A year of experiments in Digital Humanities

Academic Year 2019-2020 was an auspicious year to begin experimenting in Digital Humanities in the classroom. I began in an effort to keep up to date with technologies that I could use as a supplement. I ended the year clinging to DH technologies that suddenly became essential as the Covid pandemic closed campuses across the country. When I began the year, I wanted to learn to use DH technologies for mapping (Recogito), annotating (Perusall), and audio/video recording (Techsmith Relay, now known as Techsmith Knowmia). 

I assumed that the big project would be use of mapping (Recogito) in my Survey of American Literature course, where students were reading Moby Dick (among other things). I had hoped to show the global interest of the book and therefor the international reach and foundations of American literature. Ironically, of all the things I tried, this was the one that I could not get to work at all and so I never really used it at all.  However, I did use Perusall, Techsmith, and other applications I had not planned on (blogging and and discussion forums, for instance). And these turned out to be the most effective. 

I learned the lesson that everyone tried to teach us as we began: do less and do it better rather than do more and do it worse. So it’s all for the best that I did not manage to get the mapping done. I used Perusall in all my courses and learned quickly that selected use of Perusall was much more effective than asking students to routinely use the platform. In fact, the single most effective use was using Perusall with readings of graphic novels, as it forced students to comment on images as well as text. The most successful use was with excerpts students read from R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis. After reading the comic strip, they also “read” canonical artistic renderings of the Genesis story they looked for on ArtStor, a visual arts database they have access to.

Once the pandemic closed the college in March, the most useful tool ended up being one I had not trained on at all: Techsmith which allowed for “quizzing” students’ reading. Actually, these “quizzes” served most usefully as “attendance.” In Spring 2020, “taking attendance” expanded—no longer meaning students were “in class” at class time, but that they did their work before the next class. As some students could not access our video classes at the assigned time, knowing they were checking in between class meetings was not just a way to see who was doing the work, but if anyone was in need of encouragement or other help. 


I was able to reach out to more than one student who stopped doing the work due to family or health issues. And that allowed me to connect them to services that could offer at least a little help. Also, Techsmith allows the user to get comfortable making videos and recording audio. After the semester ended, my colleagues and I made a “wevideo” movie (another DH application) to say goodbye to graduates whom we could not see off at commencement. Techsmith, more than any other tool, emerged as a useful, multi-application tool. Whether teaching at a distance or face to face, Techsmith seems a very useful and versatile way to quiz and to instruct. Below are three slides from a Techsmith from my Graphic Novel course, where students were reading Watchmen:

An unexpected use of DH methods happened because of the pandemic, rather than in spite of it. In my Graphic Novel course, students read Marjane Sartrapi’s Chicken with Plums, about an Iranian tar player. As it happens, a friend plays traditional Iranian drums in Portland, OR. I invited him and his musical partner to perform for the students via webex video links. The guests loaded music to YouTube and also performed live for the class (YouTube helped, as webex was not ideal for them to play “together” from two different homes in Portland). 

Had we not been forced into the situation, I do not know if I would have invited him via video. Now, I have to reconsider what it means to have a “guest” come to class. Below is a screenshot of the class listening to the music:

Recogito is not the only project that did not work out for me. I had hoped to have students in my Graphic Novel course record their group oral presentations as audio podcasts, to be posted on our learning management system page (Moodle). With the Covid shutdown, I could not do that in the Graphic Novel course. 

I did have students submit PowerPoint presentations instead of a paper for one assignment on visual composition; that worked well. Students in my Humanities class took it on themselves to record their group presentations via Techsmith, using audio, video, still images and text. This was a real success to be replicated. Other students responded via forums to the presentations, offering a virtual roundtable on their presentations. 

I look forward to revisiting Techsmith and Peruall, to operationalizing a podcast presentation, and adding VidoAnt annotation tools to my courses in the fall. Thank you for the support!

Choosing Tools for DH Research?

A recent article, “Which DH Tools Are Actually Used in Research?, ” by Laure Barbot, Frank Fischer, Yoann Moranville and Ivan Pozdniakov analyzed tools mentioned in the last five years of the Digital Humanities Conference run by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.

