Author Archives: Gemma Poulton

Section 28 and its afterlives

From October to early November 2023, I was lucky enough to be a part of the ‘Section 28 and its afterlives’ project. The project aimed to mark the 20th anniversary of the repeal of this homophobic legislation with an exhibition which put the voices and experiences of LGBTQ+ people at its heart. The exhibition was placed in the Forum at the university from 13th-17th November and then moved to Positive Light Projects in Sidwell Street from 17th-23rd November.

What is Section 28?

· Section 28 was a piece of legislation brought in by the government in 1988 and was repealed in 2003.

· The clause prohibited schools and local authorities from “promoting” homosexuality, labeling it as a “pretended family relationship”.

Section 28 perpetuated fear, silence, shame and secrecy. The aims of this project are to promote the visibility of LGBTQ+ people and use their stories to educate, remember and highlight the long shadow that Section 28 has left. This important piece of history therefore speaks now to debates around queer spaces in schools but also to the conversations around trans rights in the UK.

What was my role?

My role as a Digital Humanities Intern has been to work with the oral history interviews to ensure they were ready for an audience. Using Audacity, I was able to cut out background noise, cut clips to be concise and ensure the audio was of good quality. I also prepared the transcripts that would sit alongside the audio on the project website, and QR codes that linked to the website and could be incorporated into the exhibition. The recordings, transcripts, and QR codes together produced fantastic results, allowing people to listen, read and access the material as they walked past but also engage with it in their own time.

Myself and the other interns at the exhibition in the Forum on campus.

To promote the exhibition, I created promotional material in the form of a trailer:

I wanted to capture the emotive nature of the oral histories: the reaction to its repeal, how the legislation impacted people at the time, the extent of this effect and the afterlives of such a damaging policy… not an easy task in a 30-second clip!

I kept the design simple, using only the pink triangle (a key part of both the branding of the project and the symbol of protest at the time) to make the material eye-catching. I wanted to maintain the idea that the voices were front and centre to keep the project cohesive.

I would especially like to thank Chris Sandal-Wilson and his team for their constant support with all aspects of the project. Their vision allowed for an inclusive, thought-provoking exhibition that holds historical significance but also opened up conversations about LGBTQ+ rights and experiences in today’s society.

I’m looking forward to continuing this work with the Section 28 team in 2024.

The Section 28 team with Ben Bradshaw MP

Where can I learn more?

This is a continuing project, which has secured more funding to be able to continue to build a growing collection of oral histories. If you would like to share your experience, you can get in touch through the form on the website

Anna Ross- Digital Humanities Intern 2023-2024

Digital Preservation Day 2023

It’s World Digital Preservation Day! Two years ago, we posted about the work the DH team were doing to ensure the long-term sustainability of archival collections and the digital content we create in the Lab. Since then, we’ve been collaborating with colleagues from across the university to work harder than ever on digital preservation, and World Digital Preservation Day 2023 seemed like a great opportunity for an update on what we’re working on. 

Developing our capabilities in capturing legacy media  

Examples of media storage

One of the Lab’s specialities is safely capturing the contents of legacy media. In the past few years, the lab team and intern team have collaborated with colleagues in the Drama Department to digitise several extensive collections, including VHS recordings of Exeter City Football Club, and cassette tapes containing interviews with farmers from around Devon and Cornwall from the 1980s. 

We’ve also been working on expanding the range of early digital media we can work with – particularly to help the University Special Collections and Bill Douglas Cinema Museum access and preserve some of their older and more challenging collections. We are currently setting up two ingest workstations with tools like Bitcurator, and creating guidance for colleagues, such as a Field Guide to Legacy Media to help with identifying media types and the file formats and hardware they may require. Student interns in the DH lab and the BDCM have already been putting the workflows to the test capturing content from hard drives and floppy disks, with very successful results so far! 

Archiving project websites 

Our portfolio of research websites has also expanded since 2021, and we continue to work on making sure the data and interfaces of our websites will be accessible in the long term. Our first step has been using the Wayback Machine to create copies of website interfaces, to make sure a version will be available online even after the live site becomes unavailable.  

