Computational Humanities Lab
By applying techniques widely used across the sciences, such as data analysis, computational modeling, network mapping, and more, humanists are discovering unexpected connections and intriguing patterns in music, visual art, literature, and historical works, opening up new realms for analysis, criticism, and understanding.
Through lecture series, summer institutes, workshops, and hackathons, the Center for the Humanities joined other digital initiatives on campus in exploring the computational humanities. This lab investigated how advanced computational techniques and approaches can augment the close analysis provided by more traditional humanities scholarship. Our Computational Humanities Lab offered skills and software training, discussions and workshops, and provides a venue for presenting cutting edge computational scholarship in the humanities.
The Humanities Hackathon, a collaboration between the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) and the Center for the Humanities, investigated computational techniques for humanistic inquiry, uncovering unexpected connections and intriguing patterns in music, visual art, literature, and historical works. Monthly "hacks" bridged the gap between seemingly unrelated disciplines and enriched discussions about transdisciplinary work. Meetings consisted of roughly one hour of presentations and discussion, followed by an hour of lab time, where participants shared projects, traded ideas, ran programs, and received support for software and techniques.
Humanities Hackathon with the Yahara Music Library: Lending, Owning, and Describing Digital Media
Thursday, May 1, 2014 @ 3:00pmResearchers' Link, Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St.
The Yahara Music Library (YML) is a soon-to-be-released collection of local music that public library patrons in South Central Wisconsin can download and stream for free. The Madison Public Library and tech startup, Murfie, are working together to create YML by licensing albums from local musicians and building a new content delivery platform. For the library, YML represents an investment in Madison’s creative community and a move away from the ubiquitous digital rights management of public library digital lending. YML’s emergence at a time when public libraries increasingly license (rather than purchase) content raises questions about the value, ownership, and objecthood of digital media. At this hackathon, we’ll explore how YML’s potential to capture a rich data set might shed light on some of those questions by illuminating connections between musical cultures, economies, and technologies. Participants will be introduced to the objectives and the mechanics of the project, and work together to imagine and sketch out ways to use, extend, and connect to this collection and its underlying platform.
Humanities Hackathon with Hoyt Long: Global Literary Networks: Exploring Modernist Style and Influence at the Macro-Scale
Assistant professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago
Thursday, April 10, 2014 @ 3:00pmResearchers' Link, Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St.
Hoyt Long is a scholar of modern Japanese literature interested in sociology of culture, media history, and the digital humanitie. He is assistant professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His first book, On Uneven Ground: Miyazawa Kenji and the Making of Place in Modern Japan (2011), examines the ways in which artistic and literary activity intersected with ideas about place and locality in Japan’s prewar period. He is currently working on a project that considers postal technologies of late-19th- and early-20th-century Japan as forms of “new media.” He is focusing on the ways these technologies impacted practices of writing—literary or otherwise—and how they may or may not have altered established patterns and ideas of social association and communication.
Humanities Hackathon with WID’s Games+Learning+Society Group: Trails Forward: Designing Games for Learning & Learning from Games
Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 3:00pmResearchers' Link, Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St.
Trails Forward is a multiplayer real-time strategy game for the iPad aimed at teaching kids aged 9-12 about human impact on the environment and about complex systems. Players will control one of three careers - Lumber, Steel, or Farming - and attempt to build up their business in multiple different types of environments. Through harvesting natural resources, constructing buildings, and producing products, they will not only affect the environment but also each other. In doing so, they will learn that even the simplest of actions can have a huge impact.
Participants in the Hackathon will have the opportunity to preview and play the game.
WID's Games+Learning+Society is a group of researchers, game developers, and government/industry leaders who investigate how games operate, transform learning, and affect society. The team has developed several award-winning titles of its own, launched two educational game companies, and in collaboration with UW’s DoIT office, produced the Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling (ARIS) engine, a resource used by thousands of educators around the world.
Humanities Hackathon with Paul Hansen: Campus Debate: Building a Social Media Platform for Student Debates
Thursday, February 13, 2014 @ 3:00pmResearchers' Link, Discovery Building, 330 North Orchard Street
When was the last time you saw a college student engaged in a thoughtful, critical dialogue on television? Campus Debate, a start-up company founded by a UW-Madison graduate student, is building a participatory, web-based platform to host a series of competitive student debates between different universities. Imagine watching streaming video of two students from UW-Madison sitting across a table from two NYU students, debating an issue of social importance, like gun control or marriage equality. Imagine that you could participate in the debate as it unfolds, using a smartphone or tablet, while also seeing the results of other people participating. As much of Campus Debate as possible will be student-led, from the choice of debate topics and selection of participants to the challenge of launching a start-up company. That open, inclusive approach to launching a tech start-up begins with the Humanities Hackathon.
