Digital Humanities Symposium 2015: Explorations of Technology in Humanities Research

The University Library’s Scholarly Commons and the Institute of Computing in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) are pleased to announce the 2015 Digital Humanities Symposium on February 27-28, 2015.

Hands-on workshops will be held on the evening of February 27th at the Main Library, and will feature leading digital humanities practitioners from UIUC teaching on topics such as text analysis, geographical information systems, and data visualization.  This will be followed by a day-long research symposium featuring leading researchers in digital humanities presenting on current digital research and methodologies on February 28th at Lincoln Hall.

Learn about digital humanities tools and research methods from UIUC faculty and experts, and join us in building a research community for digital humanities practitioners at Illinois. Featured keynote speaker will be Jennifer Guiliano, assistant professor of history at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Registration is FREE at:

For more information, visit

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Save the Date! HathiTrust Research Center UnCamp

The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) is hosting its third annual HTRC UnCamp in March at the University of Michigan Palmer Commons. The UnCamp is part hands-on coding and demonstration, part inspirational use-cases, part community building, and part informational, all structured in the dynamic setting of an un-conference programming format. It has visionary speakers mixed with boot-camp activities and hands-on sessions with HTRC infrastructure and tools.

When: March 30-31st, 2015, 8:00am – 5:00pm

Where: University of Michigan Palmer Commons

100 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2218

Who should attend? The HTRC UnCamp is targeted to digital humanities tool developers, researchers, librarians of HathiTrust member institutions, and graduate students. Attendees will be asked for their input in planning sessions, so please plan to register early!

Registration will be open the first week of February.

As it becomes available, additional information about the UnCamp will be posted to

Questions? Contact Ryan Dubnicek, HTRC Executive Assistant, at

Hope to see you in Ann Arbor!

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2015 University of Illinois Digital Humanities Symposium: Explorations of Technology in Humanities Research

The University Library’s Scholarly Commons and the Institute of Computing in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (I-CHASS) are pleased to announce the 2015 Digital Humanities Symposium.

When: February 27-28, 2015

Where: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Learn about digital humanities tools and research methods from UIUC faculty and experts, and join us in building a research community for digital humanities practitioners at Illinois. Featrued keynote speaker will be Jennifer Guiliano, assistant professor of history at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis.

Registration is free!

More details to come at



The 2015 Digital Humanities Symposium will feature a poster session and we invite submission of poster proposals from students, researchers, and faculty on any aspect of digital humanities.

This could include:

  • Humanities research enabled through digital media, data mining, software studies, or information design and modeling;
  • Computer applications in literary, linguistic, cultural, and historical studies, including electronic literature, public humanities, and interdisciplinary aspects of modern scholarship;
  • Digital arts, architecture, music, film, theater, new media, digital games, and related areas of creation and curation of humanities digital resources;
  • Social, institutional, global, multilingual, and multicultural aspects of digital humanities and digital humanities in pedagogy and academic curricula.

Submitted poster abstracts (100 to 250 words) may describe work on any relevant topic and are intended to be interactive, with the opportunity to exchange ideas one-on-one with attendees.

Deadline for Submission: December 20, 2015, 11:59pm Central

Submit your online abstract here:

Presenters will be notified of acceptance by January 10, 2015.

Questions? Contact Harriett Green at or Sarah Christensen at



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Tableau Day at UIUC

Tableau allows you to tell the story of your data by helping you to create beautiful, rich, interactive data visualizations. See the latest version of Tableau 8.2 which includes a Mac OS for desktop, Story Points for sharing the narrative of your data, and much more.

Students, faculty, and staff are invited to discover the ways in which using Tableau could help them to gain new insights into their data. During Tableau Day you can expect to connect with Tableau users, share best practices, and learn new approaches to working with data.

When: Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:30-3:00pm

The day will be split between a morning and afternoon session with a free lunch from 12-1pm. Check out the full agenda for the day when you register at the WebStore.

Where: 1304 W Springfield, Urbana, IL (Map Link). The event will be held in the Digital Computer Lab Room L410 DCL

Registration is free and required. You can register at the WebStore.

If you’re interested in sharing your Tableau work during the User Group or have general questions, you may contact Greg Lyons ( from Tableau Software or Judi Geistlinger ( from the U of IL WebStore/CITES team.