We have also been learning how to use tools like Browsertrix-crawler and Conifer to create our own web archive files. Finding ways to use the software to capture the wide range of content included on our websites has been a challenge, but we are now able to make our own copies of most of our sites, enabling us to deposit them in ORE (the University of Exeter data repository) and Zenodo, for secure long-term storage.  

Following our own learning journey, we are working on providing guidance to help web site users find and view the different sorts of web archives that we hope to make available. 

Open-Access Data 

As well as web archives, we have also been starting to deposit project datasets in data repositories, both to ensure their long-term safety and to make open-access copies available. The Exeter Digital Humanities community on Zenodo now includes datasets from the Lawforms project and the Hardy’s Correspondents project, available under CC-BY licenses. As current projects wrap up, we hope to continue to expand the collection of datasets there. 

Giving advice and raising awareness  

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the DH team continues to work to raise awareness about digital preservation both within the university and beyond. Part of our role is supporting research teams from the early stages of developing grant applications right through to archiving project outputs, and we provide advice and support for implementing good data practices throughout. We provide regular training workshops on how to plan data management for funding applications. Recently, we have also given presentations about digital sustainability to conferences of researchers and heritage professionals, to encourage them to consider the long-term safety of their data from the beginning of their projects. 

Two years on from our first post, it’s great to look back and see how far we have come. We have really expanded the skills and equipment we have available, and the support we’re able to provide. However, we are pleased to say we are still learning and developing our capabilities, and collaborating with colleagues to put new skills into practice. Digital preservation is a never-ending task, and the University collections continue to provide a steady stream of new and exciting challenges for us all. 

AHRC iDAH Virtual Summer School in digitisation and analysis of textual sources 

Course 1: Text extraction from printed sources (11 & 12 September) 

Course 2: Text extraction from handwritten sources (13 & 14 September) 

Course 3: Digital ‘Distant reading’ with Voyant Tools and AntConc (11 & 12 September) 

Course 4: Digital ‘Close reading’ with NVivo (13 & 14 September) 

Optional: Bring Your Own Data Surgeries (15 September, a.m. & p.m.) 

The aim of these four short online training courses is to provide Arts & Humanities researchers with foundational knowledge and skills in automated text extraction and analysis of textual sources, using free or widely available commercial applications. The aim is to allow participants to apply digital visualization and analysis techniques to source materials, including those which only exist in physical form, such as books, manuscripts, and archives. 

Delivered by the University of Exeter as part of the AHRC’s iDAH Digital Skills Training Network, these courses are intended for academic professionals, researchers in Higher Education Institutions and Research Organizations, and librarians conducting research related to Arts and Humanities topics. They are foundation level, and do not require programming skills or prior experience. All courses are two, full-day sessions (+ optional half day). They will be conducted fully online, with a maximum of 10 participants on a first-come-first-served basis. To apply please fill in the application form

Course 1: Text extraction from printed sources 

This course will instruct participants in best practices for converting physical objects containing printed text, such as books, manuscripts and archives, into digital formats by using scanners, DSLR cameras and mobile phones. It will then focus on the use of OCR tools and techniques, such as Google Docs OCR, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and ABBYY FineReader, to convert images of text into searchable and processable digital text. 

Course 2: Text extraction from handwritten sources 

This course will instruct participants in best practices for converting physical objects containing handwritten text, such as correspondence, manuscripts and archives, into digital formats by using scanners, DSLR cameras and mobile phones. It will then focus on the use of the online Transkribus HTR platform to convert images of text into searchable and processable digital text. 

Course 3: Digital ‘Distant reading’ with Voyant Tools and AntConc 

This course will cover a variety of methods for ‘distant reading’ (high-level analysis of texts and corpora), using freely available software. Voyant Tools will be used for rapid visualization and exploration of word patterns within a text. AntConc allows users to perform a variety corpus linguistics analysis techniques. 

