Digital Humanities Summer School

The Digital Humanities Observatory hosted its inaugural Digital Humanities Summer School from 1-5 July 2008 at Academy House.

Summer School

The Summer School brought together over 40 researchers, programmers, and librarians from across the island for five days of study, discussion, and reflection on digital humanities issues. The week included instruction in project management and intensive workshops on text encoding and digital imaging. Attendees also participated in two master classes led by John Unsworth (Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) and Willard McCarty (Professor of Humanities Computing at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London, as well as a seminar by Doug Oard, (Associate Dean for Research at the College of Information Studies of the University of Maryland, College Park).

Feedback from the summer school has been extremely positive and is the first of the many outreach and education programs that will be offered by the DHO in the next three years. For full programme details see the Events Page.

Appointment of Dot Porter

Dot Porter

The DHO is pleased to announce the appointment of Dot Porter as Metadata Manager. Dot joins us from the University of Kentucky, where she currently serves as Program Coordinator for the Collaboratory for Research in Computing for Humanities at the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments. Dot has worked on several digital editing projects including the Electronic Boethius (dir. Kevin Kiernan), the Electronic Aelfric (dir. Aaron Kleist) and the Pembroke 25 Project (dir. Paul Szarmach), and has provided metadata development support for the Homer Multitext Project (dir. Casey Due and Mary Ebbott) and text encoding support for several projects directed by faculty at the University of Kentucky. Dot has served on the Technical Council of the Text Encoding Initiative and is currently the Executive Secretary of the Association for Computing and the Humanities, the Chair of the Medieval Academy of America's Committee on Electronic Resources, and serves on the Executive Board of the Digital Medievalist.

Dot holds an MA in Medieval Studies from Western Michigan University and an MS in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Appointment of Don Gourley

Don Gourley

The DHO is pleased to announce the appointment of Don Gourley as Information Technology Manager. Don joins the Academy from the Washington Research Library Consortium, a resource-sharing federation of universities in the Washington, D.C. area, where he is the Director of Information Technology.

Don has managed a range of technical projects in both the public and private sectors. He has served as the lead architect for a number of Web-based library information systems, such as a personalized portal for library patrons, an intra-consortium borrowing and document delivery service, and a repository for managing and preserving digital collections.

Prior to WRLC, Don managed software projects and IT services at the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Maryland, and before that worked as a software design engineer with Hewlett-Packard. Don holds degrees from the University of Virginia (BA in Mathematics) and University of Colorado (MS in Computer Science). He has published several articles in the area of digital libraries and presented on a variety of subjects including information retrieval, digital library services, and open source software. Don has also spent many years teaching computer science at the undergraduate level.

Appointment of Róisín Clarke

The DHO is delighted to announce the appointment of Róisín Clarke as Digital Humanities Observatory Programme Coordinator. R�is�n joins us from St. Vincent�s Healthcare Group where she supported the functions of the Board of Directors as Executive Assistant and coordinated the administrative requirements of the extensive clinical services team. She has over 10 years experience in administration management both in Ireland and overseas

Appointment of Shawn Day, Digital Humanities Specialist

Shawn Day

The DHO is delighted to announce the appointment of Shawn Day as a Digital Humanities Specialist. Shawn joins us from the History Department at McMaster University (Canada) where he is completing a PhD specializing in the social and economic circumstances of the nineteenth century retail liquor trade. He applies digital, spatial and social network analysis to the study of the relationships between credit, respectability, and maintaining order in the Victorian community. His most recent articles have examined the social dimensions of the Victorian public mental hospital. Using GIS and statistical modeling tools, these illuminate the significant rural component of the urban asylum and raises new questions surrounding the foreign-born who find themselves confined to the institution.

Shawn is involved in a number of successful and innovative digital humanities projects throughout Canada. Most recently he has worked with large manuscript census databases in the 1871/1891 census project (University of Guelph). He is a team member of the national TAPoR text analysis portal project and the Network for Canadian History and the Environment (NiCHE). .

