My latest at NITLE’s Techne blog: Upcoming Digital Humanities Training for Textual Research

August 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Originally posted on August 24, 2012 at NITLE’s Techne blog,

This installment of NITLE’s series on Building Capacity in Digital Humanities within the NITLE Network, focuses on upcoming training opportunities for liberal arts faculty and staff.

One of the biggest challenges for liberal arts colleges seeking to build capacity in digital humanities is training faculty and staff in new digital methods, especially due to the wide variety of methods that fall under the big tent of digital humanities and the lack of local expertise at small colleges.  Since many digital humanities centers at large research institutions do offer such training, small colleges can take advantage of these resources to build capacity in digital methodologies, though there will be some cost involved.

Topic Modeling for Humanities Research

Faculty and staff interesting in developing their skills in digital humanities might consider these upcoming workshops at the University of Maryland and Brown University. Both are funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and relate to work with text.  Topic modeling, a variety of natural language processing, uses computer algorithms and statistics to find themes in large bodies of text, by finding clusters of words that occur together.  While topic modeling is a form of distant reading, text encoding encourages close reading of text.  Textual markup according to the standards of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) puts texts into a standard, computer-readable form, and allows scholars to tag features and words significant for their research.  Because it requires close reading of a text and entry-level markup can be easily learned, TEI markup is a common methodology in digital humanities projects or courses involving undergraduates.

Topic Modeling for Humanities Research Workshop

  • Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
  • November 3, 2012
  • Cost: workshop is free but participants need to cover travel.
  • Application deadline is August 27, 2012 (note that workshop organizers will select applicants based on application statement)

Topic Modeling for Humanities, a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start Up Grant project, will facilitate a unique opportunity for cross-fertilization, information exchange, and collaboration between and among humanities scholars and researchers in natural language processing on the subject of topic modeling applications and methods. The workshop will be organized into three primary areas: 1) an overview of how topic modeling is currently being used in the humanities; 2) an inventory of extensions of the LDA model that have particular relevance for humanities research questions; and 3) a discussion of software implementations, toolkits, and interfaces.

Introduction to Contextual Encoding with TEI

  • Brown University, October 15-17, 2012
  • Cost: $450/$300 for TEI members and students
  • Travel funding is provided up to $500 per person
  • Registration deadline: September 20, 2012 (but space is limited so apply early)

Texts are important, but sometimes they are also an entry point to a larger interconnected universe of data about people, places, history and ideas. This seminar provides an introduction to the TEI with an emphasis on representing the contextual information that surrounds our documents. Through a combination of hands-on practice, presentation, and discussion, participants will work through the essentials of TEI markup and discover how to create detailed information about the entities named in primary sources: people, places, organizations, and any other context of interest. Topics covered include:

  • Text markup languages as an instrument of humanities scholarship
  • Basics of TEI markup: essential text structures and genres
  • Advanced TEI markup: personography, placeography, and the other ‘ographies
  • No prior experience is necessary.

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