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Job opportunity: Associate Professor in Information Studies

By Lucy Stagg, on 15 December 2021

UCL Dept of Information Studies are seeking an innovative researcher and experienced lecturer to appoint to a full-time post beginning in March 2022.

They are particularly interested in applicants with demonstrable experience and expertise in cross disciplinary research which intersects with one or more of the broad areas represented in the Department, which includes Digital Humanities.

The post holder will be Programme Director for the new BSc Information in Society which will be offered from 2024 by the Department from the new UCL East campus within the School for the Creative & Cultural Industries (SCCI).

You can read more and apply on UCL’s job portal

New UCLDH Director and Deputy Director appointed

By Lucy Stagg, on 3 December 2021

At the end of this year Prof Julianne Nyhan will be stepping down as UCLDH Director to focus on her new AHRC-funded project, The Sloane Lab: Looking back to build future shared collections. Our Deputy Director, Prof Tim Weyrich also stepped down earlier this year as he became Professor of Digital Reality at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU).

We are very pleased to announce that from January 2021 our new Director will be Steven Gray, Associate Professor at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). Steve has been an Associate Director at UCLDH since 2018 and he has over 10 years of professional software development under his belt. In recent years he has specialised on building mobile applications (mainly iOS) and systems that open up the world of data visualisation, mining and analysis to the masses.

We are also delighted to introduce our new Deputy Director, Dr Adam Crymble. Adam is a Lecturer in Digital Humanities in the Department of Information Studies. Adam is a scholar of migration, community, and diversity. He also researches digital humanities and the ways technology changes scholarly practice, and is an editor of the Programming Historian.

We’re excited to see how our new leadership develops and regenerates the centre and the interdisciplinary research we foster and support.

New article ‘Encoding the haunting of an object catalogue’

By Lucy Stagg, on 25 November 2021

Alexandra Ortolja-Baird and Julianne Nyhan have co-authored a new article on ‘Encoding the haunting of an object catalogue: on the potential of digital technologies to perpetuate or subvert the silence and bias of the early-modern archive

The article, published in the the Digital Scholarship in the Humanities on 19 October 2021, is available by open access.

Hans Sloane's nautilus shell carved by Johannes Belkien in the late 1600s. C021.7733 ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Hans Sloane’s nautilus shell carved by Johannes Belkien in the late 1600s. C021.7733 ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

The abstract summarises the article as follows:

The subjectivities that shape data collection and management have received extensive criticism, especially with regards to the digitization projects and digital archives of galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM institutions). The role of digital methods for recovering data absences is increasingly receiving attention too. Conceptualizing the absence of non-hegemonic individuals from the catalogues of Sir Hans Sloane as an instance of textual haunting, this article will ask: to what extent do data-driven approaches further entrench archival absences and silences? Can digital approaches be used to highlight or recover absent data? This article will give a decisive overview of relevant literature and projects so as to examine how digital tools are being realigned to recover, or more modestly acknowledge, the vast, undocumented network of individuals who have been omitted from canonical histories. Drawing on the example of Sloane, this article will reiterate the importance of a more rigorous ethics of digital practice, and propose recommendations for the management and representation of historical data, so cultural heritage institutions and digital humanists may better inform users of the absences and subjectivities that shape digital datasets and archives. This article is built on a comprehensive survey of digital humanities’ current algorithmic approaches to absence and bias. It also presents reflections on how we, the authors, grappled with unforeseen questions of absence and bias during a Leverhulme-funded collaboration between the British Museum and University College London (UCL), entitled ‘Enlightenment Architectures: Sir Hans Sloane’s Catalogues of his collections’.

The full article can be read and downloaded at https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqab065

Sloane Lab project features in Financial Times article

By Lucy Stagg, on 22 November 2021

The Sloane Lab: Looking back to build future shared collections is one of 5 AHRC-funded research projects to connect the UK’s cultural artefacts and historical archives in new and transformative ways.

The project features in an article, ‘Search for a digital national collection‘, published in the Financial Times today, 22nd November 2021. Professor Julianne Nyhan, UCLDH Director and PI on the Sloane Lab project is quoted:

“It’s hard to predict exactly what the outcomes will look like. It’s exciting and experimental.” Her vision is “to support people to search the Sloane collection in the way that they want to search it”, rather than through the eyes of curators.

