IES Digital

Computational Literary Studies at the IES

Digital approaches to studying English literature and book history are changing the way we think about literary texts, reading and readers, and users of material books and archives.

IES Digital works at the intersection of English literature and computation––computation as a way of thinking and analysing, in addition to creating formal systems through logical and quantitative means.

Digital tools now play a crucial role in each of IES’s specialisms, from the history of the book to digital publishing, from medieval manuscripts to modern textual scholarship.

The IES has hosted several digital research projects, and engages in promoting digital research in literature with national and international partners.


The IES has been, and continues to be, involved in marquee digital research projects, including the Melville Electronic Library (with the CEDAR project at the University of Chicago) and Mary-Anne Rawson and the Networks of Anti-slavery Literature in Great Britain, 1833–1865 (with the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester).

The recent arrival of the CULTIVATE MSS Project adds to IES’s profile a massive database of the trade of medieval manuscripts in the early twentieth century.

Training and Teaching

The IES provides training in various digital approaches, including skills-based seminars in digital publishing, digital palaeography, and programming languages, as well as formal digital humanities training for postgraduates. Through the London Rare Books School, we have offered modules in Digital Scholarly Editing, and are planning to offer a module in Digital Book History in 2021.

Students in the MA Programme in the History of Book also receive training in digital text technologies, digital publishing, and other digital approaches, through Research Methodologies seminars and the module in Textual Scholarship.

The IES also partners with other institutions to deliver high-quality digital research training, including the following workshops:

Introduction to Text Analysis with R,” University of Exeter (22 November 2019).

Introduction to Text Analysis,” Riga Technical University (16-26 September 2019).

Textual Editing in the Digital Age,” Newcastle University (1–5 April 2019).

Introduction to Programming with R,” Sunoikisis Digital Classics Seminar (February–March 2019).

“Digital Text Analysis for Historical Research: Principles, Tools, and New Modes of Reading,” Durham University (November 2018).

“Editing Manuscripts in TEI XML with TextLab” (multiple half-day workshops in London and Manchester, 2018).

In development now are short courses in digital approaches to literature, and upcoming workshops planned in the USA and Germany.


IES Digital is coordinated by Dr Christopher Ohge, Lecturer in Digital Approaches to Literature at the IES, and Associate Director of the Melville Electronic Library.

We also collaborate with a growing network of other Digital Humanities practitioners at the School of Advanced Study: Professor Jane Winters, Chair of Digital Humanities @ SAS, Dr Gabriel Bodard at the Institute of Classical Studies, Dr Naomi Wells at the Institute of Modern Language Research, Richard Gartner at the Warburg Institute, and several colleagues at the Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

Selected IES-affiliated Digital Projects

Herman Melville Electronic Library:

a ‘fluid text’ digital critical archive of Herman Melville’s published works, manuscripts, and private papers and ephemera

(Dr Ohge serves as Associate Director under General Director Professor John Bryant)

Melville’s Marginalia Online:

an electronic catalog of books owned and borrowed by American author Herman Melville, and a digital edition of marked and annotated books that survive from his library.

(Ohge serves as associate editor under general editor Professor Steven Olsen-Smith and Associate General Director Professor Peter Norberg)

Mary-Anne Rawson, The Bow in the Cloud, and the Networks of Anti-Slavery Literature in Great Britain, 1826–65:

this digital archive prototype project reveals hitherto unknown details about the publication of the 1834 antislavery anthology The Bow in the Cloud, and examines its role within the business of other antislavery publications between 1826 and 1865, including the last campaign by the Manchester Union and Emancipation Society.

(Ohge is principal investigator of this new project, in association with the John Rylands Research Center and Dr David Brown, Manchester)


(Directed by Laura Cleaver, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Manuscripts, IES)

Ministry of Information Digital Project

(Directed by Professor Emeritus Simon Eliot, IES)

Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts 1450–1700 (CELM)

Contact Us

We are always happy to hear from anyone who is interested in any of our research projects or training events. Please do reach out to Dr Ohge at, or Helen Bhandari, Manager of the IES, at