Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, October 4, 2000
NEH funds projects that use high-tech solutions to study humanities

Stanford has received one of five grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation for projects providing high-tech solutions to research problems in the humanities. John Perry, the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy, and Edward N. Zalta, a senior research scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information, are the directors of a project to create standards and procedures for online encyclopedias. The $528,896 grant will enable their group to further develop an online encyclopedia of philosophy ( ) with entries providing an introduction for laypersons and specialized subtopics for scholars.

The project will create a system enabling contributors to regularly update their entries to reflect the latest knowledge and allowing other scholars to provide critical commentaries on the entries. Project members will codify the flow of text from authors to editors and produce specifications for encoding online reference works using the Extensible Markup Language (XML). The project will be a prototype for development of online reference works in the humanities and sciences, with built-in processes for updating, refereeing and tracking deadlines.

The five projects, totaling $4.8 million, are being developed under the Digital Libraries Initiative, a federal program conducted by the National Science Foundation in partnership with the NEH and other federal agencies. The initiative provides national leadership and support for the next generation of digital libraries.