Tag: digital humanities

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Editors’ Choice: An Anthropologist’s Visit to DHSI to Learn about Sound

Photograph of waves

I knelt down with my knees in the sand, feeling a bit silly and bit nostalgic of my more artistic childhood, and held my audio recorder close to the tips of the waves as they rolled into the beach’s shoreline. I was careful to block the wind with my body because, as I learned the hard way, the best way to filter out the sounds of the wind is to block the wind as much as possible from hitting the recording device. Mufflers can only block so much. I took a few recordings, each just over three minutes to be sure I had ample audio recorded to work with and ample space for mistakes (per Dr. Barber’s advice when recording soundscapes).

My experience at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria (UVic) combined a lot of learning and a bit of magic. In this blog post, I’m going to share a bit about why I went to DHSI to take a course on Sounds and Digital Humanities and what I got out of it, in terms of new things learned and thoughts sparked.

Read full post here.

Editors’ Choice: Bridgebuilding in Digital History

Creative Commons Image by Paul Lowry via Flickr

I’m publishing my position statement for “Arguing with Digital History”, a workshop being held at George Mason University in September. We were asked to respond to the following questions:

  • How is argumentation in digital history different from other forms of history, and how is it the same?
  • Should DH argumentation be inherently disciplinary, or should it be interdisciplinary?
  • Why is there not more digital history that makes explicit arguments in conversation with the scholarly literature, for an academic audience? What are the barriers to making arguments in digital history? If possible, include examples from your projects.
  • What successful models have you found for making explicit arguments in conversation with the scholarly literature for an academic audience? In those models, what is the relationship between traditional venues for publication and digital projects?
  • If applicable, how have you used digital history to make explicit arguments in conversation with the scholarly literature, for an academic audience? What is the relationship between the arguments you have made and the digital part of your project?

Read full post here.

Editors’ Choice: Open Stacks: Making DH Labor Visible

Laura Braunstein is the Digital Humanities Librarian at Dartmouth College and co-edited Digital Humanities and the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists (ACRL 2015).

Last June, a group of librarians, technologists, and scholars met at Middlebury College in Vermont to think about how to move forward on a proposed network, the Digital Liberal Arts Exchange, that would support digital humanities scholarship and teaching across institutional boundaries. There was much discussion, as we looked out over the Green Mountains on a perfect early summer day, of the particular stresses on library infrastructure when it came to supporting, leading, and engaging with digital projects, in contrast to how libraries support traditional humanities scholarship. At one point, someone noted that the conversation was drifting back toward the tired dichotomy of “hack” and “yack”–that is, DH as coding and making things versus DH as critique of digital culture. I suggested that we might think about a third term–“stack”: the often invisible technological, social, and physical structures within which scholarship is produced and disseminated. Since that meeting, I’ve been considering different concepts of “stack” in relationship to DH as models for these structures of labor. I’ve also found myself having more and more conversations–at work, at conferences, on social media–about how exposing DH infrastructure (in terms of how it supports both making/”hack” and thinking/”yack”) can reveal the conditions that make all kinds of scholarship possible.

I’m curious to explore what these three frames–technological, social, and physical–could offer in terms of different ways to understand and reveal DH labor in the academy.

Read More: Open Stacks: Making DH Labor Visible ← dh+lib

Resource: Data Privacy Project

From the post:

The goal of our trainings is to learn the building blocks of privacy protection and digital security. Our teachings focus on activities patrons do every day at the library so that library staff can develop the capacity to:

By beginning with common patron experiences, the Data Privacy Project makes learning about privacy protections relevant to the everyday realities of libraries today.

Access resource here.

Editors’ Choice: A Visualization of Influence in the History of Philosophy

“I don’t know a lot about philosophy,” says Grant Louis Oliveira, a data analyst and quantitative social sciences researcher with an undergraduate degree in political science. He continues:

I’d like to change that and more rigorously explore my ideas, but I find the world of philosophy a bit impenetrable, and I don’t think I’m the only one…So we need a map. What I imagined is something like a tree arranged down a timeline. More influential philosophers would be bigger nodes, and the size of the lines between the nodes would perhaps be variable by strength of influence. Of course strength of influence needs a metric, but we’ll get there. I know that Wikipedia pages for academics and thinkers tend to have a field for “Influenced by” and “Influenced”, and it struck me that we could use Wikipedia’s semantic companion dbpedia to build our little map.

And so that is what he did.

Read full post here.

