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Humanities for All: A Database You Need to Know About

Posted in DH Blog

By: Hayley Brazier and Heidi Kaufman

Welcome back! As the Fall 2018 quarter is winding down, we are excited to bring you two more blog posts before the end of term. Today, we want to call your attention to a fantastic website, Humanities for All.  Humanities for All is an online database that provides a searchable list of over 1500 publicly-engaged humanities projects that have been created at universities across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. All of the projects listed in the database have engaged the public as either co-collaborators or as their audience.

Image Source: Humanities for All (https://humanitiesforall.org/)

According to the website, Humanities For All’s database provides a snapshot of the “state of the publicly engaged humanities over the last 10 years.” Nowhere else on the web can you find such a comprehensive list in one location. The National Humanities Alliance  (NHA) is responsible for bringing Humanities for All to life. The NHA is a “nationwide coalition of organizations advocating for the humanities on campuses, in communities, and on Capitol Hill.” The Humanities for All database also receives support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

With its robust search bar, the Humanities for All database helps visitors quickly identify projects of interest. For example, you can search for projects by institution, by theme, by discipline, by state, or by the type of community partner the project engaged with (such as Indigenous Tribes, K-12 schools, state parks, and public libraries, to name just a few). You can also enter a keyword in the “Search” box. What’s great about this search function is that the database can efficiently and quickly connect you with projects. A similar search on google would take hours.

Selecting “Digital Humanities” in the side bar under “Theme” returns a list of dozens of DH projects that would appeal to our DH@UO readers. And while many of the projects listed in the Humanities for All database are not necessarily digital humanities projects, almost all have at least one digital component in the form of a website.

A screen shot of Humanities For All webpage with a lost of projects
A list of projects related to the search criteria “Environment.” Image Source: Humanities for All (https://humanitiesforall.org/)

Because I research marine environmental history, a search for “environment” returned 77 initiatives. A narrower search for “sea” returned eight ocean or water-related projects. Clicking on an individual project opens a pop-up that looks like a library catalog card that provides an overview of information about the project such its home institution, its directors, its related discipline, and a link to its website. If the project interests you, you can click the URL link that directs you away from Humanities for All page and to the individual project’s website.

A screen shot of Humanities for All webpage providing information for Garden For a Climate Change
Humanities for All provides a “card catalogue” of information about each project. Image Source: Humanities for All (https://humanitiesforall.org/)

What’s so exciting about the database is its ability to connect scholars, students, and educators to other projects that directly relate to their interests. For students considering a master’s or PhD program, the database can locate  universities and advisors developing projects related to particular research areas. For scholars who are about to undertake a new public humanities project, the database can provide inspiration and guidance or can put people in conversation with existing initiatives. Humanities for All is also a crucial resource for teachers looking to incorporate the public humanities into classrooms. Despite all the talk of the downturn in enrollment and funding for the humanities, Humanities for All reminds us that  public humanities scholarship is  thriving. Clearly the humanities and the public offer compelling arguments and powerful projects through their collaborations.

Have you developed a publicly-engaged humanities project that should be listed in the database? Humanities for All asks visitors to suggest projects that can be added to the website, which means the database is constantly growing alongside the public humanities. If you know of a project that should be part of the database, we encourage you to fill out the online form.

You can follow Humanities for All on Twitter at @HumanitiesAll. Thanks for tuning in! We will be back next Friday with a Friday Feature.

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