Introduction to DH 2014

Introduction to Digital Humanities

Organiser: Pip Willcox (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford)
Morning Location: Wolfson College, Lecture Theatre
Afternoon Location: Wolfson College, Lecture Theatre (Except Monday: Pitt Rivers Museum)
Workshop Speakers: Alfie Abdul Rahman (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), John Coleman (Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics, University of Oxford), James Cummings (IT Services, University of Oxford), David De Roure (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), J. Stephen Downie (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Kathryn Eccles (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), Amanda Flynn (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Alexandra Franklin (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), David Howell (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Zena Kamash (School of Archaeology, University of Oxford), William Kilbride (Digital Preservation Coalition), Matthew Kimberley (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Ruth Kirkham (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), Eric Meyer (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), Meriel Patrick (IT Services, University of Oxford), Michael Popham(Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), John Pybus (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), Mia Ridge (Open University), Judith Siefring (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Ségolène Tarte (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), Pip Willcox (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Abigail Williams (Faculty of English, University of Oxford) and James Wilson (IT Services, University of Oxford)

Workshop Abstract

This workshop strand is a survey course that will give you a thorough overview of the theory and practice of digital humanities. Drawing on the expertise, and the library and museum collections, of the University of Oxford, it will appeal to anyone new to the field, or curious to broaden their understanding of the range of work the digital humanities encompass.

Topics covered include:

  • conservation
  • crowdsourcing
  • databases
  • digital imaging
  • digital work with physical artefacts
  • engagement
  • image manipulation
  • measuring and analysing impact
  • preservation and sustainability
  • project management
  • Text Encoding Initiative
  • the Semantic Web
  • transcription and text encoding

Sessions are led by experts from across the University, and specially invited speakers from other institutions, who between them have over 500 years' experience in the field. Sessions will include talks, presentations, demonstrations, and practical workshops. On completing this course, you will be conversant with the variety and potential of the various technologies used to collate, interrogate, and facilitate digital work in the humanities, and have gained insight and practice in methods relevant to you own research.

Workshop Timetable

Times Monday 14 July 2014 Tuesday 15 July 2014 Wednesday 16 July 2014 Thursday 17 July 2014 Friday 18 July 2014
Wolfson College, Lecture Theatre
"Introductions"Pip Willcox

Getting to know each other is important! Over the course of the week, we hope you will form lasting work relationships with other participants from across the arts, humanities, and digital spheres, as well as new friendships.


"Intersection, Scale, and Social Machines: the humanities in the digital world"David De Roure

This keynote for the introductory strand will introduce you to digital methods, methodologies, and current activity in the humanities, framing digital humanities in its interdisciplinary settings, and providing a context for the week's workshop.

"Pipedream to Project: planning digital research projects in the humanities"Matthew Kimberleyand Ruth KirkhamMatthew Kimberley and Ruth Kirkham

A digital research project in the humanities can cover an endless array of possibilities: digitized or digitally-born collections, websites, apps, digital media outputs, repositories or digital research tools. This session will explore some of the potential avenues for digital research projects, and offer guidance on how to undertake effective planning of such projects, from interpreting themes in funding calls to anticipating the hidden costs that come with digital research.

"Linked Data for Digital Humanities: introducing the Semantic Web"John Pybus

The Semantic Web extends the World Wide Web of linked documents to include a linked web of data. This session will introduce the concepts behind the Semantic Web, and explain how to publish information as Linked Data, illustrated with examples from the digital humanities.

"Machine Learning and Music"J. Stephen Downie

This session on machine learning uses a case study in mood analysis of music audio as friendly way to introduce some basic machine learning concepts, including the Weka machine learning toolkit. Participants will also be briefly introduced to the world of music signal processing and analysis.

"An Introduction to Relational Databases"Meriel Patrick and James Wilson

This session considers when it is appropriate to use a relational database, how relational databases are structured and queried, and some of the common challenges of working with structured data in the humanities.

16:30-17:30 Wolfson College, Lecture Theatre; Except Monday: Pitt Rivers Museum
Note: This afternoon's sessions will take place at the Pitt Rivers Museum"Digging into the Archaeology of the Book"Alexandra Franklin

This session, run by the Bodleian Libraries' Centre for the Study of the Book, will look at items from the Libraries' collections, with an emphasis on the variety of forms and discussion of the implications of form for presentation of digitized content.


