Congratulations to William Gordon, DHSS ’15, and Ian Morse and Mila Temnyalova, DHSS ’16 on their book chapter being published!

One thing that I love about directing the DHSS program is keeping up with what former Summer Scholars have been doing since their time in the program came to an end. It’s fascinating to see where their research, writing, and professional journeys take them. William Gordon, a 2015 Summer Scholar, and Ian Morse and Mila Temnyalova, 2016 Summer Scholars, contributed a book chapter titled “The Good Side of Failure: Explorative Yet Productive Failure in Digital Humanities Projects” as part of the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) book, Scholarship in the Sandbox: Academic Libraries as Laboratories, Forums, and Archives for Student Work.

The book is a “collection of case studies and discussions describes efforts to curate student work, explores intellectual property issues, and provides tips for promoting and preserving access to this production through new programming and services that affirm libraries’ roles in intellectual processes.” (April 24, 2019, ACRL Insider). William, Ian, and Mila’s chapter focuses on their experiences creating digital humanities-based digital research projects in the early iteration of the program. As the phrase, “The Good Side of Failure…” in the title of their book chapter indicates, they put forth the idea that the “failure” that can sometimes arise when taking on an experimental project is when some of the best learning and research can happen. This idea is a terrific distillation of the unique pleasure of being a Digital Humanities Summer Scholar and completing a digital research project within the program. Congrats all!

 

Congratulations to the new Digital Humanities Summer Scholars!

I am very happy to announce this year’s cohort of Digital Humanities Summer Scholars! This year’s application process was quite busy and competitive: 29 interviews, and 8 Summer Scholars chosen out of 24 applicants. The range of research ideas is truly exciting!

Here are the Summer Scholars for 2019:

Milena Berestko, Class of 2022, Psychology and Theatre major, intends to research the impact of the Romani people on Polish arts, legislature, and traditions, which she plans to present as an interactive map to show the travel routes of the Romani in Poland, among other data points.

Phillip Harding, Class of 2020, Electrical and Computer Engineering major, will analyze the patterns and trends of people emigrating from Jamaica to the U.S., and compare his findings to popularly held beliefs and notions characterizing immigrants.

Joseph Illuzzi, Class of 2021, Economics and Policy Studies major/Chinese minor, will examine factors contributing to labor inequities in the eSports industry, and illustrate the historical progression of labor conditions and showcase the highly visual nature of games like Counter Strike: Global-Offensive and League of Legends through digital tools like TimelineJS.

Ren Makino, Class of 2020, International Affairs and Asian Studies major, is interested in using digital tools to map geographical locations of anti-government movements (such as those arising from labor disputes) or anti-imperialist rallies in periods in Japan before, during, and after WWII.

Victoria Puglia, Class of 2021, International Affairs major, will expand on her experience during an independent study in Kapchorwa, Uganda, and further research the gap that seems to exist between political policy and intervention/practice in reality regarding female genital mutilation (FGM), and map the different initiatives being taken by community-oriented organizations like KACSOA and REACH, as well as the police, to visualize where these gaps exist.

Tafita  Rakotozandry, Class of 2022, Electrical and Computer Engineering major, is focused on the issue of electricity access in Madagascar, and will investigate how energy poverty impacts the education and future of rural children in that country.

Bec Stargel, Class of 2020, Psychology and Anthropology & Sociology major, will explore how language relating to transgender identities has changed over the past twenty-plus years, and plans to create a map/timeline of the trends in which these words have gained and lost popularity, tracking these changes onto major social events and public discourse.

Aidy Ung, Class of 2021,  Civil Engineering major, will look at the ancient hydraulic system of the city of Angkor in 9th to the 12th century Khmer Empire, Cambodia, and learn how the engineers managed the complex water networks to support agricultural activities, in hopes of better understanding how the system remains functional, but is different from modern water management systems.

Angela Shi (Yu Shi), Class of 2021, will act as the program’s first DH Teaching Fellow this year. A 2018 Summer Scholar, she will assist me in class and workshop preparation, develop and maintain the DHSS website, and be available to the Summer Scholars for consultation about the progression of their digital research projects.

The Summer Scholars will be officially celebrated at Skillman Library in a few weeks with a Welcome Dinner at the Gendebein Room.

The program runs from May 21 – June 28 this year, culminating in the Digital Scholarship Student Symposium, which will be held here on Lafayette’s campus on June 28. The Summer Scholars will be presenting their final digital research projects at that event, so please come and see them if you are on campus the last week of June.

