Digital Humanities at Princeton

The Digital Humanities Initiative at Princeton brings together members of the campus community in the humanities, computing, and libraries to explore the possibilities of digital humanist scholarship, organize events focused on topics related to digital scholarship, and to provide the infrastructure and community support to facilitate that scholarship.


  • Matt Gold Joining Reading Group, Tues. May 6

    51XTdUBPWELMatt Gold joins the DH Reading group to discuss Debates in the Digital Humanities and future directions in scholarly publishing.

    Tuesday May 6, 12-1:30pm in East Pyne 205.

    Lunch will be served. Please RSVP by May 5 by emailing mmpatton@

    Matt Gold is currently an Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities at City Tech and the CUNY Graduate Center.

  • Speaker Series Announcement: Porter Olsen

    What_Falls_Out_Public_LecturePlease join the Digital Humanities Initiative, the Digital History Lab, and the Mudd Manuscript Library as we co-host a public lecture that explores the intersection of technology and the humanities. Our speaker is Porter Olsen, who is a research faculty member at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) where he is the Community Lead on the BitCurator project, a Mellon funded project to bring digital forensics tools and techniques to collecting institutions working with born-digital material. Simultaneously, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at the University of Maryland studying digital humanities and postcolonial literature.

    “What Falls Out: Preserving Our Digital Heritage with BitCurator”
    Thursday, April 24th, 4:30pm
    Friend 008

    Lecture Overview
    Unlike their paper counterparts, legacy digital media are increasingly inaccessible as the hardware and software needed to access the data they contain are lost to disrepair, obsolescence and bit rot. Like the leavings at the bottom of a drawer, these digital objects are frequently “what falls out” as we create, research, record and publish our digital work. Building on Matthew Kirschenbaum’s work in Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination, this talk explores the relationship between digital forensics and digital curation, and their combined importance to contemporary and future digital humanities scholarship. As objects of study in the humanities become increasingly born-digital, what steps can be taken now to ensure that the digital primary documents of today are both accessible and verifiable in the future? More importantly, how do we ensure that digital content is not that which falls out of our public consciousness and physical archives? This talk demonstrates some of the key digital forensics tools—compiled and enhanced by the BitCurator project—that can be used to aid in the preservation and recovery of the born-digital data essential to future and present digital humanities research.


  • Speaker Series Announcement: Jeffrey Schnapp

    Lecture: Temples of Booksschnapp_horiz

    Jeffrey Schnapp, Harvard University

    Thursday, March 27
    4:30pm, 106 McCormick Hall

    Workshop: Temples of Books

    Friday, March 28
    10:00am, 127 E. Pyne

    Reservation required, contact

    “Jeffrey Schnapp is a cultural historian with research interests extending from antiquity to the present, his most recent books are The Electric Information Age Book (in collaboration with Adam Michaels [Princeton Architectural Press, 2012]); Italiamerica II (Il Saggiatore, 2012), co-edited with Emanuela Scarpellini; Modernitalia (Peter Lang), a collection of essays on 20th century Italian literature, design, and architecture; and Digital_Humanities (MIT Press), a book co-written with Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, and Todd Presner.

    His work in the domains of design, digital arts and humanities, and curatorial practice includes collaborations with the Triennale di Milano, the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Canadian Center for Architecture.

    He is the faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard. ”

    This lecture is co-sponsored with the Department of European Cultural Studies. These events are part of “Dialogues on European Studies,” a series co-organized by graduate and undergraduate students under the aegis of ECS.

  • Speaker Series Announcement: Beyond the Tagore Variorum: The prospect for large textual databases

    chaudhuriTuesday, March 25
    4:30pm, 106 McCormick Hall

    In this presentation, Sukanta Chaudhuri draws on his experience of the Tagore Online Variorum “Bichitra” to review the prospects and functions of large textual databases. He will begin with a quick review of the Tagore site. Analyzing salient examples, he will assess the exciting possibilities of textual ‘big data’, as also its major challenges. He will indicate the novel insights and perspectives opened up by large textual databases. He will also argue that textual material requires a special approach that might affect the compiling and mining of all big data.

    The Bichitra Tagore Online Variorum ( is the world’s biggest literary database (140,000 pages of primary data). It comprises images and transcripts of nearly all manuscript and significant print versions of Rabindranath Tagore’s works in Bengali and English. It also includes an electronic bibliography, a timeline, a search-engine-cum-hyperconcordance, and an innovative three-tier collation program. The project was executed by the School of Cultural Texts and Records, Jadavpur University, with Sukanta Chaudhuri as co-ordinator and Sankha Ghosh, poet and Tagore scholar, as adviser. A team of 30 project staff worked for two years on the website, alongside many other consultants, advisers and contributors.

