparative Literature
  • Nicolas Rivera, Graduate student, English & Comparative Literature
  • Byron Hutchins, E-learning
  • Jane Combs, Assistant Director, UCIT Research and Development

And representing UC Libraries:

  • Cheryl Albrecht
  • Kevin Grace, Archives and Rare Books Library
  • Suzanne Maggard, Archives and Rare Books Library
  • Elizabeth Meyer, Robert A. Deshon and Karl J. Schlachter Library for Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP)
  • Jacquie Riley, John Miller Burnam Classical Library
  • Mark Palkovic, Albino Gorno Memorial Music (CCM) Library
  • David Sandor, Albino Gorno Memorial Music (CCM) Library
  • Nathan Tallman, Digital Projects
  • Arlene Johnson, Leader

As the DH/DS group works together to build engagement and awareness at UC, we will be creating several learning opportunities, including a speaker series. Our first speaker, Dr. Lee Skallerup Bessette, visited UC on November 17 and 18. Several thought-provoking sessions were offered over the two days, including “What Can I Do Now? Formulating the ‘Digital’ and “Humanities’ in Research” and “Make, Bend, Break: The Potential of Digital Pedagogy.”

Another exciting learning opportunity is coming in May 2015, when UC and the University of Cincinnati Libraries host UC’s very first THATCamp event. THATCamp http://thatcamp.org/about/, an international unconference movement, stands for “The Humanities and Technologies Camp.” THATCamp University of Cincinnati 2015 http://ucincinnati2015.thatcamp.org/ will take place Monday May 4- Wednesday May 6, 2015. Please consider joining us for this event where we will explore many facets of digital humanities and digital scholarship.

If you are interested in joining the DH/DS group, please contact Arlene Johnson, Digital Humanities Strategist, UC Libraries at: Arlene.johnson@uc.edu.