Main content start


Researchers on our projects include faculty, staff, and students from across the university.

Projects may be affiliated with one of CESTA's core labs or entirely self-standing; in either case, project lead(s) receive administrative, technical, and financial support from CESTA. Many are aided by the contributions of Undergraduate Research Interns. At times, these projects may last a set period of time and culminate in a piece of traditional or digital scholarship; in other cases, a project may develop a life of its own and continue even after the founder has moved on.

Aftermaths of Enslavement

How might we understand the experiences of enslavement at the Cape of Good Hope in the long 18th century, and what are its legacies?

Arabic Script OCR/HTR

The goal of this project is to identify and evaluate software approaches to the transcription of Arabic, Classical Arabic and Ottoman Turkish handwriting, and if necessary build/fine-tune an advanced model to transcribe pre-selected segments of…


Breve is a tool for researchers who have to work with very incomplete and messy data.


CISTERN is building a database and a virtual research space that bring together geographic sources in Turkish, Arabic, and English.

Computational Border Studies

This project combines critical race and social justice theory with novel computational methods to study the urgent problem of bias within the U.S. court system.

Considering Disability in Online Cultural Experiences

This project considers ways in which online cultural experiences may be rendered more inclusive for Disabled people.

Corpus Synodalium

What did medieval canon law look like from the perspective of local communities?

DH Asia: Hot Metal Empire

Hot Metal Empire is a history of linotype, particularly in the non-Latin alphabetic world.

Early Modern Mobility

What do the methods and patterns of transportation reveal about the early modern period?

Egypt in South Africa

Egypt has held an exceptional place in the western imagination.


EpicConnect is an open-source, open access productivity platform.

Expanding the Discipline of English Language Arts

The goal of this project is to expand the way English Language Arts (ELA) is taught in U.S. high schools.

Fan Fiction

Since 1998, well over 6 million stories have been uploaded to This archive offers a unique source of data on prose writing.

Follow the Money Project

This project traces the spatial history of payments to local communities for federal lands. In 2014, the eleven states of the Far West received $2.695 billion dollars from federal land management agencies. Why?

Few Americans are aware of…

Free Speech, Regulation, and Democracy in the Digital Age

This project investigates IT blogs’ impact on public discussion of matters situated at the intersection of technology and society.

George Moses Horton Project

An African American slave (1797–1888) challenged by laws that prevented him from learning to read and write, Horton developed a method of composing poetry orally.

Global Medieval Sourcebook

The Global Medieval Sourcebook presents medieval texts in their original language and in new English translations.

Global Urbanization and its Discontents

Over the last several decades, millions of people have migrated from rural villages and towns into urban contexts. Today, cities hold over half of the world’s population.

Grand Tour Project

In the eighteenth century, thousands of Northern Europeans traveled to Italy for a journey of cultural and symbolic capital they called the Grand Tour.

Imagined San Francisco

This project traces the history of urban planning in San Francisco, placing special emphasis on unrealized schemes.

Interactive Nolli Map Website of Rome

The goal of this project is to revitalize, preserve, and assure universal open access to the Interactive Nolli Map Website.

Josquin Research Project

The Josquin Research Project is an open-access tool for exploring Renaissance music.

Kindred Britain

Kindred Britain is a network of nearly 30,000 individuals — many of them iconic figures in British culture — connected through family relationships of blood, marriage, or affiliation. It is a vision of the nation’s history as a giant family…

KSR (Know Systemic Racism)

Know Systemic Racism, a project led by Stanford's inaugural Racial Justice and Social Equity Librarian, Felicia Smith, is a data repository and data discovery environment unique in its focus on interconnections of discriminatory systems that…

Lacuna Stories

Lacuna Stories is a social and collaborative online platform for research, learning and teaching built around the concept of annotation. 

Land Talk

LandTalk is a crowd-sourced collection of reports of changing landscapes from across the globe.

Life in Quarantine

Life in Quarantine (LiQ) is an online community platform that addresses the transformations we are experiencing in the age of COVID-19.

Literature of Social Distancing

Our project combines quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate social distancing and the novel of isolation.

Mapping Manuscripts

Our goal in the Mapping Manuscripts project is to map the production of medieval manuscripts through digital methods.

Mapping Ottoman Epirus

Mapping Ottoman Epirus seeks to better understand how the Ottoman Empire operated through big data, spatial and network analysis, visualization, and other digital methods.