Read the full article at https://www.ft.com/content/1282bb6e-bbde-4449-8efc-42b43335f8f1

Research Fellow vacancies for The Sloane Lab – deadline extended

By Lucy Stagg, on 16 November 2021

The Department of Information Studies at UCL is are seeking to appoint two Research Fellows to contribute to project “The Sloane Lab: Looking back to build future shared collections”, led by UCL in partnership with the British Museum and Natural History Museum.

The Sloane Lab project has been funded under the ‘Towards a National Collection’ call, which has seen the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) award £14.5m to 5 research projects to connect the UK’s cultural artefacts and historical archives in new and transformative ways. The aim of the programme is to use new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) to reveal the first insights into how thousands of disparate collections could be explored by public audiences and academic researchers in the future.

Closing date extended to 2nd January 2022

Research Fellow in Advanced Data Architectures for Digital Humanities

Senior Research Fellow in Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing

For job descriptions and person specifications, please go to the links above.  Please email Hanna James for more information regarding this role at h.james@ucl.ac.uk.

We encourage applications from those who are underrepresented in the sector and at UCL including but, not exclusive, to disabled, D/deaf and neurodiverse people, LGBTQ+ people, people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, especially women.

Call for presentations: ‘Art and Digital Technology’ show and tell

By Lucy Stagg, on 15 November 2021

UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and the UCL Slade School of Fine Art are coordinating a virtual show&tell on Wednesday 16th February, 5-7pm, via Zoom.

people interacting with digital art in Japan

We invite proposals for short presentations from staff and research students whose work involves art and digital technology/media (we welcome any interpretation of this theme).

If you would like to give a 10 minute presentation on your current research/project please email lucy.stagg@ucl.ac.uk by 26th November, giving a brief title or outline of your talk. Registration for the event will open in December, once the schedule of presenters has been finalised.

Photo by note thanun on Unsplash

Job Advert: Digital Humanities Lecturer/Associate Professor

By Adam Crymble, on 15 November 2021

The Department of Information Studies at UCL is currently advertising a permanent post, Lecturer/Associate Professor in Digital Humanities. The closing date for application is 21 November 2021.

Please email Professor Elizabeth Shepherd for any questions related to the post at e.shepherd@ucl.ac.uk

Full details: https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/CKK702/lecturer-associate-professor-in-digital-humanities

Mapping the state of the art of Named-Entity Recognition for early modern documents. New Publication.

By Julianne Nyhan, on 2 November 2021

[posted by Julianne Nyhan on behalf of Marco Humbel]

This blog post reports on our recent paper: Humbel, M., Nyhan, J., Vlachidis, A., Sloan, K. and Ortolja-Baird, A. (2021), “Named-entity recognition for early modern textual documents: a review of capabilities and challenges with strategies for the future”, Journal of Documentation, https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-02-2021-0032

Link to full text of publisher-accepted version:  https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10127463/ (note that this is the version of the paper accepted by the publisher before final proofs and so there will be some minor differences between this and the final published version).

Summary of paper:

Named Entity Recognition (NER) is an information extraction technique for identifying, segmenting and labelling phenomena of interest like those of people, organizations and places (Piskorski and Yangarber, 2013). In the article reported on here, we synthesise current research on the application of NER to digitized documents of the early modern period. We also examine NER and authority files from a more critical perspective, and suggest directions to enrich the application of NER going forward. Our findings are based upon an extensive literature review and a case study undertaken by the Leverhulme Trust-funded ‘Enlightenment Architectures: Sir Hans Sloane’s Catalogues of his Collections (2016–2021)’. Our findings suggest that “Currently, it is not possible to benchmark the capabilities of NER as applied to documents of the early modern period”. And we “draw attention to the situated nature of authority files, and current conceptualisations of NER, leading … to the conclusion that more robust reporting and critical analysis of NER approaches and findings is required” (https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JD-02-2021-0032/full/html). We hope our article will be useful for researchers and heritage professionals who seek to use NER on the abundance of digitised sources available for the early modern period.

Discussion of paper:

What is the state of the art of NER as applied to early modern documents? Our frank response is that we currently know only how a particular NER system performs on a specific corpus. We have surveyed 9 projects dating from 2002 to 2019 and found that a number of factors limit the possibilities for a simple comparison. Historical documents of the early modern period present a heterogeneous set of resources consisting not only of different types of material including: manuscripts, collection catalogues, encyclopaedias, or pamphlets. But also, within one corpus, or even one document, we might find various languages (e.g.: Latin, English and French), an unstandardised spelling, and errors in their transcriptions made by scribes, or through text recognition software like OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Our case-study on Sloane’s catalogues also showed extensive XML (Extensible Markup Language) annotation preceding the NER process can hamper performance, particularly when presentational and semantic tags co-occur. NER systems are thus ideally should be applied before annotating a corpus with standards like TEI (Text Encoding Initiative).

