Announcing New ODH Awards (December 2020)

December 17, 2020
Announcing New ODH Awards

The Office of Digital Humanities is pleased to announce 13 awards through our Digital Humanities Advancement Grants program and 8 awards through the New Directions for Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions program, a collaboration with the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities, Division of Research Programs, and Division of Preservation and Access, and the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council .

These projects are part of a larger slate of 213 awards announced by the NEH . Congratulations to all the award recipients as they begin these exciting new projects!


This program is funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Awards that have received support from IMLS have been marked by an asterisk.

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)

* Prototyping an Extensible Framework for Access to Dance Knowledge
Project Directors: Rebecca Salzer (University of Alabama) and Gesel Mason (University of Texas at Austin)
Outright: up to $99,996.00

To support: The creation of an online resource to increase accessibility to recordings of works by Black choreographers along with tools to make it easier to study dance by providing the ability to search and create connections across collections.

University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Pursuing the Potential of Digital Mapping in Latinx Studies
Project Directors: Marissa Lopez (UCLA) and Kelley Kreitz (Pace College)
Outright: up to $50,000.00

To support: A two-day workshop and support network to build capacity in digital mapping methods for scholars in Latinx Studies.

University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

Remastering the Renaissance: A Virtual Experience of Pope Julius II's Library in Raphael's Stanza della Segnatura
Project Directors: Lisa Pon (University of Southern California), Tracy Cosgriff (The College of Wooster), Curtis Fletcher (University of Southern California), Andreas Kratky (University of Southern California), Eric Loyer (University of Southern California)
Outright: up to $100,000.00

To support: Development of a software connector between Unity and Scalar and the publication of a virtual reality experience of Pope Julius’s Stanza della Segnatura.

University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)

Documenting and Triaging Cultural Heritage (DATCH): Damage Assessment and Digital Preservation
Project Directors: Scott Branting (University of Central Florida), Joseph T. Kider Jr. (University of Central Florida), and Lori C. Walters (University of Central Florida)
Outright: up to $375,000.00

To support: Development of augmented reality software for rapidly documenting cultural heritage artifacts from archaeology and related disciplines while doing fieldwork.

Shift Design, Inc. (New Orleans, LA)

* Historypin for Collaborative Public Humanities Programs
Project Director: Jon Voss (Shift Design, Inc.)
Outright: up to $324,903.00; Match: up to $50,000

To support: Redesign and redevelopment of the collaborative public digital humanities platform, Historypin.

University of Maryland, College Park

Automatic Collation for Diversifying Corpora: Improving Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) for Arabic-script Manuscripts
Project Directors: Matthew Thomas Miller (University of Maryland, College Park) and David Smith (Northeastern University)
Outright: up to $324,571.00

To support: Refinement of machine learning methods to improve automatic handwritten text recognition of Persian and Arabic manuscripts and make these sources more accessible for humanities research and teaching.

Broadcasting Audiovisual Data: Using linked data and local authority aggregators to enhance discoverability for broadcasting collections
Project Directors: Stephanie Sapienza (University of Maryland, College Park) and Eric Hoyt (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Outright: up to $294,265.00

To support: The federation of three archival radio collections held by the University of Maryland, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Minnesota using a linked open data framework for use by scholars, students, and the general public. Several case studies using the collections will be developed to demonstrate the project’s potential use by different audiences.

Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

BERT for Humanists: Anticipating the Reception of Contemporary NLP in Digital Humanities
Project Directors: David Mimno (Cornell University) and Melanie Walsh (Cornell University)
Outright: up to $46,074.00

To support: The development of an open-source toolkit and workshop series that will begin to address these fundamental barriers to the adoption of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) by humanities scholars interested in large-scale text analysis.

Klezmer Institute, Inc. (Yonkers, NY)

The Klezmer Archive
Project Director: Christina Crowder
Outright: up to $50,000.00

To support: A series of planning meetings to consider how to approach the technical challenges of developing a digital resource on klezmer music that will incorporate multilingual oral histories of klezmer musicians along with written scores.

Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA)

Sunset Over Sunset: Exploring the Street-Level View of Postwar Urban Redevelopment Using Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles Photography
Project Directors: Brian D. Goldstein (Swarthmore College), Francesca Ammon (University of Pennsylvania), and Garrett Nelson (Boston Public Library)
Outright: up to $85,939.00

To support: The creation of computational methods to stitch together large collections of photographs and to then layer in historical data to allow for new insights about rapid postwar urban change and development.