Prior to undertaking the PhD, Shawn spent a number of years in the private technology sector where he founded a number of businesses and served in marketing, research and development management roles.

Ms Siobhán Fitzpatrick and Dr Anthony Harvey Discuss ADR Projects on RTÉ Raidio na Gaeltachta

Ms Siobhán Fitzpatrick and Dr Anthony Harvey recently appeared on the Irish language educational development programme Céim ar Chéim, broadcast on RTÉ Raidio na Gaeltachta, to discuss their respective ADR projects. To hear the interview in full go to:

Appointment of DHO Director

Susan SchreibmanThe Royal Irish Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Susan Schreibman as the Director of the Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO). Dr Schreibman, one of the foremost authorities in the field of digital humanities, will join the Academy from the University of Maryland, where she is currently Assistant Dean and Head of Digital Collections and Research. She has also previously served as Assistant Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (2001-04) and Professor of Professional and Technical Communication at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (2000-01). 

A distinguished and highly respected scholar, Dr Schreibman has an MA from the University of Pennsylvania in English and Creative Writing and an MA in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama from University College Dublin (UCD). In 1997 she received her PhD from UCD for her doctoral thesis entitled: ‘The Thomas MacGreevy Chronology: A Documentary Life, 1855-1934.’ She was also the holder of a prestigious Newman Postdoctoral Fellowship (1997-2000), during which time she was the project manager of the Computer Science English Initiative (CoSEI). She is the editor of Collected Poems of Thomas MacGreevy: An Annotated Edition (1991) and co-editor of A Blackwell Companion to Digital Humanities (2004) and A Companion to Digital Literary Studies (2007). She is also the series co-editor of Topics in the Digital Humanities, which is published by the University of Illinois Press,and was the scriptwriter for Thomas MacGreevy: Kerry Writer, a documentary which aired on RTÉ television in June 1999.

In many respects, Dr Schreibman has been a pioneer in the field of digital humanities, spearheading many significant initiatives throughout her career. She is the principle developer of The Versioning Machine (, a sophisticated software tool for displaying and comparing multiple versions of text according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines. As a tool for textual editors, The Versioning Machine takes advantage of the electronic publication of texts and allows editors to immediately see the consequences of their editorial decisions. In 1999, she was the founding editor and principle developer of Irish Resources in the Humanities (, an innovative gateway to sites on the World Wide Web that contain substantial content in the various disciplines of the humanities in the area of Irish Studies. She is also the founding editor and project manager of The Thomas MacGreevy Archive (, which is a long-term inter-disciplinary research project that explores the life, writings and relationships of the Irish poet and critic, Thomas MacGreevy (1893-1967). Dr Schreibman currently sits on the Board of the Text Encoding Consortium, the Executive of the Association of Computers in the Humanities, and Modern Language Association’s Committee on Information Technology.


RIA awarded €3.5 million in PRTLI Cycle 4 national programme in Digital Humanities

RIA awarded 3.5 million in PRTLI Cycle ImageThe Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, announced last August a grant to the Academy of c. €3.5 million for the three-year project Humanities Serving Irish Society

The Royal Irish Academy is designated as lead institution in a major national research programme, involving six of the seven universities and two ITs.  The centrepiece of the HSIS collaboration will be the establishment of the Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO) in the Academy. The DHO will be a sophisticated web-based humanities resource, designed and managed by the Academy, which will store, preserve and provide access to the increasingly complex range of e-resources now being created in the humanities.

Welcoming the announcement the President, Professor Jim Slevin, said that 'this prestigious project, with total funding of €28 million for all the partners, is the first major funding for a national infrastructural initiative in the Humanities and will have a very direct impact on the development of research and teaching resources over the next three years. It is a very significant gesture of support for a community which has been somewhat left behind in the roll-out of national funding for science and technology.'