Susan Hockey’s Life in Digital Humanities

In 2004 I and my husband Martin decided we had had enough of working long hours. So we retired early, moved back to our house in Oxford and set about travelling to places we had always wanted to see but had never had the time to because of work.

But I have always kept in touch online with developments from my earlier life and I keep my hand in with bits of computing on and off.

Digital humanities involves research into how information technology can best meet the needs of research and teaching in the humanities, and developing tools to meet those needs. It is essentially interdisciplinary work which has enabled me to gain different perspectives by doing similar work in a scientific laboratory, an academic computing centre, a library, an English Department and a School of Library, Archive and Information Studies.

My most recent position was Professor of Library and Information Studies at University College London Jan 2000 – Jun 2004 where I was also Director of the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (now UCL DIS), 2001-2004. I was Principal Investigator for the LEADERS Project (Linking EAD to Electronically Retrievable Sources). Funded by the AHRB (now AHRC).

At the University of Alberta, Edmonton Jan 1997 – Dec 1999, I was Professor and Director of the Canadian Institute for Research Computing in the Arts. I participated in the Orlando Project which has created a textbase of feminist literary history. I also designed and developed assessed courses for computing in the humanities.

At Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, I was Director of the Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (CETH), Oct 1991 – Dec 1996. CETH, also sponsored by Princeton University, pioneered work on metadata for digital resources in the humanities, and organized a 2-week annual international summer seminar at Princeton on Methods and Tools for Electronic Texts in the Humanties. Funded by US National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation.

At Oxford University Computing Services, Feb 1975 – Sep 1991, I held various positions in humanities computing, and developed a series of courses for computing in the humanities. I was Principal Investigator for the development of the Oxford Concordance Program (OCP) and Director of the Computers and Teaching Initiative Centre for Textual Studies.

At the Atlas Computer Laboratory, Chilton, which at that time was providing large scale computing facilities for universities, in Sep 1969 – Feb 1975 I first learned to program a computer and developed tools to allow concordances of Arabic and Persian texts to be printed on a graphics device, and I participated in the development of COCOA version 2, a concordance program which was the predecessor to OCP.

Other Activities

Chair, Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC) (now European Association for Digital Humanities (EADH)), 1984-1997

Member and Chair (twice) of the Steering Committee for the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), an international project to develop SGML-based, now XML-based guidelines for encoding humanities texts in digital form, 1987-1997

Recipent of the Busa Award, a lifetime achievement award for the application of information and communications technologies to humanistic research, 2004

Author of 3 books and over 80 articles

Invited lectures in the US, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Germany and Norway

St Cross College, Oxford, Mar 1979 – Sep 1991
Fellow by Special Election, Emeritus Fellow from October 1991

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, 1965 – 1969
BA, converted to MA, Oriental Studies (Egyptian with Akkadian) Class I

updated 6 January 2022