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Digital Humanities: Examples

A guide to Digital Humanities

Examples of Digital Humanities Projects

There are thousands of digital humanities projects, ranging from small scale ones with limited funding or no funding,  to large scale projects with multi-year financial support.    These are a few examples of digital  humanities projects to give the reader a sense of the variety and scope of DH projects.  

Talbot Map Collection at UCT

"Before the advent of digital technology, maps were the way to visualise data in beautiful and simple ways that brought out the unseen patterns between things. The Talbot Map Collection is a vast repository of printed maps that illustrate the terrain of the past"    Continue reading at this link

Robben Island - 1895Leprosy in Cape Colony, 1896Timbuktu


500 Year Archive

A trial version of the 500 Year Archive (500YA) is now available online () for public consultation. It is designed to support historical enquiry into the five hundred years before colonialism in what is today KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring regions.  

Texts, images, sound recordings, excavated items and botanical specimens, as well as early vernacular materials can be found on the site. 

Historical Papers Research Archive (Wits)

The Historical Papers Research Archive, situated in the William Cullen Library at the University of the Witswatersrand, was  established in 1966. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent archives in Southern Africa, housing over 3400 collections of historical, political and cultural importance, encompass the mid 17th Century to the Present, from NGOs, trade unions, political parties, women's organisations, church bodies, human rights activists and political trials. Many of the photographs, press clippings, oral interviews, and documents, have been digitised. 

Old Bailey Online

The Old Bailey Online Proceedings from 1674 - 1913 contains 197 745 criminal trials. 

Connected to this is the Digital Panopticon: The Global Impact of London Punishments, 1780-1925 which traces the lives of 90 000 convicts convicted at the Old Bailey between 1780 and 1875, linking Old Bailey trials to relevant entries in fifty databases of criminal justice and civil records, including the census. The 'Life Archives' allow users to discover both the pre- and post-trial histories of Old Bailey convicts. They allow users to see differences between the punishment sentences handed down by the court and the punishments convicts actually experienced, and make it possible to compare the impact of the punishments of imprisonment and transportation on convicts' lives.

Shoah Visual Archives

USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive contains more than 54,000 video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide.

Initially a repository of Holocaust testimony, the Visual History Archive has expanded to include testimonies from the Armenian Genocide that coincided with World War I, the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, the Cambodian Genocide of 1975-1979, the Guatemalan Genocide of 1978-1983, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and the ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, and anti-Rohingya mass violence. It also includes testimonies about contemporary acts of violence against Jews.

Cambridge University Digital Humanities

Cambridge University Digital Humanities showcases 100+ DH-related projects at the University of Cambridge 

Digital Bleek and Lloyd Collection

This digital collection  is part of the Lucy Lloyd Archive, Resource and Exhibition Centre project to digitise, research and publish the Bleek and Lloyd Archive. The Digital Bleek and Lloyd includes scans of every page of the 110 Lucy Lloyd |xam notebooks, 17 Lloyd (mostly) !kun notebooks and 28 Wilhelm Bleek |xam notebooks. It also includes Jemima Bleek's solitary Korana and !kun notebook and four Lloyd Korana notebooks in the Maingard collection of the Library at the University of South Africa, as well as Dorothea Bleek's 32 notebooks. All the drawings and watercolours made by |han≠kass'o, Dia!kwain, Tamme, |uma, !nanni and Da are also in the digital collection. The digital archive includes a 280 000-word searchable index, cross-referenced and including notes and summaries for each of the stories listed. Notes in italics are direct quotes from the reports of Bleek and Lloyd in which they detailed the progress of their research.

Llarec (the Lucy Lloyd Archive, Resource and Exhibition Centre) is part of the Centre for Curating the Archive, a University of Cape Town research centre directed by Pippa Skotnes and located at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. The initial "Digital Bleek and Lloyd" accompanied the publication "Claim to the Country: the Archive of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd" by Pippa Skotnes (2007), published by Jacana Media and Ohio University Press. Subsequently Jemima Bleek's and Dorothea Bleek's notebooks have been added, as well as the Digital Stow, featuring the rock art copies of George Stow. The search index and summaries have also been extended and currently the Bleek and Lloyd dictionaries are being digitised. Please refer to the CCA website at for updates.


Biography of an Uncharted People

Biography of an Uncharted People

“Digital Humanities” operates at the intersection of the humanities and computing. Scholars using the methods of the Digital Humanities can make use of a variety of tools, from algorithms that help with textual analysis, to image recognition, or Big Data techniques. They can digitize and transcribe large databases and analyze individuals’ characteristics and behavior. In the absence of other information of South Africans, particularly black citizens, who were often excluded from censuses and reports and underrepresented in other types of archival records such as personal collections of letters, individual-level records are a treasure trove of information about the economic, social, demographic, health, labor, genealogical and migration histories of the Cape Colony and South Africa.

Slave Voyages

Slave Voyages  "raises questions about the largest slave trades in history and offers access to the documentation available to answer them. European colonizers turned to Africa for enslaved laborers to build the cities and extract the resources of the Americas. They forced millions of mostly unnamed Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas, and from one part of the Americas to another. Analyze these slave trades and view interactive maps, timelines, and animations to see the dispersal in action." 

There are several databases on this digital memorial, including the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database which now comprises 36,000 individual slaving expeditions between 1514 and 1866. Records of the voyages have been found in archives and libraries throughout the Atlantic world. They provide information about vessels, routes, and the people associated with them, both enslaved and enslavers. Sources are cited for every voyage included. Users may search for information about a specific voyage or group of voyages. The website provides full interactive capability to analyze the data and report results in the form of statistical tables, graphs, maps, a timeline, and an animation.

Mapping the Republic of Letters

Mapping the Republic of Letters is based at Stanford University. 

Before email, faculty meetings, international colloquia, and professional associations, the world of scholarship relied on its own networks: networks of correspondence that stretched across countries and continents; the social networks created by scientific academies; and the physical networks brought about by travel. These networks were the lifelines of learning, from the age of Erasmus to the age of Franklin. They facilitated the dissemination, and criticism of ideas, the spread of political news, as well as the circulation of people and objects.

But what did these networks actually look like? Were they as extensive as we are led to believe? How did they evolve over time? Mapping the Republic of Letters, in collaboration with international partners, seeks to answer these and other questions through the development of sophisticated, interactive visualization tools. It also aims to create a repository for metadata on early-modern scholarship, and guidelines for future data capture.

Music Encoding Initiative

The Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) is a community-driven effort to define a system for encoding musical documents in a machine-readable structure. MEI brings together specialists from various music research communities, including technologists, librarians, historians, and theorists in a common effort to define best practices for representing a broad range of musical documents and structures.

Survey of Scottish Witchcraft

The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft is an online database of witch trials in early modern Scotland, containing details of 3 837 accused gathered from contemporary court documents covering the period 1563 to 1736.    The original database was first published in 2003.    In 2019, a new interactive website visualises the data from the Survey,  finding the place of residences of the accused Scottish witches.     This data was also uploaded into Wikidata as linked open data and further enriched with the location of detentions, trials, place of death and more.