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.

Preview of DH Press 2.5

With the overhaul of DH Press for its 2.0 release this past summer, subsequent development of our digital humanities visualization toolkit has been speeding up. Later this fall, we’ll release version 2.5. In the meantime, here’s an overview of the new visualizations DH Press 2.5 will support.

In addition to maps and the topic card views that we introduced with v. 2.0, we are in the process of adding 4 new visualizations and some extensions of current functionality.

Pinboard

Pinboard View

Test Pinboard using cover art for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Users will be able to load an image as a background image, and then “pin” content (markers) to the board. This will function similar to the map, which uses latitude/longitude pairs to pin markers to a base map. In this case, markers will be associated with points on the image using X,Y coordinates (which can be determined from MS Paint, Mac Preview, or other tools that enable image editing).

In addition, DH Press 2.5 will support the addition of SVG layers on top of the Pinboard (similar to our map overlays). This can be used to annotate images, create additional visual cues, and give project admins more powerful customization of the visualization.

We are also working to incorporate animation of the SVG layers in the Pinboard view. Associating SVG layers with points in an audio or video file will allow various SVG elements to turn on/off in synchronization with audio. This would allow project admins to provide a more guided tour of the visualization.

Timeline

Timeline View

Sample timeline view

Many users have been asking for a timeline view for a while now. We are currently testing such an implementation. For this version of DH Press, the timeline will be a standalone visualization, but we hope to someday integrate it with the maps so that we can visualize space and time together. Details about how to configure temporal data will be available along with the 2.5 release.

Basic Networking Visualization

Given the DIL’s work mapping people in the past, we have begun to develop basic visualizations for creating network graphs. For now, we can do a basic flat tree map, similar to a genealogical family tree, as well as a segmented wheel. We are also working on a third visualization for large data sets.

Facet Flow

This visualization allows you to show connections between different facets — or attributes — of your data. In all of our other visualizations, we can only display one aspect of the data (this is the active legend). Facet flows allow you to show two or more dimensions of your data at the same time, by visualizing dynamic connectors between facets. This illustration shows two dimensions of data — type of object, and materials used to create the object. Users can invert the dimensions, and mousing over displays a count of objects, which corresponds to the thickness of the connector. A list of relevant data points are displayed below the visualization when a thread is selected. Clicking on a data point will pull up the global modal lightbox with additional information. This visualization will be particularly helpful for projects with very large data sets.

A facet flow connecting type of object with materials used to create the object.

Audio/Transcript Widget Enhancement

YouTube Widget

Embedded YouTube video using our audio/transcript tool.

Finally, we are working to enhance the audio/transcript widget, which allows us to sync SoundCloud audio files with textual transcripts. We expect that the new release of DH Press will support YouTube video files, synced to textual transcripts.

 

 

 

 

Look for these and other exciting enhancements in DH Press 2.5,
which should be released by the end of 2014.

 

Unbuilt Blue Ridge Parkway Featured in New Publication

The Unbuilt Blue Ridge Parkway, a collaborative project between Anne Whisnant’s HIST 671 and the DIL’s Graduate Practicum in Digital Humanities (Fall 2013), is featured in the debut issue of The American Historian, a new publication of the Organization of American Historians. OAH members receive the print publication as part of their membership.

Check out the project here.

Unbuilt Parkway

Accepting Applications for the Faculty Learning Community in Digital Humanities

The application window is currently closed. Stay tuned for future opportunities to join a Faculty Learning Community in Digital Humanities.

This past spring, the Digital Innovation Lab and the Center for Faculty Excellence launched a Faculty Learning Community in Digital Humanities (DH FLC). We are now accepting applications from UNC-CH faculty members interested in joining the group beginning in Fall 2014. Current members of the DH FLC do not need to reapply.

The group will meet on the first and third Fridays of each month throughout the fall semester from 9am-11am:

  • September 5, 2014
  • September 19, 2014
  • October 3, 2014
  • October 24, 2014 (rescheduled from October 17, which is Fall Break)
  • November 7, 2014
  • November 21, 2014
  • December 5, 2014
  • December 19, 2014

The DH FLC is intended for faculty who are interested in incorporating digital technologies and approaches into their humanities teaching and research. Over the course of the year, the DH FLC will learn together and from one another about digital humanities approaches and methodologies, study exemplar projects, and be exposed to a range of open-source tools for creating digital humanities projects. Participants will apply what they learn toward developing a digital humanities project to be used for hands-on, undergraduate learning.

The DH FLC is meant to be an interdisciplinary and diverse group. Faculty with little/no technical knowledge are encouraged to apply, as are those with DH experience. There are no technical or experiential prerequisites for joining the DH FLC beyond an interest and curiosity in DH teaching and research. UNC-CH faculty at all ranks (tenure, tenure-track, fixed-term, adjunct, research or clinical rank, lecturers, or instructors) are invited to apply.

The DH FLC is part of the Curricular Innovation and Professional Development program of the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI), an effort supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a sustainable and scalable model of digital humanities at UNC.

Learn more about the DH FLC and how to apply. Applications are due Monday, August 25, 2014 by 5pm. Questions should be directed to Stephanie Barnwell or Molly Sutphen.