Shaping Humanities Data: Use, Reuse, and Paths Toward Computationally Amenable Cultural Heritage Collections

A Collections as Data organized DH2017 Pre-conference Workshop

Galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) have been building digital collections for decades. Approaches developed to provide access to these collections often emulate analog research experiences that focus on supporting single object interactions and features like virtual “page” turners. While approaches of this kind have been very valuable for some kinds of scholarship, researchers and instructors seeking to leverage computation can find it difficult to work with collections developed in this vein. One barrier to developing approaches that better support these researchers is an incomplete understanding of how humanists, among others, are using and reusing cultural heritage data - and what they may need moving forward. Collections as Data is one of a range of efforts encouraging cultural heritage organizations to develop collections and systems that are more amenable to emerging computational methods and tools. Beyond simply designing-to-fit, the movement towards computationally amenable collections provides an opportunity to reframe, enrich, and/or contextualize collections in a manner that seeks to avoid replication of long standing biases inherent in cultural heritage collection practice. In this day-long Digital Humanities 2017 pre-conference workshop, we aim to engage directly with research and pedagogical practice that draws upon digital collection use. This workshop will ultimately inform the development of recommendations that aim to support cultural heritage community efforts to make collections available as data.


We seek proposals for talks, demonstrations (of projects, collections, tools, datasets, or other work), hands-on instruction, or walk-throughs that explore approaches and issues common to computational creation and/or use, and reuse, of digital collections. Proposals for talks can be brief (10 minutes) or extended (30 minutes). Similarly, proposals for demonstrations and hands-on instruction can be brief (30 minutes) or extended (60 minutes). We encourage submissions from all members of the DH community engaged with cultural heritage collection data, whether using data, preparing and stewarding data, or designing interfaces that enable discovery and access. We are invested in developing a program that reflects the international scope of DH work.

Please submit your proposal (300 words) using the online form by May 10, 2017. Notification of acceptances will be sent out on or before June 1, 2017. The pre-conference workshop will take place August 7, 2017. For further information, or to check if your proposal will be appropriate, contact

Workshop Organizers

Thomas Padilla, University of California Santa Barbara

Sarah Potvin, Texas A&M University

Laurie Allen, University of Pennsylvania

Stewart Varner, University of Pennsylvania

Workshop Program Committee

Harriett Green, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Inna Kizhner, Siberian Federal University

Alberto Martinez, Colegio de México

Ian Milligan, University of Waterloo

Gimena Del Rio Riande, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)- University of Buenos Aires

Laurent Romary, Inria & DARIAH

Henriette Roued-Cunliffe, University of Copenhagen

Melissa Terras, University College London