UH Libraries News

DH@UH: Announcing the Program

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons is pleased to announce the program for DH@UH, a new series aimed at convening humanists, data scientists, librarians, and digital humanities practitioners at every level at UH.

DH@UH: Building Connections

DH@UH: Building Connections

The inaugural program in this series, Building Connections, is a three-day virtual event to be held on April 19 – 21 via Zoom that will showcase digital humanities collaborations by research teams across UH.

View full program for DH@UH: Building Connections.

Join students, librarians, and faculty for a program highlighting the breadth of digital humanities work ongoing at UH. Discussion sessions will explore the practical challenges of starting and sustaining DH projects and how those who are interested in engaging this work can discover and take advantage of existing opportunities on campus.

DH@UH is a joint venture of UH Libraries Digital Research Commons, the US Latino Digital Humanities program at Arte Público Press, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Technology, and the UH Graduate School.

DH@UH: Building Connections is free and open to the entire UH community. Sessions will be held online via Zoom (no password required). 

Save the Date for DH@UH: Building Connections

The University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons team is pleased to announce DH@UH, a new series of programs aimed at convening humanists, data scientists, librarians, and digital humanities practitioners at every level at UH.

The inaugural program in this series, DH@UH: Building Connections, is a three-day virtual event on April 19 – 21 via Zoom that will showcase digital humanities collaborations by research teams across UH, including innovative classroom projects that forge partnerships with public communities and digital projects that reanimate texts and archives by centering voices of marginalized or silenced peoples.

Join students, librarians, and faculty for a program highlighting the breadth of digital humanities work ongoing at UH. Discussion sessions will explore the practical challenges of starting and sustaining DH projects and how those who are interested in engaging this work can discover and take advantage of existing opportunities on campus.

DH@UH is a joint venture of UH Libraries, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Technology, and the Graduate School.

Registration for DH@UH: Building Connections is required, but is free and open to the entire UH community. Sessions will be held online via Zoom. Registration information and the full program will be announced soon.

Boehm Receives NISO Plus 2021 Scholarship

Reid Boehm

Reid Boehm

Reid Boehm, research data management librarian at University of Houston Libraries, was one of 15 international information professionals who received a National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Plus 2021 scholarship. Sponsored by Digital Science, the scholarship is awarded to those working in libraries, vendors, publishing, or other areas of information science whose views and voices are underrepresented or marginalized.

The award allowed Boehm to attend the NISO Plus 2021 conference, provides registration to NISO education webinars, and facilitates engagement and collaborative opportunities with other professionals in the NISO community throughout the year. “NISO has been a consistent presence throughout the work that I do, and the conference really presented a picture of our interconnections within diverse facets of the information science world,” Boehm said. “The opportunity to engage with folks from across the globe and across our disciplines was incredibly meaningful.”

In her role at UH Libraries, Boehm consults with and develops workshops for researchers, faculty, staff, and students on issues related to data and research material management throughout the research lifecycle. This includes advising on data management and/or sharing plans, documentation of data, managing data within collaborations, finding outlets for sharing, facilitating the use of the UH Data Repository, and preparing data for sharing, archiving, or preservation.

Announcing 2021 Sponsored Projects

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Services (DRS) and Digital Research Commons (DRC) are pleased to announce the 2021 sponsored digital research projects. DRS collaborates with UH faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows on projects involving digital techniques across the humanities, social sciences, and experimental sciences, offering grants at three levels designed to address projects in various stages of development.

2021 sponsored projects are:

A Multilingual Database of Digital News in 54 African Countries
Dani Madrid-Morales, PhD, Journalism, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication
This project seeks to develop a multilingual database of African online news content, and to create a custom-built R package to interact with the database, implement basic text analysis, and create relevant data visualizations.

Sharing Stories from 1977: The National Women’s Conference as a Window into Recent American History
Nancy Beck Young, PhD, and Leandra Zarnow, PhD, History, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS)
This DRC project development grant will support the continued conceptualization and anticipated launch of a website targeted for March 2021 that will announce a multi-year, multi-state, multi-institutional effort led by the University of Houston to document and analyze the experience and impact of thousands of delegates and observers of the 1977 National Women’s Conference.

