Building Capacity for Digital Humanities

This EDUCAUSE paper about Building Capacity in DH has been on my mind ever since I returned from the conference in Philadelphia. The session where it was discussed was somewhat sparsely attended, and I wished it had offered a greater opportunity for conversation and community-building. I suppose I was longing for the “good old days,” back when we had regularly scheduled THATCamp conferences and ResearchSlam events here in the southland.

In any case, this matrix (found on p. 13 of the article), is going up on my wall as I consider what resources we already have at my institution (such as, coursework in DH and a Digital Humanities librarian) and what we lack (TT faculty committed to DH and sound data management practices):

DH Capacity-building matrix


Sustainable LA / Data Cosmopolis: October 23 at UCLA

Sustainable LA/Data Cosmopolis, a symposium at UCLA

9:00am to 5:00 pm, Friday, October 23
UCLA Library Conference Center
“Alas, Los Angeles,” by Brian Rinker
Los Angeles, with four million inhabitants in the city alone and twenty-two million in the region, is a global megacity. If Los Angeles was a country, it would be the fifteenth largest by economy size in the world. By 2050 Los Angeles County is predicted to house 1.5 million more individuals, as the world’s population continues to migrate to the economic and cultural epicenters of the globe. So how does a city like Los Angeles meet challenges related to its economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability in the face of a growing population and unprecedented climate change?

Data, or aggregations of observations and evidence, is one tool for thinking about the sustainability of Los Angeles and Southern California at different scales and contexts: parcel, street, neighborhood, town, city, county, state, Pacific Rim, and the globe. Data is also a means by which we can retrospectively evaluate the state of the region and make predictions and suggestions for transitioning to a more sustainable city. The goal of UCLA’s first Grand Challenges research initiative is to find paths to bring Los Angeles County to 100% sustainability in water and energy with enhanced ecosystem health by 2050. This Grand Challenge is also a data challenge.

When Urban Meets Data: What happens when urban meets data? Urban pertains to the city, implies sophistication, high culture, refinement, and worldliness, resonating with its Greek counterpart, polis. What is cosmopolitan exceeds regionalism and national boundaries, connoting world citizenship and a partiality for cross-cultural encounters. The other side of urbanity is pollution, poverty, and crime. But while urban implies grittiness, it also invokes grit and resilience: In the words of Jay-Z, since we made it here, we can make it anywhere.

Data carries its own set of meanings. Data is cold, impersonal, factual, ubiquitous, big, and global. “Big data” joins with the other great technological clichés of the early twenty-first century but nevertheless poses challenges and opportunities, particularly for the audience for this symposium: Angelenos in their guises as citizen scientists, researchers, managers, and decision makers.

This symposium explores what could happen for a city’s sustainability when urban meets data. UCLA Library and UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge invite collectors, producers, curators, visualizers, and scholars of data and the city — our city and others — to share theory and practice in a series of conversations that can inform new directions in data practice to meet the sustainability challenges of Los Angeles as a cosmopolis. At this meeting, participants will engage and offer provocations on the overlapping themes of urban data, open data, data sharing, and sustainability. How can we gather, use, and share data to understand the many facets of Los Angeles at small and local, large and global scales and meet the challenges of sustainability understood narrowly and broadly as we aspire to thrive from now to 2050 and beyond?

New Models and Methods in Digital Art History, July 14 at UCLA

“Sculpture of Paper-clad Wire Clothes Hangers (B/W)” by Royce Bair

New Models and Methods in Digital Art History is a colloquium open to the public, which will be held in conjunction with the eight day summer institute Beyond the Digitized Slide Library. The event will be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at UCLA in the Young Research Library Main Conference Room.

To register, please RSVP at:
10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.: Opening remarks
10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Working Toward New Models of Publication
  • Molly Kleiman, deputy editor, Triple Canopy
  • Susan Edwards, associate director for digital content, Hammer Museum
12:15 – 1:15 p.m.: Lunch
1:15 – 2:45 p.m.: Breakout sessions
2:45 – 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Contexts and Prospects for Digital Art History
  • Robin Dowden, director of new media initiatives, Walker Art Center
  • Max Marmor, president, Kress Foundation

Adam Kosto to speak on digital analysis of medieval charters

Please join the UCLA Digital Humanities program for a workshop on ChartEx: Tools for the Analysis of Medieval Charters with the distinguished medievalist Adam Kosto.

3:00 – 4:50 p.m.

