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Digital Humanities Workshop

Digital Humanities is a term that elicits both excitement and scorn in scholarly circles, and there is still a great deal of discussion as to whether it is a field of inquiry, a set of research methods, or simply a new perspective on arts and humanities research. This workshop will provide a brief survey of how the evolving theory and practice of using contemporary technology and technology-assisted research methods are impacting scholarship in the arts and humanities.

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Digital Humanities Workshop

  1. 1. Digital Humanities Contemporary Technology Research Tools Kevin J. Comerford
  2. 2. Contact Information • All Presentation Materials: Presentation Resources Kevin Comerford, Associate Professor Director of Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication Director of IT Services UNM University Libraries
  3. 3. Theory Digital Humanities Concepts
  4. 4. Definitions • “Digital Humanities is born of the encounter between traditional humanities and computational methods.” – Anne Burdick • “Digital humanities is work at the intersection of digital technology and humanities disciplines.” – Johanna Drucker • “Digital Humanities is less a unified field than an array of convergent practices that explore a universe in which print is no longer the primary medium in which knowledge is produced and disseminated.” – Dig. Humanities Manifesto
  5. 5. Definitions • Our key problem is this: The humanities is a discipline that values subtlety, nuance, conflicting ideas, and even paradox. When you’re working with computers, on the other hand, you have to format information precisely and rigidly. So how do you use a computer to do humanities work? Should we stick to word-processing, or is there a way to take advantage of newer tools, like digital maps and data visualization, for humanities work? – Miriam Posner
  6. 6. Digital Humanities Manifestos, 2008 & 2009 (
  7. 7. Manifestos • Themes of Diversity: Diversity studies over the past 30 years contribute to a humanities that is no longer the province of “old white men” • Focus on Openness: Open Access, Open Source, Open Annotation. Advocates for change in copyright laws and traditions • Research is project-based. DH projects and research results are published online, rather than in print. • Emphasizes teamwork and co-authorship: scholars with many talents needed for DH research
  8. 8. Manifestos • Digital Humanities means iterative scholarship, mobilized collaborations, and networks of research. • Our emblem is a digital photograph of a hammer (manual making) superimposed over a folded page (the 2d text that now unfolds in three dimensions). • Digital Humanists recognize curation as a central feature of the future of the Humanities disciplines. • Yes, there is something utopian at the core of digital humanities: The open, the unfixed, the contingent, the infinite, the expansive, the no place.
  9. 9. Source Material • Digital Humanities research utilizes a variety of source material, both visual and textual • Published texts – the most notable DH projects have performed analysis of traditional humanities texts • Digital texts – Websites, blogs, emails, etc. • Primary source material – archives and special collections content • Visual collections, both physical (i.e., to be digitized) and digital
  10. 10. Special Collections & Archives Sources
  11. 11. Popular DH Working Methods • Online Writing & Blogging / Open Annotation • Text Analysis & Data Mining • Digital Exhibitions • Digital Mapping/GIS • Data Visualization • Linked Data • Photogrammetry, Virtual Worlds, 3-D Modeling
  12. 12. Digital Humanities Projects Gallery Examples of Research
  13. 13. Common Features “All digital projects have certain structural features in common. Some are built on “platforms” using software that has either been designed specifically from within the digital humanities community (such as Omeka), or has been repurposed to serve (WordPress, Drupal), or has been custom-built. We talk about the “back end” and “front end” of digital projects, the workings under the hood (files on servers, in browsers, databases, search engines, processing programs, and networks) and the user experience. Because all display of digital information on screen is specified in HTML, hyper-text markup language, all digital projects are produced in HTML as their final format.” – Johanna Drucker
  14. 14. Online Writing & Publishing
  15. 15. Digital Exhibitions Editing Modernism (
  16. 16. Digital Exhibitions Gothic Past – Omeka ( - Omeka