Mapping Shared Sacred Sites

Despite the existence of numerous shared sites of religious observance across the world, they remain largely unknown.

Mapping the Cape Colony

Some 124 cadastral maps of the Cape Colony together give a uniquely detailed view of territory that would soon become the Union of South Africa. The maps are linked to the 1891 census.

Mapping the Musical Renaissance

The starting point of this project was a map documenting the life of the most famous Renaissance composer.

Mapping the Republic of Letters

The Mapping the Republic of Letters project showcases the scholarly networks of the Early Modern era.

Medieval Networks of Memory

Medieval Networks of Memory aims to reveal a new and dynamic picture of thirteenth-century religious and social networks and community commemoration.

Modeling Representations of Otherness in Star Wars

This project leverages computational textual analysis to explore the background discourses of the human and the other in the extensive universe of the Star Wars novels.

Modernist Archives Publishing Project

The Modernist Archives Publishing Project is a critical digital archive of early 20th-century publishing history.

Oceanic Imaginaries

Ocean worlds make up more than 70% of our planet’s surface and tie together sprawling histories of empire, global capital, and migration. In an age of rising sea levels and heating ocean basins, the imperative to think with the maritime across…


OpenGulf is a transdisciplinary, multi-institutional research group analyzing historical texts produced in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq.

Oral History Text Analysis Project (OHTAP)

OHTAP is developing an original methodology for data mining the rich but untapped collections of digitized transcripts of women’s oral histories.


Palladio is a visualization platform with an emphasis on data refining and linking.

Panic and Pandemic

This project examines discourses on epidemic disease against the history of outbreaks in early modern Europe, with case studies on Germany, England, and France.

Personhood Project

The project on Personhood seeks to understand how texts assign the qualities that we typically associate with persons to characters depicted within the text, whether human, object or animal.

Playing with Time: Great Perfection History in VR

This project is part of Elaine Lai’s PhD dissertation in Buddhism which is about how time functions in Buddhist literature. This VR project aims to trace the teacher-student relationships for three different transmission streams of the…

Pobladores Project

Tracing the life histories of early California settlers

This project traces the life histories of early California settlers from their origins in Mexico and elsewhere to their final days in California.

Poetic Thinking

Committed to equality, inclusion, and respect for all, Poetic Thinking creates a space for users to share and discuss academic and artistic work.

Railroaded Project


An interactive collection of over 2,000 footnotes to Richard White’s book on the transcontinental railroads.

Books have historically been constrained by the limitations of print medium, and even digital books are usually just…

Richard Pryor's Peoria Project

An interactive archive of Richard Pryor’s early life

Our aim is to present an interactive archive of the first two decades of the life of Richard Pryor in Peoria, Illinois.

Rumsey Map Center: Cherokee History

This exhibition examines how maps can be read within an indigenous framework to trace Cherokee placemaking.

Scofflaws and Debt Collectors

This project takes the routine experience of parking tickets as a window onto the history of privatization and urban governance in the post-Civil Rights era.

Shipwrecks and the Maritime Heritage of Millennia of Sicilian Connections

This project aims to create multimedia work that challenges the public to engage with the objects, memories, and entangled realities of past and present movements across the sea.

Social Networks in Roman Comedy

This project aims to generate “social network maps” among characters in ancient Roman Comedy.

Social Networks in the Early Islamic World

This project stems from the world’s largest alumni newsletter: in the mid-9th century, Thomas, the East Syriac Bishop of Marga, decided he would collect as many stories as he could.

Stanford Ordinary People Extraordinary Stories (SOPES)

SOPES is a project concerned with preserving ordinary lives of the past, the stories of “normal people” that would otherwise be forgotten.

Technologies of Domesticity

This project investigates the postwar representation of domestic technology in 20th century women’s magazines, looking at fiction, advertisements, and articles from 1945 to 1975.

The African Archive Beyond Colonization

A virtual exhibition of some of the 300 objects that form the African Collection within Stanford University Archeological Collections.

The Church of Baghdad

How does our understanding of Christianity shift when we recognize that for over half its history Christianity’s geographic center was not Rome, nor even Constantinople, but rather Baghdad? My work explores this question through an examination of…

The Senegal Liberations Project

The Senegal Liberations Project expands the Slave Voyages database by focusing on slavery and freedom in Africa.

Tracing the Arctic Regions

Representing a 1869 photographic expedition to Greenland

Representations of the Arctic elusively mirror a landscape defined by strange light and shifting features.


