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Digital Humanities Seed Grants

Funded Projects

2013

Project Title: From the brushes of ancient scribes: an online database and intuitive visualization interface for research into the fifth-century BC Wenxian Covenant Texts
Description: The grant will fund the construction and initial data entry for an online database critical to realize the full research potential of the Wenxian Covenant Texts. The website’s sophisticated search options and intuitive visualization interface will reveal complex relationships between these texts, their media, provenance, script, scribes, and language. Software will include MySQL, PHP, XHTML with CSS, HTML5. The pilot study will attract external funding, ensuring the project’s completion. This will result in publications, a public website, and a new Open Source visualization interface.
P.I.: Crispin Williams, Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures
Awarded March 2013
 

2011

Project Title: Digital Resources for Second Language Acquisition Research: an Annotated Longitudinal Corpus of Learner German
Description: This project aims to annotate, analyze, and make publicly available a digital longitudinal corpus of writing samples collected from American learners of German at dense time intervals over several semesters. This project will advance the digital humanistic scholarship by applying a new annotation schema developed specifically for learner language, evaluating the output of this annotation, and publishing the corpus and studies afforded by this annotation. This international project will combine the PI’s language acquisition expertise and the collaborator's computational linguistics expertise.
P.I.: Nina Vyatkina, Assistant Professor, Germanic Languages and Literatures
Awarded May 2011

Seed Grant Guidelines

October 24, 2014: Digital Humanities Tornado research sharing and planning event, 1pm -4pm, The Commons in Spooner Hall.
Applicants must attend this event to be eligible to apply for the seed grants.

Final deadline: December 1, 2014


The IDRH Digital Humanities Seed Grants are intended to encourage KU faculty and academic staff to plan or pilot a collaborative project using digital technologies, which should in turn result in a more competitive subsequent external funding application. The digital humanities use “digital media and technology to advance the full range of thought and practice in the humanities, from the creation of scholarly resources, to research on those resources, to the communication of results to colleagues and students” (Cohen 2011).

Description: Proposals should be for the initial stages of digital research in the humanities, and include a commitment to apply within a year for external funding. Seed grants may be used to create pilot projects, develop ideas via a workshop, attend workshops, support project-related travel, hold a substantial planning or brainstorming session, or similar activities. Projects can include, but are not limited to:

  • text analysis and data-mining techniques;
  • data visualization techniques;
  • applying of Geographic Information Systems to humanities research;
  • examining the emerging multimedia and multimodal technologies in the humanities;
  • collaborative work via Internet sites and tools (e.g. commons-based peer production);
  • development of new digital tools for analyzing and making available digital resources;
  • new digital models of publication and dissemination of scholarship;
  • digital technology for research and teaching;

Outcomes: IDRH Seed Grants should result in pilot projects, plans, or prototypes that will be used to pursue subsequent external funding. Successful applicants may be asked to present their project as part of the Hall Center for the Humanities Faculty Seminar in Digital Humanities.

Eligibility: KU full-time humanities and social science faculty.

Anticipated funding levels: Up to $15,000.

To apply: Please refer to the 2015 Seed Grant Proposal Guidelines and Application Form (PDF) for more information.

 


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Come to our collaborative research tornado on October 24 and find collaborators for our $15,000 digital humanities seed grants.
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 http://idrh.ku.edu/dhforum2014/ -- 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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