Wednesday, February 4

Rolfe 2118, UCLA

ChartEx: Tools for the Analysis of Medieval Charters. ChartEx, or “Charter Excavator,” is a collaborative digital humanities project developed as part of the second round of the Digging into Data Challenge.  The core tools, still in development, are designed to “read” full text medieval documents (charters) using Natural Language Processing, identify persons and places in individual documents, and then propose relationships between the persons and places identified across a set of charters using data mining techniques.  After an introduction to the project, students will have an opportunity to experiment with the annotation tool used to train the system, and with the virtual workbench used to analyze and manipulate the data.

Adam Kosto, Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies at Columbia University in the City of New York, specializes in the institutional history of medieval Europe, with a focus on Catalonia and the Mediterranean. He received his B.A. from Yale (1989), an M.Phil. from Cambridge (1990), and his Ph.D. from Harvard (1996). He is the author of Making Agreements in Medieval Catalonia: Power, Order, and the Written Word, 1000-1200 (Cambridge UP, 2001) and  Hostages in the Middle Ages (Oxford UP, 2012), and co-editor of The Experience of Power in Medieval Europe, 950-1350 (Ashgate, 2005), Charters, Cartularies, and Archives: The Preservation and Transmission of Documents in the Medieval West (PIMS, 2002), and Documentary Practices and the Laity in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge UP, 2012).

Event: Spatial Narrative, Cartographic Design, and the Digital Humanities

The UCLA Digital Humanities Working Group is pleased to present:

The Geography of Henry Peabody’s Historic Photographs at the Grand Canyon:

Spatial narrative, cartographic design, and the digital humanities

Nicholas Bauch (Stanford University)

Tuesday, February 24, 3pm to 5pm
UCLA Young Research Library Research Commons Scholarly Innovation Lab

The pilot project for Stanford University Press’s new digital publishing platformEnchanting the Desert is the web-based revival of a photographic slideshow made in ca. 1900 at the Grand Canyon by commercial photographer Henry Peabody. It is the earliest surviving mass-marketed visual representation of the region, meaning that it serves as a template for what people actually saw when they saw the Grand Canyon. Serially, as they were meant to be viewed, the photographs are disorienting, obscuring the space produced by Peabody’s portrayal of what would become the most visited national park in the country.

The project reveals this lost geography, answering for readers two deceptively simple questions: 1) where was the photographer standing when he took his photos?, and 2) what exactly were virtual tourists consuming with their eyes when they used these images to help define their impressions of the American West? What ensues is an interactive, non-linear, spatial narrative that uses Peabody’s images as a guide to the region. Combining novel cartographic design with a custom interface that allows readers to learn about the Grand Canyon breathes life into a historical document that in its own time also attempted to enhance how people knew these incredible landscapes.

In this talk I cover three aspects of Enchanting the Desert:

  1. the intellectual and practical contributions to human geography and art history,
  2. the technics and design process of making a web app in the Digital Geo-Humanities, and
  3. the process of getting a born-digital project peer-reviewed and published with a major university press.

Nicholas Bauch is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis and the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA, where he specialized in cultural and historical geography. His major works are A Geography of Digestion (forthcoming, University of California Press) and Enchanting the Desert (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).

Join UCLA DH for a workshop on the internet of things!

Photo by MadLab Manchester Digital Laboratory.

Curious about Arduino, physical computing, or the internet of things? Join the DH program for a workshop and demo with Professor Stephen Mamber (Film and Television).

Thursday, January 29, from 3 to 4 p.m.
UCLA Young Research Library Laboratory for Digital Cultural Heritage (in the Research Commons)

Does the Internet of Things have relevance to the Digital Humanities?  I’m interested in seeing what possible interest there might be in having a working group and/or class explore ways that using microcomputers might lead to some projects in this area.  I’ve gotten hold of some Internet Galileos (an arduino-compatible board with built-in ethernet) and some nice sensor kits, and in this workshop I thought I could demonstrate how they work, and we could have a discussion about setting up ways for us to go further.

Everyone’s welcome — especially beginners!

Two workshops on web-crawling at UCLA

The International Institute and the UCLA Program on International Migration are proud to present:

Introduction to Hyphe: A new webcrawler for analyzing controversies

Monday, January 26, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, January 28, from 3 to 5 p.m.

Both workshops in the Laboratory for Digital Cultural Heritage, in the Young Research Library Research Commons

Presented by Mathieu Jacomy, MédiaLab, Sciences Po, Paris

Working on controversies – whether related to immigration, the environment, or police behavior — can be greatly facilitated by crawling the websites maintained by actors involved in any controversy and thereby analyze their online connections.

These workshops are designed to introduce non-technical users to a new web crawler, Hyphe, designed so that researchers can control the building of a web corpus (by filtering and qualifying the websites to include in the corpus) while simultaneously providing  powerful tools capable of handling the huge amount of data available on the web.

