The History Lab was started in 2006 with help from grants by the Georgia Humanities Council and Georgia Southern University. Initially the lab was designed to foster digital humanities projects by building up databases of source materials, training students on data visualization software and collaborative iterative design, and manifesting the results in public exhibitions, events and media products. Increasingly, the lab has been used as a platform for incubating projects involving cross-disciplinary collaboration and work between different universities, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and K-12 schools. Recent projects have focused on the need to create adaptive and optimized learning environments through visual and interactive content as well as gamification.
The philosophy behind the lab stemmed from Robert Batchelor’s work with the former Stanford Humanities Lab (1999-2009), and it shares that lab’s belief in animating archives, building bridges to bigger pictures, and co-creative collaborative work. The lab employs a studio model derived from the work of Carl Steinitz on geodesign, which emphasizes collecting histories and case studies, using online IT tutorials as support, creating studio settings in which multi-disciplinary teams can develop projects, and assessing results through white-paper and poster summaries.