2014 DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows Announced

The Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative, the Digital Innovation Lab and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities are pleased to announce the 2014 recipients of the DIL/IAH Faculty Fellowship in Digital Humanities:  Lucia Binotti, Professor of Spanish, and Anne MacNeil, Associate Professor of Music.

Part of the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative, the DIL/IAH Faculty Fellowship allows outstanding faculty at all ranks to explore the possibilities of digital humanities for extending their research, teaching, and engagement with audiences beyond the university. These fellowships encourage research at the intersection of traditional and engaged scholarship, the effective use of digital technologies in research and teaching, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Binotti and MacNeil will work with the Digital Innovation Lab to create and launch their own digital humanities projects by December 2014. The fellowship provides $15,000 in project funds, as well as a course release in the fall semester, and in-kind project management and technical development support from the Digital Innovation Lab.

Lucia Binotti: How Do You Say It?

Lucia BinottiA Professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Lucia Binotti holds a PhD in Hispanic Renaissance Languages from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She earned her M.A. in Romance Philology from the Università degli Studi (Pisa).

Binotti’s research crosses the borders between literary criticism and cultural history. Her work focuses on Renaissance material and cultural history, and on the mechanisms that construct linguistic and cultural identity. She has worked on linguistic theories on the origin and development of the vernaculars, on the establishment of historiography as a discipline, and on the strategies that were used to synthesize the civic values of the Renaissance into the ideological tenets of the Spanish Empire. Her new book project analyzes the discourses and rituals that constituted illicit, transgressive sexuality among early modern Spanish elites.

Binotti comes to the digital humanities through her collaboration on a previous project, Gnovis: Flowing through the Galaxy of Knowledge, which was awarded a NEH Digital Startup Grant in 2011. Gnovis was envisioned as a navigation engine that would allow users to visualize semantic relationships between entities by diffusing traditional and rigidly enforced boundaries among humanities disciplines, allowing the user to visualize connections between subjects and across disciplines that would otherwise not be immediately apparent. Binotti was an early adopter of DH Press, testing it in her Honors Study Abroad in Rome last year, and she plans to use it again this summer.

Binotti’s fellowship project, How Do You Say It?, is an interdisciplinary and community service oriented project, in collaboration with Professor Cynthia Rizo of the School of Social Work at UNC. The project aims to deploy DH Press to crowd source, layer, map and visualize information about varieties of the Spanish language used to address Latino/a audiences when discussing the prevention of intimate partner violence. The project’s ultimate goal is to assess whether the choice of different varieties of Spanish targeted more specifically to a local sub-group of the larger Latino/a community might increase the success and effectiveness of textual literature (brochures, signs, advertisements) as well as spoken interactions (from support services, doctors, social workers, etc.) in preventing and educating about domestic violence. As Binotti explains, “The project’s results will have direct impact on the development of culturally appropriate interventions for this vulnerable population of survivors.”

Anne MacNeil: POPP: Parsing Ottaviano Petrucci’s Prints

Anne MacNeilAn Associate Professor in the Department of Music, Anne MacNeil holds a PhD in the History and Theory of Music from the University of Chicago. She earned an MA in Music History from the Eastman School of Music and a BMus from Ithaca College.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MacNeil taught at Northwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin. Her areas of specialization include music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, music and spectacle, commedia dell’arte, opera, performance studies and historiography. Her current research encompasses the use of boats, barges, and waterways as venues for music performance and as modes of travel, especially for noble women, to entertainments in and around Renaissance Mantua; early-modern laments; operatic settings of tales of the Trojan Wars; and the intersections of music, ceremony, and biography in the lives of Margherita Farnese and Eleonora de’ Medici.

MacNeil’s fellowship project grows out of her work on IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive. This continually evolving project is an interactive, interdisciplinary research and learning environment for scholars, students, educators, and the general public around the world. Taking as its inspiration and focus one of the most influential figures of the Italian Renaissance, Isabella d’Este (1474-1539), IDEA offers new ways to explore the history and culture of early modern Europe. IDEA’s primary materials are Isabella’s letters, music, and art collections, as they evolved during her reign as the marchesa of Mantua. These resources map a world where politics, art, music, family life, business, and social relations intertwined, prior to the modern separation of many of these concerns into separate spheres.

