Digitorium 2019 – Program of Events

Day 1 – Thu Oct. 10

9:30am – 5:00pm   Registration

10:30am – 11:20am  Paper presentations (Birmingham/Central)

Learning/Teaching R to Analyze a Discipline; Nathan Loewen, Jackson Foster

A professor and undergraduate are collaborating to study an issue for philosophers of religion: is its paradigm a Western, theistic one whose scope does not integrate new methods and data? The presentation discusses their project, which uses machine learning to analyze entire journals. The early results from their project will show the usefulness of the approach to analyze the philosophy of religion as a discourse, and, whether machine learning might be able to plot viable avenues to widen the scope of future scholarship. The presentation also explains how humanities scholars may collaborate with others to obtain competencies computational research.

Implications of Recent Work in Quantitative Text Analysis for Formalist Literary Theory; Andrew Ash

Although the quantitative analysis of literary texts is generally known by the moniker “distant reading,” Franco Moretti, who coined and popularized the phrase, has since come to refer to this kind of literary analysis as “quantitative formalism.” My presentation will follow up on this shift by discussing the implications of recent work in quantitative textual analysis on formalist literary theory.

11:30am – 12:20pm  Paper presentations (Birmingham/Central)

How Much Statistical Data Can Be Recovered from Alabama Football History? Piloting a Crowdsourced Approach Using Wikibase as Data Repository; Steven L. MacCall, PhD, Huapu Liu, MLIS, Melissa Anderson

We present on a pilot project that investigates the recoverability of historical statistical play-by-play data from the documentary football collection at the Paul W. Bryant Museum at the University of Alabama using Wikibase as our data repository. The recovery of data from the historical record for purposes of reconstructing the past in digital form is an active area of research across many areas, such as the recovery of climate data from historical ships’ logbooks. Our crowdsourced approach will involve volunteers who will read documentary materials in order to “mine” statistical play-by-play data from the 1992 and 1961 Alabama football season.

Entertaining America: Small Towns and Mass Culture in the United States, 1870-1920; Samuel Backer

Developed in conjunction with a course taught at Johns Hopkins University, and created with the support of a University Technology Fellowship, Entertaining America uses ArcGIS mapping to recreate the true geographic diversity of popular entertainment in the late 19th century. Examining a set of 15 small towns throughout the United States over the period between 1870 and 1920, the project uses digitized, key-word searchable newspapers to create a database of performances, venues, and artists, which are then mapped against the historical layout of the towns. Combining spatial history with close social analysis, the Entertaining America project demonstrates the potential of digital pedagogy to bring together a wide array of researchers of various skill levels to produce new arrays of historical knowledge.

12:30pm – 2:00pm   Lunch (on your own)

2:00pm – 2:50pm   Roundtable Panel (Smith Board Room)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Digital Pedagogy; Critical Digital Pedagogy Workgroup

This session will be a roundtable discussion with several members of the Critical Digital Pedagogy workgroup at UA to address how we use digital humanities and scholarship to reach diverse audiences and promote inclusion. It will be open for the audience to participate, give insight, and learn how to make their classrooms more accessible to diverse audiences.

3:00pm – 4:50pm   Workshop (Smith Board Room)

What color is it? The Digital Color Quandary; Marcy L. Koontz, PhD and Amanda J. Thompson, PhD

Accurately identifying the color of an artifact in situ usually requires the use of a spectrophotometer and a Munsell color chart. Once determined, the translation of color often gets altered as photographs are taken and uploaded to online databases, printed or viewed on a variety of screens of variable calibration. This workshop introduces participants to NIX TM, a portable spectrophotometer and mobile app. Participants, working in teams of two, will use this spectrophotometer and a custom grid system to measure the color readings of an artifact then input the data into a spreadsheet to calculate its actual CIE L*a*b*color.


Day 2 – Fri Oct. 11

8:00am – 4:00pm   Registration

8:10am – 8:55am   Demonstrations (Birmingham/Central)

Kell Hall: Capturing the Legacy; Spencer Roberts

Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Kell Hall is significant for its own history and for the role it played in the development of the city in the early 20th century. Originally a parking garage, the building has been modified innumerable times during its time as part of Georgia State University. In 2018, Georgia State University Library and the Student Innovation Fellowship partnered with Beam Imagination to capture the histories of Kell Hall. Our project includes a virtual tour, a 3D model of the building, a collection of related documents and stories, and a narrative history of the building.

