2/12: Project Workshopping

Art History Visual Resources Center
(308A Doe Library, follow signs for the Art History / Classics Library)
12:30 – 1:30 PM
Friday, February 12

Join us for more project workshopping! Please note that we will be meeting in at the VRC.

Chris Hench and Alex Estes

Chris and Alex are developing tools for text analysis of historical languages, with a concentration on medieval German. They are interested in using these tools to explore sound semiotics, poetic aesthetics, and linguistic structure. They focus on syllables, as the basic unit of sound, to shed light on linguistic phenomena and aesthetic affect, as well as the underlying structure of poetic meter. They have written a script that syllabifies medieval German (among other languages) with an accuracy of 99.4% (an interactive demo of the script can be found here). On a high level, run over a corpus of historical texts written between the years 800-1300, this script indicates significant phonotactic and prosodic trends. On a low level, this program allows one to read a poet’s body of works, or even a single poem, through the weight and quality of its sound. Syllabification also provides a framework for a predictive model of scansion, revealing the rhythmic structure of medieval German poetry—a hybrid quantitative and qualitative meter. Chris and Alex would like feedback from the group on further possible applications of these tools. All feedback is welcome!

Zach Bleemer

I presented this project in the Fall, but it has changed tremendously with the inclusion of 14 bibles and the construction of a new similarity between between clusterings. The next step of my research will be estimating a series of topic models to better understand the latent aesthetic categories themselves, but this project is broadly suggestive of further literature studying latent beliefs using computational translation analysis. I am looking for advice about how to improve what I’ve done and where to go from here!

Project:
A centuries-old literature examines and describes aesthetic pleasure, or the experience of beautiful objects.  This project develops new tools in the digital humanities to analyze one aspect of aesthetic pleasure: a comparison and enumeration of latent aesthetic categories, or groups of objects that are identified as being aesthetically pleasing ‘in the same way’ (perhaps reflecting their physical, ethical, or conceptual characteristics), across populations in Britain, Germany, and the United States. Using word choice data from 14 translations of the Old Testament, I present a novel similarity metric to quantify evidence of differences between latent aesthetic categories manifested by each translation event, as well as a statistical framework for estimating confidence intervals around my estimates. I find strong evidence of high degrees of similarity in 20th and 21st century American latent categories across religious denomination and translation philosophy, which supports both the consistency and external validity of my estimates. I also find substantial differences between 16th and 21st century latent aesthetic categories in the English-speaking world and between the contemporary categories of the US and Germany.

1/29: Project Workshopping

Friday, January 29 | 12 – 1 PM | D-Lab Collaboratory
Help us plan Spring 2016! Fill out this Doodle with your general availability on Fridays.

Two of our members will be workshopping their projects and are looking for feedback from a mix of disciplines and methods.

Janet Torres, PhD student, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

panoramioJanet is attempting to measure the impact of having a diverse economy on resilience to change. She is looking at the Republic of Cuba from about 1990-present. She is currently working with nightlight data, demographics, and economic data, but wants to think through other possible sources of data. Janet writes: “I will present the phases, basic hypotheses, assumptions, and data components (still working on these but have some ideas) of my research. I need help finding a tone and voice. Because my work is interdisciplinary I am having a hard time finding the perspective I give. For example, there is some history involved in how a city is shaped and how a region around that city functions, how much of the discipline must I learn to speak of historical aspects accurately? How can I adjust my tone to reflect the amount of the discipline I know and how it is correlated to the subject I am going to explore in-depth?

Basically, the age old question. If my field is a mixture of fields, what IS my field? A topic I’m sure the DH group is familiar with!”

Nell Cloutier, PhD candidate, Music
Q of E and E (1)Nell is giving a job talk next Monday in the Music department of Boston University, and needs feedback. Part of the talk, and the part she’ll try out on the working group, will be about her digital humanities work for her dissertation and her proposed book and social mapping project. Nell is currently writing her final chapter, which explores the social, political, and geographical networks of audience members at the Théâtre Italien during the 1830s. She currently directs a team of undergraduates in a digital humanities project that combines maps, social networks, and music history to develop a new sense of the social connections and the psychic geography of Paris as experienced through musical life, and plans to expand this project to include other institutions as she writes her book, titled The Musical Juste-milieu.

All feedback would be helpful, as will anything that gives Nell practice talking – ask questions about musicology as a discipline! ask questions about DH aspects! ask questions about how this fits into larger projects!

1/22: First Meeting of Spring 2016

We’re back on Friday!
January 22, 2016
12 – 1 PM
D-Lab Collaboratory / 356 Barrows

BDHWG group meetingWe’ll be discussing meeting topics and plans for the semester, as well as planning for the not-so-distant DH Faire on April 13th. Help us schedule events by filling in this Doodle with your general availability on Fridays.

