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Digital Humanities Summer Institute (Atlantic)

May 9-13, 2016

This year, DHSI@Dal is hosting a series of one-day workshops as well as public lectures on Digital Humanities. All are welcome to the public lectures, but workshops require registration and are capped at 24 participants each.


Register for a workshop ($25 registration fee per workshop)



Note: each workshop runs 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-3:45, and will be capped at 24 participants; each public lecture is 4:00-5:00pm. Information on speakers and workshop instructors is below the schedule.

Monday, May 9th

Workshop: Kaarina Mikalson (Dalhousie), "Digital Labour and Feminist Technologies" (Rowe 4001)

This workshop aims to address two central questions for any digital humanities project: who is your data for, and where does it come from? Participants will be introduced to some of the major feminist and post-colonial critiques of digital humanities and a few of the organizations and tools that contribute to making DH more open and accessible. We will also explore some of the labour issues that arise in DH projects, and walk through some practical tools for approaching a collaborative project. The workshop will primarily address the interpersonal and theoretical side of DH, and as such it is suitable for any skill-level.

Public Lecture: Brian Greenspan (Carleton University), "Burning the Library: DH as Dystopia" (Rowe 5053)

Tuesday, May 10th

Workshop: James Boxall (GIS Centre, Dalhousie), "Intro to ArcGIS" (Rowe 4001)

Geographic Information systems have tended to be daunting technologies, used more by spatial analysts and geographers. The dream of cartographers is to have everyone able to use maps to tell any and all types of ‘stories’ related to landscapes, regions, peoples and change over time. These stories can now be told using multiple forms of information and data, creating new knowledge and perspectives which transcend any one discipline. This workshop is designed to help the humanist and social scientist begin to have hands-on experiences creating web enhanced story maps related to their own area of interest, while also promoting the use of story maps to develop interdisciplinary research and teaching opportunities. This is particularly interesting as 2016 is International Map Year.

Public Lecture: Brian Greenspan (Carleton University), "Party Dress: Wearable Media for Utopian Bodies" (Rowe 5053)

Wednesday, May 11th

Workshop:  Keith Lawson (Dalhousie), "Intro to TEI" (Rowe 4001)

This introduction will give participants a condensed overview of text encoding in a digital humanities context using TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) markup. The workshop will use instruction, discussion, and hands-on exercises to lead participants through the basic components of TEI encoding projects.

The workshop will cover the following topics:
∙    Rules of markup
∙    Analysis of documents for markup
∙    Components of XML: elements, attributes, document structure, and schemas
∙    Elements of TEI markup
∙    TEI document structure
∙    Encoding of sample texts using TEI

The workshop does not require any previous experience.

This workshop will be of interest to individuals who are contemplating embarking on a text-encoding project (using primarily print and text-based material), or to those who wish to understand the practicalities of encoding in XML using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines.

CANCELLED (may be rescheduled): Public Lecture:  Bethany Hindmarsh (Dalhousie), "Digital Humanities and Digital Surveillance" (Rowe 5053)

Thursday, May 12th

Workshop: Roger Gillis and Creighton Barrett (Dalhousie Libraries), "Digital Project Management" (Rowe 4001)

In this workshop, the presenters will provide an overview of digital projects that involve digitization and the subsequent management of digital files and technical infrastructure that supports such projects. The presenters will draw upon their experiences in managing digital projects and dealing with the array of concerns that go into developing successful digital projects. This workshop will include: fundamentals of digitization, such as digital imaging and technical specifications; considerations for scanning equipment; digital file management and organization; digital storage; and other aspects of digital project management such as project staffing and intellectual property. The workshop is geared towards the humanities disciplines and cultural heritage sector. This workshop will complement the May 13 workshop on choosing web applications, as many of the general concepts explored in this digital project management workshop are applicable to the use and development of web applications for digital projects.

Workshop Objectives:

After this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the basic elements of digitization and digital file management
  • Describe additional components of digital projects and how they are addressed
  • Apply the new skills and knowledge obtained to planned or ongoing digital projects


Public Lecture: Jon Saklofske (Acadia University), “NewRadial: Prototyping Networked Open Social Scholarship” (Rowe 5053)

Friday, May 13th

Workshop:  Roger Gillis & Creighton Barrett (Dalhousie Libraries), "Choosing Web Apps (OMEKA)" (Rowe 4001)

The first portion of this workshop will address the selection of web applications for digital humanities projects. The workshop will emphasize the strengths and weaknesses of select web applications and consider their usefulness for various kinds of digital projects. As part of the workshop, participants will be provided with an opportunity to speak to each platform and discuss their applicability to ongoing or planned research projects. The workshop builds on many of the concepts addressed in the digital project management workshop.