Using modern and robust technologies such as Lucene, MongoDB, Scrapy, Twisted, Thrift, Domino.js, Sigma.js or Bootstrap, Hyphe can manage multiple corpora within each instance, bypassing crawling issues (redirections, cookies, javascript-only pages, …), handling multi-websites entities from the web interface, tagging the results, and so on…

Hyphe is easy to use.  Workshop participants will simply need a laptop equipped with a conventional web browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc) and access to the internet.  Depending on time and interest, the Wednesday workshop will also provide an overview of Gephi.

Mathieu Jacomy
is a research engineer at médialab in Sciences Po Paris. Web mapping and visual networks analysis are his main fields of expertise. He created different tools dedicated to digital methods in social sciences, including the free network visualization platform Gephi. At the ICT-Migration program of the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (directed by Dana Diminescu he developed the technical parts of the e-Diasporas Atlas project. Now in Sciences Po, he is in charge of the Dime Web instrument, supporting researchers in using digital methods

Bastian M., Heymann S., Jacomy M. (2009). Gephi: an open source software for exploring and manipulating networks. International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media.

Thanks to support from: the International Institute;  UCLA Interdisciplinary and Cross-campus Affairs; the UCLA School of Law; The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies; the Irene Flecknoe Ross Lecture Series in the Department of Sociology. The Irene Flecknoe Ross Lecture Series is made possible by a gift from Ray Ross in memory of his wife.

DH-Related Events at the American Studies Association Annual Meeting

As many of you know, the American Studies Association is hosting its annual meeting in Los Angeles this year. Thank you to Susan Garfinkel for compiling this list of DH-related events at the ASA. (They’re also posted to the calendar.)

The Digital Humanities Caucus is pleased to announce a series of sponsored sessions and events at the 2014 American Studies Association conference in Los Angeles, November 6-9. Please join us!

THURSDAY November 6

    Sessions co-sponsored with the Women’s Committee:

** Feminist Making I: Building Critical Contexts
  Participants: Lauren F. Klein, chair; Susan Garfinkel, Elizabeth Losh, micha cárdenas, speakers.
  8-9:45 am, Westin Bonaventure, Level 1, Beaudry A (L1)

** Feminist Making II: Producing Cultural Critique
  Participants: Jacqueline Wernimont, chair; Carly Kocurek, Jessica Lovaas, Jarah Moesch, speakers.
  12-1:45 pm, Westin Bonaventure, Level 1, Beaudry A (L1)

  Offsite Electronic Literature Reading:

**Game Over: The Fun and Fury of Electronic Literature
  An evening of poetry and digital art performances
  Organizers: Leonardo Flores and Mark C. Marino
  8-9:30 pm, Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, 2nd Floor Doheny Library, USC

 —> See for additional information and directions.

FRIDAY November 7

** Digital Shorts: The Fun and the Fury
  Conference attendees invited for planned or impromptu 3-5 minute lightning talks.
  Organizers: Grace I. Yeh, Viola Lasmana, Jesse P. Karlsberg.
  Participants: You!
  8-9:45 am, Westin Bonaventure, Level 1, Beaudry A (L1)

—> See for additional information and sign-ups.
—> Contact:

** Scripting the Reader in Electronic Literature
  Participants: Leonardo Flores, chair; Samantha Gorman, A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz, Jody Zellen, Jeremy Hight, Jeff Knowlton, Mauro Carassai, speakers.
  10-11:45, Westin Bonaventure, Level 1, Los Cerritos (L1)

** Business Meeting: Digital Humanities Caucus
  12-1 pm, Westin Bonaventure, Level 3, Wilshire Suite (L3)

SATURDAY November 8

** Digital Humanities / American Studies Tweetup
  8-10 pm, Industriel, 609 South Grand Ave

  Please join us for an informal gathering over dinner, drinks or desert (your choice/dutch treat) at a restaurant within 10-minute walk of the conference hotel.
  RSVP appreciated (non-binding, for planning only).

—> See for additional information and directions.
—> Contact: @rebeccaonion on Twitter


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LA Open Source Hackathon 2014, October 4 @ UCLA

The LA Open Source Hackathon is an event for coders interested in contributing to open source projects. We are proud to partner with UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities and for this year’s hackathon.
The $10 registration fee includes the opportunity to:
  • Meet fellow developers from the local tech community, and students/staff at UCLA
  • Work on the open source project of your choice in a fun, friendly environment
  • Enjoy coffee, lunch, and snacks throughout the day
This event is for professional software developers and/or UCLA-affiliated staff and students. Any recruiters or non-programming professionals who do not work on open-source projects will be asked to leave without a refund.
Please register here.