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

Digital Jumpstart Workshops 2013

IDRH will offer our popular Digital Jumpstart Workshops March 7-8, 2013. 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 capture and digitize your data, discover and analyze patterns in your data, and present and disseminate your results. All skill levels, from beginner to seasoned digital humanist, are welcome.

Please note: the Gephi and XML/XPath sessions are 3 hours in length; all other sessions are 90 minutes. 

Thursday, March 7

Visualizing data in Gephi (Elijah Meeks, Stanford University)
9am-12noon (Beginner Session)
1pm-4pm (Advanced Session)


Gephi is a free, open source network analysis and visualization tool. Learn with its developer!

The 3-hour beginner session will provide a walkthrough of Gephi and an introduction to the basic principles of networks and network analysis. This session will cover bringing data into Gephi and manipulating it, an overview of statistical functionality, and the methods for exporting a network as an image or data file.

The subsequent 3-hour advanced session will focus on more advanced principles of network analysis and representation such as creating and analyzing dynamic networks, understanding network layout methods, and exploring various types of networks using Gephi.

Participants may choose either the morning session or the full day. (Choosing only the afternoon session is not recommended, unless the participant has prior experience with Gephi.)

Beginner Session: 9am-12noon
Network Analysis Basics (Network Structure, Types of Networks, Measuring Networks, Random Graphs)
Gephi Basics (Installing, the Interface)
Importing Edge Lists
Importing Node Attributes Using Spreadsheets
Manipulating Graphs
General Statistics and Filtering Functionality
Export/File Formats Styling and Preview

Advanced Session: 1pm-4pm
Network Analysis Principles (Dynamic Network Statistics, Community Detection, N-partite Graphs, Pathfinding)
Filtering Methods
Measuring Subsections of a Network
Dynamic Networks
Force, Hierarchical, and Plotted Layouts
In-Depth Examination of Exemplary Networks

Basic GIS on $0 a day (Katie Sparks, IDRH)


This introductory GIS class will focus on free tools that will help you map your data in Google Earth. The focus will be on plotting points in Google Earth, and using programs that allow you to map data created in Excel file formats. Class topics will include using online software to convert Excel to KML files, adjusting the appearance of place markers, including information and links with your place markers, and adding image overlays to your map. Please bring your laptop, and have Google Earth installed.

Files for workshop: (1) GIS_Example_1.xlsx(2) GIS_Example_2.xlsx; (3) GIS_Kansas_Screenshot.png

Classroom Digital Humanities (Crystal Hall, French & Italian & Jonathan P. Lamb, English)
2:30pm - 4pm


This workshop will provide discussion, demonstration, and models of how to use digital humanities tools and methods (e.g. data and text visualization, data mining, mapping and GIS, digital representation of knowledge) to enhance learning in the humanities classroom. Presenters will point participants to resources for finding existing syllabi, tools, and instructional materials for incorporating theory-based or project-based digital humanities material into existing or new courses. Presenters will provide some brief examples to demonstrate some of the possibilities of using DH in the classroom and generate discussion.

Each presenter will feature one or two digital tools and will model a classroom lesson using those tools. Participants may come with pedagogical goals, ideas for possible projects, or burning questions about teaching with DH. The workshop will be appropriate for those new to digital humanities and who just want to become more familiar with relevant concepts and tools as they work in the classroom. Participants may also bring ideas for topics or class assignments to share and discuss. Depending on the number of participants, the group may break up into smaller groups to provide feedback or short workshop activities about teaching ideas.

We’d like to ask our participants to bring a laptop. Participants should come come having thought about a non-DH class lesson they’d like to digitize, preferably though not necessarily a lesson involving some kind of text available in digital format (of which they have a copy). Participants should also come ready (or perhaps just willing) to discuss the usual goals of their non-DH lesson, and the potential drawbacks of digitizing it.

Friday, March 8

Introduction to XML & XPath (David J. Birnbaum, University of Pittsburgh & Jeff Rydberg-Cox, UMKC)
9am-12noon (XML)
1pm-4pm (XPath)


This introductory workshop will feature presentations and hands-on activities designed to help participants learn to prepare XML documents show what one can do with them after preparing them. Prior to the workshop: please (1) download and install the <oXygen/> XML Editor on your laptop (free 30-day trial available); and (2) read David Birnbaum's What is XML and why should humanists care? An even gentler introduction to XML.