Course 4: Digital ‘Close reading’ with NVivo 

This course introduces participants to NVivo, a software package widely available through university licenses and used for the close analysis of primary sources. Participants will learn how to transcribe and annotate texts and perform analysis and visualizations based on methods such as topic modelling, thematic clustering and sentiment analysis. 

Optional: Bring Your Own Data Surgeries 

An optional Friday morning or afternoon session will provide participants will some additional support when applying these methods to own materials and sources. 

For additional information or any further inquiries, please feel free to email us and we will respond promptly.  

Digital Humanities Interns 2022/23 part 4

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Each year we ask our interns to write a blog post at the end of their time working with us looking back on their time in the DH Lab. Here is the fourth of this year’s blogs from Heide:

Hello, I’m Heide, now a third year English Undergraduate (and set to graduate July 2023). I have been lucky enough to have another year working as an intern at the Digital Humanities Lab and have worked on more exciting projects since my last blog post.  

This year I continued to digitize letters and manuscripts from the Culver House collection using the A0 Copystand in Lab 1, exploring the “Busy Bee” manuscripts and the historical life of Culver House with our Lab Technician, Bronte Lyster. Other notable 2D photography projects included historical maps of Exeter from the University’s Special Collections and playbills from the Exeter Theatre Royal.  

One project in Lab 2 featured using the archival book cradle to digitise a text titled L’Historia Ecclesiastica owned by Queen Elizabeth’s head executioner. The text featuring marginalia written by the man himself! The text’s digitisation allowed a previously inaccessible text to be preserved and made available to researchers with specific page requests.  

This year brought the production of my first flawless photogrammetry model. Although the antler bone knife from the archaeology department’s teaching packs was not as cute as my gray crochet bunny from my first year, it certainly made a better photogrammetry model subject. I have been working alongside our other interns to produce photogrammetry models of the University’s archaeology teaching packs. These models would allow more accessible teaching, remote learning and easier access  to the artifacts for analysis outside of the classroom. This project follows on from the work I mentioned in my previous blog post – the Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI)  models that I helped produce of archaeological arrowheads. We have produced both RTI and Photogrammetry models of the teaching materials.  

My colleague, Julia Hopkin, sparked my interest in spinning by helping me to print my first 3D printed Turkish drop spindle on our Ultimaker printer at the start of my year. After the initiation of our new Formlabs resin printer I am now the proud owner of a resin printed Turkish drop spindle as well. The new resin printer has allowed us to create beeswax replicas of original beeswax fragments through the process of creating a photogrammetry model of the original fragment, printing the photogrammetry model in the resin printer, creating a cast of the print using silicone, then pouring and setting molten beeswax into the moulds to create a replica. These replicas are incredible, as the original wax artifacts are extremely fragile and prone to decay so are not on display at all.  The replica creating session was also quite fun to do and displays the full circle of digital humanities from the physical to digital and back again.  

This year I also worked alongside a team on the start of the Connecting Late Antiquities project which seeks to digitise all volumes of the Prosopography of the Latter Roman Empire (or PLRE for short). For most of my contribution I worked on troubleshooting and machine learning in ABBYY Fine Reader, a software that allows for some machine learning and training for Optical Character Recognition (OCR). OCR allows for the conversion of photographical text into editable text to be used for XML markup and eventual online publication. The PLRE volumes will also be updated with new knowledge that has developed in the field. For more information on Connecting Late Antiquities please visit the link provided below.  

Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years as a Digital Humanities intern and have found it to be an invaluable experience. The skills I have learned in both digital archival technology as well as customer service have helped shape my career path and university experience. I enthusiastically recommend the intern position for both the invaluable skills and the enjoyable workplace experience that would benefit any Exeter University student.  

For anyone who would like to read my previous blog post please find a link to it here:  or visit  

To find out more about Connecting late antiquities visit,on%20the%20Cambridge%20Core%20platform.  

