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Cambridge Digital Humanities

Cambridge Digital Humanities course timetable

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Tue 24 Sep – Tue 3 Dec

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September 2019

Wed 25
The Letters Connection: Social Network Analysis in the Scientific Correspondence Collection new (2 of 2) Finished 11:30 - 16:30 Sidgwick Site, Alison Richard Building, S2

Letters have been for centuries the main form of communication between scientists. Correspondence collections are a unique window into the social networks of prominent historical figures. What can digital social sciences and humanities reveal about the correspondence networks of 19th century scientists? This two-session intensive workshop will give participants the opportunity to explore possible answers to this question.

With the digitisation and encoding of personal letters, researchers have at their disposal a wealth of relational data, which we propose to study through social network analysis (SNA). The workshop will be divided in two sessions during which participants will “learn by doing” how to apply SNA to personal correspondence datasets. Following a guided project framework, participants will work on the correspondence collections of John Herschel and Charles Darwin. After a contextual introduction to the datasets, the sessions will focus on the basic concepts of SNA, data transformation and preparation, data visualisation and data analysis, with particular emphasis on “ego network” measures.

The two demonstration datasets used during the workshop will be provided by the Epsilon project, a research consortium between Cambridge Digital Library, The Royal Institution and The Royal Society of London aimed at building a collaborative digital framework for 19th century letters of science. The first dataset, the “Calendar of the Correspondence of Sir John Hershel Database at the Adler Planetarium”, is a collection of the personal correspondence of John Frederick William Herschel (1792-1871), a polymath celebrated for his contributions to the field of astronomy. Its curation process started in the 50s at the Royal Society and currently comprises 14.815 digitised letters encoded in extensible markup language (.xml) format. The second dataset, the “Darwin Correspondence Project” has been locating, researching, editing and publishing Charles Darwin’s letters since 1974. In addition to a 30-volume print edition, the project has also made letters available in .xml format.

The workshop will provide a step-by-step guide to analysing correspondence networks from these collections, which will cover:

- Explanation of the encoding procedures and rationale following the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines; - Preparation and transformation of .xml files for analysis with an open source data wrangler; - Rendering of network visualisations using an open source SNA tool; - Analysis of the Ego Networks of John Herschel and Charles Darwin (requires UCINET)

About the speakers and course facilitators:

Anne Alexander is Director of Learning at Cambridge Digital Humanities

Hugo Leal is Methods Fellow at Cambridge Digital Humanities and Co-ordinator of the Cambridge Data School

Louisiane Ferlier is Digital Resources Manager at the Centre for the History of Science at the Royal Society. In her current role she facilitates research collaborations with the Royal Society collections, curates digital and physical exhibitions, as well as augmenting its portfolio of digital assets. A historian of ideas by training, her research investigates the material and intellectual circulation of ideas in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Elizabeth Smith is the Associate Editor for Digital Development at the Darwin Correspondence Project, where she contributed to the conversion of the Project’s work into TEI several years ago, and has since been collaborating with the technical director in enhancing the Darwin Project’s data. She is one of the co-ordinators of Epsilon, a TEI-based portal for nineteenth-century science letters.

No knowledge of prior knowledge of programming is required, instructions on software to install will be sent out before the workshop. Some exercises and preparation for the second session will be set during the first and participants should allow 2-3 hours for this. Please note, priority will be given to staff and students at the University of Cambridge for booking onto this workshop.

CDH Learning gratefully acknowledges the support of the Isaac Newton Trust and the Faculty of History for this workshop.

October 2019

Thu 10
From Blog to Book new Finished 14:00 - 15:30 Sidgwick Site, Alison Richard Building, SG2

Blogging as a digital means of research communication seems so simple: with free, easy-to-use platforms we’re all just a few clicks away from setting one up. But having set a blog up, the difficult work begins. Who are you talking to? What are you trying to achieve? How will you generate your content? How will the people you want to talk to find it? How are you going to keep it going alongside your research and teaching commitments? Will it make any difference to anything? And will you ever be able to transform any of this work into a scholarly publication that ‘counts’?

This session will be an interactive conversation between Julie Blake, Cambridge Digital Humanities Methods Fellow and Connie Ruzich, University Professor of English at Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh, USA. Connie’s Behind Their Lines blog started in 2014 during a Fulbright Scholarship at Exeter University to research First World War poetry in the context of the Centenary Commemorations. She became interested in the lost and neglected poetry of the First World War and began blogging about her ‘finds’. Five years later, she has had almost 400,000 visits to her blog, she maintains a lively dialogue with public and academic audiences including via Twitter and she is in the final stages of completing a monograph about this material with Bloomsbury Academic.

We’ll discuss the highs and lows of Connie’s research blogging experience, the surprises, the pitfalls and the lessons learned by hard won experience. We’ll try to answer all the questions listed above, and participants will be invited to join in with their own questions.

