NYU Abu Dhabi Digital Humanities Meetups 2016-17

What is the Digital Humanities Meet Up?  

It is an informal get together for anyone 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 during the lunchtime hour throughout the Fall and Spring semester every few weeks.  

Who can attend?

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

Spring 2017:

Tues, 14 February 2017, 1150-105 C3 118 (Presentation): Mobile Data Collection for Documenting Historical Built Space   Amel Chabbi (TCA Abu Dhabi, Historical Environment Department) will come to speak with AHC-AD 141 Spatial Humanities about a project in the implementation phase that aims to document historical buildings in Abu Dhabi using the tool known as Collector for ArcGIS that facilitates mobile data collection.

Thurs, 23 February 2017, 1150-105, Archives and Special Collections, NYUAD Library C2 3rd floor (Practicum): Digitizing Historical Maps  This hands on session led by Rebecca Pittam, Nicholas Martin and David Wrisley will explore creating digital images of archival maps of different sizes and media for reuse in spatial humanities projects.

Tues, 28 February 2017, 1150-105, C3 118 (Hands-on): Exploring Digital Map Libraries  This session led by Beth Russell and David Wrisley will discuss digital map libraries, what kinds of maps can be found in them, issues of metadata as well as how they can be used in digitized, “georeferenced” form.

Tues, 28 March 2017, 1150-105, Center for Digital Scholarship conference room, NYUAD library (discussion):  What is Web Hosting?, and What is it Doing in the NYUAD Classroom?  This presentation address the use of web hosting in the classroom for written coursework.  It will be presented within the context of the domain of one’s own movement.  We will discuss and the kinds of public, digital, multimedia composition that it enables as well as the questions of audience.  NYUAD students building their own domains will attend and contribute to the discussion.

Mon-Wed, 10-12 April 2017, A6 (Hands-on Workshops) During our international conference Digital Humanities Abu Dhabi – DHAD there will be a number of digital humanities workshops.  These are open to the public, but require registration.  Check the schedule of workshops for updates.  If you would like to sign up for one of these free workshops, you can do so here.

Fall 2016:

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 (11.50am-1.05pm, Center for Digital Scholarship, C2, 3rd floor  PRACTICUM: Demystifying Digitization – This practicum is a part of David Wrisley’s course AHC-AD 139 (Introduction to Digital Humanities) that will be open Wednesday to the NYUAD community. Today’s practicum comes at a point of the semester when students are beginning to think about constructing their own private corpus of text. We will work with one of the best pieces of software for automatic transcription Abbyy FineReader to explore the process of optical character recognition (OCR) of printed texts in multiple languages including Arabic. We will discuss the class readings and do a hands on exercise with a few samples of text.  The exercise should illustrate the benefits and limitations of the digitization for texts of different periods and languages.  Topics of discussion include text archives, the hidden labor of digital texts, as well as digitization and loss.  (This practicum borrows its name from the digital humanities summer school being held in Antwerp next week.)

Monday, 17 October 2016 (1150-105, A6-016)  – UNDERGRADUATE DIGITAL HUMANITIES PRESENTATIONS This session co-led by David Wrisley and the students of his course AHC-AD 139 will feature low-barrier data visualization of textual corpora.  Students will each have built a small corpus in the language of their choice based on a research question they have.  They will be giving lightning presentations about their “distant readings” of this corpus.  These presentations, curated on the students’ sites, will be accompanied by general discussion.  

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 (1150-105, Center for Digital Scholarship, C2, 3rd floor) HANDS-ON LEARNING ABOUT GIS. To celebrate GIS Day 2016, come learn about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with Matt Sumner and David Wrisley.  We will take a look at some maps made around the time of the unification of the UAE in the early 1970s and we will learn some basic skills useful for GIS like digitization and georeferencing.  We will also compare those maps with digital maps from today like Open Street Maps (OSM) and Google Maps and have a discussion about the different ways they represent the world we live in.  Read this post to learn about the results of this meetup.

