Finding the Right Tools

 

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In a new article in Computers in Libraries (Jan./Feb. 2017), “Top Tools for Digital Humanities Research,” Nancy K. Herther, reviews some of the best free and open source tools available today. Among those reviewed are Voyant Tools, Umigon, Prism, and Sophie. Herther also provides a list of tools arranged by function with sections for Digital Humanities Toolkits, Timeline Tools, and Data Visualization.

Another suggested resource for an in-depth look at tools is the DiRT Directory, a registry of digital research tools for scholarly use.   Entries may be viewed by function and the registry offers ways to drill down by platform, cost, license, and type of data or object.

Do you have a favorite resource for learning about new tools, or finding those that best answer a particular need?

 

 

Round-up, first half of 2016

1893 lithograph. From Metropolitan Museum of Art – Gallery Images on archive.org.

We’re nearly at the half-way point of the year! That means I’ve got lots of links to share in this round-up.

A long time ago, in a meeting room in Seattle…

Space Needle Restaurant
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “The Space Needle Restaurant” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 30, 2016.

It has been nearly three weeks since our joint DH SIG meeting in Seattle with our VRA colleagues. There were around 70 in attendance! Our conversation was full of ideas for supporting each other in our DH efforts, ways to communicate, and perhaps most significantly, to collaborate.

  • Guidance on preservation of DH research data and projects was identified as an area needing attention.
  • A SIG-fascilitated practicum was suggested where a group could work together on data sets using a variety of tools.
  • The NYC Digital Humanities group was suggested as a possible model for our SIG(s).
  • A DH Slack channel got many thumbs-up as a way to stay in touch.
  • Creating a knowledge base of SIG members with particular skills was also popular.
  • A list of MOOCs that offer relevant DH skills (Udacity was mentioned for programming languages) would be helpful.
  • Resources on project management would be useful. (A plug for SEI this summer which will include project management as part of the curriculum.)
  • A list of DH projects that SIG members are currently engaged in or have recently completed both to showcase our efforts and to serve as a resource.

Lastly, there was enthusiasm for ARLIS/NA DH SIG and the VRA DH SIG working together, either officially or unofficially. Duplicating efforts and splitting resources is inefficient and the meeting showed great camaraderie and interest in collaboration.

Using the communication channels we have established at this time- our blog, listserv (dh-sig [at] arlisna.org) and @arlisdhsig– let’s keep the conversations going. If you want any of these ideas prioritized or want to take the lead on something, say so! Progress on these issues will be posted here. Thanks to all of you who attended, and to those of you who didn’t but have expressed interest in our SIG. We’ve got a really healthy membership and we’re positioned to do some great work in the next year!

Call for Proposals: How did they make that?

DHCommons Journal is asking for submissions of “procedural descriptions” of stable and publicly available digital humanities projects. For those who submit, this is a great opportunity to highlight an accomplishment and to share your experience with the field. For the rest of us, these promise to be a good source of instruction and inspiration.

Submission deadline April 1, 2016 (presumably not an April Fools joke…)

East Coast Educational Opportunities

Heller, Helen West. Physics-Biology/Chemistry-Cosmic Ray, c. 1940. New York Public Library, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection.

Recently, three opportunities for professional development have been announced, all taking place on the east coast.

VRAF is presenting a one day Omeka workshop at Hunter CollegeExhibit, Instruct, Promote: An Introduction to Omeka for Digital Scholarship, on February 19, 9:00-4:00. The workshop will be taught by Meghan Musolff, Special Projects Librarian for Library IT, University of Michigan Library, where she has used Omeka in the creation of online exhibits. The fee for this workshop is $125 and registration is required before February 12.

The Duke University Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies will hold a symposium called Apps, Maps & Models: Digital Pedagogy and Research in Art History, Archaeology & Visual Studies on February 22, 2016 from 8:30 to 6:30. This event is free of charge! Registration is requested. The program and speakers for the day look great.

Finally, the Summer Education Institute has been announced for 2016. It will be held at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, June 7-10. The curriculum has been updated and includes a component on digital humanities projects. The institute is a rare immersive opportunity to develop new skills or deepen existing ones. Payment must be received before June 1.