Things in the works:

  • a project workshopping day (we’re looking for two projects!)
  • poster-wrangling session for DH Faire
  • OCR 101
  • mashup meeting with the New Media Working Group
  • geospatial mashup meeting with the Urban History Working Group

November 13th: Alex Saum-Pascual and Élika Ortega

November 13, 2015
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life | 2121 Allston Way

Note: Please take note of the time change. We will be having our meeting a bit later in the day due to a conflicting event. We encourage everyone to attend Art History in the Age of Big Data (11:30 – 1:30) if they are able.

alex-saum-teaching-augmented-reality-poetry (1)For our next meeting, Alex Saum-Pascual, Assistant Professor of Spanish will lead a discussion on teaching and curation in electronic literature.

She will be joined by her collaborator, Dr. Élika Ortega, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Kansas, will be discussing teaching and curation in electronic literature. Alex and Élika will discuss curation as research practice, and share what they have learned in curating a forthcoming exhibit,  No Legacy || Literatura electrónica (Spring 2016, Doe Library, UC Berkeley).

In Spring 2016, Alex will also be teaching a new undergraduate course, “Electronic Literature: A Critical Writing & Making Course” (cross-listed under Spanish and New Media).

What is e-lit? Read about e-lit at Berkeley on the DH at Berkeley blog or scan N. Katherine Hayles’ “Electronic Literature: What is it?” for an overview of the field.

October 30th: DH Faire Planning Session

Friday, October 30, 2015
11 AM – 12 PM
Magnes Collection for Jewish Art and Life conference room
2121 Allston Way

Nell Cloutier presents a poster at DH FaireOn Friday, October 30th, we will be gathering at the Magnes to brainstorm ideas and plan for the 4th Digital Humanities Faire, to be held in early April. The Berkeley DH Faire is an important venue for gathering members of the DH community, presenting both finished and in-progress work, and invite a wider audience to engage with the classic question, “What is/are digital humanities?”. With the help of our campus partners, we hope to throw another great DH Faire!

Topics for discussion include (but are not limited to):

  • soliciting posters, scheduling poster-making sessions
  • proposals for speakers and talks
  • publicity and outreach

Read a re-cap of last year’s DH Faire festivities, including posters presented

October 16th Hack Day

D-Lab Collaboratory
356 Barrows Hall
12PM – 4 PM

Instead of our usual meeting format, we will be taking over the D-Lab Collaboratory for a hacking day.  This is a time to work on projects and training in a supportive environment. “Hacking” emphasizes learning through building, play, and making mistakes. During this “peer office hours”, you might:

  • work on tutorials or training (e.g. the Programming Historian, the NLTK book are some examples, but we can suggest more)
  • compare qualitative coding schemas
  • finally get around to OCRing some texts or cleaning pesky data
  • set up your scholarly blog

This is an open format event: you may arrive and leave at any time, as your schedule allows.

On the behalf of the DH at Berkeley program, Camille Villa will be offering drop-in consulting for the entirety of the event. 

 

October 8th: Digital Humanities and New Media Mashup

October 8th, 5-7 PM
D-Lab Convening Room (Barrows 356)

The Townsend Center’s Digital Humanities Working Group and New Media Working Group will meet on October 8th to interrogate key assumptions, methodological approaches and philosophical orientations in both new media studies and the digital humanities.  We will look at a series of DH projects and think through them with a comparative mindset: in what ways does incorporating digital tools and platforms enhance and/or problematize the scholarship in question?  

We will be looking at three projects, selected to represent a variety of DH and new media approaches:  a digital dissertation by Amanda Visconti called “Infinite Ulysses,” a project by the television and media scholar Jason Mittel using the Scalar platform, and the Massive Open Online Course platform edX.  Our hope is to provide a new inter- and multi-disciplinary terrain for scholars coming from both areas of study and to open a space for evaluation, critique and new perspectives.

Please browse the following before the 10/8 meeting:

===

The Berkeley Digital Humanities Working Group (BDHWG) is a “low-stakes, no-prep” place for the DH community to gather on a regular basis to keep each other abreast of current trends and new methods, and and exchange ideas. Members include a diverse range of students, staff, and faculty. The group has bi-monthly discussions of recent digital humanities projects, workshops, and occasional speakers. In April, BDHWG hosts the DH Faire, an end-of-year project showcase.

The Berkeley New Media Working Group (NMWG) is a gathering of scholars from departments across campus who share an interest in the material, social, political, aesthetic, and philosophical implications of digital media. Meetings are held every other week throughout the semester on topics ranging from art practice to coding to critical media studies. Anyone with an interest in new media is invited to attend.

