Author Archives: Chris Francese

DH Boot Camp Poster Session January 29, 2015

Here is the merry band of Dickinson students who came back to campus a week early to participate in the second annual Digital Boot Camp.

2015 DH Boot Camp participants met in the Waidner-Spahr Library at Dickinson the week of January 12, 2015

2015 DH Boot Camp participants met in the Waidner-Spahr Library at Dickinson the week of January 12, 2015

Led by Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Patrick Belk, the eleven students completed online tutorials at home the week of January 5, and convened on campus for further instruction and to work on their own projects. Other instructors included Michael D’Aprix, Daniel Plehkov, Leah Orr, and Don Sailer. Topics included ArcGIS, Drupal, XML, and discussions of metadata and other DH principles (full schedule here). Most of the projects they are working on represent collaborations with faculty, departments, or student organizations on campus.

Make sure to stop by the digital poster session, at which the students will show off what they have accomplished in this intense period of work and discovery.

What: Digital Boot Camp Poster Session

When: Thursday January 29 12:00-1:15 p.m.

Where: HUB Social Hall East

Here is a list of the students and their projects linked here (still works in progress):

Masculinity in Advertising
Victoria DeLaney
English, Spanish

Mapping Sustainability at Dickinson College
Jackie Goodwin
Environmental Studies, Sociology

Cultural Mapping: A Documentation of Yarmouth Maine
Wesley Lickus
Environmental Science

The Peddler
Nick Bailey
International Business, Management

Maryland Folklore Project
Andrew McGowan
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology

EDDC Archive: Digital Library for the English Department
Harris Risell

Renaissance Music Database
Maurice Royce
Computer Science, Mathematics

Student Curation at the Trout
Anna Leistikow
International Studies

Education Reform
Melissa Pesantes
Italian Studies, Anthropology

Mapping the Aeneid
Katherine Purington
Classical Studies

Exploring the Invisible Universe
Olivia Wilkins
Chemistry, Mathematics

The Digital Boot Camp @ Dickinson was made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It was supported by members of the Digital Humanities Advisory Committee (or DHAC), and Archives & Special Collections, Waidner-Spahr Library. The students, instructors, and organizers taking part in this year’s boot camp would like to thank the following people: Dan Confer, Ryan Burke, Jim Ciarrocca, Chuck Steel, Maureen Dermott, Meredith Brozik, Tricia Contino, Dottie Warner, and Malinda Triller Doran.

Lincoln’s Writings: Multimedia Edition

The Multi-Media Edition of Lincoln’s Writings at the House Divided Project offers 150 of Abraham Lincoln’s most teachable documents organized around five major themes and designed provide key alignments with the Common Core State Standards.


In addition to transcripts there are audio recordings of readings by the wonderful Todd Wronski of Dickinson’s Theatre and Dance Department. My favorite feature is the inclusion at the beginning of a paragraph on the context of each document by Civil War historian and House Divided director Prof. Matthew Pinsker. Here, for example, is his lead-in to the Emancipation Proclamation.

Context: The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 culminated more than eighteen months of heated policy debates in Washington over how to prevent Confederates from using slavery to support their rebellion. Lincoln drafted his first version of the proclamation in mid-July 1862, following passage of the landmark Second Confiscation Act, though he did not make his executive order public until September 22, 1862, after the Union victory at Antietam. The January 1st proclamation then promised to free enslaved people in Confederate states (with some specific exceptions for certain –but not all– areas under Union occupation) and authorized the immediate enlistment of black men in the Union military. The proclamation did not destroy slavery everywhere, but it marked a critical turning point in the effort to free slaves. (By Matthew Pinsker)

Prof. Pinsker also offers a 12-minute close reading of the text of the document itself. And there is bibliography, and excerpts from other historians, writing about how they understand the document. Check out this excellent use of the web to richly annotate key historical documents!


