Providing resources and trai­ning in the practices and tools of the digital humanities

IDRH Colloquium and Fellows programs to launch in Fall 2020

The IDRH is pleased to announce two new initiatives focused on digital storytelling for the 2020-2021 academic year, the IDRH Colloquium and the IDRH Digital Humanities Fellows.

IDRH Colloquium

Titled Human Stories/Digital Storytellers, the colloquium is a series of virtual events focused on the ethics, politics, and techniques of digital storytelling. Stretched over the length of the academic year, the events will feature exemplary projects from across the world and across the KU campus, model digital storytelling practices, and introduce participants to a range of digital storytelling tools. Some meetings will be webinar-style presentations; others will be Zoom-style collaborative meetings. Across all events, the vision of the colloquium is to build a community of inquiry and an incubator for ideas.  

The colloquium will be anchored by four virtual events featuring a widely recognized external scholar associated with a digital storytelling project. Each invited scholar will provide two talks. First, the visiting scholar will use a virtual platform to introduce a public audience to their digital storytelling project. This presentation will be marketed to the entire university community and the general public. It will be webinar-style presentation (single-speaker format with questions handled via a chat room and a moderator) to accommodate an audience of up to 500 people.   

Second, the speaker will provide a targeted training session on the digital methods, tools, and resources that inform their own work. This will be a smaller event that features a Zoom-style collaborative environment in which each participant can share their voice, likeness, and content. In order to maintain the collaborative environment and ensure that participants receive feedback on their projects, these events will be restricted to the IDRH cohort of Digital Humanities Fellows. 

Digital Humanities Fellows

The Digital Humanities Fellows are a cohort of faculty members and graduate students from across the university committed to thinking and working together for an academic year. The cohort is designed to form the foundation of a year-long, institution-wide conversation about issues in the digital humanities. Fellows will workshop projects, discuss readings, attend (virtual) events, and be granted unique access to training in DH methods and tools.  

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Digital Humanities Fellows program will focus on digital storytelling. Fellows will be a featured and privileged part of the IDRH Colloquium (also focused on digital storytelling). They will participate in every public Colloquium event. In addition to the Colloquium events, fellows will participate in conversations sparked by local storytelling projects and guided by storytellers from a range of perspectives (researchers, humanists, social scientists, librarians, and publishers). Finally, fellows will workshop their own projects in private, smaller, and collaborative meetings with Colloquium speakers.  

The Digital Humanities Fellows program is designed as a pandemic-friendly form of programming. While we hope to hold in-person events when it is safe to do so, fellows will always have the opportunity to participate in events virtually.  

Fellows will be selected in fall 2020 through a competitive process and will remain as a cohort for the duration of the academic year. The program is designed to appeal to a range of applicants—grad students and faculty, those with a long history in the digital humanities and those just beginning. No digital humanities experience is required.

The fellows will be paid a $1000 stipend. In exchange, fellows commit to attending working groups (twice a semester, virtual or real) and every colloquium event. In addition, they commit to workshopping digital humanities projects in a spirit of collegiality and good will. Fellows will present their own storytelling projects (or their own thoughts on the matter) at a final Digital Humanities Fellows Symposium. At the end of the year, they will submit a report about how the fellowship has advanced their own research.

More details, including list of public speakers, schedule, and the call for participation for the Fellows program, will be provided at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester.

THE IDRH CORNER: DH and Philosophy Projects / Proyectos en humanidades digitales y filosofía

(En español)

Digital Humanities and Philosophy: A Project-Based Introduction
David Tamez

Philosophy has always been a public endeavor. During antiquity in the time of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, philosophy (or the love of wisdom) was never meant, or less controversially, treated as a private enterprise. The father of western philosophy, Socrates, referred to himself as a sort of gadfly, buzzing around unsuspecting Athenians, challenging them to justify and provide reasons for holding the beliefs they did about justice, piety, knowledge, and the soul. Today, there is perhaps no more compelling companion to this public enterprise than those methods offered by the digital humanities.

For the first entry into KU’s DH Blog, we focus on three digital humanities projects in philosophy. There are a number of notable digital projects in philosophy that embody its public nature and mission:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP)

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) is perhaps best project to start this conversation. Initially, many digital projects began with the simple goal of sharing academic scholarship with other scholars. This is true of the SEP. The project is an online encyclopedia that serves as a database of philosophical articles that undergo the sort of rigorous vetting process one would find with an academic print journal. Although many of the entries are written by well-established philosophers, and are perhaps written with general philosophers in mind, the database itself is free to the public and can be accessed by anyone.