Among the top tools were Python, Twitter, Gephi, and Omeka. The article also demonstrates different visualizations styles for the data, including the one above.

The authors also created a network graph overview of tools mentioned in the Programming Historian.

Applications open for Second Digital Humanities Research Institute – New York City

Digital Humanities Research Institute (DHRI): Further Expanding Communities of Digital Humanities Practice

by Kalle Westerling

Do you want to become a DHRI Community Leader?

Apply now and join us from June 15-24, 2020.

You are invited to apply for the second Digital Humanities Research Institute (DHRI), which will take place at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. This ten-day institute will introduce participants to core digital humanities skills, and help you develop those skills as part of a growing community of leaders at universities, libraries, archives, museums, and scholarly societies.

Apply here. Applications must be received by March 2, 2020.

What to expect:

  • 8 days of in-person workshops focused on foundational digital research skills like the command line, data and ethics, introduction to python, and mapping,
  • mentoring to help grow local partnerships and launch your local version of the Digital Humanities Research Institutes,
  • sharing your experience through a final report and evaluations that will be included in our Guide to Leading Digital Humanities Research Institutes,
  • a stipend of $3,600.

Who should apply?

We encourage applications from humanities scholars from a wide range of institutional types, including but not limited to universities, community colleges, libraries, archives, museums, historical associations and who fill an array of professional roles (graduate students, experienced faculty, librarians, administrators, museum curators, archivists and more). No previous technical experience is required—applications will not be evaluated based on familiarity with existing technologies.

If you have questions about the form, the application process, or the evaluation criteria, see our application page or contact info@dhinstitutes.org.

The Digital Humanities Research Institute is made possible through generous funding from the Office of Digital Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities and with the support of the Provost’s Office of the CUNY Graduate Center and GC Digital Initiatives.

Call for Papers: Digitorium 2020

Digitorium 2020 CFP

by Anne Ladyem McDivitt

We’re very excited to invite proposals for Digitorium 2020, a multi-disciplinary Digital Humanities conference held at the University of Alabama from October 1-3, 2020. We seek proposals from a range of people including those who are brand new in the field of digital humanities, experienced scholars, practitioners, students, and anybody in-between to create an inclusive environment where everybody can learn something from each other. Proposals should demonstrate how we as digital humanists can engage with communities and our scholarship in new and innovative ways using digital methods.

This year, we will be celebrating the 6th year of Digitorium, as well as the 10th anniversary of the Alabama Digital Humanities Center. To celebrate those milestones, our theme this year will be “Progress.” This could be progress that the field has made in a particular area, how we continue to progress, or where we could improve digital humanities to further progress the field. We welcome creativity in your proposals! If you have any questions about whether your proposal might fit, please contact us at adhc@lib.ua.edu.

Participants can submit proposals that engage with one of the following:

  • Digital Methods: presentations that use digital methods to further scholarship in established fields or highlight new and exciting areas in their research subjects.
  • Public Scholarship: presentations on utilizing digital methods to engage the public through institutions such as universities, libraries, and museums.
  • Digital Pedagogy: presentations on using digital methods for innovative approaches to teaching at any level.

Presentations include a variety of formats for the conference, but they are not limited to those listed below. For example, presentations could be:

  • -20 minute papers
  • -Workshops where the presenter teaches a digital method or tool (let us know what the specifications are for the workshop)-Posters
  • -Completed or in-progress project demonstrations
  • -Panel discussions

Deadline for submitting abstracts is March 15, 2020.

All proposals should be made via the Submissions page on the conference website.

Please visit our website for more information as it becomes available regarding the plenary speakers, the venue, and the departments generously offering their support for Digitorium 2020.

