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Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities (DH) is a field that intersects Information and Communication Technology (ICT), or computer technology, with the traditional study of human experiences and expressions.

The NSU Alvin Sherman Library Digital Humanities Library Guide

Digital Humanities Projects at NSU

The Department of Literature and Modern Languages is pleased to share “Our Story,” a collaborative story written by thirty-five students who participated in Story Booth, November 3, 2019.

Story Booth is a series hosted by the Department of Literature and Modern Languages (DLML) that fosters community and diverse cultural and social expressions through an understanding and appreciation of global literatures and languages. Stories are universal and they help us to make sense of the world by sharing our experiences. DLML’s Story Booth partners with student organizations across the university to hear how each of us makes meaning. From remembering our first stories to conversations about the power, good and bad, of fiction, Story Booth connects us. What’s your story?

“Our Story” is an experimental communal story that asked passersby to contribute one sentence each to a narrative. We began with a line contributed by the DLML student ambassador, Bianca Oliveira: “As night passed and day dawned, Alex began to understand the truth…”



Below are the contributors:

Bianca Oliveira, Carol Manikkuttiyil, Kyle Hansotia, Justin Lin, Allison Rideout, Emma Moran, Tyrianna Richards, Josh Adai, Frank R. Insinga, Arpan P. Patel, Madyson Rush, Cydney Gonzalez, Rebecca Sukul, Marcus Dantas, Luchiano Perez, Katrina Layman, Barry Chea, Kemly Julien, Marqus Colon, Katherine Mora, Mason Berger, Brogan O’Connor, Jacquelyn Trott, Susanne Thomas, Niwle Rios, Duong Le, Anaya Avila, Rashia Ajarmeh, Susel Terrero-Rodriguez, Monique Alvarez, Ashley Strok, Breanna Jones, Serena Sha, Tiffany Sahm, Michelle Greenstein

“…homeland is one of the magical fantasy words like unicorn and soul and infinity that have now passed into language.”
- Zadie Smith, White Teeth

At a time like now when the news is rife with discussions about immigration policy, a related discussion also taking place asks the question “Where is home and what does it mean to be American?”

The Story of Home” is a digital humanities project that undertakes the mission of curating stories about how we become Americans and asks participants to not only focus on their family’s journey to and within America, but also on the array of myths and family lore that have been part of their family’s immigration experience.

What are the stories that you grew up hearing about your family’s journey to America? What stories do you find yourself most often telling about your own immigration experience? How have those stories affected and inspired you?

The purpose of this project is to curate immigration family lore within the NSU community and aims to include a variety of Americans, including Native Americans, recent immigrants and the descendants of immigrants. The project hopes to create an enriched understanding of the human experience of immigration and of becoming American by highlighting the stories we tell about the home we left and the home we have created.

Anyone in the NSU community interested in participating in the project should submit the following to Dr. Andrea Shaw Nevins, Director of the NSU Center for the Humanities, at andrshaw@nova.edu:

  1. A short narrative that conveys an account of a family story relating to immigration. Feel free to include some commentary on what this story has meant to you. You may share this story as a written narrative of up to 400 words (approximately one double-spaced page) or as an audio recording of up to three minutes.
  2. Up to six digital media files such as photos, videos, and audio recordings of anything that figures into your family’s immigration stories. Image examples include scenes or maps of your family’s hometown, photos of relatives and sentimental family objects, and genealogical records like passports as well as birth and marriage certificates. Please note that all photos, audio, and video recordings should be owned by you or licensed for free use.
  3. A photo of you or link to an online photo you want us to use.
  4. The name of the city/town and the country to which you would like your story pinned on the digital map of the world that will be part of the project.
This project grew out of ideas proposed by Dr. Vicki Toscano, faculty in the Department of History and Political Science. The project is managed by Dr. Andrea Shaw Nevins, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Director of the NSU Center for the Humanities with support from NSU student interns at the Center for the Humanities.

