Dr Justin Tonra (English)

Dr Pádraic Moran (Classics)



Increasingly, Digital Humanities are the Humanities. Digital literacy is an essential skill that students and scholars need in order to navigate the increasingly digitised form of our human and cultural heritage. When in 2005, Jerome J. McGann wrote that “In the coming decades [ . . . ] the entirety of our cultural inheritance will be transformed and reedited in digital forms,” that process was already under way. The intervening years have shown the accuracy of his vision and provided testimony to the gathering speed at which the historical record has been digitised. Google Books has shown that commercial bodies are willing to undertake this process without due understanding and respect for historical documents and their evidence, so it is imperative that scholars in the Humanities argue loudly for the importance of their involvement in recovering and preserving the past, and in the creation of born-digital material. Digital Humanities at the Moore Institute must have two central aims:

  • Firstly, it must provide infrastructural service and support for digital scholarship: in practice, this involves the provision of front- and back-end technical support for the creation of digital resources such as websites, databases, digital archives, and apps. It also means providing educational and training opportunities for students and scholars within the Humanities to demonstrate the scope for research that is offered by digital methods and technologies and to aid the development of greater digital literacy within the School of Humanities.
  • Secondly, Digital Humanities will produce research from within its own disciplinary parameters, building arguments, tools, and theorising the digital turn within the Humanities as a whole. The PRA will reach out to Humanities disciplines and beyond to shape fruitful research questions: what effect does the digital medium have on our understanding of text, image, and sound? How can the web enhance Humanities scholarship? How does computing allow us to analyse genres, periods, and locations differently? To what degree does our heritage inhere in the material object? The realisation of both these aims can be achieved by the members of the PRA sharing perspectives and expertise from their diverse disciplinary backgrounds.

Building on the digital humanities expertise established at NUI Galway through FP6, IRCHSS and previous PRTLI programmes of the ‌Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, the Digital Humanities PRA will investigate the application of digital technologies to humanities research and creative activity at both theoretical and applied levels. Utilising the high-end digitisation facilities to be located in the AHSSRB, and in cooperation with cultural institutions, broadcasters and various archives, including the Irish language research expertise of the University’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, it will create new digital objects, surrogates and knowledge-sites with both academic and industrial applications, thus helping to shape a wider ecosystem of research, innovation and commercialisation. In addition, the PRA will analyse the growing impact of digital technologies on both research and creative practice, and explore theoretical questions about the relation between cognition, creativity and technology. Its activity will work closely with digital initiatives at national and European levels, in particular the EU. In short, Digital Humanities continues to advocate the philological and hermeneutic traditions that are at the heart of Humanities scholarship. It does so within a new a developing digital space.


Digital Humanities Projects