Contact Email: adhc@lib.ua.edu
URL: https://adhc.lib.ua.edu/digitorium/?page_id=36

Digital Humanities Fellowships at the American Philosophical Society

The Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) at the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum in Philadelphia invites applications for Digital Humanities Fellowships. These fellowships, for up to 2 months, are open to scholars at all stages of their careers, including graduate students, who are developing digital projects that: 1) utilize the APS Library & Museum collections, open datasets, or other APS holdings to advance a digital component of an independent research project, or, 2) seek to apply existing tools and expertise to digital projects developed in collaboration with the Library & Museum’s Center for Digital Scholarship.

Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $3,000 per month for a minimum of one month and a maximum of two months.

Recent examples of collaborative projects have focused on the Center’s Open Data Initiative and have explored datasets created from Benjamin Franklin’s postal records, indenture records for servants and redemptioners coming through the port of Philadelphia during the 1770s, and a network visualization of correspondence networks of women scientists found in the APS’s collections.

The APS Library & Museum’s collections make it among the premier institutions for documenting and exhibiting the history of the American Revolution and founding, the history of science from Newton to NASA, Native American languages and culture, and the development of American anthropology. The Library & Museum houses over 13 million manuscripts; 350,000 volumes of printed materials and bound periodicals; 250,000 images, fine art, and other objects; thousands of maps and prints; and more than 3,500 hours of audio recordings of Native American languages.

Comprehensive, searchable guides and finding aids to our collections are available online at www.amphilsoc.org/library and http://amphilsoc.pastperfectonline.com/.

The Center for Digital Scholarship promotes the holdings of the APS Library & Museum through digitization, digital humanities, and the development of tools and software. We partner with scholars, institutions, and students from across the country to explore what digital scholarship means in a small, independent research library. We ask questions about our role within the field of digital scholarship, and we find answers through practice and experimentation. To learn more about the Center for Digital Scholarship, and to explore our recent projects, please visit us here.

All application materials will be submitted online via Interfolio (https://apply.interfolio.com/69515) by Friday, March 6, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST.

Applicants must submit:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Proposal for a digital project including a detailed work plan and a proposed timeline for the fellowship term (no more than 4 double-spaced pages)
  • Examples of previous digital humanities projects (if available)
  • Two confidential letters of reference

Contact regarding the Fellowship program and the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum may be directed to Adrianna Link, Ph.D., Head of Scholarly Programs, at alink@amphilsoc.org or by phone at 215-440-3415.

Applicants: Please use Interfolio’s help desk for any issues pertaining to the online application process.

Digital Humanities Research Institute (NYC) Applications Open

Do you want to become a DHRI Community Leader?
Apply now and join us from June 15-24, 2020.



You are invited to apply for the second Digital Humanities Research Institute (DHRI), which will take place at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. This ten-day institute will introduce participants to core digital humanities skills, and help you develop those skills as part of a growing community of leaders at universities, libraries, archives, museums, and scholarly societies.

Apply here. Applications must be received by March 2, 2020.

What to expect: 

  • 8 days of in-person workshops focused on foundational digital research skills like the command line, data and ethics, introduction to python, and mapping,
  • mentoring to help grow local partnerships and launch your local version of the Digital Humanities Research Institutes,
  • sharing your experience through a final report and evaluations that will be included in our Guide to Leading Digital Humanities Research Institutes,
  • a stipend of $3,600.

Who should apply?

We encourage applications from humanities scholars from a wide range of institutional types, including but not limited to universities, community colleges, libraries, archives, museums, historical associations and who fill an array of professional roles (graduate students, experienced faculty, librarians, administrators, museum curators, archivists and more). No previous technical experience is required—applications will not be evaluated based on familiarity with existing technologies.

If you have questions about the form, the application process, or the evaluation criteria, see our application page or contact info@dhinstitutes.org.

The Digital Humanities Research Institute is made possible through generous funding from the Office of Digital Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities and with the support of the Provost’s Office of the CUNY Graduate Center and GC Digital Initiatives.

NEH Summer Institute: Engaging Geography in the Humanities (Boston)

Engaging Geography in the Humanities is a three-week Summer Institute to be held at Northeastern University from July 6 – 24, 2020. The Institute will explore the possibilities and productive tensions at the intersection of geography and the humanities. By engaging with readings, lectures, discussions, workshops, and field visits, the Institute will introduce scholars teaching in the humanities (and related disciplines) to concepts and methods from geography, as participants consider how these approaches can enhance their own research and teaching.

