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Toby Burrows BA MA PhD

Senior Researcher


Dr Toby Burrows is a Senior Researcher in the Oxford e-Research Centre, and a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Humanities at the University of Western Australia.

He has been an invited participant in workshops funded by the European Science Foundation and COST, and has held visiting fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Grolier Club of New York, Churchill College Cambridge and University College London.

He has been a Chief Investigator on a range of Australian Research Council projects under its Discovery, Linkage, Linkage Infrastructure and Research Networks schemes.

Between 2014 and 2016, he was a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow in the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London.

Other positions he has held include:

  • Digital Services Director, Australian Research Council Research Network for Early European Research
  • Manager, Research Publications and Data Services, University of Western Australia
  • Principal Librarian, Scholars' Centre, University of Western Australia Library

Research Interests

  • Digital humanities (particularly the design of e-research infrastructure and the relevance of Linked Open Data and ontologies)
  • Medieval manuscripts - their history and provenance
  • The history of cultural heritage collections and collecting
  • Serendipity in knowledge discovery services
  • Australian popular music and culture

Research Projects

(1) Mapping Manuscript Migrations (2017-2019): funded by the Trans-Atlantic Platform under its Digging into Data Challenge.

Aggregating and linking heterogenous datasets relating to the history and provenance of medieval and early modern manuscripts, using Linked Data technologies 

(2) Collecting the West (2016-2020): Australian Research Council Linkage Project. The history and future of collections and objects relating to the history of Western Australia 

(3) HuNI, the Humanities Networked Infrastructure: funded by NeCTAR under the Australian Government NCRIS Programme.

Combining, collecting and connecting Australian cultural data from more than 30 humanities datasets

Research Group

Selected Publications

‘Cultural heritage collections as research data: towards computationally amenable collections’, in: digital cultural heritage: FUTURE VISIONS: Papers Presented at the Symposium 13–15 November 2017 in London, United Kingdom, edited by Kelly Greenop and Chris Landorf (Brisbane: Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History, University of Queensland, 2019), pp. 1-17

‘A Linked Open Data Service and Portal for Pre-modern Manuscript Research’, Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries 2019 Conference, Copenhagen, March 2019 (with Eero Hyvönen, Esko Ikkala, Miho Koho, Jouni Touminen, Lynn Ransom and Hanno Wijsman)

‘Connecting Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Collections’, Open Library of Humanities 4 (2) (Nov. 2018) Collecting the Past: British Collectors and their Collections from the 18th to the 20th Centuries, ed. Toby Burrows and Cynthia Johnston (London: Routledge, 2018)

‘Collecting the Past: Manuscript and Book Collecting in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries’, in: Collecting the Past: British Collectors and their Collections from the 18th to the 20th Centuries, ed. Toby Burrows and Cynthia Johnston (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 1-7

‘“There never was such a collector since the world began”: a new look at Sir Thomas Phillipps’, in: Collecting the Past: British Collectors and their Collections from the 18th to the 20th Centuries, ed. Toby Burrows and Cynthia Johnston (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 45-62

‘Digital Representations of the Provenance of Medieval Manuscripts’, in: Matthew Davis, Tamsyn Rose-Steel and Ece Turnator (eds), Digital Tools and Digital Divides in the Practice of Medieval Studies: Crossing the Virtual Divide (Kalamazoo, MI: Arc Medieval Press, 2018)

‘Mapping Manuscript Migrations: Digging into Data for the History and Provenance of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts’, Manuscript Studies 3 (1) (Spring 2018), 249-252 (with Eero Hyvönen, Lynn Ransom and Hanno Wijsman)

‘Manuscripts and their (Digital) Afterlives’, in: Jen E. Boyle and Helen J. Burgess (eds), Routledge Research Companion to Digital Medieval Literature (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 158-166

‘The History and Provenance of Manuscripts in the Collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps: New Approaches to Digital Representation’ Speculum 92 S1 (Oct. 2017), S39-S64

‘Even sweeter: what happens when the humanities gets graphic’, Medium 30 July 2017 (with Deb Verhoeven)

‘Manuscripts from the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps in North American institutional collections’, Manuscript Studies 1 (2) (2016), 307-327

‘Aggregating Cultural Heritage Data for Research Use: The Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI)’, in: Metadata and Semantics Research, 9th Research Conference, MTSR 2015, Manchester, UK, September 9–11, 2015: Proceedings, ed. Emmanouel Garoufallou, Richard J. Hartley, Panorea Gaitanou (Communications in Computer and Information Science, 544) (Cham: Springer, 2015), pp. 417-423 (with Deb Verhoeven)

‘A Digital Research Community in Medieval and Renaissance Studies: the ARC Network for Early European Research, 2005-2010’, in: New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance Studies II, ed. by Tassie Gniady, Kris McAbee, Jessica Murphy (Toronto: Iter Academic Press, 2014), pp. 51-66

‘Crowd-sourcing for serendipity’ The Australian: Higher Education Supplement 10 December 2014 (with Deb Verhoeven)

‘Digital Scholarship in the Humanities and Creative Arts: The HuNI Virtual Laboratory’, EDUCAUSE Review Online May/June 2014 (with Deb Verhoeven)

‘A data-centred ‘virtual laboratory’ for the humanities: Designing the Australian Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) service’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 28 (4) (2013), 576-581

‘Coming down to earth: Norma Hemming turns from SF to romance’, in: Telling Stories: Australian Life and Literature 1935-2012, ed. by Tanya Dalziell and Paul Genoni (Clayton, Vic.: Monash University Publishing, 2013), pp. 202-208

‘Collecting and informing: the University Library’, in: Seeking Wisdom: a Centenary History of The University of Western Australia, ed. by Jenny Gregory with Jean Chetkovich (Crawley, W.A.: UWA Publishing, 2013), pp. 147-158