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NEH Challenge Grant: A Digital Humanities Center

Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities Center

SJSU's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and the College of Humanities and Arts are excited to bring a Digital Humanities Center to the university with the support of a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the next five years, SJSU King Library and H&A will work together to build the center as we raise the matching funds for the project.

We hope to share the progress of our matching campaign here. Matching funds raised will not only bring us closer to making the Digital Humanities Center a reality at SJSU but will also support the amazing work in digital humanities occurring across campus (see Faculty Research).

What is digital humanities? We have provided a "working" definition as well as resources to explore (see What is Digital Humanities? and Digital Humanities Resources).

Most importantly, along with progress on our matching campaign, we will share updates on the Digital Humanities Center as work on the center develops (see Digital Humanities Center Updates).

We hope you will join us as we take this incredible journey to bring a Digital Humanities Center to SJSU!

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What is Digital Humanities?

Imagine being able to view illuminated medieval manuscripts on your computer, with Latin translations right alongside and x-ray images of layers of inks, papers, and even cat paws walking across the page? Imagine viewing a digital archive with a visualization of pre-Hispanic archaeological sites in 3-D?  Imagine analyzing a million books and periodicals to assess the development of women’s rights. Imagine tracking African Americans’ journeys during the 19th-century Great Migration as the U.S. population shifted. Imagine discovering with the help of a neurologist that Agatha Christie suffered from dementia by analyzing the linguistic shifts in her later novels. Imagine mapping Native American languages and land management strategies to enhance current public policy about wildfire management. 

You are in the world of the digital humanities, where the values of the humanities meet digital methods from fields such as software design, gaming, and mapping, leading to the implementation of digital humanities values: openness, experimentation, collaboration, connectedness, and diversity (Spiro; Honn).

This description of digital humanities (DH) promotes the “application of digital resources and methods to humanistic inquiry” (Waters). It is the use of “technological tools to do work of the kind that gets done in the humanities, asking the kinds of questions, whether they’re historical or literary,... [and] using computational tools that do the processing of the data and that assist the researcher in the findings that come out of that work” (Fitzpatrick).   

“By producing and using new applications and techniques, DH makes new kinds of teaching and research possible, while at the same time studying and critiquing how these impact cultural heritage and digital culture. Thus, a distinctive feature of DH is its cultivation of a two-way relationship between the humanities and the digital: the field both employs technology in the pursuit of humanities research and subjects technology to humanistic questioning and interrogation, often simultaneously” (Terras; Wikipedia).

It is not simply the humanities done with computers, nor is it computer science performed on topics of interest to the humanities” (Vartner, Hswe). Digital humanities is a more comprehensive and encompassing approach to studying the humanities. Researchers in all disciplines are drawing upon technology such as infographics, data visualization and virtual reality among others to make their work more dynamic and engaging (Vartner; Hswe). 

Another description of digital humanities covers a “more traditional humanities-oriented question[ing] about the computing technologies that we’re working with” (Fitzpatrick). Recent and ongoing debates about the pervasive role of technology in our everyday lives through social media, AI and e-commerce are illustrative examples.  As technology becomes more and more embedded in our lives, it has led to concerns over privacy, misinformation, and safety; thus, subjecting the “digital” to a humanistic critique. 

San José State University’s Deep Humanities and the Arts Initiative is an approach following this description of digital humanities. Launched in spring 2018, the initiative asks, “Is technology the answer to humanity’s problems or a threat to humanity as we know it?” As it posits this question, it calls for “an urgent need to reinvent the humanities & arts, redefine their relationship to STEM, and revitalize their role in our lives” (Krishnaswamy). Many of the panel papers presented at the Deep Humanities and Arts Initiative launch addressed the call for this reinvention of the humanities and arts and its relationship to STEM. 

Realistically, any form of teaching in the classroom today involves technology (especially true during this past year of remote learning) and is more capaciously identified as digital pedagogy (Harris). What does teaching look like when students learn “to think and work together in new ways, and to deepen their understanding of the academic subjects under consideration, through the use of such tools, platforms, and methods” to engage them in investigations using playfulness, openness, identity, agency, practice, and especially collaboration (Davis; Gold; Harris).

Faculty across campus are exploring ways to integrate digital pedagogy into their classrooms using a variety of technologically enhanced strategies, such as mapping a novel, using recordings to learn different languages, creating memes about climate change, and visualizing data in the study of earthquakes, traffic patterns, and COVID-19 vaccinations. A key resource in this area is the Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models and Experiments, a curated collection of reusable resources for teaching and research. This peer-reviewed, open access guide offers assignments, syllabi, rubrics, articles and more — all  searchable by keywords — to help educators integrate all types of tech into the classroom.