The second portion of this workshop will focus on one particular platform: Omeka, a popular open source tool for managing digital collections and digital exhibits. The workshop will showcase different uses and applications of the software, and offer an overview of the Omeka administration functions and its plugins. This portion of the workshop will emphasize how Omeka can be used to manage digital collections and associated metadata.

Workshop Objectives:

After the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Provide an overview of web applications that are prevalent in the digital humanities as well as considerations for their use.
  • Understand the Omeka platform – its uses, features, and limitations.
  • Create personal Omeka.net user accounts.
  • Apply concepts learned in the digital project management workshop.



Speakers & Workshop Instructors

Creighton Barrett is the Digital Archivist at the Dal Archives, Dalhousie University.

James Boxall is a Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is also a Governor of the Nova Scotia Museums. He has been the map curator and head of the GIS Centre in the Dalhousie University Libraries for over two decades. He teaches geography, GIS, and Marine Spatial Planning. His research interests are in the use of geospatial data and GIS to enhance geoliteracy, as well as climate change impacts in oceans and the Arctic. He has a passion for finding new ways to help people communicate their ideas through maps. He is also a past present of the Canadian Cartographic Association and is currently a regional representative for the International Geographical Union Commission on Geographic Education.

Roger Gillis is the Copyright and Digital Humanities Librarian at the Killam Library, Dalhousie University.

Brian Greenspan is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, the doctoral program in Cultural Mediations, and the Master’s Programs in Digital Humanities and Human-Computer Interaction at Carleton University. He is the Co-Director of Carleton’s Digital Rhetorics and Ethics Lab, and founding director of the Hyperlab, a graduate research centre, where he invented and co-designed the Storytrek locative authoring system for stories, games, and heritage conservation. He designed Carleton’s Master’s degree in Digital Humanities, a collaboration between twelve different programs in the Arts and Social Sciences now entering its fourth year, as well as a new B.A. (Minor) program in Digital Humanities, which accepted its first students last fall.

Bethany Hindmarsh grew up in England and on the West Coast of Canada. She did her undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Contemporary Studies at the University of King's College. At present, she is an MA student in Philosophy at Dalhousie University, where her research focuses on the ethics of surveillance and the social dimensions of moral perception. In her spare time, Bethany works as a humanities education program facilitator at the Burnside correctional centre.

Keith Lawson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Management (SIM) at Dalhousie University. He teaches a course focused on markup in SIM's MLIS program. He has been involved with a number of digital humanities projects including EBBArchive.org and projects undertaken with the Dalhousie Digital Archives.

Kaarina Mikalson is the project manager of Canada and the Spanish Civil War, a digital and print recovery project. She has many years of experience in the digital humanities, and has worked for Editing Modernism in Canada and the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory. She is a PhD student in the Department of English at Dalhousie University, where she works on labour and gender issues in Canadian literature.

Jon Saklofske is a Professor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. His specialization in the writing of the British Romantic period and continuing interest in the ways that William Blake’s composite art illuminates the relationship between words and images on the printed page has inspired current research into alternative platforms for open social scholarship as well as larger correlations between media forms and cultural perceptions.  In addition to co-leading and actively researching for INKE’s Modelling and Prototyping group, he is exploring the usefulness of incorporating virtual environments and game-based pedagogy into undergraduate courses.  Other research interests include environmental storytelling in Disney theme parks, the critical potential of feminist war games, and representations of agency and self in video games.




May 4-15, 2015

Dalhousie is hosting a two-week summer institute to provide training in the digital humanities relevant to research and teaching for graduate students, faculty and others, from Dalhousie or elsewhere. All are welcome.  The offerings this year at the DHSI@Dal (Atlantic) draw on the well-established DHSI at the University of Victoria.

To register, please go to [registration now closed for 2015; for 2016 registration, please see the top of this page].  (You can select one of four courses and then, on a second page, select a second course if you wish.) 

Registration fees are $150 per course for graduate students, contract academic faculty, and postdocs, and $350 per course for full-time faculty. Courses will fill on a first-come, first-served basis.

