Announcing the Launch of How Do You Say It?

How Do You Say It?, one of two DIL/IAH Faculty Fellowship projects for 2014, is now live and available to the public. The project, directed by Lucia Binotti in Romance Languages, is one of two faculty projects supported in 2014 by the DIL/IAH Faculty Fellowship Program, under the auspices of the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative.

How Do You Say It? is an interdisciplinary and community service oriented proof of concept project that exploits the Digital Innovation Lab’s DH Press to layer, map and visualize information about the Spanish language varieties used to address Latin@ audiences in the prevention of intimate partner violence. The project’s long-­term goal is to assess if the choice of different varieties of Spanish more specifically targeted to a regional sub-­group of the larger Latin@ population increases the success/effectiveness of textual literature (brochures, signs, advertisements) as well as direct oral interaction (from support services, doctors, social workers, etc.) in preventing and educating about domestic violence.

The documents repository at a glance

The documents repository at a glance

The project site consists of three sets of data visualizations, including a map of U.S. agencies dedicated to combating interpersonal violence among Latin@ communities. The core of the site features a documents repository — visualized in a myriad of ways — of nearly 230 Spanish and English documents dedicated to interpersonal violence prevention and support for survivors. Site visitors can search for documents based on document type, language, type of violence discussed, and services provided. From this corpus, the project team conducted a preliminary linguistic analysis of a subset of documents to begin visualizing textual patterns. The corpus is also available as a plain text zip file for researchers to download and ingest into text mining tools, such as Voyant.

In the coming months and years, Dr. Binotti plans to grow this project in many new directions. She will continue building partnerships with various agencies, as well as extending the linguistic analysis by incorporating that research into her undergraduate teaching.

Explore the Project

Special thanks to the Institute for the Arts and Humanities for its support of Dr. Binotti’s Fall 2014 fellowship.

And stay tuned for an announcement of the launch of POPP, our other faculty fellowship project, in January 2015!

DH Press 2.5 Now Available

I am pleased to announce the release of DH Press version 2.5! It features many enhancements to the existing toolkit, plus six new visualizations.

New Visualizations

Since the release of version 2.0 in June, our developer, Michael Newton, has been hard at work adding many new ways of visualizing data. In additional to the original Cartesian map that has been at the core of DH Press since the beginning, the toolkit now features the following new visualizations, which we call “Entry Points.” Many of these new visualizations are similar to Palladio, created by the Stanford Design+Humanities Research Lab, which uses the same D3 JavaScript library (learn more). Each unique visualization created for a DH Press project is assigned its own unique URL, thereby enabling users to be directed to a specific view of the data.

Pinboard

Rocky-KnobThe Pinboard visualization functions similarly to the map view, but instead of using an underlying Cartesian map, project admins can pin content to a background image of their own choosing. We have found this to be an excellent workaround for using historical maps without having to georectify them – see these examples from Anne Whisnant’s Parks to the Side project: Linville Falls Pinboard, Rocky Knob Pinboard.

Instead of layering additional maps on top of the base background image, the Pinboard supports the use of SVG layering. Project admins can create and load SVG layers to DH Press to enhance the Pinboard — to annotate images, similar to Scalar’s image annotation functionality. In addition to using DH Press markers to pin objects to the Pinboard, SVGs function as a secondary layer of content, but one that is not tied to the actual data model of a given project. SVG layers can be used to provide additional visual prompts to users, or explain elements of the background image.

Enhanced Pinboard with Animation

It is also possible to add an animation to a Pinboard by tying the optional SVG layers to a media file. Site visitors can play the media file and see various SVG layers turn on/off in sync with the streaming media. This feature can be used to provide a guided tour through the Pinboard. For example, the SVG layers could be tied to a tutorial video filmed by the project team, and used as a way to explain aspects of the interactive visualization.

The animation functions similarly to the Transcript Widget. Elements of the SVG file are assigned to different chunks of the media file via a timestamped plain text transcript (the “animation script”). Currently only YouTube media files work. Note that users will only be able to see, and not hear, the file.

