Course Details

Course Name
Digital Humanities: Coding and Digital Archives
Course Type
Bachelor Programme
Institution
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
Department
Humanities Division
Information
http://dh.newtfire.org/CDA.html
Curriculum
http://greensburg.pitt.edu/academics/info/digital-studies
Status
record actively maintained
Course Language
English
Start Date
2018-08-27
recurring
ECTS
-
Lecturer
Elisa Beshero-Bondar
PID
Disciplines: Arts and Cultural Studies, Computer Science, History, Human Language Technologies, Linguistics and Language Studies, Literary and Philological Studies, Media and Communication Studies, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Theory and Methodology of DH
Techniques: Brainstorming, Browsing, Collocation Analysis, Commenting, Encoding, Information Retrieval, Open Archival Information Systems, Preservation Metadata, Versioning
Objects: Artifacts, Computers, DigitalHumanities, Data, File, Images, Interaction, Literature, Manuscript, Metadata, Multimedia, Multimodal, NamedEntities, Projects, Research, ResearchProcess, ResearchResults, Software, Text, TextBearingObjects, Tools, Visualization
Access Requirements
* cross-platform compatible * students work with an oXygen XML Editor license supplied by U. of Pittsburgh * students set up a GitHub account and create GitHub repositories * students build websites on the instructors' server
Description
This course is all about doing interesting things with texts using computers and digital technology to build cultural resources on the public web. We will work with many kinds of texts: looking at manuscript images, plain text documents, and structured documents like poems, novels, voyage logs, and plays, and learn how to transform and remix them in ways we can share on the public web and study with computer tools that we design for ourselves, based on the questions we ask. We work with computers in this course as precision instruments that help us to read and process great quantities of information, and that lead us to make significant connections, ask new kinds of questions, and design web resources for people curious about human history, culture, and creativity. Our class is one of the core courses of Pitt-Greensburg’s Digital Studies Certificate, and it satisifes a range of general education requirements in quantitative reasoning, behavioral sciences, and humanities. That is because this course is distinctively interdisciplinary in engaging formal and quantitative reasoning through computer coding in ways that matter to students in humanities and social sciences who are not training to be computer scientists. Students gain hands-on experience in this course with applying computer coding to represent and investigate cultural materials. As we design projects together, you will gain practical experience in editing and you will certainly fine-tune your precision in writing and thinking. We will do all of this with an eye to your understanding how coding works in an openly collaborative environment, with an emphasis on building sustainable and freely accessible resources on the public web. Students who complete this course will gain skills in digital project management and web development, and their digital projects will distinguish them as investigators and makers, able to wield computers creatively and effectively for human interests. Your success will require patience, dedication, and regular communication and interaction with us, working through assignments on a daily basis. Your success will not require perfection, but rather your regular efforts throughout the course, your documenting of problems when your coding doesn’t yield the results you want. Homework exercises are a back-and-forth, intensive dialogue between you and your instructors, and we plan to spend a great deal of time with you individually over these as we work together. Our guiding principle in developing assignments and working with you is that the best way for you to learn and succeed is through regular practice as you hone your skills. Our goal is not to make you expert programmers (as we are far from that ourselves). Instead, we want you to learn how to apply coding technologies for your own purposes, how to track down answers to questions, how to think your way algorithmically (step-by-step) through problems to find good solutions. Survey of Coding Technologies Covered: We will be working primarily with eXtensible Markup Language (XML) because it is a powerful tool for modelling texts that we can adapt creatively to our interests and questions. XML represents a standard in adaptability and human-readability in digital code, and it works together with related technologies with which you will gain working experience: You’ll learn how to write XPath expressions: a formal language for searching and extracting information from XML code which serves as the basis for transforming XML into many publishable forms. You’ll learn to write XSLT: a programming “stylesheet” transforming language designed to convert XML to publishable formats, as well as to extract information and plot it in charts in graphs in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). You will learn how to design your own systematic coding methods to work on projects, and how to write your own rules in schema languages (like Schematron and Relax-NG) to keep your projects organized and prevent errors. You’ll gain experience with an international XML language called TEI (after the Text Encoding Initiative) which serves as the international standard for coding digital archives of cultural materials. Since one of the best and most widely accessible ways to publish XML is on the worldwide web, you’ll gain working experience with HTML code (a markup language that is a kind of XML), styling HTML with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS), and adding dynamic features to your website with JavaScript. Learning Objectives: Work with Texts as Artifacts—As Physical and Virtual Objects: * Generate "digital surrogates": digitally represent facsimiles of rare manuscripts and other kinds of documents, and make their content digitally searchable. * Reflect and write on the issues and problems with digital representation, as well as the capacity of the digital medium to enhance or add dimensions to a physical text. * Learn and practice coding in eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and related coding technologies: to “mark up,” process, and extract information about the structure, physical condition, and cultural contexts of textual artifacts. Gain Experience with Information Retrieval, “Distant Reading,” and Autotagging Techniques: * Write code to apply searching and data extraction methods through multiple kinds of pattern-matching algorithms, including forms of regular expression matching. Take conventional boolean searches and library database searches to new levels. * Apply “mining" and "drilling” methods associated with "distant reading" to apply computers to read and design more and differently than we could do “manually” or with unassisted eyes and brains. * Learn how to “autotag” enormous texts or collections of texts, for practical results: to code the structure of enormous texts from a distance, in order to navigate them and make them accessible through distant reading. * Reflect on and test the strong and weak points of “distant reading” and processing methods: (What do we learn, and what is at stake in current applications of digital "distant reading"?) Gain Project Design and Editing Experience: * Gain digital editing experience with proposing, designing, and contributing to a digital research project * Gain experience with collaborating and sharing code using a version control system (GitHub) in a team repository * Transform XML code into publishable web formats, to build or contribute to a project website. * Design navigation elements, and build visual aids and models (such as timelines and tree diagrams) from texts: to generate charts and images from extracted data * Gain experience with plotting digital graphs and charts Last but not least: Discover that you read and write with “new eyes,” with greater precision and agility, thanks to your adventures in working with digital texts!
Keywords
Disciplines: Arts and Cultural Studies, Computer Science, History, Human Language Technologies, Linguistics and Language Studies, Literary and Philological Studies, Media and Communication Studies, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Theory and Methodology of DH
Techniques: Brainstorming, Browsing, Collocation Analysis, Commenting, Encoding, Information Retrieval, Open Archival Information Systems, Preservation Metadata, Versioning
Objects: Artifacts, Computers, DigitalHumanities, Data, File, Images, Interaction, Literature, Manuscript, Metadata, Multimedia, Multimodal, NamedEntities, Projects, Research, ResearchProcess, ResearchResults, Software, Text, TextBearingObjects, Tools, Visualization