Breanna Brady

Major: Biology
Minor: Medical Humanities Minor
Year: Class of 2022
HONR 2000W Pathography: Patients’ Stories of Illness
Project:Patient Pathographies Presentation

Nadia Miah

Major: Behavioral Neuroscience
Minor: Psychology
Year: Class of 2022
Center for the Humanities Intern, Winter 2020
Project:Filmy Journals

Stephanie Fleming

Major: International Studies
Minor: Communications
Year: Class of 2021
Center for the Humanities Intern, Winter 2020
Project:Vietnam War

Information and Resources

Rapid advancements in digital technology are increasingly changing the face of modern culture. It is this changing nature of our technology and culture that Digital Humanities examines and contributes to.

Thus, Digital Humanities is a field that both researches as well as produces artifacts of culture. Early versions of Digital Humanities research in the late 1990s revolved largely around quantifying and classifying information (e.g. textual analysis) as well as establishing technological infrastructures for controlling information (e.g. databases). At this point, we were still only really using digital technology as a tool to analyze traditional products of the humanities, such as paintings, literature, and historical events. By the late 2000s, the field had grown to include the production of generative texts, such as e-literature (blogs, interactive web-based fictions, and other hypertexts). That is, by the late 2000s, we’re starting to realize that ‘culture’ includes that which is ‘born digital’ and digital technology becomes not just a tool but a subject of study in itself. Now, when we think of the Digital Humanities, we see it as a field that includes all of these prior focuses but, in addition, examines the ways technology shapes culture and the way we understand reality or identities. For example, the Internet has made it easier for anyone to contribute to or manipulate the databanks of human knowledge from anywhere at anytime. Digital Humanities looks at how this has consequently destabilized the canon of knowledge, making it more challenging to discern what is factual while pluralizing our sense of what is important.

Digital technology repackages analog information, whereas “the analog” is the world we live in. There are seemingly boundless spectrums of information in the real, or analog, world in terms of color, sound, texture, taste, smells, and so forth. However, when this information is digitized, it is translated into discrete or finite values. For instance, the Hex Code for black is #000000, but there is a discrete difference rather than a fluid connection between #000000 and #000001 (which is very nearly black).

This means digital technology poses limitations on what we can express, and this in turn shapes how we experience information. However, there are also benefits of digital technology:

  • it helps to preserve information over long periods of time;
  • it can compress large amounts of information and thereby make it easier to find patterns;
  • it makes it easier for multiple participants to retrieve the information, and;
  • it makes it easier for multiple participants to contribute to information collection and analysis regardless of their location.

In the end, Digital Humanities scholars argue that university education is no longer simply about preparing us to be rational, free-thinking individuals (as it was in the eighteenth century) or forward-thinking cultivated peoples (as it was in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries); instead education is defined by our ability to prepare ourselves to navigate as active participants in the networks of information and digital literacies.

Scholars, professionals, and the public alike collaborate to curate online exhibits, analyze social media, mine textual data, produce podcasts, and more in a process that both expands and narrows our understanding of knowledge and reality.

Project Vox - “Project Vox is a feminist philosophy project dedicated to expanding the philosophical canon in the early modern period by highlighting the lives, works, and key contributions of women who were and are too often ignored. The project is a digital archive about several significant women during this time, including their works, a digital image gallery of texts and paintings to broaden typical approaches to philosophy, and syllabi examples for courses that intentionally incorporate women philosophers.”

Refugee Family Papers: An Interactive Map - “This digital map gives you the opportunity to browse and search the Wiener Library's collections of refugee family papers. Several hundred of these collections have been donated to the Library over the years by Jewish refugees and their families, who escaped Nazi antisemitic persecution by emigrating from Germany and Nazi-dominated countries, including Poland, Austria, and France.”

Beijing of Dreams - “This is a website which shows the lost ‘Beijing of Dreams,’ using old photos surviving from the time when Beijing was the greatest walled capital city anywhere in the world. We have concentrated at first upon showing the vast walls and gates of Beijing, all but a few traces of which are gone now.”

Victorian Women Writers Project - "The Victorian Women Writers Project (VWWP) began in 1995 at Indiana University and is primarily concerned with the exposure of lesser-known British women writers of the 19th century. The collection represents an array of genres - poetry, novels, children's books, political pamphlets, religious tracts, histories, and more. VWWP contains scores of authors, both prolific and rare."