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Digital humanities workshop exploring Emblematica Online

Our next Explorations in Digital Humanities workshop focuses on new developments with Emblematica Online.

Thursday, November 20, 2014
4:00 – 5:00 PM
308 Library

Presentations will provide a brief history and description of the project, its model of undergraduate research, and demonstrate sample searches within the OpenEmblem Portal and across international projects which employ Iconclass metadata indexing.

Presenters for this workshop include:
Mara R. Wade, PI
Co-presenters: Johannes Fröhlich, RA; Patricia Fleming, Heidi Heim, Melina Nunez, Undergraduate Emblem Scholars

Emblematica Online currently makes 1,388 digital facsimiles and ~22,000 individual emblems from rare Renaissance books at the University of Illinois Library and the Herzog August Bibliothek, Glasgow University, Utrecht University, Getty Research Institute Library, and Duke University Library, available for searching and browsing at various levels of granularity.

Emblematica Online is funded by National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Illinois GIS Day and the Amazing Waste Race- Sign Up Today!

Illinois GIS Day will be held November 19, 2014 at the iHotel and Conference Center. Register here soon to reserve your spot! This program is part of the worldwide GIS day celebration designed to promote geospatial technology and its power to transform and improve our lives.

The program will feature lightning talks, poster presentations, and a keynote address from Harriet Festing, director of the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Water Program. The full agenda is available here.

Want to gain experience using GIS tools while tracking down trash on campus? Join The Amazing Waste Race GPS Blitz Competition! Illinois GIS Day 2014 is partnering with the University of Illinois Facilities and Services department to help them identify where waste receptacles are located throughout campus. The race is on to see who can find the most! There will be prizes for all who participate and a grand prize for the winning team.

Teams will be using ArcGIS Online and the Collector for ArcGIS mobile app. By participating in the competition, you will learn how to use these tools in a real world scenario. Not sure how to use ArcGIS technology? Visit the online tutorial. An informational meeting will be held Friday, November 7, at 12:30pm in room 314 of the Main Library to help improve your ArcGIS Online and Collector for ArcGIS skills. If you have questions, you can contact James Whitacre, the GIS Specialist at the Library, for more information. The prizes will be distributed at Illinois GIS Day.  Sign up for the competition here.

For more information about Illinois GIS Day, visit Facebook page or follow on Twitter!

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ICPSR Research Paper Competition Now Accepting Entries

The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is now accepting entries for their Research Paper Competition. Entries will be accepted from both graduate and undergraduate students (or recent graduates who graduated on or after April 1, 2014.). Papers can be based on any topic from the ICPSR General Archive or Thematic Collection.

Awards include: $1,000 for first place and $750 for second place

Visit the ICPSR contest page for more info on how to enter the contest as well as view examples of past winning papers.

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THAT Camp – Chicago

Interested in attending a THAT Camp? Now is your chance! The camp meets on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago. It will last from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The cost is $20 (collected at the door), which helps cover some of the costs of holding the event. There are still some seats available! All are invited, but the attendance is capped at 50 people, so please sign up early and make proposals!

For those not familiar with them, The Humanities and Technology Camps (THAT Camps) are open, welcoming meetings where participants learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot. Anyone who is working on a digital humanities project, or who wants to learn about starting one, is welcome. You can learn more about how they work at the About THATCamp page.

THATCamp HSS 2014 is held in conjunction with the History of Science Society meeting this fall in Chicago. People of all skill levels and humanities interests are encouraged to attend. You can register here.

Sponsors include the IsisCB and the University of Chicago Press – Journals Division.

Follow updates for the camp on Twitter @THATCampHSS. Please use the hashtag #thatcampHSS.

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Using Voyant Tools for Basic Text Analysis

Voyant Tools is an open source web-based application that allows users to work with their own texts or existing text collections to perform basic text mining functions. These functions make it possible to quickly extract characteristics from a corpus and discover themes. Voyant Tools is available for free at From here, users can input the text to be analyzed in multiple ways. Follow the steps below to get started.

Loading Texts

For a basic single text: paste the text into the text box.

For text from webpages: enter the URLs of the webpages into the text box, listing each URL on a   separate line.

For plain text, HTML, XML, PDF, RTF or MS Word: select the “Upload” button beneath the text box. Click “Add” for each new document and “Upload” when all documents have been added.