Humanities Hackathon with David Mimno: Text Mining with the MALLET Toolkit
Thursday, November 7, 2013 @ 3:00pm3rd Floor Teaching Lab, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 North Orchard Street
Scholarly Methodologies and Large-Scale Topic Analysis
In the last ten years we have seen the creation of massive digital text collections, from Twitter feeds to million-book libraries. At the same time, researchers have developed text mining methods that go beyond simple word frequency analysis to uncover thematic patterns. This workshop will include both an explanation of how to use text as data, as well as a practical hands-on session using the Mallet text mining toolkit. But models are not enough. When we combine big data with powerful algorithms, we can enhance qualitative perspectives with quantitative measurements. But these methods are only useful if we distinguish consistent patterns from random variations. In this talk I will describe my work building reliable topic-mining methodologies for humanists, with examples from a corpus of 4000 19th century novels.
David Mimno is an assistant professor in the Information Science department at Cornell University. His research is on developing machine learning models and algorithms, with a particular focus on applications in Humanities and Social Science. He received his BA in Classics and Computer Science from Swarthmore College and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He was a CRA Computing Innovation fellow at Princeton University. Before graduate school, he served as Head Programmer at the Perseus Project, a digital library for cultural heritage materials, at Tufts University. Mimno is currently chief architect for the MALLET machine learning toolkit.
David Mimno's visit is sponsored by the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery in partnership with the Humanities Research Bridge of the UW-Madison Libraries.
Humanities Hackathon with Martin Foys: Small Data in a Big Way: Customizing Linked Data in Medieval Maps and Manuscripts
Senior Lecturer, Kings College, London & Associate Professor of English, Drew University; Co-Director of the Digital Mappaemundi Project
Monday, September 23, 2013 @ 3:30pm3rd Floor Teaching Lab, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 North Orchard Street
This workshop will explore the functionality of the DM Project (dm.drew.edu), a developing on-line environment to allow scholars to collect and annotate digital images and texts collaboratively. In particular, DM emphasizes the continuing need within digital humanities resources for scholars to be able to generate bespoke scholarship - custom and targeted linked data of moments within images and texts - across large collections. Through the Virtual Mappa Project(VMP) - a partnership between the DM Project and the British Library focussed on medieval maps of the world - we will look at the DM Project's new multi-up working environment, with innovative methods for managing the display, selection and annotation of several manuscript images and transcribed texts simultaneously. We'll also review newly completed work for exporting the linked data created by users in Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC) compliant XML and RDF-triple formats, and touch on a few other medieval manuscript projects using DM, ranging from the institutional to the individual in scale. Finally, we'll discuss the next phase of work already in development - establishing customizable collections of such annotated data, drawn from manuscript manifests hosted across multiple institutional repositories. During the presentation and discussion, a sandbox of the Virtual Mappa Project will be publicly available for hands-on experience of DM features.
Martin K. Foys is a Senior Lecturer in Pre-1300 English at King's College, London and an Associate Professor of English at Drew University. Major publications include the Bayeux Tapestry Digital Edition (2003), Virtually Anglo-Saxon: Old Media, New Media, and Early Medieval Studies in the Late Age of Print (2007), and Bayeux Tapestry: New Interpretations (2009). Martin is a founding board member of the Digital Medievalist resource, and has served as a member of the consultative group for the Parker Library on the Web project and a member of the Medieval Academy of America's Committee on Electronic Resources. He also co-directs the DM project (http://dm.drew.edu), a digital resource for the open annotation of medieval images and texts funded by the NEH and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Outside the digital humanities, the core of Martin's research concerns pre- and post-Conquest England, with special attention to the intersection of literature and other visual, material and media modes of cultural expression – e.g. maps, tapestries and sculpture, and, most recently, more ephemeral and abstracted aspects of Anglo-Saxon expressive production – auditory culture, technological alteration of bodies, transliteracies and ecologies of media forms, and the process of temporal decay or obsolescence. Recent work includes an essay on "Media" for the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Studies (2012), and co-editing a volume of articles on "Becoming Media" for the journal postmedieval (2012), for which submissions were also vetted through an experimental on-line crowd review. He is currently at work on a book on the nature of Anglo-Saxon media, as well as editing a set of early medieval maps for the Virtual Mappa Project, in partnership with the British Library. Martin is also the Executive Director of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists.
Humanities Hackathon: The Creativity of Digital Clouds — What Could You Do with 10,000 Computers at Your Fingertips?
What could you do with 10,000 computers at your fingertips?
April’s Hackathon demystifies cloud and high throughput computing, exploring how humanistic, tech-savvy organizations such as DreamWorks and MIT’s Media Lab have mobilized the extraordinary power of the cloud to bring fantastical worlds and ideas to life. This Hackathon shows how such technology might amplify your own research vision.
