John Taormina on his DH Bibliography

John Taormina

John Taormina, Director of the Visual Media Center Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University recently released his comprehensive DH Bibliography, which has been the focus of his work for the past two years. Taormina took the time to answer some questions about his work on the Bibliography, which is now available through Duke’s Wired! Lab, and his thoughts on the future of the project.

Tell me more about the DH Bibliography that you compiled.

The DH bibliography is meant to be a comprehensive and always expanding bibliography of DH citations covering all areas of digital humanities.

What was your process, how did you select materials?

Various bibliographies from digital humanities publications (books and journals) were identified, selected, and collated into this new bibliography (available for download at The first version of this document was released in February 2019. Additions to this type of compilation are ongoing and updates will be released quarterly. A filterable online version is being considered.

How did you conceive of this project?

The idea for this bibliography came about during 2015 as the Digital Humanities Special Interest Groups were being formed in the Visual Resources Association ( and the Art Libraries Society of North America ( With the recent flurry of publications in the digital humanities over the past five years, and increasing interest in digital humanities in academic disciplines, a comprehensive bibliography seemed all the more important. I also guest edited a special digital humanities-themed issue of the VRA Bulletin in 2016, “Digital Humanities and the Visual,” (Vol. 43, Issue 2). The VRA Bulletin is the professional journal of the Visual Resources Association; the themed issue contained four feature articles and four book reviews. The latter spurred my interest in the bibliography project. Under my direction, the project began in earnest during the 2017-18 academic year and continued over the course of three semesters with the assistance of a graduate student or undergraduate each semester for data entry.

What do you see as possible uses for the bibliography?

I think the comprehensive nature of the DH bibliography would lend itself to general research in the digital humanities as well as, through mining specific citations, creating a bibliography for specific college courses or library guides.

How do you use it in your own work?

At this point I’ve been so absorbed with completing the first phase of the bibliography, I haven’t really had time to use it.

What’s next for you?

I want to reorganize the bibliography into DH categories. It is currently alphabetical by author. That is fine but at 148 pages, having it broken down into categories will make searching easier. It wasn’t feasible to organize it by topic during the first phase. We are also looking at some online platforms with searching capabilities.

What’ is your dream DH project?

Digital Vatican. Reconstructing the buildings and content of the Vatican, beginning with St. Peter’s Basilica and its contents, with a database of those works. Then on to other buildings, the Sistine Chapel for example, as well as the Vatican Museums.