Animated Atlas of African History 1879-2002 - “This map gives a year-by-year presentation of selected themes in the history of Africa between 1879 and 2002.”

A Frankenstein Atlas - “Frankenstein Atlas explores Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein from a spatial perspective. Inspired by research and theoretical approaches in literary mapping and historical geography, A Frankenstein Atlas provides scholars and students with a platform to study and experiment with Shelley's text.”

Visualizing Emancipation - "Visualizing Emancipation is a map of slavery’s end during the American Civil War. It finds patterns in the collapse of southern slavery, mapping the interactions between federal policies, armies in the field, and the actions of enslaved men and women on countless farms and city blocks. It encourages scholars, students, and the public to examine the wartime end of slavery in place, allowing a rigorously geographic perspective on emancipation in the United States."

Power of Attorney in Oaxaca, Mexico - “Power of Attorney constructs a geography of indigenous legal culture through digital maps and visualizations.”

Digital Humanities Projects at Duke University
A selection of digital humanities projects from Duke University

Digital Humanities Projects at Berkeley
A selection of digital humanities projects from UC Berkeley

Digital Humanities Projects at Stanford
A selection of digital humanities projects from Stanford University

Digital Humanities Projects at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A selection of digital humanities projects from University of North Carolina

Digital Humanities Projects at Dartmouth
A selection of digital humanities projects at Dartmouth College

E-Literature Managers

  • Chapter and Verse: Chapter and Verse is a free software tool to create chapterized audiobooks for iPod, iTunes and Quicktime.
  • Calibre: Calibre is a powerful and easy-to-use e-book manager.

Research and Collaboration

  • Trello: Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way.
  • Zotero: Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research.
  • Evernote: Evernote helps you capture and prioritize ideas, projects, and to-do lists, so nothing falls through the cracks.

Data Visualization

  • Tableau Public: Tableau Public is a free data visualization software. It allows users to connect to a spreadsheet or file and create interactive data visualizations for the web.
  • Palladio: Visualize complex historical data with ease.
  • Voyant: Voyant Tools is a web-based text reading and analysis environment. It is a scholarly project that is designed to facilitate reading and interpretive practices for digital humanities students and scholars as well as for the general public.
  • Chronos Timeline: HyperStudio’s Chronos Timeline is designed specifically for needs in the humanities and social sciences to represent time-based data.
  • ArcGIS Explorer Online: Connect people, locations, and data using interactive maps. Work with smart, data-driven styles and intuitive analysis tools. Share your insights with the world or specific groups.

Publishing Platforms

  • Scalar: Scalar is a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required.
  • Omeka: Omeka provides open-source web publishing platforms for sharing digital collections and creating media-rich online exhibits.
  • Neatline: Neatline allows scholars, students, and curators to tell stories with maps and timelines. As a suite of add-on tools for Omeka, it opens new possibilities for hand-crafted, interactive spatial and temporal interpretation.

Need Something More?

DiRT: The DiRT Directory is a registry of digital research tools for scholarly use. DiRT makes it easy for digital humanists and others conducting digital research to find and compare resources ranging from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mind-mapping software.

  • Office of Digital Humanities: The Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) offers grant programs that fund project teams developing new technologies for humanities research, teaching and learning, public engagement, open access publishing, as well as for those studying digital culture from a humanistic perspective.
  • Digital Humanities Advancement Grants: Digital Humanities Advancement Grants (DHAG) support digital projects at different stages throughout their lifecycles, from early start-up phases through implementation and sustainability.

Berry, David. “The Computational Turn: Thinking about the Digital Humanities.” Culture Machine, vol. 12, 2011, pp. 1-22. https://sro.sussex.ac.uk/49813/1/BERRY_2011-THE_COMPUTATIONAL_TURN _THINKING_ABOUT_THE_DIGITAL_HUMANITIES.pdf

Profession, 2011: A series of articles evaluating digital scholarship associated with the Modern Languages Association (MLA). https://www.mlajournals.org/toc/prof/2011/1  

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