Digital humanities

Maintained by: David J. Birnbaum ( [Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported License] Last modified: 2017-04-13T19:29:43+0000

Syllabus: Spring 2017 (2174)

Getting started

Download and install the following software on your home computer:

All users:

Windows users:

Mac users:

Linux users:

Date XML Digital humanities Homework and Tests due next time
Wed, 01-04
  • Introduction to XML: hierarchy, well-formedness, elements and attributes
  • The <oXygen/> XML editor and IDE
  • Gazpacho recipe
  • What is digital humanities?
  • If you haven’t done so already, install <oXygen/> on your personal computer, and described in the Getting started list at the top of the page
  • Read An even gentler introduction to XML
  • XML exercise 1: Copy the text of one letter by either Oscar Wilde or Anton Chekhov and mark it up in XML using <oXygen/>, employing whatever markup you consider appropriate. In this and all other assignments, follow our file-naming conventions.
Fri, 01-06
  • Types of markup: descriptive, presentational, procedural
  • Introduction to DH eXam Center
  • No prior programming experience? You’re in good company! Read Can humanities undergrads learn to code? by two former undergraduate instructors in this course.
  • XML exercise 2: Mark up a text of your choice (any genre, manageable size, foreign languages welcome)
  • Write a 300- to 400-word response paper to either the Fairy tales project or the Iberian project, discussing the site’s 1) utility as a tool for exploring the text, 2) identification and treatment of specific research questions, and 3) effectiveness of overall user experience (design, interface, interaction, etc.)
Mon, 01-09
  • XML exercise 3: Mark up a different text of your choice (any genre; manageable but reasonable size; foreign languages welcome)
  • 300- to 400-word response paper to Aesop’s fables or My immortal, following the same guidelines as for the previous response paper
Wed, 01-11
  • Create Obdurodon shell, Drupal, and GitHub accounts
  • Test #1 (XML, markup)
  • 300- to 400-word response paper to Perseus or Melville, concentrating on the user experience (UX). What sorts of research does the site support, and how effectively does it provide that support?
  • Read Introduction to Relax NG
Fri, 01-13
  • Schema language overview
  • Relax NG:
  • Read Spectacular intersections of place in Southey’s Thalaba the destroyer and submit a 300- to 400-word response paper. In your response, reflect on the network analysis represented here and how it works, what patterns it might be revealing, and what questions or ideas it raises for you regarding digital methods to analyze texts.
  • Read Relax NG content models before completing Relax NG exercise 1
  • Relax NG exercise 1: Write a Relax NG schema for one of the XML documents you created for an earlier assignment (XML exercise 1, 2, or 3) and upload both your XML and your schema file
Mon, 01-16 Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday observance (University closed)
Wed, 01-18
Add/drop deadline
  • Guest lecture by Elisa Beshero-Bondar on network analysis
  • Relax NG exercise 2: Choose a small text, perform document analysis, write a schema, mark up the text according to the schema, and upload both your XML and your schema file
  • Post to the course blog site a 300- to 400-word tentative/exploratory project proposal: text, approach, research question, and (if known) possible participants. All course projects must be undertaken by teams of two or more persons, but this initial, exploratory proposal is an individual assignment.
Fri, 01-20
  • Relax NG
  • 300- to 400-word response paper to Blake or Rossetti or Shakespeare. These are primarily archive or portal sites, designed to provide enhanced access to materials, rather than to support specific research questions. How well do they achieve their goals?
  • Read everyone else’s project proposals and be prepared on Mon, 01-23 to form project teams
Mon, 01-23
  • Relax NG (Pliny)
  • Form project teams
  • Relax NG exercise 3: Choose a small text of a different type or genre than last time, perform document analysis, write a schema, mark up the text according to the schema, and upload both your XML and your schema file
  • Read regex mini-tutorial at
Wed, 01-25
  • Regular expressions (Recipe)
  • Multipurposing
  • Regex exercise 1
  • Standing assignments beginning today:
    1. Each project team must post at least one project update per week to the Obdurodon blog site (at least one posting per team, not per person, although more are welcome) before Friday’s class. These postings should be status reports about your projects: what you accomplished in the preceding week, what you learned, where you got stuck, etc., as well was what you plan to do in the upcoming week. Reports should address both the state of the project in general and the specific weekly contributions of each of the individual team members. All postings must include links to new content at the GitHub project repo (see your project mentor for details).
    2. Each person must read all of the new project postings and responses each week and post at least one thoughtful project response per week to another team’s weekly blog posting (comment, question, observation, suggestion, etc.) by the following Monday’s class. These responses can be brief, but they need to be thoughtful, something more than nice job! or very interesting! You might make a suggestion, offer a critique, ask (or answer) a question, discuss how something in someone else’s blog posting gives you an idea of something to do on your own project, report on a resource you discovered that might be useful for the other team, etc.
    3. Each person must read all new postings on the Obdurodon discussion boards and make at least one thoughtful contribution before Monday’s class each week. Ask a question, answer a question, make a suggestion, pass along a link to a site that showed you something you could use in your project (and explain what it is and why it was useful), etc.
