DHIB 2019: Quantified Self

I offered a 10-hour workshop at the Digital Humanities Institute Beirut (DHIB), 4-5 May 2019. It is a miniature version of a course I will be teaching at NYU Abu Dhabi in Fall 2019. The slides are available at Zenodo here.

Brief description: This ten-hour workshop explored elements of the contemporary “quantified self” movement and its claims to “self-knowledge through numbers” focusing on contexts outside of the West/global North. It adopted a data-centered approach to gather, analyze and visualize data about the self in order to evaluate the phenomenon critically.

Preparation for the Workshop: Check out some of the 325(!) “Show and Tell” sessions here.

Requirements: Participants should come with a laptop and a updated smartphone (iOS or Android) with plenty of charge each day.

Outcomes. Participants in this workshop will:

  1. explore basic arguments in the contemporary context of self-tracking and the datafication of human life.
  2. be exposed to relevant issues in information privacy related to device usage and commercial data aggregation.
  3. collect some data about themselves in familiar surroundings
  4. practice data storytelling techniques reusing that data (map visualization, plotting).
  5. discuss to what extent these data reflect their own life experience, or constitute “self-knowledge”.
  6. examine critically the risks and benefits of QS applications for emerging and vulnerable environments.

Breakdown

Saturday 4 May, 0900-1130 — Session 1

  • introduction to quantified self (QS) movement and to its globalization in the public & health sectors.
  • discussion of data privacy, geo-privacy, app gamification.
  • exploration of the data collection capacities of a smartphone / wearable technologies.
  • lunch exercise: observing the data collection apps already on your phone.

Saturday 4 May, 1430-1700 — Session 2

  • exploration of self-tracking apps: their functions, gamified nature, benefits and drawbacks, the exportability of data
  • working with a couple apps to set up (temporal & spatial) data collection exercise for a one day period.

Sunday 5 May, 0900-1130 — Session 3

  • debriefing about data collection: findings and shortcomings.
  • discussion of a few short passages from critical literature on QS and media studies (Maturo/Moretti; Rettberg; Wernimont; Lupton).
  • exporting the data from the apps.
  • presentation of relevant data visualization techniques.
  • lunch exercise: completing your data collection, if you haven’t already at night.

Sunday 5 May, 1430-1700 — Session 4

  • reusing that data for storytelling purposes (map visualization, plotting).
  • wrap up.

For more information, see the bibliography of my forthcoming colloquium as well as the QS bibliography and 325 Show&Tell talks.

NYU Abu Dhabi DH Meet Up schedule 2018-19

What is the Digital Humanities Meet Up? 

It is an informal get together featuring a wide array of topics for those interested in, or just curious about, the digital humanities.  It is co-sponsored by the NYU Abu Dhabi Center for Digital Scholarship and the Division of the Arts and Humanities.

 

When will it meet?  

It will meet for approximately one hour during the day every few weeks throughout the Fall and Spring semester.

 

Who can attend?

Anyone in the NYU Abu Dhabi community or beyond.  The meet up is designed to be a learning experience for all.  No particular technical knowledge is required. No RSVP required.

 

Have an idea for a future DH Meet Up? Let us know…

 

Fall 2018 schedule:

 

All meet ups are held in the NYU Abu Dhabi library, C2 329, unless noted below.

 

Wednesday, 19 September, 12-1pm  Taylor Hixson (NYUAD Library, Geospatial Services), Workshop: “An Introduction to Story Maps

 

Monday, 24 September, 1150-105pm  David Wrisley (NYUAD, Digital Humanities), Workshop: “Web Hosting and Digital Identity” 

 

Thursday, 4 October, 2-3pm –  Abdullah Heyari, (NYUAD, Center for Cybersecurity), Workshop: “LaTeX for complete beginners”

 

Monday, 8 October, 1150-105pm – Kaki King (Musician), “Data Not Found”  Different Location C3 116, NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

 

Sunday, 4 November, 12-1pm –  Jeremy Farrell (Emory, Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies) – Research presentation and hands on: “Network Approaches to Historical Religious Movements: Early Sufism (9th-10th c. CE) as a Case Study”

 

Tuesday, 20 November, 12-1pm  – David Wrisley (NYUAD, Digital Humanities)  Presentation and hands on: “WikiMedia and the UAE : On Freedom of Panorama, de minimis, and Visual Data in the Creative Commons”

 

Tuesday, 4 December, 12-1pm   –Taylor Hixson (NYUAD Library, Geospatial Services) “Archiving your Digital Spatial Objects in NYU’s Spatial Data Repository

 

Spring 2018 schedule (forthcoming)

Topics for next term:

Digital Scent

Social Networks and Entrepreneurship in the 19th century

Faculty Digital Archive and “green” repositories

 

 

Past DH Meet Ups :

Fall 2016

Spring 2017 

Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

 

 

Digital Humanities NYUAD Year in Review 2017

“What exactly has happened to the study of the humanities in the digital age? To answer this question one need only review the last thirty years and remember how scholarship used to be carried out. In order to find books and articles, we had to look through various catalogs (card, National Union) as well as printed bibliographies. Fledgling institutional digital catalogs existed, but hardly contained everything we needed. Few journals offered digital access to publications. A researcher’s data was often stored on a desktop computer, or even just in paper copy on a shelf. At conferences, we arranged photographic slides in a carousel to project them on the wall.

In today’s connected world a stunning variety of virtual, networked resources are now available to researchers: electronic books and other platforms for document delivery, digitized archival collections, new environments for scholarly communication and web publishing, open data repositories, even cloud and high performance computing. Not all humanists are using these resources, but increasing numbers are, and as a result, our scholarly work is taking on a diversity, and creativity, of new forms. The transition to an era of “software intensive” humanities-it is, after all, a slow change-is bringing about new possibilities for trans-disciplinary scholarship. But what are the implications of more machines in our profession? Are we ready to confront the challenges and the results of such research? How many of us actually understand how to navigate these new data-rich environments to our benefit? …”

The rest of the NYU Abu Dhabi Digital Humanities Year in Review 2017 document can be downloaded here.