Digital Humanities Interns 2022/23 part 3

Each year we ask our interns to write a blog post at the end of their time working with us looking back on their time in the DH Lab. Here is the third of this year’s blogs from Isabel:

Hi, my name’s Isabel and I’m a third year History student and intern at the Digital Humanities Lab and this year I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy my second year at the lab.

Recently, I’ve been spending my time getting to grips with photogrammetry and 3D modelling. On top of photographing and processing lot of palaeolithic flints and ancient pottery from the archaeology department’s teaching packs, one of my main projects I worked on was fully processing a small ornament from a physical object, to a digital model, to a physical object again in the form of two differently printed 3D prints. I started with the original Egyptian pyramid ornament, photographing it in the photogrammetry set up in the lab space. Then, these photos had to be processed in computer software which aligned the images into one digital 3d model.

Once this was completed, I printed the first 3D model in our Ultimaker 3D printer in white and finally I printed a green resin model in the form lab printer and had a look to see how different the results were.

This year I also got to spend a lot of time with the RTI dome. On the one hand this meant creating RTI images of the archeology from the teaching packs so that people could better see the markings and lines on the side where the pottery had been cut and which showed more information about how the pottery was made. On the other hand, this also meant experiemtnsing with some of my own objects to see how they would look under RTI. I experimented with a necklace of mine with bronze age chain on it to see what the different RTI photos would show me.

And finally, I got to have a bit of fun at Halloween this year when I printed a glow in the dark pumpkin pot!

Digital Humanities Interns 2022/23 part 2

Each year we ask our interns to write a blog post at the end of their time working with us looking back on their time in the DH Lab. Here is the second of this year’s blogs from Dayna:

Being a DH Intern

Working at the Digital Humanities Lab over my final year has been an incredible and exciting end to my time studying History at Exeter. I first heard of the DH Lab in my second year through the Festival of the Past, and I was immediately impressed with its innovative and important work. Despite having very limited technological experience prior to my internship, the Lab has cultivated and encouraged me to learn and develop a multitude of skills.

I was introduced to the many operations of the lab through weekly training sessions including lessons on photography, photogrammetry, reflective transformation imaging (RTI), and more. Within these guided sessions, I not only developed a repertoire of skills through hands-on experience but also a sense of confidence to experiment with new things.

Alongside the training sessions I also began independent work on other projects in my shifts. In the lab, I began digitising some of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum’s film programmes which introduced me to Capture One software and handling archival material. Working with this helped prepare me for later work I would do with the Museum’s stereocards and glass slides, which I both digitised and morphed using Microsoft Powershell. Meanwhile, whilst helping on the advisory desk I created posters for an exhibit in the Arabic and Islamic Studies department. This demonstrated to me the interdisciplinary approach of the Lab’s work and the range of material being worked on.

One of my favourite parts of working in the Lab has been 3D printing. At the start of the internship, the team are so encouraging to engage in this method in fun, innovative, and experimental ways. As such, I was able to print a range of novelty items including an articulated lizard, a glow in the dark cat, and even create my own snowman on TinkerCad to then print out. With the lab’s addition of a Formlabs resin printer, as well as their Ultimaker 3 and Makerbot, I was able to understand the subtle differences between 3D printing techniques.

Towards the end of my internship, I became involved with the lab’s social media pages. I helped create Instagram stories to raise awareness of the lab’s facilities and availability to HASS staff and students. From this, I also created some short video content for the wider Archaeology and History Department. These videos further explained the lab’s work, especially drawing attention to opportunities offered to student interns. I really enjoyed making these videos as it consolidated my year’s long experience at the lab in an informative and useful way to encourage and educate other students. These can be viewed on the departments TikTok page @Uoearchhistdept!

In addition to these broader tasks, my time working has also involved projects like transmitting data from floppy disks and digitising objects from archaeology teaching packs. I’ve also helped represent the DH lab on undergraduate open days where I have gotten the chance to speak to prospective parents and students about the lab’s opportunities. In all, my internship has encompassed a myriad of projects and disciplines that has made it a continuously exciting and educational role. Looking back, I am amazed at how much I have accomplished when considering that I began with such limited knowledge in this field. The enthusiasm of the team, and their unwavering support and encouragement has made for a thriving learning environment. I have loved coming into work with each shift being totally different from the last. I would absolutely recommend this opportunity to anyone interested!

