Digital Humanities Education

Sample images from student projects: historical menus, 19th century transatlantic travel


Dr. Sarah Ketchley has taught several undergraduate and graduate classes and seminars in Digital Humanities at the University of Washington.  You can explore the syllabi and student work here:

  • Winter 2017: ‘Digitizing the Past’. Freshman Collegium Seminar

Overview: This seminar will give students the opportunity to participate in an active and successful Digital Humanities project. Themes include project and data management, sourcing and structuring data, and ‘making things’ with a range of open source digital tools. This process will provide insights into the challenges of working in a digital environment as well as the great potential it offers to interact with data in new ways. Students will have the opportunity to develop strategies for working effectively and collaboratively in a team environment, developing skills valued by employers in every industry.

  • Spring 2018: LING 575 Re-imagining the ‘Golden Age’ of Egyptian Archaeology : Using NLP to Excavate Historical Texts
    • visit Github to explore digital tools built by students including OCR correction and automated NER markup

Overview: This seminar will address the problem of extracting significant information from collections of primary source historical documents of varying quality and content using computational methods. Students will work with travel journals, letters, excavation reports and ephemera from the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Egyptian archaeology at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. These significant yet understudied documents give the historian a detailed view of the social, geographical and political history of Egypt at the time. Starting with a preliminary collection of journal texts marked up in TEI/XML with a content tag set capturing named entities, students will use computational techniques to scale up work to encode and map a much larger corpus of material. The results of student work will form the basis of data visualizations and analysis of social and historical networks in Egypt and the Near East.

This seminar will offer students a chance to explore how their knowledge of techniques such as named entity recognition, domain adaptation, and sentiment analysis can be applied to support work in digital humanities.  This will involve finding solutions to low-resource scenarios and noisy texts that will likely extend to many other contexts in current applications of NLP.  The seminar will also provide experience in working with collaborators (in this case the instructor, plus possibly other students from other fields) who have domain expertise and NLP-relevant research needs.

Overview: A no-prerequisite undergraduate survey course intended as an introduction to the concepts, methodologies and ongoing projects in this developing and exploratory field. Students worked with primary source material related to historical menus in this class, using New York Public Library’s ‘What’s on the Menu‘ project, as well as Gale Primary Sources to create and curate data sets.

The class syllabus is intended to highlight best practices for creating, presenting and preserving a digital project. It falls into four phases: 

  • planning
  • collecting and curating
  • analyzing
  • exhibit building and archiving

Tools used included Gale’s Digital Scholar Lab for content set creation, cleaning, analysis and visualization, Voyant, Lexos, OpenRefine, Google Fusion Tables, Clavin Geoparser, and Storymap JS for text analysis, mapping and digital storytelling. The class website is built using Omeka with each student team responsible for creating a digital exhibit to present their research and analysis.

  • Summer 2019: INFO 498 ‘An Introduction to Digital Humanities’

Overview: A no-prerequisite ONLINE survey course introducing students to the concepts and methodologies of working with, and analyzing primary source texts. Students will use the Gale Digital Scholar Lab for content set creation, curation and to clean texts, considering best practices and the limitations of using digital tools for text analysis.  Analysis work will include clustering, named entity recognition, parts of speech tagging, ngrams, sentiment analysis and topic modeling.

Syllabus and student work is available here.

  • Winter 2020: NELC 296 ‘Digital Humanities in Practice: Pioneers in Near Eastern Archaeology’

Overview: A no-prerequisite course to introduce students to the concepts and methodologies of using digital tools for dataset creation, analysis and presentation. Students will explore the lives and achievements of early pioneers in Near Eastern archaeology, analyzing primary source documents using text mining methodologies, building digital maps and timelines, and ultimately presenting their research results on an online platform

Syllabus and projects available here.