This page is referenced by:
Data for Humanists
'Data' can be a difficult term for humanists. As Miriam Posner of the Department of Information Studies at UCLA explains in "Humanities Data a Necessary Contradiction:"
When you call something data, you imply that it exists in discrete fungible units; that it is computationally tractable; that its meaningful qualities can be enumerated in a finite list; that someone else performing the same operations on the same data will come up with the same results. This is not how humanists think of the material they work with.
Despite discomfort with the term, humanists today engage with data on a regular basis. The data that shapes our professional lives can be defined as "a digital, selectively constructed, machine-actionable abstraction representing some aspects of a given object of humanistic inquiry" . As this definition suggests, the state of our data - and its utility for research - depends on the construction process. For analogue objects, the process begins with digitization. From there, both digitized and born-digital objects need to be curated, structured and/or annotated to facilitate human and computational analysis.
In the digital humanities, there are two basic approaches to working with data. The first approach is rooted in the field of big data research. Oriented towards the social sciences, big data research in the digital humanities focuses on "large or dense cultural datasets, which call for new processing and interpretation methods" . The second approach focuses on constructing 'small' datasets that critically engage with - and frequently challenge - traditional classification systems, editorial practices, archives, or cannons. Whereas the first approach uses computational methods to perform macro-level analyses, the second uses web-based technologies to publicly redress absences and biases in "how people process and document human cultures and ideas" .
- How do the projects represent, respectively, the big and small data approaches?
- What are the potential opportunities and oversights of each approach?
- How might these approaches converge and/or diverge over time?
Now that we have discussed what data is and how digital humanists engage with it in their scholarship, you will construct and present a dataset of your own. For the purposes of this workshop your dataset will be a collection of digital objects. In subsequent workshops you will engage with texts (Distant Reading) and physical objects (3D Preservation and Presentation) as data. As you go through these workshops, pay attention to common trends as well as the ways in which constructing and presenting data is distinctive for different data types.
The purpose of this guide is to ensure consistency across the curriculum. It is not intended to limit your possibilities. Should you find any of these guidelines limiting, please contact me so that we can update the guide accordingly. For additional instructions consult the Scalar 2 User's Guide.
Workshop OverviewBroadly speaking, each workshop should include: explanatory text, technical instruction (when applicable), activities, and an Additional Resources page. Remember that the purpose of the curriculum is to 1) provide participants with resources that they can use during and after the institute, 2) make the workshops available to people who will not be attending the institute, and 3) create teaching materials that we can use at future events.
Page Layout and StylingWhen you create a page, you can make a number of aesthetic decisions regarding page layout and styling. For the purposes of this project, I recommend that you select the basic, image header, media gallery, google map, or timeline layout for your curriculum pages. I also encourage you to assign a thumbnail image to each page, as it will show up in the context and content navigation icons in the margins and in certain widgets that we may decide to use at a future date. At this stage, do not assign background images to your pages. The current background image gives coherence to the project, and it would be best to address the broader styling of the project collaboratively at a later date.
StructureOne of the most exciting things about Scalar is its flexible and non-hierarchical structure. As we develop the curriculum, create a "floating" page for your workshop (i.e. a page that isn't linked to anything). The title of this page should be the title that you have given your workshop so that we can find and review each other's contributions using the hypothes.is tab (which we will disable after the revision process). While each workshop will remain unlinked until we collaboratively restructure the project following revisions, I encourage you to make use of Scalar's diverse structuring functions within your individual workshops by creating whole-whole relationships via paths and tags and whole-part relationships via annotations, media links, and notes.
Adding MediaAll media added to this project should be: uploaded as a local or internet media file and assigned a title, description, and source. The title should be the original name given to the resource; the description should provide users with a brief description of the resource; and the source should contain information about where the resource came from, such as a web address. In Scalar you have to create media entries first, before you can add media to a page.
Using MediaYou can add media to a Scalar page in different ways. The first way, as in the selficity example above, is to add inline media. For this option you can manually select where you want to insert the media, and then choose the size, alignment, and caption. For this project, please select "title and description" for all captions. You can also create a media link, by highlighting the relevant text. This creates a direct link between the text and media. Scalar also allows you to annotate media and insert selected annotations into a page.
HyperlinksThere are two ways to add hyperlinks in Scalar. The blue link button allows you to link to another page in this Scalar project. The grey link button allows you to create a link to content outside of our Scalar project. When you add outside content, make sure to click the "open in a new browser window" box.
Citation StyleThe citation style for this project is Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition.
NotesTo create a note add a bracketed number (sequential by page) at the end of the relevant sentence. Highlight the bracket and add your information using scalar's note function .