Computation and the Humanities

Part of the series Springer Series on Cultural Computing pp 87-97

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.


They Took a Chance: Susan Hockey and Julianne Nyhan

  • Julianne NyhanAffiliated withDepartment of Information Studies, University College London (UCL)
  • , Andrew FlinnAffiliated withDepartment of Information Studies, University College London (UCL)


This interview was carried out via Skype on 21 June 2013. Hockey was provided with the core questions in advance of the interview. Here she recalls how her interest in Humanities Computing was piqued by the articles that Andrew Morton published in the Observer in the 1960s about his work on the authorship of the Pauline Epistles. She went on to secure a position in the Atlas Computer Laboratory where she was an advisor on COCOA version 2 and wrote software for the electronic display of Arabic and other non-ASCII characters. The Atlas Computer Laboratory was funded by the Science Research Council and provided computing support for universities and researchers across the UK. While there she benefitted from access to the journal CHum and built connections with the emerging Humanities Computing community through events she attended starting with the ‘Symposium on Uses of the Computer in Literary Research’ organised by Roy Wisbey in Cambridge in 1970 (probably the earliest such meeting in the UK). Indeed, she emphasises the importance that such gatherings played in the formation of the discipline. As well as discussing her contribution to organisations like ALLC and TEI she recalls those who particularly influenced her such as, inter alia, Roberto Busa and Antonio Zampolli.