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The Digital Humanities: Home

This guide is intended to grow and evolve as new resources and research tools relating to the Digital Humanities become available so as to support the ongoing discovery and creation of knowledge by USC faculty and students


Welcome to our Digital Humanities [DH] Research Guide.   During the past decade, the Digital Humanities have rapidly evolved into a polymathic field comprising individual domains, energized by dynamic cross-fertilisations as well as highly collaborative initiatives that continue to foster new and diverse relationships across academic boundaries.

The goal of this guide is to provide a multi-faceted overview of the many aspects of DH.  As such it is "organic," and it will grow and evolve as new resources and research tools become available to support research, teaching, and scholarship across DH's multiple domains.

I'll be adding new content regularly, so please visit often: Your feedback, comments, and suggestions are welcomed: please touch base with me at:


The Digital Humanities in Oxford University [4:48 mins.]. Published on Jun 6, 2014. Specialists in the digital humanities from across the University talk about what this exciting field means to them, and how the use of digital technology in the humanities is allowing whole new fields of research to emerge.


Digital Humanities – Jeffrey Schnapp, Feb 18, 2014 (12.51 mins.) What are the boundaries of the humanities? What are the new forms of production of knowledge? Professor of Romance Languages & Literature at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Jeffrey Schnapp, on new forms of knowledge and digital media.


To view any one of these videos, please click on the video's title.

(A)  Early Discussions: Two videos from the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE): 

American Historical Association: 2014 Annual meeting: Workshop – How to get started in Digital History [51.59 mins.] As more historians become interested in using digital tools and methods, it is incumbent upon the AHA to support its members in this burgeoning area of scholarship. As part of that effort, we are taking steps to expand the digital aspects of the program at the annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this coming January. This pre-conference workshop will bring together historians with an interest in using digital tools and resources with experts in digital history to address such questions as how to build collaborative projects, where to find funding, what is the best way to manage projects, how to use digital tools in the classroom, and more.

The Community of Scholars [1 hr 4 mins.], The NITLE Summit 2012 - Keynote Address by Dan Cohen.; and What is ‘Digital Humanities’ and Why do We Need it?[1 hr 4 mins]. The NITLE Summit 2012 - Keynote Address by Edward Ayers.  NITLE was established in September, 2001 through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The original charge of this grant-funded initiative was to stimulate collaboration between selected liberal arts colleges, and to act as a catalyst for the effective integration of emerging and newer digital technologies into teaching, learning, scholarship, and information management at those colleges. In 2015, NITLE migrated its operations to the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR Council on Library and Information Resources), headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institute closed in 2018.

(B) My Digital Humanities Series

My Digital Humanities – Part 1 [3:42 mins.].  Published on Oct 11, 2016. This video features six professionals in the field of Digital Humanities, who explain what Digital Humanities mean to them (Stéfan Sinclair - McGill University, Geoggrey Rockwell- University of Alberta, Laura Mandell - Texas A&M University, Bryan Carter - University of Arizona, Claire Clivaz - Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Bill Endres - University of Oklahoma). The video is the first in the series 'My Digital Humanities' produced as part of the #dariahTeach project, an online platform for teaching 'Digital Humanities' funded by an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership EU grant.

My Digital Humanities – Part 2 [3:44 mins.]. Published on Oct 26, 2016. Toma Tasovac from the Belgrade Center for Digital Humanities gives his own definition of digital humanities in this second part of 'My Digital Humanities' series. In this video, Toma addresses both sides of the Digital Humanities coin. On the one hand, he argues that DH runs the risk of becoming a 'decontextualiser of the traditional humanities turning everything into conveyor belt scholarship'. On the other hand, he believes that DH enables deeper and more meaningful engagements with our (digitised) cultural heritage in ways and forms that were not available before.

My Digital Humanities – Part 3 [3:51 mins.]. Published on Nov 2, 2016. This is the third video in the series 'My Digital Humanities' featuring Kenneth Price (University of Nebraska), Elena Pierazzo (Université Grenoble Alpes), Elli Bleeker (University of Antwerp), Patricia Murrieta Flores (University of Chester), and James Cumming (University of Oxford).

My Digital Humanities – Part 4 [3:58 mins.]. Published on Dec 1, 2016. This video is the fourth in the series 'My Digital Humanities'. It features Roderick Coover (Temple University), Angel D. Nieves (Hamilton College), Kathryn Sutherland (University of Oxford), Marjorie Burghart (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), and Paul Eggert (Loyola University Chicago).

Humanities in the Digital Age [2:04:22]. Published on Apr 21, 2016.   What is happening to the intellectual field called the humanities? Powerful political and corporate forces are encouraging, even demanding science and math-based curricula to prepare for a globalized and technological world; the astronomical rise in the cost of higher education has resulted in a drumbeat of complaints, some which question the value of the traditional liberal arts and humanities. And of course, and far more complexly, the emerging storage and communications systems of the digital age are transforming all fields of knowledge and all knowledge industries. Middlebury College provost Alison Byerly and Harvard University psychology professor Steven Pinker addressed how the humanities will cope with these challenges. MIT Communications Forum director David Thorburn moderated.


