Digital Humanities has become quite the buzzword of the academy in the last few years as the community recognizes the new areas of inquiry opened by this field and methodology. In order to further explore this area, I am attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria. It has been quite the whirlwind! Over 600 people have congregated to learn, share and make together over a week. Wide ranges of courses are offered in areas such as TEI, GIS, networks, mapping, pedagogy, gaming and project management. I enrolled in Data Mining for Humanists.
The course has been exciting and intense. We are rapidly exploring data mining techniques such as Bayesian classification and support vector machines. The instructor has paired this with a crash course in probability that has been key to understanding the probabilistic approaches such as naive Bayes. The only drawback is that we aren’t programming along the way, which makes it difficult to move from the abstract to the hands-on. I hope we will work closer with the scikit-learn Python package we were asked to install before attending, as actually working through some data will help solidify the concepts.
On a side note, I began using IPython Notebook, which sits on your computer but runs on your browser. It allows you to easily edit, run and plot code. You can also share your notebooks easily. If you are using Python, I suggest exploring it!
Crossposted from my own site. Delayed for no particular reason.
A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to be able to attend the 2013 edition of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia (w00t! international travel!) and figured I owe the reading public a report.
First of all, this certainly feels like a big event. Once upon a time it wasn't that many people (the site archive doesn't list participants until 2004, but we can see that the 2001 edition had 2 courses), but it has grown tremendously over the years, hitting 22 courses and nearly 500 people here in 2013. And that's not taking into account the three events put on by the institute but not in the summer. Consequently, while I can understand people talking about making lifelong friends at the event, I think these days that's harder unless you return over multiple years. It was big enough that I didn't feel bad skipping some of the planned events in order to go out for lunch or just let my brain rest a bit.
Second, I highly encourage anyone considering attending to see whether they can score a seat in Jennifer Guiliano's course on "Issues in Large Project Planning and Management". This was what I took, and it may have changed my work life. It would be fair to say that I am a convert to project management thinking and practice, though the former may be more important than the latter. Some of the more important lessons from the course for me: