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Zampolli Prize Awarded to Voyant Tools

Recognizing a singular achievement in the digital humanities, the Zampolli Prize is named in honor of Professor Antonio Zampolli (1937-2003), who was a founding member of the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC), ALLC President from 1983-2003, and a leader in establishing the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and the TEI Consortium. ADHO awards the prize triennially at its annual conference. Voyant Tools is the fourth recipient of the Zampolli Prize.

Voyant Tools is an open-source text analysis platform created by a team led by the late Dr. Stéfan Sinclair of McGill University, who served as the project’s leader, principal designer and programmer until his passing in August of 2020, and Dr. Geoffrey Rockwell, Professor of Philosophy and Digital Humanities at the University of Alberta and the current president of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities / Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN). CSDH/SCHN has published Dr. Sinclair’s obituary.

The project won the award based on the project’s fundamental and continuing contribution to digital humanities. Initially released in 2003 and launched as Voyant Tools 2.0 in 2016, the project’s website provides hands-on access to text analysis and data visualization tools to an international audience of DH scholars, faculty, staff, and students. The Voyant Tools project team comprises dozens of individuals working across a wide range of software disciplines and languages, to create a unique and lasting achievement in multilingual, multidisciplinary digital humanities methodology, research, infrastructure, and pedagogy. Team members include:

  • Andrew MacDonald (2008-present) a programmer who’s worked on several tools including Bubblelines, Cirrus, Knots, and ScatterPlot; skins including the Dynamic Table of Contents; and now Spyral.
  • Kaylin Land (2020-present) a research assistant at McGill working on training, documentation, testing, and Spyral.
  • Bennett Kuwan Tchoh (2020-present) a research assistant at UAlberta working on training, documentation, te,sting and Spyral.
  • Ayushi Khemka (2022-present) a research assistant at UAlberta working on training, documentation, testing, and Spyral.
  • Catherine Bevan (2022-present) a research assistant at UAlberta working on sonification and Spyral.
  • Eliot Damasah (2021-present) at UAlberta working on documentation, testing, and Spyral.
  • Mark Turcato (2012-2013) a research assistant at McGill who worked on documentation.
  • Lisa Goddard (2011-2012) a research assistant at UAlberta who worked on tool reviews and bug identification.
  • Cyril Briquet (2010-2011) a postdoctoral fellow who worked primarily on improving Trombone 2 (the back-end system in Java).
  • Milena Radzikowska created the current graphic design, including the OWL logo.
  • An international team worked on the language localizations, including Arabic: D. J. Wrisley; Bosnian and Croatian: Téa Rokolj; Czech: Radim Hladík; French: Aurélien Berra; German: Jan Theurl; Hebrew: Sinai Rusinek; Italian: Fabio Ciotti and the AIUCD team: Alessandra Baldelli, Cristiana Bettella, Eleonora Durban, Federico Caria, Federico Meschini, Greta Franzini, Giorgio Guzzetta, Roberto Rosselli del Turco, Elena Spadini, Tiziana Mancinelli; Japanese: 小風尚樹 (Naoki Kokaze), 佐藤正尚 (Masanao Sato), 杉浦清人 (Kiyoto Sugiura), 鈴木親彦 (Chikahiko Suzuki), 王一凡 (Yifan Wang), and 永崎研宣 (Kiyonori Nagasaki); Portuguese: Fernando Marineli; Serbian: Téa Rokolj; Spanish: Manuel Vargas Alegría.
  • Cecily Raynor at McGill University coordinates the social media presence.
  • Numerous other researchers collaborated with Stéfan and Geoffrey on Voyant over the years, including Stan Ruecker and Susan Brown on the Mandala Browser and a variety of Voyant tools and collaborations.

Glen Layne-Worthey, Chair of ADHO’s Executive Board, comments: “It’s a privilege to bestow one of our community’s highest honors on the creative team behind Voyant Tools, and in particular to honor the memory of our recently passed colleague Stéfan with it. His generous spirit and serious playfulness live on in this suite of software tools that has had an enormous impact on generations of DH students and scholars. The award also celebrates the great contributions of a longstanding team, now led by Geoffrey, that is a model of the collaborative spirit that characterizes our community’s best work.” Co-founder Dr. Geoffrey Rockwell will accept the award on behalf of Dr. Sinclair and the project team, and give the Zampolli Prize lecture at the 2022 Digital Humanities conference, to be held virtually and hosted in Tokyo, Japan. He will accept a 1000 GBP prize.