 

DH at ARLIS/NA and VRA Annual Conference

Washington Plaza Hotel at night, Seattle
Washington Plaza Hotel (now known as the south tower of the Westin Hotel) at night, c. 1969. University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division, Art Hupy Photograph Collection. via Flickr Commons

ARLIS/NA and VRA are heading to Seattle, March 8-12, 2016 for another joint annual conference. Here are the programming events that are likely to offer the most to those attendees looking to expand their digital humanities toolbox.

What does a DH librarian look like?

Image from page 9 of "Colour : an elementary manual for students" (1891)
“The Three Color Sensations Illustrated”. From” Colour : an elementary manual for students” (1891). Flickr Commons.

There have been a lot of job announcements in the last couple of months from libraries looking for digital humanities professionals. It makes me wonder, what is the background and what are the skills for a DH position in libraries?

I chose five recent postings to examine and compare:
Humanities Data Curator at UC Santa Barbara

Digital Humanities Specialist at University of the Pacific

Humanities and Digital Scholarship Librarian at Grinnell College

Digital Humanities and Web Services Librarian at University of Delaware Library

Lead Developer for Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton University

  • Four of five postings are looking for an MLS/MLIS.
  • Four of the five postings use the word “collaborate” or “collaborative”.
  • Four of the five postings want someone with experience with Omeka.
  • Four of the five postings include traditional librarian duties such as reference, collection development and instruction.
  • Three of the five postings use the word “creative”, and use it in the first sentence.
  • Three of the five postings specify experience with WordPress.
  • Two of the five postings specify experience with metadata standards.
  • Two of the five postings include digital exhibitions in the duties.
  • Two of the five postings reference creating or managing digital collections.
  • Two of the five postings specify working with digital assets.
  • Two of the five postings mention working with archives collections.
  • One of the five postings wants familiarity with database structure.
  • One of the five postings wants experience with digital publishing.
  • One of the five postings specifies information visualization in the job description.
  • One of the five postings specifies working with images or media.
  • One of the five postings asks for management experience.
  • None of the jobs mention cataloging, RDA,  or MARC.
  • How many jobs want which programming skills? XML/XSL (4), HTML (2), CSS (2), PHP (2), Python (2)

Do you find these elements surprising? Do these some of these specifications sound unfamiliar to you or in line with skills you have been developing? Are there skills that a DH professional in an art library or museum would need in particular that aren’t listed here?

DH and Your Job

Round-up for July, 2015 part two

For part two, I will admit that I’m just sharing things with you that I still have open in browser tabs, awaiting time to fully investigate, but seem promising enough to pass along.

Flowingdata.com – What is FlowingData? I’m not quite sure yet. The “About” page says, “FlowingData explores how statisticians, designers, data scientists, and others use analysis, visualization, and exploration to understand data and ourselves.” Scrolling through the site, it seems to collect a variety of visualizations dealing with everything from incarceration rates, beer, and literary road trips.

The good, the bad, and the unstructured… Open data in cultural heritage – Here is a blog post including presentation slides by Mia Ridge, cultural heritage technologist, from a colloquium called Linked Pasts.

Should I do Social Network Analysis? – Marten Düring made a cheat sheet flowchart to help you make the decision whether network analysis would be helpful in your research.

Slides and Lectures from Beyond the Digitized Slide Library workshop – Instead of a week at the beach, spend a week at home working your way through tons of valuable information from the UCLA digital art history workshop covering everything from, “What is digital art history?”, to Omeka, to visualization, and more. It is a tremendously generous resource.

Eyeo Festival – After spending a week with the UCLA content, you could probably spend another week watching presentations from the Eyeo Festival, which was new to me but just wrapped up it’s fifth year. I’ve already enjoyed this presentation about a data drawing project.

MohioMap – Totally new to me, bookmarked after I saw it mentioned on Twitter. “Mohiomap gives you a visual way to navigate through your cloud data. You can cross-reference and group your files using simple drag-and-drop tagging. And Mohiomap lets you search across several cloud storage accounts at once.”