The Digital Cultural Heritage cluster brings together researchers from across the University of Edinburgh who work on analysing, understanding and developing new approaches to the relationships between data, digital and cultural heritage.

Working with a wide range of partners in the gallery, library, archive and museum sector, cluster members are researching tangible and intangible cultural heritage as it relates to digital preservation, sharing and copyright, new audiences, organisational transformation, learning from collections, community engagement, tourism, curatorial practice, text mining, and geographical information systems.

Our research spans both local and global heritage contexts, and draws on a wide range of theoretical perspectives.

Digital Cultural Heritage is led by Dr Jen Ross.

Graphic depicting a historical map and a sketch of Victoria Falls, Zambia
Fold out map from Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa (1857). Copyright Wellcome Library, London. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International; Illustration from Thomas Baines, The Victoria Falls, (1865). Copyr National Library of Scotland

David Livingstone’s Missionary Travels Manuscript: Digital Editing and the Literature of Victorian Exploration

Virtual Seminar | Friday 25 September, 13:00 - 14:30

Livingstone’s Missionary Travels Manuscript (1857): A Critical Edition is a project published in 2019 by the online museum and library, Livingstone Online. This talk will address the project’s encoding principles, the practice of digital editing, and the value of digital remediation for a “materialist” approach to the expeditionary record.

Justin Livingstone is lecturer in English Literature at Queen’s University Belfast. His research focuses on colonial literature and culture, the literature of Victorian exploration, and the digital humanities.

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Museums & AI: imagining the AI we want for museums 

Virtual Seminar | Wednesday 24 June

Museums are, by their very nature, data-centric institutions. AI technologies bring new opportunities and challenges to the collection and analysis of this data and, as such, museums need to create a new model for data management which is socially focused and ethically robust.

Dr Oonagh Murphy (Goldsmiths, University of London) examines the challenges & opportunities of AI technologies in museums, as explored by the Museums & AI Network.

hands holding phone
Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash

Curious Edinburgh

Curious Edinburgh is a website and mobile phone app which tells stories behind the city's many historic buildings and places. 

Originally developed to make large-scale undergraduate teaching more interactive and ‘bring the classroom into the city’, we started with tours showcasing the importance of Edinburgh in the history of science, technology and medicine. As the format allows to tell a variety of stories about the city, we now also cover tours on Edinburgh’s international connections and its vibrant local communities, paying attention to equality, diversity and civic action. Content is sourced from a wide variety of research projects across the University of Edinburgh and community archives, bringing diverse knowledge on Edinburgh together in one space, while making it accessible for students, staff as well as the general public    

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a screen shot of handwriting

The Gaelic Handwriting Recognition Project

The Gaelic Handwriting Recognition Project is converting 500k words of traditional narrative documents to digital text and training the first automatic handwriting recogniser for the Gaelic language, using the Transkribus platform ( This will provide the foundation for an ambitious future research programme, which will develop novel language technologies for Gaelic and innovative ways of researching traditional narrative through these technologies. Once finalised, the Gaelic handwriting recogniser will be made available worldwide through Transkribus.

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Holbein painting: renaissance, two ambassadors stand at a table
Hans Holbein the Younger, Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve ('The Ambassadors') © The National Gallery, London. Bought, 1890.

Practical applications of IIIF as a building block towards a digital National Collection

This is a ‘foundation’ project for a major AHRC programme - Towards a National Collection. It is exploring the possibilities of the International Interoperability Framework (IIIF) to support the dissemination of born digital and digitised heritage images for research and engagement. It aims to demonstrate the opportunities and benefits that IIIF offers to a wide audience of users, and help to define more robust use cases, as well as understand how IIIF can be used to present a National Collection. 

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images of instruments projected on to screens above a piano
James Cook

 Hearing History

The project team has been bringing the musical past to life, using the archaeological and historical record to reconstruct lost performance spaces and to hear them resounding, once again, with music. Using state-of-the-art Virtual Reality, we have reconstructed both the visuals and acoustics of Linlithgow Palace Chapel and St Cecilia's Hall and situated historical musical performances within them. You will soon be able to experience these virtual performances on VR headsets in both venues, and to hear the first commercialy released classical CD recorded and produced in VR, released with the Binchois Consort and Hyperion Records, using our reconstructed Linlithgow Palace Chapel acoustic. 

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