Category > Digital Humanities & New Media Projects

4Humanities home page

Role: Co-founder and coordinator (with Geoffrey Rockwell and Melissa Terras).
4Humanities is a site created by the international community of digital humanities scholars and educators to assist in advocacy for the humanities. As a platform, 4Humanities stages the efforts of humanities advocates to reach out to the public. It solicits well-reasoned or creative demonstrations, examples, testimonials, arguments, opinion pieces, open letters, press releases, print posters, video “advertisements,” write-in campaigns, social-media campaigns, short films, and other innovative forms of humanities advocacy, along with accessibly-written scholarly works grounding the whole in research or reflection about the state of the humanities. As a resource, 4Humanities provides humanities advocates with a stockpile of digital tools, collaboration methods, royalty-free designs and images, best practices, new-media expertise, and customizable newsfeeds of issues and events relevant to the state of the humanities in any local or national context. (Also see 4Humanities local chapters, including the 4Humanities@UCSB local chapter, co-directors Claudio Fogu and Alan Liu.)

Suggested Citation: 4Humanities – Advocating for the Humanities. Home page. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 19 April 2011]. <>


RoSE home page

URL: [guest login available; active login by request]
Role: Project Lead.
White Paper for NEH: “Friending the Humanities Knowledge Base: Exploring Bibliography as Social Network in RoSE” (PDF)

Created in its first stage as an outcome of the Transliteracies Project, RoSE completed a second stage of development under a NEH Digital Humanities Start-up Grant (Level II) [Grant number: HD-51433-11]. RoSE is a Web-based knowledge-exploration system that fuses a social-computing model to humanities bibliographical resources to allow users to explore the present and past of the human record as one “social network.” Stocked with initial information data-mined from YAGO and Project Gutenberg (with plans for data-mining the SNAC Project), RoSE provides profile pages about persons and documents, keywords and other data, and visualizations that help users see the relationships between people and documents. Uniquely, it also allows users (humanities students, scholars, and research groups) to add “thickly described” metadata on top of standard bibliographical data. This facilitates a social-network-like sense of active, dynamic interrelation with the objects of research.

Suggested Citation: RoSE (Research-oriented Social Environment). Home page. Transliteracies Project, University of California. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 19 April 2011]. <>


UC New Media home pageURL:
Role: Founder.

The area of “new media studies” has recently emerged at the intersection of humanities, arts, social science, and computer science research into digital, networked technologies and their cultural implications. Research fields in this area include humanities computing, digital and network art, electronic literature, critical internet studies, computer-mediated communication, information technology and society, digital textual scholarship, text encoding, human computer interaction (HCI), networking protocols, data mining, data visualization, GIS, game studies, and others. New media studies also has a reverse time-arrow dimension: “media archaeology,” or the study of earlier media (oral, manuscript, print, early industrial) from a postindustrial media perspective.

The UC New Media Directory provides a guide to new media researchers and programs in the University of California system, which has invested strategically in this area. (This site is currently under construction. It is managed by the Transliteracies Project, a UC Multi-campus Research Group.)

Suggested Citation: UC New Media Directory. Home page. University of California. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 27 September 2006]. <>


Transliteracies home page URL:
Role: Principal Investigator.
Funded as a University of California Multicampus Research Group for 2005-2010, Transliteracies studies and plans for innovations in online reading from the perspectives of the computer sciences, social sciences, humanities (including the history of the book field), and new media art. Project participants include faculty from seven University of California campuses and several other universities. Current deliverables include: Transliteracies Research Clearinghouse.
Suggested Citation: Transliteracies Project (Research in the Technological, Social, and Cultural Practices of Online Reading). Home page. University of California. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 27 September 2006]. <>


Role: Project Leader and General Editor.
Collaborators: Paxton Hehmeyer, James J. Hodge, Kimberly Knight, David Roh, Elizabeth Swanstrom.

Agrippa (a book of the dead) appeared in 1992 as a collaboration between artist Dennis Ashbaugh, author William Gibson, and publisher Kevin Begos, Jr. The Agrippa Files is a scholarly site that presents selected pages from the original art book; a unique archive of materials dating from the book’s creation and early reception; a simulation of what the book’s intended “fading images” might have looked like; a video of the 1992 “transmission” of the work; a “virtual lightbox” for comparing and studying pages; full-text scholarly essays and interviews; an annotated bibliography of scholarship, press coverage, interviews, and other material; a detailed bibliographic description of the book; and a discussion forum.

The Agrippa Files was created by Alan Liu and a volunteer team of graduate students with the assistance of the book’s publisher, Kevin Begos.

Agrippa Files home page
Suggested Citation: The Agrippa Files. Home page. Ed. Alan Liu, et al. 2005. University of California, Santa Barbara. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 27 September 2006]. <>


Role: Member, ELO Board of Directors, 2002-present.

Chair, ELO PAD (Preservation/Archiving/Dissemination) Technology/Software Committee, 2002-2003.

