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Digital Humanities Innovation Lab blog
The Digital Humanities Skills Workshop Series continued on Tuesday, October 30 with the workshop, “Using NVivo for Humanities Research.” Facilitated by Graduate Peer NVivo Facilitator, Esteban Morales, and DHIL Fellow Kandice Sharren, this workshop explored the possibilities NVivo represents for humanities research and introduced participants to the basics of using it.
“If I had to draw a map of those four-plus years to illustrate the time between the day of my mother’s death and the day I began my hike on the Pacific Crest Trail...the map would be a confusion of lines in all directions, like a crackling Fourth of July sparkler with Minnesota at its inevitable center,” Cheryl Strayed writes in her autobiography, Wild. “But,” she continues, “those lines wouldn’t tell the story” (28).
For a week in June, I joined seven other members of the Digital Humanities community from around the world for a week-long session called “Open Access and Open Scholarship” to learn more about how to responsibly make scholarly communication open and accessible to the public. I was at DHSI, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria, which has become one of the most well-attended DH training programs in North America.
If you are interested in finding out what the most frequently occuring words are in the text(s) you are researching, you could always start by creating a Word Cloud, one of the best known text analysis visualizations. The results are simple and aesthetically-pleasing: run your text through a word cloud application to produce a roughly circular design of the most frequently used words, with the highest frequency appearing as the largest and lower frequencies diminishing in size.
From keeping track of our schedules, our citations, our writing revisions, and our millions of photos, digital tools have the power to make research and teaching easier - or, at least, more organized. The only problem is, they only work if you know about them! On April 13, 2018, the DHIL’s day-long event “Hacking the Scholarly Workflow” was a chance to introduce participants to some of those useful tools and their best practices.
Most people regard their nocturnal adventures a little higher than sheer gibberish, and they tend to quickly forget about them a few minutes after waking up. At Dr. Tore Nielsen’s Dream and Nightmare Laboratory in Montréal though, these are highly valued as items of a scientific inquiry into consciousness and cognition. Talk of text analysis, at first, might seem a bit out of place here; dreams are hallucinatory experiences that take place during sleep - they don’t seem to be the kind of things that give way to objective study.
What does it mean for scholars to work in the “open”? How do they connect with their communities, publish their work, and what issues should they be aware of? How can libraries support and foster the open exchange of knowledge? These and many other questions were addressed at Beyond Open: Implementing Social Scholarship, a gathering in Victoria, BC hosted by INKE (Implementing New Knowledge Networks).