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The World History Center won a Digital Humanities Advancement Grant

A portrait of Mostern

Ruth Mostern, director of the World History Center in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, was awarded a $350,000 Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Digital Humanities Advancement Grants program supports innovative, experimental and computationally challenging digital projects, leading to work that can scale to enhance scholarly research, teaching and public programming in the humanities. The grant’s co-administrator, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports efforts to advance national infrastructures in libraries and archives.

Mostern’s grant will fund the expansion, development and outreach of the World Historical Gazetteer — a digital platform containing an index of world historical place names within a network of linked data and user tools to facilitate collaborative research.

“The system assists quantitative and empirical historical research — research focusing on cross-regional exchanges, connections and comparisons,” said Mostern, the principal investigator on the project. “The digital asset features a two-way platform for communication that improves scholar’s research while also contributing to a growing shared resource.”

“Researchers can upload data sets of place records drawn from historical sources and share data while augmenting their own data and discovering other work being done concerning their places of interest,” added Mostern.

Thanks to the influx of funding, the project team will develop infrastructure content and community for version three of the World Historical Gazetteer, including doubling its index, which already boasts 1.8 million historical place records. The suite of tools will evolve to better support teachers, contributors and end users and to increase engagement opportunities for diverse and global communities.

“Places have always been a profound aspect of people’s experience of the world and a core element of how people have exercised power over the world and one another. My colleagues and I are thrilled to have the chance to create infrastructure and content to explore those insights,” Mostern said.


— Nichole Faina