I’m a dabbler at heart, and working in a digital humanities center provides ample space to explore tools, technologies, methods, and disciplines. In any given week, I might be working on data visualization, digital pedagogy, or web development. And although I’m a medieval Irish historian by training, I often find myself visiting other fields like African American poetry, 19th century women’s literature, or linguistics. That breadth is a necessity for working in a center like IRIS, which supports digital research and pedagogy across the humanities and social sciences. But I also find that it informs my own work in exciting ways, giving me access to intellectual discourses and models that would otherwise seem peripheral.
Some projects I’ve developed (or am developing):
In my own research, I do a lot of visualization of spatial and social networks in medieval Ireland. You can find some of my mapping work on Sites of Negotiation, a landing page for my projects that touch on spatial history. In particular, I’ve been working extensively this summer on Submission Strategies: The Irish Submissions to Richard II, 1395, a project that visualizes transnational social networks in fourteenth-century Ireland.
There’s always a lot going on in IRIS, and I’m actively working on many projects. Here are a few that I’m especially excited about:
- Madison County at the Migratory Crossroads (with the Madison County Historical Society, Stephen Hansen, Jeffrey Manuel, and Laura Fowler)
- The Black Lit Network (with Howard Rambsy)
- Realizing Inclusive Student Engagement in the Digital Humanities (RISE-DH) (with Jessica DeSpain, Kristine Hildebrandt, Howard Rambsy, and Connie Frey-Spurlock)
- Radio interview, “Leonard with Smith” Segue (WSIE 88.7 FM), aired May 15, 2022
- Podcast interview, “Digital Public History,” Coding Codices, May 6, 2022
Press releases and articles:
- “SIUE’s Smith Explains Digital Humanities, IRIS Center’s RISE-DH Grant Project on Segue,” The Edwardsville Intelligencer, May 13, 2022
- “SIUE Partners in NEH-Funded Initiative to Support Region’s Digital Humanities Infrastructure,” SIUE press release, March 21, 2022
- “SIUE professor leads project team dedicated to recovering the written voices of women,” The Alestle (SIUE student newspaper), December 9, 2021,
I am fortunate to have great collaborators who like to write about what we do! These posts from Professor Howard Rambsy II talk about some of the projects I’ve worked on with him and what it’s like to collaborate with a digital humanities center.
- Those weekly IRIS Center meetings
- Variety of collaborators will work on HBW grant funded by Mellon Foundation
- Building an African American poetry project with a DH Center, Part 2
- Building an African American poetry project with a DH Center, Part 1
Some resources I’ve developed:
I spend a lot of time thinking about digital humanities peer review, both in my role at the Recovery Hub for American Women Writers and as a practicing digital humanist. We talk a lot about peer review as a means of making DH legible as scholarship to administrators and hiring committees. But I also think it’s a crucial mechanism for helping our projects participate in scholarly discourses in our fields. To that end, I’ve put together some working documents on peer review with an eye toward my own field of medieval Irish history, and I’ve also developed a peer review model for the Recovery Hub that builds on the Reviews in DH model.
NB: The Google Docs are intended as collaborative documents, so please do feel free to add thoughts and resources and credit yourself!
- Thoughts and Desiderata for DH Peer Review
- Existing Resources for DH Peer Review
- Publications on DH Peer Review
- Recovery Hub for American Women Writers Peer Review Guidelines
Along similar lines, I put together a quick and dirty guide to DIY sustainability for digital humanities projects. Feel free to contribute to this one too!
In the last year or so, I’ve begun using Observable for a lot of my own visualizations, and I love how interactive it is – not just interactive visualizations, but interactive workbooks, where I can teach the process of creating the visualization. Here’s a quick tutorial I put together for visualizing the network data from the AvantRelationships plugin for Omeka Classic.
As part of my work co-directing “Expanding Access to the Digital Humanities in St. Louis,” an NEH-funded project through the St. Louis Area Digital Humanities Network, I’ve been creating some resources for teaching with DH tools. My goal in general is to reduce barriers to entry into DH pedagogy by reducing jargon, curating existing classroom materials, and providing beginner-friendly guides to free and easy to use tools.
- Digital Humanities Tools for the History Classroom (with Geremy Carnes) – watch for an updated and expanded version of this soon at the Cleveland Teaching Collaborative!
- What is Digital Humanities?