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Students

Student Spotlight: Alex Seo & TXTDS Minor Capstone

This guest post is written by Linguistics and TXTDS student Alex Seo, who recently completed the Textual Studies and Digital Humanities (TXTDS) minor Capstone project. Images courtesy of Assistant Book Arts Librarian Kat Lewis.


Introduction

I am a Linguistics major with a minor in Textual Studies and Digital Humanities, and a minor in Data Science. I have been part of the UW Textual Studies program since Winter 2022, when I took the Text, Publics, and Publication course and started volunteering at UW Special Collections. Since then, I have had the opportunity to explore a wide range of related subjects such as digital publishing, book arts, and archival studies. It was a valuable experience learning how to analyze, organize, transform, and curate materials. I’m very thankful that I discovered this field – I didn’t know that it existed, let alone what it entailed, but I gained a lot from it and ended up enjoying it so much.

Examples from the 19th century publishers bindings collection

Capstone

My capstone, in short, was putting together a database, but the foundation for it was built upon the volunteer work that I mentioned above. The first task that I took on was surveying and cataloging a digital repository that contained a variety of items. With the help of my supervisor, I was able to familiarize myself with the process of constructing a directory, including how to effectively organize data and to create metadata.

Based on what I had learned, I was able to start a functional database for my capstone. The Rare Books and Book Arts Collections had acquired a sizable digital archive containing scans of 19th century publishers’ bindings. However, the archive hadn’t been accessible, and it had been difficult to find items within it. The database aims to solve such problems.

I was accustomed to the framework and the descriptive writing that were to be featured in the capstone project. Yet, there was a new challenge of prioritizing user experience. I placed heavier focus on the effectiveness of targeting and retrieval, which required more consistent and strictly formatted metadata. I also wrote notes that would help with using the database, discussing the information that can be found in the database.

The database is currently stored in a physical hard drive. On the sidebar of UW Special Collections Rare Books and Book Arts Collection – 19th Century American Literature webpage, there is a section that acknowledges the database, so that people may visit and consult it. Although it currently only covers a portion of the archive, it offers a searchable guide through the stacks of publishers’ bindings that belong to UW Special Collections.

Thoughts

I feel very fortunate to have contributed to the digital representation of UW Special Collections. It’s exciting to think that my work could improve the accessibility of the collection, and potentially assist various projects. I would like to thank the UW Textual Studies faculty and UW library staff that have not only given me the opportunity but also provided generous guidance throughout my capstone.

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Announcements Faculty & Staff Research

Melanie Walsh Receives NEH DH Advancement Grant

Congratulations to iSchool Professor and Textual Studies faculty Melanie Walsh, who has received a Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities!

Walsh is a co-project director with Matthew Wilkens and David Mimno from the Department of Information Science at Cornell University. Their project, “BERT for Humanists,” will develop case studies about and professional development workshops on the use of BERT (bidirectional encoder representations from transformers) for humanities scholars and students interested in large-scale text analysis.

We asked Walsh to tell us a little more about BERT, and how AI and machine reading are and will be pertinent for literary and humanistic study. She kindly provided us with the following response.


Large language models (LLMs) like Google’s BERT and OpenAI’s GPT-3 can now generate text, answer questions, summarize documents, and translate between languages—both human and programming—with levels of accuracy and quality that have never been seen before. Most recently, in November 2022, OpenAI released a chatbot called ChatGPT, built on the slightly revised GPT-3.5 model, which launched the impressive capabilities and concerning limitations of LLMs into the public eye like no model had before. 

The BERT for Humanists project, which received an NEH Level I Digital Humanities Advancement Grant in 2021 and an NEH Level III Digital Humanities Advancement Grant in 2023, seeks to make LLMs accessible to humanities scholars so that they can better use, understand, and critique them. The project explores how these technologies, which have revolutionized the field of natural language processing (NLP), might be applied to humanistic text collections and enable scholars to answer humanistic research questions. For example, LLMs can potentially be used to trace how literary genres change over time, analyze how fictional characters interact with each other, or identify and track migration patterns from the locations mentioned in historical documents. 

