University of Oregon

LIB 607: Digital Scholarship Methods

Winter 2014


Instructor: John Russell
Time: Mondays, 9-11:50 am
Location: Knight Library, LIB 42

This course will help graduate students engage with digital tools and approaches, primarily as they pertain to the analysis of texts. While there are no pre-requisites for this course, students need to be willing to try new things, practice new skills, and not be afraid to fail.

At least an hour each week will be devoted to hands-on tutorials for working with texts, often using command line tools. Please bring your own laptop to class each week; if you do not own a laptop, we can make other arrangements.

Assignments & Grading:

  • The whole class will work on a digital project. Students will work together to build this project over the course of the term. By the end of the term, students will evaluate the quality of project participation using 360-degree feedback as well as produce an essay that uses our readings from this term to critically engage the project. Due week 10. (70%)
  • Each student will be responsible for leading class discussion at least once. (15%)
  • Class participation (15%)

Numerous digital scholarship conversations happen on Twitter. I encourage students to get on Twitter as a way to follow these conversations; if you are on Twitter or want to do so, please use #uolib607 as the hashtag for this class. See also my Digital Humanities Twitter list

I've also created a blog for the class (and viewable only by class members). This can be a place to share tutorials or other information about course topics as well as a space in which to collaborate on the digital project.


Schedule (subject to change):

Week 1 (1/6): Overview.

Lab: Setting Up Computers (installing VirtualBox if needed); Command Line Basics

Week 2 (1/13): Approaching Digital Scholarship Critically.


  1. Fred Gibbs, "Critical Discourse in Digital Humanities," Journal of Digital Humanities, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 2011.
  2. Lev Manovich, "Software Studies: Image Processing and Software Epistemology"
  3. Alexis Lothian, "Marked Bodies, Transformative Scholarship, and the Question of Theory in Digital Humanities," Journal of Digital Humanities, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 2011.
  4. Alan Liu, “The Meaning of the Digital Humanities.” PMLA 128 (2013): 409-23. (UO Access)
  5. Shannon Christine Mattern, "Evaluating Multimodal Work, Revisited," Journal of Digital Humanities, Vol. 1, No. 4, Fall 2012. [See also the Presner and Rockwell essays in this issue]

Lab: Using the Command Line - Basic Text Analysis and Pattern Matching and Permuted Text Indexing (do what you can in class and then finish the rest as homework)

Project Meeting: Defining project and establishing roles

Week 3 (1/20): MLK, Jr. Day. No class.

Week 4 (1/27): Geospatial Information Systems


  1. Mark Monmonier, "Lying With Maps," Statistical Science 20:3 (2005): 215-222. (Author's copy)
  2. "Geographic Information Systems" (pdf)
  3. "A Tour Through GeoCommons"
  4. Google Maps Engine Lite

Lab: Basic Mapping (Geospatial Historian, Lesson 1)

Week 5 (2/10): Data Acquisition.

Lab: Sources for Texts; wget; batch downloading (e.g., DownThemAll); scraping Google results ("Measuring Thanks" parts 1 and 2); cleaning texts

Project Meeting

Week 6 (2/3): Macroanalysis of Texts.


  1. Stephen Ramsay, "In Praise of Pattern" (2005).
  2. Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science:
    • "Corpus: Some key terms" (pdf)
    • "Representations of Islam in the British Press, 1998-2009" (pdf)
  3. Elijah Meeks and Scott Weingart, "The Digital Humanities Contribution to Topic Modeling," Journal of Digital Humanities, Vol. 2, No. 1, Winter 2012.

Lab: Topic modelling

Project Meeting: Updates

Week 7 (2/17): Data Visualization.


  1. John Thiebault, "Visualizations and Historical Arguments," in Writing History in the Digital Age. Ed. Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki.
  2. "Delivering Data," The Data Journalism Handbook.

Lab: Basic visualizations with Voyant and KH Coder

Week 8 (2/24): Data Management


  1. DH Curation Guide:
    1. Julia Flanders and Trevor Muñoz, "An Introduction to Humanities Data Curation"
    2. Melissa Levine, "Policy, Practice, and Law"
  2. David J. Birnbaum, “What is XML and Why Should Humanities Scholars Care?“ [provides background for lab exercise]

Lab: Text Encoding

Project Meeting

Week 9 (3/3): Scholarly communication in a digital age.


  1. Tom Boellstorff, "From the Editor: Why the AAA Needs Gold Open Access," American Anthropologist, Vol. 114, No. 3 (September 2012): 389-393. (author's postprint)
  2. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, "CommentPress: New (Social) Structures for New (Networked) Texts," Journal of Electronic Publishing, Volume 10, Issue 3, Fall 2007.
  3. Carol Stabile & Kim Sawchuk, Introduction: Conversations across the fields. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, No.1 (2012).
  4. Tara McPherson, "Scaling Vectors: Thoughts on the Future of Scholarly Communication," Journal of Electronic Publishing, Volume 13, Issue 2, Fall 2010.
  5. Scalar

Week 10 (3/10): The Future of Digital Scholarship. Professional Engagement.


Command Line Resources:

Other Resources/Links of Interest:

Created by johnruss on Oct 31, 2013 Last updated Jan 22, 2014
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