#myDHis messy, or an Ode to Untidy Bricolage

#myDHis messy, or an Ode to Untidy Bricolage
DHSI 2017 Institute Panel, Perspectives on DH

David Joseph Wrisley 
New York University Abu Dhabi 
@DJWrisley

 

messy < mess (n):  Old French mes “portion of food, course at dinner”
early 15c “company of persons eating together”
1530s  “communal eating place” (military)
1738 sense of “mixed food,” especially for animals
1828 “jumble, mixed mass”
1834 “state of confusion”
1851 “condition of untidiness”
1903 “excrement of animals”

 

Example 1  Between languages: assessing translation variance

The Transmission of an Arabic wisdom text, the Mukhtar al-Hikam in medieval Europe (From Arabic to English, via Spanish, Latin and French) – alignment using LF Aligner

messy issue: few literary problems correspond to available data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example 2  Multilingual realities: documenting and mapping multi-script polyglossia on the street (llbeirut.org)

messy issue: reality is messy, social creation of data adds new untidy levels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example 3  Orthographic variance

messy issue:  teaching a computer to recognize a pattern with a language where irregularity is the norm

sample medieval French word (“alms” in English): almosne, aumosne, aumone, haumone, asmone, esmone, aumorne

sample medieval French place (Almeria, Spain):

Aumarie Amarie
Ammarie
Almarie Aumarie
Almerie Ammarie, Aumarie
Amerie Aumerie
Aumarie
Almarie Armerie;Aumerie;Omarie;Aumarie
Aumarie
Aumerie
Aumarie
Alberia
Aumarie
Armarie
Almarie Aumarie
Aumarie Ammarie
Almaria Aumarie;Ommeria


Example 4   Aligning orally-influenced texts inside the “same language”: (with @vizcovery)

messy issue: pre-modern transmission of texts is messy, sometimes like re-mixing, add orthographic instability

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example 5  Expanding the language of DH to Arabic (with @najlajarkas1).  See post.

messy issue: computational linguistics with Arabic text is not done in Arabic by most of the world; finding a language for a nascent community to use

Twenty Things to Know about #DHIB2017

Twenty Things to Know about #DHIB2017                                                 

DHIB 2017 (@DHIBeirut, dhibeirut.wordpress.com) is a moment in my career that I will look back on fondly.

I have made a list of twenty things to know about the event that took place in Beirut 10-12 March 2017, ten that I think others will be interested in, and ten personal ones.

  1. It was not the first successful international digital humanities event that has taken place in the Arab region. It was the second.
  2. It represents the convergence of two different Andrew J. Mellon Foundation funded initiatives: the Center for Arts and Humanities at AUB and the AMICAL consortium.
  3. Countries represented at DHIB 2017 were Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, France, Switzerland, Greece, Germany and Italy.  These are the countries of the institutions represented.  There were more nationalities present.
  4. It was the first time, to my knowledge, that instructors working in the Arab world–North Lebanon (Balamand), Beirut (AUB), Cairo (AUC)—taught DH topics together in the same venue.
  5. The participants included local universities, research centers and institutes, as well as digital humanities specialists from international organizations: IFPO, OIB and DiXiT, international libraries (Halle) and DH groups (Bard).
  6. Instructors included librarians, full-time and part-time faculty, IT and an English major.
  7. Participants included librarians, full-time faculty, IT, graduate and undergraduates.
  8. The digital humanities conversation has piqued the interest of the Centers for Teaching and Learning in the region and beyond.
  9. The courses on offer represented a spectrum of topics important to our local “big tent”:  Drupal, mapping, 3d, sound, Arabic OCR, Sustainable Text Workflows, Omeka, game design, digital pedagogy, digital editing, etc.
  10. We were able to offer the Institute at no cost to the participants.

 

Ten reasons that I loved the 2017 edition of DHIB 2017:

  1. I witnessed my fellow faculty, instructional designers and students make DH their own.
  2. The mother of an undergraduate student of mine took my workshop to find out what he has been talking about all this time.
  3. My keynote was live streamed and notes for several courses are available online.
  4. I listened to our second keynote speaker Ghassan Mourad, author of the first book about DH in Arabic, speak in Arabic about named entity extraction in Arabic.
  5. We have the best (multi-script) logo of any of the DH events I have attended (designed by @kyraneth). Available here with a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International license.
  6. One of the participants in my mapping workshop grasped the idea of the experimental nature of the DH projectvery quickly.  He went looking for data, dug into my professional website and made a map of my recent professional engagements.
  7. Both the Office of Information Technology and the Library at AUB were actively engaged in the Institute.
  8. The lightning talks were effervescent: bubbling over with practical ideas, obvious cross-institutional partnerships and feasible projects.
  9. Our closing session was held en plein air on the 2nd floor balcony of Fisk Hall, one of the heritage buildings on AUB’s green oval.  I was very pleased with the engagement of the participants.
  10. I learned so much from others.

 

General information on DHIB and DH at AUB : We began with informal events in 2011 that brought together the departments of English and Computer Science at AUB, with the support of some key people on campus who believed in the endeavor.  In 2015 we hosted the first DHIB (documents about that event are archived here). We became part of the Digital Humanities International Training Network in 2015. Other DH institutes have received participants from our institution: Oxford, Leipzig, Victoria.

 

Articles written about DHIB 2017:

AUB Faculty of Arts and Sciences
D
igital Humanities Institute Beirut 2017 – a Review