The poet Walt Whitman writes that in the urban environment we see “the past, the future, dwelling there, like space, inseparable together.”  Inspired by this idea, the Institute will use Boston as our classroom to explore the layered nature of space and place, as well as how Boston and the region have served as setting and inspiration for a range of philosophical and literary works. At the same time, the geographic perspectives and spatial methods developed here will help participants engage more deeply with their immediate surrounds, as well as distant locations.

Through a series of workshops, the Institute will introduce participants to the emerging field of digital humanities and some of its possibilities for spatial representation and analysis. Participants will be exposed to digital projects and receive hands-on training on tools such as 3D modeling, web mapping, and Geographical Information System (GIS). In addition to providing practical skills, sessions and workshops will critically examine the meanings of maps and uses of digital technology in humanistic inquiries.

Meanwhile, the Institute will build on Northeastern’s commitment to public humanities and the experiential liberal arts to facilitate more public facing engagements through popular writing, digital media, and memorialization and public history projects.

Please apply to participate by March 1, 2020.

Our goal is to create a diverse cohort of college and university faculty interested in exploring how geographic perspectives and spatial methods can enhance their own teaching and research. The Institute welcomes scholars in the humanities (and related fields) who currently engage themes of space and place in their work, as well as those interested in learning how to do so.

We would like to acknowledge the territory on which Northeastern University stands, which is that of The Wampanoag and The Massachusett People. While visiting campus, please honor the continued efforts of the Native and Indigenous community leaders who work to preserve the history and culture of the tribes which make up Eastern Massachusetts and the surrounding region. Today, Boston is still home to many indigenous peoples, including the Mashpee Wampanoag and Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), and many more in our region.

DH Workshops at Guelph

The DH@Guelph team is excited to announce that registration is now live for our DH@Guelph Summer Workshops 2020.  Please save the dates of May 4-7th 2020 and join us for what promises to be an exciting week. 
Our keynote address will be delivered by the wonderful Angel David Nieves, and we’re thrilled to welcome the fab folks from Feral Feminisms for a panel on open, feminist publishing!

Our Courses:

1. Materializing the Collection (Milena Radzikowska, Dr. Shana MacDonald)

2. Computational Digital Humanities: Command Line Fundamentals (David J. Birnbaum, Emma Schwarz)

3. Reading the Humanities from a Distance: A Survey of Text Analysis Tools (Jennifer Marvin)

4. Semantic Text Analysis with Word Embeddings (Lisa Baer)

5. Equity in Digital Publishing (Ela Przybylo, Amy Verhaeghe, Sharifa Patel, Krista Benson, Jae Basiliere)

6. Spatial Humanities: Exploring GIS in the Humanities (Quin Shirk-Luckett, Teresa Lewitsky)

7. Machine Learning and Digital Humanities (Dr. Rachel Starry, Paul Barrett, Nathan Taback)

8. Linked Data and Ontologies for the Humanities (Susan Brown, Kim Martin, Deb Stacey)

9. Getting Going with Scholarship Online: An Introduction to CWRC (Mihaela Illovan, Susan Brown) You can register at this link, and don’t hesitate to email dhguelph[@]uoguelph.ca with any questions or concerns. 
Warmly, 
Kim Martin (Associate Director)Susan Brown (Director)DH@Guelph

Call for Papers – NJIT Digital Humanities Showcase 2020

We are inviting proposals from NJ, NY and from around the region for the NJIT Digital Humanities Showcase 2020 to take place on Friday, April 17, 2020. Please see below the call for proposals or here. Deadline to submit an abstract is March 1.


CFP: NJIT Digital Humanities Showcase 2020Friday, April 17, 2020, 11:30am-2:00pmDigital Humanities at NJIT (DH@NJIT) invites proposals for the annual DH Showcase. The Showcase brings together researchers, scholars, librarians, and technologists in the humanities from around the region to present current projects and research work, while investigating broader ideas in the digital humanities as a growing field of intellectual inquiry.