To use Voyant’s pre-existing text collections: select “Open” and choose from the drop down list. Currently available are the Humanist Listserv Archives and Shakespeare’s Plays.

After the text is in place, select “Reveal.”

Basic Analysis Tools

After “revealing” the text, three tools will automatically appear: Cirrus, Summary, and Corpus Reader.

Cirrus displays a word cloud of highest frequency terms. Hovering over certain words will reveal their frequency. Clicking on a word will reveal more information including a word trends graph. In order to remove articles such as “the” and “and” from the word cloud, select the cog tool above the Cirrus feature. Select the language of the text from the drop down list and then click “Ok.” This will remove stop words from the word cloud revealing a more meaningful representation.

The Summary tool will provide information about the text or group of texts including total number of documents and words, length of documents, and distinctive words in each text. This will also draw out notable peaks in frequency and vocabulary density.

The Corpus Reader will reveal the texts in the corpus allowing the user to hover over words within the text to reveal frequency and more information.

To see the additional tools of Word Trends, Keywords in Context, and Words in Documents, click on the double-arrow icon in the upper right corner. Click on the single arrow icons to open all of the windows, and use the toolbars in the bottom of their panes to generate results.

More tools are available here.

Exporting Data

Above each tool, there is a disk icon that can be selected to export data from that tool. Users will have the option to save the data as an image or a URL that will return to that data. Exporting data will prevent the need to upload the same texts each time they are required.

For more information on using Voyant Tools, see this guide and additional documentation.

To see Voyant Tools in use, explore these examples.




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Docear – The Visual Citation Manager

Citation managers are incredibly helpful tools for organizing the work that we do as researchers. The ability they give us to search, sort, arrange, annotate, and create bibliographies serves as a great time-saver when it comes to the research process. We spend a lot of time carefully highlighting and annotating our resources, so wouldn’t it be nice if we could easily extract those annotations as we begin drafting our papers? Earlier this month, a patron alerted us to a new citation manager that allows you to do just that!

Born from a PhD project and supported by the University of California, Berkeley, and the DKE Group of the OvGU, Docear helps users organize, create, and discover academic literature. Docear was first officially released to the public in 2012 and its latest update included a new Microsoft Word add-on.This open-source (FREE) software is the first of its kind to offer a feature that allows you to begin drafting your paper right in the user interface.


There are three main features that distinguish Docear from other citation managers.

Single-section user-interface While it does offer a classic three-section interface, Docear’s single-interface setting is what sets it apart. This interface allows users to browse multiple documents of multiple categories at the same time as well as multiple annotations of multiple documents at the same time. This could allow users to locate particular annotations very quickly rather than scrolling through an entire list of annotations for one document. Users can also create sub-categories within PDFs in order to search “key terms” within annotations. The downside to this approach is that it is not very intuitive and could take some time to master.

Literature suite concept (academic suite) Docear combines several tools into a single application by useing a technique called “Mind Maps.” This unique approach to organizing references and PDFs is a visual learner’s dream.

Here is a break down of the hierarchy of a Mind Map: The root node typically represents the title of your work > Nodes in the first level represent chapter headings > then follow sub-headings > paragraphs > finally users may create a node for each sentence. Here is an example of a Mind Map.

The enhanced formatting capabilities of Docear allow users to format text, add icons, change colors of the categories, and add visual links between papers in order to better distinguish between sources.

Docear also offers a “recommender system” (similar to the Mendeley’s recommendation feature) that suggest papers that may be relevant to your research. All papers that Docear recommends are available for free in full-text.

Document Drafting and Outlining — Drafting your own papers, assignments, books, theses, etc. is the defining feature of Docear. To get started with this, users have the option to copy PDFs, annotations, and references to drafts. As users write, this will enable them to click over to the PDF they need and immediately access the page and annotation they wish to use.

Keep in mind that Docear is a very new product with a few bugs to work out. For example, there is not currently a web-importer. Click here for some instructions from Docear on how to import documents. It also doesn’t have the capability for integrated synchronization of data, but it does allow for users to synchronize data with 3rd party tools such as Drobpbox. As it grows, it could be the tool you’ve been waiting for to help streamline your workflow. Docear is free to download, so give it a try! There are constant improvements and updates being made to Docear. You can track those on the Docear blog to stay up-to-date. There is no such thing as the perfect citation manager, but there is such a thing as the perfect citation manager for you. Docear could be the one!

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