Digital Humanities Interns 2022/23 part 1

Each year we ask our interns to write a blog post at the end of their time working with us looking back on their time in the DH Lab. Here is the first of this year’s blogs from Jane-Marie:

I am Jane Marie a final year Art History, Visual Culture and Classical studies student. I remember visiting the digital humanities lab on my open day at the university. I was immediately impressed at their wide range of technologies and the opportunity to become an intern at the lab.

Before starting the university, I had completed and art foundation course in graphic communication this meant I had some computer skills before I started the internship. At the end of my first year, I completed a short internship with the University of Exeter’s special collections team cataloguing the university’s Leonard Baskin Prints. Both experiences provided me with the necessary skills and interest to start my internship at the Digital Humanities lab.

Some of the modules I have taken during my time at university have been directly related to Digital Humanities. In my second year I took the AHVC Field study module as part of which we created a walking tour of Florence. From this module I learned digital mapping and audio editing skills. In my final year I took the ‘Hacking the Humanities: how to run successful digital projects’ module which paired very nicely with my work at the Digital Humanities lab.

Over the year as Digital Humanities Intern, I have assisted on a range of projects from digitisation to podcast editing. The most interesting and different project I have worked on is filming the CRAB Lab bees on the top of the Washington Singer Building.

I had no idea that there were any beehives on the Exeter university campus so to get to see them up close and personal was an amazing opportunity. I assisted in the filming of the video and had to wear a bee suit in the process. I was the responsible for the editing of the video.  

The challenge when editing this video was knowing what of all the information Zoe, the beekeeper, had told us was the most important to include. We also had a lot of “Bee-role” footage to intersperse with the talking. Another challenge I found was controlling the audio levels across the different bits of footage. As we where filming in a working lab space there was some background noise that needed to be removed from the footage. While editing I learned how to edit the audio to remove the sound without distorting the audio. This example shows the problem-solving skills you develop when working with the digital humanities.

Along side the projects we have also completed training in all aspects of the lab from the 3D printers to Photogrammetry. This has helped me build confidence in using the technologies of the lab as well as introduce me to unfamiliar skills which I found challenging such as coding. Completing these challenges as a group made them less daunting.

Overall, my experience at the digital humanities lab has been an incredible opportunity to learn a range of different skills some of which I found quite challenging and others I immediately clicked with. It has been wonderful working with the other amazing interns, the DHL team and aiding academics in their research and outreach.

Hot Source! Digital Skills Training

As part of the AHRC’s iDAH program, the University of Exeter Digital Humanities Lab is organizing a Summer School during June 2023 in Digital Skills that comprises two free training courses for Arts & Humanities Researchers: 

  • The first course (intermediate to advanced level; 12-16 June) will focus on Text Analysis using the Python programming language 
  • The second course (foundation level; 19-23 June) will focus on 2D, 2.5D, and 3D recording and visualisation

We have a limited amount of financial support for PGR and ECR with no access to travel funds. If this will help you, please check the relevant section of the form when you apply.

Course 1: AHRC iDAH/Exeter Digital Summer School: Introduction to Text Analysis Using Python

As part of the AHRC iDAH network for Digital Skills Training, the University of Exeter Digital Humanities Lab is offering a free introductory Summer School in Text Analysis with Python. Over a 5-day period, participants will have the opportunity to develop their digital skills through hands-on experience with Python, a popular programming language widely used for data analysis and text processing. The schedule for the course is available here: Hot Source! Course 1 information

During the course, you will cover topics such as regular expressions, text preprocessing, Named Entity Recognition, feature extraction, sentiment analysis, visualization, and language models. The objective is to provide practical experience with popular Python libraries like Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), spaCy, and Matplotlib which are widely used for text analysis and natural language processing tasks, leaving you well-equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in these fields.

