Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO) wins NEH Grant


(The new Digital Humanities Observatory in Dublin has some innovative projects. This new ‘VRE’ (Virtual Research Environment) collaborative-style of project may be of interest to viewers).

A collaborative project between the Digital Humanities Observatory, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), and Indiana University Bloomington has been selected to receive a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Resources program (research and development focus). The project, Text-Image Linking Environment (TILE) will over two years develop a new web-based, modular, collaborative image markup tool for both manual and semi-automated linking between encoded text and image of text, and image annotation. Dot Porter, DHO’s Metadata Manager, will lead the team at the DHO.

TILE will be based primarily on the Ajax XML Encoder (AXE) developed
by project co-PI Douglas Reside (MITH; During the course of this project AXE will be extended to allow the following:

*Semi-automated creation of links between transcriptions and images of the materials from which the transcriptions were made. Using a form of optical character recognition, our software will recognize words in a page image and link them to a pre-existing textual transcription. These links can then be checked, and if need be adjusted, by a human.

* Annotation of any area of an image selected by the user with a controlled vocabulary (for example, the tool can be adjusted to allow only the annotations “damaged” or “illegible”).

* Application of editorial annotations to any area of an image.

* Support linking for non-horizontal, non-rectangular areas of source

* Creation of links between different, non-contiguous areas of primary
source images. For example:
* captions and illustrations;
* illustrations and textual descriptions;
* analogous texts across different manuscripts

The project is unusual in digital humanities tools development in that
it is being designed from the start to support a wide variety of use cases. Several projects from the University of Indiana Bloomington, The University of Oregon and Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies are initial testbeds. In the second year of the project, the DHO will be seeking additional projects from the HSIS community to test the usability and functionality of the software; there will also be a small amount of funding available. Questions about the project should be directed to Dot Porter at

Susan Schreibman, PhD
Digital Humanities Observatory
Pembroke House
28-32 Upper Pembroke Street
Dublin 2, Ireland


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