Doing DH

Digital humanists often get started with technology by exploring a more efficient or creative approach to a familiar research challenge. Whether that involves finding an easier way to collect or organize resources and information, or discovering new ways to analyze and publicize research, finding technical solutions to a single part of the research process can open up wider possibilities for future development of the whole. Here at Duke we are fortunate to have a diverse community of DH practitioners and partners interested in sharing their knowledge, exchanging ideas, consulting, and training. We also benefit from a rich variety of working spaces and technical resources around campus.

Get Started With DH at Duke

The DH community at Duke has grown out of discussions and collaborations on particular topics and methodological approach to DH. Another way to hone your DH skills is to learn more about and participate in one of these conversations or groups.

Concept: Using web technologies to make digital objects publicly accessible on the internet. These digital objects may include, but are not limited to, text, images, audio, and video. Oftentimes, digital collections will organize digital objects in a way to make they more accessible and discoverable for researchers, whether by creating exhibits, facets, or search features. 

Some of the places where archives and digital publishing are happening at Duke include: Digital Scholarship Services and the Wired! Lab.

Concept: Applying geospatial information system tools and techniques to common objects of study in the Humanities. Work in this area spans a wide spectrum, from giving audiences a different view of history by overlaying historical and modern maps or showing change in a place over time or how ideas spread by mapping social media or other written texts.

Some of the places where GIS/mapping scholarship is happening at Duke include: Data and Visualization Services, the Visualization Friday Forum, and the Wired! Lab.

Concept: Exploring relationships and connections between objects commonly studied in the Humanities. This process involves breaking information into component parts and visualizing those parts to show their interdependence. Examples of Humanities networks might be: philosophers and how they borrow philosophical concepts or artists and the museums their works are displayed in.

Some of the places where networks scholarship is happening at Duke include: Data and Visualization Services, Duke Network Analysis Center, and Social Science Research Institute.

Concept: Using simulated spaces, virtual worlds, and hybrid media annotation systems to reconstruct sites, explore counterfactual concepts, and offer contextualized/situated knowledge.

Some of the places where virtual and augmented reality is happening at Duke include: the Duke immersive Virtual Environment;  the Digital Digging Laboratory; Information Science + Studies; The Wired! Lab; the Emergence Lab; and Visualization and Interactive Systems group.

Concept: Using technology hardware and software to convert, explore, and visualize common Humanities text-based information. This area includes text analysis, topic modeling, statistics, and various quantitative methods of exploring text-based information.

Some of the places where text scholarship is happening at Duke include: Data and Visualization ServicesDigital Scholarship ServicesSocial Science Research Institute, and Information Science + Studies.

Concept: Using social media or crowdsourcing to collect information from past or present events to make that history or the objects that make up that history more accessible for research or public consumption.

Some of the places where social media and crowdsourcing are being utilized are: Forum for Scholars and Public, the University Archives,  and the Wired! Lab.

Concept: Applying project management principles and best practices to digital projects in the Humanities. This includes learning about: project planning, collaboration, data storage, and tools for being more efficient in your project management.

Some of the places where project management learning is happening at Duke include: Digital Scholarship Services, OIT Training, Data and Visualization Services, and the Wired! Lab.

Although taken up by many communities, "Digital Humanities" is a complicated and sometimes contested term. Theorists, practitioners, and critics have weighed in on the question of what is included and not included in that definition. Is the digital a modifier of humanities practice as it has been understood within existing disciplines? Is it inherently distinct? Is it is a set of tools and methods in its own right? How are theory, code, teaching, public-facing scholarship, activism understood within and across the field? How are the intersecting power relations that affect other aspects of academia played out in this "field"? And how is digital scholarship to be evaluated within and across these frameworks of interaction? Does DH include non-textual forms of analysis, as it so often does at Duke? If so, how, and in what relation to prior traditions of humanities computing? What are the relationships between DH and media studies? Science and technology studies? Race, gender, sexuality, and postcolonial studies?  Communications studies? Performance studies? Informatics? Software studies? Physical Computing? Installation art? Data and visualization?

Our concept of Digital Humanities is meant to embrace these questions by including a variety of perspectives on them, and providing opportunities to explore and interrogate this emerging set of practices online and through courses, workshops, and sponsored/co-sponsored events and projects.  We encourage DH-interested scholars to investigate related opportunities like Bass Connections, Archives Alive, the Information Initiative, the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge (graduate students), the STEAM Challenge, the Computational Media, Arts & Cultures Rendez-Vous, the Visualization Friday Forum, and the various workshop opportunities featured here - and to bring back some of the perspectives they have gained back to their own work and local scholarly communities. 

