DH6034 DH Tools and Methodologies

Module Description
Learning Objectives
Office Hours
Late Submission


Module Description

This module is a reflective examination of primary tools and methods employed in the Digital Arts + 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 – shawn.day@ucc.ie / @iridium.


There are five (3) assignments to be completed for assessment in this module during the semester.
They are detailed in the Assignments Tab/Menu to the left of this Agenda.
Submission links are also provided there.

Assignment 1 (25%)
Date Due: 16 February 23:59

Assignment 2 (25%)
Date Due: 21 March 23:59

Assignment 3 (50%)
Date Due: 26 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 24 hrs 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.


In Advance of our first meeting on 16 January: please read: ‘Annabel Scheme‘ (https://www.robinsloan.com/annabel-scheme/) by Robin Sloan (if you are not already doing so). There are a variety of free ways to read AS and even a very inexpensive Kindle version.

Week 1
Intro: Digital Potential – Digital Peril

This first session will be a friendly and informal look at modules objectives and expectations, a short discussion of the assignments and a broad form of a survey of the Irish DAH ecosystem with an eye towards contributions and relevance of tools to your own MA projects.

Date: Tuesday, January 16 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Introduction, Logistics and Hello
Video: Intro and Logistics

For Next Week:

  1. Alan Liu, “The Meaning of the Digital Humanities,” PMLA (2013)
  2. Marisa Parham, interviewed by Melissa Dinsman for LA Review of Books (2016)
  3. Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Schnapp, “Humanities to Digital Humanities,” Digital_Humanities (MIT Press, 2012)
  4. N. Katherine Hayles, “The Digital Humanities: Engaging the Issues,” How We Think (Chicago UP, 2012)

Further Exploration:

Debates in the Digital Humanities series (University of Minnesota Press, 2012, 2016)
More interviews in the Digital in the Humanities LA Review of Books (2016)
Between Humanities and the Digital (MIT Press, 2015)

Week 2

Date: Tuesday, January 23 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: OPEN and all that
Video: OPEN

For Next Week:
‘The Social History of the Archive’ (http://past.oxfordjournals.org/content/230/suppl_11/9.full)
Exploring Curation as a core competency in digital and media literacy education (http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/articles/10.5334/2013-02/)

Week 3
Collecting and Organising

Date: Tuesday, January 30 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Collecting and Organising
Video: Reading, Collecting and Organising


Week 4
Curating and Storytelling

Date: Tuesday, February 6 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Curating and Storytelling
Video: Curating and Storytelling

Windy Tool

For next week:

  1. Difficult Thinking About the Digital Humanities
  2. Knowledge or Tools?
  3. Signs that social scholarship is catching on in the humanities

Week 5
Social Scholarship and Collaboration

Date: Tuesday, February 13 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Social Scholarship and Collaboration
Video: Social Scholarship and Collaboration

Exhibit Tutorials
Facebook Research

For Next Week:
The Impact of Social Media on the Dissemination of Research: Results of an Experiment
Evaluating Collaborative Digital Scholarship (or, Where Credit is Due)

Assignment 1  Due

Week 6
Crowdsourcing and Public Engagement

Date: Tuesday, February 20 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Crowdsourcing and Public Engagement
Video: Crowdsourcing and Public Engagement

Letters of 1916
Transcribe Bentham

For Next Week:
DHAwards 2016

Week 7

Date: Tuesday 27 February – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: DH and Community
Video: DH and Community

DHAwards 2016

For Next Week:
Make sure to Vote in DHAwards 2016
The Power and Danger of Data Visualisation (Short)
The Dangers of Visual Data Manipulation (Short)
The Dangers of Bling Data Visualizations (Short)
Explore KANTAR Infomation is Beautiful Showcase of Showcases (Play)
NYTimes 2016 The Year in Interactive Graphics (Play)


Week 8
Information Visualisation 1: Intro

Date: Tuesday, March 6 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Intro to Data/Info Visualisation
Video: Data Vis Uno

For Next Week:
Context, Content and Critique: Commenting on a Data Visualization Blog
Example Critique and Rework from Bret Victor
Another Critique from the Why Axis 😉 (Clever)
Finally – one more from Robert Kosara
On Critique and Redesign by Viegas and Wattenberg
What is Spatial History?