"From Material Book to Digital Text: transcription, OCR, and markup"Amanda FlynnMichael Popham, and Judith Siefring

With reference to projects undertaken by the Bodleian Digital Library team, this session explores the options, problems, and opportunities the creation and curation of digital texts present.


"Enhanced Spatial and Spectral Accuracy and Precision in Digital Imaging"David Howell

This session describes Hyperspectral imaging and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), illustrating some of the "hidden" information these technologies reveal. TBC: It will include an imaging demonstration.

"Understanding the HathiTrust and its Research Center"J. Stephen Downie

Drawn from some of the world's greatest research libraries, the HathiTrust digital corpus contains over 10 million volumes comprising 3.9 billion pages This session will introduce the HathiTrust collection and an overview of its characteristics. The session will acquaint participants with the HathiTrust Research through which they might which to engage in various analyses of the HathiTrust materials.


"Digital Preservation: change is here to stay"William Kilbride

This session will sketch the major themes of the last decade of digital preservation research, examining how small but important steps can be integrated into digital humanities projects that will make them viable for the long term.


"Introduction to Visualization for Digital Humanities"Alfie Abdul Rahman

In this one-hour workshop, we will consider how visualization can be used in digital humanities projects. We will cover basic concepts of visualization as well as examine existing visualization techniques and applications.

"An Introduction to TEI P5 XML and the oXygen XML Editor"James Cummings

This session is an introductory lecture on markup, XML, and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), followed by a demonstration of marking up a simple TEI text using the popular XML editor oXygen. This will introduce students to the nature of markup, the way this is formulated in XML, the basic motivations of the TEI, and some of the main features of the TEI P5 Guidelines for text encoding.


"Lightweight usability testing for digital humanities projects (AKA, 'testing doesn't have to be taxing')"Mia Ridge

Usability doesn't have to be a drag, and user testing doesn't have to take months and a cast of thousands. Following the principle that ‘any user testing is better than no user testing', lightweight usability is based on the idea that all you need to run useful tests with real people is a bit of planning and a couple of hours. In this session you will learn how to plan and run a lightweight usability test on paper prototypes or early versions of digital projects and get tips for recruiting and rewarding participants for 'guerrilla usability testing'. At the end of the workshop we will put it into practice by running a live usability test on a site suggested by the audience.

"Introducing the Toolkit for the Impact of Digitised Scholarly Resources"Kathryn EcclesEric Meyer, and Judith Siefring

What are the impacts of your digital outputs? In this talk we introduce you to the TIDSR toolkit, comprising a range of qualitative and quantitative measures for understanding usage and impact, and present a number of case studies to show how these methods can be used to support and enhance your resources.


"Introduction to Crowdsourcing in the Arts and Humanities"Kathryn Eccles

What is crowdsourcing, how does it work, and what impacts can it have on academic and public interactions with the arts and humanities?


"Working with Digital Images"Ségolène Tarte

This session reviews elements of what the visual system does when we look at images. You will learn the basics of what digital images are and what can be done with them in terms of useful image processing techniques (namely: introduction to image segmentation, feature extraction, and image registration techniques for modelling) for applications in the humanities. Each technique is illustrated with examples of digital images of textual artefacts ranging from clay tablets to papyri.

"Beyond the Academy: engagement, education, and exchange"Matthew Kimberley and Pip Willcox

This session introduces you to the practice and practicalities of public engagement. It draws on the presenters' experience to explore means and methods of widening access to the humanities, to foster dialogue and participation.


"Panel: What can digital humanities do for us?"David De Roure(Chair), John ColemanZena KamashSégolène Tarte, and Abigail Williams

A panel discussion with digital and humanities experts considering: what technologies can and could bring to humanities research, practice, teaching, and dissemination; and how the humanities can inform and expand the scope of technological advances across traditional institutional, and public/private/not-for-profit, divisions. It will be followed by an open discussion.

Other Notes

Any other notes provided by the workshop organiser will go here if available.