This semester, Falvey Memorial Library presented a fall workshop series on Digital Humanities, organized by Laura Bang. Laura works in Special and Digital Collections and she is actively involved in the Philadelphia Digital Humanities community.
The fantastically informative workshops provided an introduction to DH techniques and applications and took place in Falvey on various Saturdays from 9AM to noon. Since we were provided with tons and tons of resources, I’d be glad to share some with you! For an overview of the individual workshops and the projects/softwares explored, keep scrolling.
September 6: Intro to Digital Humanities
Our five-session workshop began with an introductory lecture by Mitch Fraas, the Schoenberg Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. As you might guess, we talked about the most popular question on the block: what are digital humanities? As this intro lecture proved, the best way to figure it out is to jump into one of the many projects you can find online. Definition by application! Fraas provided tons of resources; here are some excellent places to start.
http://dirtdirectory.org *Reading about these tools will really give you a good sense of the applications of DH.
September 20: Coding Basics
The second workshop was a fun and approachable introduction to coding by Kate Lynch. We used Processing, which is not only a programming language, but also a development environment with an enormous online community. The software is free to download and open source. The Processing site is loaded with beginner tutorials.
I pointillized ‘Lil Bub! On the left behind the kitty, you can see the Processing window and code.
October 4: Audio Editing
Workshop number three covered basic audio editing. We played around with Audacity, a free, open source audio recording and editing software. You can download it right from the Audacity page. You can find plenty of royalty free sounds and tracks on the web for your projects on websites like freesound.org. The Audacity page also has plenty of tutorials, but I find YouTube tutorials are the most helpful for software training. Search “Audacity” and you are sure to find hundreds!
October 25: WordPress as a Content Management System
The fourth workshop explored WordPress as a content management system. WordPress.com, as you might already know, allows you to create a free blog, but it is not highly customizable. Based on your wants and needs, it might be perfect for you. However, if you’re looking for a software script to create a website, check out WordPress.org. According to the About page,
WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as full content management system and so much more through the thousands of plugins and widgets and themes, WordPress is limited only by your imagination. (And tech chops.)
To get started with the WordPress software you’ll need a web host, but the software itself is free and open source.
November 8: Mapping/GIS
The fifth and final workshop introduced basic data mapping and visualization. Using CartoDB and openly available data sets from OpenDataPhilly, we learned how to import and create tables and how to customize maps based on those tables.
Sarah Cordivano, the workshop instructor, enthusiastically expressed the importance of projects such as OpenDataPhilly, a resource that
“…is based on the idea that providing free and easy access to data information encourages better and more transparent government and a more engaged and knowledgeable citizenry… By connecting people with data, we’re hoping to encourage users to take the data and transform it into creative applications, projects, and visualizations that demonstrate the power that data can have in understanding and shaping our communities.”
For more information on OpenDataPhilly, visit the About Us page.
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.