ACLS Digital Extension Grants

The ACLS Digital Extension Grant program supports digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and humanities-related social sciences. It is hoped that these grants will help advance the digital transformation of humanities scholarship by extending the reach of existing digital projects to new communities of users and by adding diversity to the digital record.

This program is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

  • Enhancing the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies Digital Archive: A Project to Add Content, Improve Technology, and Strengthen Collaborative Networks  |  Abstract

    Principal Investigator. Project Team: Cliff Anderson, Paula Covington, Dale Poulter, Kara Schultz and Angela Sutton, Vanderbilt University. This project builds on efforts of an international team of scholars dedicated to the preservation of the oldest records for Africans in the Americas. The Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies Digital Archive is hosted at Vanderbilt University and holds over 500,000 unique images, dating from the 16th-20th centuries. It preserves the history of between four and six million African and Afro-descended individuals and makes possible important new research on African and Afro-descended populations in the Americas. The ACLS Digital Extension Grant will enable the project team to add additional content to the ESSSS archive, enhance its current technology, strengthen collaborative networks of slavery scholars, and share digital preservation expertise with partner institutions with limited cyberinfrastructure.

    Jane Landers
    Jane Landers

    Professor, History, Vanderbilt University

  • Fibra: Toward a Humanistic Analysis of Social Networks  |  Abstract

    Principal Investigator. Project Team: Nicole Coleman, Stanford University; Ethan Jewett, Developer; Eetu Mäkelä, Aalto University. This project extends the reach of Palladio (palladio.designhumanities.org), our suite of data visualization tools, to other communities of users by adding a new network view called Fibra. Palladio is designed for scholars who want to model data themselves, and not just run models on data. Fibra is a novel type of social network visualization, one that responds more directly to the kinds of research questions posed in the humanities. It includes the ability to create and edit data directly through the visual interface, and the ability to pull data into Palladio from Linked Data sources. Palladio already supports data import, data exploration, and export of both data and visualizations. Adding Fibra will bring a new interface to Palladio with an even more humanities-centered user experience. By integrating Linked Data, users can also supplement missing edge-data with richer node information, thus developing new methods for analyzing social networks.

    Dan Edelstein
    Dan Edelstein

    Professor, French and Italian, Stanford University

  • Photogrammar: Seeing and Hearing America’s Documentary Record  |  Abstract

    Principal Investigator. Project Team: Taylor Arnold, Catherine DeRose, Monica Ong Reed, and Lauren Tilton, Yale University; Courtney Rivard, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Photogrammar: Seeing and Hearing America’s Documentary Record will enhance two areas of the web-based digital and public humanities platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information. Photogrammar will place the collection in the larger federal effort to document America during the era by creating links across archives. We are incorporating the Federal Writers Project and bringing together over 4,000 life histories from UNC and the Library of Congress. Photogrammar also will expand knowledge about photographers by adding oral histories (over 20 hours) that were conducted by the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art and rebuilding the photographer’s film rolls.

    Laura Wexler
    Laura Wexler

    Professor, American Studies, Film & Media Studies, and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Yale University

  • The Automated Scribal Identification Project  |  Abstract

    Project Team: Catherine Chin, University of California, Davis; Nick Howe, Smith College; Ayda Kaplan, Independent Scholar; Adam McCollum, University of Vienna; Claire Woods, Duke University. As a collaboration between a historian of religion and a computer scientist, the Automated Scribal Identification Project applies recent advances in the digital analysis of handwriting to ancient manuscripts. The current version of the program accurately matches pages written by the same scribe and has assembled a database of over 70,000 letter images from the majority of the earliest dated Aramaic manuscripts. The ACLS Digital Extension Grant supports the creation of a software package that identifies the scribe of a given manuscript and approximates the date of composition. By allowing scholars to identify multiple documents written by the same scribe, this system will help establish a work’s provenance, discern manuscripts that have been divided between modern libraries, trace the development of scribal schools, and approximate the content of monastic collections.

    Michael Philip Penn
    Michael Philip Penn

    Professor, Religion, Mount Holyoke College

  • The CORONA Atlas Project: Expanding Access to Historic Satellite Imagery on Global Scale  |  Abstract

    Principal Investigator. Project Team: Jackson Cothren, University of Arkansas. This project expands scholarly utilization of declassified, 1960s-era CORONA satellite imagery on research projects through the world. Because it predates much modern development, CORONA imagery, initially collected for intelligence purposes, preserves a high-resolution view of past landscapes that is invaluable in archaeology, geography and other fields. The CORONA Atlas Project has worked since 2008 to develop better methods to spatially correct CORONA imagery, and to make it publicly available through an open-access online database. The ACLS Digital Extension Grant supports the launch of a new global CORONA Atlas, the creation of online tutorials and research tools, as well as a series of intensive workshops to provide technical training and collaboration on individual projects.

    Jesse Casana
    Jesse Casana

    Associate Professor, Anthropology, Dartmouth College