Since its creation in 1995, the database has accumulated nearly 1600 articles as of March 2018. The creators define the encyclopedia as a dynamic reference work. As a dynamic reference work, it is defined by four characteristics: (1) an article can be continuously revised following publication; (2) it curates comprehensive articles specific to philosophical subfields and topics; (3) in connection with (1) remote access is provided to authors so that they may easily revise their entries; and (4) quality is maintained by an Editorial Board; and (5) entries are made public and curated on a quarterly basis. All this allows the project to evolve and be “responsive to new research.”

The Internet Philosophy Ontology Project (InPhO)

As a response to the vastness of the SEP and to a general need to navigate in a way that is efficient and user-friendly, philosophers and programmers at the University of Indiana created a data-mining project: InPhO. The project operates by focusing on four sub-ontologies. Quickly, for non-philosophical and non-academic readers, ontology is the study of the nature of being or existence. Beyond this, ontology can also involve cataloging and categorizing things that exist along with their properties, creating ontologies. Some ontologies are more controversial or complex than others. For example, one controversy is one that persists between atheists and theists: whether God belongs in any ontological system. In science, there are realists and anti-realists who dispute whether the entities posited in scientific theories actually exist beyond their being posited within the theory. Note, there is a great deal of nuance that I am glossing over here, but I hope the general idea is clear. When creating any model of the world, some sort of ontological account is required to get it off the ground. How complex or simple it is may depend on the programmatic goals of the researcher.

Now, back to InPhO, the four sub-ontologies they focus on include: (1) Thinker; (2) Idea; (3) Document; and (4) Organization. The most important of these sub-ontologies is the Idea sub-ontology. According to the creators, ideas or topics within the SEP database can get fairly specific and broken down into sub-fields. In order to better deal with the breadth of the database, InPhO employs “automated statistical methods.” These methods are utilized to create visible models of possible relations between ideas curated in SEP. In order to ensure that their methods are turning out accurate relations, project managers confirm with the authors of SEP entries.  

Digital Cavendish

Not all digital projects concern themselves with making information databases easier to navigate. They can and are also about showing a different, perhaps less explored, side of the profession. Like all academic fields, philosophy has developed canon of what is taught in “history of philosophy” courses. With the creation of canons or preferred historical narratives, academic disciplines often risk subverting certain ideas, thinkers, and texts. This has not gone unnoticed by certain academic philosophers. Take, for example, KU’s own Dr. Marcy Lascano. Dr. Lascano recently taught a project-based course where students not only explore the ideas and interpretations of a lesser known philosophy such as Margaret Cavendish, but the course also included a transcribe-a-thon to all interested parties at KU and elsewhere. The transcribe-a-thon focused on Cavendish’s Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1663). It is as an effort to make widely available a text that lies outside of the traditional canon. The class also introduced students to digital humanities methods and tools based on minimal computing principles, such as the Ed./Jekyll platform for digital textual editions. Jekyll is a static website generator designed to make updating, maintaining, and sharing websites easier. Ed. is a theme for Jekyll specifically for developing easy-to-read digital editions that can enable recovery projects (such as the Cavendish project). As many humanists are not experienced in computing or programming methods, Ed. allows for simple digital editions that do not require complex programming.


Una introducción a proyectos en humanidades digitales y filosofía
David Tamez
Traducido por Sylvia Fernández

La filosofía siempre ha sido un esfuerzo público. Durante la antigüedad en la época de Platón, Sócrates y Aristóteles, la filosofía (o el amor a la sabiduría) nunca significó, o menos controversial, fue tratada como un colectivo privado. El padre de la filosofía occidental, Sócrates, se refirió a sí mismo como una especie de tábano, zumbando alrededor de atenienses desprevenidos, desafiándolos a justificar y proporcionar razones para mantener las creencias que tenían sobre la justicia, la piedad, el conocimiento y el alma. Hoy, tal vez no haya un colectivo más convincente para esta empresa pública que los métodos ofrecidos por las humanidades digitales. En la primera entrada del blog de Humanidades Digitales de la Universidad de Kansas, nos enfocamos en tres proyectos de humanidades digitales en el área de filosofía. Hay una serie de proyectos digitales notables en filosofía que encarnan su naturaleza y misión pública:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP)

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) (Enciclopedia de Filosofía de Stanford) es quizás el mejor proyecto para comenzar esta conversación. Inicialmente, muchos proyectos digitales comenzaron con el simple objetivo de compartir el trabajo académico con otros/as académicos/as. Esto es cierto de la SEP. El proyecto es una enciclopedia en línea que sirve como una base de datos de artículos filosóficos que se someten al tipo de riguroso proceso de investigación que se encontraría con una revista académica impresa. Aunque muchas de las entradas están escritas por filósofos/as reconocidos/as, y tal vez están escritas para filósofos/as generales en mente, la base de datos en sí es gratuita para el público y cualquier persona puede acceder a ella.

