As the librarian for history and history of science, I do not have to be an expert on digital humanities theory or applications, but given the burgeoning interest on this campus in DH, I feel like I need at least some rudimentary understanding of some of the tools commonly used and what they can do. This year’s HILT (Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching) program, which took place on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis, offered me the opportunity to get crash course in “Getting Started with Data, Tools, and Platforms.” The instructors, Thomas Padilla, Brandon Locke, and Dean Rehberger (all from Michigan State University) did an impressive job guiding us through an ambitious syllabus that included a quick introduction to the command line, data curation, extracting data, generating data, data preparation, textual analysis, topic modeling, network analysis, project management, moving image visualization, and mapping. In 3 ½ days we got hands-on experience with about fifteen tools and received a preview of a few more. The last part of the week was set aside for working on a project of our choice, so the class divided into smaller groups that each took one tool and applied it to some aspect of Dr. Who. My group used Gephi to do a network analysis of Doctors and the villains they encountered.

While I became a master of none of these tools, I am now more comfortable with the language and methodologies of digital humanities.  My course was excellent and based on the “show and tell” we had the last afternoon, other courses offered equally rich learning experiences. It was an informal, pleasant environment and daytime meals in the dining hall and evening excursions into downtown Indianapolis provided many opportunities for networking.  I highly recommend the program.

Jennifer Dorner is the Head of Instruction Services Division and Librarian for History & History of Science at Doe Library. She blogs about events and new database services at the Library at UC Berkeley History Collection News.