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CDH's predecessor – the Digital Humanities Network (DHN) – was established in 2011 with funding from the University's Research Policy Committee as part of a series of Strategic Research Initiatives and Networks, which are designed to encourage research across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

Many of the DHN's original activities have now been assimilated within other divisions in Cambridge Digital Humanities, although the CDH Network retains the particular task of building a sense of community and identity across the large and diverse body of DH researchers at the University, in addition to providing a public face for their work. These functions are being undertaken in part through events for internal and external audiences, including the Distinguished Lecturer Series, launched in 2019 and CDH's 'Searching Questions' symposia, the first of which was held in 2018.

The Network is also a catalyst and focal point for the collaboration links that CDH is pursuing both within the University and outside it, for example, CDH has a partnership with Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University, as a result of which joint workshops have taken place. CDH also works closely with DH centres at other leading UK universities.

A range of external partners have contributed to CDH Learning, including Transkribus, The National Archives and Cambridgeshire County Council Archives, all of which have been involved in Machine Reading the Archive. These partners have helped to design and deliver sessions in the programme and will continue to work with CDH in developing future learning curricula.

Alongside these and other institutional affiliations such as those with Malmö University and the National Library of Science in Beijing are innumerable project-specific collaborations, for example with King's Digital Laboratory at KCL, Bodleian Library in Oxford, and HUMlab at Umeå University, and with the John Stevens Henslow Project, Joseph Dalton Hooker Correspondence Project at Kew, Correspondence of Michael Faraday, and Correspondence of John Tyndall, among others.

Finally, CDH is actively pursuing a Knowledge Exchange programme in order to develop links with business and industry and to extend the impact of the University's research in Digital Humanities beyond acadame. In 2019 the CDH Knowledge Exchange Fellowship was launched, and training sessions where held for representatives from business and industry, focusing on ethics, social media and data mining.

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