GIS and Geospatial Information for Digital Humanities

There are tons of applications of geospatial technology within DH.  A colleague of mine described GIS as one of the “low hanging fruits” within DH, I think because location is such a natural paradigm for organizing data which may have few common/known attributes.

Potential Topics

-finding, georeferencing/orthorectifying, and sharing geospatial images, such as historical maps (e.g., maptiler, gdal)

-storing, editing, and sharing points, areas, and linear features of interest (e.g., omeka neatline or google maps “my places”/fusion tables)

-combining location with time through intuitive interfaces (e.g, omeka neatline)

-geospatially enabling location based data (e.g., address geocoding, tabular and spatial joins)


Make it easier to find and reuse Philly GLAM / DH data

Data are absolutely crucial to many (all?) DH projects, so making it easy to discover and use data is important to creating a fertile DH environment. Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, and even existing DH projects can help DH thrive by making their data freely available for others to use/ reuse for different purposes.

I’d like to discuss the value in, and roadblocks to, adding GLAM /DH datasets or APIs to existing registries like Open Data Philly where both DH and a wider audience can find them.  Or, as an addendum to John Theibault’s session idea creating a site where Philly area DH projects are listed and datasets / API’s are listed as well. Or if existing national / global registries exist, adding data sets there.


Collaborative Approaches to Born-Digital Collections

I would like to propose a session on the potential for collaborative approaches to managing born-digital materials in archives and special collections.

As archives and special collections acquire an increasing number of large digital collections they must develop processes for accessioning, processing, and preserving these materials.  Developing these processes is time and labor intensive, and requires collaboration between archival/special collections staff and systems staff.  Additionally, they often require significant investment in expensive repository and digital preservation software in addition to custom development.  Many small to mid-sized institutions lack the necessary resources to support such programs on their own, and content of enduring value is therefore at risk of loss.

Is there a way that a variety of institutions could collaborate to support a cross-institutional infrastructure for born-digital collections?  What might that look like?  What academic partnership and/or consortia models would be applicable to such a project?  What would the significant challenges of such a collaborative approach be?

Unconference topic proposal: Web Archiving

Hello Everyone,


At my university we are exploring options for website archiving for long-term preservation of institutional websites as well as other potential uses. We would like to dialog with participants to find out which institutions are actively archiving websites, which tools are being used for archiving, and what technical issues have been experienced.
Some other questions we would like to explore are:


  • Ensuring the quality control of website harvests can be challenging due to technical issues with web crawlers. How does your institution handle QA for captured sites?
  • What are some copyright and intellectual property issues surrounding archiving websites?
  • Are any institutions using web harvesting as a means to provide long-term access to static copies of “boutique” or one-time faculty/student DH or project sites?
  • What is the potential for web archives to be used in data or text mining in DH? (The British Library is offering data visualizations of some of their captures.)

Looking forward to discussing this topic, and many others, at PhillyDH @PENN on Tuesday!

Doreva Belfiore
Digital Projects Librarian
Digital Library Initiatives
Temple University Libraries

DH Curriculum for Undergrads

Notes are here.

I propose an unconference session on teaching the digital humanities to undergraduates. I have developed a course in digital history at West Chester University. Some things worked well; some didn’t. I’m reworking the syllabus for the next go around, and I’m hoping I’m not the only professor contemplating best practices for how to do this. I’d love to devote a session to exchanging ideas for how to integrate the digital into the humanities at the college level. What kind of projects are both feasible and rewarding? What criteria should we use to evaluate students’ digital work? What kind of goals should a class like this have?

The Premodern World and Postmodern Media

I am a medievalist, and I know that a number of attendees will be premodern studies folks of various stripes and interests.  So, for me/us, if I were proposing session topics in an ideal world, I’d be interested in coming up with some things relative to our particular fields, so to borrow from my subject title above, maybe a few sessions could be run on ‘The Premodern World and Postmodern Media’ that would tackle specific varieties of such media (such as manuscripts, translation, art online; uses of Facebook and Twitter; various Digital projects; and the list could go on, and on, and on. . . . ).

–Geoffrey Gust