There will also be two public lectures:

May 7th, 4:00-5:00pm, Ondaatje auditorium (McCain):  Keith Lawson (Dalhousie), "Mapping DH: Digital Humanities Content and Mobile Applications"

May 14th, 4:00-5:00pm, Ondaatje auditorium (McCain): Constance Crompton (UBC), "Under the Hood: Making for Meaning in the Digital Humanities"

The registration page also has general travel information on Halifax and accommodations information (see the lefthand side of the first screen).  Please direct any questions to Professors Krista Kesselring or Julia M. Wright.



Note: each course will meet from 9:00-12:00 and 1:30-4:30 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and from 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-4:00 on Thursday. 

On both Mondays a light breakfast will be available from 8am in McCain 2017 to welcome everyone to the DHSI.  Tuesday to Friday a continental breakfast will be available from 8am.  (The food order is all-vegetarian and includes some gluten-free options.)

McCain 2017 will be available throughout the weekdays as a breakout room:  registrants and non-registrants are welcome to use the space to talk about DH projects and collaborations.

Week 1: May 4-8

I.                    Digitisation Fundamentals and their Application (McCain 2018)   

Instructors:  Robin Davies (Vancouver Island University) and Michael Nixon (Simon Fraser University)

[up to 20 participants]

For those new to the digitization field, this offering conveys skills necessary to bring real-world objects -- text, image, sound, video -- into a digital space, and then employ digital tools to further explore and strengthen those objects. Participants are encouraged to incorporate their own interests and materials into the workshops and lab activities of the course, and will build a personalized online document to house their newly digitized media. Assuming only basic computing competency, a hands-on format will quickly introduce participants to digitization project planning and management, data storage requirements, archival standards, and best practices in digitization and distribution.

II.                  Digital Pedagogy (McCain 2016)

Instructor: James O'Sullivan (Penn State)

[up to 25 participants]

This workshop provides a “best practices” approach to using digital humanities tools and processes in humanities courses for the purposes of communication, collaboration and facility of research. This five-day workshop will move from a theoretical to a practical framework. It will provide participants with an overview of how best to incorporate Digital Humanities tools into a given syllabus, and how to harness DH tools to support larger pedagogical objectives, set goals, and manage expectations. The workshop will be tool- and method-centric, and we will be invested in experimenting with an array of options. Participants are asked to bring at least one sample assignment or syllabus, which will be used as the basis for much of the work we do as the course progresses. We recommend that you bring your own computer, but can accommodate those who can’t. By the course’s conclusion, participants should leave with (at a minimum) an assignment or syllabus that better meets their own expectations of digital pedagogy in the humanities.


Week 2: May 11-15

III.                Text Encoding Fundamentals and their Application (McCain 2018)

Instructors: Constance Crompton (UBC Okanagan) and Lee Zickel (Case Western)

[up to 20 participants]

For those new to the field, this is an introduction to the theory and practice of encoding electronic texts for the humanities. This workshop is designed for individuals who are contemplating embarking on a text-encoding project, or for those who would like to better understand the philosophy, theory, and practicalities of encoding in XML (Extensible Markup Language) using the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines. Offering the advantage of interoperability and expressive flexibility, TEI underpins many digital scholarly resources, including The British National Corpus, Library of Congress American Memory Project, ProQuest’s English Poetry’s Full-Text Database, Women Writers Project, The Chymistry of Isaac Newton, the Oxford Text Archive, and more. No prior experience with XML is assumed, but the course will move quickly through the basics.

IV.                Knowledge Mobilization and Digital Media (McCain 2016)             

Instructor: James O’Sullivan (Penn State)  

[up to 25 participants]

This course introduces participants to augmented modes of dissemination via various digital tools and platforms. Fundamental aspects, both theoretical and practical, will be covered, providing individuals with a greater sense of what tools are available for the dissemination of scholarship and how these tools might best be utilised. Participants will be introduced to everyday tools like Twitter, but they will also be shown how to utilise Content Management Systems and server architecture in the dissemination of their research. Digital dissemination's fundamental underlying technologies, such as HTML, will be introduced. Furthermore, a range of philosophical questions in relation to digital dissemination will be addressed. As this is an introductory offering, no prior knowledge of Web-based dissemination tools or strategies is required. Participants will be encouraged to engage with both the practical aspects of dissemination using various digital methods, as well as the theoretical and scholarly repercussions of such activity.

We are grateful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for its generous support of this event, as well as the valuable support of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities and Dalhousie's Centre for Learning & Teaching.