About Me

I’m Jessica Marie Otis, Director of Public Projects at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University. My personal research focuses primarily on early modern Britain, history of mathematics, and related subjects such as cryptography and plague statistics. For an abbreviated list of my academic accomplishments and publications, check out my C.V. page.

My current/ongoing digital projects include:

Death by Numbers – this project involves constructing an online database of information from the 17th-century London Bills of Mortality and examining plague mortality data during epidemic and endemic plague years using network analysis.

DataScribe – with Lincoln Mullen (GMU) – this NEH-funded project is creating a transcription module for structured data, and will integrate with the Omeka S platform.

World History Commons – with Adam Clulow (University of Texas, Austin), Kelly Schrum (GMU), Merry Weisner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), and others – this NEH-funded project is revitalizing an Open Educational Resource for teaching World History.

My recent/completed digital projects include:

Bridges of Pittsburgh – with Matthew Lincoln (Carnegie Mellon University), Emma Slayton (Carnegie Mellon University), Scott Weingart (Carnegie Mellon University), and others – this project is an homage to Euler’s analysis of the Seven Bridges of Königsberg, which seeks to construct a modern version of this graph theory problem using the 446 Bridges of Pittsburgh.

Digits – with Matt Burton (University of Pittsburgh), Matt Lavin (University of Pittsburgh), and Scott Weingart (Carnegie Mellon University) – this project studied the use of container technology for academic digital publication, and produced two whitepapers on containerization and the current infrastructure needs of DH.

Identifying Early Modern Printed Books (“IdEM B”) – with Meaghan Brown (Folger Shakespeare Library) and Paige Morgan (University of Miami) – this Mellon microgrant-funded project analyzed the ways early modern printed books are cited in recent journal publications and their implications for humanities citation analysis more broadly.

Six Degrees of Francis Bacon – with John Ladd (Washington University in St. Louis), Daniel Shore (Georgetown University), Christopher Warren (Carnegie Mellon University), Scott Weingart (Carnegie Mellon University), and others – this project used statistical inference and crowdsourcing to reconstruct the social network of early modern Britain.

When not working, I can generally be found spoiling cats, volunteering with Girl Scouts, or running in the mud. I’ve also been known to take a scenic photograph or two.