    Sukanta Chaudhuri was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata and the University of Oxford. He taught at Presidency College, Kolkata and then at Jadavpur University, where he founded the School of Cultural Texts and Records. He is Professor Emeritus at Jadavpur University and, for 2013-14, a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. His chief fields of study are Renaissance literature, textual studies and translation. His last major book was The Metaphysics of Text (Cambridge, 2010). He has completed a two-volume anthology and companion to Renaissance pastoral poetry (Manchester: in press), and is preparing the Third Arden edition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  • Aesthetics of Information Symposium and Exhibition

    Aesthetics of InformationA conversation about the abstraction and rebirth of data: with Alex Galloway (NYU), Mark Hansen (Duke), Robert Hopkins (Sheffield/NYU), Laura Kurgan (Columbia), William Rankin (Yale), Marion Thain (Sheffield/NYU), and Victoria Vesna (UCLA)
    Exhibition: opening reception Thursday, February 6, at 5 PM, School of Architecture

    Symposium: Friday, February 7, 1 to 5 PM, Betts Auditorium in the School of Architecture

    Aesthetics of Information Poster (PDF)

  • Digital Humanities Graduate Student Caucus

    With interest steadily growing in digital and computational methods for research and analysis in the humanities and the social sciences, the Princeton Digital Humanities Initiative will be launching a graduate student caucus this coming Spring semester. The goal of the colloquium will be to create a space for graduate students across all disciplines (humanities, social sciences, and STEM) to share ideas, brainstorm new events and programs, learn new methods, and perhaps even collaborate on projects.

    A planning session (open to all who are interested) will be held on February 6, at 6:00 in the Humanities Resource Center Classroom, 012 East Pyne.

  • Job Announcement: Digital Humanities Center Associate Director

    Princeton University and the Digital Humanities Initiative are looking for a Digital Humanities Center Associate Director to help build a nationally significant faculty research center to support collaborative technology-based projects and develop inter- and trans-disciplinary partnerships.  This individual will support the infrastructure and intellectual community of the Digital Humanities, someone who will both inform its vision as well as ensure its effective operation.

    More information can be found on the Princeton University Human Resources job listing.

  • Close vs. Distant Reading

    Alan Liu has posted the syllabus for a new undergraduate course entitled, close vs. distant reading:

  • How the Humanities Compute in the Classroom
  • IHUM: Aesthetics of Information, and a call for experiments

    The Aesthetics of Information: a symposium…

    ATT00001On Friday, February 7, IHUM (the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities) will host an afternoon symposium on “The Aesthetics of Information.” The occasion will bring together scholars across the humanities to think about the convergence of two developments, the new availability of sophisticated data sets related to traditional humanistic subjects, and new possibilities for representing what we discover there. The category of aesthetics stands at their juncture. Our questions: What new experiences, even new beauties, become available to us when we translate between, or among, fact, text, image, map, diagram, video, sound? What new routes to appreciation, understanding, or action are opened? But also: How is experience of the objects of our study changed, even displaced by new representations that have their own aesthetic charisma? What do the charms of design mean for the work of analysis, of persuasion, or of activism? What kind of knowledge do we gain, and what kind of knowledge might we lose? Joining us are Alex Galloway (NYU), Mark Hansen (Duke), Robert Hopkins (Sheffield/NYU), Laura Kurgan (Columbia), William Rankin (Yale), Marion Thain (Sheffield/NYU), and Victoria Vesna (UCLA). …and an call for experiments In the two months preceding the symposium, we invite members of the graduate and faculty communities to make experiments in the aesthetics of information: to ask, what might these potentials mean for the future of the humanities, and for your own scholarship, and that of your friends and colleagues? There are two ways to get involved.

    One: the pool. Submit an object (broadly-defined: a text, an image, a piece of music or sound file, an artifact), something you are interested in, maybe working on. Another participant will take that object as his or her own, mining it for information, and deciding how that information might be represented most effectively, charismatically, beautifully, etc. By submitting an object, you incur the obligation to perform an information-extraction of your own on the object of another. (We will arrange a marketplace of sorts, to organize this exchange.)


    Two: the bathtub. In the second model, you choose the object, you render it as information, and you represent that information in a new form. Less chancy than option one, but also less chancy. (It does have the advantage of allowing you to experiment on work you might well want to continue; a good choice if you want to try making something for yourself that you might just use later on.)

    Whether you choose the first model or the second, we ask that you present the information you find in a way that can be displayed – visually, aurally, textually, digitally, numerically, or in any other fashion – at an exhibition, which will complement a symposium to be held on February 7 at the Betts Auditorium in the School of Architecture. Collaborations, in either model, are welcome. The exhibition will be a resource for the thinking and talking we will do together at the symposium, and, we hope, for the whole Princeton community.  All media are eligible, analog or digital, material or immaterial, wet or dry, etc. Given the special prominence and potential of new media, we have collected some digital tools to explore. But we do not mean to limit contributions. We will figure out a way to display anything. The broad challenge is not only to explore the kinds of knowledge that emerge from various modes of analysis and quantification, but what kinds of new experience are available through their translation into newly and differently legible forms. If you plan to participate, please let us know as soon as possible by sending an email to For those who enter the pool, we will begin to make pairings as soon as possible. Final submissions will be due on Friday January 31. (We will send submission instructions to contributors as the day approaches.)  All contributors will also be invited to dinner after the symposium on February 7, which will feature some experiments in musical mapping by Dan Trueman and company. Join us!