The intended audience for this course is academic professionals and researchers in Higher Education Institutions and Research Organizations who conduct research related to language, literature, history, social sciences, or any other field that involves text data analysis. It may particularly appeal to those working in linguistics, digital humanities, computational social sciences, and data journalism, but all are welcome.

This is an intermediate-to-advanced digital skills course and participants will need to be familiar with the fundamentals of Python and Google Colab before the course. For those without prior experience, we are happy to recommend a variety of tutorials to help prepare in advance. During the course, we will cover the essential libraries for text analysis in Python, such as SpaCy and NLTK. More experienced participants will have additional opportunities to explore other libraries such as Matplotlib, Genism, and Plotly.

The course will be in person, with a maximum of 10 participants. It is initially offered to researchers in the South-West. The remaining places will be available countrywide from May 19th.

To apply please use this application form. Applications must be received by May 31st and you will be notified by June 2nd.

Course 2: AHRC / Exeter Summer School on 2D, 2.5D and 3D capture and visualisation of textured artefacts

As part of the AHRC iDAH network for Digital Skills Training, the University of Exeter Digital Humanities Lab is offering a free introductory Summer School in 2D, 2.5D and 3D capture and visualisation of textured artefacts. Over a five-day period, participants will have the opportunity to develop their digital skills through hands on experience with accessible and low-cost equipment. You will learn the basics of Archival Photography, RTI and Photogrammetry and have a chance to apply these to your own materials if desired. The schedule for the course is available here: Hot Source! Course 2 information

This course is intended for academic professionals and researchers in Higher Education Institutions and Research Organisations who conduct research related to Arts and Humanities topics. It may particularly appeal to those working in Archaeology, Heritage and the Visual or Plastic Arts but all are welcome.

This is a foundation level course and no prior experience or skills in 2D, 2.5D and 3D visualisation is required, or expected but a basic knowledge of digital photography will be beneficial. The course will be in person, with a maximum of 10 participants. It is initially being offered to researchers in the South West area of the UK, but any remaining places will be made available to researchers countrywide from May 19th.

To apply please use this application form. Applications must be received by May 31st and you will be notified by June 2nd.

If you would like any additional information or have any further questions, please email us and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Digital Humanities Intern – Heide

Hi, I’m Heide, a second year English Undergraduate. I first encountered the Exeter Digital Humanities Lab during the Festival of Discovery after my first year, but I had already unconsciously experienced Digital Humanities throughout my degree, through online resources such as EEBO (Early English Books Online), The Hardy Correspondents and many other archive websites that I used to research primary sources.  

My first hands on experience with digital humanities was during my year one Rethinking Shakespeare module (EAS1041), where we used TEI text encoding to combine differences in Folio and Quarto texts for scholarly consideration. The digitally encoded text provides a more interactive text for study, as different textual variants can be easily seen and more equally considered. The accessibility of the digital texts and the significant scholarly applications inspired me to look further into the previously unknown field of digital humanities by applying to be an intern.  

Crochet rabbit photographed on a turntable in Digital Humanities Lab 2

At the start of my internship, I had little technical knowledge about digital photography and technology, however, the DH Lab provided all the training basics. Every week I enjoyed learning new things: Basic Camera skills, Photogrammetry, RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imagery), 3D Modelling and Printing, Photoshop, Audio and Visual recording and editing… The list really does go on! I loved all of the training across the lab and attempted to partake in as many varied projects as I could throughout my internship. One of our training sessions was on photogrammetry, where we brought in our own objects to produce a model. I brought in one of my crochet projects – a kind of awkward looking rabbit (who can be found on one of the Digital Humanities information slides in the Breakout space!). The software wasn’t a great fan of the object, and fabric itself is not the best suited to photogrammetry, so it turned out a little bit wonky (as seen below).  