Monday, 28 November 2016 (12-1, Center for Digital Scholarship conference room, C2, 3rd floor) – PROJECT PRESENTATION Akkasah.  Akkasah, the Center for Photography at NYU Abu Dhabi, explores the histories and contemporary practices of photography in the Arab world from comparative perspectives: it fosters the scholarly study of these histories and practices in dialogue with other photographic cultures and traditions from around the world. This presentation will engage with issues of image data and metadata, as well as digitization, preservation and collection curation.

Monday, 5 December 2016 (1150-105, TBA) – DIGITAL PUBLISHING IN PERFORMANCE AND ART  Today’s presentation will be given by Debra Levine about Scalar, Tome and other digital publishing platforms used by performance and cultural scholars as well as artists.  Deb will also introduce the Hemispheric Institute Digital Publishing initiative, drawing on some examples from it, her own work as well as projects carried out by NYUAD students.  The presentation will be followed by a open discussion.




Exploring the Digital Humanities, American University in Cairo


cairo visa 2011 trip 2015


“Exploring the Digital Humanities” event

Exploring Space-Time Representation in the Digital Humanities Workshop
David Joseph Wrisley (AUB) @DJWrisley

American University in Cairo
30 September 2015

Download the event flyer here.

The workshop/presentation focuses on varieties of locative research and pedagogy.  It will introduce participants to some aspects of a sub-field in the digital humanities, known by many different names: geohumanities, spatial humanities, locative media-enabled/location-based research, thick/deep mapping.  It will have a presentation component and a hands-on component.

Topics that will be discussed in the overview of projects and hands-on session will include: the exploration of differential geographies, layered map visualizations, close and distant exploration of spatial data, community mapping, mapping as pedagogy and argument, the rhetoric(s) of visualization and the “contingency of looking” at data.

No previous knowledge is assumed.  The hands-on will go at the pace of the participants.  Participants should have a laptop, not a tablet.


To prepare:

Complete this survey.
Create an academy account at CartoDB (for students, faculty, researchers)
Check out the CartoDB map academy (time permitting)

Skills learned in hands-on:

  • -basic web mapping
    -JSON and CSV formats
    -inserting a link in html
    -simple SQL query to a geospatial database
    -bringing in custom map tiles
    -get geospatial data
    -using Google spreadsheet
    -calling data from one place to be used in another



Sample Projects (30 mins):

Basic questions: what is the data involved? how was it acquired? how is it visualized here? what are the tensions between content and tool?

Hypercities Egypt – an exploration of the spatial aspect of Cairene Twitter from 30 Jan-8 Mar 2011.

Visualizing Medieval Places – mapping the places mentioned in 4 centuries of medieval French, 250+ texts at present.  Specific finding.

Literary Geography of Christine de Pizan – mapping the places mentioned in a medieval woman author’s oeuvre (late 14th/early 15th c)

The Places of Rai’tu Ramallah – a student project on place and memory in the Palestinian novel by Mourid Barghouti @Randa_DH

Mapping Gothic France – exploring religious architecture and the seismic thesis.

Mapping Language Contact in Beirut – curation of written language data within the metropolitan area of Beirut, carried out by faculty, undergraduate and graduate students.

Digital Karnak Timemap and Google Earth – a spatio-temporal narrative and virtual reality exploration of the Karnak complex near Luxor.  KML file here.

Women in computing (timeline.js) – a time-focused media-rich timeline maker.  Tips

Cairo soundscape – a mashup of a soundscape map built on the fly 28-29 September.  (an example of Brussels)

Beirut publishes… – a planned historical map of Beirut publishing and book selling (Spring 2016)

Towards a Peer Review in the GeoHumanities – a community consultation to articulate concerns about what makes a good spatial project.

If you would like to find out more, I recommend the list maintained of Humanities GIS projects maintained by the GeoHumanities SIG of the Association of Digital Humanities Organizations.