Desde su creación en 1995, la base de datos ha acumulado casi 1600 artículos hasta marzo de 2018. Los creadores definen la enciclopedia como un “trabajo de referencia dinámico”. Como un trabajo de referencia dinámico, se define por cuatro características: (1) un artículo puede revisarse continuamente después de la publicación; (2) conserva artículos completos específicos en temas filosóficos y sus subcampos; (3) en relación con (1) se proporciona acceso remoto a los/a autores para que puedan revisar fácilmente sus entradas; (4) la calidad es mantenida por un Consejo Editorial; y (5) las entradas se hacen públicas y se seleccionan trimestralmente. Todo esto permite que el proyecto evolucione y sea "receptivo a nuevas investigaciones".

The Internet Philosophy Ontology Project (InPhO)

Como respuesta a la inmensidad del SEP y a la necesidad en general de navegar de una manera eficiente y fácil de usar, los/as filósofos/as y programadores/as de la Universidad de Indiana crearon un proyecto de minería de datos: InPhO. El proyecto opera enfocándose en cuatro sub-ontologías. Rápidamente, para los/as lectores no filosóficos y no académicos, la ontología es el estudio de la naturaleza del ser o la existencia. Más allá de esto, la ontología también puede implicar la catalogación y categorización de cosas que existen junto con sus propiedades, creando ontologías. Algunas ontologías son más controversiales o complejas que otras. Por ejemplo, una controversia es una que persiste entre ateos y teístas: si Dios pertenece a algún sistema ontológico. En la ciencia, hay realistas y antirrealistas que discuten si las entidades postuladas en las teorías científicas realmente existen más allá de su posición dentro de la teoría. Teniendo en cuenta que hay muchos matices que estoy pasando por alto aquí, espero que la idea general sea clara. Al crear cualquier modelo del mundo, se requiere algún tipo de cuenta ontológica para separarlo. Su complejidad o sencillez puede depender de los objetivos programáticos del investigador.

Ahora, volviendo a InPhO, las cuatro sub-ontologías en las que se enfocan incluyen: (1) Pensador/a; (2) Idea; (3) Documento; y (4) Organización. La más importante de estas subontologías es la subontología de la Idea. Según los creadores, las ideas o temas dentro de la base de datos SEP pueden volverse bastante específicos y dividirse en subcampos. Con el fin de lidiar mejor con la amplitud de la base de datos, InPhO incorpora "métodos estadísticos automatizados". Estos métodos se utilizan para crear modelos visibles de posibles relaciones entre ideas seleccionadas en SEP. Para asegurarse de que sus métodos generen relaciones precisas, los directores del proyecto confirman con los autores de las entradas de SEP.

Digital Cavendish (Cavendish digital)

No todos los proyectos digitales se preocupan por facilitar la navegación de información a través de las bases de datos. Pueden y también tratan de mostrar un lado diferente, quizás menos explorado, de la profesión. Como todos los campos académicos, la filosofía ha desarrollado el canon de lo que se enseña en los cursos de "historia de la filosofía". Con la creación de cánones o narraciones históricas preferidas, las disciplinas académicas a menudo corren el riesgo de subvertir ciertas ideas, pensadores/as y textos. Esto no ha pasado desapercibido por ciertos filósofos/as académicos/as. Consideremos, por ejemplo, la propia Dra. Marcy Lascano de KU. La Dra. Lascano recientemente enseñó un curso basado en proyectos donde los estudiantes no solo exploran las ideas e interpretaciones de una filosofía menos conocida como la de Margaret Cavendish, sino que también incluye un “maratón” de transcripción para todos/as los/as interesados/as en KU y en otros lugares. El transcribe-a-thon se centró en el libro Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1663) de Cavendish (1663). Es un gran esfuerzo hacer que un texto esté ampliamente disponible fuera del canon tradicional. Asimismo, la clase también le presentó a los/as estudiantes métodos de humanidades digitales y bases de datos, como la construcción de sitios temáticos con Jekyll. Jekyll es un programa de creación de bases de datos basado en principios informáticos minimalistas. Como muchos humanistas no tienen experiencia en métodos informáticos o de programación, Jekyll permite la creación de bases de datos de sitios simples que no requieren una programación compleja. Actualmente, el sitio de Cavendish está en construcción, y estará listo para compartir con la comunidad académica en el otoño de 2020.