MacNeil’s fellowship project, POPP: Parsing Ottaviano Petrucci’s Prints, is the first music project for the IDEA environment. As MacNeil wrote in her proposal, in the typical transcription of Renaissance music, something is often lost, since modern music notation “imposes a uniformity of spacing, metric accents, and text underlay that are foreign to early modern music.” With this project, MacNeil aims to “develop a digital program for working with sixteenth-century printed music that bypasses transcription entirely and thereby preserves the metric quality and independence of parts that characterize this music in its original sources.”  She believes this will lead to a deeper understanding of the compositional techniques, theories, character, and practices of Renaissance music. Additionally, this will provide insight into the interactions between emerging print technologies and humanistic conceptions of music and music-making in early modern Europe.

MacNeil will work with the Image and Spatial Data Analysis Division of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Together, and in collaboration with the Digital Innovation Lab, they will design a prototype tool to engage with the metric structures of Renaissance music; to reveal patterns of musical gestures and suggestions of performance practices that are obscured by modern notation; and to apply, by automated process, heuristics developed from contemporary music theory treatises to the analysis of scores created by Ottaviano Petrucci, the first music printer. This tool will allow students and scholars to manipulate Petrucci’s scores visually in order to see and hear interactions among the parts, to explore differences between modal and tonal behaviors in the music, and to see analytical concepts derived from contemporary music theorists in action. This project will benefit a wide audience, including undergraduate and graduate students, music historians and theorists, and non-specialists in diverse humanistic fields.

MacNeil was also recently awarded an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship for Mapping Secrets, another project connected to IDEA. Mapping Secrets will develop a tool for mapping networks of secretarial practices and administrative recordkeeping in the act of letter writing, using the notes, drafts, copies, and letters from the archive of Isabella d’Este. MacNeil begins this fellowship January 2015.

DIL Collaborates in Development of Loray Mill Digital Archive and History Center

"Firestone Cotton Mills, Gastonia, N.C." n North Carolina Postcard Collection (P052), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

“Firestone Cotton Mills, Gastonia, N.C.” in North Carolina Postcard Collection (P052), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

The Digital Innovation Lab is partnering with the Gaston County Museum of Art & History and the Gaston County Public Library to help develop a public history center and digital archive for the Loray Mill Redevelopment Project in Gastonia, N.C. The mill was once the largest textile mill in the South, and was the site of Gastonia’s bloody 1929 labor strike. Firestone took over the mill in the 1930s, where the company manufactured tire cord until 1993.

Efforts to redevelop the 600,000-square-foot, 110-year-old building began in April 2013 and are expected to be completed this summer. The redeveloped space will be mixed-use, with commercial and event space as well as residential space.

The developers have set aside prominent space for the creation of a history center. The DIL is already hard at work creating a DH Press project that maps the residents of the 1920 Mill Village. Learn more about what the DIL is doing.

DIL’s Lebanese Migration Project Opens at Museum of History

Mapping Early NC Lebanese HouseholdsThe Digital Innovation Lab has created a new project which opens February 22 at the North Carolina Museum of History as part of the “Cedars in the Pines – The Lebanese in North Carolina: 130 Years of History” exhibit. Mapping Early NC Lebanese Households uses DH Press to visualize Lebanese households in select North Carolina cities from 1900 to 1930, allowing visitors to explore the geography of Lebanese communities and learn more about Lebanese immigrants, their families, and others — such as boarders — with whom they lived. Additional features — including Household Spotlights — delve deeper into the stories of particular families, providing narratives of their experiences as immigrants in North Carolina in the early twentieth century.

Mapping Early NC Lebanese Households was created in collaboration with the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies at North Carolina State University and RENCI. It is both a website and an interactive digital component of the “Cedar in the Pines” exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History. The exhibit will from from February 22, 2014 through August 31, 2014.

Special thanks to everyone who made this possible, especially:
Stephanie Barnwell, Project Manager
Joe Hope (RENCI), Web Developer
Michael Newton, DH Press Lead Developer
And all of our undergraduate and graduate practicum students who have contributed to the project over the years.

Check out the digital project |  Learn more about the exhibit

Postscript: The project team was on hand for the Opening Reception on Friday, February 21. We had the opportunity to talk to members of the Lebanese-American community, guide them through the project, and help them find their ancestors among the many maps in our project. It was an incredible honor to be included in the evening, and we learned a lot about how to make the project even better.