This theme focuses on the range of approaches to creating narrative and interactive experiences using digital tools and hybrid media systems. The emphasis is on approaches that take advantage of computational media affordances for construction and playback. This topic also includes exhibition design with significant digital and interactive components. Common toolsets include the Knightlab digital storytelling tools such as TimelineJS, StoryMap, Juxtapose, Soundcite or ESRI Storymap for maps.

Projects related to the making and unmaking of sound.
 

There are many digital tools available for use in the digital humanities, some made specifically for dh and others that can be re-purposed quite effectively for Humanities research. Another good approach to doing a technical project in the Humanities to assess what stage of the research process you are in and explore tools that can help you complete that stage more quickly and/or effectively.

Agisoft Photoscan
Agisoft PhotoScan is stand-alone software that produces 2-D elevation models and geometrically corrected aerial photos of a landscape and 3D models of an object by performing the photogrammetric pr
Find help using tool at Duke: No
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • publication
ArcGIS Desktop
ArcGIS for Desktop is a propriety software for collecting and managing data that allows one to create professional maps and perform traditional and advanced spatial analysis.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
ArcGIS Online
Arc Online is a proprietary cloud-based application for creating and sharing and mapping data.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
CartoDB
"CARTO is the platform for turning location data into business outcomes."
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
DH Press
DH Press is a flexible, repurposable, extensible digital humanities toolkit designed for non-technical users as a plugin for the Wordpress CMS.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
Drupal
Drupal is content management software that is used to make many of the websites and applications you use every day
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • collection
  • publication
Duke immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE)
The Duke immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE) came on-line in 2006 representing the fourth 6-sided CAVE-like system in the United States.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
Duke Toolkits
Toolkits allows Duke faculty, students and staff to create and define online communities or groups and then control access and rights to various online tools, such as Duke WordPress, Sakai, Sympa e
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • management
GeoNode
GeoNode is a web-based application for uploading and sharing geospatial files like data files with latittude and longitude coordinates and georectified historical maps.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • publication
Gephi
Gephi is a tool to explore data and create graphs and networks.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
Google My Maps
Google My Maps is a free tool that allows users, from one to many, to design and publish customized maps.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • collection
  • publication
Juxta Editions
Find help using tool at Duke: No
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
Lentil
Lentil is an application for harvesting and displaying images and videos from Instagram based on hashtags.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • collection
MapBox
Mapbox is a subscription-based web mapping platform. 
Find help using tool at Duke: No
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
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, interac
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift is a virtual reality system used for gaming, simulations, and modeling.  
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • publication
Omeka
Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • collection
  • publication
OpenRefine
OpenRefine (formerly Google Refine) is a powerful tool for working with messy data: cleaning it; transforming it from one format into another; and extending it
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • collection
  • analysis
  • management
QGIS
Qgis is desktop software for performing geospatial analysis. The application can be used to explore such things as the distribution of information on a map and overlaying historical maps on modern...
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
R Shiny
Shiny is an open source R package that provides an elegant and powerful web framework for building web applications
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
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
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • publication
SketchUp
SketchUp is a free 3D modeling software that is both powerful and easy to learn. It is best applied in architectural (historical or contemporary) contexts. 
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • collection
  • analysis
  • publication
Social Feed Manager
Social Feed Manger is an application for harvesting tweets by Twitter users and hashtags.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • collection
Tableau
Tableau Software helps people see and understand data. Tableau helps anyone quickly analyze, visualize and share information.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
TimelineJS
TimelineJS is an open-source, interactive timeline-building tool from the Knight Lab.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • publication
Unity 3D
Unity 3D is game-design engine used to develop video games and simulations.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • publication
Versioning Machine
The Versioning Machine is a framework and an interface for displaying multiple versions of text encoded according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines, and is P5 compatible.
Find help using tool at Duke: No
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
  • publication
Voyant
Voyant Tools is a web-based text reading and analysis environment.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • analysis
Wordpress
WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app.
Find help using tool at Duke: Yes
Stage(s) In Research Process To Use:
  • collection
  • publication

A good way to learn how DH can help your work is to check out the spaces where DH is happening at Duke. There are several spaces on campus that provide staff, hardware, and software to help you get started on your project.

