DH1002 – 2017-18 Tools and Methods I

Module Description

This module is a reflective examination of primary tools and methods employed in the Digital Humanities.

Learning Objectives

This module will challenge participants to:

  1. Consider the broad variety of practices existing and emerging in the Digital Humanities;
  2. Have a broad understanding of the variety and typology of tools currently being employed to undertake humanities research, analysis and presentation;
  3. Be in a position to judge and evaluate those tools for appropriateness to current and future scholarship;
  4. Have an appreciation of various modes of inquiry to remain abreast to emerging tools and methodologies.

Office Hours

Tuesday 10:00 – 12:00 otherwise by appointment.


There are two (2) assignments to be completed for this module during the semester. They are detailed in the Assignments Tab/Menu to the left of this Agenda. Submission links are provided there.

Assignment 1 (50%)

Date Due: 18 February 23:59

Assignment 2 (50%)

Date Due: 8 April 23:59

Late Submission

Assignments will be accepted up to 1 week following the due date. Following that they will be graded as 0. 7% of possible marks for the assignment will be deducted for each past 23:39 of the submission date. For example: if an assignment is graded out of 50% of the semester mark and it is submitted three days late, it will contribute a maximum of 39.5 (less 21% of 50 marks = 10.5). So an excellent paper earning 80% would have gotten 40points/50 but with the three-day penalty will receive 31.5/50. It may be advantageous to submit late if you can raise your submission grade appropriately, but it is up to you do the math! If you submit over a week late, you will receive 0 for the assignment, so do plan your work now. The assignments are listed below and you have plenty of time between now and due dates to complete, submit to maximise your marks.




Week 1
Date: Wednesday, January 17 – 10:00-11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
What is Data?
Is all that is all that is digital, data?
In this first session, we will collectively consider why it is we have a module on Tools and Methodologies? How does this apply to the broader purpose of this course and how will this fit into the larger objectives of developing a professional approach to digital humanities and Information Technology.
Demonstration and mind-broadening.
Lecture 1: Intro, Logistics and Welcome
Video: Welcome
For next week:
Read for Next week:  Read ‘Annabel Scheme‘ (https://www.robinsloan.com/annabel-scheme/)by Robin Sloan (if you are not already doing so)

Week 2
Date: Wednesday, January 24 – 10-11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
Lecture: Searching, Browsing and Discovery
Video: Reading and Discovering
In this session we will explore the modes and means to aid in the discovery of digital humanities tools and practice.
Reading/Preparation for next week:
  •  Take a browse of Google Cultural Institute – Choose a Project that you really, really like and be prepared to discuss it.

Week 3
Date: Wednesday 31 January – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
Lecture: Museums, Monuments and Galleries as Data
Video: On Digital Cultural Display
What can we find  out about museums and cultural heritage data – what can we do with it?
Reading/Preparation for next week:

Week 4
Date: Wednesday 7 February – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
Lecture: Time as Data
Video: Time
In this seminar we ponder what time means and how it might be visualised. We’ll explore an interesting tool – aptly called TimelineJS.
For next week:
Locate and come prepared to share a  crowdsourced community data project that you have found.
For Next Week:
  1. Watch Bear71 (Bear 71: NFB/Interactive)
  2. How Do You Feel? (https://www.sciencesquared.eu/how-do-you-feel)
  3. Read (Strategically) Visualising Cultural Data: Exploring Digital Collections through Timeline Vis (http://www.kraeutli.com/index.php/2016/04/15/visualising-cultural-data/)

Week 5
Date: Wednesday 14 February – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
An initial exploration of working with data. What does it mean to imagine, collect, store and sort data? What is sensor? What can it Measure? What does the data look like? What might we do with it?


Lecture: The Human Body as Data


For Next Week:

  1. First Assignment Due – 18 Feb
  2. DHAwards 2017 – Inspect the various Nominations for DHAWards2017 and do vote yourself. We will discuss next week.

