Digital Humanities (DH)

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    Sisterhood

    Sisters Mary and Agnes Berry, daughters of Robery Berry, born in Britain only 14 months apart, naturally had an insepreable bond. Their mother passed away when they were quite young in childbirth, and so did what would have been their third sister. Their fathers story is tragic, in that 18th century kind of way, his Uncle left all his money and estate to Robert's younger brother, William, because Robert had failed to create a male heir (of course)! Mary did not forget this, she wrote, "For many years afterwards," she could not of the will, "without my blood boiling in my veins, and lamenting that I had not been present to support and reply for my father," (Journals and Correspondance of Miss Berry). Although Mary did not need to stay for long in Britain lamenting this disrespect because in 1783 she convinced her father to give up thier house in London and travel abroad, fullfilling Mary's lifelong dream of fleeing British society. In Naples she was invited to the court of Caroline, daughter of the Austrian Empress Maria Thersea and Emperor Joseph II, in Rome she was presented to the Pope, and on following trips she conversed with famous mathmetician Pierre Simon Laplace and personally met Napoleon Bonaparte. The sisters travelled to "the Continent" together nine times in their life before their death only months apart.

    Today, I must choose what I would like to research with the VMW this semester, to help build a web of knowledge about the Grand Tour. My choice is simple-- women who travelled-- exploring thier world and educating themselves. Miss Berry never married but instead dedicated herself to being a role model for her sister and guide to her father (and not the other way around). She is an impressive women, whose adventures in Europe deserve a chance to be documented and logged into the world of Itinera! It is my little way of supporting sisterhood. 

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Current Projects
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Current Conversation about Topic Modelling and "Plot Arcs"

    For your perusal, the following are links to a conversation happening currently about topic modelling and plotting the plot of a text. Members of the conversation include: Matt Jockers, Ted Underwood, David Bamman, Ben Schmidt, and Lynn Cherney.

    Ben Schmidt, "Fundamental plot arcs, seen through multidimensional analysis of thousands of TV and movie scripts," December 16, 2015: http://sappingattention.blogspot.com/2014/12/fundamental-plot-arcs-seen-through.html.

    David Mimno, "Where do themes occur in novels?" undated: http://mimno.infosci.cornell.edu/novels/plot.html.

    David Bamman's find, and ensuing conversation, January 3, 2015: https://twitter.com/dbamman/status/551440390361194497

    Matt Jockers, "Plot Arcs (Schmidt Style)," January 5, 2015: http://www.matthewjockers.net/2015/01/05/plot-arcs-schmidt-style/

    Ben Schmidt, "Mimno Clone," undated: http://benschmidt.org/mimnoClone/.

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
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    Is Your Cloud Truly Open?

    How long has the question asked above been thinkable? Is it even yet thinkable? Check out the entire image up there. Why don't we just substitute "server" for cloud? Because if we do that, the fact that IBM is talking about robust server-terminal architectures suddenly becomes one of #areyouSTILLtalkingaboutthat rather than something more existential like, how can clouds be closed??

    Categories: 
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Decomposing Bodies
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
    • Underwood and Underwood, Traveling in the Holy Land through the Stereoscope
    • Six Degrees of Francis Bacon
    Underwood and Underwood, Traveling in the Holy Land through the Stereoscope

    Underwood and Underwood, The Pool of Siloam, --outside of Jerusalem, Palestine, 1900, 2 photographs mounted on card; (8.5x17cm). From a collection of stereo views of Israel/Palestine c.1900. Collection of Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. http://haagradsymposium.pitt.edu/Abstracts/Richmond-Moll.pdf 

     

    A Reflection on Debating Visual Knowledge

    Earlier this month, students in History of Art and Architecture and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh hosted Debating Visual Knowledge, an interdisciplinary graduate symposium. It was an honor to have Patrick Jagoda and Simone Osthoff participate as keynote speakers, as well as many other inspiring and diverse thinkers and makers. Highlights included a panel on curating with Terry Smith, Cynthia Morton, Alison Langmead, and Dan Byers, opportunities to experience the work of filmmakers Ross Nugent and Mike Maraden, Ella Mason and Joanna Reed of Yes Brain Dance Theater, and a Finnbogi Petursson exhibition curated by Murray Horne at Wood Street Galleries. We heard 14 presentations on a huge variety of topics from grad students who had travelled nationally and internationally to be here, and were able to workshop papers by two participants. We also toured Configuring Disciplines: Fragments of an Encyclopedia at the University Art Gallery.