Timeline

Users have been asking for a timeline view since DH Press was still just a prototype. With version 2.5, it is now possible to provide a temporal display of your data. Our timeline supports the visual display of date ranges (e.g. a decade or a century) and single days, both BCE and CE.

Moreover, the DH Press timeline supports what we call “fuzzy” or uncertain dates. Project admins can specify uncertainty in their data, and DH Press will display that uncertainty by fading out the fill color of the timeline entry (see this example).

Fuzzy dates are critical to making the timeline a useful visualization for humanists. Given our uncertainty about much of the past, it allows us to provide a sense of when things might have happened without misleading our users, in a capta-based approach to data visualization (Johanna Drucker, “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 5, no. 1 (2011): link).

Facet Flow

A facet flow connecting type of object with materials used to create the object.Facet flows allow you to visualize the relationship between different attributes in your data. For example, this visualization from the How Do You Say It? project shows the relationship between the intended gender audience for a given document about interpersonal violence prevention (Attribute A), and the actual use of gendered grammar, or gendered pronouns determinative articles (Attribute B). The colored bands can be rearranged by clicking on the “alpha” or “size” links for either attribute. Attribute positions can be swapped by dragging the top down to the bottom and vice versa. Hovering over a colored band shows the percentage of relevant results in the data. Clicking on a colored band will bring up all relevant documents in the window below.

Facet Browser

BrowserThe facet browser allows users to explore the project by filtering on any number of attributes. Similar to many e-commerce websites (such as Amazon or Zappos), users can drill down into several attributes at the same time in order to find specific elements of the data (“faceted search”). Project admins may add as many attributes (motes) to this view as they like, though too many will hinder the user experience.

Tree View

The final visualization is the tree view, which displays 1 to N relationships within your data. The most common usage of this is for genealogical family trees, though the tree view can be used for any sort of parent-child relationship in your data (see this non-familial example). There are three different tree views available:

  • a Flat Tree
  • a Radial Tree, where each successive generation is placed at a further radius from the center root node
  • a Segmented Wheel, where each successive generation is a further ring-layer moving out from the center core

New Data Types

To support these new visualizations, we’ve added several new data types:

  • x,y coordinates for Pinboards (similar to latitude,longitude pairs)
  • pointer data for Tree Views
  • dates and date ranges for Timelines
  • YouTube data for the Transcript Widget (see below) and Pinboard Animations

Pointer data can also be used to create relationships between data points without using the Tree View. Project admin can specify a “primary key” in the project to mimic the functionality of a relational database. Setting a primary key tells DH Press to treat a particular attribute of your data (custom field) as the unique identifier, which can be used to connect data points.

N.B. these data types are customized exclusively for DH Press. They are not globally recognized data types (such as nominal, integer, and ratio data). They were created to aid project admins in creating and configuring their visualizations. Please consult our documentation for detailed specifications about how to set up your data.

Enhancements to Current Features

Transcript Widget

In addition to these new visualizations, Michael has added some important functionality to existing DH Press capabilities. Most importantly, he has enhanced the Audio/Transcript tool (now called the “Transcript Widget” in v. 2.5) to support streaming media from either SoundCloud or YouTube. Additionally, he has extended the tool to support a scrolling transcript without a streaming audio/video file. This can be used for manuscript transcription.

For users of older versions of DH Press, make sure to consult our 2.5 Documentation for small changes in the project configuration dashboard, particularly with respect to configuring the Transcript Widget. Users are strongly encouraged to follow the formatting specifications for transcripts in this documentation.

Data Export

We now have the capability to export data out of DH Press. Project admins can create a CSV file directly from their project dashboard. This is particularly useful in cases where many changes were made to the data after import. This enables project teams to update their data in DH Press without having to go back and make the same changes in their original data files. Instead, they can simply export the data after those changes have been made.

Start Using DH Press 2.5

DH Press 2.5 can be downloaded from our GitHub repository. Please consult Michael’s documentation about configuring data and projects for 2.5.