Week 6
Date: Wednesday 21 February – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space


Lecture: DH as Data
Video: DH as Data
Surveying the Nominations and Shape of DH Awards this Year
  1. OnBroadwayNYC
  2. OpenStreetMap
For Two Week’s Time:

Week 7
Date: Wednesday 28 February 2018 
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Your Neighbourhood as Data
Spatial Representations of public community data and putting it on the map

Lecture: Spatial Data and Visualisation
Video: Your Neighbourhood as Data
For Next Week :
  1. Please take a quick look at RAW
  2. Checkout your OSM contributions: 
How Did You Contribute to OSM?
  3. Work Towards your Assignment 2

Week 8
Date: Wednesday 7 March – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
Movies as Data
Where can we find a screen play? What can we do with it to understand it better? – Visualise Analyse?
For Next Week:
  1. Choose a Text from Project Gutenberg (your favourite novel – or even one you just know)
  2. Please take a quick look at Voyant (Hint: It’ll help with text vis!)
  3. Explore the text using Voyant and come prepared to report on one finding from your text.

Week 9
Date: Wednesday 14 March 2017 – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
Lecture: Books and Visual Complexity in Data
Video: Books as Complex Data
Taking the Text as a source of data – what can we do to learn more about it? How can it be visualised to create knowledge?
For Next Week:
  1. The Humanities Action Lab (http://humanitiesactionlab.org)
  2. Public Humanities (http://www.uwo.ca/publichumanities/about/index.html)

Week 10
Date: Wednesday 21 March – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
“What is  Metadata, why is it important and how can we use it?”
Data Activism. What can be done to harness data for public good?

March 24 – April 8   UCC Easter Break

Week 11
Date: Wednesday 11 April – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Week 12
Date: Wednesday 18 April – 10:00 -11:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Assignment 1

Due Date: 18 February 2017

Points Possible: This assignment will constitute 50% of your assessment for this module
Objective: To appreciate the diversity of available tools  and to develop an ability to critically evaluate a digital scholarly tool or method as to its suitability to your own needs.
  1. Identify a digital humanities *tool* that you are either intrigued by or suspect may be of use in your own project(s);
  2.  You may do this by searching the net, talking to colleagues, following a reference in an article or social media or by searching the DiRT directory (http://dirtdirectory.org) –  optimally this should be a tool that doesn’t exist in DiRT but could be added to this repository. If you are unsure about whether a tool is appropriate for review be in touch with me immediately.
  3. Carry out a formal review of the tool. This may involve installing or deploying it on your own server space, signing up for an account and using it onlineetc. However, the crucial aspect here is to complete a critical evaluation of the tool and make your opinions and judgement available to the wider community.
  4. You should evaluate it against at least two similar tools.
  5. The following structure should help guide you through the process.
  6. After conducting the review compile the review on your blog documenting your process and evaluation.
  7. If the selected tool or service does not exist in the DiRT Directory add it and link your review to the tool submission (you will need to sign up for an account on DiRT).
  8.  If the tool already exists there simply link your review on your blog to the existing tool page.
  9. Please submit a text copy of you blog post URL & PDF of the Blog review to the turnitincom link below before the submission deadline of 23:59 on 18 February 2018.
The review should be of approximately 1,000 words in length and augmented with  screenshots or other visual enhancements that help to convey your appreciation and evaluation of the tool or method.
1. Gathering information
  • Is there a website about this tool?
  • Did you collect and summarize information on this website?
  • Is/Are there research-articles about the tool? Did you read them?
  • Does the information gathered (websites + articles) show that the tool fits your research’s goals?
  • What projects have used the tool?
  • Did you have to deploy the tool on your own server and if so, how was the process?
  • How well documented is the tool?
  • Is there a cost attached to its use?
  • What tools are similar to it and what are the strengths of this one over its ‘competitors’ (identify and compare against at least 2 other similar tools or platforms)?
2. Maturity/stability of the tool
  • Did you find a roadmap for the tool?
  • If yes, is it far from its first version (the version that will have all the functionalities the tool is scheduled to have)?
  • Is it stable? (which means: trying the tool and/or going to forums/discussions lists to see what its users are telling about the tool)
  • What standards and formats does the tool use?
  • What license applies to the use or output from the tool?
3. Sustainability of the tool
  • How long has this tool been available for?
  • Is there a strong community supporting it?
  • Is it open-source?
  • Can you export your data and your results?
  • What kind of export?
4. Sustainability of your research
  • Do you understand how the tool works?
  • Will the tool allow your research results to be verifiable and reproducible?
5. Usage
  • From your experience with it, would you recommend it to others – yes/no and why?
  • How would you improve it?
Formatting 10%
Organisation 20%
Grammar 20%
Originality 10%
Creativity 10%
Adherence to Structure 20%
Depth of Thought 10%


