NHS Digital History Practicum

This post includes readings, projects, and other resources covered in my digital history practicum for the Newport Historical Society’s summer fellows on July 21, 2017. Many thanks again to NHS for including me in their series. For those interested, keep an eye out for future calls for the Buchanan Burnham Public History Fellowship offered by NHS each summer – a really impressive (and paid) summer opportunity for history students and recent graduates. 

Some General Notes

  1. In an effort to promote accessibility and experimentation, I’ve chosen to include primarily tools that are free, or at the very least, have a free version.
  2. The categories, projects, tools, and readings linked below are far from comprehensive. Think of these as a brief introduction to some of the many ways of understanding and doing digital history.
  3. Looking at the projects below, you may notice how many of them could actually fit into more than one category. That’s one of the wonders of a good dataset – you can look at it a lot of different ways.
  4. Speaking of data, it’s the backbone of more or less all of this work. That’s why there’s a whole section dedicated to data management. I know it’s not the sexiest part of this work – or is it??

Getting Started

Digital history [Wikipedia]
Digital humanities [Wikipedia]
Getting Started in Digital Humanities
What is Digital History?
What is Digital Humanities?
What’s Next: The Radical, Unrealized Potential of Digital Humanities

Project Showcase

Digital Galleries + Collections

Documenting Ferguson (Omeka)

Making the History of 1989
Digital Paxton (Scalar)
The Viking World (Scalar)
Mapping the Stacks

More gallery tools: Palladio (tutorial); Collective Access; Tropy; Juxtapose; Drupal

Multimedia Narratives

Performing Archive: Curtis + “The Vanishing Race” (Scalar)
Gilded Age Plains City
Memories/Motifs (Scalar)

More narrative tools: Omeka.net; WordPress; Prezi; Twine; Odyssey

Space + Time

Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America (American Panorama)
Itinera (Collective Access)
Personal Computers (Tiki-Toki)
Whitney Houston 1963-2012 (Timeline JS)
Explore Historic Newport (TourSphere)
Rhode Tour (Curatescape)

More mapping tools: Google Fusion Tables; Neatline; StoryMap JS; Mapbox; Palladio

More timeline tools: Neatline; TimeMapper

Network Analysis

Analyzing Networks of Characters in “Love, Actually” (igraph)
Six Degrees of Francis Bacon (Ruby on Rails, insight.js, d3.js, Bootstrap)

More network tools: Gephi (tutorial); Cytoscape (tutorials); Nodegoat; Palladio; NodeXL

Text Analysis

Digital Mitford (TEI)
Signs at 40
Topic Modeling Martha Ballard’s Diary (MALLET, R)
Quiet Transformations (MALLET)

More text analysis tools: Paper MachinesVoyant ToolsTopic Modeling Tool; Hypothes.is

Data Management Resources

Data + Design
Defining Data for Humanists: Text, Artifact, Information or Evidence? 
Design Better Data Tables
Make a Pivot Table with Excel

Once you have your spreadsheets in order, you can move on to some of the tools and techniques above, or experiment with some fun data visualizations.

Data cleaning and visualization tools: Raw Graphs; OpenRefine; WFTcsv; Tableau Public

Further Reading

Digital History
Digital Humanities Is/As a Tactical Term
Digital Humanities Now
Exploring Big Historical Data: The Historian’s Macroscope
Getting Started in Digital Humanities
The Programming Historian
Which Chart or Graph is Right for You?