Wed 16
The Library as Data: An overview new Finished 11:00 - 12:30 Cambridge University Library, IT Training Room

Is the "digital library" more than a virtual rendering of the bookshelf or filing cabinet? Does the transformation of books into bytes and manuscripts into pixels change the way we create and share knowledge? This session introduces a conceptual toolkit for understanding the library collection in the digital age, and provides a guide to key methods for accessing, transforming and analysing the contents as data. Using the rich collections of Cambridge University Library as a starting point, we will explore:

  • Relations between digital and material texts and artefacts
  • Definitions of data and metadata
  • Methods for accessing data in bulk from digital collections
  • Understanding file formats and standards

The session will also provide an overview of the content in the rest of the term’s Library as Data programme, and introduce our annual call for applications to the Machine Reading the Archive Projects mentoring scheme.

Wed 23
The Library as Data: Digital Text Markup and TEI new Finished 11:00 - 12:30 Cambridge University Library, IT Training Room

Text encoding, or the addition of semantic meaning to text, is a core activity in digital humanities, covering everything from linguistic analysis of novels to quantitative research on manuscript collections. In this session we will take a look at the fundamentals of text encoding – why we might want to do it, and why we need to think carefully about our approaches. We will also introduce the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative), the most commonly used standard for markup in the digital humanities, and look at some common research applications through examples.

Wed 30
The Library as Data: Social Network Analysis in the Correspondence Collection Archive new Finished 11:00 - 12:30 Cambridge University Library, IT Training Room

Correspondence collections are a unique window into the social networks of prominent historical figures. With the digitisation and encoding of personal letters, researchers have at their disposal a wealth of relational data, which can be studied using social network analysis.

This session will introduce and demonstrate foundational concepts, methods and tools in social network analysis using datasets prepared from the Darwin Correspondence collection. Topics covered will include

  • Explanation of the encoding procedures and rationale following the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines
  • Preparation and transformation of .xml files for analysis with an open source data wrangler
  • Rendering of network visualisations using an open source SNA tool

No knowledge of prior knowledge of programming is required, instructions on software to install will be sent out before the session

November 2019

Wed 6
The Library as Data: Introduction to Archival Photography new Finished 11:00 - 12:30 Cambridge University Library, IT Training Room

This session focusses on providing photography skills for those undertaking archival research. Dr Oliver Dunn has experience spanning a decade filming documents for major academic research projects. He will go over practical approaches to finding and ordering materials in the archive, methods of handling and filming them, digital file storage, and transcription strategies. The focus is very much on low-tech approaches and small budgets. We’ll consider best uses of smartphones, digital cameras and tripods. The session is held in the IT training room at the University Library.

Wed 13
The Library as Data: Exploring Digital Collections through Machine Learning new Finished 11:00 - 12:30 Institute of Criminology, Room B3

Recent advances in machine learning are allowing computer vision and humanities researchers to develop new tools and methods for exploring digital image collections. Neural network models are now able to match, differentiate and classify images at scale in ways which would have been impossible a few years ago. This session introduces the IIIF image data framework, which has been developed by a consortium of the world’s leading research libraries and image repositories, and demonstrates a range of different machine learning- based methods for exploring digital image collections. We will also discuss some of the ethical challenges of applying computer vision algorithms to cultural and historical image collections. Topics covered will include:

  • Unlocking image collections with the IIIF image data framework
  • Machine Learning: a very short introduction
  • Working with images at scale: ethical and methodological challenges
  • Applying computer vision methods to digital collections

December 2019

Mon 2
Game Design Workshop new (1 of 2) [Places] 09:30 - 17:30 Cambridge University Library, IT Training Room

This two-day intensive workshop will introduce participants to the practice of game design. It will explore the different ways that digital and analogue games are designed, particularly how you can design with intent to communicate a mood, theme or message. Participants will learn game design skills - such as boxing-in, design documents and prototyping – alongside opportunities to test them out by creating their own short games.

The sessions focus on game design, how to shape mechanics and play experiences, so no technical skills are needed. Participants will create their short games using both non-digital tools and simple, free software that will be taught in the session.

The course participants will be selected via an application process, once a provisional place is booked a call for application form will be issued for completion and return by 1 November 2019. Once the applications are reviewed, places will be confirmed directly in the week beginning 18 November 2019.

Tue 3
Game Design Workshop new (2 of 2) [Places] 09:30 - 17:30 Cambridge University Library, IT Training Room

This two-day intensive workshop will introduce participants to the practice of game design. It will explore the different ways that digital and analogue games are designed, particularly how you can design with intent to communicate a mood, theme or message. Participants will learn game design skills - such as boxing-in, design documents and prototyping – alongside opportunities to test them out by creating their own short games.

The sessions focus on game design, how to shape mechanics and play experiences, so no technical skills are needed. Participants will create their short games using both non-digital tools and simple, free software that will be taught in the session.

The course participants will be selected via an application process, once a provisional place is booked a call for application form will be issued for completion and return by 1 November 2019. Once the applications are reviewed, places will be confirmed directly in the week beginning 18 November 2019.