Session 15

Saturday 11:30 - 13:00

High Tor 3

Chair: James O'Sullivan

Innovation and the Digital Humanities: Early lessons from the King’s Digital Laboratory

  • Simon Tanner,
  • James Smithies

King’s College London

The digital humanities has a long history of innovation in technology, techniques and communications. Historically, innovation tends to be associated with business processes. Critics may object to such ‘industry’ language and claim that ‘innovative’ processes may in fact lead, inevitably, to instrumentalist perspectives. This paper will explore these issues through reference to “Open Innovation”, using the recent establishment of the King’s Digital Lab (KDL) at King’s College London (King’s) as a case study.

KDL’s primary purpose is to increase digital capability across the Faculty of Arts & Humanities by working with academic staff to develop research proposals and projects, and deliver a range of digital research outcomes. The expectation is that the presence of the Lab will complement teaching and research in the Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) and further enhance the reputation King’s has in digital humanities. This paper will describe KDL plans (working with DDH) to underpin high quality teaching and research, but also high quality (industry standard) software development processes, and a culture of innovation, experimentation, and entrepreneurship.

Using KDL as a case study we will show how the concept of Open Innovation (as proposed by Henry Chesbrough) resonates strongly with the digital humanities. Concepts of being open (in terms of open sourcing or open access), pursuing open reflection and collaboration within Open Innovation, present a mirror in which we can see ourselves as digital humanities academics. This is a vision of the digital humanities as a catalyst for research across disciplines, providing a means to enable collaborations and intellectual partnerships, but also as IT industry professionals merely working in one of several knowledge domains. To this end, the paper will present a mapping demonstrating the contrast between the principles of Open and Closed Innovation, comparing different modes of communication and collaboration across the digital humanities.


Reflections on running a collaborative digital humanities center: a libraries-academic partnership to advance DH teaching, research and community building

  • Brian Rosenblum

University of Kansas

This presentation will explore the role of academic libraries in supporting digital humanities research and teaching through a case study of the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities (IDRH) at the University of Kansas (KU). 


Established in 2010, IDRH was a collaborative venture from the beginning. It is administered under the financial support and guidance of three campus entities--the Hall Center for the Humanities, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Libraries--and led by two co-directors. From the perspective of the Libraries, the collaborative model has been an effective framework for connecting with faculty, students and the rest of the campus community in their roles as researchers, teachers and authors. Via IDRH, librarians play a role in teaching and training, grant proposal development and review, digital humanities consulting, course development, and student mentoring. In addition, IDRH provides the Libraries a direct channel for participation in other initiatives on campus, such as the development of proposals for external faculty hires. IDRH's major programs include an annual conference, seed grants, hands-on workshops, monthly DH seminars, course development grants for teaching faculty, sponsorship of HASTAC scholars, and consulting on digital humanities projects or ideas. This presentation will describe these programs and the roles of the stakeholders and co-directors, and discuss some of the benefits and challenges of this collaborative model. In particular, we will discuss the challenges and outcomes of developing and teaching KU's first  cross-departmental introduction to digital humanities class held in the 2015-16 semesters. Finally, we will outline how the digital humanities landscape has changed at KU over the six years since IDRH's founding, and how we envision our role evolving to more effectively integrate teaching, research, information literacy, data curation, and library collections.


Minimal Editions in Practice: The Digital Anthology of Early English Drama

  • Daniel Powell

King’s College London

This project arises from the firm belief that the best ways to study and share the substantial dramatic output of pre-Shakespearean Britain has not kept pace with the rise of digital scholarly editions. Primarily due to the allure of Shakespeare, it is exceedingly difficult to locate usable and accessible editions of these texts. To date no single resource has emerged to provide single-portal, open access to the corpus of pre-1576 dramatic texts. As a result, students, scholars, theatre professionals, and the public often ignore the long history of pre-Elizabethan theatre in Britain. Students lack reading editions, theatre professionals lack scripts, and digital humanists lack even a basic corpus to analyse algorithmically. The Digital Anthology of Early English Drama will remedy this lack by providing a complete, lightly encoded corpus of all extant drama produced in Britain from 1066 to 1576.


This paper will present this project and its workflow in the context of existing digital scholarly editing practices. Most digital scholarly editions (DSEs) are designed to be comprehensive, multimedia documents, integrating facsimile images, intense encoding, and bespoke HTML. They are maximal editions. The Digital Anthology of Early English Drama instead emphasises multiple-use cases for the resulting corpus, a corpus designed especially for practical, classroom pedagogical use. This work will result in several hundred machine-readable texts that serve as the basis for not only diverse local output formats for reading and printing (HTML, PDF, EPUB, DOC, and TXT), but also as foundational working texts for scholars hoping to create a more developed scholarly edition. Texts will be “remixable,” allowing users to create customised anthologies for specific themes, genres, courses, or performances. The goal is a minimal edition, and to think through what a classroom-ready DSE can and should be.