Delinquent, unfortunately, but now finalized is the PBMP’s last requirement from the National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, a white paper that will be published on the NEH website. As it was meant to be, writing this report was both difficult and rewarding. It was difficult because so much happened during the grant term it was hard to remember it all and even more difficult to put what happened in the right context, or even in the right order. It was also difficult because it is hard to shine an honest light on both one’s successes and failures. For these very same reasons, of course, the process was deeply rewarding. At the same time that I had to admit where I failed, it was also required to point out and to try to quantify our successes. The latter greatly outweighed the former. Having the support of both the American Council of Learned Society’s Digital Innovation Fellowship and the NEH DH Start Up grant, the PBMP genuinely was able to exceed the grant’s stated goal ” to support the planning stages of digital projects that promise to benefit the humanities.” More than planning, we have built viable digital products being used by thousands of people in more 120 countries around the world. Thanks to the NEH, the ACLS, and especially the dedicated team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst we have significantly moved the study of Pompeii forward into the 21st century, and set the stage for still greater benefits to be realized.
Below is the text of our white paper, which I hope will document, inform, and inspire. But that’s asking a lot of a white paper.