All of these factors can impact the accuracy of NER. But the generalization of NER approaches to early modern documents and the transferability of projects’ outcomes is impeded further through an under-reporting of selected approaches like the human labour required for data processing.

Different methods for measuring NER systems’ effectiveness are also used. (for an example see Goldfield, 1993). The inter-annotator agreement score of human annotators sets the benchmark of what should be expected from automated systems (Sperberg‐McQueen, 2016). Inter-annotator agreement scores of 95% and more can be reached for historical corpora (McDonough and Camp, van de, 2017; Erdmann et al., 2016). If we compare the project reports by McDonough et al., 2019 and Won et al., 2018, which are in our survey the most comparable ones, we see that NER systems reach on early modern documents in the best cases accuracies of about 70%. These results make significant human post-processing efforts inevitable, and hold back the benefits that would come with automating the repetitive parts of annotation tasks.

Human domain expertise will also be required in the future because what constitutes an entity can’t always be reduced to a binary yes/no. We discussed these challenges in regard to Sloane’s catalogues in Ortolja-Baird et al., 2019. Our survey shows also that so-called rule-based NER systems are only gradually being superseded by machine learning techniques. This is because machine-learning techniques require huge amounts of training data, which typically are not available to digital humanities projects. Yet, promising results were recently demonstrated on highly structured early modern marriage records (Toledo et al., 2019).

Rule-based NER systems are dependent on authority files and gazetteers (look-up lists for identifying entities). The prevalence of rule-based systems in our survey motivated us to map-out the landscape of authority files for scholarship on the early modern period. These resources could also form the basis for training data for future machine-learning NER techniques. The authority files we have surveyed were created by a number of different actors (heritage institutions and researchers) and are due to the lack of a central registry difficult to find. As others have argued, specialized authority files for the early modern period are rare (Nelson, 2014; McDonough et al., 2019). Authority files seem commonly to be viewed as mere tool for working with source material. But it is known that authority files are often incomplete and as McDonough et al. 2019 observed that general purpose authority files can be inaccurate and at worst insensitive to past and present local languages, reinforcing hegemonic world-views. It is thus necessary to develop critical frameworks for interrogating authority files. The creators of authority-files could support this development by providing more documentation about their compilation rationale.

What is the way forward? In order to support more robust reporting on the capabilities of NER we propose a forum where tools are evaluated according to standards formulated by the early modern research community. Possible models for the nature of such a forum could be corpora and conference series like ConLL (Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning), as they are established within the wider NER community. We also acknowledge that NER is not a neutral intervention, neither are authority-files. A digital tool criticism, as proposed by Koolen et al. (2019) could foster a more critical understanding of NER, its biases and its ethical implications.

The full article is available from the Journal of Documentation. We are grateful to the Leverhulme Trust, which provided the research project grant (rpg-2016-239) for Enlightenment Architectures. Thank you to the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies, UCL for funding part of this work.

We hope that the following list of resources is useful for any colleagues who are interested in applying NER to early modern documents. All links were last accessed on 05.07.2021.


NER tools

Name Link
CLAWS http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/claws/
Edinburgh Geoparser https://www.ltg.ed.ac.uk/software/geoparser/
GATE https://gate.ac.uk/
MorphAdorner http://morphadorner.northwestern.edu/morphadorner/
NER-Tagger software package https://github.com/glample/tagger
Perdido http://erig.univ-pau.fr/PERDIDO/
Polyglot https://polyglot.readthedocs.io/en/latest/
SpaCy https://spacy.io/
Stanford Named Entity Recognizer https://nlp.stanford.edu/software/CRF-NER.html
TextCat http://www.let.rug.nl/vannoord/TextCat/
USAS http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/usas/
VARD http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/vard/about/


Authority files


Name Scope Link
Alexandria Digital Library Project Gazetteer Online global place name

dictionary. Exists now only

on a development server, but

research team can be

contacted for use

Biography Portal of

the Netherlands

Prominent figures from the

Dutch History

Prominent figures from the

Dutch History

CERL Authority file for names

found in material printed

before the middle of the 19th


Compendium of office

holders and civil

servants 1428–1861

Compendium of office holders

and civil servants 1428–1861

on the present-day Dutch


Early Modern Letters


Finding aid for early modern


GeoCrossWalk UK, succeeded in Digimap https://digimap.edina.ac.uk/
GeoNames Global https://www.geonames.org/
Getty Thesaurus of

Geographic Names

Gazetteer developed by the

Getty Research Institute



GND Authority file developed by

the German National Library

Library of Congress Names Authority file developed by

the Library of Congress Names

Pleiades Ancient World https://pleiades.stoa.org/
VIAF Authority file hosted by Online Computer Library Center Inc. http://viaf.org/
World Gazetteer Global https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=346ce13fa2d4468a9049f71bcc250f37#!



