Digital humanities

Maintained by: David J. Birnbaum ( [Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported License] Last modified: 2018-03-13T19:57:19+0000

Syllabus: Spring 2018 (2184)

Getting started

Download and install the following software on your home computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux).

All users:

Windows users:

Mac users:

Linux users:

Date Coding Scholarship Homework and tests due next time
Mon, 01-08
  • 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.
Wed, 01-10
  • Types of markup: descriptive, presentational, procedural
  • Introduction to DH eXam Center
Fri, 01-12
  • 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
Mon, 01-15 Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday observance (University closed)
Wed, 01-17 XML Review
  • 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, 01-19
  • Test #1 (XML markup, in-class)
  • Relax NG
  • 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
  • Read and follow along with Rebecca Parker’s Guide to Git shell, which will likely be your first experience at the command line. Submit a 300–400 word reflection paper on the experience, outlining your troubles, successes, and questions about Git and Github. Don’t get frustrated if you run into problems (we did, too!); by the end of the semester you’ll have professional-quality Git and GitHub expertise.
  • Read Karl Stolley’s Lo-Fi Manifesto and think about why Lo-Fi matters.
Mon, 01-22
  • Project guidelines
  • GitHub for project management
  • Markdown
Sample GitHub repo:
  • 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, as a new issue to the course GitHub site, a 300- to 400-word tentative/exploratory project proposal: text, approach, research question, and (if known) possible participants (use the Label feature on GitHub to label it as a project proposal). Note the Styling with Markdown is supported link at the bottom of the Issues interface, where you can look up Markdown formatting (it’s fine to keep it simple for now). All course projects must be undertaken by teams of two or more persons, but this initial, exploratory proposal is an individual assignment.
Wed, 01-24
  • Relax NG
  • 300- to 400-word response paper to Blake or Rossetti. 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 Fri, 01-26 to form project teams.
Fri, 01-26
  • Relax NG (Pliny)
  • Form project teams, appoint a project owner (typically the proposal author)
  • 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
  • All students should read Github for project management, but if you are the project owner, follow along with and complete the following tasks:
    • Add all members and all instructors as project collaborators (SettingsCollaborators; instructor GitHub userids are amk231, djbpitt, gabikeane, and zme1).
    • Add a descriptive file to your repo.
    • Create an issue on our course GitHub site that describes and links to your project repo.
Mon, 01-29
  • Regular expressions (Recipe)
  • Multipurposing
  • Regex exercise 1
  • Standing assignments beginning today:
    1. Project Issue: (due Wednesdays) Each project team must post at least one project update per week in the form of a GitHub issue on their project repos (at least one posting per team, not per person, although more are welcome) before Wednesday’s class. These postings should be brief 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 should reference (and, where appropriate, link into) content on the GitHub project board.
    2. Project comment: (due Fridays) Each person must read all of the new project Issue postings and responses each week and post at least one thoughtful Project comment per week in response to another team’s weekly Project Issue status report (comment, question, observation, suggestion, etc.) by the following Friday’s class. These responses can be brief, but they should 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. Class discussion post: (due Mondays) Each person must read the new postings on the course GitHub site 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.
Wed, 01-31
  • 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
  • Project comment: Visit the GitHub repos for other class projects, read their main page (which is their file), and post a brief comment about their proposed research.
Fri, 02-02
  • 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
  • Class discussion post
Mon, 02-05
  • 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, 02-09
  • Project Issue
Wed, 02-07
  • The Web, part 2: SSI, JavaScript, PHP, database servers
Fri, 02-09
  • The Web: review
  • Test #2 (Relax NG)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Class discussion post
Mon, 02-12
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
Links TBA
Wed, 02-14
  • 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?
  • Project comment
Fri, 02-16
Mon, 02-19
  • XPath: predicates
  • Namespaces
Wed, 02-21
  • XPath: predicates and functions
  • Digital humanities associations and conferences
Fri, 02-23
  • XPath: predicates and functions
  • Looking stuff up: XPath functions and operators in Michael Kay
  • The XML family of standards
Mon, 02-26
  • XSLT and XPath overview
Wed, 02-28
  • XSLT templates
  • XPaths and XPath patterns
  • The digital workstation
Fri, 03-02
  • XSLT program structure and design
  • XSLT push and pull
  • Take-home midterm instructions
Mon, 03-05
Wed, 03-07
Fri, 03-09
Spring recess
Mon, 03-12
  • XSLT
  • Looking stuff up: XSLT elements in Michael Kay
Wed, 03-14
  • XSLT
Fri, 03-16
  • XSLT
  • Encoding and representing musical information
Mon, 03-19
  • XSLT
  • Midterm due
Wed, 03-21
  • XSLT review
  • Utilize the DH eXam Center as a study tool before the XSLT test on Fri, 03-23
  • Project comment
Fri, 03-23
  • SVG
  • 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
  • Class discussion post
Mon, 03-26
  • Visit from UHC Dean Brian Primack
  • SVG
Wed, 03-28
  • Guest lecture by Patrick Juola (Duquesne University) on stylometry
  • Stylometry
  • 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)?
  • Project comment
Fri, 03-30
  • 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?
  • Class discussion post
Mon, 04-02
  • XQuery
Wed, 04-04
  • XQuery and databases
Fri, 04-06
  • Comparing XQuery and XSLT
Mon, 04-09
  • XQuery
Wed, 04-11
  • Schematron
  • 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
  • Project comment
Fri, 04-13
  • Schematron
Mon, 04-16
  • Schematron
Wed, 04-18
  • Project workshop
  • Utilize the DH eXam Center as a study tool before the Schematron test on Fri, 04-20
  • Project comment (last one)
Fri, 04-20
Last day of class
  • Project presentations
  • Test #8 (Schematron), due Mon, 04-23
  • Class discussion post (last one; please take this opportunity to reflect on, make suggestions for, and bounce ideas off your classmates on their project issues boards based on their presentations)
Mon, 04-23,
Schematron test due
Fri, 04-27,
Projects due