Dancing Digital; Rebecca Salzer

One of the challenges for dance scholarship and education is its intangibility. In addition to dance notation, film and video are widely used as a form of dance “text,” allowing for both preservation and analysis. While recording dance has become easier, significant barriers still prevent access to high-quality online dance resources. In May, 2010, a working group led by University of Alabama faculty member, Rebecca Salzer, met to design a pilot online dance resource that fills this gap. This demonstration shares the group’s design, which includes innovative dance scholarship and a pioneering approach to using digital space.

9:00am – 10:15am   Plenary (Birmingham/Central)

Dr. Sarah Ketchley

Dr. Sarah Ketchley is a lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. Her current research and teaching interests include the history of the ‘Golden Age’ Egyptology at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. She has developed and taught introductory-level courses in Digital Humanities for undergraduate and graduate students. In 2012, Ketchley co-founded Newbook Digital Texts, an innovative digital humanities publishing house re-imagining and restructuring traditional academic research, publication, and education. Newbook’s flourishing internship program offers students the unique opportunity to work with primary source material, to transcribe and encode texts, and to create digital maps and visualizations.

10:30am – 11:20am   Workshop (Smith Board Room)

Viral Media & Fake News: Witch Hunts in the Modern Age A Case Study; Courtney Parker and M.K. Foster

Presented as collaborative gameplay and discussion, this presentation will explore the consequences of toxic storytelling and the viral nature of fear-based messaging. Set against the backdrop of 21st-century social media use, our project asks how university classroom practices can intervene in and redirect the cultural and political tension in which students are digitally immersed. Gameplay will be followed by discussion that builds upon the “Witch Hunt” framework to think through its resonances in current classrooms, future developments of its features, and how it translates as a strategy for other disciplines.

11:30am – 1:00pm   Lunch (provided)

1:00pm – 1:50pm   Panel (Birmingham/Central)

Curating Online-Bringing the Museum and Archives to the Digital Environment; Robert Cassanello, James N. McAllister, Julian C. Chambliss, Julia Brock

Museums and Archives around the world have been in the process of “Connecting to the Digital World” by shaping a digital presence online for visitors and users. This panel will examine the ways in which these museum and archives project navigate what it means to create a digital footprint in an online environment and the ways in which the theories and notions of curating in a physical space translate to the digital.

2:00pm – 2:50pm   Paper presentations (Birmingham/Central)

White Eyes, Red Lens: A 21st-century Interpretation of Assimilation and Agency across Place, Race, and Time; Marcy L. Galbreath, Amy L. Giroux, and Mike Shier

Using the theories of Mary Louise Pratt’s contact zones and Krista Ratcliffe’s rhetorical listening, this research explores the drawings of the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, and Caddo prisoners who were held in St. Augustine, Florida, from 1875 to 1878. We explore these original documents in a digital recreation produced with creative digital tools such as Premier, Photoshop, and Audacity, and the collaboration of voice actors, musicians, and amateur animators. The resultant video installation explores the prisoners’ journey through multiple modes by contrasting their artwork with other artifacts that shaped the situation, including drawings, maps, photographs, documents, news reports, and letters.

Between a “Thing” and an “Image”: Reinterpreting the Archive in the Digital Space; Elizabeth Berkowitz

This paper uses the Rockefeller Archive Center’s (RAC’s) digital storytelling platform to describe a realignment of the relationship between physical material and its digital presence. In digital media, the appeal and potential reach of an archival story is measured by the appeal of a story’s corresponding image. The RAC’s materials are primarily grant reports and other, visually uninteresting documents ill-fit for the web’s image-centric demands. This paper documents the epistemological shift necessary to give meaning to RAC materials in the digital space, and demonstrates how digital interpretation opens access to material, and yet alters it in equal measure.

3:00pm – 3:50pm   Paper presentations (Birmingham/Central)

“The Miracle of Human Speech”: The Howard Thurman Digital Archive; Spencer Roberts

Bo Adams and Spencer Roberts from Pitts Theology Library discuss the origins of the Howard Thurman Digital Archive, a digital audio collection of Thurman’s speeches, lectures, sermons, and interviews. The presentation will include discussion of the technology involved in the process of digitization and transcription, the design of the digital project site, future plans for the project, and the outcomes of our planned community engagement activities.