Dyer-Witheford, N., Kjøsen, A. M. and Steinhoff, J. (2019). Inhuman Power: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Capitalism. London: Pluto Press.

Erdmann, A., Brown, C., Joseph, B., Janse, M., Ajaka, P., Elsner, M. and Marneffe, M.-C. de (2016). Challenges and Solutions for Latin Named Entity Recognition. Proceedings of the Workshop on Language Technology Resources and Tools for Digital Humanities (LT4DH). Osaka, Japan: The COLING 2016 Organizing Committee, pp. 85–93 https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W16-4012 (accessed 5 July 2021).

Goldfield, J. D. (1993). An argument for single-author and similar studies using quantitative methods: Is there safety in numbers?. Computers and the Humanities, 27(5–6): 365–74 doi:10.1007/BF01829387.

Koolen, M., Gorp, J. van and Ossenbruggen, J. van (2019). Toward a model for digital tool criticism: Reflection as integrative practice. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 34(2): 368–85 doi:10.1093/llc/fqy048.

Marrero, M., Urbano, J., Sánchez-Cuadrado, S., Morato, J. and Gómez-Berbís, J. M. (2013). Named Entity Recognition: Fallacies, challenges and opportunities. Computer Standards & Interfaces, 35(5): 482–89 doi:10.1016/j.csi.2012.09.004.

McDonough, K. and Camp, M. van de (2017). Mapping the Encyclopédie: Working Towards an Early Modern Digital Gazetteer. Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL Workshop on Geospatial Humanities  – GeoHumanities’17. Redondo Beach, CA, USA: ACM Press, pp. 16–22 doi:10.1145/3149858.3149861. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3149858.3149861 (accessed 24 January 2019).

McDonough, K., Moncla, L. and Camp, M. van de (2019). Named entity recognition goes to old regime France: geographic text analysis for early modern French corpora. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 33(12): 2498–522 doi:10.1080/13658816.2019.1620235.

Nelson, B. (2014). From Index to Interoperability: The Desideratum of Authority Files in Large-Scale Digital Projects. Scholarly and Research Communication, 5(4) doi:10.22230/src.2014v5n4a192. http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/view/192 (accessed 21 February 2019).

Ortolja-Baird, A., Pickering, V., Nyhan, J., Sloan, K. and Fleming, M. (2019). Digital Humanities in the Memory Institution: The Challenges of Encoding Sir Hans Sloane’s Early Modern Catalogues of His Collections. Open Library of Humanities, 5(1): 44 doi:10.16995/olh.409.

Piotrowski, M. (2012). Natural Language Processing for Historical Texts. Morgan&Claypool. Vol. 17. (Synthesis Lectures On Human Language Technologies) http://www.morganclaypool.com/doi/abs/10.2200/S00436ED1V01Y201207HLT017 (accessed 4 June 2018).

Piskorski, J. and Yangarber, R. (2013). Information Extraction: Past, Present and Future. In Poibeau, T., Saggion, H., Piskorski, J. and Yangarber, R. (eds), Multi-Source, Multilingual Information Extraction and Summarization. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 23–49 doi:10.1007/978-3-642-28569-1_2. http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-642-28569-1_2 (accessed 9 May 2019).

Ravenek, W., Heuvel, C. van den and Gerritsen, G. (2017). The ePistolarium: Origins and Techniques. In Utrecht University, NL and Odijk, J. (eds), CLARIN in the Low Countries. Ubiquity Press, pp. 317–23 doi:10.5334/bbi.26. https://www.ubiquitypress.com/site/chapters/10.5334/bbi.26/ (accessed 8 June 2018).

Smith, D. A. and Cordell, R. (2019). A Research Agenda for Historical and Multilingual Optical Character Recognition. Northeastern University https://ocr.northeastern.edu/report/ (accessed 10 March 2019).