Week 9
Information Visualisation 2: Spatial Vis

Date: Tuesday, March 13 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Space, Place and Visualisation
Video: Visualisation Deux

For Next Week:
Using Voyant for Text Analysis (Thanks to Digital History Methods course at Rice University)
Grouping Documents with Topic Models (Thanks to Digital History Methods course at Rice University)
Browse: Text Analysis Methods and Tools


Week 10
Information Visualisation 3: Textual Vis

Date: Tuesday, March 20 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Textual Analysis and Visualisation
Video: Text Analysis and Visualisation

Browse: Text Analysis Methods and Tools
Using Voyant for Text Analysis
Grouping Documents with Topic Models
Text Analysis Recipes
Voyant Guide
PaperMachines in Zotero
To Read or Not to Read – Use of TA
Google NGram Viewer
New York Times Chronicle Tool
Bookworm: Movies
Getting Started with Topic Modelling
Topic Modeling 2010 Day of DH

Assignment 2 Due Tomorrow

For After the Break:
Consider/Imagine/Construct a useful visualisation of Jocker’s Topic Model of Day of DH 2010
Read: Data Humanism, the Revolution will be Visualized
Scott Weingart, “Demystifying Networks”

UCC Easter Break  24 March – 8 April

Week 11
Information Visualisation 4: Net and Relation Vis
Date: Tuesday, March 20 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Net and Relationship Visualisation
Video:  Net Vis

Mapping Shakespeare’s Tragedies
Exploring Dáil Data
Star Wars Social Network
Star Wars Original Storyline (XKCD)
Kindred Britain
Social Networks Visualiser
Jenna Townend, “Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Early Modern Networks: The Case of George Herbert and his Imitators,” Literature Compass (2016)
Michael Gavin, “Historical Text Networks: The Sociology of Early English Criticism,” Eighteenth-Century Studies (2016)
Ruth Ahnert, “Protestant Letter Networks in the Reign of Mary I: A Quantitative Approach,” ELH (2015)
Evan Bourke, “Female Involvement, Membership, and Centrality: A Social Network Analysis of the Hartlib Circle,” Literature Compass (2017)
Scott Selisker, “The Bechdel Test and the Social Form of Character Networks,” New Literary History (2015)


Week 12
Project Conceptualisation and Design

Date: Tuesday, April 10 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Project Conceptualisation and Design
Video:  Project Design

Week 13
Digital Project Management

Date: Tuesday April 17 – 12:00-14:00
Location: DAH Active Learning Space

Lecture: Digital Project Management
Video:  Digital Project Management

DAH Institute

Date: Tuesday/Wednesday May 1/2
Location: DAH Active Learning Space
DAH Institute


Assignment 1 – Crowdsourced Spatial Participation


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 Androind 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 a1,500-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 16 February 23:59.


Please upload a text file containing:

  1. a text file containing the text of your blog post uploaded to BlackBoard/tutnitin.com responding to the above questions.
  2. a link to your blog post (which may include images not contained in the text file above) sent to my email at shawn.day@ucc.ie.

Assessment Value: This assessment will contribute 25% of module grade.

Assignment 2 – Curated Data-Driven Narrative

Objective: This assignment will involve selecting from publicly available datasets from data.gov.ie, determining useful visualisation techniques to analyse and then present finding along with a narrative discussion.
Choose and explore a dataset of interest, visualise it for your analytical purposes and then choose the best means to present your findings via your blog.
This assignment asks you to explore the realm (most recently framed as Data Journalism) of combining well-chosen data pictures (whether they are spatial, textual, numeric, network/relationship, etc.) with a textual narrative to express a cohesive argument.
Ireland’s Open Data portal is one of the best in Europe and offers data from over 100+ providers.  For this assignment, I ask you to locate, interrogate (and possibly even link) two or more datasets from data.gov.ie and, using visualisation tools, analyse it to expose patterns.
These patterns should help you learn something about the underlying real-world condition that the data represents. Selecting the most effective data visualisations I would then ask that you explain your findings to a public audience by relating what these visualisations show as a means of explaining a larger conclusion.

