Creating Humane Metrics for the Humanities and Social Sciences

To support the Humane Metrics for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HuMetricsHSS) initiative, Michigan State University has received a $309,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The collaborative HuMetricsHSS pilot aims to create a values-based framework that will enable humanities and social science scholars to tell more textured stories about the impact of their research …

More

Announcing clustRcompaR v.0.1.0

Announcing clustRcompaR v.0.1.0 Alex Lishinski and I worked on an R package over the last year or so. We are excited that it’s now available on CRAN. You can install the package using install.packages(‘clustRcompaR’) (only needed first time) and load it (more on its two functions below) using library(clustRcompaR). Here’s a description: Provides an interface …

More

Critical Diversity in a Digital Age

Last year we developed a strategic plan in the College of Arts & Letters that called for a cluster hire in culturally engaged digital humanities that focuses on humanities questions of race, inclusion, cultural preservation, global interconnectedness, and engaged scholarship. This fall, we sent out a call for proposals to the chairs and program directors inviting them to envision a …

More

Becoming a Digital Scholar

Recently, I’ve posted a couple of times on my efforts to make connections with the world of digital humanities. This week, I continue those efforts by attending for the first time a Digital Humanities methods seminar that I’ve enrolled in. As I’ve mentioned in those previous posts, I’m still working to figure out if/how I—an …

More

Going Viral With Your Scholarship

In a way, it all began with this picture. I was attending my first Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) conference in Ann Arbor to talk about digital scholarship and I didn’t know many people. I was committed to living out my fundamental commitment to use digital modes of communication to cultivate an academic community …

More

Jim Harrison Walks On

Here. Harrison was a long time resident of Michigan, including Leelanau County, where he knew many Anishinaabe people. He wrote a compelling introduction to the history of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Mem-ka-Weh: The Dawning of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. He also wrote many Indian characters …

More

Arts & Letters Scholars

Ampersand Typewriter Hammer Early last fall, our Director of Marketing and Communications, Ryan Kilcoyne, came to me with a pressing issue that required a decanal decision. “Should we use the ampersand in the official name of the College?” he asked. The gravity of the question was not immediately obvious to me. On the surface, it …

More

Broad Data Praxis

short talk delivered during ALA Midwinter 2016, LITA Top Tech Trends Panel Today, I’d like to discuss a trend I call broad data praxis. Data praxis itself is the combination of the theory and the practice of working with data. Typically, data praxis is naturalized within a particular discipline. There is a long tradition of data …

More

Twisty Little Passages: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Master Speech File

Last week the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum announced online availability of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Master Speech File. The collection contains 1,592 documents, totaling 46,000 pages, spanning the years 1898-1945. This is an essential set of primary sources, and given availability in digital form they become amenable to research questions that can be extended via …

More

Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)

The Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) is renowned for its fantastic woodcut illustrations. A total of 1,809 illustrations adorn the book, but only 645 woodblocks were cut.  Most of the illustrations are re-used throughout the book – some as many as 11 times! Above are six instances of the same illustration, as seen in the copy owned …

More

David T. Bailey

On Saturday, November 7, a dear friend and colleague, David T. Bailey, passed away. I always find it difficult to write about friends who have left us.  I can write the straight forward — like about his digital work in a blog post for Matrix. I will just make a few notes; difficult to sum …

More

Never Neutral: Digital Library as Argument

At this year’s DLF Forum, Chris Bourg, Cecily Walker, and Safiya Noble powerfully drove home the responsibility that the digital library community has to reflect critically as it shapes the contours of the digital environment. We must be vigilantly aware of how our decisions accrete toward a constellation of world views that simultaneously foreclose and expand conditions …

More

  A nightmare before Christmas? Our copy of Elsie’s Hallowe’en Experience, an 1888 collection of children’s stories from author Mary Dow Brine, was apparently given as an Xmas gift in 1908. It’s not as strange as it sounds—the work does contain a couple of Christmas stories in addition to the titular tale of a spooky Halloween …

More

Vellum : Before and After

Vellum is a hygroscopic material, which means that it has the ability to attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding environment. Vellum will expand in humid conditions, and contract in dry conditions.  Even normal fluctuations in temperature a humidity can cause vellum bindings to warp.  Over time, this book became badly warped.  At it’s …

More

Diversity, Comics, and Beyond: Announcing the Cartoonists of Color Datasets

  © MariNaomi I am pleased to announce the availability of the Cartoonists of Color Dataset and the LGBTQ Cartoonists of Color Dataset. Both datasets are derived from the Cartoonists of Color Database (CoC). Dataset release is the result of a collaboration with CoC Database creator, artist, author, and illustrator MariNaomi. These datasets are provided in order to …

More

Giant Manuscript Antiphony

Here are some close-up shots from the giant manuscript antiphonary we wrote about a few months ago.  Last Wednesday was the MSU Libraries Open House, and this was one of the wonderful items Special Collections set out to entice passers-by. Some of the students who stopped by affectionately referred to it as a “Harry Potter book,” …

More

17th Century Bacteria?

  Nine months ago, we posted about these jars of water (http://msulconservationlab.tumblr.com/post/108193028342/this-row-of-jars-shows-how-much-discoloration) which hold samples from each subsequent washing of a book printed in the 1600s (http://catalog.lib.msu.edu/record=b2150582~S23a). I was making my merry way through the lab the other day when I noticed something growing in Jar 1. GROWING, you guys.  I fear we have awakened an ancient …

More

Kludging: Web to TXT

Text analysis projects share in common 3 challenges. First, data of interest must be found. Second, data must be gettable. Third, if it’s not already formed according to wildest dreams, ways must be known of getting data into a state that they are readily usable with desired methods and tools. While surmounting these challenges are typically …

More

DH 2015: Coalescing Frames

The main program of DH 2015 has come to a close. My thanks to the organizers for an intellectually challenging conference. My thanks especially to the brave individuals that forcefully problematized DH as community – who is in, who is out? | who is named, who is not named? | global, really? | inclusivity on whose …

More

The Edge of the Oak Opening

Old illustration of Linton Hall at Michigan State University As I begin my tenure as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University I find myself thinking of these lines adapted from Deuteronomy 6:10-12 by Peter Raible: “We build on foundations we did not lay. We warm ourselves at fires we …

More

Representing Data with Sound (sonification)

When it’s said a picture is worth a thousand words, it generally is. Data visualization provides information that otherwise might take several paragraphs to explain. Yet, this technique privileges users that have sight. What techniques can be used for users that rely on screen readers to access information? I recently discovered[1] a project by University …

More

Youtube Data for Research

Sometimes I interact with folks interested in digital projects that entail some form of video analysis. These noble hypothetical folk, whether they know it or not, join a quest to augment Digital Humanities discourse with a format that doesn’t get enough attention. Brave souls. Just for starters, video data sources can be tough to gain access to. For projects …

More