Mangalam Centers (Berkeley, CA)

Computing the Dharma: a natural language processing infrastructure to explore word meanings in Buddhist Sanskrit literature
Project Director: Ligeia Lugli
Outright: up to $97,384.00

To support: Research into the application of natural language processing techniques to study the evolution of language in Buddhist Sanskrit texts.

Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA)

Philosophical Thought Experiments in Virtual Reality
Project Directors: Andrew Kissel (Old Dominion University), Krzysztof Rechowicz (Old Dominion University), and John Shull (Old Dominion University)
Outright: up to $100,000.00

To support: The development and testing of virtual reality-based philosophical thought experiments for both classroom teaching and research.

Washington State University (Pullman, WA)

Mukurtu Hubs: Sustaining and Empowering Community Digital Stewardship with Native American and Native Alaskan Communities
Project Director: Kimberly Christen
Outright: up to $324,996.00

To support: Technical improvements to the Mukurtu Content Management System and the addition of two additional community hubs for Native American and Native Alaskan communities located in southern California and Alaska.


These awards represent partnerships among institutions based in the United States and the United Kingdom. Amounts listed below are for the NEH portion of each collaborative award; the UK partners will be receiving funding through the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council.

University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

Machines Reading Maps: Finding and Understanding Text on Maps
Project Directors: Deborah Ann Holmes-Wong and Yao-Yi Chiang
Outright: up to $149,650.00

To Support: The development of a workflow that would use advanced machine learning and annotation tools to extract and annotate text on maps across large historic map collections. The UK partner is The Alan Turing Institute.

University of Illinois (Champaign, IL)

New Directions in Digital Jazz Studies: Music Information Retrieval and AI Support for Jazz Scholarship in Digital Archives
Project Directors: Gabriel P. Solis (University of Illinois) and Adriana Cuervo (Rutgers University)
Outright: up to $149,031.00

To support: The development of artificial intelligence and music information retrieval tools and archival workflows to enhance access to archival jazz collections, including those held by the US Institute of Jazz Studies and the Scottish Jazz Archive. The UK partner is City, University of London.

AEOLIAN (Artificial Intelligence for Cultural Organisations) 
Project Director: Glen Worthey 
Outright: up to $49,820.00 

To support: A series of meetings and case studies that will bring together a team of experts to develop new approaches to improving access to and use of digital archives that are currently private. The UK partner is Loughborough University. 

Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)

Digital approaches to the capture and analysis of watermarks using the manuscripts of Isaac Newton as a test case
Project Directors: William R. Newman (Indiana University), Joel Klein (Huntington Library), and James R. Voelkel (Science History Institute)
Outright: up to $149,785.00

To support: A research project on identifying and analyzing watermarks in digitized collections using watermarks found in Isaac Newton’s manuscripts as a case study. The UK partner is the University of Cambridge.

Southern University at New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)

3 by 3: Modelling New Digital Leadership in Museums
Project Director: Haitham Eid
Outright: up to $149,887.00

To support: A collaborative research project on digital adoption and transformation in museums that will also produce professional development resources on digital leadership for the cultural heritage field. The UK partner is the University of Leicester.

American Numismatic Society (New York,  NY)

OXUS-INDUS: A Linked Open Data Resource for Research in Central and South Asian Coinages
Project Directors: Peter van Alfen (American Numismatic Society) and Ethan Gruber (American Numismatic Society)
Outright: up to $150,000.00

To support: Applying linked open data (LOD) approaches to creating a tool for better studying and understanding of the Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek coinage of Central and South Asia (c. 250 BCE to the beginning of the first century CE). The UK partner is Oxford University.

Hispanic Society of America (New York, NY)

From Lima to Canton and Beyond: An AI-aided heritage materials research platform for studying globalisation through art
Project Director: Marcus Burke
Outright: up to $149,785.00

To support: Applying and refining spectral imaging methods to determine the geographic origins of cultural heritage materials, with a broader goal of illuminating historic patterns of global trade and cultural exchange. The UK partner is Nottingham Trent University.

University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX)

Unlocking the Colonial Archive: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Indigenous and Spanish American Historical Collections
Project Director: Kelly McDonough
Outright: up to $149,915.00

To support: The transformation of Indigenous and Spanish colonial archives into readable and accessible data using artificial intelligence technologies, including transcribed texts, linked information, and automated search and analysis of pictorial elements. The UK partner is Lancaster University.