Lauren Coats, director of LSU Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Lab and associate professor of English, was recently awarded an NEH Institutes for the Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities grant with co-principal investigator Emily McGinn, Digital Humanities Coordinator at the University of Georgia, for their project “Textual Data and Digital Texts in the Undergraduate Classroom.”
The grant funds an institute dedicated to teaching approaches to computational textual analysis and how these techniques may be incorporated into the classroom. The institute is geared to faculty, graduate students, and staff who have little or no digital humanities experience. During a one-week in-person session hosted at Mississippi State University in 2018 and a series of virtual sessions, 22 participants will explore computational and digital methods for examining texts, a primary object of study for many humanities fields. After learning new methods, participants will focus on how to incorporate these approaches in an undergraduate class, with each participant developing a sample class session, assignment, or project. LSU Libraries will host a repository with materials from the institute that will be freely and publicly available.
The digital age has opened up news ways to study humanities texts, from novels to letters to poems to digital books. Since the LSU Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) was founded in 2015, it has helped LSU staff, faculty, and student apply digital tools and methods in research and teaching. Students and faculty have investigated runaway slave ads in Louisiana newspapers, created a digital edition of a nineteenth-century literary magazine, mapped eighteenth-century Spanish land grants, built a digital archive of Shakespeare artifacts in LSU’s special collections library, and more. These projects, along with the response to the digital humanities and pedagogy workshops offered, signals that LSU faculty, staff, and students are eager to explore how computers and computational methods might be used in humanistic inquiry.