    I hope that we can continue the many specific and fascinating conversations raised that weekend as we post videos and further thoughts to the Constellations website, collaborate with our graduate journal Contemporaneity, and produce digital projects that present the results of this event. I think we have an opportunity here to become a network of researchers who are a resource for each other because of some common interests. We take images seriously as sources of new knowledge, not just reflections of other knowledge. We share a concern about focusing on “the visual” as something specific, as something that matters as a historical concept, but not always, not necessarily, as separate from other domains. Most of all, we think that the study of visual material and sensory experience does not belong to a single discipline. We all have to reckon with traditional disciplinary boundaries in our work and can benefit from the support of a community in doing so.

    When we started developing the symposium, we were intentionally vague about what we wanted to happen, and the conversations throughout our process were both exciting and confusing. We took a risk and refused to decide what exactly we meant by ‘visual knowledge’, what kinds of material would count, or which scholars would fit. Really the only thing the CFP asserted (besides that visual knowledge is in many places and means many things to many people) is that visual knowledge is different from language, a choice that continues to bring up important questions. By working as a multi-disciplinary group, we were able to invite work across a broad variety of areas and in formats other than papers--like posters, artworks, and workshops. At the same time, we learned how difficult interdisciplinarity can be to achieve, and I think our CFP still spoke most readily to humanities scholars. There is so much ground that must be covered in order to make non-superficial bridges between the cultures, communication networks, and languages of different disciplines.

    We took some baby steps though, and the biggest payoff for me was that our CFP, and the idea of visual knowledge being put forward jointly by art historians and information scientists, attracted people who all shared a feeling that their work requires interdisciplinarity. I believe that this sensibility alone is a powerful idea, that young scholars who have this feeling should get connected early on to affirm that their work can develop in this way. We also were successful in experimenting with traditional conference structure and in thinking about what it is we really want to get out of a graduate symposium. It is clear to me now that while opportunities to present in front of auditorium audiences are important for us as developing scholars, working groups and roundtables are where we really have the productive conversations of which we are in search when we travel to conferences.

    I am really excited about how collaboration between people in different disciplines permits work that could never be done by one person. Humanities scholars don’t publish multiple-author papers very often, but to me this seems necessary. Twentieth-century photographer Berenice Abbott commented, when talking about how she tried to collaborate with scientists to make photographs to teach physics in the late 1950s, that one of her main arguments with them was that photography is a lifetime profession too, and that if true expertise in photography could be combined with other scholars’ expertise in physics, the whole would be greater than the sum of the parts. Many other examples of this kind of situation came up in talks during the symposium. We need also to talk about the difficulties in collaboration—how it can be slow and inefficient, how it can be socially and emotionally demanding.

    Debating Visual Knowledge is aiming to extend outward the constellations model that the History of Art and Architecture department at Pitt has been working with for the last few years. In our department, the identification of important themes and terms facilitate a specific kind of scholarly collaboration between experts in different fields. This environment has resulted in co-authored digital projects, co-taught courses, and this symposium, which seeks to apply these approaches beyond our department and make contact with others who are working in convergent ways.

    This reflection is cross-posted on Nexus, a blog hosted by University of Maryland’s Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture.

     

    Categories: 
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Current Projects
    • Debating Visual Knowledge
    • Graduate Work
    • UAG
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    Getting Started with "Digital:" A View from Three Others

    I am asked many questions on a weekly basis about what it takes to start using digital methods in the humanities. I enjoy answering the questions, but often feel frustrated by my inability to convey precisely what is needed. In many ways, "doing DH" is something you can hear about, but you sort of also have to experience it to understand--just like writing an essay changes how you view your topic, so goes using the analytic power of digital computing. Brian Croxall recently wrote a post in which he expresses similar excitement and misgivings and also gave links to two other excellent posts on the subject. So, here they are, in easy clicking order for you:

    Brian Croxall, "'Help, I Want to Do DH!'" http://www.briancroxall.net/2014/09/25/help-i-want-to-do-dh/

    Lisa Spiro, "Getting Started in Digital Humanities," http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-1/getting-started-in-digital-humanities-by-lisa-spiro/

    Paige Morgan, "How to Get a Digital Humanities Project off the Ground," http://www.paigemorgan.net/how-to-get-a-digital-humanities-project-off-the-ground/

    I'll edit this post over time, should I run across more...