Smithies, J., Westling, C., Sichani, A.-M., Mellen, P. and Ciula, A. (2019). Managing 100 Digital Humanities Projects: Digital Scholarship & Archiving in King’s Digital Lab. Digital Humanities Quarterly, 13(1) http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/13/1/000411/000411.html#d3876770e516 (accessed 16 February 2020).

Sperberg‐McQueen, C. M. (2016). Classification and its Structures. In Schreibman, S., Siemens, R. G. and Unsworth, J. (eds), A New Companion to Digital Humanities. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley/Blackwell, pp. 377–93.

Toledo, J. I., Carbonell, M., Fornés, A. and Lladós, J. (2019). Information extraction from historical handwritten document images with a context-aware neural model. Pattern Recognition, 86: 27–36 doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.patcog.2018.08.020.

Won, M., Murrieta-Flores, P. and Martins, B. (2018). Ensemble Named Entity Recognition (NER): Evaluating NER Tools in the Identification of Place Names in Historical Corpora. Frontiers in Digital Humanities, 5 doi:10.3389/fdigh.2018.00002. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fdigh.2018.00002/full (accessed 14 May 2018).



UCLDH to participate in £14.5m Towards a National Collection

By Lucy Stagg, on 21 September 2021

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has awarded £14.5m to 5 research projects to connect the UK’s cultural artefacts and historical archives in new and transformative ways. The announcement today of the five major projects forming the largest investment of Towards a National Collection, a five-year research programme, reveals the first insights into how thousands of disparate collections could be explored by public audiences and academic researchers in the future. UCLDH is delighted to participate with The Sloane Lab: Looking back to build future shared collections (Principal Investigator: UCLDH Director, Professor Julianne Nyhan, UCL and TU Darmstadt). Project partners and collaborators include: British Museum, Natural History Museum, British Library, Historic Environment Scotland, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, National Museums of Scotland, Community Archives and Heritage Group, Down County Museum, National Galleries of Scotland, Oxford University Herbaria, Collecting the West project funded by the Australian Research Council & metaphacts. The participatory methodology that the underpins the project will additionally allow ongoing research with a wide range of expert and interested communities over the coming years.

Case containing beetles from the Joseph Dandridge and Petiver collections

Collection of beetles, Case containing beetles from the Joseph Dandridge and Petiver collections. Some have Hans Sloane’s catalogue numbers. C0165553 ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Focusing on the vast collections of Sir Hans Sloane in public institutions, this project will work with expert and interested communities including museum audiences to link the present with the past to allow the links between Sloane’s collections and catalogues to be re-established across the Natural History Museum, the British Library, and the British Museum (plus others that have relevant material). The main outcome of the project will be a freely available, online digital lab – the Sloane lab – that will offer researchers, curators and the public new opportunities to search, explore, and engage critically with key questions about our digital cultural heritage.

The project’s central questions include: How can we make specialist users and members of the public more aware of the contested nature of museum collections? What is the role of digital tools in facilitating discussions on imperialism, colonialism, slavery, loss and destruction, that have shaped the national collection? And who gets to contribute to, and shape, research on how memory institutions can reach across their institutional boundaries, subject-specialties and even countries so as to better support their audiences, visitors and users? Community Fellows will enhance the research, which will later form part of a traveling exhibition.

Project PI, Professor Julianne Nyhan, says of the project:

This exciting new project will devise automated and augmented means of mending the broken links between the past and present of the UK’s founding collection in the catalogues of the British Museum, Natural History Museum and the British Library. I am especially excited about the participatory design of the project, and the research with diverse publics that this funding will support. Our aim is to intertwine technological and participatory research, community consultation and public engagement, to embed diverse community views into the design, execution and validation of the Sloane Lab, and indeed, the future of the national collection.

Image by Colin McDowall, courtesy of Towards a National Collection

Image by Colin McDowall, courtesy of Towards a National Collection

The Towards a National Collection investigation is the largest of its kind to be undertaken to date, anywhere in the world. It involves 15 universities and 63 heritage collections and institutions of different scales, with more than 120 individual researchers and collaborators.

Professor Christopher Smith, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council said:

“This moment marks the start of the most ambitious phase of research and development we have ever undertaken as a country in the space where culture and heritage meet AI technology. Towards a National Collection is leading us to a long-term vision of a new national research infrastructure that will be of benefit to collections, researchers and audiences right across the UK.”