If you have questions, or you are at all interested in being involved with the program, please contact me. Digital Humanities is a collaborative field, and I really enjoy working with my colleagues in teaching the Summer Scholars about many different aspects of the research journey. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Angela

Lafayette News videos about DHSS Projects

I hope that everyone’s having a productive spring semester so far! Mine has been very busy, as I prepare to close the DHSS 2019 application period (the deadline is March 15!), and focus on going through what is going to be another interesting set of candidates for the new cohort. Not to mention that I’m also planning for the annual Digital Scholarship Student Symposium and Meet-up to take place right here on campus on June 28. If you are here during the summer, please consider joining us for the symposium that day…the Summer Scholars will be presenting their final digital research projects there for the first time!

I know that many of you received the February 27th issue of Lafayette’s From the Hill newsletter in your email, but if you missed it, there was a nice mention of 2018 Summer Scholar, Uche Anomnachi’s digital research project, Racial Perceptions of Anime and the accompanying video created by the Lafayette Communications department. This video is actually part of a series on summer research, including the video about Ben Gordon’s project about the NYC subways that you may have seen in the fall. Very exciting coverage!

Ben Gordon ’19 and Charlotte Nunes, Director of DSS, Reflect on Data Science at Lafayette

Hi everyone,

I wanted to make sure that you all got a chance to read this terrific blog post by Skillman Library’s Digital Scholarship Services about our very own 2018 Summer Scholar, Ben Gordon, and his experience as a Data Science Major here at Lafayette, as well as his DHSS digital research project,  New York City’s Subways, Bridges, Highways, and Expressways in the 20th Century.

Angela

I’m reposting the piece here:

 

January 30, 2019
Ben Gordon ’19 and Charlotte Nunes, Director of DSS, Reflect on Data Science at Lafayette

 

My journey to Digital Scholarship Services and Data Science has been a long and rewarding one. I came into Lafayette with an interest in Math because of a statistics course I took in high school. I was always successful in my math classes, but often didn’t understand the relevance of geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. Yes, problem solving was interesting, but for what purpose? This changed when I immersed myself in that statistics   course. I truly fell in love with the applied nature of the discipline, using mathematical equations in order to find meaning in the real world. Assignments weren’t just problem solving, but included some form of essay writing to explain what our mathematical answer meant.By the time I was a freshman in college, this course had stuck with me and I was itching to continue. I was hoping for an applied version of mathematics in college, deciding I would be a major in math. I did not know what engineering might have entailed, although that might have ended up more of what I was looking for, so I ended up in math. However, when I took transition to theoretical mathematics, the infamous “weed out” course in the math major, I found it challenging to connect with the material.

This experience prompted me to try to forge my own applied statistics path in the major, so I met with the head of the math department. He understood my difficulties with the theoretical nature of the required classes for the major, and told me about how the future of the department included new statistics teachers and maybe a statistics major. But there was no statistics major currently.

The next semester, I decided to switch into a computer science major as a junior. The summer before my junior year, I made sure that I was going to approach my Data Structures and Algorithms course (the “weed out” course in the CS major) much differently than I did when I was a math major. I spent my summer taking notes from the textbook when I rode the subway to and from work, and practicing coding on my computer. I wanted to put myself in the best possible situation to succeed going into the class.

Yet when I started the class, I got failing grades on my first two labs. I did all I could possibly do to prepare for this next step over the summer; what was I missing? Why was I still failing? I met with my teacher and tried to work through the mistakes, setting aside most of my time here at Lafayette just to passing this class.

Eventually, I hit my stride, and started getting passing and above grades on my labs, tests, and projects. I finally felt some sort of relief, that my change in attitude towards school, combined with a new interest in what I was learning was going to get me through this class, and subsequently the computer science major. But one day after class, when I did not expect it, my professor approached me and asked about what my plan was for the next two years. I explained what I have written above; I was driven out of the math major because I wanted to do statistics, and was going to try and squeeze a computer science major into four semesters.

He said that he thought I could still make my own Data Science major. I was ecstatic – Data Science sounds a lot like statistics. Finally, after trying a year ago and giving up, I was going to be able to make my own major and do the discipline I actually wanted to. Then I met the director of Digital Scholarship Services, Charlotte Nunes, who told me there was an academic planning committee for Data Science & Digital Scholarship. I was excited, and realized that I was actually the guinea pig for Data Science at Lafayette College.

This long process was how I got introduced to Digital Scholarship Services in the library, and all of the different intersections between Computer Science, Data Science, and what is being done in DSS. I started then to do research for Charlotte, on topic modeling and different text analyses in R. Matthew Jockers is one of the leading scholars for this buzzworthy subject in the field of digital scholarship. We spent the semester working through Jockers’ how-to book and discussing how he was received by scholars.

