MLA Workshop: Getting Started in Digital Humanities with DHCommons

Digital methodologies and new media are changing the landscape of research and teaching in modern languages and literatures. Scholars can now computationally analyze entire corpora of texts or preserve and share materials through digital archives. Students can engage in authentic applied research linking text to place, or study Shakespeare in a virtual Globe Theater. In the face of all the digital humanities buzz--from the MLA to the New York Times to Twitter--where can scholars interested in the field turn to get started? This three-hour preconvention workshop welcomes language and literature scholars who wish to learn about, start, or join digital scholarly projects for research and/or teaching. Representatives of major digital humanities projects and initiatives will share their expertise on project design, available resources and opportunities, lead small-group training sessions on technologies and skills to help participants get started, and be available for follow-up one-on-one consultations later in the day. Experts will come from projects such as the Walt Whitman Archive, Blake Archive, Romantic Circles, Civil War Washington, NINES, 18th Connect, centerNet, the History Engine, Hypercities, Spatial Humanities, and THATCamp. Participants will leave with a plan for getting started in the digital humanities and a resource for connecting to scholars and projects in their disciplines.

When and where: This workshop will be held 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. on the first day of the MLA Convention in Seattle (Thursday, January 5th, 2012). Panelists will hold one-on-one counseling sessions with participants after the workshop. Accepted participants will be required to register for the MLA Convention to attend.

Sponsors: The workshop is co-sponsored by the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) and the Texas A&M Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture.

Organizers: Rebecca Davis (NITLE), Lisa Spiro (NITLE), Laura Mandell (Texas A&M University), Ryan Cordell (St. Norbert College), and Quinn Dombrowski (University of Chicago)

The workshop will serve as the launch of the Digital Humanities Commons (DHCommons), a new registry designed to match innovative scholars with opportunities for collaboration and expertise, and increase the community of participants engaged with established digital projects, initiatives, and centers.

Please email questions to

Application Process

Scholars must apply in advance for the workshop by either 1) outlining a digital project they would like to undertake or 2) suggesting the type of project on which they would be interested in collaborating. This collaboration may include developing curriculum or pedagogical approaches to the use of the project. The workshop aims to help new digital humanists find exciting work; thus, applications will not require scholars to have a fully-developed project idea. Small group training sessions will be determined by the needs of accepted participants. Apply here


Review of applications will begin on September 15. The review board will consider applications and accept participants on a rolling basis until the workshop is full.
Those whose applications were received by September 15 will be notified by September 30.



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