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Research Methods


Data Curation

Data curation is the management of data, from creation to long-term storage.  Humanities data can be text, geospatial, data, results of analysis, and more!

Tools in the Scholarly Commons: Contact Dan Tracy if you’re interested in how to preserve your project.

Example Projects: “DH Curation Guide,” “Humanities Without Walls,” “Digging into Data,” “Virtual Verse in the Library”

Digital Publishing

Digital publishing is a popular digital humanities research method for showcasing and sharing scholarly work.  Omeka is one tool that the Scholarly Commons supports with free web space for university affiliates.

Tools in the Scholarly Commons: Scalar, Omeka

Example Project: Women in Print,” “Image of Research”

Image Analysis

Image analysis is the process of extracting information from digital images utilizing digital image processing techniques.

Tools in the Scholarly Commons: Digital Scanners

Example Projects: “Aida”

Text Encoding

Text encoding is a process where documents are transferred to an electronically searchable format for digital humanities research.  Referring to marking up digital text in a machine readable and universally shareable manner, text encoding lends itself to many scholarly activities such as publishing, searching, and text analysis. The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) is a consortium of developers who maintain guidelines for the representation of texts in digital form and provide schemas for reference. Marking up a text in TEI ensures that your documents are machine readable and potentially shareable to the greater research community.

Tools in the Scholarly Commons: Digital Scanners

Example Projects: “Whitman Archive,” “Women Writers Project”

Machine Learning

Machine learning is the process of using algorithms and rules to teach computers how to accomplish tasks.  This is typically done with projects such as classifying text or images by genre or subject.

Tools in the Scholarly Commons: R, Python

Example Projects: “Action Toolbox”

Data Visualization

Generating visualizations is a way to “see” your data. A common example of this is network analysis, which generally refers to the study of the structure of relationships between multiple entities. For example, a researcher may generate a network of concepts (people, places, or ideas) embodied in words and track the ways in which certain concepts relate to each other, influence one another, or even predict one another. A researcher might also perform a cluster analysis to determine which words often occur near each other.

Tools in the Scholarly Commons: ATLAS.ti, Gephi, NVivo, R

Example Project: “Visualizing Topic Models”

Geospatial Information Systems (GIS)

The “spatial humanities” utilizes Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) in order to create interactive maps to assist in better understanding the concept of “space” in relation to humanistic research. Answers to questions such as “How does space influence events?” or “What has this space meant in history?” can potentially be represented with GIS software. For more on spatial data services at the Scholarly Commons, see the Data Services Page.

Tools in the Scholarly Commons: ArcGIS, GRASS, GoogleEarth, Story Maps, Quantum GIS

Example Projects: “General Lee’s View of Gettysburg,” “Auschwitz Under Construction,” “Mapping the Salem Witch Trials”
For more on spatial data services at the Scholarly Commons, see the GIS Home Page

Text Mining

Many digital humanities scholars employ methods of textual analysis over vast corpora of text documents. One commonly used analytic method is called Topic Modeling. This method works by grouping words that frequently occur together in a text.  By applying such analytic methods, researchers can further explore the concepts that arise.

Tools in Scholarly Commons: ABBYY Fine Reader, ATLAS.ti, Digital Scanners, NVivo, Oxygen

Example Projects: “The ARTFL Project,” “TEI-Analytics and the MONK Project”

Audio/Visual Projects

Audio and visual projects in the digital humanities typical include projects like documentaries, podcasts, or media presentations.  The resources to best suit the needs of these digital humanities projects can be found in the Undergraduate Library in the Media Commons.