Methods and Models for Building Capacity in Digital Cultural Heritage

Methods and Models for Building Capacity in Digital Cultural Heritage

Talk I gave at Umea University (hosted by HUMLab)


As with many other domains, cultural heritage is entering a new age in which information, computing, and communication technology is having an unavoidable impact on research, teaching, outreaching, and all aspects of scholarly communication. Increasingly, cultural heritage scholars and professionals who have not traditionally characterized themselves as being particularly digitally inclined are being asked to engage with issues, methods, models, and practices that are uniquely digital in nature. Unfortunately, while the need for innovative digital praxis exists, we are only starting to establish methods and models to build vital digital capacity among undergraduates, graduate students, and existing professionals and scholars.

It is within this context that this talk will introduce and explore Michigan State University’s Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative ( Hosted by the Department of Anthropology ( in partnership MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities & social Sciences (, the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative is a platform for interdisciplinary scholarly collaboration in the domain of digital cultural heritage. Most importantly, especially within the context of this talk, the initiative strives to equip students and professionals with the practical and analytical skills necessary to creatively apply information, communication, and computing technologies to cultural heritage materials and questions.

The ultimate goal of the talk is to suggest an applicable model as well as a series of best practices for building capacity among students and professionals in the domain of digital cultural heritage. Special emphasis will be placed on the deeply collaborative, applied, and interdisciplinary nature of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative. The talk will also situate the CHI Initiative within the broader ecosystem of teaching and training initiatives in the digital humanities and cultural heritage.


Ethan Watrall

October 24, 2013