Brandaleone Lab for Data and Visualization Services
Access: open
Features of the space: consultation, hardware/equipment, project support, software
Dig@Lab
Access: affiliated projects
Features of the space: hardware/equipment, project support, software, training/workshops
Emergence Lab
Access: academic courses, affiliated projects
Features of the space: hardware/equipment, software
Innovation Studio
Access: affiliated projects, open
Features of the space: hardware/equipment, project support, training/workshops
ISS Fab Lab
Access: academic courses, affiliated projects
Features of the space: hardware/equipment, software
Murthy Digital Studio
Access: open
Features of the space: consultation, project support, software, training/workshops
PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge
Access: affiliated projects
Features of the space: training/workshops
S-1 Speculative Sensation Lab
Access: affiliated projects
Features of the space: hardware/equipment, software
SSRI Connection
Access: academic courses, open
Features of the space: consultation, project support, training/workshops
The Duke immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE)
Access: affiliated projects
Features of the space: hardware/equipment
Wired! Lab
Access: academic courses, affiliated projects
Features of the space: hardware/equipment, project support, software, training/workshops

The best way to get started with a DH project is to talk with one of Duke's support staff. They can help you with various needs from conceptualizing your project to finding the appropriate digital tools and getting the training and technology support that is right for you.

How we help: Data and Visualization Services provides consulting services and instruction that support data-driven research. Our team of consultants and interns offers support in data sources, data management, data visualization, geographic information systems, financial data, and statistical software.
Who we help: Duke University Faculty, staff and students
Types of Support: consultation, project development, project management, technical support
How we help: Duke Libraries Digital Scholarship Services supplies consultation on tools, project management, and best practices for a wide range of digital research. We also encourage learning and experimentation in digital scholarship through exploratory projects, hands-on instruction, graduate student internships, and resources and programming in The Edge / Murthy Digital Studio.
Who we help: Researchers in the humanities and interpretive social sciences at any level of study
Types of Support: consultation, classroom support, project development, project management, technical support
How we help: Trinity Technology Services now has dedicated staff for consulting and technical support for every step of the digital research process, from collecting and analyzing digital resources to publishing your research online. If you are looking to try out a new digital tool in your research and teaching, TTS also offers a pilot program.
Who we help: Trinity College of Arts and Science faculty and students
Types of Support: consultation, project development, technical support

There are several workshop series on Duke's campus to learn about digital humanities practices. Attending a workshop in one of these series is a good way to get started with a new digital tool or learn about new methods that can help your research and teaching.

Interested in getting started in data driven research or exploring a new approach to working with research data?  Data and Visualization Services’ workshop series features a range of courses designed to showcase the latest data tools and methods.  Begin working with data in our Basic Data Cleaning/Analysis or the new Structuring Humanities Data  workshop.  Explore data visualization in the Making Data Visual class.  Our wide range of workshops offers a variety of approaches for the meeting the challenges of 21st century data driven research. Please join us!

In partnership with departments across Duke and practitioners across the Research Triangle, Digital Scholarship Services (DSS) offers a variety of workshops and symposia focused on digital scholarship methods, tools, and best practices.

OIT Training provides technology training opportunities to support the academic needs of Duke students, staff and faculty. This training include in-person and online workshops and seminars, as well as one-on-one personalized opportunities.

Duke Research Computing plays a role in building basic technology competencies for research through regular short courses, workshops, and symposia that touch on:

specific skills (such as mastering Linux, learning programming languages, and using a cluster computing scheduler like SLURM) transformational developments in information technology (such as “containerization” technologies like Docker and GPU computing) issues in and helpful technologies for establishing reproducibility in research involving large data or infrastructures, and complex computation matters that explore the interdisciplinary qualities of research computing.

Roots workshops are meant to help students of any skill and confidence level comfortably start to gain an understanding of how to make use of a variety of tools and technologies. The goal here is not to make you an expert - we know that takes time - but to help you get to the point where you're excited and confident about starting your own project.

 

SSRI offers workshops on a diverse array of topics throughout the year. They typically run for two to four hours and focus on a particular task, methodology or software relating to statistical analysis, ethnographic research design, and survey research and design. Open to anyone at Duke, these workshops are free of charge and are not for curricular credit.