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I.3.6. Digital humanities

IDUB Programme Objective(s)

  • I.3 Support for the creation of research programmes and teams that will become future centres of excellence, including plans for their internationalisation
  • I.4 Maintaining a strong infrastructural base for world-class research
  • II.3 Improving the capacity to cooperate by increasing research capability
  • II.4 Implementation of a system for communicating scientific achievements and research results

Name of POB/activity group



  • Increasing the scientific potential of UW through the use of new technologies for research in the arts and the humanities;
  • Strengthening the participation and position of UW in national and international research consortia and networks;
  • Creating infrastructure for the University of Warsaw that enables research using digital tools; facilitating the integration and networking of teams and projects in the general area of digital humanities;
  • Strengthening the innovative potential of UW by developing unique digital competences for humanities research;
  • Supporting interdisciplinary projects and combining the competences of researchers;
  • Increasing the profile and position of the University of Warsaw in research using HC methods; creating unique competences in Poland’s scientific centres (especially concerning research, analysis, and visualisation techniques).
  • Creation of infrastructure at the University for archiving, exchanging, reusing, and processing research data in the humanities.

The above objectives will be achieved by:

  1. Establishing an interdisciplinary research team, which is prepared to take an active part in ambitious national and international projects and scientific networks, and to coordinate activities carried out in international scientific consortia.
  2. Creating a comprehensive infrastructure to support and develop innovative research in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. This will include
    • a platform for sharing digital tools and exchanging information about HC projects at the University of Warsaw;
    • an institutional repository of research data for the humanities, which will enable the archiving, exchanging, reusing, and processing of research data in the humanities;
    • two innovative studios – one for creating digital reconstructions of historical sites in virtual space, and another that manages Web archiving (a full-text corpus of archived pages from Polish domains from 1996-2001 will be made available as part of the studio’s activities).

The digital humanities are one of the most dynamically developing interdisciplinary research areas. This field offers methods for using digital tools and IT techniques in humanities research, bringing results which would be unobtainable through standard methods of data collection and processing. It combines traditionally understood scientific research with new technologies, at conceptual and practical levels. A necessary condition for conducting innovative research in this area is modern, reliable infrastructure.

There are currently three major groups in Europe that set the tone for change, development, and integration of infrastructure in digital humanities projects. These are CLARIN – ERIC (European Research Infrastructure for Language Resources and Technology – European Research Infrastructure Community), DARIAH ERIC (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities) and the Time Machine Organization. The University of Warsaw is an active member of the latter two, and leads DARIAH-PL, which is the largest Polish consortium in the humanities and arts. The ambitious project of Time Machine consortium undertakes the development of large-scale digitalisation and computing infrastructure, mapping millennia of European historical and geographical evolution, transforming countless materials from archives, large museum collections, and other geohistorical data and dispersing it in a digital information system. The project aims to make Europe a leader in the extraction and analysis of large amounts of historical data, leading to profound changes in research methods and practices in the humanities and allowing researchers to pose bolder questions by virtue of the wide availability of data.

Participation in international and national infrastructural consortia has created optimal conditions for setting up a research team aimed at increasing the scientific potential of the University of Warsaw, in these areas. With the institutional and technological support of the Digital Competence Centre (CKC) and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling (ICM) of the University of Warsaw, and established international and national cooperation, the team will be able obtain research grants and participate in international projects. The close cooperation between the research team and institutions with high digital competence and experience in building infrastructure will also allow for the development of innovative methods for integrating source data; these are areas which have traditionally belonged to separate disciplines and resource groups. The activity plans include creating a team with a Research Manager, two early-career researchers with significant achievements, and one postdoc. There are plans to enlarge the team after the fourth year of the IDUB project, on the condition that the first grants will have been obtained, and upon completion of the work and infrastructural investments planned in the sub-activities. The team should expand the team by adding doctoral candidates and another postdoc.

The aim of this activity is to strengthen the scientific potential of humanities research conducted at the University of Warsaw, both by developing new digital methods and tools and by building modern scientific infrastructure to support and enable their application.

As part of the infrastructure work in the planned activities, a university platform will be created to provide access to digital tools and exchange information on digital projects carried out at the University of Warsaw, in the humanities. It will enable project networking, the flow and evolution of methods, and the reuse and further development of existing software. It will also ensure the continued availability of software which has been developed through research projects.

An open institutional repository of research data will also be built, oriented towards the humanities. The repository will make it possible to (1) deposit broadly defined research data, which has been obtained or developed in the course of scientific work conducted at the University, (2) store it in a safe and permanent manner, and (3) provide open access to research data.

In the near future, the University of Warsaw has a chance to become one of the leading centres in producing new research methods and digital tools for research in the humanities and making them available to others. The open availability of a repository of data and digital tools could become a model institutional approach in Poland.

In addition, two innovative studios combining the humanities with new technologies will be established: a three-dimensional visualisation studio and a web archiving studio. Both will be specialised laboratories with the potential to develop technological solutions for the humanities on their own, while also remaining open to cooperation with other research teams.

The Laboratory of three-dimensional visualisations and digital reconstructions of historical sites in virtual space will be a pioneering venture, serving the UW community by building competences in the field of three-dimensional visualisation, VR and AR, and also supporting the use and implementation of three-dimensional visualisation in research undertaken at UW, thereby inspiring further projects in this area.

Because of its web archiving laboratory, the University of Warsaw will become a leader among Polish universities in the field, while enabling its researchers to undertake innovative research using the acquired resources. Web archival resources can be used to support research on social change, media history or political processes. As part of the studio’s activities, a unique body of resources of the Polish Web of the 1990s (1996-2001), will be created from the archives of the Internet Archive Foundation and organised for use in research.

Coordinating unit

  • Digital Competence Centre

Entities involved in implementation

  • Centre for Culture, Language and Mind Research
  • Faculty of History
  • Faculty of Arts and Cultural Sciences (WNoKiS)
  • Digital Competence Centre (CKC)
  • Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling (ICM)