The Walter J. Ong, S.J., Center for Digital Humanities

The Walter J. Ong, S.J., Center for Digital Humanities at Saint Louis University advances scholarship in the humanities by finding solutions to questions arising from the unique character of the digital environment.

The Center develops research resources, standards and tools to foster student learning and faculty and scholarly research. The Ong Center was established to honor the memory of Walter J. Ong, S.J., a distinguished scholar of literature and media theory who spent his career as a professor of English at SLU.

What We Do

The digital humanities open up new avenues for exploring the human experience. Digital tools and methods can empower scholars to revisit existing problems from new perspectives and enable them to extend scholarship in previously impractical directions. For decades, those within the digital humanities field have been working to find standard and exchangeable ways to encode, transfer, and preserve the growing repository of the world's digitized knowledge.  The Walter J. Ong, S.J., Center for Digital Humanities aims to do just that. 

We share knowledge by developing and enforcing interoperable standards and promoting education within and through the digital humanities. Our efforts have focused on interoperability through enabling machine encoding of objects, descriptions and assertions in a way which may cross languages and disciplines. Interoperability means data can be understood by anyone. Encoding allows for the most complete and accurate descriptions available and attribution and citation is built into contributions so that each new scholar enters into the history of their subject.

Who We Serve

The Center serves all stakeholders in the humanities - students, scholars and institutions. Students and scholars can connect with developers and other scholars through the Center. They can also utilize the programs and resources of the Center for capstone and research projects. Research institutions can share and promote their materials through the Center, as well. 

The Ong Memorial Lecture

Each year, a lecture on topics related to digital humanities is held in the spring in memory of Walter J. Ong, S.J.

The lecture, which has been held since 2008, has recently featured professors from Loyola University Chicago, Vanderbilt University and Brown University.

The 2016 lecture featured Michael F. Suarez, S.J., a professor at the University of Virginia and director of the Rare Book School, who spoke on information systems and the future of historical scholarship.