University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Digital Humanities 2.0 invites all interested parties at the University of Minnesota to join in advancing artistic creation and scholarly research in the humanities by exploring digitization and Web 2.0 technologies. This IAS collaborative builds on strengths across the University to envision the next generation of digital humanities tools, techniques, and approaches. Excerpts from the proposal to launch the collaborative are available; they include citations of several key statements about digital humanities today.

Spring 2013 Events

Monday, April 22, 3:00 p.m. “Deep Maps, Emergent Realities: The Promise of Spatial Humanities”  — A presentation by David J. Bodenhamer, executive director, The Polis Center; professor of History; and adjunct professor of Informatics, Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis. Location TBA. “New technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have facilitated the (re)discovery of space for humanists. Yet until recently GIS has had only limited ability to move us beyond a map of geographical space into a richer, more evocative concepts of place based on history and memory. Over the past few years, GIS scientists have made advances in spatial multi-media, in GIS-enabled web services, geo-visualization, cyber geography, and virtual reality that provide capabilities far exceeding the abilities of GIS on its own. This presentation will explore how the convergence of technologies, including but not limited to GIS, has led to the development of a new multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary approach known as spatial humanities.” Co-sponsored by U-Spatial.
Thursday, May 2, 7:00 p.m. Elaine Treharne, professor of English, Stanford University. “‘True Vision’: Modeling the Medieval Future of Digital Technology.” 120 Elmer E. Anderson Library. Inaugural Rutherford Aris Memorial Lecture. In his work on medieval script, Rutherford Aris talked about the necessity of ‘true vision’ for the scholar of manuscripts. He also, somewhat prophetically, thought about the interconnectedness of academic disciplines and the ways in which meaningful cross-disciplinarity can reap rich rewards methodologically and intellectually. He practiced what he preached. This inaugural lecture will briefly consider Aris’s work before demonstrating the manifold elements of medieval manuscript technologies that essentially preempted critically important aspects of the production of meaning in the digital age. These will be organised into capacious categories, including ‘authenticity,’ ‘anonymity,’ ‘onlooking,’ and ‘ownership.'” sponsored by the Center for Medieval Studies

Friday, May 3, 4:00 p.m. Presentation by Alexander Galloway, associate professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University.140 Nolte Center for Continuing Education. Sponsored by the Department of English Theory Reading Group and the 20-21st Century Subfield with support from the University of Minnesota Student Activities Grants Initiatives. Professor Galloway’s most recent book is The Interface Effect (Polity, 2012).

Tuesday, May 14, and Wednesday, May 15. Twin Cities Digital Humanities Symposium. Including presentations by Matthew Jockers, assisant professor of English, University of Nebraska; and Mark Tebeau, associate professor of History and director, Center for Public History and Digital Humanities, Cleveland State University. Co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota Libraries; the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota; CLIC: Cooperating Libraries in Consortium; and Macalester College.

You can follow the Digital Humanities Collaborative on Twitter @DH2pt0 and we also maintain a UThink blog. You can also email us at

Please subscribe to the collaborative’s Listserv,, by sending to the following email message, as the first and only line in the body of the message (and leave the subject line blank): subscribe DIGITAL_HUMANITIES [Yourfirstname Yourlastname, with no brackets]

Conveners: Laura Gurak, professor and chair, Department of Writing Studies, and Michael Hancher, professor, Department of English.

Past Collaborative Events

Wednesday, April 3, 3:00 p.m. “Encoding Privacy Law” — A presentation by William McGeveran, associate professor, University of Minnesota Law School. 125 Nolte Center for Continuing Education. “More policymakers and technologists are gravitating toward the notion of ‘privacy by design’ as a response to concerns about collection and use of personal information. This model seeks to embed privacy in the interfaces we use – and can include a role for traditional regulators encouraging or requiring architecture that protects privacy.”

Oratorical Performance Space in Ancient Greece: Digital Reconstruction and Interpretive Visualization
Tuesday, February 26, 3:00 p.m., Walter Library 125
 Richard Graff, Writing Studies & Literacy and Rhetorical Studies, University of Minnesota
Daniel Keefe, Computer Science and Engineering & Interactive Visualization Lab, University of Minnesota
 This talk will present findings from a long-term collaborative and interdisciplinary study of the physical settings of ancient Greek oratorical performance. In addition to providing interpretive synthesis of the archaeological and literary evidence for the relevant structures, the project has utilized both traditional and emergent research methods to elucidate the ways their design organized the communicative (inter)actions that took place within them. The presentation will focus on the 3D digital reconstruction and visualization methods being developed in the UM Interactive Visualization Lab.  It will demonstrate how these tools are being employed to identify salient architectural-spatial and acoustical variables in a selection of Greek civic structures, and to assess their suitability as venues for speaking, seeing, and hearing.