Building the Past: Memory-Making on the University of Houston Campus
David Guzman and Caitlyn Jones, History, CLASS
This project will generate a dataset to build a digital map of the University of Houston campus that allows visitors to access biographies of the building namesakes and the history of the building’s construction, as well as historical photos or documents related to the building or person.

1771 in 3 Cities: Genre Boundaries and Dispersion
David Mazella, PhD, English, CLASS
Using results from previous iterations of this project, this stage takes the 2000+ items published in the year 1771 in three cities, along with the 10 categories and 100+ genres established earlier, and examines the spatial and boundary relations between literary and extraliterary genres. This project will conduct network analyses and visualizations of these relations, and will also tackle the significant conceptual problem of the “collection” to see whether there is a relation to be drawn between this year’s aggregate genres (e.g., “Works,” “Miscellanies,” periodicals) and its principles of genre differentiation and attraction.

Kristina Neumann, PhD History, CLASS; Elizabeth Rodwell, PhD, Comparative Culture Studies, CLASS; and Peggy Lindner, PhD, Information and Logistics Technology, College of Technology
In its final form, this online exhibit will guide a wide audience through the different coins and histories of Syrian cities within the Greco-Roman period. The overarching goals are to 1) transform public awareness of the ancient world and Syria in particular; 2) revitalize the perception of Syria as a diverse and vibrant metropolitan region; 3) exemplify the power of objects as testimony to everyday lives and struggles; 4) offer historical professionals an enhanced, digital data source and model applicable to research, teaching, and community outreach; and 5) invite new perspectives into the research of this historic place.

Black Migration Houston
Rachel Afi Quinn, PhD, Comparative Culture Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, CLASS
Black. Migration. Houston. (BMH) is an interdisciplinary group of scholars and community organizers who study the international migration of black people to the Texas Gulf Coast. This project’s objective is to educate students, service providers, and the general public on the intersection of migration, sexuality, and blackness through its public facing website. As this project develops, it will expand the site in the following ways: (1) teaching resources for educators and community members (i.e., syllabi and critical thinking material); (2) resources content for black migrants and 1st generation people (centering the concerns of gender non-conforming and queer persons); (3) an interactive and virtual reality component.

Documentary and oral history of the foundation of the UH College of Medicine
Ruth Bush, MD, JD, Medical Education, UH College of Medicine; and Helen Valier, PhD, Medicine and Society Program, The Honors College
This project intends to enhance existing plans to preserve the documentary and oral history of the UH College of Medicine. Through sponsored projects funding, this project will begin focused collection work for the creation of an interactive digital timeline and visualized social network map, hyper-linked to layers of curated resources. In the longer term, this project will develop a database purposed for meta-analysis of preserved documentary, visual, audio, and other collected media.

From Digitizing to Mining, C.T. Bauer College Archives — A Practical Journey Through Our College’s Public Records from 1947 to 2009
Emese Felvegi, PhD, Decision and Information Sciences, C.T. Bauer College of Business
This project seeks to support the capture, categorization, analysis, and digital exhibition of historical College of Business administration/C.T. Bauer College records by C.T. Bauer College students. Select student groups enrolled in BCIS 1305 during the spring and fall 2021 semesters will participate in various phases of a hands-on project that aims to process the college’s historical documents that are a part of the University of Houston Archives. This cyclical semester-long project aims to process the whole of Bauer archives over the course of the next 2-4 years with work continuing with already photographed assets from 2020. 

Research Workshops for Faculty

University of Houston Libraries, in collaboration with the UH Division of Research, will provide three free online workshops geared toward faculty. The 50-in-5 sessions are part of the University Research Explained Series from the UH Division of Research, developed to support faculty in a variety of research and innovation efforts. 

Create Your Online Profile
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Data Management Best Practices for UH Researchers
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Increasing Research Impact
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
10:00 am – 11:00 am

By on January 21st, 2021 in Announcements, Digital Research

UH SYRIOS Project Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

A digital humanities project focusing on ancient Syrian material culture has received a 2020 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant.

The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

The SYRIOS Project: Studying Urban Relationships and Identity Over Ancient Syria, led by Kristina Neumann, PhD, assistant professor of Roman/digital history, and Peggy Lindner, PhD, assistant professor of computer information systems at University of Houston, was awarded a grant in the amount of $98,095 under the agency’s Digital Projects for the Public program, which supports digital projects (websites, mobile applications, games, and virtual environments) that significantly contribute to the public’s engagement with humanities ideas.

