Tobias Boes University of Notre Dame

Tobias Boes

digital humanities

Mock-up Screenshot of "Labors of the Novel" ProjectTogether with a number of colleagues from Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library system and the Center for Research Computing, as well as several undergraduate research assistants, I recently completed a digital humanities project called The Labors of the Novel: A Digital Database of Vocations in German Narrative Fiction, 1750-1950.  The project consists of a database of roughly 10,000 works of German narrative prose fiction published between 1750 and 1950.  All entries have been annotated with keywords that identify the protagonist’s vocation and (for many entries) the geographical location of the principal setting.  The database thus gives researchers a new tool with which to examine whether the nineteenth-century novel (which has long been identified as an important factor in the creation of national identities) took different forms in Germany than it did in other countries.  Because some of the bibliographical sources that were used to create the database fall under copyright restrictions, access to the data is currently by invitation only.  A summary of my findings will appear in Distant Readings/Descriptive Turns: Topologies of German Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Lynne Tatlock and Matt Erlin and forthcoming in 2013.

The project was largely funded through research subventions from Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (ISLA).  Additional information can also be found in an old application to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I also regularly invite my students to create new tools and resources within the digital humanities.  You can learn more about this on the student projects page of my website.