NEH Funds Northeastern Faculty’s Digital Mapping of 19th Century Print Media

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will provide Northeastern University’s NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks with a $59,805 grant to develop the project Uncovering Reprinting Networks in Nineteenth Century American Newspapers. The grant is one of 23 Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, and a part of a larger announcement of 205 grants, announced by the NEH this week.

Three Northeastern faculty members are spearheading the project: Ryan Cordell, an assistant professor of English; Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, a professor of English; and David Smith, an assistant professor of computational social science in the College of Computer and Information Science.

“The Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants are the primary sources of funding in the digital humanities and have launched some of the most influential projects in the discipline,” Cordell explains. “Receiving this grant demonstrates to the rest of the digital humanities community that exciting work is happening here at Northeastern and it gives us the national recognition we need to secure other funding.”

The grant will help fund the development of models, using tools from computational linguistics, to help track the spread of prints and reprints of poetry and short stories throughout 19th century newspapers, using the sources found in the Chronicling America database of digitized newspapers. This project is also the topic for several fellowships Cordell will begin in fall 2013, including the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography and the Northeastern Humanities Center Faculty Resident Fellowship in Viral Culture.

The NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, launched in spring of 2013, is Northeastern’s new center for digital humanities and computational social science. NULab supports faculty research projects; trains graduate students in digital humanities and computational social science skills; sponsors talks and symposia; and provides for discussions of technology, teaching, and research at Northeastern. News@Northeastern covered the NULab startup earlier this year here.