The funds will allow Neumann and Lindner to fully develop a prototype of the interactive online exhibit exploring the history of ancient Syria through coin distribution.

“We are absolutely ecstatic to receive this award,” Neumann said. “Our project seeks to communicate how seemingly lost histories of the ancient past can be recovered through everyday objects and modern technology. Considering the continuing destruction of artifacts and sites within Syria, we also hope to educate a wide audience about the importance of preserving not only the objects themselves, but also the place and context in which they were discovered.”

Read: UH Researchers Release Digital Exploration of Ancient Syria

The UH Libraries Digital Research Commons (DRC) has helped facilitate this project since 2018 through its Sponsored Projects program which offers grants for digital research projects at various stages of development. The DRC cultivates interdisciplinary research and builds communities of practice around digital research methodologies.

“This kind of work is only possible through interdisciplinary, cross-campus collaboration and the integration of students into faculty research,” Neumann added. “We were tremendously supported both financially and intellectually by the DRC from the very beginning of this project.”

“We are delighted that Peggy and Kristina’s work has received the recognition that it very much deserves,” said Claude Willan, director of digital humanities services in UH Libraries Digital Research Services. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be involved in the development of their work. Theirs is the first of our stable of sponsored projects to secure outside funding so as to be able to grow.”

Taylor Davis-Van Atta, director of the DRC, added, “This marks a significant milestone for any digital project, and for UH Libraries in its effort to strengthen support services for interdisciplinary research across campus. This couldn’t have happened without the collaboration and expertise of our Libraries colleagues in Liaison Services, Special Collections, and Library Technology Services. We are thrilled for Peggy and Kristina, and that our digital projects are advancing. This achievement marks the next step for our growing culture of digital research at UH.”


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

The SYRIOS Project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this digital exhibit do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Call for Applications: Spring 2021 Digital Research Institute

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons (DRC) invites all UH graduate students to submit an application for participation in the Spring 2021 Digital Research Institute, a three-day intensive experience aimed at building the foundational skills and knowledge needed to generate a piece of digital research.

The Institute will take place virtually over three days of Spring Break, March 15-17, 2021. It is aimed at graduate students who are in the beginning phases of digital research that is intended to form the basis for part of an article or a thesis/dissertation. The 4-6 students who are best positioned to benefit from the experience will be offered a seat in the Institute along with a $250.00 scholarship, provided by the UH Graduate School, to be delivered after successful completion of the experience.

Participants will be expected to attend all three days of the Institute plus a one-day “Getting Started” workshop to be scheduled on a Friday approximately two weeks prior to the Institute. Participants will be assigned individualized pre-work and readings that will give them the theoretical and conceptual grounding needed to undertake the work of the Institute and exit the experience with the tangible beginnings of their digital research as well as next steps. Over the Institute, they will attend 3-5 sessions per day delivered by librarians and other digital research practitioners, each targeted at building their technical skills and offering individualized mentorship.

To apply, fill out this form by Friday, January 29, 2021, 11:59PM.

Questions? Contact the staff in the Digital Research Commons: drc@uh.edu

Criteria for acceptance: The application review committee aims to accept 4-6 applicants for participation in the Institute. Applications will be evaluated based on candidates’ clarity of purpose and intent, and how they hope to benefit from the Institute experience. Preference will be given to applicants who clearly illustrate how the Institute will enhance and further their research ambitions while at University of Houston. The review committee will strive to represent a variety of perspectives, disciplines, backgrounds, and levels of experience in its selection process.


Application submission deadline: Friday, January 29, 2021, 11:59PM

Acceptance notifications issued: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Confirmation of participation: Monday, February 15, 2021

Tentative “Getting Started” workshop: Friday, February 26, 2021, 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Digital Research Institute: March 15-17, 2021

Apply for the Digital Research Institute at UH Libraries

New Digital Research Commons Manager

Elizabeth Irvin-Stravoski

Elizabeth Irvin-Stravoski

University of Houston Libraries welcomes Elizabeth Irvin-Stravoski as the first manager of the Digital Research Commons (DRC).

Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals.

I will be administering the Commons and helping the Digital Research Services department build and expand DRC offerings. I will also be assuming the management of the UH Institutional Repository, including processing electronic theses and dissertations.

Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach in digital research?

I graduated from UH in ’19 (Go Coogs!) with a master’s degree in English literature and a certificate in digital humanities. I hold a standard Texas Teacher’s certificate for ELAR 7-12 and am also a licensed practical nurse. These life experiences, together with a focus on medieval literature during the pursuit of my degree, have fostered a curiosity in the intersection of the medical advances (or lack thereof) of an era, together with the literature it produces. Digital research provides the methods to consider such an intersection in excitingly thorough and unique ways.

Please summarize a few of your current projects.

My primary focus is to transition from public school teaching to managing the DRC, and all that that entails. However, I am very interested in revisiting/revising a project from my graduate student days, in which the literature of the 14th century is analyzed using digital methods—from a medical practitioner’s standpoint—for its relevance and relation to the Black Death.

What is your favorite hobby?

I hope it isn’t too cliché to say that my favorite hobbies would be reading and researching/learning about new and interesting things across a wide spectrum of topics. If I had to pick one topic or genre, I would say I most enjoy reading historical fiction, for the wealth of independent research opportunities it provides. I’m currently reading Maurice Druon’s The Accursed Kings series, about the 14th century French monarchy and lauded by George R.R. Martin as “the original Game of Thrones.”

UH Researchers Release Digital Exploration of Ancient Syria

A digital humanities project featuring a dynamic presentation of ancient Syrian material culture is now available online.

The SYRIOS Project: Studying Urban Relationships and Identity Over Ancient Syria is a digital exhibit focusing on narratives of the Syrian capital city of Antioch-on-the-Orontes. The proof-of-concept release guides users through interactive stories of the region built from coins, texts, and other material culture.

Kristina Neumann, PhD, assistant professor of Roman/digital history, and Peggy Lindner, PhD, assistant professor of computer information systems at University of Houston, are leading a multi-year, interdisciplinary project that began as a study in visualizations from a database of 300,000+ coin finds. The researchers noted the topic drew attention in and outside of academia, and pursued an approach that holds implications for both scholarly and public interest, with the ultimate goal of preserving knowledge of the ancient Middle East through new digital methodologies, and facilitating public engagement with contemporary issues of Syrian identity and heritage.

In its first phase, the SYRIOS exhibit is the culmination of experiments in design, interactivity (such as animated text and parallax scrolling, 3D scans, digital visualizations, and virtual simulations), and usability. “Especially innovative is our sortable digital coin pile and our 3D annotated coin,” Neumann said. “We also go well beyond traditional online archives and catalogs by narrating ancient stories with coins, texts, and other artifacts from Syria.”

Users are able to view new research in the form of thematic narratives based on coin, archaeological, and textual evidence about political, economic, religious, and archaeological histories of Antioch; and explore coin evidence as pieces of art and as objects that move, including a series of Tableau maps presenting archaeological data, an illustrated Omeka catalog of all known types of coins minted at Antioch, and a dataset of coins excavated at Antioch, which users can download to explore their own applications of the material.

Future iterations of the exhibit will feature content and design enhancements, and expansion to include the histories and material culture of other cities within ancient Syria.

This project is made possible by funding from the UH Libraries Sponsored Projects program and by expertise from the Libraries’ Digital Research Services, Liaison Services, Special Collections, and Library Technology Services departments.

Digital Research Commons Virtual Office Hours

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons staff will be available for office hours every Friday during the Fall 2020 semester through November 20. Researchers at all levels are encouraged to bring their questions about digital humanities, data management, and scholarly publishing to the virtual DRC during the following times:

Digital Humanities
11:00am – 12:00pm with Dr. Claude Willan, Director of Digital Humanities Services

Research Data Management
12:00pm – 1:00pm with Dr. Reid Boehm, Research Data Management Librarian

Scholarly Publishing
1:00pm – 2:00pm with Taylor Davis-Van Atta, Director of the Digital Research Commons and founding publisher of Music & Literature: a humanities journal

Access virtual office hours
All sessions are accessible through this Zoom link (no password required). You may be added to the Zoom Waiting Room and admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Questions? Contact us.