Note that once you migrate your project to 2.5, you will not be able to revert back to an older version of DH Press. We anticipate future releases to support backwards compatibility, but cannot at this time due to significant changes in the plugin’s architecture. For full details about migrating from 2.0 to 2.5, please consult our documentation.

Special thanks to Michael Newton, DH Press Lead Developer, for all of his hard work getting us to version 2.5. Additional thanks go out to the kind folks at OASIS, who have proven invaluable in the process, and to Anne MacNeil, one of our 2014 DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows, who assisted with field testing version 2.5, and whose project inspired many of our new visualizations.

Digital Humanities Postdoc Position

CDHI is currently accepting applications for a two-year Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship.

This postdoctoral fellow will consult with faculty on incorporating digital humanities approaches and materials in their work, and plan programs and workshops that contribute to broader conversations on campus around digital humanities topics and issues. The position will provide project management and technical support for up to four DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows (one or two each fall semester). the position will develop a research and publication agenda through the use of digital technologies in a project to be completed by the end of the fellowship experience. The position will also teach four digital humanities courses over the twenty-four months of the fellowship. The fellow will also hold a teaching appointment in the appropriate department or curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences. Courses will reflect the scholarly interests of the fellow as well as the curricular needs and priorities of the academic department and university, particularly with respect to the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities.

Learn more or to apply online, visit the online listing.

AMST 840 to be Offered Spring 2015

For students interested in Digital Humanities, Digital Public History, or those looking to enroll in a class in pursuit of the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities, CDHI Postdoctoral Fellow Julie Davis will offer AMST 840: Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies in the Spring 2015 semester.

This course focuses on the application of interdisciplinary digital humanities approaches within site-based, community-oriented, public history projects. We’ll explore how to incorporate a physical and emotional sense of place into digital spaces. We’ll also consider how to use digital technologies to interpret historic sites in ways that engage broad publics and foster local community. Students will analyze/discuss readings on digital humanities and public history theory, review case studies, and critique examples of digital public projects. They also will analyze ongoing work in the Digital Innovation Lab (DIL), including the Loray Mill project.

Students also will gain hands-on, practical experience in applying digital tools & methods to a public history project. They will contribute work to one or more DIL projects in ways that could be translated into individual portfolios. No prior DH training is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and make small contributions to a long-term, collaborative effort is essential.

The course meets Thursdays from 1:00-3:50. Please direct inquiries to Julie Davis.

Slave Narrative Project Presented at ASIS&T 2014

DIL Associate Director, Pam Lach, and SILS Doctoral Candidate, Annie Chen, presented their work on the Slave Narrative Name and Place Project at ASIS&T 2014, the annual meeting of the Association for Information and Technology, in Seattle, WA. The project was included in the Poster Session on Monday, November 3, 2014.

Annie Chen discusses the details of the poster with fellow conference goers

Annie Chen discusses the details of the poster with fellow conference goers

The poster described a two-part online user study of University Faculty and K-12 teachers, who were asked to share what they would like to see in an interface for exploring historical narratives. The two user groups explored the interface Annie has been developing, which offers two visualizations of the narratives’ text: sentiment/affect and characters/social roles. The visualizations were created through a combination of text mining and manual annotation. In addition to suggesting future design directions, survey respondents shared how they might deploy the interface in their classrooms.

 

The slave narratives are made available through Documenting the American South, as well as DocSouth Data. Stay tuned for future updates about the project.

CFP: Digital Humanities Course Development Grants

The Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) is soliciting proposals for digital humanities course development grants. Current funds will be devoted toward graduate courses, but applicants may also propose courses at mixed, graduate/undergraduate levels.

Awards will consist of a $5,000 summer stipend. Note that stipends are subject to reductions related to university benefits, taxes, etc. Applicants may request up to an additional $1,000 for professional development pertaining to creating the course. Applicants should include a budget detailing how any requested professional development funds will be used (e.g., for specific workshops or training).

