Funding research on the impact of digital scholarship and culture with a Digital Humanities Advancement Grant (DHAG)

December 6, 2021

Since the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) was founded, our grant programs have supported critical studies and research into the impact of digital technologies and the changing landscape of humanities research, teaching, publishing, and public engagement. 

This post highlights the work of some past and current awardees to encourage more teams to consider the Digital Humanities Advancement Grants (DHAG) program for funding research into critical digital humanities that lead to producing publicly available reports. These projects can examine the history, criticism, ethics, or philosophy of digital culture or technology and its impact on society, including racial, religious, and gender biases. We also encourage collaborative teams to apply to the DHAG program to design evaluative studies that investigate the practices and the impact of digital scholarship on research, pedagogy, scholarly communication, and public engagement across the humanities. Those seeking course releases to produce a monograph or edited collection might consider the Collaborative Research, Fellowships, or Summer Stipends in the Division of Research Programs.

Be sure to read the DHAG NOFO and review the resources we have created to help you and your colleagues write strong applications.

The Impact of Academic Podcasting: Emerging Technologies in the Foreign Language Classroom
Betty Rose Facer, Old Dominion University
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (2007)

The team at Old Dominion University sought to explore how podcasts might be utilized in second language classrooms. The project resulted in the production of five publications: Academic Podcasting and Mobile Assisted Language Learning Applications and Outcomes, MALL Technology: Use of Academic Podcasting in the Foreign Language Classroom,” “Academic effectiveness of podcasting: A comparative study of integrated versus supplemental use of podcasting in second language classes,” “Trends In Podcast Download Frequency Over Time, Podcast Use, and Digital Literacy in Foreign Language Courses,” and “The Impact of Academic Podcasting on Students’ Learning Outcomes,” (Handbook of Research on e-Learning Methodologies for Language Acquisition). These studies found that when instructors integrate student podcasting activities and recorded podcasts of supplemental materials into the curricula, students improved their oral and aural skills, pronunciation, vocabulary, and even their study habits.

Professionalization in Digital Humanities Centers
Tanya E. Clement, University of Maryland, College Park
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (2010)

The “Professionalization in Digital Humanities Centers” project supported a two-day workshop to generate recommendations for establishing career paths within digital humanities centers. Through this workshop, it became apparent that humanities scholars and people who collaborate on multi-faceted digital research projects had few models for describing their roles and relationships in ways that reflect the collaborative nature of their work. From discussions around this problem, the Collaborators’ Bill of Rights was born, providing a summary of recommendations for collaborating in the digital humanities.

Campus Services to Support Historians
Roger Schonfeld, Ithaka Harbors, Inc.
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (2011)

This award to Ithaka Harbors funded research into the changing research methods and practices of historians responding to increased availability of digitized collections and tools and increased adoption of digital methods.  Ithaka’s research team interviewed 14 research support professionals and 39 academic historians and graduate students, and published their findings and recommendations for history departments, libraries, archives, and technologists to support the discipline in their report,  “Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Historians. This project served as a pilot for developing the organization’s broader research program for studying additional academic disciplines.

Sustaining the Digital Humanities: Host Institution Support Beyond the Start Up Phase
Nancy Maron, Ithaka Harbors, Inc.
Digital Humanities Implementation Grant (2012)

Another Ithaka Harbors award investigated how institutions support the long-term needs of the digital humanities projects they develop. The grantees interviewed over 125 stakeholders and faculty project leaders at colleges and universities within the United States, generating three models representing different approaches to supporting digital humanities work: service, lab, and network. The project produced three widely-distributed reports: “Sustaining the Digital Humanities: Host Institution Support Beyond the Start Up Phase,” “Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources,” and “Revenue, Recession, Reliance: Revisiting the SCA/Ithaka S+R Case Studies in Sustainability.”

Encouraging digital scholarly publishing in the Humanities
Bonnie Robinson, University of North Georgia
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (2012)

The team at the University of North Georgia used their grant to explore the peer review process for publishing born-digital material in the humanities. Through surveys and a workshop involving small university presses, academic administrators, humanities faculty, and library/technology center directors, the project directors were able to make recommendations for best practices in digital publishing, including consideration of collaborative models for peer review and the use of tools, like blogs, to foster sustained scholarly conversation over the full course of the publication process. Focusing primarily on small academic presses, the resulting white paper describes the team’s findings that the current peer review process is still thought to have value, but there are also ways to introduce innovative processes that preserve the benefits of the current academic structure.

3D Printing as Humanistic Inquiry
James W. Malazita & Dean Andrew Nieusma, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (2016)

This project involved conducting a three-day “3D Making and Critique” workshop for humanities and digital humanities scholars with the goal of generating ideas about 3D-printed objects, critiquing the process of 3D-printing and “making” processes, and bringing together critical scholars and scholars who engage in “making.” Workshop participants included scholars in the fields of digital studies, science and technology studies, materials science, engineering, information science, and English. The white paper produced by the project team, entitled “3D Printing as Humanities Inquiry,” is available for viewing here. Following the workshop, the project team and workshop attendees were able to incorporate the insights they developed in the workshop into their curricular and pedagogical material.

Philosophical Thought Experiments in Virtual Reality
Andrew Kissel, John Shull, & Krzysztof Rechowichz, Old Dominion University Research Foundation
Digital Humanities Advancement Grant (2021)

Old Dominion University is currently working on a project that brings our new digital world to an age-old philosophical question. This project is taking the classic “trolley problem” thought experiment and building VR scenarios to bring the previously abstract question to a very real online audience. The project team will be testing if students respond differently when working through this morality problem in VR versus a classroom lab. The project will conclude with a symposium to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and recommendations for using VR in humanities research.