The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1999 to promote and facilitate the writing, publishing, and reading of electronic literature. Since its formation, the Electronic Literature Organization has worked to assist writers and publishers in bringing their literary works to a wider, global readership and to provide them with the infrastructure necessary to reach one another. ELO’s PAD initiative arose in 2002 with the goal of creating the institutional and technical protocols needed to “preserve” works of new media literature (vulnerable to changing hardware and software platforms) by migrating them into future technological environments.

Suggested Citations:

  • Electronic Literature Organization. Home page. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 27 September 2006]. <>Electronic Literature Organization PAD Initiative. Home page. Electronic Literature Organization. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 27 September 2006]. <>

    Transcriptions home pageURL:”
    Role: Director and Principal Investigator.
    Transcriptions is a curricular development and research project in the UC Santa Barbara English department started with a NEH Teaching with Technology grant in 1998. Project faculty and graduate students create courses and research materials related to:

    • The social, political, economic, and cultural contexts that now make “information” so powerful;
    • The equivalent contexts that have always made literature itself an “information technology,” including the cultures of orality, manuscript, print, etc.

    Transcriptions also includes an undergraduate curricular track for English majors: the Literature and Culture of Information Specialization (

    Suggested Citation: Transcriptions Project (Literature and the Culture of Information). Home page. University of California, Santa Barbara. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 27 September 2006]. <>


    The full title of this site is Palinurus: The Academy and the Corporation – Teaching the Humanities in a Restructured World. I created the Palinurus site beginning in February 1998 to encourage critical thought about the corporatization of higher education and the relation between academic “knowledge” and postindustrial “knowledge work”; includes a rationale statement, featured controversies suggested readings, and a gallery of quotations. (Some material submitted by contributors.)


    The site fills me with melancholy when looking back on it now from the vantage point of 2013 after continued decreases in public funding for universities; the Great Recession beginning in 2007; the “privatization” of public universities; the trend toward “accountability” and “assessment” of education; the push by technology-industry leaders, pundits, and politicians for MOOC online courses to take up the slack; and other symptoms of the colonization of higher-education institutions by neoliberal philosophies and management structures native to contemporary business.

    The original rationale statement for the Palinurus site begins: “This pilot site was built by higher-education humanities scholars who have awakened to the combined practical and intellectual challenge to higher education posed by business in the era of ‘knowledge work,’ ‘learning organizations,’ and ‘information society.'”

    Date: February 1998

    Palinurus Gallery of Quotes
    • Palinurus Site
    • Selected Pages of Interest (select links on home page, which is a frame page):
      • Rationale statement
      • Featured Controversies, inclduing “Dearing Report (U.K.),” “Cal State ‘Technology Infrastructure Initiative’ (U.S.),” “New Zealand ‘Green Paper’ and its Critics.”
      • Suggested Readings in the following areas
        • The Idea of Business
        • The Idea of the University
        • Academe and Business
        • Information Tech and the Academy
    An early conference panel Web site that I built with Laura Mandell for the session on “The Canon and the Web: Reconfiguring Romanticism in the Information Age” at the MLA convention in Washington D. C., 29 December 1996. In his paper titled “Distant Mirrors and the LAMP” at the MLA convention in 2013, Matthew G. Kirschenbaum has discussed this site as an early “distant mirror” of the later web in its attempt to “situate the session amid a thick contextual network,” its “clear desire for interactivity, as expressed through the live email links and the injunction to initiate correspondence,” and its “curatorial sensibility.”

    Date of site: 26 March 1996.
    Date of event: 29 December 1996.

    Canon and the Web Site    Go to site
    This was the digital version of a ham radio club I started on my campus in 1995 for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in several departments (including English and Art) who were early enthusiasts of Web authoring. Included our Web show, a tools page, a project proposal page, and inspiration from Deleuze and Guattari.

    “1995 calling 2013: transmission begins. . . .”

    Date of site: 18 October 1995. (Earliest Internet Archive capture: 21 November 1996)

    Many Wolves Web Authoring Collective
    • Many Wolves site (archival version of site as captured in Internet Archive, 21 November 1996)
    This is one of the earliest “blog” essays I wrote–so early that it preceded the era of blogs.

    Citation: “Should We Link to the Unabomber? An Essay on Practical Web Ethics.” English Department, UC Santa Barbara, 9 October 1995.


    Date: 9 October 1995

    Background: The Emergence of the Unabomber Manifesto on the Net

    Shortly after the publication of the Unabomber’s “Manifesto on Industrial Society and its Future” in the New York Times and Washington Post on Sept. 19, 1995, Time-Warner mounted the Manifesto on its Web server and made it available as a subpage (titled “Unabomber: Tightening the Net”) from its Pathfinder home page. The link to the full text of the Manifesto is accompanied on the “Tightening the Net” page by links to a variety of mainstream media stories and commentary as well as by updates on the FBI’s manhunt. Copies of the Manifesto have subsequently also appeared on other servers on the net.