CDHI Curricular grants might be used to:

  • Develop a course focused on activities or topics associated with the digital humanities
  • Extend the reach of digital humanities course offerings beyond campus to non-degree seeking students–e.g., through hybrid or online options or through summer school
  • Explore and implement pedagogical innovation in a course through digital tools and methods
  • Implement digital activities to facilitate team teaching and/or interdisciplinary exchange
  • Integrate experiential work with digital materials and activities into a course
  • Develop a course that explores multiple modalities of digital activities–e.g., the visual, aural, video, performance
  • Create a course that engages the transformative potentials for digital humanities–political, social, cultural, scholarly.

ELIGIBILITY

All tenure track and fixed term faculty at the University who are eligible to teach graduate level courses may apply.

EXPECTATIONS

Award recipients agree to

  • Create a new or revise an existing course that can be taken for graduate credit
  • Consult with the CDHI Curriculum Committee and Director regarding the development of the course
  • Work as advisors (as appropriate) with course participants pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities
  • Deliver a report to the CDHI Curriculum Committee detailing the course development activities, the disbursement of funds, and the outcomes of the grant-supported efforts during the grant cycle
  • Obtain Chair’s approval and agree to offer the course at least three times in the five years following the receipt of the funds, starting with the 2015-16 academic year.

APPLYING

Submit a current cv and proposal of no more than two pages to Daniel Anderson no later than 11:59 PM on December 6th.

For questions related to the proposal process, contact Daniel Anderson.

Seeking Applications for Assistant Professor in Digital Humanities (English / Comparative Literature)

The Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC Chapel Hill seeks a digital humanist with experience in digital methods applied to an additional area of literary or rhetorical studies. Successful candidates will demonstrate a record of digital engagement either through project development, significant deployment of digital methods, and/or innovations in digital composing, publishing, or pedagogy. We encourage candidates with interests at the intersections of the digital with poetry, medieval, modernist, and/or rhetorical studies, but depth of digital engagement applied to a subject area is most important. The position begins 1 July 2015 and carries a 2-2 teaching load with significant expectations for research as well as departmental service.

The hire will participate in The Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative and collaborate with the University’s Digital Innovation Lab. The position carries a $50,000 start-up fund with the expectation that the candidate will arrive on campus prepared to pursue a robust and innovative digital research agenda. (This fund includes moving expenses.)

Review of applications will begin on 10 November 2014 and interviews will be conducted at the MLA convention in January.

Read more about this job on the MLA Job Listing, or view and apply for the job here.

DH Press and Palladio

A guest blog post by Michael Newton, DH Press Software Developer

It may occur to those who have seen or used DH Press and Palladio that they have a number of features in common. For what purposes are each of these platforms best suited, at least in their current incarnations? What differentiates these platforms from one another?

DH Press is a WordPress plugin that the DIL has been working on since 2012. It was designed to enable scholars curating Digital Humanities projects to make the data items in those projects visible and accessible to users visiting a WordPress website via several possible graphical representations. Palladio is a browser-based information visualization platform (under development by the Humanities+Design Lab at Stanford University) that allows users to create visualizations of their humanities-oriented data via several possible graphical representations.

From the outset, then, a very fundamental distinction between the environments and users of these platforms is clear. Palladio is currently a stand-alone application that only exists in the browser of the person who uses it. That user must also have personal access to the data that will be utilized, configure the database and views, and so on. Any result will only reside on that user’s computer.

DH Press, on the other hand, is integrated into WordPress and thus allows the creator of a website to make his or her materials available to anyone on the internet. The website creator is responsible for configuring the database and views, taking the burden off of anyone wishing to view and access the data. Some of the configuration tasks in DH Press are more demanding than the equivalent tasks in Palladio, but the resulting views are usually richer.

Someone looking at the visual output of these platforms will see a number of commonalities: geographical maps, a faceted browser, and timelines, for example. Both tools utilize Leaflet and the D3 JavaScript library for the underlying data structures and aspects of the graphical representations.

