Oct 29

Converts to Little dh

I like Konrad’s post on little dh and am especially drawn to using digital tools for analysis and mining of data. I teach an introductory computer science course with Python and am particularly looking for applied problems in the humanities. The course focuses on problem solving over a wide range of liberal arts. So I am looking for good research opportunities in the humanities that require some programming but not a high level of sophistication in computer science. I have seen some wonderful applications that show off technology’s ability to handle and process large amounts of info and am seeking more. For example, students write programs to do straightforward text analysis of collections of books or political speeches; they can do some elementary web crawling; and they can process real-time data such as earthquakes or stock prices. So I am looking for good problems that are useful to solve and of necessity engage the students in interesting computer science algorithms. My first goal is to convert all of them to be technology users and practitioners; I hope they reach for technology (including programming) with the same ease they would reach for a bibliography or an online source or an archive or a test tube or any other tool in their discipline. My secondary goal is to convert many of my colleagues to be little dh users, colleagues who have yet to appreciate the enormous benefits these techniques might bring to their research.

So, anyone interested in a session that explores the kinds of succinct, circumscribed dh problems that are amenable to programming solutions? Anyone involved in teaching? Teaching in a liberal arts environment? I’ll supply the computer science know-how if you have the problems.


  1. matienzo.org

    I’d love to talk about this. There are plenty of archivists and librarians who are asking me how to get started. I’m a moderately proficient programmer, but I lack any formal training. I think it’d be interested to hear what problems folks are trying to solve, as the “itch-to-scratch” problems are often the most fun and rewarding for people to work on as they get started. And kudos on using Python as well. 🙂

  2. brown.academia.edu/ColinFWilder

    I’d really like to talk to both of you. I don’t know Python, but have a little programming background from way back (Basic, LISP). As I mention in my session proposal, I am at THATCamp for network analysis (I am a historian). I have built a pretty intricate MS Access database to record all sorts of relationships among people and the books they write. But there are a number of functionalities that I want from my database which I know are doable but which I cannot yet do. In the end I am a historian or humanist and I can’t scrape together the dozens and dozens of hours it will take me to go from medium- to high-level proficiency in Access. And I’m not even sure that Access is the best software to use; Python or something else might be far better. So, let’s talk! I will be there on Saturday and Sunday, but you can also reach me easily at .

Comments have been disabled.

Skip to toolbar