Providing resources and trai­ning in the practices and tools of the digital humanities

Digital Jumpstart Workshops 2016

IDRH will host our annual Digital Jumpstart Workshops this year on Thursday and Friday, March 3rd-4th. These free workshops are intended to provide faculty, staff, and graduate students with hands-on introductions to digital tools and practices in order to help you better manage your data, analyze text, work collaborative over long term projects, create digital editions, fund projects, and publish and disseminate your results. All skill levels, from beginner to seasoned digital humanist, are welcome.

Thursday, March 3

Easy & Sustainable Web Publishing with Plain Text, Jekyll & Github 

9:00am - 11:00am
​Watson 503A


Static websites are very easy to create and host, perform more reliably than dynamic, CMS-based websites, and are easier to maintain over the long run. This workshop will help participants over the initial learning curve by providing an introduction to the technologies and tools needed to create and deploy static websites. We will begin by discussing the concepts behind static websites and how they differ from CMS-based systems like WordPress. Participants will then learn how to edit plain text in a text editor, author content using markdown syntax, configure and build websites using Jekyll, and host the site on GitHub
At the end of the session, participants will be able to deploy their own websites for a range of purposes, including digital projects, personal webpages and blogs, or scholarly digital texts. 

No prior experience in website development necessary. Some familiarity with HTML and CSS helpful but not required. Please bring a laptop (Mac preferred).

Instructors: Brian Rosenblum & Matt Menzenski

Introduction to Spatial Data, Mapping & GIS

11:00am - 1:00pm
​​Watson 503A


Curious about mapping and GIS? Through discussion and interactive exercises using real data, this 2-hour hands-on workshop will provide participants with an introduction to concepts, methods, and tools for working with spatial data or developing mapping projects. We will use free and open source web tools to build online interactive maps, focused on creating and working with historical data such as scanned maps.

No prior mapping or GIS experience necessary. Please bring a laptop.

Instructor: Rhonda Houser

Introducing Programming through Processing, a Language for the Visual Arts

1:00pm - 3:00pm
​Watson 455


This workshop provides an introduction to programming by way of the open-source, cross-platform language Processing. Based on the widely-used Java language and geared towards artists, designers, data visualizers, and other creative users, Processing is designed for quick “sketches," making it easy for novice users to begin creating graphical images and environments programatically. This, in turn, makes it an ideal place to begin learning what programming is and how it works, a skill which can then be extended to other programming languages, a general knowledge of digital media, or more advanced work in Processing itself. We will explore the basic syntax of the language, analyze some sample sketches, explore some of Processing's add-on libraries, and play around with writing our own programs.

No previous programming experience is necessary, but please do bring a laptop to the workshop, preferably with Processing already installed. (You can download it for free from here:

Instructor: Andrew Lison

Command Line tools for Text Analysis: How to Get the Most Out of Your Mac

1:00pm - 3:30pm
​​Watson 503A


Independent of which research area we work in, most of us often have to search in texts or extract specific information from texts. Sometimes, just searching for individual words is insufficient because the search results cover too many uninteresting phenomena or the phenomena are more complex. In many cases, we can extract the information easily using the command line on a Mac or a Unix/linux computer without programming. This workshop will introduce ways of extracting information from texts using command line tools. We will create concordances and extract all trigrams (sequences of 3 words). The workshop will start with an introduction on how to use the command line instead of graphical tools. 

No unix/linux, linguistic, or programming experience necessary. Please bring your own Mac or Unix laptop (or, if using a Windows machine, you may install Cygwin).

Instructor: Sandra Kuebler

Wikipedia Entries for Research Dissemination: An Introduction to Wikipedia Editing for Academics​

3:30pm - 5:00pm
Watson 503A


This workshop provides an introduction to creating and editing encyclopedia entries in Wikipedia, a free, Web-based  open-source, multilingual encyclopedia. Wikipedia uses a specific markup language to code text for its online appearance and to create hyperlinks that contribute to building networked knowledge. This workshop is intended as a basic introduction for novice editors to begin creating, modifying, and enhancing Wikipedia entries towards the expansion and maintenance of a readily accessible online encyclopedia that reflects current knowledge and scholarship. Users will learn how to create a new Wikipedia entry from scratch as well as how to correct, improve, and enhance existing entries. This will be accomplished by using examples from student assignments in courses at KU that have taught skills in research, critical thinking, and the dissemination of information while empowering individuals to contribute to a valuable resource accessible worldwide.

No previous programming experience is necessary, but please bring a laptop to the workshop that has ready WiFi Internet access. Some familiarity with Wikipedia will be presumed, so please explore this resource online at prior to the workshop.

Instructor: John Hoopes

Friday, March 4

Introduction to Text Analysis with Python and the Natural Language Toolkit

9:00am - 12 noon
​Watson 503A


The Python programming language is famously 'human-readable', which makes using it straightforward, even for humanists with no prior programming experience. This three-hour workshop covers the basics of text analysis in Python, using the Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), a collection of linguistic tools which make Python a very powerful tool for working with language data. Topics covered include getting up and running with Python and the NLTK as well as fundamental text processing tasks such as tokenizing a text, counting word frequencies, finding collocations, finding specific words, and constructing simple plots. Workshop attendees are invited to bring a wi-fi-enabled laptop. If you've got Python (v.2.7.0 or greater) and the NLTK installed already, great! If not, you can program 'in the cloud' at Python Anywhere without installing anything on your own computer. (You will have to register for a free account to use that site.)

Cup-a-DH: Building a Collaborative Microproject in Half a Day 

12 noon - 5pm
​​Watson 503A


In this half day workshop, participants will collaboratively build a digital microproject. Using datasets available from Spencer Research Library, participants will gain experience with text analysis, image editing, and digital curation. At the end of the half day workshop, the microproject will be launched online.

Please bring your laptop.

Instructors: Élika Ortega, Brian Rosenblum, Phil Stinson

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