COME JOIN US!    Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut and CFP


Questions and Discussion (10 minutes)

Possible Hands-On Exercises (80 minutes)

1  Some JSON data self collected this September.  Time as choropleth, time as torque.  (CartoDB, Json and CSV)

Save this file to your laptop (it is a json file located in my dropbox). Imagine the Dropbox visualization of the data.  Open CartoDB.  From dashboard, select “your datasets.”  Drag and drop the file to the box. Click “connect dataset.”  Look at the data view.  Look at the map view.  From the wizard (in map view) explore ways of visualizing facets of the data.  Save this file and notice the difference in format (CSV). Try some different views.  What views show meaningful aspects of the data? Notice that torque does not work.  Why do you think this is?

2  Animating Mapping Gothic France data (data scraped using Kimono as API)  (CartoDB, CSV and html)

Save this file (CSV).  Examine it in data view and map view.  Explore what kinds of meaningful visualizations you can make.  What aspect of the data is show in each of them? What can we say about data being incomplete?  Try to make a spatial animation according to date built and another according to date destroyed.  

In map view, select info window. Select click and choose the metadata you would like to show up in the info box.  Go back to map view and check your work.  In info window mode click on the </> for “change html”.  Insert the following line of html into the very end of the code, just before the last </div>:

<a href=”{{url}}” target=”_blank”>View original page</a>

Go back to map view to see what has happened.  Change the string “view original page” to your own words.  Check the map view again.

3  Filtering large data set to get at aspects of data (language contact data)  (CartoDB and SQL)

Save this file.  Examine it to see what it contains and how its features might be visualized.  In map view, using the wizard try to use color to indicate certain features.  Can you change the random colors proposed?

From map view, click on the SQL tab.  After SELECT * FROM mlcb, insert this query

WHERE general_context = ‘Advertising’

And click on apply query, go back to map view and check what happened.  Now try

WHERE scripts_used =’Arabic script’ AND languages_used_=’Arabic’

Did all examples of advertisements and Arabic script and writing show up on the map? If not, why not?

4  Notice that the tab “data library” in map view.  This is a library of open datasets you can call up and layer with any data you have.

5  Creating a digital story with a map (Odyssey with Markdown)

Go to Odyssey.  Choose a style of story.  In the sandbox, change the name and creator. Notice what happens as you customize.  Try changing the mapbase to http://mapwarper.net/maps/tile/10845/{z}/{x}/{y}.png

Markdown is a simple encoding schema that allows basic instructions about a text to be rendered (even easier than html).

Change the center to 33.898962, 35.471529 and then the L.marker to the the nearby coordinate of your choice. To insert a picture use this

![name of pic](http://www.webURL.com)

Make sure you use the URL of the picture itself, not of a page on which it is found.

You should also be able to insert a json file from CartoDB. For example, go back to either our MappingGothic or MLCB file in CartoDB.  In map view and the wizard, create a simple view. In the upper right hand corner click on “visualize” (and again on “create a map”) and then again on “publish”.  Copy the right most js link.   This can be inserted using the following lines:

cartodb_filter: “column=’VALUE'”
vizjson: “http://{user}.cartodb.com/api/v2/viz/{your-viz-key-here}/viz.json”

The hashtag # creates a section division.  What follows the hashtage will be the title of the slide, the text inset after the coordinates is the page text.  Try inserting another slide, new coordinates (get them from Google Maps) and a new pictureWhen finished, the story can be downloaded as an html file and then viewed in the browser C: or saved in public_html in your server space and viewed live.

6  Creating a timeline.js (Knightlab)


To read more:

I compiled a reading list after the Spatial Humanities workshop at the Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut 2015.

Some studies I referred to in the workshop:

Burdick, Anne, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Schnapp.  Digital_Humanities (Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 2014). Open access download here.

Guldi, Jo. “What is the Spatial Turn?”  Spatial Humanities: A Project of the Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship (U of Virginia). Web.

Kretzschmar, William. “GIS for Language and Literary Study,” Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Study (New York: MLA). Web.

Presner, Todd, David Shepard, Yoh KawanoHyperCities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard UP, 2014). Print.

Travis, Charles BAbstract Machine: Humanities GIS (Redlands, CA: ESRI, 2015). Print.

Wrisley, David Joseph.  “The Spatial Humanities: an Agenda for Pre-Modern Research,” Porphyra 22 (Dec 2014): 96-107.  Web.