The Showcase is interested in proposals for short papers and digital posters/demonstrations. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Big Data in digital humanities
  • Digital approaches to textual studies
  • Public digital humanities
  • Creative coding and electronic literature
  • Spatial analysis, mapping
  • Digital art/architectural history
  • Sound
  • Digital accessibility
  • Digital humanities pedagogy
  • Preserving and sustaining digital humanities projects
  • Digital gaming, critical play, game design, and gaming culture
  • Studies on the uses and behaviors of social media sites users
  • Community-based online media practices
  • Digital humanities project design/management
  • Institutional DH partnerships and project-based collaborations

We hope the Showcase will stimulate interdisciplinary dialogue and cross traditional professional barriers. We are particularly interested in international and underserved populations’ perspectives on digital humanities and computer science.

Interested applicants are invited to submit a title and 200-300 word abstract along with a 2-page CV by March 1, 2020 using the Submission Form (https://forms.gle/e1fPovrf4JHTSo8z8). NJIT Digital Humanities Showcase 2020 welcomes submissions in the following formats:

Short paper  (7 minutes)

Digital poster/project demonstration

The event is free and open to the public.

Antwerp Summer School in Digital Humanities: Making a Digital Edition – Basic Skills and Technologies

Focus: Digital Scholarly Editing, Raspberry Pi, Command Line, HTML, JSON, TEI-XML, XPath, XSLT, eXist-db

Dates: 29 June -3 July

Place: Antwerp (Belgium)

Price: €150 (early bird);  €200 (regular) 

Deadline: 16 March (early bird); 6 April (regular)

From 29 June to 3 July 2020, the University of Antwerp’s Centre for Digital humanities and literary Criticism (ACDC) is organising its third annual Summer School in Digital Humanities

Course Description

The summer school will exist of an intensive 5-day entry level hands-on course on making digital scholarly editions. Over the course of the week, participants will gradually learn how to transcribe and describe textual cultural heritage documents in TEI-compliant XML, process their transcriptions using related X-technologies (Xpath and XSLT), and prepare them for the web. Specifically, participants will set up a Local Area Network of Raspberry Pi minicomputers to develop an eXist-db XML database for hosting and sharing their materials in the form of a digital scholarly edition.

As students will be introduced to these technologies step by step, the course requires no prior skills or knowledge – other than to complete a minor autodidactic exercise to make sure everyone has a basic understanding of some of the core technologies the course will build on (HTML, CSS, Command Line).

Keynote Speaker

The organizers are happy to announce that the summer school’s keynote lecture will be presented by prof. dr. Elena Pierazzo, Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Tours, at the Centre d’Études Superieures de la Renaissance where she directs the MA program in Digital Humanities and approaches to the digitisation of cultural heritage materials (Intelligence des Patronises). 

Professor Pierazzo has been the Chair of the Text Encoding Initiative for two mandates, and has served for two mandates in the TEI Technical Council and was involved in the TEI user-community, with a special interest in the transcription, edition and cataloguing of modern and medieval manuscripts. She was co-chairs the working group on digital editions of the European Network NeDiMAH and one of the scientist in chief for DiXiT  a Marie Curie ITN devoted to the training of doctoral students to the practice of digital scholarly editing. And in 2019, she was invited by the ADHO (Alliance of the Digital Humanities Organisation) as the co-Chair of the Program Committee of the DH2019 in Utrecht.

Although this lecture is part of the summer school’s official programme, the keynote will be organised in the context of the University of Antwerp’s platform{DH} Lecture Series, and opened up to the larger public. 

Registration

Registration for the summer starts from €150 (early bird) and closes on Monday 6 April (regular). For more information on the application procedure, please visit our registration page

As a training event, the summer school is organised in conjunction with CLARIAH-VL – a collaborative infrastructure project across Flemish universities to which ACDC and the platform{DH} are affiliated. For more detailed information about the summer school and our programme, please visit our website: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/summer-schools/digital-humanities/