UoG Faculty Members Launch Digital Humanities Lab in McLaughlin Library

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

  • Image Property of thecannon.ca

    Image Property of thecannon.ca

  • McLaughlin Library THINC-lab. Photo courtesy of author

    McLaughlin Library THINC-lab. Photo courtesy of author

I’ll admit, when I hear the word “laboratory” my imagination typically conjures a decoupage of bleached lab coats, cold steel, magnified cells in petri dishes...perhaps some weary looking mice. Maybe the word conjures a similar scene for you. Or perhaps you’re more of a lightning and bubbling beakers, Frankenstein type.

In any case, Professor Susan Brown and Dr. Kim Martin at the University of Guelph have just launched an innovative new project to ensure that the term will conjure something slightly more avant-garde in the minds of students and faculty.

The Humanities Interdisciplinary Collaboration Lab (THINC Lab) is a Digital Humanities research and training center that launched last Tuesday on the 2nd floor of The McLaughlin Library. Finely equipped with desktop and laptop computers, a large surface computing interface, communal work spaces, projection equipment, and teleconferencing capabilities, the facility seeks to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration amongst students and faculty. 

If the term “Digital Humanities” doesn’t immediately conjure an image or definition for you, don’t fret. Brown herself acknowledges that “there are myriad definitions of digital humanities”.

In its most simplistic sense, Digital Humanities (DH) exists at an intersection of digital technologies and humanities research. Be it through building, hacking, and coding, or critical analysis of the implications of technological tools, processes, and platforms, DH scholars investigate the technologies which increasingly manage and mediate knowledge production in an era of “Big Data”.

In the past few years, the DH community in Guelph has been rapidly developing a vibrant programme of lectures and workshops on topics ranging from text encoding and open access software to the ethics of digital scholarship. To date, the College of Arts has sent over 100 people to train at the internationally renowned Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) in Victoria, BC., and in recent years, [email protected] Summer Workshops has launched, offering courses as part of the DHSI training network.

 “[THINC Lab] marks a certain coming of age for digital humanities at Guelph in that we have been working towards it for close to a decade,” Brown says. This impressive push in developing infrastructure to support the DH community that Brown and Martin have cultivated will see much growth in the coming years. According to Brown, the library is set to build a digital scholarship hub around the THINC Lab which will, amongst other things, make complementary technologies available nearby.

The THINC Lab is accessible through the library room booking system. While graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, instructors, and faculty will have priority, undergraduate students involved in research projects will also be permitted access to the facility. Additional programming throughout the year will be open to all.


Drop a line to be added to the mailing list and receive the first word on lectures, workshops and other special events!


THINC Lab is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation in conjunction with the Canada Research Chair program. Major partners are the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science, and the University of Guelph, through a partnership among the College of Arts, the Library, the College of Physical and Engineering Science, and the Office of Research.



EDITOR’S NOTE: Professor Susan Brown’s work and accomplishments in digital humanities span her career at the University of Guelph and the University of Alberta, most notably for her work in the Orlando Project. Her exploration of technologies intersecting the representation and publication of feminist literature and other digital content have won her numerous awards and distinctions, including a Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Digital Scholarship, President of the English Chapter of the Canadian Society for the Digital Humanities, and lead developer of the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory.

 For a more complete list and additional information on her various initiatives and accomplishments, please visit her website.



- Kathleen Speckert

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