At San José State University, digital humanities pedagogy invites students to co-create knowledge through project-based classes: “By enabling communication across communities and networks, by creating platforms that amplify the voices of those most in need of being heard, by pursuing projects that perform the work of recovery and resistance, and by undertaking research that intervenes in the areas of data surveillance and privacy, the ‘artist-theorists, programming humanists, activist-scholars, theoretical archivists, [and] critical race coders’ whom Tara McPherson, writing in the first volume of Debates in the Digital Humanities, called into being, have now been united with their task” (Gold; Klein). Promoting, investigating, discovering the resonance of underrepresented voices doesn’t mean teaching a digital humanities course, though — experimentation and play are already key components of most SJSU curricula (Davis; Harris). 

As an area of study, digital humanities is ever shifting and evolving, with students, faculty, and the community producing projects that underscore what makes the humanities so exciting, while allowing all to learn a number of new methods.  The educational possibilities are unlimited, for those who create these projects as well as for those who can benefit from them!  

Explore the world of the digital humanities with us!

Davis, Rebecca Frost and Katherine D. Harris. “Why (in the World) Teach Digital Humanities at a Teaching-Intensive Institution?” Debates in Digital Humanities Pedagogy. Eds. Brian Croxall and Diane Jakacki. U Minnesota Press. [forthcoming]

Davis, Rebecca Frost, Matthew K. Gold, and Katherine D. Harris. “Curating Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities.” Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities. Eds. Katherine D. Harris, Rebecca Frost Davis, Matthew K. Gold, and Jentery Sayers. Modern Language Association, 2020. Open Access.

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. “Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Public Digital Humanities.”Reframing Digital Humanities: Conversations with Digital Humanists. Pressbook, October 2020,

Gold, Matthew K. and Lauren F. Klein. “Introduction: A DH that Matters.” Debates in the Digital Humanities. U of Minnesota Press, 2019.

Harris, Katherine D. “Play, Collaborate, Break, Build, Share: ‘Screwing Around’ in Digital Pedagogy.” 3:3 (Fall 2013) Polymath Special Edition on “Doing Digital Pedagogy at a Non-R1”

Honn, Josh. "A Guide to Digital Humanities: Values Methods". Northwestern University Library. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.

Krishnaswamy, Revathi. “What is Deep Humanities?”

Spiro, Lisa. “‘This Is Why We Fight’: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities.” Debates in the Digital Humanities. Ed. Matthew K. Gold. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Terras, Melissa (December 2011). "Quantifying Digital Humanities" (PDF). UCL Centre for Digital Humanities

Vartner, Stewart and Patricia Hswe. “Special Report: Digital Humanities in Libraries.” American Libraries. 4 Jan 2016,

Waters, Donald J.. “An Overview of the Digital Humanities.” Research Library Issues: A Report from ARL, CNI, and SPARC, no. 284 (2013): 3-11.


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Faculty Research

View all faculty research projects

No Projects Yet

There are currently no submitted projects in these categories. Submit yours to be listed!

Attribution & Stylometry
Bibliographic Analysis
Concordance & Indexing
Copyright, Licensing, & Permissions
Data Publishing
Digital Libraries
Digital Research Infrastructures
Eco-criticism and the Environment
Embodied, Wearable, and Haptic Technologies
Experimental Humanities
Information Retrieval & Querying
Media Archeology
image of a tangram puzzle
Minimal Computing
Mixed Media Analysis
Mobile Applications
Natural Language Processing
Network Analysis
OCR and Handwriting Analysis
Open Access Methods
Physical Computing
Project Design Management
Rhetorical Analysis
Speech Processing
Systems & Information Architecture
Text Encoding & Markup
Text Mining

For questions about Faculty Research in Digital Humanities, please contact Dr. Katherine D. Harris, Director of Public Programming. For faculty, to add your digitally inflected or technologically-enhanced research or pedagogical project to this page, please fill out this Google form


We are grateful to Reviews in Digital Humanities editors Dr. Jennifer Guiliano and Dr. Roopika Risam for their work in creating an ontology of Digital Humanities projects. Using their generous ontology, we have categorized the vast array of SJSU's faculty research. We are also grateful to Dr. Risam for generously allowing us to borrow her design for this page. 

