What would happen if the Pope’s library were accidentally burnt? How can we reconstruct and visualize ancient and medieval pilgrimage routes? Technology is changing the way we study and preserve texts and artifacts. In a series of web-exclusive articles written by scholars engaged in the Digital Humanities, learn how this growing field of study is helping to analyze textual and archaeological data—and how you can help.
Digital Humanities: An Introduction
What if the Dead Sea Scrolls were damaged? What if the Pope’s library burned down? In “Digital Humanities: How Everyone Can Get a Library Card to the World’s Most Exclusive Collections Online,” George Washington University associate professor of history Diane H. Cline explores the research opportunities and potential impact of Digital Humanities projects. This new field not only preserves publications, it extends access to the humanities to anyone with Internet access.
Want to follow a fourth-century pilgrim itinerary from Bordeaux via Constantinople to the Holy Land? Experiment with ancient travel times and their costs over land, sea and sand in the Roman Empire? University of Iowa assistant professor of classics Sarah E. Bond explains in “Map Quests: Geography, Digital Humanities and the Ancient World” how the Digital Humanities offers opportunities to explore, interact with and contribute to maps of the ancient world.
Open Access to Digital Data
Interested in exploring the results of archaeology projects directly from the researchers? Cutting-edge technology is helping archaeologists generate a tremendous amount of digital data each year. At the same time, the scientific community increasingly expects direct access to the data. In “Open Context: Making the Most of Archaeological Data,” Alexandria Archive Institute cofounders Sarah Whitcher Kansa and Eric Kansa describe Open Context, an open access, peer-reviewed data publishing service that has published over one million digital resources, from archaeological survey data to excavation documentation and artifact analyses.
Making University Collections Accessible to All
Many university departments across the world have shelves and storerooms full of books, artifacts and research collected over several decades. What do you do when the “skeletons in your closet” are a box of 2,000-year-old artifacts? That was the question facing the University of British Columbia’s Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies. In “From Stone to Screen: Bringing 21st-Century Access to Ancient Artifacts,” members of the From Stone to Screen graduate student project at UBC discuss their ongoing efforts to create digital archives of their department’s artifact collection—making these fascinating objects accessible to a global audience online.