This is a long and winding story, but I ended up in Data Science and Digital Scholarship Services for the same reasons I wanted to study statistics in the first place. I was interested in understanding the world around us in ways that were only possible with mathematical and technological methods. And Digital Scholarship Services is building capacity in this area. Topic modeling and Matthew Jockers’ scholarship, for example, is all about trying to discover new aspects to text that would be impossible without technology.

Response from Charlotte Nunes

Ben Gordon’s research project, New York City’s Subways, Bridges, Highways, and Expressways in the 20th Century, offers a great example of how Lafayette College Libraries supports data-oriented undergraduate and faculty research. Ben completed the project under the supervision of Angela Perkins, Research & Instruction Librarian and director of the Lafayette College Libraries Digital Humanities Summer Scholars (DHSS) program. As part of this program, Ben consulted with members of Digital Scholarship Services including John Clark, Data Visualization & GIS Librarian, on geospatial data discovery, research data management, data transformation, and data visualization. Ben currently collaborates with Janna Avon, Digital Initiatives Librarian, and I on a text analysis project featuring oral history transcripts.

In the academic year leading up to his DHSS project, I appointed Ben as a student worker to assist me in clarifying where DSS might build on departmental strengths to better consult on introductory data science methods for analyzing data in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Together we explored data science as a varied, multidisciplinary field involving data analytics, data visualization, and data ethics. The field requires skills in finding, cleaning, and organizing data, articulating research questions, drawing interpretive conclusions from statistical inference, and communicating persuasively about the results of data analysis.

As Lafayette College advances its Data Science & Digital Scholarship academic planning initiative, I anticipate that DSS will continue to provide wide-ranging data services while growing in new areas, including:

  • Providing consultation and workshop instruction on humanistic uses of R, a statistical computing language that allows for a variety of modeling, clustering, and visualization techniques in text corpora.
  • Building research-ready digital archival collections guided by the principle of Collections as Data, and consulting on data mining in primary source databases such as Adam Matthew Digital.
  • Exploring uses of artificial intelligence and natural language processing for humanistic data analysis, as addressed in the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant Investigating the National Need for Library Based Topic Modeling Discovery Systems.

I thank Ben for his work exploring the field of data science, building skills as a practitioner, and helping to set a vision for the future of DSS. Check out the Lafayette News coverage of Ben’s research titled Uncovering Political History of NYC Subways!

 

Welcome to the Digital Humanities Summer Scholars (DHSS) Program!

Hi all,

My name is Angela, and I am a Research and Instruction Librarian at Skillman Library. I have the great privilege of directing the Digital Humanities Summer Scholars Program. I am very excited to announce the beginning of a new application period for the Digital Humanities Summer Scholars (DHSS) Program for Summer 2019! First, please take a look through the project pages of previous Summer Scholars to get an idea of the great work produced by our students.

As a member of the Lafayette College community for the past year, I have been very lucky to incorporate my education and professional background into my method for directing the DHSS. I hold a B.A. in Political Science from Bates College, an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute (AFI), and an M.S. in Information Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. At UT Austin, I was incredibly fortunate to learn what I know about digital humanities from Professor Tanya Clement, who was amazing at explaining just why DH is an exciting critical and interpretive path in research in the humanities, and is not just about the digital tools. I have worked in many professional fields, including film and television production, startup companies and digital technology, and education, most recently for The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Transformational Learning (ITL). I am also a native New Yorker, born in the Bronx, so it is impossible to do anything without that particular and incisive perspective.

Once they are admitted to the DHSS, I strongly advocate for students learning what original research entails, how to formulate an absorbing, cogent research question whose answers will contribute a rich and unique view to that particular field, and how to think critically as they work to integrate sources into their research projects. In addition to honing basic research skills, I help students learn DH methodologies for use in research, what digital tools are available, and how digital tools are capable of transforming their research.

I am so proud of and was so lucky to have worked with the 2018 Summer Scholars. I will use this front page to post photos of the Summer Scholars, a timeline of their presentations from this past year, and pieces that were produced about their work. I will continue to post exciting news and events so that you, dear reader, can follow what is going on in this wonderful and vibrant program. And because DH and digital scholarship take a village, please feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about DHSS, know a Lafayette student who would like to participate, or you would like to become involved with the program. Thanks!

 

Sincerely,

Angela

Research & Instruction Librarian
Director, Digital Humanities Summer Scholars (DHSS)
David Bishop Skillman Library
Tel: (610) 330-3191
perkinsa@lafayette.edu