Los tres proyectos demuestran el alcance y la versatilidad que los proyectos de humanidades digitales a menudo pueden tomar. Si bien una definición de lo que hace que un proyecto sea un proyecto HD puede ser difícil de alcanzar, sin embargo, esto en realidad permite a los/as investigadores/as a incrementar la imaginación dentro de un marco complejo. En el caso de SEP, los/as investigadores/as desarrollaron un proyecto que haga que la investigación y los conocimientos académicos estén fácilmente disponibles para una audiencia general. Con InPhO, se obtiene una visión interesante de los muchos temas explorados, y no explorados, dentro de la base de datos de SEP. Esto permite una discusión crítica sobre qué temas se le da prioridad ycuáles no están dentro de la filosofía. Y finalmente, con el proyecto de la Dra. Lascano, se obtiene una combinación de estos elementos. Por otro lado, el proyecto va a proporcionar una edición digital de un manuscrito de Margaret Cavendish. En segundo lugar, el objetivo del proyecto incluye un elemento crítico para contar historias. Como programa académico, las humanidades digitales ofrecen una oportunidad para que investigadores de todos los campos colaboren. Las posibilidades son muchas y están a la espera de ser exploradas.

IDRH Public Data for Social Justice Workshop

Mark your calendars for our March 2nd workshop focusing on data capturing methods and their potential for responding to issues of social justice. This event will provide a hands on exploration of digital methods for all participants. Panelists and audience members will also engage the implications these methods can have on responding to issues relating to ethics and social justice.


Interested parties may RSVP through by Feb 28th.

New Digital Humanities Reading and Praxis Groups, Spring 2020

IDRH is hosting a new Digital Humanities group—two groups really—spearheaded by Sylvia Fernández (Hall Center for the Humanities) and James Yeku (African and African-American Studies), and we’d like to invite anyone interested to join. These sessions are open to faculty, staff and students, or anyone else who may be interested.

The groups will meet 6 times this semester, with 3 meetings focused on DH dialogues and readings, and 3 focused on hands-on praxis and collaborations.

You don't have to attend all of the meetings, and drop-ins are welcome, but please RSVP to if you can so that we can (a) give you access to the readings ahead of time; (b) prepare appropriately for the praxis sessions; and (c) provide just the right amount of coffee.

DH Dialogues and Readings: Diversifying Digital Humanities
Watson 302, 3:00 - 4:30pm
Friday, Feb 21  |  Thursday, Mar 19  |   Friday, Apr 24

Readings this semester will include:

  • Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Safiya Noble (2018)
  • New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy, Roopika Risam (2018)
  • Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminism and Digital Humanities, Elizabeth Losh and Jacqueline Wernimont, Eds. (2018)

DH Praxis and Collaborations
Watson 302, 9:00am – 11:00am
Monday, Feb 24  |  Monday, Mar 30  |  Monday, Apr 13

The Praxis sessions will be more open sessions where you can come work quietly on your project (like a writing group, but for digital projects); see a demo; learn new platforms; discuss your projects; share ideas.

Thank you to Sylvia and James for developing and organizing this initiative. Let us know if you have questions and we hope to see you there! Please RSVP to


IDRH is pleased to Co-Sponsor A Workshop Series on Medieval Manuscripts with The Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Dr. N. Kıvılcım Yavuz, Ann Hyde Postdoctoral Researcher at Kenneth Spencer Research Library, will be conducting a series of three workshops focusing on medieval manuscripts. The workshops explore the material nature of the medieval manuscript book while looking at current trends in manuscript studies. The aim of the workshops is to provide the participants the basic skills to examine a manuscript as well as an understanding of medieval book history and medieval book-making practices.

Each workshop will feature a one-hour lecture followed by an hour of hands-on work. All workshops will take place at Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Workshops are open to undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty. No previous experience in working with manuscripts is required. Spaces are limited and participants are asked to register separately for each workshop at

Sylvia Fernández to join the Hall Center for the Humanities, the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, and The Commons

We are thrilled to announce that Sylvia Fernández will be joining the IDRH community as part of her role as Public and Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities, starting in January 2020. Her work with IDRH will include coordinating the HASTAC Scholars program, helping develop DH-related programming on campus, and consulting and contributing to digital humanities projects at KU. In addition to her role with IDRH, she will work the The Commons, and develop her own original research projects. Welcome, Sylvia!