Session I (XML): 9am - 12noon
This session will cover the following topics, through presentations and hands-on exercises: XML, well-formedness, validation, schemas, TEI, XPath paths and axes (how to find data in an XML document)

Session II (XPath): 1pm - 4pm
This session will cover the following topics, through presentations and hands-on exercises: XPath paths and axes, numerical predicates, XPath functions, demonstration of projects that extract and reuse data from XPath.

Ask Anything: an open digital humanities forum
10:30am - 12noon


This is an open session with no formal presentations. Inspired by the popular THATCamp unconference format, this is a participant-driven session, intended to allow participants to share ideas, ask questions, or learn about resources and projects. IDRH staff and other DHers will be on hand to help guide the discussions or answer questions, but this is also a session for participants to share questions and ideas with each other. Topics can be anything related to digital humanities, including technical questions about tools and methods, sharing and getting feedback on project ideas, viewing example projects, or discussing recent DH developments and issues. (NOTE: this session is not intended for one-on-one project consultations.) We don't promise to be able to provide an answer to everything, but we do hope it will provide an opportunity for fruitful discussion on the digital humanities.


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Lauren Kersey - Less is More: The Pursuit of Gestalts in Minimalism and Knowledge Discovery... Lauren Kersey, Saint Louis University Less is More: The Pursuit of Gestalts in Minimalism and Knowledge Discovery in Databases Graduate Paper, Digital Humanities Forum 2014: Nodes & Networks in the Humanities. University of Kansas September 13, 2014 -- As cultural marketplaces become increasingly saturated and fragmented, new forms emerge to compress, sort, and efficiently deliver messages. Minimalism, from the visual arts, and Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD), from the computer sciences, developed in tandem in response to this common pressure. This paper links these two movements from their origins to the present day to show how KDD appropriates principles and design elements from minimalism for competing purposes. Minimalism developed in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. These works countered what they saw as consumerist impulses fueled by subjective forms of self-expression. Donald Judd’s arrays of freestanding boxes typify this movement. They reduce expression to essential conditions: the expressive object’s internal relationships involving basic materials, proportions, and the arrangement of simple geometric figures like lines and planes along with the object’s interactions with external elements like light and viewers’ positions within surrounding space. Around the same time computer scientists invented integrated circuit-chips and microprocessors that facilitated networks of personal computers. This Web accelerated the output and the fragmentation of human expression to such a degree that traditional centers of control struggled to monitor and regulate increasingly niche sub-communities. Thus, marketing firms became early investors in KDD: the process of discovering and displaying useful knowledge from large volumes of data. Since then, humanists have adapted KDD to condense literary corpuses into essential patterns and models. Specifically, KDD applies frequency thresholds to identify a corpus’s essential lexical materials. Analysts then identify the unique proportions of these materials by comparing one corpus to another through classification or clustering algorithms. Finally, the interpretive stage represents these essential materials and proportions as simple geometric shapes. Like minimalist art, KDD aims to be literal and holistic. Consider either Donald Judd’s boxes or a multidimensional, cube-shaped graph that reduces novels to data points. Its purpose is not to express the creator’s internal psychology or an external reality beyond the factual existence of the basic conditions for that aesthetic object itself. Both projects are holistic in that they suppress detail to pursue what Robert Morris called the gestalt: objects that “offer maximum resistance to perceptual separation” which force viewers to see the whole before or in synchrony with individual parts. In so doing, viewers account for individual relationships, later changes, and their own subjective roles in the object’s manifestation. Viewers who walk around Judd’s boxes are aware of their limited and shifting viewpoints because they have a preexisting image of the object in its abstract entirety. Analysts who condense literary history into gestalts are aware of their limited and shifting positions because they have a preexisting image of literary history in its abstract entirety. By surveying Franco Moretti, Matthew Jockers, and Google’s Ngram Viewer, this paper explores how KDD’s capitalist and anti-capitalist heritage influences these projects. In particular, it asks whether their visuals allow viewers to interact and experiment with the complicated networks that make up literature and culture or whether they disempower communities by presenting these conditions as empirical, constant, and impermeable.

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