Professor Alison Booth awarded an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship

February 1, 2013

The ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship supports digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. It is hoped that projects of successful applicants will help advance digital humanistic scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating such works.

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships are intended to support an academic year dedicated to work on a major scholarly project that takes a digital form. Projects may:

  • Address a consequential scholarly question through new research methods, new ways of representing the knowledge produced by research, or both;
  • Create new digital research resources;
  • Increase the scholarly utility of existing digital resources by developing new means of aggregating, navigating, searching, or analyzing those resources;
  • Propose to analyze and reflect upon the new forms of knowledge creation and representation made possible by the digital transformation of scholarship.

ACLS will award up to six Digital Innovation Fellowships in this competition year. Each fellowship carries a stipend of up to $60,000 towards an academic year’s leave and provides for project costs of up to $25,000.

And here is our Fellowship Winner's project:

                                                The Practice and Theory of Digital Prosopography:

Collective Biographies of Women and Biographical Elements and Structure Schema

The ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship (January-December 2014) supports ongoing development of the Collective Biographies of Women project, a collaboration with IATH (UVA) and Suzanne Keen (Washington & Lee).  Our database and online bibliography of 1271 books collecting some 13,000 short biographies of women demonstrate ways to study what we call documentary social networks of historical women.  Our XML markup schema, Biographical Elements and Structure Schema (BESS), applies narrative theory to nonfiction and experiments with large-scale, team interpretation of narrative, between big data and the techniques of textual editing and close reading.  During the fellowship, we will extend BESS analysis to biographies of four disparate personae types, Frances Trollope, Caroline Herschel, Cleopatra, and Charlotte Corday, to amplify our current work on the networks surrounding Sister Dora (saintly nurse) and Lola Montez (adventuress).  In addition to work on web design, functionality, and visualizations of the site, I will be beginning a book related to the project, tentatively called “Facebooks: Prosopographies in Print and Online.”