Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research

LEADR is a joint, forward-looking, student-centered venture of History, Anthropology and MATRIX. Here, undergraduate and graduate students are developing innovative digital and web-based projects in collaboration with other students, faculty, and specialists in digital technologies and design. The cutting-edge lab opened in Old Horticulture Building, home of the History Department, in 2014.


At MSU and across the US, humanities and social science coursework instills in students skills in critical thinking, research, information management, and writing. Humanities faculty have not, however, engaged students adequately in ways to research and analyze data with new digital technologies and to present conclusions in digital formats. We remain wedded to having students write essays and essays alone. Such exercises are necessary and valuable creative endeavors. But the development of skills in data mining, with new technologies for data analysis, and in web-based presentations is critical in this day and age.

Our desire is to help students live in the digital world, navigate streams of information, and make sense of the large cultural data flows. To do these things we must equip them with appropriate knowledge. We must invest in the kinds of interactive, collaborative, cutting-edge and experiential spaces that allow for 21st century skill development.


LEADR is committed to making our projects and spaces accessible—in all meanings of that word—for everyone, regardless of ability or need. We believe accessibility is not an implementation that can be finished and done, but rather a way of thinking and working that can—and should—always be improved. We strive to make the lab space and technology pleasant, easy to access, and ADA-compliant, and work in conjunction with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to ensure accessibility. Please write to us with suggestions for improvements. For this website, we follow WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 guidelines, and encourage students to consider accessibility at every stage of project development. Our markup and presentation adhere to W3G‘s standards for HTML5 and CSS3, and in doing so include many features meant to enhance the accessibility of our site, including:

  • Correct ordering of headings to aid in navigation;
  • Alternative text for media where appropriate;
  • A skip link at the beginning of each page to jump to the page’s main content;
  • Text alternatives for image links.
We use several tools to assess accessibility on our site, including the Wave evaluation tool by WebAIM and HTML_CodeSniffer by Squiz.
If you have suggestions for improvement, or encounter anything that hinders your use of the content or tool we provide, please email us.