Meet Our New Team Members

Learn about the new digital scholarship team members who started this summer. We are so delighted they are with us!

Dave Thomas, Digital Scholarship Specialist

David Thomas has taught, presented, and published at the intersection of Ancient History and Digital Humanities, as well as Digital Scholarship more broadly. He holds M.A. degrees in History from Brown University and Northern Illinois University, and before coming to Boston College, he was an instructor of Digital Humanities and Ancient History at the University of South Florida. He was the sole developer of the Networks of Roman Eleusis project, which tracked and visualized information about hundreds of ancient inscriptions and individuals from an Athenian religious sanctuary. He has also published packages in Python, including a module that makes performing text analysis on Latin and Greek texts easier for students. He has worked in text analysis, network analysis, and other areas, but most of all, he is a full-stack web programmer who focuses on helping students and faculty build digital projects for the web in a sustainable way.

Lester Carver, Data Services Specialist

Lester Carver has a background in geospatial analysis, data management, discourse analysis, and data-based communications. They hold an M.S. degree in Geographic Information Science from Clark University. Lester has instructed on GIS tools and analysis as well as spatial database development and management. They worked on projects such as the Just Urban Future project, where they used nighttime satellite imagery to measure street lighting as a proxy for police surveillance around public housing developments. They also developed a web-map documenting scraped tweeting activity about the 2022 escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War over time. Before coming to Boston College, Lester worked at the US Forest Service and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute doing knowledge management and evaluation. They are most excited by projects that help users interact with and make meaning of data in accessible ways.

Evan Hamlin, Technology Support Specialist

Evan Hamlin splits his time between the O’Neill Library’s Digital Studio and Access Services, where he is responsible for managing and supporting technologies. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Communication from Stonehill College this past spring. While at Stonehill, he worked at the College’s IT help desk and did a media production internship, both of which have prepared him well for his many responsibilities at BC. His technology support experience includes troubleshooting, creating guides, and instructing users on new technologies. If you have questions about the O’Neill Library’s Digital Studio, including how to use the Podcasting Room, send him an email and he’ll be happy to help!

Ashlyn Stewart, Digital Scholarship Specialist

Ashlyn Stewart specializes in creating and maintaining digital archives and editions. She has a dual background both in digital humanities tools and methodologies and in nineteenth-century American literature, history, and culture. She is currently a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), working on a dissertation about Harper’s Weekly. She holds a master’s degree in English with a minor in history and a concentration in Nineteenth-Century Studies as well as a graduate certificate in Digital Humanities from UNL.  Before joining the team at Boston College, she worked on the Walt Whitman and Charles W. Chesnutt Archives at the UNL Center for Digital Research in the Humanities and taught courses for the UNL English department. While she loves to work on projects anchored in American literature and history, Ashlyn also enjoys designing and implementing durable digital projects on any textual collection. 

Antonio LoPiano, Data Visualization Specialist

Antonio LoPiano has developed a suite of skills in digital approaches to scholarship through his own research into the archeology of the ancient Mediterranean, including mapping, 3D scanning, and creating virtual exhibits. He holds an MA in Mediterranean Archaeology from the University of Tennessee and is preparing to defend his Ph.D. dissertation on the urbanization of archaic Central Italy at Duke University. At Duke, Antonio assisted faculty on interdisciplinary research projects incorporating GIS and photogrammetry, such as the Mapping Occupied Krakow Project, as part of the Digital Art History and Visual Culture Research Lab. He also has a wealth of experience teaching students how to utilize these skills both in the classroom at Duke and in the field as a member of the Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project. Most recently, Antonio planned and executed a remote sensing survey project of his own at the ancient Etruscan City of Doganella and published a smartphone app that guides visitors to the archaeological park of Vulci through the ground penetrating radar collected there. He enjoys creating projects that enhance the impact of data, expand access, and facilitate scholarly collaboration.

Digital Medieval Studies

I talk about creating my DH capstone project.

I talk about creating my DH capstone project.