Exporting and Sharing Digital Scholarly Editions

Desmond Schmidt’s recent article in the Journal of TEI about how to create a truly portable and interoperable digital scholarly editions came at an opportune time for me. DCC is entering into a relationship with Open Book Publishers in Cambridge to exchange our (Creative Commons licensed) content. They will publish some of our commentaries as books and eBooks, and we will publish some of their book commentaries as multimedia, web-based editions. But how to actually make the transference?

We are starting by delivering Bret Mulligan’s commentary on Nepos’ Life of Hannibal. OBP needs it in a format they can use and set in InDesign and publish in EPUB. But how should the transfer happen? How can we actually share the open licensed scholarly content of DCC so it can actually be re-purposed and pe-published in different formats? Not easily, it turns out. Our commentaries are just html pages in Drupal, not XML based and TEI tagged documents, and thus, in the view of one early critic of the project, “not truly digital.” XML-TEI is intended as a universal standard for editing and tagging documents of all kinds, and not adopting that for our project was at the time a decision based on cost. Anyway, after various investigations on the OBP side it turned out the best way for us to get our commentaries is to OBP deliver the via . . . wait for it . . . Microsoft Word–with all the labor and possibilities for error that that involves.

Wouldn’t things be better if our texts were marked up in XML-TEI? No, according to Schmidt. He argues, in effect, that TEI is actually hindering the sharing of digital scholarly editions. The problem is the subjectivity of TEI tagging and the diversity of the tags themselves, which in Schmidt’s view makes true interoperability of scholarly editions in TEI a pipe dream. The solution he proposes, as I understand it, is to get all the tags and metadata out completely and into separate files, preserving the text as plain text (in multiple versions if we are dealing with revisions or variants). He is evidently developing an editing environment which ends up creating zipped files that completely separate the text itself, annotation data that points back to the text, and metadata. A few choice quotes:

Syd Bauman (2011), one of the original editors of TEI P5, has since observed that interoperability of TEI-encoded texts today—that is, the exchange of unmodified TEI files between different programs—is “impossible.” (9)

One obvious remedy to this problem is to remove the main source of non-interoperability, namely the embedded markup itself, from the text. By removing it, the part which contains all the significant interpretation can later be added or substituted at will. (21)

What remains when the markup is removed is a residue of plain text that is highly interoperable, which can be exchanged with other researchers, just as the files on are downloaded by the tens of thousands every day (Leibert 2008). However, if one suggests this to someone who regularly uses TEI-XML, the immediate objection is made that this will solve nothing, because even plain ASCII texts are still an interpretation of what the transcriber sees on the page (e.g. Sperberg-McQueen 1991, 35). This point, although valid to a degree, misses an important distinction. (22)

And it goes on in this interesting vein. I would love to hear from people who are wiser and more experienced than I am about Schmidt’s critique of embedded TEI annotation and his proposed solution. In the meantime, I need to go format some stuff in Microsoft Word.

Exploring User Interaction Options for the Carlisle Indian School Project

Krista Gray sends along this update on her work with the Carlisle Indian School Project, researching best practices and common approaches for crowdsourced transcription and user-submitted content.

This semester I’ve had the opportunity to work as a consultant on the Carlisle Indian School Project, focusing on developing features to support greater user interaction and participation on the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center website. As part of this process, I’ve researched how other institutions have implemented similar features, experimented with various possibilities on a test site, and begun to implement selected elements on the live site.

Initially, I focused on investigating two main avenues for increasing opportunities for user interaction on the site:

  • crowdsourced transcription of digitized documents, and
  • user-submitted contributions of stories, images, or documents in digital form

The research occurred in two main stages. I began by exploring similar projects at other institutions that supported either of these modes of user interaction and also investigated some of the pre-existing open-source tools for facilitating these functions. This preliminary research gave me a better understanding of the scope of various components, approaches, and issues involved in the process as well as the features of digital tools or systems currently available.

