So, into the chopper it went: Gabriel Egan and Julianne Nyhan


So, into the chopper it went: Gabriel Egan and Julianne Nyhan


An oral history interview for the Hidden Histories project


This interview took place at the AHRC-organised Digital Transformations Moot held in London, UK on 19 November 2012. In it Egan recalls his earliest encounters with computing when he was a schoolboy along with some memories of how computers were represented in science fiction novels, TV programmes and advertising. His first job, at the age of 17, was as a Mainframe Computer Operator. He continued to work in this sector throughout the 1980s but by the end of the decade he recognised that such roles would inevitably disappear. In 1990 he returned to University where he completed a BA, MA and PhD over the next 7 years. He recalls his shock upon returning to University as he realised how little use was then made of computers in English Studies. Nevertheless, he bought a relatively cheap, second-hand Sinclair Z88 and took all his notes on it. Later he also digitised his library of 3000 books, destroying their hard copy versions in the process. The interview contains a host of reflections about the differences that computing techniques and resources have made to Shakespeare Studies over the past years, along with insightful observations about the contributions and limitations of DH. In this interview Egan describes himself as a ‘would be Digital Humanist’; indeed, it is the landscape that he describes from this vantage point that makes his interview so interesting and useful.


Julianne Nyhan and Gabriel Egan


Julianne Nyhan and Andrew Flinn 2016. Computation and the Humanities: towards an oral history of Digital Humanities. Springer.


19 November 2012


Interview audio files are made available under a creative commons licence “by-nc-nd” with the following characteristics:
• by: the content must be attributed to me and the interviewer.
• non-commercial: commercial use of the content is not allowed.
• no derivative works: the material is to be allocated in its original form and may not be
3.0/ and







Julianne Nyhan


Gabriel Egan


AHRC Digital Humanities Moot, London



Julianne Nyhan and Gabriel Egan , “So, into the chopper it went: Gabriel Egan and Julianne Nyhan,” Hidden Histories: Digital Humanities 1949 – Present, accessed February 22, 2024,