How DH Has Helped Me Make Sense of My Field

Early in my graduate studies, when I took the Digital Humanities Colloquium at Boston College, the professor had us read a series of definitions of “the Digital Humanities” to introduce us to the scope of the work we might be doing. Many of these definitions rightly focused on interdisciplinarity, computational analysis, multimedia pedagogy and scholarship, and the need for an umbrella term to encourage institutional support and funding. One definition, however, continues to resonate with me as it is particularly germane to my own field of medieval studies: “[u]ltimately, what sets DH apart from many other humanities fields is its methodological commitment to building things as a way of knowing.” This emphasis on DH as primarily a methodology of building things clarifies what I can do with DH. When conceptualizing a new DH project, I begin by asking myself, “what am I hoping to build to help me know something new about this topic?”

Often, the answer to that question has something to do with the materiality of the topic. As a translator in medieval studies, I have spent untold hours poring over manuscripts and textual editions, navigating the webs of cramped handwriting spilling across pages and the matrices of the apparatus criticus. Text encoding, the DH work I have done with such manuscripts, has given me a deeper insight into the physicality of the scribal tradition and allows me to represent the complexity of the folios. Because DH prioritizes the creation of new material, I get to know the material culture of my field more closely than I might have otherwise.

This digital methodology of “building” gives me a different way of knowing the content and the context of the material I study. Both formats, manuscript and XML file, have their affordances for marking intertextual material, line breaks, section headers, etc., and the painstaking encoding process creates an intimacy with the text, which more traditional humanistic scholarship may not allow. In many ways, the detailed encoding (done in an XML file) feels like the practice of copying a manuscript, and the final result visually complements the original folio.

DH methodologies ask me to think about the medieval world in a new way, demanding that I consider how to transfer the technology of the manuscript into digital technology. As I build a digital manuscript of my own, I can almost see through the lens of the scribes themselves how they constantly referred back to their source text to produce a faithful copy. Digital humanities offers a new entry point to the field and literally allows me to continue the tradition I study, and it doesn’t hurt that the end result is really cool, too!

Manuscript viewer built from the XML file above through Edition Visualization Technology v. 1.3. This work-in-progress provides multiple nodes of engagement with both the manuscript and the text itself.

OA Journals

Boston College Libraries publishes Open Access (OA) digital journals that represent scholarship from Boston College faculty, graduates, and undergraduates and the broader OA community. This past fall, Fuse, a new undergraduate e-journal focused on the hard sciences, put out its first call for submissions and seeks to publish later this year. Another undergraduate journal, Medical Humanities Journal, has begun the process of moving to BC Libraries. (For questions about OA, see What is Open Access?)

If you want to launch a new e-journal or move an existing one to BC Libraries, please contact Gabe Feldstein. Some of our services provided include hosting on the OJS platform, Google Scholar and Directory of Open Access Journals indexing, DOI creation, and journal digital preservation.

Morales Mass Book

Morales Mass Book is an open-access companion site to the First Book of Masses by Cristóbal de Morales (ca. 1550-1553), a Spanish composer at the Papal Chapel in Rome. The project explores the Missarum liber primus (Lyon: Moderne, 1546), focusing on the composer, the printer, and the processes that informed the composition of four of Morales’s polyphonic masses. In addition, video and audio recordings invite us into the world of Morales’s superb music. The physical 1546 edition of the Missarum liber primus was acquired by the John J. Burns Library in 2011.

This project is a collaboration between Boston College Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Group and the Music Department in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.

Burns Antiphoner

The fourteenth-century Burns Antiphoner, now held in the collections of Boston College’s John J. Burns Library, is an illuminated manuscript antiphoner (from the Latin antiphonale, or antiphonarium, a book of antiphons), a volume of monophonic chant—plainsong, or plainchant—originally used by male or female religious personnel for singing the divine office of the Roman Catholic church. This digital iteration of the antiphoner features a manuscript viewer, transcriptions of the text, videos of chant performances, and full-text search functionality.

This project is a partnership of the Boston College Libraries and the Music Department in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, with the support of an Academic Technology Innovation Grant.

What are Digital Scholarship and Digital Humanities?

To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.

Leonardo da Vinci

There shall be love between the poet and the man of demonstrable science. In the beauty of poems are henceforth the tuft and final applause of science.

