Skip to main content

Digital Humanities

Spring 2022 

What is the ambitious goal of the Digital Humanities?

Students from technical and non-technical fields will work combine their knowledge as they work together to develop and apply technical tools to do research in the Humanities. The technology that these projects use include:

    • Machine Learning (AI)
    • Imagine Processing
    • Statistical Analysis
    • Coding

The humanity fields in which the VIP projects focus include:

    • Literature
    • Music
    • Art (typography)
Collage of text and music notes superimposed with code

Current Projects

  • Melville’s Marginalia – Use Optical Character and statistical analysis to explore the text American author Hermann Melville (author of Moby Dick) was reading that influenced his writing. This semester we will focus particularly on books by Nathaniel Hawthorne which Herman Melville read.
  • Music Recognition – Use a Machine Learning method to recognize the printed music notation and convert it to MusicML notation. This will allow old music printed on paper to be more accessible.
  • reTypograph – Analyze printed historical books to determine models of the shape of the text to recreate historical type font in modern electronic formats for use in modern word processing software.

View Dr. Barney’s TEDxBoise Talk – “How Digital Technology Helps Solve Mysteries in the Humanities.” 

Experience Gained

Working on an interdisciplinary project, applying machine learning and image processing tools

Methodologies and/or Technologies used to achieve project goals:

  • case studies
  • participant/study observations
  • qualitative research methods
  • quantitative research methods
  • data entry and analysis

Majors and Interests Needed

  • Any/All
  • Music
  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Literature

VIP Coach Information

Dr. Elisa Barney Smith joined the faculty at Boise State University in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in September 1999. Her research focuses on image processing and machine learning. She has had research collaborations across the United States, and has spent significant time working with collaborators in France and Germany.

Dr. Barney Smith is a member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and SPIE (Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers). She was chair of the Boise section of IEEE from 2000-2003, and chair of Region 6’s North-East Area from 2009-2013. For 2019 and 2020 she was the chair of IEEE’s global Student Activities program.

Campus Office: MEC 202C
Phone: 208-426-2214

Want to join the team?

This is a full semester course.
To register – search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects and select Section 033.
Choose to enroll in 1 or 2 credits in VIP 200 (freshman, sophomore), VIP 400 (junior, senior), or VIP 500 (graduate).
Team meetings TBD by participants.

For more information about this project and to request a permission number to register, contact Dr. Elisa Barney Smith at or complete this interest form and we will contact you.

Check out this document for tips on contact a professor.

To use permission number, follow these instructions Add with a permission number