This project looks at the ways that English translations of foreign-language texts literature diverge from original English literature.

Transparency and Racial Equity in Public Corporations

This project is conducting research into large U.S. corporations’ efforts to advance racial equity.

Truth in Fiction

The Discourse of Embedded Scientific Facts in Climate Fiction

Urban Ecology of the Pandemic

Our team is examining how the “anthropause”-the abrupt disruption of human mobility due to stay-at-home orders -influenced the behavior and range of wild animals in urban spaces.

Urban Studies and Practice of Theory

Deploying an interdisciplinary approach, this project refocuses the discussion of Accra, New York, London, and Hong Kong in ways that have so far gained scant attention.

Using Data Visualizations to Help Students See Texts Differently in English Language Arts

The goal of this project is to introduce data visualizations and data analysis into English Language Arts classes

Visible Bodies

Where are the African female writers of the 20th century? This project addresses the critical issue of the invisibility of female authors within established canons of 20th-century African literature.

Voortrekker Monumentality

Voortrekker Monumentality is a curated archive related to From Memory to Marble, providing high-resolution images and documents on which the book was based.

Warhol’s Photo Archive

This project originated when the Andy Warhol Foundation selected Stanford University as the home for a collection of more than 3,600 contact sheets.

Women in Provenance

The Women in Provenance project intertwines object and personal biography to explore how gender shaped the Stanford University Archaeology Collections.

Writing Rights

Writing Rights visualises the evolution of ideas that inform the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Young Readers Database of Literature (YRDL)

The Young Readers Database of Literature contains rich metadata for over 25,000 works of children’s, middle-grade, and YA fiction novels.


Ars Mercatoria

Merchant textbooks were exchanged for centuries in Western Europe (especially Low Countries, France and Italy) and included various types of information, including, but not limited to, describing the ideal of the profession and their desired…

Early Cape Travelers

The early colonial Cape of Good Hope was subject to a large number of travel accounts by Europeans, roughly 1488 to 1900. For all the obvious ethnocentrism of their colonial gaze, they are historically valuable in that they contain unique…

Geo-mapping African Studies at Stanford

Stanford has numerous faculty and students working in various African countries. These engagements take the form of fellowships, internships, study abroad trips, research trips, etc. We would love to build an interactive database, geomap, that…

Human Rights-based Accountability Framework for Halting Government Hacking Abuses

The project "A human rights-based accountability framework for halting government hacking abuses" aims to look into contemporary public policy and industrial and technological tendencies that surround "government hacking" activities. This…

Martin Luther King, Jr. Digital Project

The mission of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute is to preserve and promote the work and legacy of MLK. We are currently working on a unique project: making our archival holdings of MLK, one of the most iconic…

Ottoman Fiscal Codex

The "Ottoman Fiscal Codex" project is an ambitious research initiative exploring the complex financial and political networks of the Ottoman Empire between 1750 and 1850, through the detailed analysis of the fiscal codex MAD 9726. Our work…

Quantifying Ancient Associations

“Quantifying Ancient Associations” project builds a historical database of ancient associations from the sixth century BCE to the fifth century CE. The historical data for this project come primarily from the Inventory of the Ancient Associations…

Reimagining Royal Space: The Qilij Arslan II Kiosk in Konya as a Case Study for the Digital Reconstruction of Islamic Architecture

The Qilij Arslan II Kiosk before the collapse of the upper structure. Photograph possibly by Garabed Solakian, c. 1890.

Spatial Narratives in Holocaust Survivor Testimonies

Understanding imprecise space and time in narratives through qualitative representations, reasoning, and visualization is an international collaboration with the aim to produce new tools, datasets, and knowledge about the way humans understand…

Syriac Verb Tutorial Project

Most early Christian literature was written in one of three languages: in Greek, in Latin, or in a dialect of Aramaic called Syriac. Between the second and tenth centuries CE the last of these languages, Syriac, was the lingua franca of the late…

Visualizing Ancient Aramiac Manuscripts

Early Christians wrote in three main languages: Greek, Latin, and—especially in what is now the Middle East—a dialect of Aramaic called Syriac. Approximately ten million modern Christians trace their lineage to the ancient Syriac churches. In the…

Women and Mobility in 18th-Century Italy: A Case study in Scale and Representation

A World Made by Travel ( makes public an interactive database concerning the lives and journeys of 6,007 travelers, mostly British, who toured Italy in the course of the eighteenth century. The database contains more than…