After gaining a general understanding of the various systems implemented at other institutions, I then conducted a more systematic comparative analysis of the different features and functions present (or absent) in these systems. In this, I moved beyond general impressions toward identifying best practices and common approaches found on other sites. This research brought forth both points of inspiration as well as a basic framework of significant elements to incorporate when implementing similar features on the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center. In this stage, I analyzed eighteen sites supporting crowdsourced transcription, including the Smithsonian Transcription CenterDIYHistory from the University of Iowa, and What’s on the Menu? from the New York Public Library. I also examined eighteen sites supporting user-submitted content, including the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank from George Mason University and the University of New Orleans, Our Marathon from Northeastern University, and the First Days Project from the South Asian American Digital Archive.

I examined each set of sites across several dimensions, ranging from what system they were built with to the specific elements of the transcription or submission form. Best practices for both types of sites included establishing a clear entry point for those looking to contribute or transcribe (perhaps as a button on the homepage), and providing clear access to guidelines for submission (these were common in transcription projects, but more rare in contribution projects). For transcription sites, additional recommended best practices included organizing materials within contextual units and providing elements (such as status labels) to facilitate more efficient browsing and selection of material to transcribe, as well as displaying progress indicators within the project. For contribution sites, collecting the contributor’s name and email address, as well as obtaining consent to a terms and conditions statement were all common practices. Other common fields included title and description, with additional fields varying in accord with the aim of each project. Another significant aspect of this research, then, was to observe how the context of each project might have affected its implementation, and to consider how the specific focus, goals, and resources of the Carlisle Indian School project would shape the development of interactive features on the site.

Building on what I learned over the course of this research, in mid-October 2014 my focus shifted to experimenting and planning how similar interactive elements might be supported on the Carlisle Indian Digital Resource Center website. Given the complexity of implementing these features, both are still in the development process, and my primary focus for November and December 2014 has been on building and testing components to support user-submitted contributions of stories, images, or documents.

Drawing insight and inspiration from two of the Drupal sites I found in my research – the Smithsonian Transcription Center and the South Asian American Digital Archive’s First Days Project – I have developed contribution forms integrated with a defined staff workflow for reviewing, adding metadata, and finally publishing user-contributed stories, images, or documents to the site. Examining the submission form on the First Days Project led me to investigate how a form typically used on the administrative side of a Drupal site could be adapted to collect public submissions of content as well. The process of collecting and reviewing transcriptions on the Smithsonian Transcription Center similarly led me to investigate how various functions could be added to assist staff in moving content through different stages of a review process for the Carlisle Indian School site. An account creation and login process is also in development for contributors.

As I considered how to implement various components to support user-submitted contributions, I gained a better understanding of what might be possible on the project site as a whole. An additional byproduct of this work, then, has been the development of features to extend site functionality for researchers as well, to allow for better browsing and filtering of records on the resource center. The significance of progress indicators for transcription sites found in my research, too, has also made an impact, despite not being directly relevant to the current focus on user-submitted contributions. New pages are in development to provide visitors with statistics on the progress being made by project staff to describe and provide access to more and more content online. This work has also resulted in additional test pages that present options for new angles by which researchers can explore the characteristics of the files currently available.

Finally, while all major interactive features are still in development, we have been able to implement two simpler interactive elements to the live site — visitors can now submit corrections to descriptions of particular records and they may also provide general feedback on the site. Additional options and information have also been added to browse pages on the live site, with more, as described above, planned for 2015. Watch the “Recent News & Updates” section on the home page of the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center for information about when new features will go live in the coming months.

Krista Gray graduated from Dickinson College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science (a double major in Math and History, she was awarded honors in History and admitted to Phi Beta Kappa). She worked as the Friends of the Library Intern at Dickinson during the 2011-2012 academic year. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with a Master of Science in Information. In February 2015, she will begin her new job in the special collections division of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Recent Digital Projects at Dickinson

A 2013-2017 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation for faculty-driven digital projects is part of the longer-term flowering of digital projects at Dickinson, all of which involve students as scholars collaborating with faculty in some way. The History department has been particularly active in this realm since the 1980s (Dickinson Chronicles, House Divided, Dickinson History Project), and there are substantial projects in the Classical Studies department (Dickinson College Commentaries), the language departments (The Mixxer), and in the Sociology department and the College Archives (Carlisle Indian Industrial School Project). Here are some new and ongoing digital projects at Dickinson that the Digital Humanities Advisory Committee has been pleased to be able to support in recent months, thanks to the Mellon grant:

