The application of computing to the Humanities is not new and can be traced back to at least 1949, when Fr Roberto Busa began researching the creation of an index variorum of some 11 million words of medieval Latin in the works of St Thomas Aquinas and related authors. Notes and contributions towards a history of the computer in the humanities have appeared in recent years; however, our understanding of such developments remains incomplete and largely unwritten.

This project gathers and makes available sources to enable the social, intellectual and cultural conditions that shaped the early take up of computing in the Humanities to be investigated. The project draws on an interdisciplinary method bundle from Oral History, Digital Humanities and Historical-Cultural Studies. With the aim of capturing memories, observations and insights that are rarely recorded in the scholarly literature of the field it carries out interviews with ‘pioneer’ or ‘early adopter’ scholars and practitioners from c. 1949 until 1980 (that is, from main frame computing to the coming of the personal computer).

An international symposium in September 2011 addressed all aspects of the project’s methodology and brought together a small group of ‘early adopter’ scholars to discuss and record the early days of DH. This is being followed by online and print publications to support future research into the topic.

An introduction to the Hidden Histories Project can be found here. (Podcast)