Palladio has views that do not currently have any direct equivalents in DH Press – the Network Graph and the List views – and there are features that DH Press does not currently support, especially a consistent data filtering system, connected points, and relational databases.

There are a number of features in DH Press, however, that currently have no direct equivalent in Palladio. By configuring the relationship between data values and visual features, a Project Administrator can create Legend keys that allow values to be graphically represented on views as colors or icons. The resulting visualizations are nearly always more colorful and visually rich in DH Press.

DH Press recognizes that the facets of data objects cannot always be limited to a single fixed-vocabulary value from a flat list. It supports assigning multiple values for each facet, and for the arrangement of values into two-level hierarchies. DH Press also supports several data types needed to point to and utilize multimedia resources on the Internet: YouTube videos, SoundCloud audios, transcript files and webpage links.

One of the first applications of DH Press was to visualize the metadata describing oral history materials and to enable access to those materials in the form of playback widgets and bi-lingual textual transcripts. These features are being exquisitely deployed in several projects that enable users to quickly locate and utilize oral history according to location, thematic tags, time, and so on. We believe that these unique features offer great advantages for curated digital projects of this nature.

DH Press has several types of graphical representations that currently do not have any equivalents in Palladio, particularly the Pinboard, Tree and Facet Flow views. We are currently exploring how to improve our data architecture and “wire together” views to create a generalized data filtering system similar to that in Palladio (see a preview of some of these visualizations here).

While DH Press is fully open source — and thus allows users to modify it for their own purposes — the current and future status of the Palladio codebase is unclear. DH Press is well documented for modification and much of the visible screen text has been extracted in text files.

We designed DH Press to support a wide variety of common needs for those creating online curated Digital Humanities projects and are comfortable in WordPress – by far the more popular content management system on the web. DH Press is an open source plugin freely available on the Internet. We welcome you to power your Digital Humanities work with its many unique features, which are under constant development.

 

DH Press now Available for UNC WordPress Sites

A pre-release version of DH Press 2.5 is now available for all members of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Any UNC faculty, staff, or student with an onyen can activate DH Press in any web.unc.edu site. Simply log in to your dashboard, navigate to your plugins, and activate DH Press. Make sure to add the map library if you plan to create a map (base map library  |  NC historic map overlays). Check out our documentation here.

The latest version of DH Press includes many exciting new features, in addition to map and gallery visualizations, including:

  1. Pinboard view with animations
  2. Timeline
  3. One to N network graphing (family trees)
  4. Facet flows
  5. Enhancement of our audio/transcript tool to include YouTube media files

You can view a demo project created by DH Press Developer Michael Newton here.

Thanks to ITS and the Office of Arts and Sciences Information Services (OASIS) for their help in making DH Press available across campus.

Look for the official release of 2.5 later this Fall!

New Version of Digital Portobelo Featured in Carolina Arts & Sciences Magazine

Digital Portobelo: Art + Scholarship + Cultural Preservation” is featured in the latest edition of the Carolina Arts & Sciences Magazine (read the online version of the article). The release of this article comes with the migration of Digital Portobelo to DH Press version 2.0.

gallery viewThe updated version of Digital Portobelo features a new Gallery visualization, build from our Topic Cards entry point. In addition to the familiar conceptual map, the Gallery View features cards for each interview. Each card represents an excerpt of an interview, with a corresponding image. The resulting visualization is a vibrant, dynamic snapshot of the collection. Cards can be sorted by a range of values, which results in a visual rearranging of the gallery. Moreover, cards can be filtered on a number of meaningful categories of analysis, including Interviewee Name, Themes, Time Period, Congo Spaces, and Congo Identity. Selecting aspects for filtering the gallery will narrow the number of cards displayed at a particular moment. Clicking on a card allows you to listen to all of the audio while reading the corresponding English and Spanish transcripts.

The migration of Digital Portobelo highlights some of the robust capacities of DH Press 2.0. Look for the release of version 2.5 — along with many new visualizations — in the coming months!

Special thanks to Charlotte Fryar for her hard work on the project migration.