  • Mark Aldrich (Spanish and Portuguese): creating a digital edition of the 1984 work Andanzas de un mensajero fiero y pendenciero by poet and artist Rafael Pérez Estrada.
  • Patrick Belk (Mellon DH Postdoc): The Pulp Magazines Project, a full-text, searchable archive and database of British and American Fiction Magazines from the early twentieth century.
  • Chris Francese (Classical Studies): a digital version of T.D. Goodell’s School Grammar of Attic Greek; database of Vergilian vocabulary; multimedia edition of Vergil’s Aeneid.
  • Jim Gerencser (Archives), Susan Rose (Sociology), Malinda Triller Doran (Library): Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center: digitizing materials held at the U.S. National Archives; programming in Drupal to implement the various types of user interactivity.
  • Jacob Sider Jost (English): Eighteenth-Century Poets Connect, a Drupal database of patronage, authorship, and publication data from early 18th-century English literature (1710-1730)
  • Nicoletta Marini-Maio (Italian): gender/sexuality/italy (g/s/i), an online annual, peer-reviewed academic journal.
  • Crystal Moten (History): Visualizing Black Milwaukee, a platform to visualize (GIS mapping) the spatial dimensions of African American life in Milwaukee during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Matt Pinsker (History): House Divided: E-Book publication series; Videotaped panels / special exhibit for the “Understanding Lincoln” online course; video tour, virtual trip to President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington DC; multimedia edition of Lincoln’s writings.
  • Blake Wilson (Music): database of poetry incipits, poet, poetic forms, language, composer, music sources, literary sources, and bibliography and notes related to singing and song culture in Renaissance Florence.

An earlier post lists activities related to the grant over its first year. Thanks to all the faculty who are doing this exciting work, and to the Mellon Foundation for fostering it!

A New Allen & Greenough

With support from the Mellon Digital Humanities Fund and the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies at Dickinson, the Dickinson College Commentaries team has completed a new digital version of that perennially useful tool for Latinists, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, edited by J.B. Greenough, G.L. Kitteredge, A.A. Howard, and Benjamin L. D’Ooge. Boston: Ginn & Company, 1903.


The project involved re-scanning the book to have good quality page images, then editing a set of existing XML files kindly provided by the Perseus Project. We added to that the newly digitized index, which was not in the Perseus XML. The purpose there was to make the book browsable via the index, which is important for user utility, and absent in all other online versions. On March 23, 2014, Kaylin Bednarz (Dickinson ’15) finished revision of XML files for Allen & Grenough, and the creation of html files based on the new XML. She was assisted and trained in the use of Oxygen software (which converts the XML into web-ready html) by Matthew Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, who also helped with day to day project management.

In late March, Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke uploaded the html and XML files to Dickinson servers, and created the web interface for A&G in html. This revealed issues of formatting: indentations were often not preserved, resulting in lack of clarity. Some character formatting was not right, and footnotes from the original print resource were not clearly displayed. Forward and back buttons had to be put in for each of the 638 sections.

On May 20, 2014, Meagan Ayer (PhD in classics and ancient history, University of Buffalo, 2013) began work hand-editing Allen & Greenough html files, removing errors and fixing formatting, adding navigational infrastructure using Adobe Dreamweaver. A few missing XML files had to be added and converted to html, and those finishing touches were put on last week.

The differences between the DCC version of A&G and others available on the internet are:

  • Page images attached to every section
  • Analytical index makes finding what you need easier
  • Functioning word search for the entire work
  • Attractive presentation with readable fonts and formatting
  • Fully edited to remove spelling errors and OCR misreads (further error notifications appreciated!)