Join the Fall DH Challenge #bdhwgchallenge

Hi all,

Some of us wanted to continue the spirit of the BDHWG summer challenge group throughout this fall semester. Need a little community and motivation to work on your dh projects? Curious about what others are doing? Join the Fall DH Challenge Group!

Every other Friday we will meet at the D-lab collaboratory to work on our specific DH goals, help each other trouble shoot issues, and keep each other motivated throughout the semester. Everyone and all types of goals are welcomed.

The first working day is this Friday 9/25, 11AM-1PM. Bring a lunch and your DH goals!

—–

Be part of a support group who will set concrete academic, DH, and professional goals and motivate one another throughout the semester. Summer challenge is open to all.

Open rules:
1. Set realistic, small, practical goals related to DH or general academia to be completed every two weeks. (Deadlines/D-lab check in dates: 9/25, 10/9, 10/16 (BDHWG Hackerspace), 10/23, 11/6, 11/20, 12/4)
2. Post your goals to this google doc and check off your accomplishments throughout the semester.
3. Come work at D-lab every other Friday 11AM-1PM. If you cannot make it, communicate and motivate one another through the chat function on google docs (right side) or write comments in the ‘smiley face emoticon’ columns. Communicate on twitter with #bdhwgchallenge

4. If you need the extra motivation, check off on the google doc that you will submit a $10 monetary commitment stating that you will work on your goals (lest have the money go towards a group victory money pot).

September 18th Meeting

The Berkeley DH Working Group (BDHWG) will be meeting on Friday, September 18th at the Magnes Collection for Jewish Art and Life at 11 AM.
Zach Bleemer would like to workshop his project on aesthetic terms in biblical translations. While Zach has done statistical work with the King James translation, he would like to expand his project to other translations. He seeks your feedback on ways he might use his data set and present his analysis. See the abstract below for more information.
Amy Clark will share a database of collocational color-referent patterns across the online Old English Corpus. She originally built her database in Excel, but is working on migrating her data to Drupal and is interested in future possibilities for analysis.
Camille Villa will discuss “non-coding” uses for GitHub. Though this platform is commonly used for software development and sharing code, Camille will discuss other ways that researchers and organizations use GitHub for collaboration.
Cheers,
Camille Villa & Scott McGinnis
BDHWG Co-conveners
===
Aesthetic Categories over Space and Time: A Natural Experiment Approach
Zach Bleemer
Biblical translations have occurred regularly across the Western world since the mid-16th century. Each of these events requires teams of translators to specify a large series of contextualized matches between a static origin-text and their own dynamic vernacular. This paper presently focuses on a single biblical translation, the 17th century King James Bible, treating the event as a “natural experiment” in order to examine the implicit aesthetic categories projected by the translators onto the Old Testament. I compile a complete dataset of the 175 Old Testament phrases referring to beauty, nearly all of which contain one of three regularly-appearing aesthetic Hebrew roots, and match them to the five terms used by the KJB translators in English: ‘beautiful’, ‘fair’, ‘goodly’, ‘comely’, and ‘pleasant to the eyes’. I then append this dataset with the translations conducted by two contemporary biblical translation teams (working from the Jewish tradition, in order to avoid mechanical autocorrelation). Finally, I use OLS and multinomial logistic regression analysis, controlling for Hebrew roots and for modern translation, to show that these terms each signify distinct and telling aesthetic categories, and provide evidence that—despite substantial drift in diction—these categories exhibit surprising temporal continuity. This project motivates substantial future research, extending the dataset spatially and temporally and connecting it to related literature in philosophical aesthetics, linguistics, cultural anthropology, and religious studies.

 

We’re back! September 4th, 11 AM at the Magnes

Hello friends!

Join us this Friday (9/4) at 11am at the beautiful home of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life as we kick off the sixth year of the Berkeley Digital Humanities Working Group, a Townsend-sponsored working group with the mission of connecting students, researchers, and staff from various parts of campus around the subject of the digital humanities, broadly defined.

Our agenda for the first meeting includes a brief discussion on the perennial question “What is DH?”, as well as an outline of the activities we have in store for this academic year, but our main focus will be getting to know one another.

Students, staff, and faculty from all disciplinary backgrounds and levels of knowledge are encouraged to attend. Some light refreshments and snacks will be provided.

Berkeley Digital Humanities Working Group
Introductory Meeting
Friday, Sept. 4, 11am – 12pm
The Magnes, 2121 Allston Way

Looking forward to meeting you all there!

Your BDHWG co-conveners,
Camille and Scott