    The Issue: To Link or Not to Link From a Scholarly Research Page

    The Manifesto, its context, and its reception are events of major interest to scholars in such fields as science-technology-and-culture, sociology, journalism, etc. This is all the more so because the distinctly academic style of argumentation and language in the Manifesto (which comes complete with the bomber’s endnotes) establishes an intense feedback loop or “reverb” with the academic institutions whose faculty and staff have been among the bomber’s favorite targets–and casualties.

    Given the nature of the Manifesto’s original publication history, however (i.e., violently coerced), the ethics of participating to any degree in the further dissemination of the document is problematic. This is certainly the case if one were considering mounting a duplicate of the whole document on one’s server. But it is also the case, however attenuated and primarily symbolic, if one is merely considering creating a link to the document as it exists on someone else’s server.

    In the broadest perspective, the Unabomber incident is a uniquely compelling test of the ethics of pure research. . . .

    A “technical experiment and theoretical allegory” based on the work of Jean-François Lyotard. In this early attempt to explore the then-new dynamic capabilities of hypertext, I use now obsolete “client-pull” Web methods to create a series of automated tracks of Lyotard’s thought. The site includes a short theoretical essay on “philosophy of this page.”

    Date: August 1995.

    Lyotard Auto-Differend    Go to site
    Co-edited with Laura Mandell, The Romantic Chronology was database-driven hypertext chronology of the Romantic period with a links-archive and other resources designed to provide a historically-organized introduction to online materials in the area. A “Philosophy of this Site” page includes theoretical essays by the editors as well as Rita Raley and Carl Stahmer (serving at that time as research assistants for the project).

    The site started in 1995 as a series of large static HTML tables. Then, in 1999, the site became one of my first attempts to create a database-to-Web site (using Filemaker, though at this time I was also experimenting with other limited database programs such as Access before graduating to SQL Server and, later, to modern content management systems with LAMP architecture and MySQL databases).

    By 2013, when Laura and I had long stopped developing or adding content to the site, the old Filemaker database (a problem for my English Department’s sysadmin to maintain) was retired. The site was “flattened” in static HTML form for archival purposes.

    Date of site: 1995.

    Romantic Chronology
    My primer for colleagues learning about the Internet. 124 pp.; “published” in bound form in 1994 and sold for $11 through my campus bookstore.

    Date: 5 October 1994

    • Ultrabasic Guide to the Internet (full text as .pdf) (ported from a page-making program into PDF with some loss of elegance in formatting; bookmarks added to chapters)
    • My image from the guide illustrating the Internet as it appears through the “windshield” while driving on the information superhighway.
    Original VoS       Current version of VoS

    Role: Creator and editor (“weaver”).
    One of the earliest humanities research portals. VoS began in 1994 as a 70+ Web-page directory of humanities research resources organized by field, historical period, author, etc. Its original mission was to seduce other humanities scholars onto the Web by showing them available online humanities materials. Vos was reimplemented in 2001 as a database-to-Web system allowing for dynamic views of the data (general to specific) and user contributions.

    Suggested Citation: Voice of the Shuttle: Web Page for Humanities Research. Ed. Alan Liu. [Date of page when accessed, e.g., 27 September 2006]. University of California, Santa Barbara. Retrieved [Date of access, e.g., 27 September 2006]. <>


    Original, static HTML version of my Voice of the Shuttle: Web Page for Humanities Research. I started VoS in late 1994 as a Web site restricted to my campus (U. California, Santa Barbara), then made it world-accessible on 21 March 1995 as the root site of UCSB’s first humanities server (named at that time). Original VoS Home PageLinks were collected primarily using the text-only Lynx browser (for speed over a 2400 baud modem) even though the Mosaic graphical browser had recently appeared. My colleague Victoria Vesna in Art scanned and Photoshopped the logo for me, using a bolt of fabric loaned by my colleague in English Shirley Lim.

    From its origin to October, 1999, VoS stayed at the same address on the Humanitas server. It grew in that period to over 70 pages of links to humanities and humanities-related resources on the Internet. Its mission was to provide a structured and briefly annotated guide to online resources that at once respects the established humanities disciplines in their professional organization and points toward the transformation of those disciplines as they interact with the sciences and social sciences and with new digital media. An essay I published in 1998 narrates the origin and mission of VoS (“Globalizing the Humanities: ‘The Voice of the Shuttle: Web Page for Humanities Research.’” [pdf]).

    In October 2001, after a year of development work by Jeremy Douglass and Robert Adlington, VoS was rebuilt as a database-to-Web site. A SQL-injection hacker attack on the site a few years later led to extensive further work by Douglass to harden the site.

    Most of link collection, description, and maintenance was done solo (though for a brief period I had some funding and assistance from graduate students). I gradually slowed in collecting and fixing links for VoS over the years as portals and search engines became more generally used. Work on the site effectively stopped after c. 2009.

    Date: December 1994