Walt Whitman

Digital Scholarship (DS) and Digital Humanities (DH) create opportunities to blur the lines and make connections between the sciences, arts, and humanities through the use of digital methods, concepts, and tools. They are a way faculty, librarians, and students can engage with new areas of scholarship and engage with traditional scholarship in innovative ways.

DS and DH Defined

DS is the deeply considered and critical use of digital methods and tools to conduct and present research. DH falls under the umbrella of DS and incorporates humanities-specific practices and methodologies. DS and DH methods include data visualization, GIS mapping, and text analysis, among others, and projects widely range in complexity from simple digital timelines to large-scale databases. For DS and DH examples, check out these award-winning projects Freedom’s Ring, Poppy Field, Prison Pandemic, and Atlante Clavino, and view some of the work that has been done at BC.

DH has Jesuit Roots

Roberto Busa, S.J. at Yale University, 1956

Father Roberto Busa, S.J. (1913-2011) was one of the earliest digital humanities pioneers. In his 1946 doctoral dissertation, Busa announced the need for a machine-generated Thomas Aquinas concordance. Why machine-generated? Because Aquinas’ works contain over 9 million words. Cross-referencing those words, not to mention connecting them with the many works Aquinas refers to, would take many lifetimes. In 1949, Busa began working on the concordance, known as the Index Thomisticus, and by 1951 he had a proof of concept machine that used punchcards. Today, it exists online. The Index Thomisticus was a monumental undertaking not just because of what it took to create it but also because of what inspired it. Father Busa noticed Aquinas’ unique use of a particular word that he wanted to explore. The word was “in.”

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about DS and DH, visit our Digital Scholarship Handbook. (The DS Methods Overview section might be especially helpful.) To begin learning digital skills, check out DS Learn, which has several tutorials on topics ranging from 3D modeling to data visualization to digital exhibit creation. And, as always, contact us, the Digital Scholarship Group, with questions or to discuss project ideas.

How Open is Open?

A closer look at Transformative Agreements, Hybrid Journals, and OpenAPC

For approximately the past two decades, with a sharp increase over the past five years in particular, open access articles are becoming more and more commonplace. So much so, in fact, that notoriously large, subscription based publishers such as Elsevier and Springer, have started offering a different model for accessing journal articles that does provides more access for the extremely high cost of subscription. Now, these companies have begun to make available new contracts with universities that allow for broader access for all affiliated scholars, and discounts or removals on Article Processing Charges (APCs) that are required to help fund the publication of open access articles.

On the whole, these “Transformative Agreements” break down barriers for access to students and save money for institutions so that they can spend their collection budgets on one-time purchases, rather than having their budgets tied up in subscription costs each year. And many journals indeed have made the transition from a Transformative Journal to fully Open Access. However, most Transformative Agreements tend to stop short of being fully open access – particularly when published by a major, well-known, well-funded publisher. Many make use of the Hybrid Journal model – which sees some of the content of a journal open access, and some still subscription based. Additionally, these agreements sometimes limit the publishing accessibility to a particular population affiliated with an institution; while fully open access publications are readily available with an internet connection and a URL. Recently, Boston College has signed a Read and Publish Agreement with Cambridge University Press.

Costs of Open Access

The costs associated with publishing open access can vary a great deal as well. In 2020, Springer was under fire in the public eye for listing an APC at 11,000 USD, when the average is closer to 2,000 USD. First, this again presents a barrier to access – as only institutions with liberal publication budgets, or professors who don’t mind going very deep into their own pockets – are able to meet this. Additionally, as major publishers try to maintain their subscription model while promoting open access – smaller independent publishers who are committed to publishing scholarly fully open access are left out of the picture. Publication funds that are generally meant for developing open source repositories and communal methods of sharing are instead going back to the same publishers pushing their subscription models.

OpenAPC is a project to gather data about APCs being paid to different publishers by institutions all across the world. While it is not comprehensively used, this data shows different trends in APC payment data, and create a narrative about how effectively librarians and research institutions are using open access publishing funds create more accessible work via publishers that are working explicitly to create open models for publishing.