Dr Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum said:

“This unprecedented investment of funding by the AHRC into these five projects will allow us to explore what the digital future for our organisations can and should be. A future where anyone can search across collections cared for in different parts of the UK, to pursue their passion for knowledge and understanding, discover their own pasts and answer their own questions. Towards a National Collection will strengthen Britain’s international leadership in this area. Each project in their own rightly deserves to be celebrated and I cannot wait to see what happens when we bring all this talent and dedication together to build the new future for our shared national collection.”

Rebecca Bailey, Programme Director, Towards a National Collection

“Today, for the first time, we can reveal the direction of travel for one of the UK’s most collaborative research programmes. Collectively, we aim to dissolve the disciplinary silos that exist in universities and public collections. Our driving mission is to open up global access to the UK’s world class collections. By harnessing emerging technologies to the creative interdisciplinary talents of our research teams, eventually everyone will have the ability to access an outstanding trove of stories, imagery and research linking together the limitless ideas and avenues in our national collections. From community archives to overlooked artists; from botanical specimens to the ship-wrecked Mary Rose.”

Long View Seminar – Reflecting on our First Year

By Adam Crymble, on 27 July 2021

In a year dominated by a global pandemic and both remote working and teaching, we lost many of the traditional ways that we as scholars could stay connected. One of those, the traditional extra-curricular seminar series that was a coming together space for people at different stages of their career, had to go online. And that’s just where we went.

While elements of the seminar culture have not been easy to replicate online, the shift to virtual did present some opportunities, one of which was to work collaboratively across what would otherwise be prohibitively wide distances. In this case, it was a chance for the UCLDH team to work together with colleagues at Stanford’s CESTA (Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis) to co-host the Digital Humanities Long View seminar during the spring of 2021. It was a chance to share scholarly culture, to build new bridges, and to help postgraduate students get involved in networking and professional development opportunities that were increasingly difficult to arrange during a pandemic.

Logo of the Digital Humanities Longview seminar

Logo of the Digital Humanities Longview Seminar, with a world map showing the location of each of the seminar’s speakers and of the two co-host organisations (Stanford CESTA & UCLDH).


The Long View for us was about understanding that research happens in context. About asking questions of how Digital Humanities (DH) got where it is today. Our seminar series explored some of the key socio-historical, political and cultural contexts of DH research as a means of building understandings of how we all ended up here and what that means for the future of the field. It’s been an opportunity for newcomers to understand how the field has developed, and for established practitioners to consider their work as part of a larger movement with competing influences, ambitions, and blindspots.

Having finished our first programme of talks, we’re incredibly pleased with the Long View series. We were grateful to host 11 wonderful speakers from five countries and three different linguistic backgrounds. We had the support of 17 different postgraduate students and early career researchers who acted as respondents to the papers and co-hosted the proceedings. And we had tremendous and engaged audiences from around the world, reaching 650 people across the series.

Some of the talks have been video recorded and remain online on the CESTA website, and we invite you to watch them if you missed them live: https://cestastanford.github.io/schedule.html

And we’re pleased to announce that we plan to continue our collaborative seminar series next year, building upon what we’ve established with our friends at Stanford.

That means we’ll once again be on the lookout for postgraduate students who want to get involved and build both their skills and professional networks. If any UCL postgraduate students or offer holders for 2021-22 would like to represent UCLDH as a postgraduate respondent at next year’s events, please contact Dr Adam Crymble directly for an informal conversation.

Finally, a huge thanks to our speakers, convenors, colleagues, and respondents, who supported this seminar: Ian Milligan (Waterloo), Jessica Marie Johnson (Johns Hopkins), Zephyr Frank, Quinn Dombrowski, Mark Algee-Hewitt (Stanford), Riva Quiroga (Programming Historian), Scott Weingart (Notre Dame), Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara (Colorado), Amy Earhart (Texas A&M), Valérie Schafer (Luxembourg), Jane Winters (London), Agnieszka Backman, Amanda Wilson Bergado, William Parish, Daniel Bush, Giovanna Ceserani, Laura Stokes, Anna Toledano, Victoria Rahbar, Maciej Kurzynski, Yunxin Li, Lakmali Jayasinghe, Merve Tekgurler, Mae Velloso-Lyons (CESTA); Adam Crymble, Julianne Nyhan, Lucy Stagg, Hannah Smyth, Nenna Orie Chuku, Madeline Tondi, George Cooper, Jin Gao, Malithi Alahappruna, Opher Mansour, Marco Humbel (UCL) and Urszula Pawlicka-Deger (KCL). It has been a wonderful and collegial opportunity and we valued it tremendously.