However, there are serious barriers to humanities scholars adopting these technologies in their work and other challenges and concerns. The texts that we study in the humanities are often trickier and more complex than the texts used and studied in NLP contexts — humanistic texts are typically longer, more archaic, and more ambiguous — and NLP tools are not typically designed with humanities scholars’ skillsets or use cases in mind. Plus there are many other ethical, social, and legal questions that have been raised by these models, such as their well-documented biases or their potential to harm living people. For example, LLMs are “trained” on billions of texts and images scraped from the web, which includes the works of living artists and writers, who are not notified, credited, or compensated for their work. These technologies may consequently harm, exploit, and displace living artists. The BERT for Humanists project thus seeks to bridge the technical gap between LLMs and the humanities, but also to inform and empower humanities scholars so that they can appropriately critique these models and fully understand their flaws and limitations.  

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Announcements

December Opportunities

This post will be expanded as new opportunities are found. First published November 29, 2022, latest revision December 21, 2022.

Sources: Bibliographic Society of America newsletter, Penn Workshop in the History of Material Texts listserv, Twitter, TXTDS-affiliated faculty.

Events

  • AAS Book Talk
    “Publishing Plates: Stereotyping and Electrotyping in Nineteenth-Century US Print Culture,” Jeffrey Makala. Online, 11a Pacific (2p Eastern), December 1, 2022.
  • Python Introductory Workshop
    Naomi Alterman of the UW eScience Institute will lead an intro workshop to the Python programming language as a tool for qualitative humanities work. In person, 9a-12p Pacific, MGH 076, Friday, December 2, 2022.
  • Workshop in the History of Material Texts
    Chi-ming Yang (Penn), “Finding Octavia E. Butler in the Archives and around Black Pasadena,” hybrid event from University of Pennsylvania Material Texts program. 2:15p Pacific (5:15p Eastern), December 5, 2022.
  • Coffee with a Codex
    “In the Stars” online show and tell event from University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies with Curator Dot Porter. Zoom, Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 9a Pacific (12p Eastern).
  • Aeromoto Library webinar
    “Activing Aeromoto Library: Cultivating Community-Based Curation Curiosity, and Imagination,” sponsored by BSA. Online via Zoom, 12p Pacific (1p CDMX), December 7, 2022.
  • SIMS Online Lecture Series
    Federico Botana (Institute of English Studies, University of London & 2022-23 Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies Visiting Research Fellow), “The Card Index of Leo Olschki and the Trade in Medieval Manuscripts in the Early 20th Century.” Online, 9a Pacific (12-1:30p Eastern), December 9, 2022.
  • Coffee with a Codex
    “Genealogical Roll” online show and tell event from University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies with Curator Dot Porter. Zoom, Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 9a Pacific (12p Eastern).
  • University of Washington Libraries Special Collections Exhibit
    In-person exhibit in UW Special Collections, “Invisible Cities: The Prints of Giovanni Battisti Piranesi and the Art of the Built Environment.” On display through March 18, 2023.