And of course the whole is freely available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license. We plan to systematically link to this version of A&G in our Latin commentaries, and we are planning to have a similar work on the Greek side up soon:

Thomas Dwight Goodell, A School Grammar of Attic Greek (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902). This excellent work was scanned by the Internet Archive. Last year Bruce Robertson of Mont Allison University kindly performed the OCR using Rigaudon, the output of which is available on Lace. At Dickinson the OCR output was edited and the XML and html pages created by Christina Errico. Ryan Burke has created the web interface. Meagan Ayer is in the process of editing and correcting the html pages. So look for that in the next few months!

Fall 2014 Digital Dialogues season at MITH


The Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland in College Park has announced the lineup of speakers for their Fall 2014 Digital Dialogues season. The seven speakers come from a wide variety of research specialties ranging from Women’s Studies, Film & Digital Media,  Information Studies and gaming culture. They are:

Tuesday September 30, 2014: Alison Booth

Tuesday October 7, 2014: Stephanie Ceraso

Tuesday October 14, 2014: Marisa Parham

Tuesday October 21, 2014: Alexis Lothian

Tuesday October 28, 2014:  Andrew Johnston 

Tuesday November 4, 2014: Darius Kazemi

Tuesday, November 11, 2014: Alex Wright

Read more at Save the Dates! Here are MITH’s Fall 2014 Digital Dialogues speakers.

CFP: Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference: 14-16 November 2014

Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference: 14-16 November 2014

Call for Proposals

Bucknell University, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will host its first annual international digital scholarship conference. The theme of the conference is “Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Faculty Research” with the goal of gathering a broad community of scholar-practitioners engaged in collaborative digital scholarship in research and teaching.

This conference will bring together a broad community of scholar-practitioners engaged in collaborative digital scholarship in research and teaching. We encourage presentations that emphasize forms of collaboration: between institutions of higher education; across disciplines; between faculty, librarians, and technologists; and between faculty and students. We welcome contributions from scholars, educators, technologists, librarians, administrators, and students who use digital tools and methods, and encourage submissions from emerging and established scholar-practitioners alike, including those who are new to digital collaboration.

Submission topics may include but are not limited to: engaging with space and place; creating innovative teaching and learning environments; perspectives on implications for the individual’s own research and pedagogy within the institutional landscape, etc.

Presentations may take the form of short papers, project demos, electronic posters, panel discussions, or lightning talks.

For more information about submitting a presentation proposal, please go to the Bucknell Digital Initiatives website: . The deadline for proposals is August 1, 2014.

If you have questions or would like more information about the submission process, please email conference coordinator Diane Jakacki:

Bucknell is a private liberal arts university located alongside the historic Susquehanna River in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. At Bucknell “Digital Scholarship” is defined as any scholarly activity that makes extensive use of one or more of the new possibilities for teaching and research opened up by the unique affordances of digital media. These include, but are not limited to, new forms of collaboration, new forms of publication, and new methods for visualizing and analyzing data.

Mellon Grant Interim Report 2013

Dickinson College received a $700,000 grant in December 2012 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for use over approximately four years to support faculty and curricular development in the digital humanities. The Mellon Foundation provided project funding to support the following: 1) a one-course reassigned time for the faculty chair of a digital humanities advisory board to guide the initiative; 2) a postdoctoral teaching fellowship to help introduce the latest digital technologies, link Dickinson’s efforts to a larger community of scholars, and assist our Library and Information Systems (LIS) staff in defining needed future capabilities; 3) competitive internal grants for faculty to incubate significant expansion of existing digital projects and/or pilot the use of new tools in teaching and research, including providing student-faculty research opportunities; 4) an intensive program to better train undergraduate students for robust collaboration with faculty on complex digital projects; 5) a virtual “digital studio” to provide accessibility, visibility, and outreach for the best work being done at Dickinson in this field, 6) workshops with representatives of all humanities departments and with key all-college committees to enhance their capacity to support and evaluate digital work in the humanities and across the curriculum; and 7) work toward defining learning outcomes expected for Dickinson students with regard to digital humanities skills.

