Get going: The Nijmegen Spring School in eHumanities 3 – 5 April 2013

Generously funded by the ALLC – The European Association for Digital Humanities and with support from Radboud University Nijmegen
With additional support from FWO – Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen and Universiteit Antwerp

Jump-start your Python, R and Gephi skills

This intensive three-day workshop will equip both junior and senior scholars with the ability and skills to “go digital”. The goal of this workshop is to offer its participants the skills to understand the potential of selected tools in Digital Humanities (DH), to consider their application within the realms of their own field and, eventually, to be able to start their own eHumanities projects. The workshop will consist of three modules: Programming in Python, Statistics in R and Network Analysis with Gephi. These modules will be designed to build upon each other, thereby putting newly acquired skills to practical use immediately. We also want to ensure a productive exchange between participants as well as the instructors and, as such, the development of long-lasting networks. In keeping with ALLC’s principal interests, the workshop has a firm emphasis on the computational analysis of textual data, be they literary or linguistic.

To ensure the broad coverage of relevant techniques for the workshop, we have selected three generic research tools which are currently widely applied within the eHumanities.
The programming language Python is widely used within many scientific domains nowadays and the language is readily accessible to scholars from the Humanities. Python is an excellent choice for dealing with (linguistic as well as literary) textual data, which is so typical of the Humanities. Workshop participants will be thoroughly introduced to the language and be taught to program basic algorithmic procedures. Because of the workshop’s emphasis on textual data, special attention will be paid to linguistic applications of Python, e.g. Pattern. Finally, participants will be familiarized with key skills in independent troubleshooting.
Deplored by many DH scholars, most humanities curricula today fail to offer a decent training in statistics. At the same time, a majority of DH applications make use of quantitative tools in one way or the other. We seek to provide our participants with hands-on experience with a common statistical tool, R, with a specific emphasis on the practical implementation of statistics and potential pitfalls. The statistical software package R is widely used in the scientific processing and visualisation of textual data.
Network visualizations can be counted among the most prominent and influential forms of data visualization today. However, the processes of data modelling, its visualization and the interpretation of the results often remain a “black box”. The module on Gephi will introduce the key steps in the systematization of relational data, its collection from non-standardized records such as historical sources or works of fiction, the potential and perils of network visualizations and computation and finally the identification of relevant patterns and their significance for the overall research question.

Programme

We are very happy to have brought together a team of instructors who are both experts in their field and great teachers:

Day 1: Programming in Python and basic Natural Language Processing tools (Instructors: Folgert Karsdorp, Meertens Institut Amsterdam and Maarten van Gompel, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)

Day 2: Basic statistics in R (Instructor: Peter Hendrix, University of Tübingen)

Day 3: Data modelling and network visualizations in Gephi (Instructor: Clément Levallois, University of Rotterdam)

The workshop seeks to provide as much practical skills and knowledge in as little time as possible. Each module will have the same basic structure: After an introduction to the respective method and the targets for the day, the participants will solve pre-defined tasks. The workshop embraces the concept of trial and error and learning based on one’s own accomplishments rather than passive information reception.

Registration

Participants are expected to pay a fee of EUR 60 and to make arrangements for their travel and accommodation. Thanks to the EADH (ex ALLC) funding we have received we are able to offer free lunch on all three days as well as a farewell dinner.

In addition, we can offer 2 bursaries for students/participants who have no other source of funding.

In order to register, please email Mike Kestemont at mike.kestemont@gmail.com or Marten Düring at md@martenduering.com by March 15th. Applicants are asked to include a short CV, a statement of their previous experience with the above mentioned tools and their research goals.

Previous experience in either programming, statistics or data visualization is not required.

More information about the Spring school: http://www.ru.nl/ehumanities/spring-school-2013/cfp/

For further information of eHumanities research at Radboud University Nijmegen and (coming soon) on the workshop, please visit http://www.ru.nl/ehumanities