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National Inventory of Humanities Organizations (NIHO)

Over the course of 2017 and 2018, the Humanities Indicators will work with other key humanities stakeholders to develop a comprehensive informational resource for humanities organizations and those who care about them, including researchers, policymakers, funders, and interested citizens.

What is NIHO?

NIHO strives to be an exhaustive listing of humanities organizations classified using a flexible taxonomy and web interface that will enable users to easily identify and access basic information about those organization types in which they are most interested.

What is a humanities organization?

For the purposes of NIHO this will be defined very broadly, encompassing not-for-profit, for-profit, government, and educational institutions engaged in humanities scholarship or in bringing humanities knowledge or skills to various audiences. Key organization types include:

  • Humanities departments and centers at institutions of higher learning
  • Art and history museums
  • Other history organizations, such as historical societies
  • Libraries and archives
  • Cultural and ethnic awareness organizations
  • Literacy organizations
  • Writing, book, and literature organizations
  • Humanities disciplinary and professional societies

What information on these organizations will NIHO include?

NIHO will strive initially for a “wide-but-thin” coverage.

The overriding goal will be to identify as many organizations meeting the established criteria as possible, and document for each:

  • Organization Type
  • Address Coordinates (for Geocoding)
  • Congressional District

How will the information be organized?

Perhaps the most challenging and important aspect of the NIHO effort is the creation of a detailed and flexible taxonomy of humanities organizations. The classification system will be designed to meet the unique needs of a variety of information users while at the same time facilitating collaboration among them as far as data-gathering and analysis.

How will users access the information?

A web interface will ensure that the data are known and accessible to a wide range of users. Online tools will include:

  • Online Searchable Database
  • Visualization Tools (maps, graphs)
  • Downloads

All information will be made available free of charge.


In the course of developing its material on the number and resources of humanities organizations, the Humanities Indicators realized that 1) humanities not-for-profits reporting to the IRS did not represent the full universe of relevant humanities organizations (as for-profit organizations as well as organizations embedded within higher education units were generally excluded), 2) several organizations have been developing lists relevant to their own segments of the humanities community (such as museums and historical organizations), employing widely varying conceptions of what should and should not count as a humanities organization, and 3) for analytical purposes, there are important internal differences within particular organization types (such as the distinction between art and historical museums) that can only be captured with a finer-grained classification scheme.

How is NIHO funded?

NIHO is made possible by generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

How can I learn more or get involved?

Feel free to email Carolyn Fuqua, Senior Research Associate at the Humanities indicators. Many thanks for your interest.