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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.

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

INTRODUCTION It is a difficult task, doomed in advance, to say in a few words what has really changed in our area of study, and especially how and why that change took place. 1 There are a number of strands we have to try to weave together in describing the context and development of digital history. We will start by discussing the place of digital history within the broader context of digital humanities, and then within the context of the development of technology in the post-war period. We will move on to discussing the effect of the digital on

in Doing digital history
Author: Heather Blatt

Reorienting the narrative of digital media studies to incorporate the medieval, Participatory reading in late-medieval England traces affinities between digital and medieval media to explore how participation defined reading practices and shaped relations between writers and readers in England’s literary culture from the late-fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. Traditionally, print operates as the comparative touchstone of both medieval and digital media, but Participatory reading argues that the latter share more in common with each other than either does with print. Working on the borders of digital humanities, medieval cultural studies, and the history of the book, Participatory reading draws on well-known and little-studied works ranging from Chaucer to banqueting poems and wall-texts to demonstrate how medieval writers and readers engaged with practices familiar in digital media today, from crowd-sourced editing to nonlinear apprehension to mobility, temporality, and forensic materiality illuminate. Writers turned to these practices in order to both elicit and control readers’ engagement with their works in ways that would benefit the writers’ reputations along with the transmission and interpretation of their texts, while readers pursued their own agendas—which could conflict with or set aside writers’ attempts to frame readers’ work. The interactions that gather around participatory reading practices reflect concerns about authority, literacy, and media formats, before and after the introduction of print. Participatory reading is of interest to students and scholars of medieval literature, book, and reading history, in addition to those interested in the long history of media studies.

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

history of the subject and, more importantly, early drivers of digitisation, such as the commercial value of genealogical sources. In writing this chapter we found it hard to disentangle digital history from the digital humanities more broadly considered and we suggest that trying to impose a clear demarcation is unhelpful. Chapter 2 , ‘Formulating your research questions’, will help you to think through your research ideas in the context of digital history. What techniques will you need? What is already available in terms of data and tools? A critical and judicious

in Doing digital history
Open Access (free)
Environmental justice and citizen science in a post-truth age
Editors: Thom Davies and Alice Mah

This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,” citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing, witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues, as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from emerging scholars and community activists.

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

In digital humanities, the notion of scholarly work tends to be wider than in normalized forms of academic output, such as monographs and academic papers. 1 How do you get the text you want to work with, whether it is in a book on a shelf or comes from a Twitter account, into usable form? This chapter outlines the process and the choices involved. Although we will touch on topics to do with text manipulation, structure and version control, this is a high-level overview and we will look at working with text itself in detail in chapters 4 and 5 . In

in Doing digital history
Jonathan Blaney, Sarah Milligan, Marty Steer, and Jane Winters

formal publication we have assumed that you want to publish a journal article rather than a book chapter. Journal articles are often perceived as having higher academic status than book chapters because the former should be rigorously peer-reviewed and the latter are often not at all. If your project has a strong digital element then your first choice is whether to publish in a history journal or a digital humanities journal. You can even do both, reserving a focus on the historical findings for a journal specialising in your area and a technical article for a

in Doing digital history
Word and image in the twenty-first century. Envoi
Catherine Gander and Sarah Garland

and unfold. However, we are cautious about asserting the new multimedia as a radical break with the older versions of mixed and intermedia that the writers in this volume examine. As Golding points out, the connection between hypertexts and the avant-garde tradition is by now a widely proposed one.18 Several digital humanities scholars draw on the imagination of Jorge Luis Borges, for example his stories ‘The Aleph’ or ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’, to analogise the internet’s expanding and looping, infinite information structure, and to invoke Borges’s sense of

in Mixed messages
Jonathan Blaney, Sarah Milligan, Marty Steer, and Jane Winters

useful to know roughly how it works. A lot of digital humanities data is now made available as a public repository (a collection of files) where Git is used as the version-control system, as with the repository for this book. That means that some of the information about the project is kept in the logs which Git keeps, and you can easily access them if you know where to look. If you become a bit more conversant with Git you could even restore someone else’s project to an earlier stage. Suppose that, in reading through the Git logs, you see that an XML element was

in Doing digital history
Michael O’Sullivan

important that the success rates do not fall further. Two other significant developments in the humanities in recent years in the Irish university have been new directions in gender studies and feminism and in the digital humanities. Gerardine Meaney and Eibhear Walshe have been central to the development of gender studies as one of the most vibrant subjects in the humanities and social sciences in Irish universities in recent years. Meaney returns to neglected writers in the Irish tradition, typically women writers like Rosamond Jacob and Kate O’Brien, in arguing that

in The humanities and the Irish university