    Categories: 
    • Identity
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
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    Data Modelling "Class"

    This is the suite of Lynda.com and YouTube videos that I have been suggesting for a few terms to the humanists around who want to learn more about modelling data in a relational database form. The links for lynda.com are set to allow Pitt folks to login--if you're coming to this without a lynda.com login, then sorry...there's still lots of YouTube stuff here!

    FIRST SESSION: Data Modeling Basics

    Watch the following sections from this: http://www.lynda.com/Programming-tutorials/Foundations-Programming-Datab...

    Introduction
    1. Understanding Databases
    2. Database Fundamentals
    3. Database Modeling: Tables
    4. Database Modeling: Relationships

    And from this: http://www.lynda.com/FileMaker-Pro-10-tutorials/Relational-Database-Desi...

    Introduction
    1. Reviewing Data Modeling
    2. Resolving Many-to-Many Relationship [sic]

    Take notes on the things you are learning, of course, paying special attention to the questions you have. If you get very confused KEEP GOING. This is 90 minutes of video. Let the river flow over you. If you don't get confused, DON'T WORRY! You may simply be understanding. This could break either way.

    SECOND SESSION: Normalization Basics

    Watch these in order.

    Good basic overview of normalization and modeling:
    o2solutionsdotnet, “Understanding Normalization,” http://youtu.be/4T15hOhE5N4 (2m53s)

    Another good overview of identifying patterns:
    o2solutionsdotnet, “Discovering Patterns ,” http://youtu.be/M7mFn2LteuQ (8m40s)

    Example of 1st Normal Form:
    mrbcodeacademy, “Normalisation 1NF: First Normal Form Example,” http://youtu.be/x9BuWCUQawY  (9m10s).

    Example of 2nd Normal Form:
    mrbcodeacademy, “Normalisation 2NF: Second Normal Form Example,” http://youtu.be/8PwomfwMMyQ  (6m28s)

    Example of 3rd Normal Form:
    mrbcodeacademy, “Normalisation 3NF: Third Normal Form Example,” http://youtu.be/c7DXeY3aIJw (6m55s)

    Mr. B has longer explanations that are just fine as well. Sooo, if you'd like to hear more about each of the normal forms, you can watch those too. They are easch called “Understanding and Applying” the normal forms [as in: "Normalisation 3NF: Understanding Third Normal Form" http://youtu.be/wcp9hqOExqE]

    THIRD SESSION: Entity-Relationship Diagram Basics

    THIS IS ACTUAL READING. http://www.umsl.edu/~sauterv/analysis/er/er_intro.html.

    Oh, OK. And a video: http://youtu.be/-fQ-bRllhXc (please know that "bridge" table is the same as a "join.").

    And another video: http://youtu.be/wo-Wyul8CDQ

    Practice ER diagrams of your own. Use a pencil and paper. That's best.

    Categories: 
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Graduate Work
    • Faculty Work
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    Brown Bag Talk on Visualization

    I will be giving a brown back talk on visualization as a tool in the humanities tomorrow, September 5th at noon. All are invited!

    Categories: 
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
  • periodic table of visualization methods

    Image Credit: Colby Stuart, "periodic table of visualization methods," https://flic.kr/p/xbFB1.

     

    PhD Seminar in the Digital Humanities, Fall 2014

    I will be teaching a PhD seminar this fall in the digital humanities at the iSchool here at Pitt. The draft syllabus is done for those who might be interested in seeing what is going on...check out the PDF attached at the bottom of the post.

    There will be balanced focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of producing digitally-inflected work in the humanities and social sciences, and students can expect to leave the course having built something that furthers their own research. Do be in touch if you have any questions or would like any further information (contact information).

    ETA: Class will be held on Mondays from 12-3pm in the School of Information Sciences.

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
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    In the first year the NEH was in existence...

    ...FIVE of the grants went to projects incorporating computing. ("The digital humanities community responded to NEH’s call for grants, resulting in the Endowment funding at least five digital humanities projects during its first full year of operation.") For more information, please do see Meredith Hindley's fascinating article, "The Rise of the Machines" at the NEH's own site, http://www.neh.gov/humanities/2013/julyaugust/feature/the-rise-the-machines.

    Categories: 
    • Temporalities
    • Identity
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
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    What do you value about studying the humanities?

    Our colleagues over at 4humanities.org have brought our attention to an "idea comparison" engine that they have set up to talk about what the value of studying the humanities might be. You can visit the survey here: http://www.allourideas.org/4humanities. It presents you with a series of dyads, allowing you to pick between different options...including "I can't decide." You may also add your own thoughts. A peek at the results is also revealing...

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Identity
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW

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