Crochet rabbit photogrammetry model produced using Metashape

My first projects consisted of 2D digitization in Lab 1, using the A0 copystand. I digitized many letters , and I still enjoy discussing the adorable wax seals to this day. The experience of touching and reading documents and artefacts that would commonly be sealed away in a private collection or museum is such an amazing and interesting experience. I also helped to digitise a collection of Arabic postcards and documents and the Exeter University Fine Art Committee documents. I also used Lab 1 to photograph and reverse negatives of Arabic documents for study in the Lawforms project. Alongside the other interns I helped with inbox and reception management, as well as social media contributions for the Lab and university projects, such as promotional material for the Famine Tales Project.

I also worked on digitising cassette tapes of interviews with Devonshire farmers to convert them into a digital format using the Audio-Visual Lab (AV Lab, Lab 3). As someone who grew up in Devon it was very interesting to hear personal interviews of the locals, and often quite entertaining.

I worked on a larger RTI project to digitize archaeological arrowheads for a university colleague at Exeter. RTI (Reflectance transformation imagery) is performed by capturing images of a static object with a static camera but with changing light angles (check out the DH Lab RTI demonstration page here: These images are then put into a software called RTI_builder and the process is followed to create an interactive RTI model. Here is a “normals” (the colours correspond to the direction of the surface) of one of the arrowheads:

RTI model created by the Digital Humanities Lab on 09/06/2022, object LAZ540 provided by the Archaeology department

And a regular screen capture of the object’s other side here:

I also worked on several of my own digitisation projects, including handwritten letters from my Grandma as well as wedding photos from my Aunt. I worked on this alongside all of the projects at the Lab, and it was nice to digitise some of my own family history.

Drawing from one of my Grandma’s letters about our new cat

I found working as an intern at Digital Humanities an invaluable experience and recommend it to anybody looking for any experience in the field for job opportunities and personal experience. Don’t let lack of digital experience daunt you – the lab is very welcoming and provides all necessary training help to all interns!

Referenced Links

Early English Books Online (EEBO):

Exeter Digital Humanities RTI demonstration Page:

Famine Tales Twitter:

The Hardy Correspondences:


Digital Humanities Intern – Maya

What a year! I have loved working at the Digital Humanities Lab over my third year at Exeter – I have had the opportunity to try so many different activities and have seen a side of the History Faculty and Department I would not normally get to experience as a student. Most enlightening has been the gradual process of understand just how much work goes into conserving and storing the documents we use in our daily studies, and it has given me a new appreciation for the feat of achievement of many of our digital archives. I have particularly enjoyed working with the Drama department’s new Podcasting studio; its accessible format and set-up making it really easy to create podcasts with other students and friends, and I hope to continue this project in my career as a way of enjoying more public debates on history. The most useful advice I could give to someone applying to the Lab or who has already got a place on the internship team is to try everything – and to not be afraid to ask questions. All the staff are super friendly and helpful, and it’s always a great idea to start off slow, learn the techniques properly and learn how to best use and approach each type of archival material, giving you the skills to work more efficiently as the year progresses.    

Digitising a book in Lab 1

A typical day in the Lab starts with me digitising the most recent documents, photographs or journals that have been brought in – I have partially loved digitising a collection of journals written in the late 1800s by local Devon women, to showcase their artistic, literary and poetic skill. Working with this was challenging, especially as the books were often badly bound or produced on thin, cheap paper, and so they had to be handled slowly and carefully. I used my training from the Special Collections team to plan how to approach each challenge in digitising such a varied type of document. I have also enjoyed seeing the various people and departments who use the Labs photography and recording equipment on a weekly basis to improve course delivery and structure. Learning how to integrate these technologies into future education approaches and lesson planning is the future of education, and will open up the Humanities to a much greater variety of abilities, learning approaches and stages-  and as a protective future teacher this has been truly exciting to experience first-hand and have a ‘hands on’ impact on digitisation delivery at the University.   

I have really enjoyed my time at the Lab, and can’t recommend enough applying for an internship – you’ll lean so much about the complex and intriguing world of document preservation, and get a new-found appreciation for our brilliant archives and libraries.