Here are some excerpts of the report prepared for the Mellon Foundation on activities completed in the first year of the grant, prepared by Cheryl Kremer:

1. Digital Humanities Advisory Committee

Over the past year we successfully established a Digital Humanities Advisory Committee (DHAC), which is the key planning committee for this initiative. DHAC has been meeting regularly to guide and oversee all of the aspects of the project. The committee was convened in the spring of 2013, has developed guidelines for awarding grants from the Digital Humanities Fund, and has been actively awarding these grants since the spring of 2013.
The committee is comprised of five faculty members: Chris Francese, Professor of Classical Studies (who will be Chair from 2013-2015); B. Ashton Nichols, Professor of English Language and Literature and the Walter E. Beach ’56 Distinguished Chair in Sustainability Studies; Susan Rose, Director of Community Studies Center and the Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology; Matthew Pinsker, Associate Professor of History and Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History; and Siobhan K. Phillips, Assistant Professor of English. Also serving on the committee are five administrators who have a strong interest in and connection to digital humanities work on campus: Patricia Pehlman, Director of Academic Technology; Jim Gerencser, College Archivist; Todd Bryant, LIS Language Program Administrator; Ryan Burke, Web Programmer; and Matt Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities.

2. Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow

Our second goal for this grant was to create a new post-doctoral fellowship position in digital humanities at Dickinson. We conducted a successful search and hired Matthew Kochis to fill this position. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tulsa in May 2013 and began his work at Dickinson in July 2013. Matt has strong skills in digitization, XML, database design, and project management—all of which proved to be crucial to fostering digital humanities projects. He trained students to work with faculty to create usable XML documents, to digitize documents with ABBYY Finereader, to organize image assets using appropriate and current metadata standards, to implement effective workflows using the Basecamp application, and generally to manage projects more efficiently.

Our post-doc taught a course entitled Writing for Digital Media (ENGL 212) in the spring semester of 2014. He also met individually with many faculty members and students to assist in the development of a wide variety of digital humanities projects. Additionally, he designed and ran our first Digital Humanities Boot Camp—a training program for students interested in digital humanities that was held in January 2014. The successful Digital Humanities Boot Camp occupied much of Matt’s time in November and December of 2013 and January 2014. (For additional details, see item 4 below.) We are pleased to report that Matt Kochis was offered and accepted a tenure-track position at another institution, starting in fall 2014. A search for his replacement recently concluded with the hiring of Elyse Graham.

3. Digital Humanities Fund

The third major aspect of this grant involves awarding internal grants to support Dickinson faculty members interested in beginning or advancing their digital humanities efforts. The two main categories of support thus far have been: 1) summer student-faculty collaborative research pairings in which teams of one faculty member and one student work full time on a project for eight weeks, and 2) student research assistantships that assist one faculty member for approximately eight hours per week for either 14 or 28 week periods. The following is a list of grants awarded to Dickinson faculty members through our Digital Humanities Fund over the past year, the vast majority of which have involved students in substantive ways:

Art and Art History
• Melinda Schlitt – reassigned time to assist Prof. Chris Francese by annotating visual images for the first multimedia edition of Vergil’s Aeneid (to begin summer 2014)

• Christofilis Maggidis – rental of 3-D archaeological 3-D digitizing equipment for use in documentation of finds and architectural remains at Mycenae, Greece

Classical Studies
• Chris Francese
– student assistant to help create a new digitization of Allen & Greenough’s Latin Grammar to provide unprecedented ease of access and navigability for this basic resource for classicists
– student assistant for a new digitization of T.D. Goodell’s School Grammar of Attic Greek in sharable XML forma, to do the same for this resource
– student summer research assistant to help with the creation of the first multimedia edition of Vergil’s Aeneid (to begin summer 2014) with audio recordings, extensive image assets, and notes. (The audience for this project is AP Latin students (approximately 7,000/year) and others in colleges and universities.
– consultant to help develop a database of Vergilian vocabulary to be used in the Aeneid edition, based on a new digitization and editing of Frieze’s Vergilian Dictionary

• Wendy Moffat – student assistant to help with a curated exhibit based on and database of 2,000 images of letters, photos, maps, and ephemera from 24 archives and personal collections around the country relating to her forthcoming book entitled A Disbelief in Obstacles: Three Prophetic Americans and the Great War