Calls for Proposals

  • AI and Archives Symposium
    CFP for Full Stack Feminism, Women in Focus, and the Sussex Humanities Lab symposium at University of Sussex (UK) / hybrid, April 27-28, 2023. Deadline: Monday, January 9, 2023.
  • Humanities Data Science Summer Institute
    Calls for applications for faculty/staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students for an institute hosted by the UW Data Science Minor. Deadline: January 15, 2023.
  • SHARP 2023 Conference
    CFP for the online conference for the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP), “Affordances and Interfaces: Textual Interactions Past, Present, and Future.” Conference dates: June 26-29, 2023. Deadline: January 15, 2023.
  • RBMS 2023 Conference
    CFP for the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section (of the American Library Association) annual meeting. Submission portal to open in November, deadline: January 20, 2023.
  • Caribbean Digital Scholarship Summer Institute
    Call for applications to week-long residential DH institute at University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) June 11-17, 2023 from the Caribbean Digital Scholarship Collective. Information session: January 17, 2023. Application deadline: January 31, 2023.
  • BSC Annual Conference
    CFP for the Bibliographical Society of Canada’s annual conference at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, York University, May 29-30, 2023. Theme: “Book: Re-imagined and Re-born.” Deadline: January 31, 2023.
  • International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing
    CFP for special issue, “Digital Humanities Pedagogies in Times of Crisis.” Deadline: January 31, 2023.
  • Digital Humanities Summer Institute
    Multiple CFPs for the fully-online second week programming for DHSI. See link for themes. Deadline: February 10, 2023.
  • Manuscript Studies Journal
    CFP for Spring 2024 issue and beyond of Manuscript Studies from SIMS at University of Pennsylvania. Submissions accepted continuously. Deadline for next issue: June 30, 2023 (peer reviewed articles) or August 31, 2023 (non-peer reviewed annotations).

Funding & Awards

Jobs & Fellowships

Categories
Announcements

Beginner Python Workshop

University of Washington students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in the workshop, “Python, Your Personal Research Assistant” this Friday, December 2 at 9 am to 12 pm on the Seattle campus.

The workshop, led by Naomi Alterman from the UW eScience Institute, offers an introduction to the Python programming language as a tool to aid in qualitative humanities work. Together, we will learn how to read and make use of Python code to perform repetitive tasks and free ourselves to do the meaningfully human parts of our research. Attendees will leave the workshop with tools to sort Twitter tweets by tone, create random project groups from lists of names, and resources for further learning. No prior technological experience is assumed–this is a workshop for everybody! Sign up here

The workshop will take place in the new Humanities Data Lab (MGH 076) and is hosted in collaboration with the UW Libraries’ Open Scholarship Commons and the eScience Institute.

Categories
Announcements

November Opportunities

This post will be expanded as new opportunities are found. First published October 28, 2022. Latest revision November 23, 2022.

Sources: Bibliographic Society of America newsletter, Penn Workshop in the History of Material Texts listserv, Twitter.