Job: DH Developer, Carnegie Mellon University

The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is undertaking a long-term initiative to foster digital humanities research among its faculty, staff, and students. As part of this initiative, CMU seeks an experienced Developer to collaborate on cutting edge interdisciplinary projects. The Developer would work alongside researchers from Dietrich and elsewhere to plan and implement digital humanities projects, from statistical analyses of millions of legal documents to websites that crowdsource grammars of endangered languages. Located in the the Office of The Dean under CMU’s Digital Humanities Specialist, the developer will help start up faculty projects into functioning prototypes where they can acquire sustaining funding to hire specialists for more focused development.

Read full ad here.

Editors’ Choice: Ghosts in the Machine

As the only historian in my immediate family, I’m responsible for our genealogy, saved in a massive GEDCOM file. Through the wonders of the web, I now manage quite the sprawling tree: over 100,000 people, hundreds of photos, thousands of census records & historical documents. The majority came from distant relations managing their own trees, with whom I share. Such a massive well-kept dataset is catnip for a digital humanist. I can analyze my family! The obvious first step is basic stats, like the most common last name (Aber), average number of kids (2), average age at death (56), or most-frequently named location (New York). As an American Jew, I wasn’t shocked to see New York as the most-common place name in the list. But I was unprepared for the second-most-common named location: Auschwitz. I’m lucky enough to write this because my great grandparents all left Europe before 1915. My grandparents don’t have tattoos on their arms or horror stories about concentration camps, though I’ve met survivors their age. I never felt so connected to The Holocaust, HaShoah, until I took time to explore the hundreds of branches of my family tree that simply stopped growing in the 1940s.

Read full post here.

Resource: Music Genre and Spotify Metadata

I wanted to explore Spotify’s metadata in a way that would model the interpretive messiness of generic categories. To do so, I built a program that bounces through Spotify’s metadata to produce multiple readings of the idea of genre in relation to a particular artist. Spotify offers a fairly robust API, and there are a number of handy wrappers that make it easier to work with. I used a Python module called Spotipy for the material below, and you can find the code for my little genre experiment over on my GitHub page.

Read full post here.

Editors’ Choice: Can You Murder a Novel? Part 2

murder a novel featured image

After including the GenLit Project in my Experimental Writing course during the Fall 2014 semester, three senior undergraduates remained mesmerized by the perceived novelty of a generative, digital novel. For the following semester all four of us shared our frustrations, questions, and perplexities, which later drove our inquiry into the nature of the novel in its digital future. Many of those started as definitional questions around the confines of a novel while some others were reactionary, addressing why many are fearful of literature’s migration to digital platforms. As it turns out, much of the criticism we read to spur thought on our questions addressed materiality of the codex in conjunction with literature’s responses to digital technologies. We each read from a corpus of essays I chose and students augmented. With each week of reading we all wrote responses to the ideas we encountered, compiling and rearranging them as our collaborative essay developed. Each section of the essay had a “parent” author that worked to consolidate, develop, and edit more heavily than others in the group. This second installment of four catalogs four major traits of digital narratives we found in play with the Generative Literature Project. Beyond building a catalogue of traits, we compare the Generative Literature Project to other new media texts and look ahead to what this project may look like and how future readers might perceive it.

Traits of the Digital Narrative

The codex form is far from a stable state, but is instead a part of the evolution of humans externalizing their thought. The book is part of humanity’s “becoming,” but we’ve reached a stage where technological revolution, information, and the digital have overflown the book’s border. We don’t imagine the total encyclopedic book anymore, but are becoming more open to the idea of a linked, international prosumer who reads/writes on the Internet. The ready connection and cohabitation of words, image, and sound on the computer too no doubt engendered our increased awareness of the limited expressive capacity of linguistic signs printed on a codex page. Geoffrey Brusatto argues that digital media has altered how the reader interacts with the text. Now the digital reader handles information non-linearly and actively searches for specific information (295). The reader defines his or her own path in the reading and so is less of a passive consumer. This takes the reader (assumed to function by moving linearly through a text) and turns him or her into a user who navigates more like one travels through a dictionary.  In fact, Ellen Lupton states that users want to feel “productive” rather than “contemplative” (295). This is an interesting binary. Are action and thinking then opposites? Perhaps we do both, and maybe a reading experience can exist on a sliding scale. Espen Aarseth has a sliding scale for narrative versus ludic features. Maybe we need to chart the novel based on reader action versus reader thought.


Read More: Can You Murder a Novel? Part 2