  17. 17. Text Analysis Projects "Vocabulary changes in Agatha Christie's mysteries as an indication of dementia: A case study," by Ian Lancashire and Graeme Hirst, 2009.
  18. 18. Text Analysis “Textual analysis is a way for researchers to gather information about how other human beings make sense of the world. It is a methodology and a data-gathering process for those researchers who want to understand the ways in which members of various cultures and subcultures make sense of who they are, and of how they fit into the world in which they live. Textual analysis is useful for researchers working in cultural studies, media studies, in mass communication, and perhaps even in sociology and philosophy.” – Alan McKee
  19. 19. Mapping & GIS Projects • Memories of Migration - HistoryPin (
  20. 20. Mapping & GIS Projects • Bomb Sight – British National Archives
  21. 21. Praxis Digital Humanities Tools
  22. 22. Selected Text Analysis Tools • Wordle ( Free • Voyant Tools ( Free • Mallet ( Free • WordStat ( – Add on for QDA Miner $$$ • JMP (SAS) ( analysis.html) $$$ • Nvivo ( $$$ • SEO Tools (variety of free and commercial)
  23. 23. Text Analysis Tools VOYANT
  24. 24. Text Analysis Tools VOYANT Hands-On Demo 1. Open your browser to: 2. Click on Open – Select a corpus of documents from the list 3. Click Open 4. Re-open browser to: Go to: 5. Open your browser to: 6. In the Data folder, double click on the “Public ETD Data” file to open it. 7. Press <control>-a and <control>-c to copy the data. 8. Return to the Voyant tools page, click inside the Add Texts box, and press <control>-v to paste the data into the field. 9. Click the Reveal button. Note the results
  25. 25. Text Analysis Tools Mallet • Mallet ( Free
  26. 26. Quick and Incomprehensible Mallet Demo 1. Install & configure Mallet from 2. Import documents to be examined: • binmallet import-dir --input C:Malletdata --output topic- input.mallet --keep-sequence --remove-stopwords 3. Tell Mallet to look for clusters of 20 words in each record: • binmallet train-topics --input topic-input.mallet --num-topics 20 -- output-state topic-state.gz --output-topic-keys tutorial_keys.txt -- output-doc-topics tutorial_compostion.txt
  27. 27. Quick and Incomprehensible Mallet Demo: Starting a Topic Model 4. Examine output results (text file): 1. 0 0.25 thesis studies masters in-depth transient develop negotiating live stories conducted poetry discuss multiple struggles limited extended academic language childcare encounter 2. 1 0.25 party tea political religion making mobilization representing form strategies intensive lens mtp peripherally collective stimulate difficult degrees economically culturally broad 3. 2 0.25 sociology culture literature examine individual government previous movements result utilizes title workplace phases transcribed fitting synonymous thinness code content american 4. 3 0.25 rhetorical actors community layers posthuman criticism moves meanings dimensions higher-level teleaction categories human connection heteronormative ant generally positions strategy single 5. 4 0.25 subject dissertation type lcsh abstract author political level keywords department title analysis provide work public doctoral research make families populations 6. 5 0.25 embodied investments reproductive theory employment education including influences economies stability changing behavior importance structural economic results context females tradeoff parental 7. 6 0.25 capital dominican birth opportunities republic access factors offspring's educational income invest decision differences due investment children reproduction onset spacing control 8. 7 0.25 blind dignified activists labor debates argentina argued employment men theories believed sighted drove 5. Adjust topic commands to focus on specific words and phrases, repeat the topic commands.
  28. 28. Selected Mapping & GIS Tools • Google Maps ( Free • HistoryPin ( Free • QGIS ( Free • ArcGIS ( $ Personal Edition (note: includes access to StoryMap)
  29. 29. Mapping & GIS Tools Esri StoryMap • The Blessing Way – Map of the Novel by Hillerman
  30. 30. Mapping & GIS Tools Google My Maps Demo
  31. 31. Digital Exhibitions Platforms Omeka &
  32. 32. Omeka & NeatLine Online Tours
  33. 33. Digital Exhibitions Platforms • Omeka ( – Free & $ • Neatline ( – for Omeka - Free • Scalar ( - Free • DH Press ( • Viewshare ( - Free
  34. 34. Digital Humanities Resources
  35. 35. Contact Information • All Presentation Materials: Presentation Resources Kevin Comerford, Associate Professor Director of Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication Director of IT Services UNM University Libraries