The Power and Dangers of Data Visualisation offers a decent example of a digital narrative combining useful visuals with narrative: http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2013/02/04/power-danger-data-visualization/

A very brief hypothetical:
I have located two interesting (at least to me) datasets from the Central Statistics Office through their data portal statbank.ie and shared through data.gov.ie. One represents the number of people actively looking for work over the past decade and the second the rate of emigration from Ireland. I download the datasets as CSV files from the CSO and use a tool such as Tableau and Google Facets to look at trends in the data. I compare the employment to rate of migration and discover that when jobs get scarce rates of migration tend to rise. I  then created and exported some charts that I feel illustrate this phenomenon particularly well. On my blog I composed a post of less than 1,500 words explaining why I sought out these datasets and then explained my findings referring to the charts and convincing the reader that what I have discovered is in fact a plausible phenomenon and why I think it is of significance. I provide links to my raw materials and discuss their data provenance. I may be interested in where my migrants are going and use a geospatial visualisation or possibly explore employment in their destinations countries…Ohhh … so many questions to explore. This is a socio-numeric example.
You may be interested n Oscar-winning films from past decades and find a dataset online containing genre, lead players, studio, box office receipts. You could query this dataset to ddiscover whether there is any correlation between box office receipts and Oscar success.
I remain to be impressed by:
  • the creativity of your own search and interrogation;
  • your imagine a social or cultural question that you might seek to answer;
  • your ability to find supporting data;
  • your ability to visualise it; and
  • finally your ability to combine text and graphics to present your argument.
Note: the visualisations posted on your blog may be static or dynamic or interactive. Your choice – whatever best suits the story you are telling and the way in which you feel is most effective.
Organisation 20%
Creativity 20%
Grammar 10%
Connection between Visualisations and Discussion 20%
Reference to material discussed in lecture 10%
Depth of Thought 20%
Due: Submission for this module is by 21 March – 23:59.
Please upload a text file containing:
A link to your blog post to BlackBoard presenting your narrated visualisations.
A text file containing the text of your blog post.
Assessment Value: This assessment will contribute 25% of module grade.

Assignment 3 – Module Reflection – Tools and Methodologies Chapter

Contribution of Tools and Methods to Your Own Research Project
Produce a 2,500-word essay exploring and demonstrating the potential of new technologies to support your own dissertation research project.
(Word Count – this is not a precise requirement +/-200 words)
The intention of this assignment and ultimately your participation in this module is to demonstrate the development of your own ideas about the appropriate use of new digital technologies for research and scholarship. It will form a significant portion of your dissertation.
In this module we have attempted to do two very specific, but multifaceted, things:
  1. Introduce a variety of types of tools and methodologies to hopefully inspire, but also more importantly to;
  2. Provoke thoughtful reflection on the implications of choosing a tool, what it affords, but equally what the possible implications and challenges it also may introduce.
The objective of this assignment is to take on board these learnings with respect to your own individual proposed project and to consider the decisions, implications and affordances offered by the tools and methods you propose to use.
Your tools and methodologies position paper should reflect on the following:
  1. What tool(s) or method(s) are you proposing to employ to accomplish your research project?
  2. What other tools exist? (have you conducted an environmental scan)?
  3. What factors have you considered in making your choice(s)?
  4. Why are you choosing the tool(s) that you is/are?
  5. What challenges does your choice present to the wider project?
  6. What are the implications for the future in terms of sustaining the delivered research product at the end – i.e. the finished product?
  7. If you are choosing to use multiple tools how do they interact technically?
  8. Is your digital artefact a one-off or does it need to be sustained and if so how will it be?
  9. How well does the tool(s) or method(s) selected support recognised standards?
  10. What are the technical requirements of the tool(s) that you are proposing to employ – do you require server space? What are the requirements of this server and or technology platform that you might be deploying on. If you are producing a digital project that does not require ongoing server support then discuss what is required for the production of your digital artefact.
  11. + additional discussion that you feel germane to best demonstrate that you have broadly considered the digital tools that you have considered and made an evidence-based consideration of alternatives. (i.e. if you are telling me you have chosen to use WordPress, for example, you should also be telling me you considered Drupal, Joomla or other CMS’s and why you have chosen WordPress over the alternatives).
Due: Submission for this assignment is 26 April by 23:59.
Format: Please submit your finished essay to Turnitin.com at the link below.
Organisation: 20%
Grammar: 10%
Formatting: 10%
Originality: 10%
Creativity of Presentation: 10%
Adherence to Structure: 20%
Depth of Thought: 20%
Assessment Value: This assessment will contribute 50% of module grade.