DHI @ Umass



The contemporary use of technology is having a direct impact on the work humanists do: from how they conduct research to the way they present their findings. New digital tools are constantly emerging that help scholars gather and interpret data in innovative ways. At the UMass Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI), we are working to ensure that faculty and students have access to such tools for their research and receive training in new technologies and methods as they emerge.

Funded by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Digital Humanities Initiative at the University of Massachusetts seeks to support and initiate research projects within the digital humanities broadly conceived. The Digital Humanities Initiative is composed of core HFA faculty whose research directly engages digital materials in a variety of ways, focusing on new tools to facilitate research, including those that allow scholars to pose new questions or to analyze data in ways that are impossible or cumbersome without digital tools: critical studies of digital culture and the changing nature of text, image, and sound in digital settings digital platforms for creative expression and artistic endeavors scholarly communication and the engagement of researchers with broader publics


Research is at the heart of the DHI's mission. Most scholars in the humanities do not have access to powerful computers capable of manipulating multimedia data files, nor do they often have the expertise necessary to engage in such endeavors. However, there is a strong and growing desire among faculty in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts to explore such possibilities and use them as a means to enhance their research agendas and create new, dynamic multimedia projects or manipulate large scale data sets impossible to perform with standard desktop computers. The DHI seeks to create an interest-based community that allows faculty to learn from each other, get mentoring on grant applications, and collaborate on projects.

Located in the UMass Translation Center in the basement of Herter Hall, the Digital Humanities Lab (DHL) contains necessary hardware and software to facilitate the research agendas of the DHI faculty. In addition, the Lab also serves as a venue for hosting seminars and workshops geared toward the digital humanities and provides a space for cross-disciplinary collaboration. The lab contains nine powerful multimedia computers and provides affiliated faculty with the ability to check out multimedia equipment such as video and audio recorders and still cameras. Access to the lab is granted to all affiliated members of the DHI free of charge; however, all associated faculty pursuing research that necessitates use of the Lab's resources are asked to run all grant applications through the DHI.