Viking in the WID: Raiding and Trading Approaches to Data
Thursday, March 14, 2013 @ 3:00pm 3rd Floor Teaching Lab, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 North Orchard Street
A look at collaborations between the Humanities Research Bridge and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Carrie Roy will present on several projects dealing with common basic challenges in working with complex data from the humanities to the sciences. Current tools and prototypes for data analysis and visualization will be featured. David Krakauer will also introduce open source software available for using computational techniques to approach humanities data.
Carrie Roy studied Visual and Environmental Studies at the undergraduate level at Harvard and received advanced degrees in the humanities at UW-Madison. She now works as a post doctoral researcher and coordinator for a digital humanities initiative at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the Humanities Research Bridge. The focus of her dissertation work explored the consistent manifestation of one concept, binding (in the sense of fixing, fastening, etc.), across Norse art, material culture/technology, mythology, narrative and social/legal terminology. Her recent art work explores transformations of data into objects, while her digital humanities research explores the opposite––turning complex works of human expression into numbers to enable new forms of analysis and comparison.
Summer 2013 Hackathon Institute: Look, Listen, Read, Play
Through a week-long summer course introducing computational techniques and coding from the sciences, and infused with a strong humanities perspective, WID and the Center for the Humanities invite you to join us as we look, listen, read and play to uncover unexpected connections and intriguing patterns in visual art, music, literature and historical works.
The Humanities Hackathon seeks to bridge the gap between seemingly unrelated disciplines and enrich discussions about new forms of creative composition by subjecting great works and ideas to collaborative hacking. We promote collisions between the powerful energy of software creation and the analytical depth of the humanities.
Looking, Listening, Reading, Playing. These activities are essential vehicles for our curiosity. Through art, music and literature we explore the boundaries of our understanding. When pursued in combination with computation, they expand our power to discover and create.
When: July 15-19, 2013
Read about last year's Summer Hackathon Institute here.
Monday, July 15
Discovery Building, 3rd floor teaching lab
9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Introduction to Hackathon (Sara Guyer, David Krakauer) 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Image Lab (Lynda Barry) 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. R Instruction: introduction to R 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch Break 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. R Instruction: further introduction to R and Look: Art 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Reception* and Panel (Moderator: Sara Guyer; Panelists: Matthew Berland, Mattie Burkert, Peter Gorman and Mark Vareschi) *Cash bar available and light snacks will be provided.
Tuesday, July 16
Discovery Building, 3rd floor teaching lab
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. R Instruction: Listen: Music 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Hack and discussions
Wednesday, July 17
Discovery Building, 3rd floor teaching lab 10:00a.m. to 12:00 p.m. R Instruction: Read: Text 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Roundtable (Jon McKenzie) 1:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Hack and discussion
Thursday, July 18
Center for Games+Learning+Society, 2nd floor (enter on west side of the building)
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. GLS: Play: Gaming 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Gamification hack and discussions
Friday, July 19
Discovery Building, 2nd floor, Researchers' Link (check in at the Welcome Desk)
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Final hack 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Invitation to Discovery Lunch in the Link ($8/person; registration required) 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Prep for presentations 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Presentations and discussion.
On a wall in a darkened room, a single word flashed: divide.
David Krakauer, director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), explained to a roomful of humanities scholars that for too long, the disciplines of math and science have been growing apart from the study of art, music, philosophy and literature.
"It's a loss on both sides," he says. "That's why we're here."
"Here" was a teaching lab in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building, where Krakauer helped introduce the Humanities Hackathon, a weeklong course in late July designed to bring math and science experts together with humanists.
The goal: to explore emerging computational techniques for analyzing works of art, literature and music. With millions of texts (and other works) online, it is now possible for humanists to study "cultural quantities" using some of the same data-processing techniques that scientists use to study genomes, for example, or cells.
"We encourage radical cross-fertilization of ideas," says Sara Guyer, director of the Center for the Humanities, which collaborated with WID on the short summer course. "By bridging the two cultures of science and the humanities, scholars can engage more fully around the question: What is human?"
Read more. And stay tuned for updates: WID plans to host monthly, informal hackathons where faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduates can explore computational techniques with computer science experts.
Download "R" Free downloads are available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. Setup procedures vary depending on the system you are using. Please see the “Manuals” link on the left hand side of the download screen if you experience any problems.
R Short Reference Card Extensive, while not exhaustive, list of commands for R.
Download "Processing" Free downloads of the software for a variety of operating systems, and many examples to play with.
Installing igraph in "R" Prof. Jordan Ellenberg's how-to page, plus links to data sets and helpful articles.