DH Press Recognized in the 2013 DH Awards

I am thrilled to announce that DH Press came in as Second Runner Up in the “Best DH Tool or Suite of Tools” category for the 2013 Digital Humanities Awards. 511 votes were cast in our favor. This public recognition reflects the hard work and dedication of the entire DH Press Team, past and present, without whom the we would not have gotten this far.

DH Press Project Team
Project Manager: Pam Lach
Developers: Joe Hope (RENCI), Michael Newton (DIL/CDHI)
Current Project Team: Stephanie Barnwell
Past Members of Project Team: Jade Davis, Bryan Gaston, Chien-Yi Hou, with contributions from Joe Ryan (ITS Research Computing)
DIL Director: Robert Allen

And a big thanks to our Clients and Partners: Renee Alexander Craft (Communication Studies and DIL/IAH Faculty Fellow), Seth Kotch (Southern Oral History Program), Michelle Robinson (American Studies), Anne Whisnant (History/American Studies), and the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies at NCSU. Check out their projects!

Look for more good things to come with the upcoming release of DH Press 2.0!

DIL-linked First Year Seminar featured on UNC Homepage

DIL Director Robert C. Allen’s First Year Seminar, AMST 53H: The Family and Social Change in America, was featured on the UNC Homepage this week. This DIL-linked undergraduate course is the first on campus to take advantage of newly-digitized pre-1923 newspapers from the North Carolina Collection, digitized in partnership with Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com.

This offering of the course is the first to fully incorporate the methods and materials of digital history in the teaching of and learning about family history, and the first to use the digital resources developed for genealogical research as a way of documenting and illuminating the experience of other families, particularly those who have lived in North Carolina since the mid-19th century.

Read the full article.

DH Press Audio/Transcript Widget

DH Press’s audio/transcript widget offers a dynamic way of exploring oral histories and other audio material. Users can listen to interviews while simultaneously reading the corresponding textual transcript, explore individual excerpts, or listen to interviews in their entirety. Read more.

Side-by-side display of Spanish and English transcript

Side-by-side display of Spanish and English transcript

Through the DIL’s collaboration with UNC-CH Communications Studies Professor Renee Alexander Craft in 2013, DH Press was updated to support bilingual oral history delivery, a feature developed for her DIL/IAH Fellows project, Digital Portobelo: Art + Scholarship + Cultural Preservation.  For her project Craft not only needed to support Spanish language oral histories, she also wanted the interviews to be accessible to Spanish and English speakers. Pam Lach and Michael Newton worked with her to develop the capacity to display two transcripts, side-by-side, for every streaming audio file (which required producing two unique transcripts for every interview, one in Spanish and the other in English). In this way, users can read the Spanish and English transcripts as they listen to the (mostly) Spanish interviews. And in the case of interviews where only one transcript exists (as with Sandra Eleta, for which no Spanish transcript currently exists), DH Press defaults to displaying just the one transcript.

They also made the transcripts easier to read by adding a scrollable box of transcript text that appears just below the audio.


DIL Seeks a Graduate Research Associate

Feb 20 Update: We are no longer accepting applications for this semester, but graduate students interested in working with us in the future may submit a letter of interest and CV/Resume to Lab Manager Pam Lach.

The Digital Innovation Lab (DIL) at UNC-Chapel Hill seeks a graduate student (masters or PhD level) to join our team in the Spring 2014 semester. This individual will work 15 hours per week in the spring semester, and will be expected to continue in the position over the summer (additional summer hours may be possible), and beyond. He/she will contribute to our growing portfolio of public digital humanities projects, including contributing to the ongoing development of DH Press, a WordPress-based digital humanities visualization toolkit.

Anticipated job duties include:

  • Updating and reformatting existing DH Press user documentation
  • Management of ongoing and new DH Press projects
  • Working with and coordinating DIL staff, including
    • Undergraduate student workers
    • Graduate Practicum students


Candidates must be graduate students currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Candidates must have experience working in WordPress and a demonstrated interest in digital humanities. Project management experience, as well as a working knowledge of one or several programming languages (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Ajax, Python) is desired.

Preference for candidates who can commit beyond Summer 2014.

About the DIL

Launched in July 2011, the DIL is a project-focused hub for collaborative, interdisciplinary discovery, experimentation, implementation, and assessment in the use of digital technologies to advance the work of the University in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The DIL’s work seeks to lower the barriers of access (time, money, and technological) for humanists and cultural heritage organizations to create digital humanities projects. The DIL contributes heavily to the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI), funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

To Apply

Please send cover letter and resume/CV to Pam Lach, Lab Manager. Inquiries should be directed via email to Dr. Lach.