Sylvia Fernández is a proud transfronteriza, born and raised in the Mexico-United States Border (Cd. Juárez-El Paso). As a first-generation college student, she obtained a B.A. with a double major in Political Science and Spanish and a double minor in U.S.-Mexico Border Issues and Women's Studies. Fernández obtained an M.A. in Spanish (Literature and Linguistics) and a certificate in Women's Studies from New Mexico State University. In December 2019, she earned a Ph.D.from the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston and a Graduate Certificate in Women's, Gender and Sexualities Studies and Spanish as a Heritage Language. Her research interests include Latin American, U.S. Latina/o and Border Literatures, Intersectional and Transnational Feminisms, Border Studies, Archive Studies, and Digital Humanities. Her digital research includes: co-founder of Borderlands Archives Cartography, a member of Torn Apart / Separados, and team member and coordinator of the ongoing initiative of United Fronterasas well as other collaborative projects. Currently, she is working on a monograph and building a public and digital humanities project based on her dissertation titled, "Genealogía Transfronteriza: (Re)interpretaciones literarias de identidades femeninas en Cd. Juárez-El Paso".  

IDRH Meet and Greet

Join visiting scholars Heather Bamford (George Washington University) and Emily Francomano (Georgetown University) for coffee, pastries, and informal conversation about the Digital Humanities. This “coffee break” offers an excellent opportunity for you to mingle with the visiting speakers, fellow medievalists and early modernists, and DH colleagues to chat about issues ranging from the digital reproduction of medieval manuscripts to professionalization and DH.

The meet and greet will take place November 18th, 10am-12pm, in Watson Library's Digital Humanities Studio Room 302.

The Exquisite Corpse of Lawrence: a collaborative digital storytelling activity

IDRH is excited to participate in the Hall Center for the Humanities 2nd annual Haunting Humanities: Disciplines in the Dark, a free evening of immersive presentations featuring spooky stories and legends. A science fair for the humanities with a Halloween twist, Haunting Humanities ensures that individuals of all ages are able to explore the insights that the study of history, literature, language, and culture can bring to everyday life.
The IDRH booth will feature a collaborative digital storytelling activity inspired by the French surrealists. We will be hosting a public, digital Exquisite Corpse game in which participants contribute a phrase or sentence that will be assembled together into a single work. With prompts focusing on the haunted places of Lawrence, this activity will help us discover what lurks in the collective imagination of Lawrence, Kansas residents! Our booth will also provide examples of various digital storytelling platforms and highlight several local digital humanities projects.

Grant Deadlines

IDRH Seed Grants

The IDRH Digital Humanities Seed grants are intended to support KU faculty and academic staff with up to $15,000 in funding as they plan or pilot a collaborative digital humanities project, which will, with seed grant support, result in a more competitive subsequent external funding application. 
Proposals should be for the initial stages of a digital research project in the humanities, and should include a commitment to apply within a year for a specific external funding opportunity. 

Seed grants may be used to create pilot projects, develop ideas via a workshop, attend workshops, support project-related travel, hold a substantial planning or brainstorming session, or similar activities. For full guidelines and application forms see

IDRH Travel Grants

Digital Humanities Travel Grants provide KU faculty members, academic staff, and graduate students with up to $1,000 in financial support for domestic or international travel undertaken in order to: 1) conduct research for a digital humanities project, 2) present on digital humanities research at an academic conference, OR  3) participate in a digital humanities professional development and/or training initiative.

For full guidelines and application forms see

Deadline for both grants is: November 1st, 2019 at 11:59pm

Recovering Cavendish Transcribe-a-Thon, September 27

Recovering Cavendish Transcribe-A-Thon

Be a part of the creation of an open access, searchable, reader-friendly text of

Margaret Cavendish’s Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1663)! 

No experience necessary - simple transcription instructions are provided on the website!

Margaret Cavendish was a 17th century philosopher, who wrote numerous philosophical works, plays, poetry, and science fiction. While many of her works are available online in searchable editions, her important second edition of Philosophical and Physical Opinions has yet to be made available. The final text will be mounted in the Ed. Jekyll minimal editions platform for use by scholars, students, and the general public.

In person
Friday, September 27th, 12 noon - 5pm, Watson 302

For those of you in the KU and Lawrence community, we will be meeting in the Institute for Research for Digital Humanities DH Studio (Watson 302) to transcribe and talk about the project. Snacks will be available!

Anyone may participate online. The website will be open on September 25th and remain open till the transcription is complete. 

This project made possible by KU IDRH, KU Libraries, and the KU Philosophy Department.
For questions or comments, contact Marcy Lascano:


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