Digital Humanities Center Updates

March 3, 2022 Update

Digital Humanities Research Institute

SJSU's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is excited to host the very first Digital Humanities Research Institute (DHRI) in June 2022. In collaboration with San Diego State University’s Digital Humanities Center and SJSU’s College of Humanities and Arts, the DHRI is an immersive Digital Humanities (DH) program that focuses on building communities of practice (CoP) around digital humanities to support the growing research, teaching, and scholarship in this field at the different California State University (CSU) campuses and in the communities they serve. The DH program includes a two-day virtual symposium followed by a series of methods-based workshops and one-on-one consultations open to faculty and students from SJSU and across the CSU system.

Leading the DHRI is Christina Mune, Associate Dean of SJSU King Library, and Pamela Lach, Director of SDSU’s Digital Humanities Center. Shares Christina, ”SJSU King Library looks forward to working with SDSU to build a thriving digital humanities community between our two campuses and eventually throughout the California State University system.” Dr. Katherine Harris, Director of Public Programming the College of H&A, serves as an important planning partner and faculty liaison to the DHRI.

The DHRI offers SJSU King Library a special opportunity to strengthen DH at SJSU as we work to build the Digital Humanities Center (DHC) in the library over the next four years with the support of the NEH Challenge Grant. We look forward to the collaborations and partnerships the DHRI will bring among our SJSU campus partners as well as our colleagues at SDSU and the other CSU campuses.

For more information about the Summer 2022 Digital Humanities Research Institute, please contact Christina Mune, Associate Dean, at


January 31, 2022 Update

Digital Humanities at SJSU is gaining momentum with forward-thinking initiatives like the Digital Humanities Center, Deep Humanities and Arts, Humanities & Arts in San José, and countless faculty research projects. As a part of our work to bring continuity to these different initiatives across campus, the SJSU King Library Marketing Team and the College of Humanities & Arts (H&A) Marketing and Communications worked together to create a digital humanities logo.

We are excited to present the DH logo, a versatile and dynamic logo that articulates what digital humanities means to SJSU and beyond and communicates future work in this area.


Digital Humanities @ SJSU



The SJSU King Library and H&A Marketing Teams worked closely with visual communications and design team members of SJSU Strategic Communications and Marketing (SCM), who provided valuable contributions and consultation for the creation of the DH logo.


The SJSU King Library and H&A Marketing Teams led the ideation process with three important questions:

  1. What does digital humanities mean?
  2. How will it grow and evolve at SJSU?
  3. How can we visually represent a broad and evolving discipline, while keeping the San José State University brand at its core?

To address these questions, each team developed designs and discussed the best ways to meet the goals presented. Visual representations of artificial intelligence, coding, robotics, circuit boards, algorithms, and human traits were all illustrated and proposed.

“It was a true collaboration and great to see both teams, especially the student assistants, involved in bouncing ideas back and forth to create a logo we all can be proud of,” observed Lesley Seacrist, project and communication manager of the SJSU King Library.


The teams continued the discussion and design process while inviting the SJSU SCM visual communications and design team to propose their own designs. Ultimately, through many rounds of collaboration and modifications, the team created a pitch deck of three potential designs to show the leadership teams.

DHC alternate logos

However, one design stood out from the rest early in the creation process. A simple interconnection of the letters “D” and “H” symbolizing the connection between the digital and human. The beveled squares are reminiscent of pixels on a screen, and a clean, modern font complements the three-layered grid. Its versatile design can transform into many iterations both in color and program.

“It’s our hope that this design can serve as a solid foundation and point of inspiration for our faculty, staff, students, and community to build upon as we explore the world of Digital Humanities.” shared Derick Truong, Student Intern Coordinator, College of Humanities and the Arts.

We are thrilled to present the DH logo and look forward to seeing it represent all the different work in digital humanities at SJSU.


May 1, 2021

Welcome to the future Digital Humanities Center at SJSU! 

SJSU King Library and the College of Humanities and Arts are excited to bring the Digital Humanities Center to SJSU. With a Digital Humanities Center, faculty and students will have:

  • Use of open source software, hands-on technology, and the expertise of librarians to help support the lifecycle of a project from the initial brainstorm of an idea to its implementation and expansion
  • Opportunities to collaborate with colleagues across campus on interdisciplinary projects
  • A space to explore and expand upon digital pedagogy in the classroom and beyond

We look forward to presenting updates on the center as it progresses. Updates will be shared here. Stay tuned!

Thank you for helping us
meet our Year One goal!

Fundraising money tracker

Digital Humanities Resources

Thank you for helping us
meet our Year One goal!

Fundraising money tracker