Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Understanding Digital Culture: Humanist Lenses for Internet Research is an open-access workshop that provides humanities scholars with resources and training about working with computational tools and conducting ethical research on the web. The workshop contains five modules centered around an individual research question that participants can create, develop, and explore as they advance through the workshop and enhance their understanding of digital culture. 

The modules of this workshop cover the following topics:

  1. an introduction to platform studies (Youtube, Twitter, Reddit, Github)
  2. discussions of ethical digital research practices
  3. potential data collection tools and research methods
  4. how to create and analyze data visualizations (Orange and Gephi)
  5. and an introduction to bots and how they can influence and collect data on the web.

By engaging with these topics, participants should become comfortable working with specific digital tools and leave the workshop with a solid understanding of developing future digital research in the humanities. 

This workshop was designed by a team of interdisciplinary humanities scholars and originally hosted as a (virtual) one-week workshop at the University of Central Florida in June 2020. The materials are accessible to a wide audience through clear and concise language, hyperlinks to outside readings and resources, and scaffolded assignments. The team encourages other scholars to integrate the workshop materials into their academic courses and other discussions of digital ethics, research, and tools in the humanities.

(Main) Workshop Instructors

Dr. Anatasia Salter, Director of Graduate Programs and Texts & Technology for the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Central Florida

Dr. Mel Stanfill, assistant professor of Texts & Technology/Games and Interactive Media at the University of Central Florida

Full Workshop:

A recent study that analyzed the faces within 3,389 issues of Time magazine published between the years of 1923 and 2014 found that the majority of faces represented belonged to white men. As one of America’s most notable news magazines since 1923, Time magazine demonstrates how popular attitudes within America have evolved over time. The study used three datasets. The first dataset used a machine to determine the gender of the face based on samples from the magazine. The second dataset utilized human labor to classify the faces based upon several factors like race, gender, or age. The final dataset included the raw data used to create the second dataset. The researchers plan to use the data from the study in the future to determine how the representation of women within the magazine has evolved over time, particularly in advertising purposes.

Full article:

The Time magazine project:

The project’s open dataaset:

The Torn Apart/Separados mapping project is a collection of visualizations in response to President Trump’s immigration laws and enforcement of immigrant child separation back in 2018. It maps out ICE money trails and locations of detainment facilities that were used for incarcerating those without papers under the Zero Tolerance Policy. This project helps viewers comprehend the magnitude of the crisis by presenting information in a way that puts the faces and names of government representatives and general locations right at the fingertips of the reader. By mapping out this information, the viewer can physically see for themselves patterns and trails and therefore the tragic story of what was happening behind the scenes of the crisis. This project works to reveal the “shadowy network of government facilities” and the fact that the crisis did not happen at just the Mexico-United States border, but instead throughout the entire country. Both volumes of the map are interactive, and viewers are able to manually move through the different layers. In volume one, there are six layers: Clinks (mapping of detainment centers), The Trap (mapping of border crossing), The Eye (satellite images), Charts (numbers of detained persons), ORR (mapping of redacted sites), and Banned (mapping of closed borders). In volume two, there are five layers: Districts (mapping of ICE money in congressional districts), Rain (shows growth of ICE values), Gain (charts of ICE participants), Freezer (charts of ICE funding), and Lines (mapping of deportations). All of this information turns this situation from a news headline into a real story about human lives.

See the full project here.