Nita Krevans and James Brusuelas (Classical and Near Eastern Studies) and Lucy Fortson (Physics and Astronomy), “Crowdsourcing Ancient Texts” – Tuesday, December 4

Krevans, Brusuelas, and Fortson will report on the substantial progress that has been made so far in deciphering hundreds of thousands of unpublished Greek papyrus fragments, enlisting the help of more than a hundred thousand online volunteers, and refining the results with increasingly resourceful computer software. For general background information about the project see Kirsten Weir, “You, too, can translate ancient documents: Technology plus a cast of thousands open windows onto Ancient Greece,” Reach (Summer 2012).

Francis Harvey (Geography), “U-Spatial: Supporting the Digital Humanities” – Tuesday, November 13

U-Spatial is a five-year project that enables spatial research and creative activities at the University of Minnesota. In this presentation Professor Harvey will describe the history of this multifaceted project and its capacity to support research, including research in digital humanities.

Peter Sokolowski (Merriam-Webster), “What We’ve Learned about Dictionary Use Online” – Thursday, November 1

Looking up a word in the dictionary is an intimate act. Lexicographers of the past could have no knowledge about which of their entries were being consulted and which were ignored. Today, dictionaries are easier than ever to use and can be consulted from anywhere. Also, by watching trends of lookups on a heavily consulted online dictionary, lexicographers can now track which entries are being consulted, and when. Some words are perennial sources of curiosity, while others show spikes of interest triggered by news from the worlds of politics, entertainment, and sports. Some words express the general mood of the culture, while others reflect a poignant specificity. Sometimes words that are not entered in the dictionary are looked up or suggested in an open-source feature. Tens of millions of individual word searches every month, taken together, tell a story about language, curiosity, and culture and what is expected of a dictionary in the twenty-first century.

Peter Sokolowski is editor-at-large at Merriam-Webster, the principal publisher of dictionaries in the United States.

Jennie Burroughs (University of Minnesota Libraries), “Digital Humanities and the Libraries” – Tuesday, October 16

Jennie Burroughs is Academic Programs Director for Arts & Humanities at the University of Minnesota Libraries. Burroughs also chairs the Digital Arts and Humanities Working Group. In this presentation she reviews the group’s recent findings, including a summary of its recommendations for increasing support for Digital Humanities initiatives at the University.

The Future of History – A presentation by Dan Cohen, April 19, 2012

Dan Cohen is Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. His research is in European and American intellectual history, the history of science (particularly mathematics), and the intersection of history and computing. Professor Cohen is co-author (with the late Dr. Roy Rosenzweig) of Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web (2005), author of Equations from God: Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith (2007), and has published articles and book chapters on the history of mathematics and religion, the teaching of history, and the future of history in a digital age. He blogs on Digital HumanitiesCosponsored by the Immigration History Research Centerthe Department of English, the Department of Writing Studies, and University Libraries.

Collective Intelligence: Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities, February 23, 2012

Loren Terveen is a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where his research focuses on theory-based design of online communities: applying theories from the social sciences to create new interaction techniques and algorithms that elicit more positive participation from community members. Professor Terveen is also particularly interested in geographically-based online communities: creating novel open content systems to support geographically-based communities of interest. Cyclopath is a routing and wiki-map system for bicyclists that he has helped to develop.

Video – The Future of History
Video – Collective Intelligence

Debates in the Digital Humanities: Book launch with Matthew K. Gold, editor, and Douglas Armato, director, University of Minnesota Press, January 26, 2012

Matthew K. Gold, editor of this path-breaking book, and Douglas Armato, his editor at the University of Minnesota Press, will discuss the many perspectives on the digital humanities that leaders in the field provide in 29 chapters, and also how the book was created and reviewed in rapid time and what its next life will be online. For more information about the book, see the UMN Press website.

Social Seeing: Images Online – A talk by George Oates, November 15, 2011

George Oates is project lead for Open Library, an open-source project of the Internet Archive. It currently provides free bibliographic records for more than 20 million books and direct access to digitized copies for more than 1,700,000 of them. She also is a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. Before joining the Internet Archive, Oates was the lead designer for Flickr, where she developed The Commons, an archive of unrestricted photographs that are enriched on the site by social tagging. The several dozen institutions that share photos on The Commons now include NASA, The National Archives (UK), George Eastman House, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress.

Video – Debates in the Digital Humanities
Video – Social Seeing: Images Online

Voices from the Field: Practices, Challenges and Directions in Digital Humanities – presentation by Smiljana Antonijević, Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Smiljana Antonijević is Assistant Professor of Culture and Technology at Roskilde University, and a researcher at e-Humanities Group of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). She holds a PhD in Rhetoric and Communication from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Antonijević’s research intersects the area of communication, culture, and technology focusing on issues such as scholarly collaboration in virtual environments (MIT Press, forthcoming); digital humanities (Palgrave Macmillan,forthcoming); nonverbal communication and affective computing (Routledge, forthcoming); trust in online interaction (Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, 2009); psychological aspects of blogging (Sage, 2008); digital rhetoric (Sage, 2008); new media use in the state of crisis (Peter Lang, 2004).

Video – Voices from the Field