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Ryan Cordell

Headshot of Ryan Cordell

Affiliated Associate Professor of English

Ryan Cordell is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in addition to an affiliated faculty member in the Department of English and a Core Founding Faculty Member in the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. His scholarship seeks to illuminate how technologies of production, reception, circulation, and remediation shape the sociology of texts. Cordell primarily studies circulation and reprinting in nineteenth-century American newspapers, but his interests extend to the influence of computation and digitization of contemporary reading, writing, and research. Cordell collaborates with colleagues in English, History, and Computer Science on the Viral Texts project, which uses robust data mining tools to discover borrowed texts across large-scale archives of nineteenth-century periodicals. At Northeastern, Cordell was the founding director of the Huskiana Experiential Letterpress Studio. Cordell is also a Senior Fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School and serves as the Delegate Assembly Representative for the MLA’s Forum on Digital Humanities.


View CV
  • American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Digital Innovation Fellowship, for “Global Viral Texts,” 2015-2016
  • Accepted Participant, Summer Institute in Digital Textual Studies, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 2015-2016
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2013-2016
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, Northeastern University College of Social Sciences and Humanities, 2014-2015
  • 5th Annual Best Article Prize (2013), ProQuest and the Research Society for American Periodicals, for “‘Taken Possession of’: Hawthorne’s ‘Celestial Railroad’ in the Nineteenth Century Evangelical Canon,” awarded January 2014
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2013-2016 (
  • Project Director and Primary Investigator, NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, “Uncovering Reprinting Networks in Nineteenth-Century American Newspapers” project, 2013-2014 (
  • Northeastern University Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship, Program Theme: “Viral Culture,” 2013-2014
  • DHSI Tuition Scholarship for the “Geographic Information Systems in the Digital Humanities” course at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, University of Victoria, Canada, June 2011
  • Faculty Development Summer Grant, Office of Faculty Development, St. Norbert College, to support development of a new digital humanities course, Summer 2011
  • Thomas J. Griffis Prize for the Best Essay by a Student Beyond the First Year of Graduate Work in English, for “‘Taken Possession of’: Hawthorne’s ‘Celestial Railroad’ in the Nineteenth-Century Evangelical Canon,” University of Virginia English Department, 2010.
  • SHANTI Exploratory Cohort Fellowship, for technical training, initial design, and help implementing a digital edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Celestial Railroad” (forthcoming at, University of Virginia, 2009-10.
  • Buckner W. Clay Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Grant, for startup research work for, University of Virginia, Summer 2009
  • Tane Travel Scholarship, for travel to present at the Bicentennial Poe Conference, Edgar Allan Poe Society, Philadelphia, October 2009



  • Going the Rounds: Virality in Nineteenth-Century American Newspapers, with David A. Smith, Abby Mullen, Jonathan Fitzgerald, and Avery Blankenship, in progress with the University of Minnesota Press.
  • “Speculative Bibliography,” Anglia 138:3 (September 2020), special Archives issue, ed. Daniel Stein, available online
  • “Machine Learning + Libraries: A Report on the State of the Field,” commissioned by LC Labs, the Library of Congress, 14 July 2020, report available online as well as an announcement post from the LoC.
  • “A Research Agenda for Historical and Multilingual OCR,” with David A. Smith, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Society, 6 February 2019, report available online.
  • “‘Q i-jtb the Raven’: Taking Dirty OCR Seriously,” Book History 20 (2017), available online
  • “‘Fugitive Verses’: Poetry, Attribution, and Circulation in Nineteenth-Century American Newspapers,” with Abby Mullen, American Periodicals 27.1 (Spring 2017), pre-print available online
  • A Larger View of Digital American Studies, Amerikastudien/American Studies61.3 (2016), available online
  • What Has the Digital Meant to American Periodicals Scholarship? American Periodicals 26.1 (Spring 2016), post-print available
  • “Reprinting, Circulation, and the Network Author in Antebellum Newspapers,” American Literary History 27.3 (August 2015), pre-print available
  • “Computational Methods for Uncovering Reprinted Texts in Antebellum Newspapers,” with David Smith and Abby Mullen, online in American Literary History 27.3 (August 2015), pre-print available







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Course catalog
  • In this studio-based course, students investigate intersections among media, literature, and computation in order to understand the history of the book and imagine its future. Students cultivate new technical skills that will enable them to effectively use a range of historical and contemporary textual technologies, including letterpress, binding, 3D printing, and interactive, online storytelling. Students use the skills they develop over the course of the semester to develop multimodal creative or research projects, building their own print-digital books.

  • Grapples with the long and sometimes tumultuous relationship between literature—including fiction, poetry, film, and video games—and new media technologies. Offers students opportunities to historicize and engage the social and literary upheavals of our own technological moment through reading, discussion, writing projects, and practicums that seek to develop skills for analyzing the data and metadata of texts through both qualitative and quantitative methods.