• Sarah McGaughey – student assistant to help create foreign language instructional materials to be used with Mixxer, the Dickinson-based social networking website for connecting students in foreign language courses with native speakers abroad who are studying English

• Emily Pawley – reassigned time and student assistants to help develop a new online museum of Dickinson’s history, currently called the Dickinsonia Project
• Karl Qualls – student assistant to help develop a website on Russian-American émigrés, centered around oral history materials and interviews with Prince Gagarin
• Matthew Pinsker
– student assistant and faculty consultant to help develop a multimedia edition of Abraham Lincoln’s writings: 25 Lincoln podcasts by Prof. Todd Wronski (Theatre and Dance), providing teachers and students with a unique set of audio transcripts for teachable Lincoln documents. Filmmaker Lance Warren from the Gilder Lehrman Institute helped film and produce 25 short videos of Pinsker conducting close readings of these same featured Lincoln documents. These videos are now a focal point of the new website entitled “Lincoln’s Writings: The Multi-Media Edition” which launched in on July 7, 2013 and was named one of the “Best of the Humanities Web” by NEH EDSITEMENT in November 2013. (See
– student assistant to help digitize approximately 4,000 page image files from period sources such as Harper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, and selected nineteenth-century books. Nearly 400 of these scanned images have since been edited and published at House Divided’s online Research Engine, with plans to post several hundred more in the coming months. (See
– two student researchers to help with the successful “Understanding Lincoln” open online course in summer 2013, which had 750 total participants including 100 tuition-paying graduate students. (See Materials from these student assistants and selected course participants were then featured in a special exhibition hosted by the Google Cultural Institute to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address (See

French and Italian
• Nicoletta Marini-Maio – student assistant to help develop an online, open-access peer-reviewed journal project entitled “Gender/Sexuality/Italy”

Middle East Studies/Political Science
• Ed Webb – student assistants to help modify the video game “Civilization” for use in teaching the Spain/Aztec empire and the colonization of Africa

• Greg Wilder – summer student assistant to help validate the boundaries of the Isomer Project’s capacity for machine musical analysis, model representation, and algorithmic transformation, using advanced machine-learning techniques

Religion/Judaic Studies
• Andrea Lieber – student assistant to help digitize information about a Jewish cemetery in Harrisburg,

• Maria Rubin – travel to develop content for her “Russian Rooms” multimedia authentic Russian language materials for educational use

• Susan Rose – student assistant for summer and academic year to help develop a comprehensive digital resource regarding the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, including the digitization and annotation of school records in the National Archives. Many thousands of files have been digitized, annotated, and made available, with many more to come. (See

The following are faculty professional development projects in the digital humanities that were also funded by the grant:

Classical Studies
• Chris Francese and Matt Kochis – to attend THATCamp in Harrisburg (Oct. 25-26, 2013)

• Karl Qualls – to attend THATCamp in Pittsburgh (October 5-6, 2013)

Spanish and Portuguese
• Abraham Quintanar
– to attend the 48th Annual Congress for Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo Michigan for a workshop session on specific .RDF standards for MESA, a collation of medievalists who are posting digital texts in a specific, searchable format (May 8-12, 2013)
– to attend a workshop at Brown University entitled “Taking TEI Further: Teaching with TEI” (August 21-23, 2013)

4. Digital Humanities Boot Camp Program

Our first “Digital Humanities Boot Camp” was held from January 6 – 17, 2014 to provide advanced training for students interested in working with faculty on digital humanities projects. A total of 17 students participated. They were Santiago Princ (Computer Science), Barrett Ziegler (Russian Studies), Chloe Miller (Archaeology/Anthropology), Frank Vitale (History), Laura Colleluori (Theatre Arts/Italian Studies), Zha Xueyin (History/Sociology), Colin Tripp (English/Creative Writing), Rachel Schilling (English/German), Allison Charles (English/Creative Writing), Max Rubinstein (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Rachel Kruchten (Psychology), Ashieda McKoy (Political Science/Creative Writing), Amy Hudock (undeclared), Benjamin West (Archaeology), Xiang Wei (undeclared), Caio Santos Rodrigues (Psychology), and Jaime Phillips (Environmental Science).

