The TLDR 100 Word Version:
Melissa Terras is Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage at the University of Edinburgh, leading digital aspects of research in the arts and humanities as Founding Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Data, Culture and Society. Her research interest is the digitisation of cultural heritage, including advanced digitisation techniques, usage of large-scale digitisation, and the mining and analysis of digitised content. She previously directed UCL Centre for Digital Humanities in UCL Department of Information Studies, where she was employed from 2003-2017. She is a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, and Expert Advisor to the UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
And the Wordier Version:
Melissa Terras is the Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage at the University of Edinburgh‘s Design Informatics, in Edinburgh College of Art, which she joined in October 2017, leading digital aspects of research within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Edinburgh. She is the Founding Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Data, Culture & Society, and was Director of Research (2018-23) in the new Edinburgh Futures Institute . She is Co-Director of Creative Informatics: the £10m AHRC and Industrial Strategy investment into data driven innovation for the creative industries within Edinburgh (2019-2024), and is a founder and Scholarly Director of Transkribus, the award-winning Handwritten Text Recognition infrastructure for historical documents.
With a background in Classical Art History and English Literature (MA, University of Glasgow), and Computing Science (MSc IT with distinction in Software and Systems, University of Glasgow), her doctorate (Engineering, University of Oxford) examined how to use advanced information engineering technologies to interpret and read Roman texts. She is an Honorary Professor of Digital Humanities in UCL Department of Information Studies, where she was employed from 2003-2017, Honorary Professor in UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, which she directed 2012-2017, and previously Vice Dean of Research in UCL’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities (2014-2017).
Books include “Image to Interpretation: An Intelligent System to Aid Historians in Reading the Vindolanda Texts” (2006, Oxford University Press) and “Digital Images for the Information Professional” (2008, Ashgate). She has co-edited various volumes including: “Changing the Centre of Gravity: Transforming Classical Studies Through Cyberinfrastructure” (Gorgias Press 2010);“Digital Humanities in Practice” (Facet 2012); “Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture” (Iter 2012); “Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader” (Ashgate 2013) which has been translated into an open access Russian Edition (Siberian Federal University Press 2017) and an open access Chinese Edition (Nanjing University Press 2022); and “Electronic Legal Deposit: Shaping the Library Collections in the Future” (Facet 2020). Her monograph on the representation of academics in children’s literature was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018 and is available in open access: Picture-Book Professors: Academia and Children’s Literature. Its sibling volume, The Professor in Children’s Literature: An Anthology, was simultaneously published in open access by Fincham Press. In 2022, she published the edited volume “Millicent Garrett Fawcett: Selected Writings” in open access with UCL Press.
Her research focuses on the digitisation of cultural heritage, including advanced digitisation techniques, usage of large-scale digitisation, and the mining and analysis of digitised content. She currently works on a range of project and initiatives including Transkribus, Creative Informatics, Fixing the Future: the Right to Repair and Equal-IoT, and XRNetwork+. Previous research projects include ImprovBot, Practical applications of IIIF as a building block towards a digital National Collection, Crosscult, Oceanic Exchanges, Digital Library Futures, Deep Imaging Mummy Cases, Non-Destructive Analysis of Multi-Layered Papyrus, QRator, Transcribe Bentham, Great Parchment Book , Slade Archive Project, Textal, Log Analysis of Internet Resources in the Arts and Humanities, Virtual Environments for Research in Archaeology, eScience and Ancient Documents, and Researching eScience Analysis of Census Holdings. Terras was the Co-Investigator of the The EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA) during its set up period. Terras was Founding General Editor of Digital Humanities Quarterly (2007-22) and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities.
Terras has a UK Government appointment as Expert Advisor on the the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) College of Experts (2022-5). She served on the Board of Curators of the University of Oxford Libraries (2013-2019) and had a Scottish Government Appointment on the Board of Trustees of the National Library of Scotland (2014-22). Terras sits on a number of Advisory boards including The British Library Labs, the Scientific Consultative Group of The National Gallery, the Collections and Research Group of the Science Museum Group, and The Imperial War Museums‘ Operation War Diary. Terras is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, a Chartered IT Professional and Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and is a Turing Institute Fellow (2018-2023).
Terras was program chair of the major international conference Digital Humanities 2014, in Lausanne, Switzerland, vice-chair of DH2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska, and outgoing chair of DH2015 in Sydney, Australia. She served as Secretary of the Association of Literary and Linguistic Computing (now the European Association of Digital Humanities) (2008-2011) and as a Steering committee member of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (2009-2012).
You can generally find her on twitter, at @melissaterras. More information is available on her University of Edinburgh profile page.