Creativity and Constraint: Using Library Archives in multimodal composition; Joshua Hussey

This presentation will discuss creative making and the library archives, demonstrating sample digital methods and curricula in multimodal English composition courses taught at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, from 2014-2018. Describing the unique connections possible between archival research projects and digital methods — in such places as Omeka curation, narrative design, and hypertext game creation, — this presentation considers how formal constraints administered in the creative making process help meet advanced learning goals in digital project development, collaboration, and research skills. Using archives as a treasure-house of collected ephemera and phenomena and applying narrative-based creative projects as a means of presenting information, these methods ask students to interpret primary materials in order to direct an audience toward an understanding of historical information.

4:00pm – 4:50pm   Paper presentations (Birmingham/Central)

« Tout le Monde » : A DH Collaborative Pro-ject/-cess for L2 French; Stephanie Pellet, Carrie Johnston

This presentation chronicles the history of Tout le Monde, a French language-learning platform promoting a literacy-based curriculum that is socially inclusive and encourages knowledge co-construction. The presentation will highlight the collaborators’ iterative process of building, adapting, and revising the platform, based on student learning outcomes and instructor feedback. To illustrate the platform’s iterations and the collaborative nature of this work, presenters will live-demo the site through web-archived past versions and interacting with the site’s current iteration. The presentation thus illustrates how social pedagogy can capitalize on DH to offer learners a novel role, breaking away from the traditional teacher-student dichotomy.

Describing rhetoric strategies in the writer’s language and vocabulary using Sprague’s Corpus; Ream Alghamdi

The study assessed rhetoric strategies and vocabulary used by Sprague when describing the long Seminole wars in both financial and human terms. The research used a data visualization platform, Voyant a tool that uses a graph to analyze the text and ultimately helps to read between the lines. Thus, the research instrument is vital because the researcher gets numerous textual data that can help assess language and communication strategies the writer employed to describe the language and vocabulary of the war.

5:00pm   Dinner (on your own)


Day 3 – Sat Oct. 12

8:10am – 8:55am   Demonstrations (Birmingham/Central)

Tracking Doctor Faustus as a Disease; Brian Kokensparger

The NCBI database provides a Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) to “find regions of similarity between biological sequences.”  This tool is used to track mutations in disease vectors. An HAMNET search reveals over thirty versions of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.  Using analysis performed over 4 dimensions, a sequence was generated in the same format used by the BLAST tool, where nucleotide bases are coded as a/c/g/t.  This provided a sequencing of specific versions of the play into a format accepted by biological sequencing applications, allowing for tracking strains of the Doctor Faustus “epidemic,” including mapping and predictive mutation.

Coptic in Kentucky: Using Existing Technologies for Research; Charles Loder

In the Fall of 2018, the library at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary partnered with faculty for a seminar on Coptic. For the students, the aim of the seminar was to learn the grammar of Coptic and gain familiarity transcribing manuscripts, but for the library, the goal was to gain information on the unstudied fragments. We partnered together by digitizing the fragments and making them available online via Google Drive. Students were then able to study the fragments and create transcriptions which will be used for transcriptions and cataloging metadata.

9:00am – 10:15am   Plenary (Birmingham/Central)

Dr. Sharon Leon

Dr. Sharon Leon is an associate professor in History at Michigan State University. Leon has a two-pronged interest research focus. She is working on a digital project looking at the communities and experiences of people enslaved and sold by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in the 18th and 19th centuries. Sharon is also prolific in the field of Digital Public History. She is the Director of the Omeka web publishing platform family. She has also served leadership roles in many projects from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University as the Director of Public Projects. Some of those projects include Histories of the National Mall, September 11 Digital Archive, Bracero History Archive, and Scripto.

10:15am – 11:30am   Brunch

11:30am – 1:00pm   Workshop (Smith Board Room)

Learn Omeka S; Sharon Leon & Julian Chambliss (CEDAR)

Omeka S is an open-source, free web-publishing platform built for, among other things, collections management and interpretive exhibits. This workshop will introduce attendees to the fundamentals of digitization and metadata curation, the building blocks of Omeka S, and the basics of digital preservation.

1:00pm – 1:30pm   Conference wrap-up