Virtual Reality for the Humanities by Matt Cook
Matt Cook is Digital Scholarship Program Manager at Harvard Library. In this role, Matt provides instruction, assists in the development of technology spaces, and leads efforts to digitize and explore heterogenous (i.e. text, artifacts, AV, etc.) material collections, at scale, while keeping “humans in the loop” through the use of augmented and virtual reality interfaces. As a researcher, Matt also studies the state and trajectory of digital scholarship generally, what it takes to manage exploratory teams in libraries, and the scholarly impact of new knowledge services related to physical fabrication and mindfulness. Find out more at mncook.net.
While various STEM and design disciplines (e.g. architecture) have deployed virtual reality systems to support their research and instruction, the technology has yet to find a home within text-centric humanities, like History, Philosophy, and Literature. Fortunately, recent practical (headset management) and programmatic (natural language processing) advances allow for the immersive visualization of abstract source material, including text, suggesting an important role for VR in these fields as well. This talk will present case studies and associated methods, which can be reproduced to engage with humanistic objects-of-study in virtual reality.