About Me

I’m Jessica Otis, Digital Humanities Specialist in the University Libraries and Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon 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 digital projects include:

Bridges of Pittsburgh – with Scott Weingart – 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. The intended final product of this project will be a public website, pedagogical materials for the use of the website in various types of classrooms, and a series of events to engage the public.

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.

Digits – with Matt Burton (University of Pittsburgh), Matt Lavin (University of Pittsburgh), and Scott Weingart – this project studies the use of container technology for academic digital publication, with particular interests in the possibilities for improving research sustainability and reproducibility.

Identifying Early Modern Printed Books (“IdEM B”) – with Meaghan Brown (Folger Shakespeare Library) and Paige Morgan (University of Miami) – this project focuses on analyzing the ways early modern printed books are cited in recent journal and monograph publications.

Six Degrees of Francis Bacon – with Christopher Warren, Daniel Shore (Georgetown University), Scott Weingart, John Ladd, and others – this project uses statistical inference 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.