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Humanities Endowment Awards First Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Sixteen humanities projects will receive $478,565 for innovative uses of technology

WASHINGTON (March 26, 2007)–The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the first Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, NEH Chairman Bruce Cole announced today. At the National Humanities Alliance's annual membership meeting in Washington, Chairman Cole said that these new projects are designed to explore and develop innovative uses of technology in humanities education, scholarship, and public programming. Sixteen projects will receive a total of $478,565 in this program, which is one part of NEH's Digital Humanities Initiative.

"These new digital humanities projects demonstrate the promise offered by current and future technological advances to create new approaches and bring fresh perspectives to study in the humanities," said Cole. "Technology offers us powerful tools to help us understand our world, and with these grants, scholars will put those tools to good use."

NEH's Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants were designed to provide "seed money" to support scholars with bright ideas about new ways to use technology to advance understanding of history, literature, and other humanities disciplines. Today's announcement includes awards to the following institutions or individuals:

Funding for the awards to Drexel University, the CUNY Research Foundation at Brooklyn College, and independent scholar Richard Cook has been provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as part of the IMLS/NEH "Advancing Knowledge" partnership.

Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities, its grant programs, and the Digital Humanities Initiative is available on the Internet at www.neh.gov.

  • University of California, Irvine, ($29,997) for the creation of an interactive GIS (Geographical Information System) database of early maps of the African coastline, 1434 - 1504.
  • University of California, Riverside, ($30,000) for two planning conferences, one in Riverside, California, the other in Bangkok, Thailand, to lay the foundations for the interactive mapping of Asian Buddhist monastic centers in Thailand and the creation of a digital resource using state of the arts tools.
  • Richard Cook, independent scholar, San Leandro, Calif., ($30,000) for using Character Description Language software in the mapping of Chinese characters and the augmentation of a standard database of characters open to members of international standards bodies and to the public.
  • Kohala Center, Kamuela, Hawaii, ($29,979) to plan for a "digital collaboratory" engaging humanities scholars, scientists, technology specialists, and native Hawaiian culture experts in the development of a geospatially referenced database of the island of Hawaii.
  • University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, ($29,958) for a robust, Web-based multimedia resource combining folk legends on saints and biblical figures, songs and religious rituals, and iconography of Russian Orthodoxy.
  • Maine Humanities Council, Portland, ($30,000) for podcasting public humanities projects throughout Maine, a state of concentrated population and long distances. This project would expand the geographic and temporal reach of Maine Humanities Council programs.
  • CUNY Research Foundation, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, N.Y., ($29,850) for the digital laser scanning and three dimensional quantification, as well as the creation of digitally generated models, of ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets.
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y., ($29,921) for the creation of a proof of concept system that employs Natural Language Processing techniques and utilizes information contained in tables of contents and back of the book indexes for more precise searching of the content of electronic books.
  • Michael Newton, independent scholar, Chapel Hill, N.C., ($28,988) for a digital humanities collaboration on Celtic studies that will allow multiple users to contribute to, discuss, edit, and utilize a common body of information.
  • North Carolina Central University, Durham, ($30,000) for the beginning stages of a jazz research digital library, located at North Carolina Central University, comprising photographs, oral histories, music, and text.
  • Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa., ($30,000) for the development of a programming tool for automatically identifying, categorizing, and describing newspaper articles from digital files produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ($29,999) for a pilot program for a model high resolution archaeological database in Greece and the United States consisting of photographs, video, field notes, laser scans, architectural data, and simulations relating to the ancient Roman colony of Corinth.
  • Coastal Carolina University, Conway, S.C., ($30,000) for the digital reconstruction of classical Greek monuments in a second stage pilot project focused on the three dimensional digital recording of the early fourth century BCE tholos at Delphi in Greece.
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, ($29,873) for development of a tool to present the progressions of interrelated items held in an electronic thematic repository.
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, ($30,000) for the testing and implementation of a prototype for digitizing artists' books by a group of curators, artists, critics, and scholars who will expand the use and population of this virtual resource through a distributed content model.
  • Old Dominion University Research Foundation, Norfolk, Va., ($30,000) for a study of the impact of podcasting technology in the teaching of foreign languages courses.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov