Class will consist of discussion and lab. The majority of your time will be spent in a hands-on environment creating your group project for presentation at the Spring Term Fair. Class time is divided into discussion and group activity with the groups coming together for a discussion at the end of each class. We aim to keep lectures to a minimum. Instead of us standing in front of the class to lecture, we will assign online videos for you to watch of some of the best thinkers in the field of digital humanities. You must come to class prepared to discuss the assigned videos.

A highlight of the class will be a series of graduate students from the University of Virginia who will visit W&L and serve as teaching assistants for this course.  These graduate students are all working on their doctoral degrees in either English or History and have participated as fellows in the Scholars’ Lab, which a premier center for the study of the digital humanities. In the first week of class we also will take a trip up to Charlottesville and spend the day at the Scholars’ Lab.

TO GET STARTED: view this brief video that gives an overview of the digital humanities: The presenter, Elijah Meeks, is the former DH specialist at the Stanford University Libraries. He is now Senior Data Visualization Engineer at Netflix. (Note the career path from digital humanities to Netflix.) Come to the first day of class prepared to discuss the video.

1) April 27 (M 1:25p – 4:25p) DEFINING DIGITAL HUMANITIES

After introductions we’ll go straight into discussing the Meeks video that you watched prior to class. What was your reaction to his description of the different aspects of DH. Which topics spark your curiousity?

If you need a refresher on the importance of the humanities, take a look at these videos from The School of Life. In fact, even if you’re majoring in a humanities disciplines, these short videos provide a fun perspective on the role of art, literature, and history:

What is Art for?
What is History for?
What is Literature for?
What is Philosophy for?

Are these videos a type of digital humanities? What forms of DH exist in these various disciplines?

Social networks are one of the DH concepts we’ll be exploring in this course. To start understanding social network analysis we’ll start by examining the social networks of W&L students like yourselves. By the end of class you will have done some hands-on work in DH. After we have discussed the social networks of students in 2015, we’re faced with an interesting question: what was the social network of a W&L student in 1953. What are the similarities and differences in that network between then and today? Throughout the course we’ll be making comparisons between today and W&L in 1953.

Before the next class: view the video of Brian Croxall Speaking in Code



This class will meet in Special Collections. You’ll get a chance to see the most valuable books and manuscripts in the collection. Plus, you’ll start learning more about how the archives can reveal information about W&L students in 1953.

Before the next class: view the video of Jeffrey Schnapp speaking about DH. As you listen to Schnapp, think about the role of design in research projects.

Assignment: Blog post #1 is due by noon on April 29.


3) April 29 (W 10a -11a, 1:25p – 3:25p) GUEST SPEAKER AND PROJECT OVERVIEW 

NOTE: Morning time is only for this session in order to attend talk by guest speaker Professor Charlotte Roueché, Senior Research Fellow in Digital Hellenic Studies at King’s College London. We’ll join the students from the Classics in the Digital Age course for the talk by Professor Roueché. This talk will take place in the IQ Center from 10-11am.

In the afternoon session we will review your first blog posting assignment and the Croxall and Schnapp video lectures. We also will go over expectations for your second blog post assignment. Finally, we’ll do some project brainstorming and preparation for the trip to Charlottesville.

Assignment: Blog post #2 is due by noon on May 1.

Before the next class: view the video Humanities Day 2012: Digital Humanities Forum. This video provides an overview of two DH projects. The first is on modernist literary networks, the second is on the “acoustic art of city-building: mapping sound in rensaissance Florence”.



Design jam and brainstorming about project. (Design does not necessarily mean what you think it means.)

Assignment: Blog post #3 is due by noon on May 4.


5) May 4 (M 1:25p – 4:25p) PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN DH

Two teaching assistants from the Scholars’ Lab will visit and focus on designing and managing a DH project. Brandon Walsh and Sarah Storti are Ph.D. candidates in English at the University of Virginia. You might want to read about their experiences in teaching digital humanities at W&L last year.

As part of DH project management, you’ll create a charter for your project in this class. The Praxis Program at the Scholars’ Lab has useful resources on project management and working towards a project charter. Also, the Cult of Done Manifesto.

You also may want to review the charters from last year’s DH 101 course: Beyond Bow Ties (pdf) and Lee Chapel.

Assignment: Draft of Project Charter due by noon on May 5.
Assignment: Final Project Charter due by noon on May 11.


6) May 5 (T 1:25p – 2:50p)  HOW THE WEB WORKS (AND WHAT IS “THE DIGITAL”?)

Most digital projects exist on the Web in one way or another.  But what does that mean? What really is a Web site? And how does the Web enable so much that isn’t possible in a paper-based print environment? What are the possibilities offered by the Web that you have in 2015 that a W&L student did not have in 1953?

What is meant by the term “the digital”? Does digital media exist?

View before class:

In this session we’ll go over how to setup a Web site, explain how to buy a domain name, select a Web hosting company, and getting started with your own Web site.

Assignment:Creating a working Web site. Due by noon on May 7.



Metadata is often defined as “data about data.” But what is data and where does it come from? In today’s class we’ll take a brief tour through the history of information organization and description. We’ll start at the Library of Alexandria and end up looking into the future of the so-called “Semantic Web.” Through this journey we’ll pay special attention to the inherent metadata challenges in self-published material, from the “little magazines” of Modernism to Riot Grrrl zines in the 1990s.

Please read this article in preparation before class on Wednesday along with the print material that was handed out in class.

8) May 7 (R 10:10a – 12:10p, 1:25p – 2:50p ) MAPPING & THE HUMANITIES

James Ambuske, a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Virginia will speak about his use of mapping tools, such as Omeka and Neatline, in his research on Scottish immigration in the era of the American Revolution and Early American Republic.

In the other half of this session, we’ll examine what characteristics of W&L in 1953 present opportunities for mapping? We’ll also have time to review the preliminary project analysis that is Monday.

Before class, please explore the HyperCities project to get a sense of spatial DH projects. You should browse a handful of the different projects, but do explore at least one or two in depth and be prepared to talk about what you found.

Assignment: Blog post #4 is due by noon on May 8.
Assignment: Blog post #5 is due by noon on May 12.


9) May 11 (M 1:25p – 4:25p) SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS

In the first-hour of today’s class, Professor Eastwood will join us to talk about social network analysis. Even though we’ve been discussing social network analysis throughout the term, Professor Eastwood further explain the importance of this method for understanding connections among people.

The remainder of the class will be devoted to working on your project.

Assignment: Project charter/proposal revision is due today by noon.

10) May 12  (T 1:25p – 2:50p) PROJECT ANALYSIS

This class session is devoted to project work.

Assignment: Blog post #5 is due by noon on May 12.

11) May 13 (W 1:25p – 4:25p) HISTORICAL ANALYSIS

Cecilia Marquez, a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Virginia will speak about DH in the study of history, particularly in an area known as DHPoco (Postcolonial Digital Humanities).

Assignments from Cecilia:

Read the following:
All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave
Postcolonial Digital Humanities Mission Statement

Each of you should take a look at the following projects.
Brandon – Visualizing Emancipation
Emily – Diaspora Hypertext
Kim – Black Liberation 1969 Archive

Cecilia has asked that you prepare a brief presentation (less than 5 minutes) about the project you were assigned. Use the following questions to help guide your thinking:

  • What do you think is the goal of this site?
  • Is the site making an argument? If so, what is it? How is that argument communicated?
  • Think also here about what you talked about with Brandon and Sarah about design. What argument is the design of the site making? How does it shape your consumption of the site?
  • Who is the audience of the site?
  • What does the site do well? What could be improved?

Assignment: Blog post #6 is due by noon on May 18.


12) May 14 (R 10:10a – 12:10p, 1:25p – 2:50p) PROJECT PROGRESS REVIEW
Prof. Lesley Wheeler will be joining us in the morning session to talk about Ezra Pound. She has prepared two documents for you to review before her visit. We will distribute these by email.

Maggie Hammer will be joining us in the afternoon to give feedback on the project.

13) May 18 (M 1:25p – 4:25p) PROJECT WORK


14) May 19 (T 1:25p – 2:50p) PROJECT WORK


15) May 20 (W 1:25p – 4:25p) PROJECT WORK





12pm-2pm on the main floor of Leyburn Library.

Your project deliverables are due Friday at noon.
Your project-project analysis is due Saturday by 2pm.