Matt Kochis, our Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, mapped this project’s curriculum and coordinated the boot camp’s day-to-day operations. After five days of online tutorials, students gathered on campus to be guided in the creation of sample digital projects and briefed on digital humanities methods and principles. The training focused on GIS, Drupal, WordPress, Adobe Photoshop, Audacity, and iMovie. Topics of sample projects ranged from Three Mile Island to the history of African-American students at the college. One student created a multimedia Drupal site called “Invasion from the Front Lines,” which detailed his grandfather’s World War II experience. A digital poster session, held on January 27, 2014 allowed students to present their work and connect with faculty members. The program received a strong positive response from student participants, with 26 applications received, and we expect to see even greater demand next year. As a result of the boot camp experience, some student participants have already linked with faculty members for summer projects and other future work in digital humanities.

5. Virtual Digital Studio

The chair of the Digital Humanities Advisory Committee created a web presence for the digital humanities initiative at Dickinson, consistent with the virtual “digital studio” concept presented in our original proposal. This site may be viewed at

6. Workshops for Faculty

We also conducted several very well-received workshops on the topic of digital humanities for faculty committees and departments. First, on December 17, 2013, Todd Presner, Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies at the University of California Los Angeles and Chair of their Digital Humanities Program, presented a workshop for Dickinson’s Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC) to help them develop guidelines for assessing the use of digital technology in research and pedagogy as part of the faculty evaluation process. Seven tenured faculty members of FPC attended (from the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, History, American Studies, Music, and Biology), two other faculty members from the Information Technology Services Committee (from the Departments of History and Religion), in addition to the Provost and Associate Provost.

Second, Prof. Jeffrey McClurken from the University of Mary Washington presented a full-day workshop concerning the use of digital humanities in teaching and research to a group of 27 faculty members from humanities and humanistic social science disciplines and 11 other administrators on January 10, 2014. McClurken recently received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia for Teaching with Technology. Faculty who attended his workshop represented the Departments of American Studies, Classical Studies, English, French and Italian, German, History, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Sociology, Spanish and Portuguese, Theatre and Dance, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Administrators represented Library and Information Services, Academic Affairs, and College Advancement.

7. Defining Learning Outcomes

The January 2014 workshop conducted by Jeffrey McClurken (described above) represented a first step toward defining learning outcomes for Dickinson students with regard to digital humanities skills. At the conclusion of that workshop, faculty participants were encouraged by the Provost to return to their departments to discuss the possibility of convening smaller workshops to work more intensively on specific learning outcomes relevant to their department. We have agreed to provide internal funds (as cost sharing) for three to four departmental workshops, and plans are underway for several to occur in summer 2014.

8. Plans and Goals for Upcoming Year

Major activities planned for next year include completing the search for a replacement of our postdoctoral fellow in digital humanities, with a July 1, 2014 start date. In summer 2014 we will also be conducting several study groups for humanities and humanistic social sciences departments that are interested in defining department-specific student learning outcomes related to digital humanities. In the fall of 2014 we will be offering a workshop for the members of the college’s Research and Development committee concerning the evaluation of digital humanities scholarship. We will conduct our second Digital Humanities Boot Camp in January 2015. The Digital Humanities Advisory Committee will continue to meet throughout the year to review and award additional grants to faculty for related digital humanities scholarly projects and professional development activities, as well as summer and academic-year student collaborators and assistants to help in the development of their projects.

We are profoundly grateful to the Mellon Foundation for support of this comprehensive initiative in the digital humanities at Dickinson. As this interim report indicates, this grant has initiated a great deal of creativity and successful collaboration in its first year. It has created many new opportunities for humanities and humanistic social science faculty and students to create useful digital resources. All of this activity has generated a genuine sense of excitement among faculty and students, and we expect to continue to work diligently to leverage the Mellon Foundation’s generous support to continue vigorous growth in new projects, initiative, and collaboration in the year ahead.