Events and workshops: Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL)

Digital Humanities Skills Workshop Series

The DH Skills workshop series is a partnership between the Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL) and SFU Library’s Research Commons and is affiliated with the University of Victoria (ETCLDHSI, and UVic Libraries) and the University of British Columbia (UBC Library and UBC Advanced Research Computing). 

The workshops are free and open to to all, but registration is required.  Links to register are included under each workshop description.  Space is limited, so make sure to register soon to ensure a space. 

Unlocking XML Data with XPath

About the workshop

XML (eXtensible Markup language) is a ubiquitous data format across the social sciences and humanities, structuring every web page you see on the internet and powering an array of digital resources like library catalogs, vast scientific datasets, API responses, and digital textual editions. This workshop introduces XPath (XML Path Language): the query language designed specifically for traversing, analyzing, and parsing XML datasets. With its simple syntax, XPath offers a straightforward mechanism for interrogating XML data, allowing researchers to identify patterns, spot inconsistencies, and ask questions of their XML without any previous knowledge of programming languages or query syntaxes.

This workshop is aimed toward anyone who works with XML data and will provide participants with hands-on experience with using XPath. Using the Folger Shakespeare corpus as a sample dataset, this workshop will outline how to construct and execute XPath queries using oXygen XML editor and will demonstrate how participants can answer various research questions ranging in complexity about their data (for example, "What is the average length of Hamlet's soliloquies? To whom does he speak most often? Who speaks the highest number of verse lines across all of Shakespeare's plays?")

Researchers are encouraged to bring their own XML datasets and questions to the workshop to serve as real-life examples that, if time permits, can be addressed collaboratively.

Note: This is an in-person workshop, taking place in a computer lab. You do not need to bring your own device.


  • No prior programming knowledge or experience with query languages is required
  • Some familiarity with XML data is preferred, but not necessary

Register for upcoming workshops

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Burnaby, Bennett Library, Lab 2105

Past workshops

  • Introduction to APIs and Web Scraping: Ethical Considerations [Spring 2020]
  • Introduction to Content Management Systems: Creating Exhibits with Omeka [Spring 2020]
  • Introduction to Twitter Bots with Tracery [Fall 2018 and Spring 2020]
  • Using NVivo for Humanities Research [Fall 2018]
  • Introduction to Spatial Data in the Humanities: The Spatial Elements of Textual Analysis [Summer 2018 and Fall 2018]
  • Introduction to Spatial Data in the Humanities: Creating Story Maps [Summer 2018 and Fall 2018]
  • Optimizing Your Digital Research Workflow with Zotero [Summer 2018]
  • Beyond the Cloud: Using Voyant Tools to Analyze Texts [Summer 2018]
  • Hacking the Scholarly Workflow [Spring 2018]
  • Tools for Humanities Data Analysis [Spring 2018]
  • Collecting, Organizing, and Describing Archival Research [Spring 2018]
  • Open Publishing as Open Pedagogy: Creating a Course Journal using Open Journal Systems [Fall 2017]
  • Getting Students to Read Critically through Online Annotations [Fall 2017]
  • You Mean I Produce Data, Too? Managing Research Objects in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences [Fall 2017]
  • Intro to Preparing Character Data in R (Summer 2017)
  • Digital Pedagogy at Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada conference (Spring 2017)
  • Digital Storytelling using Twine (Spring 2017)
  • Intermediate Podcasting (Spring 2017)
  • Spatial Humanities (Fall 2016)
  • Tableau for Humanists (Fall 2016)
  • Podcasting for Scholarly Communication (Fall 2016)​