Events

  • Coffee with a Codex: “Antiphonary” online show and tell event from University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies with Curator Dot Porter. Zoom, Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 9a Pacific (12p Eastern).
  • Informational Session: RBS Lang Fellowship: Info session for the Rare Book School’s M. C. Lang Fellowship in Book History, Bibliography, and Humanities Teaching with Historical Sources. Zoom, 4p Pacific (7-8p Eastern), November 1, 2022.
  • “Maps as Text and Text as Maps”: Talk by Katie McDonough (Alan Turing Institute) followed by a tutorial with Ludovic Moncla (National Institute of Applied Sciences & LIRIS Laboratory). In-person at UW campus, 2:30-4:30p Pacific, Wednesday, November 2, 2022.
  • Workshop in the History of Material Texts: Peter Stallybrass (Penn), “The Ten Commandments and/as Erasable Wax Tablets,” hybrid event from University of Pennsylvania Material Texts program. Zoom, 2:15p Pacific (5:15p Eastern), November 7, 2022.
  • Building Digital Humanities Symposium: Digital Humanities Research Initiative open online symposium (free). East Australia Time. November 7-25, 2022.
  • Coffee with a Codex: “Poetry and Prose” online show and tell event from University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies with Curator Dot Porter. Zoom, Tuesday, November 8, 2022, 9a Pacific (12p Eastern).
  • Center for Book Arts online workshop: “Zines! Zines! Zines!” with Beth Sheehan. Wednesday, November 9, 2022, 3p Pacific (6-8 Eastern). Registration deadline: November 2, 2022.
  • Center for the History of Print & Digital Culture book talk: University of Wisconsin at Madison hosts a talk for Christine Pawley on her new book, Organizing Women: Home, Work, and the Institutional Infrastructure of Print in Twentieth-Century America. Zoom, 11:30a Pacific (1:30p Central), Wednesday, November 9, 2022.
    Canceled, will be rescheduled.
  • CDHI Speaker Series talk: Critical Digital Humanities Initiative Visiting Speaker Series, Prof. Elaine Treharne (Stanford University), “New Directions in Manuscript Studies: The Digital and Manual Future.” Online via Zoom, 1p Pacific (4p Eastern), November 9, 2022.
  • Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age: “Translating Science,” hybrid symposium from the University of Pennsylvania. Zoom, November 10-12, 2022.
  • “Victor Hammer, The Man from Uncial”: BSA and University of Kentucky Libraries’ King Library Press sponsored lecture from type designer and independent scholar Richard Kegler. Hybrid event 4p Pacific (7p Eastern), November 11, 2022.
  • Workshop in the History of Material Texts: Marcy Norton (Penn), “Indigenous Epistemology and Early Modern Science: The Creation of ‘De historia animalium Novae Hispaniae’ (1571-1577),” hybrid event from University of Pennsylvania Material Texts program and Department of History. Zoom, 2:15p Pacific (5:15p Eastern), November 14, 2022.
  • BSA/Grolier Club book talk: Dr. Denise Gigante (Stanford University) speaking about her new book Book Madness. Hybrid event, 3p Pacific (6p Eastern), November 14, 2022.
  • Coffee with a Codex: “Persian Herbal” online show and tell event from University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies with Curator Dot Porter. Zoom, Tuesday, November 15, 2022, 9a Pacific (12p Eastern).
  • Center for Book Arts online workshop: “Colors by Nature” with Iviva Olenick. Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 3p Pacific (6-8 Eastern). Registration deadline: November 9, 2022.
  • University of Washington Libraries Special Collections exhibit: In-person exhibit in UW Special Collections, “Invisible Cities: The Prints of Giovanni Battisti Piranesi and the Art of the Built Environment.” On display through March 18, 2023.
    • Exhibit Tour and Book Club Discussion: Exhibit co-curator Kat Lewis will lead tour of the exhibit and discussion of Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi. Allen Library North, Basement, Special Collections Classroom, 5-6:30p, November 16, 2022.
  • Workshop in the History of Material Texts: Margaret McAleer (Library of Congress), “Paper + Digital: No Longer Format Agnostic,” hybrid event from University of Pennsylvania Material Texts program. Zoom, 2:15p Pacific (5:15p Eastern), November 21, 2022.
  • Coffee with a Codex: “Italian Herbal” online show and tell event from University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies with Curator Dot Porter. Zoom, Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 9a Pacific (12p Eastern).
  • Workshop in the History of Material Texts: Julie Davis (Penn), “Learning with the Tress Collection,” “Partnership in the Studio: Reconsidering Ōi and Hokusai,” hybrid event from University of Pennsylvania Material Texts program. Zoom, 2:15p Pacific (5:15p Eastern), November 28, 2022.
  • Coffee with a Codex: “Gradual” online show and tell event from University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies with Curator Dot Porter. Zoom, Tuesday, November 29, 2022, 9a Pacific (12p Eastern).

Calls for Proposals

  • Item Not Found” Virtual Conference: CFP for “Item not Found: Accounting for Loss in Libraries, Archives, and Other Heritage and Memory Institutions. Organized by UCLA Clark Library & Oakland University Libraries, March 8-9, 2023. Abstract deadline: Friday, November 4, 2022.
  • RBMS 2023 Conference: CFP for the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section (of the American Library Association) annual meeting. Submission portal to open in November, deadline: January 20, 2023.
  • BSC Annual Conference: CFP for the Bibliographical Society of Canada’s annual conference at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, York University, May 29-30, 2023. Theme: “Book: Re-imagined and Re-born.” Deadline: January 31, 2023.
  • International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing: CFP for special issue, “Digital Humanities Pedagogies in Times of Crisis.” Deadline: January 31, 2023.