This Treemap from shows the breakdown of funds used to cover Article Processing Charges across different countries, publishers, and funding institutions.

Plan S

In 2018, cOAlition S was launched. Composed of different national research funding institutions throughout Europe, the coalition’s main principles focus on making open access publication a reality. This coalition centered around Plan S – which has the goal of making public all research and publications that are supported through grants by national research institutions; making published researched immediately accessible to everyone and anyone with an internet connection. This – and efforts like it – amount to building pressures on publishers to offer open, immediately published options for authors looking to publish their work, which in turn creates a wider, globally accessible portfolio of scholarly work.

Supporting Open Access at Boston College

At Boston College, we publish seventeen open access journals and provide funding to authors via an Open Access Publishing Fund. Our E-Journals are free to read all over the world and can be found at Additionally, scholarship that has been published open access via our publishing fund can be found on our Open Access Publishing Fund LibGuide. If you want to start an E-Journal or submit an article to an open access journal – get in touch with the Digital Scholarship Team here at the O’Neill Library!

New Digital Studio Equipment

This semester the Digital Studio (O’Neill Library, room 205) has been upgrading the equipment in the Podcasting Room and Sound Room, some of which is ready for use and some of which will be ready soon.

In the Podcasting Room, we now have:

Besides being higher quality than the Blue Yeti microphone (still available in the space), the Rode Procasters provide a more professional recording experience. Instructions on how to use the mics are available in our Multimedia Production Guide

We are also in the process of setting up a Padcaster Studio for use in the Podcasting Room. This easy to use video production system will allow the BC community to record things like interviews and presentations.  

In the Sound Room, we are currently installing new acoustic panels, which will improve recording quality. We are also going to be making a Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam available that will allow for higher quality video capture. We see this as being of particular value to faculty who want to record presentation videos for online or hybrid courses.

Please email us if you have any questions, including about equipment availability.

BCDS Faculty Summer Incubator

This summer BC Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Group is holding a week-long incubator that will guide twelve BC faculty members through an exploration of digital scholarship methods and tools from a conceptual and technical standpoint. Participants will receive a $200 stipend following fall project presentations.

  • When: June 6th-June 10th
  • Where: O’Neill Library (in-person unless COVID requires it to move online)
  • Application: Due February 25th (Go to the Application)


The incubator will cover a wide cross-section of digital scholarship methods (e.g., data visualization, mapping, digital exhibits) and tools (e.g., ArcGIS and Tableau). Broader topics will also be incorporated such as project evaluation, usability, and intellectual property. The incubator will culminate in the creation of faculty projects that will be presented early in the fall semester during which faculty will receive feedback from colleagues and librarians to help them further develop their work. A project may be a well-articulated plan for a researched-based DS project and a prototype that demonstrates aspects of how the project will work, or, it may be for a pedagogy-based endeavor that includes a lesson plan and a prototype that demonstrates the digital component(s) of the lesson. More information on projects will be provided at the beginning of the incubator. Throughout the summer, the DS Group will provide workshops that dive deeper into DS tools, consultations, and other types of support that will enable participants to complete their projects.  

Learning Outcomes

Through their participation, faculty will gain:  

  • Familiarity with the current DS landscape 
  • An understanding of how to identify DS methods and tools for specific research and/or pedagogical pursuits 
  • Foundational skills in common DS tools
  • Greater comfort with and confidence in incorporating DS methods and tools into their research and/or teaching 
  • The ability to conceptualize and evaluate DS projects

Questions? Contact Melanie Hubbard, DS librarian, at

New: On-Demand Workshops

In the past, the Digital Scholarship Group hosted a series of preprogrammed workshops every fall and spring semester. We have changed this approach to on-demand workshops offered per the request of BC faculty, students, and staff. To make the process easier, we have created the Digital Scholarship & Scholarly Communications Workshops and Information Sessions Menu, which lists out-of-the-box learning opportunities that can be requested on shorter notice. It may also help with brainstorming ideas for more customized workshops. The menu, currently in its first phase, will be further developed over time.

We welcome comments and questions about this new workshop initiative.