Fri, 01-27
  • Text analysis and data mining
  • Read Regex tips (ignore the XSLT section for now, and read the rest to acquaint yourself with what’s there, but don’t try to memorize it all at once)
  • Regex exercise 2
  • Weekly blog response
  • Weekly discussion board posting
Mon, 01-30
  • Digitization
  • The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)
  • Regex exercise 3
  • Read one chapter from the text body of the TEI guidelines (except Chapter 2, TEI header, which is assigned separately later) and submit a 300- to 400-word response paper
Wed, 02-01
  • The Web, part 1: HTML, XHTML, HTML5, CSS, Unicode
  • Metadata
  • Read HTML basics
  • Read Putting content on line
  • Read the “TEI header” section (Chapter 2) of TEI P5 and submit a 300- to 400-word response paper. The TEI header is about metadata, information about the document that is not part of the document itself. How will you handle metadata (what type of information, how will be it be encoded or represented) in your project?
  • Utilize the DH eXam Center as a study tool before the Relax NG test on Fri, 02-03
  • Weekly blog posting
Fri, 02-03
  • The Web, part 2: SSI, JavaScript, PHP, database servers
Mon, 02-06
  • The Web: review
  • Read Learn CSS layout
  • HTML/CSS exercise 2: Enhance and expand your HTML web page and associated CSS from the last assignment (focus this time on structural elements) and upload them as new files with new names (see the additional instructions about formatting, naming, and uploading your files). Do not overwrite your files from the first HTML assignment.
  • Read Introduction to KML and submit a 300- to 400-word response paper. In your response, concentrate on possible roles for mapping in DH projects, including your own. What opportunities does mapping provide for new types of humanities research and what limitations do you see in the available technologies?
Wed, 02-08
  • Geographic information systems
  • Read both Statistical methods for studying literature using R and Mining the Dispatch: introduction (the whole page under the Introduction tab; not just the few paragraphs headed Introduction) and submit a 300- to 400-word response paper to one of them. The R reading is a tutorial; you don’t have to do the activities, although you might find it more interesting if you do. R and topic modeling are tools that operate on plain text to provide descriptive statistical information. How might they play a role in your project?
  • Utilize the DH eXam Center as a study tool before the regex test on Fri, 02-10
  • Weekly blog posting (focus on document analysis and schema design)
Fri, 02-10
Mon, 02-13
  • XPath: predicates
  • Namespaces
Wed, 02-15
  • XPath: predicates and functions
  • Digital humanities associations and conferences
  • XPath exercise 3
  • Bring Michael Kay book to class on Fri, 02-17
  • Weekly blog posting (focus on transformation and views of your documents)
Fri, 02-17
  • XPath: predicates and functions
  • Looking stuff up: XPath functions and operators in Michael Kay
  • The XML family of standards
Mon, 02-20
  • XSLT and XPath overview
Wed, 02-22
  • XSLT templates
  • XPaths and XPath patterns
  • The digital workstation
Fri, 02-24
  • XSLT program structure and design
  • XSLT push and pull
Mon, 02-27
  • XSLT
  • Looking stuff up: XSLT elements in Michael Kay
Wed, 03-01
  • XSLT
  • Take-home midterm instructions
Fri, 03-03
  • XSLT
  • Encoding and representing musical information
  • XSLT exercise 6
  • Weekly blog response
  • Weekly discussion board posting
  • Take-home midterm will be due Fri, 03-17
Mon, 03-06
Wed, 03-08
Fri, 03-10
Spring recess
Mon, 03-13
  • XSLT
Wed, 03-15
  • XSLT review
  • Withdrawal
  • Explore Orbis, designed to explore the geography of the ancient Roman world with attention to more than distance. Submit a 300- to 400-word response paper addressing both research and design aspects of the site.
  • Utilize the DH eXam Center as a study tool before the XSLT test on Fri, 03-17
  • Weekly blog posting
Fri, 03-17
  • SVG
  • Midterm due
  • Test #5 (XSLT)
  • Work through the w3schools SVG tutorial to complete the SVG basic and SVG shapes pages. Filters, gradients, examples, and reference are optional.
  • SVG exercise 1
  • Weekly blog response
  • Weekly discussion board posting
Mon, 03-20
  • SVG
  • Read The hermeneutics of screwing around or In praise of pattern and submit a 300- to 400-word response paper. These essays describe how research methods in a digital environment may differ from research methods elsewhere in humanities scholarship. In what ways are Steve’s arguments persuasive (or not)?
Wed, 03-22
  • SVG
  • SVG exercise 2 (Remember that you should be uploading the XSLT stylesheet that you used to transform your document, not the raw SVG)
  • Weekly blog posting
Fri, 03-24
  • SVG
  • SVG exercise 3
  • 300- to 400-word response paper to Zelda, Rap, or Homestuck that focuses on visualization. Are the graphic representations suitable for the data? If yes, why? If no, what could they have used instead?
  • Weekly blog response
  • Weekly discussion board posting
Mon, 03-27
  • XQuery
Wed, 03-29
  • XQuery and databases
Fri, 03-31
  • Comparing XQuery and XSLT
Mon, 04-03
  • XQuery
Wed, 04-05
  • Guest lecture by Patrick Juola (Duquesne University) on stylometry
  • Stylometry
Fri, 04-07
  • Guest lecture by Allison Hegel (UCLA), 435 CL
  • XQuery exercise 4 is the same as XQuery exercise 3, except that you should choose a different text (from a different project) and do something different with it
  • Read Schematron tutorial
  • Weekly blog response
  • Weekly discussion board posting
Mon, 04-10
  • Schematron
Wed, 04-12
  • Schematron
Fri, 04-14
  • Project showcase
Mon, 04-17
  • JavaScript
Wed, 04-19
  • JavaScript and DHTML
Fri, 04-21
  • Project workshop
  • Test #8 (Schematron)
  • Weekly blog posting (last one)
Fri, 04-28,
Projects due