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Research Computing and the Digital Humanities

ITS and the Library recently hosted the first Digital Seminar of the academic year.  October's topic was "Research Computing and the Digital Humanities", and the seminar consisted of a panel discussion with George Morris, Director of Research Computing, and members of his team that work most closely with faculty in Arts and Humanities departments. Please join us after the jump for a conversation with George and more information about Research Computing!

GMorrisQ: What is Research Computing?

Research Computing is an ITS group dedicated to delivering infrastructure, application and consultation services to enable researchers to access, analyze, manage and present data and information related to their research. We support the entire college across all research disciplines.

Q: Who's on your team?

John Wallace (Research Systems Engineer) and Mark Boettcher (Senior Programmer and Analyst) probably work most closely with faculty in the Arts and Humanities. Jianjun Hua (Statistical Consultant) and Steve Gaughn (GIS Specialist) have also been involved in different DH projects. Richard Brittain (Research Systems Engineer), Bill Hamblen (Research Systems Engineer), and Susan Schwarz (Research Software Engineer) work most closely with faculty in the Sciences, and John Hudson (Senior Systems and Network Administrator) manages Dartmouth's high-powered computing cluster.

Q: What sorts of faculty projects does Research Computing support?

There is great diversity in the size and scope of projects we support. From big data genomic analysis to understand the relationships between genes and disease to applying sequence alignment technology for intertexuality studies in classic literature.

Q: Can you give me examples of a few projects?

Certainly! Here are a few Digital Humanities projects my team is currently working on:

Scott Sanders' (French and Italian) Multimedia in the Long Eighteenth Century project (website forthcoming). We are creating a process to perform searches for musical paratext in huge (>100,000) collections of English- and French-language texts published between 1688 and 1815. The project is already on the downhill side and expected to be fully functional later in the year, but one paper has already been published on the project and several more are expected.

My team is also working with Nicola Camerlenghi (Art History) on Mapping Rome to create GIS and visualization tools to perform 3D fly-throughs of Rome at different points in history. Maps, architecture, and artwork will be geographically and chronologically accurate. Mapping Rome currently resides in large ArcGIS database servers at the University of Oregon, and the project will move forward in collaboration with UO and Stanford researchers.

Other projects include Michelle Warren's Remix the Manuscript, Mark Williams' Media Ecology Project, and Pramit Chauduri's Classical Intertextuality and Computation. We've also begun working with Wen Xing and Hua-Yuan Li Mowry on projects involving Chinese character analysis.

 Q: What's the best way to contact Research Computing?

The simplest way to contact us to write an email to We're always available to consult with faculty on their computational needs, so please send us an email!

The Digital Seminar occurs during the third week of the month in the Arts and Humanities Resource Center (201 Bartlett Hall) and features discussion and presentations from faculty and staff on topics in digital approaches to research and teaching. Past topics have included augmented reality, teaching with social media, and virtual exhibitions.

Please send an email to Scott Millspaugh if you'd like to receive notifications about upcoming Digital Humanities events at Dartmouth!

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