Digital Humanities Summer 2018


In this course we will engage with the study, critique, and production of digital humanities scholarship. We will also consider how we, as information professionals, are situated within this area of academic inquiry, and the roles we play as researchers, collaborators, and stewards. We will explore a range of digital humanities projects and digital tools, including the potential uses of each in library and archival settings. This course is designed to be interactive, collaborative, and hands-on, incorporating aspects of academic seminars and studio-based workshops. Over the course of the semester, students will iterate on their own individual projects, using digital tools to investigate humanist research questions, periodically providing feedback to one another and reflecting on their own processes.

Time: Thursday 12:00 – 3:00pm
Room: LIS 502

Instructor: Chelsea Gunn
Office: 602 School of Computing and Information
Office Hours: by appointment


Your work in this course will be centered around the ongoing development of one primary digital humanities project. We will devote class time to discussing what a “project” is or could be in this context. Reflecting on your own research process and providing feedback to your classmates will also comprise a significant portion of your work. Because this is a hands-on, interactive class, participation is essential.

Project Proposal – due Friday, June 1 by 5:00pm

Based on our discussion of project proposals and charters, you will create a project proposal which outlines the work that you intend to do this semester. You will begin by formulating a research question, and subsequently identify the tools and methodological approaches you will use to explore it. Further details to follow in class.

First Iteration – due Friday, July 6 by 5:00pm

This will be your first attempt at producing a digital project that addresses your research question. Include documentation or explanation of your dataset and how it has been produced. Explain how you came to use the tools or methods you are using in this iteration, and how they support your research. Further details to follow in class.

Project Presentation – to be given in class Thursday, August 2

Each student will give a 20-minute presentation, walking the class through their third project iteration. Presentations will include details about processes, findings, challenges, and successes. While the overall success of this project is not dependent upon supporting your initial hypothesis, it is important to consider how and why it was or was not supported. There will be time for questions at the end of each presentation. Further details to follow in class.

Second Iteration – due Friday, August 3 by 5:00pm

It may be helpful to think of this as a second draft of your digital project. However, you may also find that your second iteration does not resemble your first at all. The use of new tools or data to address your research question is encouraged. Consider how the use of a new tool or technique teaches you something new about your question or your methodological approach. For the purposes of this class, this is the “final” version of your project. It is hopefully not the end of your work in this area entirely, however. Further details to follow in class.

Project Documentation Journal and Final Reflection – due Friday, August 3 by 5:00pm

Over the course of the semester you will document your approach to your digital project. This log may detail tools and approaches you have considered or used, as well as your approaches to learning how to use them. Further details to follow in class.


May 17 – What is DH?

Owens, Trevor. “Where to Start? On Research Questions in the Digital Humanities.” Trevor Owens. August 22, 2014.

Posner, Miriam. “How Did They Make That?” Miriam Posner’s Blog. August 29, 2013.

Vee, Annette. “Iteration.” In Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. MLA Commons.

May 24 – Project Planning + Management

Bring two DH projects to share in class.

Leon, Sharon. “Project Management for Humanists: Preparing Future Primary Investigators.” #Alt-Academy. June 24, 2011.

Posner, Miriam. “Charter Guidelines.” DH101. 2015.

Vinopal, Jennifer. “Project Portfolio Management for Academic Libraries: A Gentle Introduction.” College & Research Libraries 73, no. 4 (2012).

Additional resources discussed in class are linked here.

May 31 – Data

Browse some of the datasets in the newsletter “Data is Plural:”

Chiasson, Trina and Dyanna Gregory. “Data Fundamentals,” “Collecting Data,” and “Getting Data Ready.” In Data + Design.

Markham, Annette N. “Undermining ‘Data’: A Critical Examination of a Core Term in Scientific Inquiry.” First Monday 18, no. 10 (October 2013).

Watson, Sara. “Data is the New ‘___’.” DIS Magazine.

June 7 – Code

Ford, Paul. “What is Code?” Bloomberg. June 11, 2015.

Klein, Lauren. “Code.” In Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. MLA Commons.

Tillman, Ruth, Alan Harnum, Danielle Robichaud, Anna-Sophia Zingarelli-Sweet, and Brad Houston. “Roundtable: Should Library Workers Learn to Code?” Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research 12, no. 2 (2017).

In class: Love Letter Generator

Additional resources: Teaching Yourself to Code in DH

June 14 – Visualizing Information

Browse visualizations on Information is Beautiful:

Drucker, Johanna. “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 5, no.1 (2011).

Lupi, Giorgia and Stephanie Posavec. Selections from Dear Data:
Week 01: A Week of Clocks.
Week 07: A Week of Complaints.
Week 14: A Week of Productivity/Schedules.
Week 46: A Week of Books We Own.

In class: RAW, NYT Labs

June 21 – Time + Space

Magnuson, Lauren. “GIS and Geospatial Data Tools.” ACRL TechConnect. April 13, 2015.

Nowviskie, Bethany. “Digital Humanities in the Anthropocene.” Bethany Nowviskie. July 10, 2014.

Sinton, Diana S. “Mapping.” In Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. MLA Commons.

June 28 – Text

Blevins, Cameron. “Topic Modeling Martha Ballard’s Diary.” April 1, 2010.

Goldstone, Andrew and Ted Underwood. “The Quiet Transformations of Literary Studies: What Thirteen Thousand Scholars Could Tell Us.” New Literary History 45, no. 3 (2014). Browse accompanying project website:

Houston, Natalie M. “Text Analysis.” In Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. MLA Commons.

In class: collaborative list of DH competencies/project components

July 5 – No class

July 12 – DH + The Library

Bring two DH projects to share in class.

Huculak, Matthew J. and Lisa Goddard. “Is Promotion and Tenure Inhibiting DH/Library Collaboration? A Case for Care and Repair.” DH + Lib. July 29, 2016.

Potvin, Sarah, Thomas Padilla, and Caitlin Christian-Lamb. “Digital Humanities In the Library / Of the Library – Introduction.” DH + Lib. July 29, 2016.

Theimer, Kate. “Archives in Context and as Context.” Journal of Digital Humanities 1 (Spring 2012).

In class: Scholar’s Lab, MITH, Yale DH Lab, DH Lab @ Georgia Tech

July 19 – DH + Intersectionality

Gallon, Kim. “Making a Case for the Black Digital Humanities.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew Gold. 2016.

Klein, Lauren. “Distant Reading After Moretti.” Lauren Klein. January 2018.

Risam, Roopika. “Beyond the Margins: Intersectionality and the Digital Humanities.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 9, no. 2. (2015).

In class: Around DH in 80 Days, Gender Decoder, Who’s Talking?, #critlib, #TransformDH

In class: collaborative list of best practices/strategies for intersectional DH

July 26 – DH + Sustainability

Familiarize yourself with the Socio-Technical Sustainability Roadmap: (We will use this for an in-class activity.)

Rockwell, Geoffrey, et al. “Burying Dead Projects: Depositing the Globalization Compendium.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 8 (2014).

Schocket, Andy. “Embracing Ephemerality in the Digital Humanities.” History, CLASS. February 2, 2016.

Thiede, Malina. Preservation in Practice: A Survey of New York Digital Humanities Researchers.” In the Library with the Lead Pipe. May 17, 2017.

August 2 – Project Presentations