Funding & Awards

Jobs

Categories
Announcements Research

Call for Submissions: ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Geospatial Humanities

The 6th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Geospatial Humanities will be held in conjunction with ACM SIGSPATIAL 2022 International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems in Seattle, WA in November 2022.

The workshop is concerned with the use of geographic information systems and other spatial technologies in humanities research and seeks to bring together researchers and practitioners from computer science, geographical information sciences, and the humanities. Suggested topics include:

  • Gazetteer development (e.g., models, data conflation, semantic technologies, etc.)
  • Ontologies and linked data for modeling geohistorical data
  • Historical and literary geographical information systems
  • Spatio-temporal network analysis in the humanities
  • Text geo-parsing and other NLP techniques for geographical text analysis
  • Deep learning techniques for the spatial humanities
  • Novel approaches for the analysis of vague and imaginary place
  • Spatial simulation in the humanities (e.g., cellular automata and agent-based models)
  • Spatial and spatio-temporal analysis of humanities data
  • Visualization and cartographic representations
  • Handling vague and imprecise historical spatio-temporal data
  • Creating new spatial datasets from historical materials (maps, aerial photography, postal or other directories, newspapers, etc.) using state-of-the art methods
  • Novel approaches for the analysis of humanistic spatial data at scale
  • Applications of the aforementioned techniques

Submissions are due September 2, 2022. For more information on the workshop, paper formats, and how to submit, see the Call for Papers.

Categories
Announcements

CIFNAL Speaker Series on Digital Humanities in French & Francophone Studies

The Collaborative Initiative for French Language Collections (CIFNAL) is a global collaboration under the umbrella of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). The University of Washington Libraries is a member of CRL and CIFNAL and shared this virtual series with us, which will be relevant to both our French & Francophone Studies and Textual Studies folks! Events begin this week and continue all the way through June 2022.

More information available on the CRL website.

Clovis Gladstone: Computational Approaches to Textual Scholarship: the ARTFL Project’s French Digital Collections
February 4, 12-1pm EST
Registration Link: https://ufl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYodeugrTojHNeIssD-daPSy57tRvumwTgn

M. Stephanie Chancy: Preserving Cultural and Historical Patrimony: dLOC Partnerships and Collaborations in Haiti
February 25, 2-3pm EST
Registration Link: https://ufl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUkd-qgqzkrE9UEMOcVUa0CvaXlO6SDW7iC

Darlene Hull (Libros de Barlovento): Plein de Défis : a Book Vendor’s Experience Acquiring Library Materials from Haiti
March 4, 2-3pm EST
Registration Link: https://ufl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYoc-GvpzstGNyC62otaAvYbVnb3ogf1nSj

Jérémie Roche (CAIRN), Julie Therizols (OpenEdition), and Emilie Chouinard (Erudit): The Future of Electronic Publishing in France and Francophone Canada
March 28, 12-1pm EST
Registration Link: https://ufl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYuf-mqqzwtHdUfUVU_jqFfc9IdeE-c07Qh

Nathan H. Dize: Translating Haiti in the Archives of Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
April 15, 12-1pm EST
Registration Link: https://ufl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwldO-hrjIpHNNzGVGgE-bG-90v0WCVIvjw

Quinn Dombrowski: Corpus Hebdo: Building Infrastructure for Multilingual Digital Humanities
May 20, 12-1pm EST
Registration Link: https://ufl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwsfuuopzIuH9bz_pyH4Vp9Nj4c5fsj19ga

Charlotte Denoël: French medieval manuscripts at the BnF: current research programs and future perspectives
June 10, 12-1pm EST
Registration Link: https://ufl.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUrcOCpqTkqGtyZGvwVCpRkJY4Us88EWBxL