Benin, Bronze bell. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

Artstor is proud to announce the three winners of the Digital Humanities Awards: Historic Dress (Smith College), Medieval Portland (Portland State University), and Sacred Conflicts: Religious Violence in Comparative Perspective (Northern Illinois University). The winners will each receive full access to Artstor’s Shared Shelf digital media management software for five years to upload, catalog, manage, store, and share their projects.

The Artstor Digital Humanities Awards were created to recognize the importance of the Digital Humanities and help the project leaders, Shared Shelf staff, and the greater community learn about issues associated with supporting the most innovative and intellectually stimulating projects in the field. They reflect Artstor’s mission to enhance scholarship and teaching through the use of digital media.

About the projects

The Historic Dress project provides online access to American women’s clothing from 1780 to 1930 in collections across the United States, and to related archival primary source materials. The study of historic clothing provides intimate access to the daily lives of people from the past, both as consumers and producers. It provides a lens through which to examine economics, technology, society, class and gender issues, and creative expression. The unique value of this project lies in the intellectual organization of these rare materials by the costume historians, librarians, and digital humanities experts collaborating on this project. Detailed metadata is structured to help novices learn how to read artifacts and understand their significance. Within Shared Shelf, this project will complement existing online collections, engaging a wider range of objects (not just high fashion, but also lower to middle class examples), and regional collections that may fall through the cracks. Submitted by Elisa Lanzi, Director of Digital Strategies & Services at Smith College Libraries.

Medieval Portland has developed over the last decade into a robust site housing a database of objects from the pre-modern era from institutions throughout the Portland, Oregon region. The project brings together understudied materials from Portland collections to enhance the study of history and visual culture for students and teachers, as well as for the broader public. It is precisely in that many of the works are relatively modest that they have a distinct contribution to make—the efforts to digitize and publish online manuscripts have inexorably drifted to more prestigious works, leaving many elements of visual culture underrepresented. Among other goals, migrating the database to Shared Shelf would allow these objects to be in an open platform and to become more accessible to scholars throughout the world. Submitted by Anne McClanan, Professor of Medieval Art and Digital Humanities at Portland State University.

Sacred Conflicts: Religious Violence in Comparative Perspective: Religious beliefs, practices, and institutions have always played a vital role in human societies, but schism, reform, conquest, and colonialism all bring religious systems into conflict with each other, sometimes leading to bitter religious violence and even religious warfare. This project aims to provide a Web portal to new research and resources on religious politics and sectarian violence in comparative contexts. Understanding religious violence is crucial for policy makers and researchers engaging in conflict resolution and peacemaking efforts. The Sacred Conflicts website will consist of linked document, image, and reference databases on current and historical religious conflicts. Shared Shelf will provide an essential tool to manage images, present documents, and construct the website. Submitted by Brian Sandberg, Associate Professor of History at Northern Illinois University.