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Further Expanding Digital Humanities Communities of Practice

The Digital Humanities Research Institute (DHRI) is an intensive, community-oriented, and foundational approach to learning technical skills in service of humanities teaching and learning. You can read more about the project on our main website.

Digital Humanities Research Institute

Curriculum Website

The Digital Humanities Research Institute (DHRI) curriculum features workshops, tutorials, glossaries, resources, reading materials, and more that have been developed at The Graduate Center, City Univerity of New York since 2016. Part of a 2019 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Office of Digital Humanities (ODH), DHRI's curriculum, which was originally developed for in-person workshops, was revised in Summer 2020 to better meet the needs of virtual instruction due to the covid-19 pandemic. While the curriculum has always been available openly on GitHub, this site creates a more user-friendly and functional interface that is open and free for public use.

The DHRI curriculum focuses on technical skills and concepts upon which additional technologies and tools rely. We call these foundational skills. Approximately one-third of all workshops at the Institute could be described as foundational: they introduce concepts such as the command line, version control & data collaboration, data literacy, and an introduction to programming with Python. The materials and workshops on this site are designed for users who are either unfamiliar with technology or could simply benefit from filling in gaps in their knowledge. Workshops and tutorials here encourage the use of open source technologies making them accessible to the widest possible audiences. We believe our emphasis on foundational skills demonstrates our commitment to empowering humanities researchers to become confident self-teachers and mentors in their own right who can make informed decisions about their research materials and methods that will lead to successful, sustainable, and long-term research goals.

Read more about our philosophy on the DHRI website.

All Workshops

Text Analysis with Python and NLTK

Digital technologies have made vast amounts of text available to researchers, and this same technological moment has provided us with the capacity to analyze that text faster than humanly possible. The first step in that analysis is to transform texts designed for human consumption into a form a computer can analyze. Using Python and the Natural Language ToolKit (commonly called NLTK), this workshop introduces strategies to turn qualitative texts into quantitative objects. Through that process, we will present a variety of strategies for simple analysis of text-based data.

Data Literacies

What is data? What counts as data? These are questions we will explore throughout the workshop.

Data is foundational to nearly all digital projects and often help us to understand and express our ideas and narratives. Hence, in order to do digital work, we should know how data is captured, constructed, and manipulated. In this workshop we will be discussing the basics of research data, in terms of its material, transformation, and presentation. We will also engage with the ethical dimensions of what it means to work with data, from collection to visualization to representation.

Introduction to HTML and CSS

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is used to create and organize the content of a website. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is used for website design and layout. Together, these languages form the foundation of what one needs to know to create useful and well-designed websites. This workshop walks participants through the fundamentals of HTML and CSS. The purpose of this website is to help participants understand the rudiments of making websites, with the intention of providing a strong base of knowledge from which to imagine web-based digital humanities projects.

Introduction to the Command Line

If asked to show someone who has never seen a computer how to do something on your computer, many of us would explain what a screen and a cursor are, and then show how to point and click on icons. This approach relies on a graphical user interface, or GUI (pronounced “gooey!”). Today we’re going to explore another way to make your computer do things: through the command line. Instead of pointing and clicking, we’ll be typing in either git bash (Windows) or terminal (macOS) to tell the computer directly what task we’d like it to perform.

Key terms Filesystem GUI Root Path
Introduction to Python

Python is a general-purpose programming language suitable for a wide variety of tasks in the digital humanities. Learning Python fundamentals is a gateway to analyzing data, creating visualizations, composing interactive websites, scraping the internet, and engaging in the distant reading of texts. This workshop first introduces participants to core programming concepts such as data types, variables, and functions. Participants will then learn about basic control flow by writing small programs with loops and conditional statements. They will also learn to problem solve, and practice searching for answers and debugging scripts. The workshop wraps up by exposing participants to intermediate tools for further exploration.

Introduction to Mapping

In the past decade, interactive maps have become one of the most popular ways to visualize and explore spatial data. Responding to the demand, mapping companies such as ESRI have developed a suite of tools for both creating and contextualizing interactive maps. While extremely helpful, some of the ESRI products are prohibitively expensive for many individuals. This workshop will use a combination of the public version of ESRI Online, which is free, and the free, open-source mapping software QGIS to build an interactive map. By the end of this workshop you will know the basics for making an interactive map that can be shared and embedded in a website. No mapping experience is necessary.

Introduction to Git and GitHub

Git and GitHub are powerful tools for collaborative and individual projects. Git is a version control software that aids with tracking changes made to a set of files over time. GitHub is a web-based platform for storing and sharing project files online. This session begins with a conceptual overview of both tools, including an introduction to fundamental concepts such as version control and practical applications like developing a syllabus or collaborative writing. This session then covers initializing Git repositories, committing changes, pushing to GitHub, cloning repositories to your local machine, and forking repositories from other accounts on GitHub.