Category Archives: News

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.

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.