This semester, the Humanities Research Center, the Center for Research Computing, and the Digital Scholarship Services department at Fondren are experimenting with a digital humanities workshop series format that weaves together:
- Practical coding skills,
- Theoretical discussions of the utility and significance of specific tools and techniques,
- And introductions to resources available for humanities and social sciences research computing at Rice.
Our October 26 workshop (3pm, the Digital Media Commons room in Fondren’s basement) focuses on public, web-based API’s (application programming interfaces) as objects of use and study for researchers. API’s provide users structured access to complex process and data sets, such as Twitter’s massive database of public social media activity, or JSTOR’s search functionality. This structured access makes it easy to piggyback lightweight applications on bigger applications, to produce outsized results.
To show how using big data creatively can help us to revise humanities computing methodologies, we will also be looking at a Shakespeare intertextual reader that I built using JSTOR data. It takes ~100,000 lines in Shakespeare, referenced by ~70,000 articles in the JSTOR database, to make ~4.5 million associations between these individual lines. You can see similar (but simpler) co-citational work elsewhere on this blog.
My first implementation of this dataset was to build a recommendation engine for Shakespeare passages — except that the recommenders here are the expert Shakespeare scholars in the JSTOR database. We are temporarily hosting this application (called Ariel) on Rice servers for the workshop:
Workshop attendees will learn:
- A few quick methods for interacting with the JSTOR API to gain access to big, structured data,
- A few quick methods for handling all that data,
- And we will look at the nuts and bolts of Ariel, an example implementation of JSTOR’s Shakespeare dataset.
For this workshop, please install:
- The Firefox Browser
- The SQLite Manager plugin for Firefox
- TextWrangler (if you don’t already have a good text editor for coding)
And please register for:
Email me with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Put the event in your calendar at events.rice.edu