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Grant number: HAA-255991-17

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HAA-255991-17

University of South Florida (Tampa, FL 33620-9951)
Steven E. Jones (Project Director: January 2017 to present)

Reconstructing the First Humanities Computing Center

The digital re-creation of the laboratory of pioneering digital humanities scholar Father Roberto Busa to study the methods used by his team in early computational work with scholarly texts.

In 1956, Roberto Busa, SJ, founded the first humanities computing center in Italy. After five years in other locations, the operation moved in 1961 into a former textile factory outside Milan, where IBM punched-card data processing machines were installed. There student operators worked on the Index Thomisticus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other projects, 1961-1967. We aim to digitize a key range of materials in the Busa Archive directly relevant to the establishment of the center, to augment these with oral histories of machine operators and link to punched-card machine software emulators and an immersive 3D model of the center. The goal is to begin to recover the infrastructure, workflow, and institutional contexts for this highly significant “site” (both literally and figuratively) in the history of technology and the humanities. The outcome will be increased historical understanding through the creation of models for research and learning.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Program:
Digital Humanities Advancement Grants

Division:
Digital Humanities

Total amounts:
$75,000 (approved)
$75,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 3/31/2019