Assignment 2


The intention of this assignment is to join with others in a community-engaged project to compile spatial data for public use. This is often referred to as User Generated Content (UCG). Through participation, you will gain hands-on experience and also on-the-ground appreciation of the wider implications of your contribution. There are three steps in this assignment:

  1. Use MapSwipe on your mobile device;
  2. Use HOT
  3. Reflect and Review
  4. (Optional) Work in your own neighbourhood in OpenStreetMap and Mapillary
MapSwipe is a small interactive application designed to aid Médecin sans Frontiers (MSF) in carrying out further mapping to aid in their global efforts to support humanitarian objectives. It is available for iOS on the Apple Store or for Android on Google’s Play Store. Download, follow the instructions provided and carry out *some* tasks.
  1. Download the app to your mobile device;
  2. Orient yourself using the provided help and tutorials;
  3. Carry out a few tasks to gain an experience in using the app and consider – what, why and how you are participating.
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Tasking
HOTOSM is a central hub to coordinate targeted mapping initiatives responding to humanitarian mapping needs.
Unlike MapSwipe you will actually carry our specific mapping/cartographic creation tasks involving recognising features from satellite imagery and translating it into geospatial primitives.
  1. Proceed to https://hotosm.org/get-involved/disaster-mapping and orient yourself with the objectives and principles involved;
  2. Carry out tutorials as needed (you will also find assistance in your face-to-face DAH tutorials);
  3. Choose a task that interests you from the hundreds in need of assistance.
  4. Complete at least 5 tiles of the task;
  5. Attempt to validate a further 2 tiles of that task completed by others.
Optional – Pure OpenStreetMap Mapping and Mapillary POV Capture

Feel free to explore and augment the mapping available for your Local Neighbourhood on OpenStreetMap. The key aspect is a personal hands-on experience. Your objective will be to create missing features in the neighbourhood and to also identify deficiencies and to correct any that you find on the existing map. You are working in the real world. Your changes will be instantly available to people using these real-world maps globally. It’s real. You may also want to experiment with Mapillary (to suit your own interest and tastes) Specific pointers:

  1. Learn OSM (http://learnosm.org/en/) newbies useIDEditor(http://learnosm.org/en/editing/id-editor/)


  1. If you want a more industrial strength tool: JOSM (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/JOSM)

Reflecting and Reviewing Your Experience

  1. Join OpenStreetMap (requisite for all projects);
  2. Carry out the tasks noted above;
  3. Complete a 1,000-word reflection on your own blog considering:
    1. The processes you undertook;
    2. The implications of what you contributed;
    3. What you learned from the experience;
    4. How you feel you might be able to apply the spatial or the crowdsourced initiatives in your own work – now or in the future.
Organisation 20%
Grammar 10%
Creativity 10%
Adherence to Structure 30%
Depth of Thought 30%

Due: Submission for this module is by 8 April – 23:59.

Please upload a text file containing:
  1. a link to your blog post in response to the above request.
  2. a PDF file containing your blog post.