USC Digital Voltaire is a librarian-led digital multimodal polymathic edition of 31 original (autograph) letters and four poems written by Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet, 1694–1778) between the years 1742 and 1777. Situated at the very intersection of several genres in digital scholarship, digital publishing, and the digital humanities, it is a critical edition of an institutional collection, a cross between a digital edition and a digital exhibit.
Information is delivered in multiple modes, such as text, sound, and images to help us visualize and better understand the past. Users work with an array of tools to uncover patterns of information and different meanings they might not otherwise see, thus giving the opportunity for scholars and students to ask new questions and approach the letters with a larger frame of reference.
A project of the Ahmanson Lab of the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, its aim is formulated in terms of scholarly objectives: To combine the traditional scope of humanities inquiry with the affordances and methodologies of digital scholarship, and to support scholarly inquiry at all levels, beyond the disciplines associated with Voltaire and the Enlightenment.