history.state.gov: A case study of Digital Humanities in Government

Joseph Wicentowski


The field of digital humanities is transforming research and teaching inside academia, but it is also making substantial contributions in government. Government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian, are applying technologies and methodologies developed in the field of digital humanities to government data in order to improve government transparency and the delivery of services, while lowering costs and ensuring better long-term data integrity. Focusing on the decision making processes that led the Office of the Historian to adopt specific technologies (namely, the Text Encoding Initiative and the eXist XML database) for its historical publications, this case study offers broad lessons for other government agencies and digital humanities projects and scholars.

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