Digital Humanities in Alberta, 2017

I started my job in the English Department at the University of Calgary five years ago this month, in 2007. When you move here, one of the things you notice is that Albertans start by making ambitious plans and only then sweat the details.  Approval for pipelines notwithstanding, this quality is pretty admirable.

So five years from now, in 2017, what will be the state of Digital Humanities in Alberta?

We’re already in a position of strength, with active researchers across the province. [I’m learning more as I launch my own SSHRC-funded project this fall, provisionally titled Encoding Shakespeare.] The U of A has a renowned Humanities Computing MA program, and its CIRCA is a national leader in humanities research computing. Dan O’Donnell at Lethbridge is breaking new ground by editing objects in the Visionary Cross project, and Nicole Rosen’s Cree-Innu Linguistic Atlas is a revelation. Our campus infrastructure attracts international attention, like when Dan Cohen tweeted about Calgary’s TFDL. But where can we go next?

I can foresee expansions of what we have already, and drawing together the community of Alberta DHers to address new problems. I see collaborative projects involving digital humanists from multiple universities; senior hires and national expertise on problems like big data; research funding from institutions and governments grappling with data visualization, natural language processing, the semantic web. I see DH research incubators at each university, with permanent offices and dedicated administrators to support our grant applications and project management.

I’m just beginning to grasp the state of DH in Alberta, but can already see that we’re moving in the right directions. I joined AbDAH’s exploratory committee to learn more about DH projects and experts today, but more importantly, to provoke discussions and plans for our future.


Cree-Innu Linguistic Atlas

The Cree-Innu Linguistic Atlas is an on-line, multimedia linguistic atlas of a number of related Algonquian languages spoken across the continent: the Métis, Cree, Ojibwe and Innu dialects of Canada

Nicole Rosen at the University of Lethbridge is a co-investigator on the SSHRC-funded Ressources en ligne pour langues vivantes project which extends the Cree-Innu Linguistic Atlas, co-created between Prof. Marie-Odile Junker, from Carleton University, Prof. Marguerite MacKenzie from Memorial University, the Department of Cree Programs of the Cree School Board in Quebec, the Gift of Language and Culture (Saskatchewan Cree), the Innu Education Authority in Labrador, and l’Institut culturel et éducatif montagnais in Quebec. Other current co-investigators include Rand Valentine (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Arok Wolvengrey (First Nations University). Read the rest of this entry »

Michif Dictionary

Métis Red River Cart. Image courtesy: The Gabriel Dumont Institute & Leah Dorion & Todd Paquin.

“Word-building in Michif” is a SSHRC-funded project directed by Nicole Rosen of the University of Lethbridge (Principal Investigator), in conjunction with the Manitoba Métis FederationA primary goal of this project is to publish a web-based searchable Michif-English dictionary database, with attached linguistic information and soundfiles for the dictionary entries to aid in language documentation and revitalization. An app for iPhone/iPad is also under development with in conjunction with


About the Lab

  • How do universities and colleges respond to rapid and complex advances in media technologies and the accompanying transition to online pedagogies?
  • How do tertiary institutions assist students in developing study, writing and research skills appropriate to learning online?
  • In what ways does the digital environment enable deeper links between universities and the broader community?

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Visionary Cross Project

The University of Lethbridge-led Visionary Cross Team

The “Visionary Cross” is an international, cross-disciplinary project directed by Catherine Karkov of the University of Leeds, Daniel Paul O’Donnell of the University of Lethbridge (Principal Investigator), Roberto Rosselli Del Turco of the Università degli studi di Torino, with James Graham (Multimedia, University of Lethbridge) and Wendy Osborn (Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Lethbridge).

The goal of this project is to draw together a number of recent developments in the Digital Humanities and use them to produce an innovative and intellectually significant study of a key group of Anglo-Saxon texts and monuments. Read the rest of this entry »

Journal incubator

The Lethbridge Journal Incubator is a pilot project hosted by the University of Lethbridge Library under the direction of Daniel Paul O’Donnell and supported by the University of Lethbridge School of Graduate Study.

The goal of the incubator is to address the issue of the sustainability of scholarly communication in an open access, digital age by aligning it with the educational and research missions of the University.In this way, the production of scholarly communication, which is often understood as a cost centre that draws resources away from a host university’s core missions, is itself transformed into a sustainable, high-impact resource that applies largely existing funding in ways that significantly increase the research and teaching capacity of the institution.

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ABDAH website launched

The website of the new Alberta Digital Arts and Humanities Initiative (ABDAH) has just been launched.

The goal of ABDAH is to help Alberta researchers and practitioners in the Digital Arts and Humanities improve their collaboration in research, teaching, and outreac across the province in this important new field.

The exploratory committee will be using this site to canvas the opinions of Alberta researchers and practitioners of the Digital Arts and Humanities as we work to establish a strongly collaborative programme across the province.

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