Seeking Applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities

The CDHI is please to announce the availability of a two year post-doctoral position in digital humanities with a concentration in the development of online learning opportunities beginning July 1, 2014. The fellowship is co-hosted by the Digital Innovation Lab and the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education. The fellow will also hold a teaching appointment in an appropriate department of the College of Arts and Sciences.

We seek a scholar with (1) a commitment to further developing his/her own digital humanities research practice through project-based work that extends humanistic scholarship to audiences within and beyond the academy; (2) subject expertise in a humanities discipline reflected by a department or curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences; (3) desire to apply and develop his/her expertise and research interests as a contributor to the ongoing work of the Digital Innovation Lab in such areas as database creation and management, data visualization, digital mapping, text mining and mark-up, website design, plug-in development, mobile and location-aware applications, and augmented reality; and (4) a commitment to applying his/her research and technological skills and interest to curriculum development and the teaching of digital humanities methods and materials, particularly in an online environment, and for both on-campus and geographically dispersed audiences.

Read a full job description and apply at https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/35801.

Michael Newton Joins DIL/CDHI as Technology Lead

The Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative and the Digital Innovation Lab are pleased to welcome Michael Newton to our team as the Technology Lead.

Michael Newton comes to digital humanities work with strong qualifications in both information technology and the humanities. Newton graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.A. in Computer Science, which he earned while working at a popular computer game company. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Celtic Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and has published extensively in that field. In 2007 he was awarded a Digital Humanities Initiative grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create a digital collaboratory for Celtic Studies which was hosted for several years by iBiblio.

As the Technology Lead, Newton will use his experience in information technology and the humanities to provide technological support for a wide range of digital humanities projects. We are thrilled to have him as a member of our team.

CFP: Digital Humanities Curricular Development Grants


The Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) is soliciting proposals for digital humanities course development grants to support a new graduate certificate in digital humanities (CDH) and to further the mission of teaching through and about digital developments in humanities courses at UNC. Current funds are geared toward graduate courses that support the CDH, but applicants are encouraged to develop course at mixed, graduate/undergraduate levels as well.

Grants may be used for developing full courses focused on some aspect of the digital humanities or for integrating digital humanities approaches and materials into a course–e.g., as a unit or module. Funds are available for the development of new courses or for revising existing courses. Applicants may apply for up to $6,000 funding. Awards will typically consist of a stipend ($5,000 for full course development, $2,500 for integrating a unit or module). Note that stipends are subject to reductions related to university benefits, taxes, etc. Applicants may request up to an additional $1,000 for professional development pertaining to developing the course. Applicants should include a budget detailing how any requested professional development funds will be used (e.g., for specific workshops or training).

CDHI Curricular grants might be used to:

  • Develop or revise any course focused on activities or topics associated with the digital humanities
  • Extend the reach of digital humanities course offerings beyond campus to non-degree seeking students–e.g., through hybrid or online options or through summer school
  • Explore and implement pedagogical innovation in a course through digital affordances
  • Implement digital activities to facilitate team teaching and/or interdisciplinary exchange
  • Integrate experiential work with digital materials and activities into a course
  • Develop course that explore multiple modalities of digital activities–e.g., the visual, aural, video, performance.
  • Engage the transformative potentials for digital humanities–political, social, cultural, scholarly.


All tenure track and fixed term faculty at the University who are eligible to teach graduate level courses may apply.


Award recipients commit to

  •  Create a new or revising an existing course that can be taken for graduate credit
  • Consult with the CDHI Curriculum Committee and Director regarding the development of the course
  • Work as advisors (as appropriate) with course participants pursuing the graduate certificate in digital humanities.
  • Deliver a report to the CDHI Curriculum Committee detailing the course development activities, the disbursement of funds, and the outcomes of the grant-supported efforts during the grant cycle.
  • Obtain Chair’s approval, and agree to offer the course at least three times in the five years following the receipt of the funds, starting with the 2014-15 academic year.


Submit a current cv and proposal of no more than two pages to Stephanie Barnwell (stephanie.barnwell@unc.edu) with a copy sent to (iamdan@unc.edu) no later than 11:59 PM on December 6th.

For questions related to the proposal process, contact Daniel Anderson (iamdan@unc.edu)