Transforming through technology

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The "Digital Humanities" (or DH) began as "humanities computing"  with the development of projects, such as Index Thomisticus in 1949: an electronically-compiled concordance of Thomas Aquinas's corpus which was undertaken by IBM (using punch cards technology) over a period of 30 years. See: Busa, R. (1980). "The Annals of Humanities Computing: The Index Thomisticus," Computers and the Humanities 14: 83-90.

Since the Index, DH research has developed into broader and more complex directions.  it is now highly collaborative and it draws contributors from many backgrounds. It is is seen as an interdisciplinary form of humanities research which requires the mastery of specific skills and cutting-edge methods, and which has evolved to enhance and to transform traditional humanities scholarship through digital means. It encompasses a broad collection of scholarly activities that apply new technologies to humanities research while expanding traditional forms of scholarly communication. In this sense, humanities scholarship resembles large-scale scientific projects, which reach across disciplines in order to solve complex problems..  

Some of its many facets include:

  • The preservation and sharing of collections that are otherwise difficult to access (e.g., the creation of digital editions, archives, maps, visualizations and exhibitions, often through collaboration between faculty, students, librarians, technologists and others).
  • The fostering of new creative expression by using digital media (e.g., social media, human-computer interaction, and cultural informatics).
  • The use, analysis and/or creation of digital tools for research or in the classroom.

Early definitions of the term "Digital Humanities" hinted at the diverse and multifaceted nature of the Digital Humanities.


Early Definitions (2009-2012)

  • For four years (2009-2012), the sponsors of the annual Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities event invited participants to respond to the question: How do you define the digital humanities?". Hundreds of answers were gathered and are now archived.  This initiative is now sponsored by CenterNet, an international network of digital humanities centers.
  • "The digital humanities today is "a scholarship and pedagogy that are collaborative and depend on networks of people and that live an active 24-7 life online" (Matthew Kirschenbaum, ADE Bulletin, Vol. 150 (2010), pp. 55-59).
  • “At its core digital humanities is more akin to a common methodological outlook than an investment in any one specific set of texts or even technologies…. Yet digital humanities is also a social undertaking. It harbors networks of people who have been working together, sharing research, arguing, competing, and collaborating for many years.... a culture that values collaboration, openness, non hierarchical relations, and agility”  (Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, 'What is Digital Humanities and What's it Doing in English Departments? ADE Bulletin 150 : 55-61, 2010).
  • "The particular contribution of the digital humanities, however, lies in its exploration of the difference that the digital can make to the kinds of work that we do as well as to the way that we communicate with one another" (Kathleen Fitzpatrick, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 8, 2011).  
  • "The phrase Digital Humanities… describes not just a collective singular but also the humanities in the plural, able to address and engage disparate subject matters across media, language, location, and history. But, however heterogeneous, the Digital Humanities is unified by its emphasis on making, connecting, interpreting, and collaborating.”  (See, "A Short Guide to the Digital Humanities," pp. 122 in Digital Humanities by Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, MIT Press,  2012).

For a chronology of DH initiatives (1949-2012) and live links to resources, see John Unsworth's blog entry, "What's 'digital humanities' and how did it get here?" (Oct. 9, 2012).


Spiro, Lisa. Blog Post:  Getting Started in the Digital Humanities (Posted on October 14, 2011).  Re-issued in  Journal of Digital Humanities Vol. 1, No. 1 Winter 2011.

Subject Guide

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Danielle Mihram
Leavey Library, LVL114

Subject Specialties:
---Digital Humanities.
---Project building and leadership, Digital Humanities.
---French and Italian Languages and Literatures.
---Manuscript Studies.
---Voltaire and the Enlightenment.

Research Consultations:
By appointment - schedule by email.

Related USC Guides

For companion USC research guides, see:

Content Mining: Overview by Caroline Muglia. This guide provides information about available text mining resources and tools and whether or not the Libraries subscription databases support content mining.

E-booksby Caroline Muglia. A resource for information about E-books at USC Libraries, and beyond.

Fair Use: Using Images in Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Ruth Wallach. This guide offers basic information on using images in theses/dissertations. Reasonable use of images and media in teaching, course papers, and graduate theses/dissertations is generally covered by fair use.

Google Scholar Tips by Christal Young. This is a guide on how to use Google Scholar effectively and search multiple library e-resources at once.

Medieval Studies and Research by Danielle Mihram and Melissa Miller. This Research Guide includes information about the Western European medieval world, and it touches upon an array of topics, for example: art, history, law, liturgy, music, philosophy, and many others. It aims to provide an entry into various resources that the University of Southern California (USC) has to offer in medieval studies, as well as links to relevant databases and sources, including digitized manuscripts here at USC. It also spotlights our collection of incunabula in the USC Libraries Special Collections Department.  

Organizing Research for Arts and Humanities Papers and Theses by Ruth Wallach. The purpose of this guide is to provide you with information on some elements that go into researching and writing arts and humanities papers and theses. Because there is no unified structure to research  and methodology in the arts and in the humanities, this guide provides general norms and suggestions, but is not comprehensive. Requirements and advice given to you by your faculty and/or committee members takes precedent and supersedes recommendations and instructions provided in this guide.

Spatial Sciences & GIS by Andy Rutkowski. USC Libraries and other related resources supporting academic scholarship in the spatial sciences.

Statistics & Data by Eimmy Solis. Social science numeric sources available through the USC Libraries and on the Internet.