“DIGI@UGA” Day launches major initiatives in digital humanities

The Willson Center, in partnership with the UGA Libraries and the UGA Press, will launch its new Digital Humanities Lab on April 17 at 2 p.m. on the third floor of the main library as part of DIGI@UGA Day.

The day’s events will include the announcement of a new interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate program in digital humanities, a Digital Humanities Symposium, the opening of the UGA Digital Arts Library’s Textual Machines exhibit and, at 5 p.m., a public reception at the new home of the Willson Center, 1260 S. Lumpkin St.

The field of digital humanities emphasizes the building of tools and resources such as digital archives, Web applications and mobile applications and their use in the service of advancing humanistic knowledge and making it available to the public.

The Willson Center Digital Humanities Lab, known informally as the DigiLab, will be a state-of-the-art instruction space as well as an incubator and publicity hub for nationally recognized digital humanities projects. Opening for use this summer, it will be outfitted with flexible workspaces for individual or collaborative projects and with advanced technological resources.

The Digital Humanities Research and Innovation certificate program will bring together courses taught across a range of humanities disciplines—including English, history, classics, geography, Romance languages, theater and film studies, historic preservation, art and music—under the course prefix DIGI. The program will begin this fall.

The DigiLab and the DIGI certificate program both grew out of the Digital Humanities Initiative, a Willson Center Faculty Research Cluster chaired by Stephen Berry, Gregory Chair of the Civil War Era in the history department; William Kretzschmar, Harry and Jane Willson Professor in Humanities in the English department; and Claudio Saunt, Richard B. Russell Professor in American History and chair of the history department.

“This is the culmination of great work by a great many,” said Berry, who chairs the DigiLab’s steering committee. “Expanding on the pioneering digital humanities projects of Bill Kretzschmar and Barbara McCaskill and in partnership with UGA Libraries, UGA Press and everyone at the Willson Center, we are taking a dramatic leap forward for faculty and students who want to step away from the lecture hall and build things together.”

The launch event and symposium will take place in the reading room on the third floor of the main library, opposite the DigiLab. After opening remarks by organizers of the DigiLab and DIGI certificate programs, the symposium will feature talks by visiting scholars and innovators in digital humanities. Detailed information on the speakers is below.

The Textual Machines exhibit, showcasing holdings from the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Digital Arts Library, including early modern movable books, modern artists’ books and electronic literature, will be on display April 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the DigiLab. It is presented as part of the concurrent Textual Machines Symposium, a collaborative effort of the Digital Arts Library and the Symposium on the Book. For more information on the exhibit and the symposium, visit the Digital Arts Library’s website.



Jacob Eisenstein is Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, where he leads the Computational Linguistics Laboratory. Eisenstein is an expert in machine learning approaches to understanding human language and is especially interested in non-standard language, discourse, computational social science, and statistical machine learning.

Stephen Kidd is Executive Director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), which works to advance national humanities policy by cultivating support for humanities funding in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government; advocating for policies that advance humanities research, programming, preservation, and teaching; convening its members, government officials, and policy experts to develop policy initiatives; and promoting engagement with and appreciation of the humanities among the general public. More than 140 organizations are currently members of NHA, including scholarly associations, humanities research centers, colleges, universities, and organizations of museums, libraries, historical societies, humanities councils, and higher education institutions.

Joan K. Lippincott is Associate Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), a joint program of the Association of Research Libraries and EDUCAUSE. CNI is a national leadership organization focusing on best practices for teaching and learning, assessment, learning spaces, faculty collaboration, and the advancement of scholarly communication and intellectual productivity in a digital age.

Stephen Ross is Associate Professor of English and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought at the University of Victoria and president-elect of the Modernist Studies Association. He is the head of several digital initiatives including the Modernist Version Project, which generates data from modernist texts and produces digital editions of modernist novels; the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, which will go live in 2016; the related Linked Modernisms Project, a searchable archive that will display the vectors by which modernist memes, techniques, themes, approaches, materials, and ideas traveled and retraveled the world; and the Open Modernisms Anthology Builder, which will allow users to assemble custom anthologies of modernist materials for use in teaching and research, to save them, and to share with others.

Will Thomas is the John and Catherine Angle Professor in the Humanities and chair of the history department at the University of Nebraska. The founding director of the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia, he co-founded the Nebraska Digital Workshop and Forum on Digital Humanities and has led the development of digital history initiatives at UNL. His own digital work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities.