Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities @SAS


The School of Advanced Study has established a programme in digital humanities: DH@SAS, building on on existing activity across the School and in Senate House Libraries.

Digital Humanities (DH) is an emerging field that has the potential to inform the development of transformative research in the humanities. It has become increasingly influential both as an academic subject area, and as an area where the intersection of digital tools, methods, and content can be seen in an interdisciplinary, trans-national way.

DH@SAS demonstrates the value of the field to the wider humanities research community, and fulfills the School’s remit of promotion and facilitation of digitally enabled research across the disciplines. It fosters interdisciplinarity, and takes a proactive approach in setting the national agenda for DH.

In May 2015, the School hosted an event in association with the AHRC’s Digital Transformations theme and the European Science Foundation, “Beyond the Digital Humanities”, which explored new international developments and directions. For more information, see the event brochure.

Existing SAS digital humanities activities

The School of Advanced Study has a long history of digital research and innovation. Well-established highly-regarded initiatives developed at the School include, from the Institute of Historical Research:

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) has enabled access over many years to large-scale digital resources for research. The Institute of Philosophy developed PhilPapers and PhilEvents, the discipline’s key digital tools comprising a subject repository with bibliographic features and an international calendar of events, searchable by topic, person or region. 

Recent strategic appointments have underlined the emphasis the School places on digital humanities: 

  • SAS Chair in Digital Humanities
  • IHR chair in Digital History
  • Institute of Classical Studies Reader in Digital Classics
  • Warburg Institute Digital Libraries post.

Other Institutes have developed funded research with digital content and methods at its core, and key appointments have been made in digital publishing. Senate House Library is developing digital initiatives, especially through the appointment of a Head of Commercial Licensing and Digitisation. There is a Digital Humanities strand at the annual Being Human Festival.

Key themes and activities

DH@SAS enables development in digital humanities across the School Institutes and Libraries. Themes include:

  • Building a digital research infrastructure for access to, and sustainability of, research outputs; for research data management, and for digital collections.
  • Developing digital and scholarly communication initiatives, especially open access publications.
  • Conducting outreach and public engagement to raise awareness and build collaborations and networks. 
  • Building capacity through research training.
  • Fostering and developing strategies for interdisciplinarity in digital humanities.

Following highly successful events organized by the School on digital manuscripts and text editing, a number of activities will be developed by the School, including visiting fellowships; postgraduate recruitment; research and development fundraising; and internationally focused events.

Senate House Libraries Digital Initiatives

Senate House Library has created a new role of Head of Commercial Licensing and digitisation with responsibility for identifying commercial and grant-funded opportunities to digitize and license content from the wealth of modern and special collections held within the Library. The Library aims to:

  • improve access to, and awareness of, its collections
  • take a lead role in supporting digital scholarship (with particular emphasis on the creation and curation of digital assets)
  • digitizing materials for remote access research
  • creating enhanced metadata to enable research across linked datasets
  • develop a range of analytical tools.

Equally, the Library will explore the challenges posed by the need to curate digital content and research output across various standards and formats, how to ensure the continued provision of access, and therefore redefining the role of an academic research library for the 21st century as both an onsite and a virtual research centre.


Gabriel Bodard, Reader in Digital Classics
Matt Phillpott, Central Academic Initiatives
Jane Winters, Chair in Digital History, Institute of Historical Research
Greg Woolf, Director, Institute of Classics, and Pro-Dean for Central Academic Initiatives
Nick Barratt, Senate House Library


SAS-Space is an online library for humanities research outputs, providing a permanent archive for scholars and researchers.


British History Online

British History Online - a digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland.



PhilPapers is a comprehensive index and bibliography of philosophy. It also hosts the largest open access archive in philosophy.