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A beginner’s guide to working with text as data

This book offers a practical introduction to digital history with a focus on working with text. It will benefit anyone who is considering carrying out research in history that has a digital or data element and will also be of interest to researchers in related fields within digital humanities, such as literary or classical studies. It offers advice on the scoping of a project, evaluation of existing digital history resources, a detailed introduction on how to work with large text resources, how to manage digital data and how to approach data visualisation. After placing digital history in its historiographical context and discussing the importance of understanding the history of the subject, this guide covers the life-cycle of a digital project from conception to digital outputs. It assumes no prior knowledge of digital techniques and shows you how much you can do without writing any code. It will give you the skills to use common formats such as plain text and XML with confidence. A key message of the book is that data preparation is a central part of most digital history projects, but that work becomes much easier and faster with a few essential tools.

Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

in the digital data economy’ ( Lupton, 2016: 117 ). Important gender implications arise from how surveillance technologies focused on bodies and personal lives intersect with identity-based discrimination, particularly gender-based violence, such as stalking or honour killing, and societal power-relation constructs ( Woodlock, 2017 ). The intensification of surveillance by self-tracking devices is significant, and, following Ruckenstein and Schüll (2017) , it is useful to adapt

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Abstract only
Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Hannah Knox and Dawn Nafus

data relations thus not only raise questions about how to better know and act upon the world, but also shed light on the very foundations of what we consider knowledge to be. This book starts from the conceit that attention to digital data opens up the possibility of interrogating more broadly the presuppositions, techniques, methods and practices out of which claims about the value and purpose of knowledge gain power. To talk of digital data is to talk of one facet of a broader terrain of knowledge production, of which numerical or digital data is only one part

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Editors: Hannah Knox and Dawn Nafus

Data is not just the stuff of social scientific method; it is the stuff of everyday life. The presence of digital data in an ever widening range of human relationships profoundly unsettles notions of expertise for both ethnographers and data scientists alike. This collection situates digital data in broader knowledge-production practices. It asks about the kinds of social worlds that data scientists are creating as the profession coalesces, and looks at the contemporary possibilities available to both ethnographers and their participants for knowing, formatting and intervening in the world. It shows what digital data is doing to the empirical methods that sustain claims to expertise, with a particular focus on implications for ethnography.

The contributors offer empirically grounded accounts of the cultures, infrastructures and epistemologies of data production, analysis and use. They examine the professionalisation of data science in a variety of national and transnational contexts. They look closely at specific data practices like archiving of environmental data, or claims-making about how software is produced. They also offer a glimpse into the new methodological and pedagogical possibilities for teaching and doing ethnography in a data-saturated world.

An ethnography in/of computational social science
Mette My Madsen, Anders Blok, and Morten Axel Pedersen

collaborative space of ethnographic-cum-digital data generation and analysis.1 The specific question we wish to focus on here revolves around the problem of what ‘collaboration’ between or across different disciplines might mean and entail both within and outside the academy. An extensive social scientific and STS literature pertaining to this question already exists, including work concerned with the relationship between qualitative ethnographic data and different kinds of quantitative data, whether deemed ‘digital’, ‘computational’ or not. Within the field of anthropology

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Jonathan Blaney, Sarah Milligan, Marty Steer, and Jane Winters

companies which have a commercial interest in keeping that data under their control. The distorting results of this are already apparent in the field of social media research, where studies using Twitter predominate because the data is at least partially accessible. This is what happens with digitised materials too – we research what we can find – but for born-digital data the commercial imperatives are greater and ownership lies in the hands of far fewer companies. Digital preservation specialists are working hard to ensure that digital sources will remain accessible

in Doing digital history
Author: Lucy Bland

This book recounts the little-known history of the mixed-race children born to black American servicemen and white British women during the Second World War. Of the three million American soldiers stationed in Britain from 1942 to 1945, about 8 per cent (240,000) were African-American; the latter’s relationships with British women resulted in the birth of an estimated 2,000 babies. The African-American press named these children ‘brown babies’; the British called them ‘half-castes’. Black GIs, in this segregated army, were forbidden to marry their white girlfriends. Up to half of the mothers of these babies, faced with the stigma of illegitimacy and a mixed-race child, gave their children up for adoption. The outcome for these children tended to be long-term residency in children’s homes, sometimes followed by fostering and occasionally adoption, but adoption societies frequently would not take on ‘coloured’ children, who were thought to be ‘too hard to place’. There has been minimal study of these children and the difficulties they faced, such as racism in a (then) very white Britain, lack of family or a clear identity. Accessibly written and illustrated with numerous photographs, this book presents the stories of over forty of these children. While some of the accounts of early childhood are heart-breaking, there are also many uplifting narratives of finding American fathers and gaining a sense of self and of heritage.

Open Access (free)
Theatre and the politics of engagement
Author: Simon Parry

This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.

Jonathan Blaney, Sarah Milligan, Marty Steer, and Jane Winters

working with digital data will be through a platform like Hansard Online. It delivers immediately relevant results, but at the cost of control and, inevitably, some insight. It is not always easy to understand precisely what it is you are searching or browsing, and how the choices made by editors, technical developers and other project staff are predetermining what you might be able to find. It is to the credit of the team behind Hansard Online that they have highlighted one of the key things that historians should be aware of when using the database: it combines

in Doing digital history
Abstract only
Unstructured text
Jonathan Blaney, Sarah Milligan, Marty Steer, and Jane Winters

records, and digital records are often poorly documented, making their production and methodology hard to reconstruct and understand. A common and useful distinction is made between data which is ‘born digital’ and digitised data, which has been converted somehow from analogue form (usually print or manuscript). A frequent assumption is that born-digital data is easier to work with but this is rarely the case. Let us take a very simple example of a piece of born-digital data to show the complexity of dealing with it: {"created_at": "Mon Aug 20 14:27:45 +0000

in Doing digital history