DH Tools Part 1: Off-the-Shelf

You don’t have to learn an entirely new programming language to do cutting edge digital humanities work. There are many sophisticated, useful off the shelf tools that you can use for your research. Many of them are as simple as using a web browser and can produce thoughtful, well-designed, and interactive research outputs. If your research requires some coding know-how, read our post on tutorials and resources for acquiring programming skills. 

As always, be sure to read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for any tool you use. Seek to understand how your data will be stored, shared, or if your final output is made public. Part of good data management is understanding how your tools handle your data and making responsible choices about what tools you select.


DH Tools Part 2: Moving Computationally

For scholars in the humanities, digging into computational approaches, tools, and methods can open new possibilities for exploration and building more tailored outputs. Below, we’ve collected a few trusted resources that can help get you started. This post is dedicated to programming tools that can help automate tasks, analyze data, or create projects. If you don’t have the time to invest in learning a programming language, follow this link to read our post on “off the shelf” DH tools.


Research Data Tips for Leaving UW-Madison

A newly designed banner with a graphic of mascot Bucky Badger’s face hangs between the columns of Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during autumn on Oct. 27, 2014. In the foreground is the Abraham Lincoln statue and pedestrians walking across Bascom Hill. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

If your time as a researcher or student at UW-Madison is coming to an end, good luck with your new opportunities! As you make the shift, it’s important to begin the process of off-boarding – taking all the necessary steps to ensure a seamless transition when formally separating from the university.

This is especially important when it comes to your research data. Off-boarding requires a careful assessment of all the data, accounts, and tools you have used while at UW-Madison and an understanding of policies on transitioning your research data to your collaborators, departments, or new institutions. 

To help, we have put together this brief guide. But remember, many labs, departments, and colleges have their own off-boarding procedures, so it’s best to inquire there for more specific guidance. UW-Madison has also gathered some role-specific resources to get started.


Link Roundup – May 2020

light bulb

Cameron Cook

John Yin, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UW-Madison, is using computational methods to understand the material conditions viruses use to reproduce themselves. He is hopeful that such an approach will allow us interfere with their reproduction and prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19.

Brian Foo, one of the Library of Congress Innovators in Residence has released a beta version of “Citizen DJ”. You can create remix, create music, or download free-to-use audio clips from their collections to use as part of your projects or as a dataset.

Jennifer Patiño

Led by their “Innovator in Residence,” Ben Lee, the Library of Congress is using sophisticated machine learning tools to digitize and organize images from several centuries of American newspapers. The result is a tool for searching a truly massive collection of historical newspaper images called the “Newspaper Navigator“.

Stat News provides tips for researchers for staying connected, moving to virtual research, and reusing datasets to ask new questions during COVID-19.

Kent Emerson

Researchers at UW-Madison have been involved in the development of a desktop and mobile app designed to help Wisconsinites navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The app, called Wisconsin Connect, features discussion rooms, fact checkers, prevention techniques, symptom trackers and much more. The app should be available via the Apple Store and Google Play in May.

The Media History Digital Library project’s search interface, called Lantern, has received some exciting updates to facilitate more precise searching and resource location. Take minute to browse this huge media history resource.  

Resources for Working and Learning From Home

Departments and offices across UW-Madison are rapidly responding to the COVID-19 crisis by shifting services to online platforms. UW-Madison’s Libraries and the Department of Information Technology have both been central to these efforts by providing a wealth of resources for students, faculty, researchers, and staff as they transition to teaching, learning, and working remotely. Below are some of the security measures, tools, and suggestions you can use to help you adjust to these new circumstances.


Link Roundup April 2020

light bulb

Cameron Cook

UW-Madison’s American Family Insurance Data Science Institute has posted a collection of COVID-19 resources that demonstrate the contributions data science can make to better understanding the virus. These resources include projections for the virus’ spread and treatment, visualizations, research datasets and code bases, as well as stories about how data scientists are helping the efforts to combat the virus.

Semantic Scholar has made the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) accessible online for download and analysis. Access to the data provides researchers with an opportunity to apply the newest methods of analysis to the data to aid in understanding the virus. The dataset was prepared through a partnership between leading researchers and the Allen Institute for AI.

Jennifer Patiño

In their series called Chart Chat, Tableau has shared a discussion of COVID-19 data visualizations. It covers the history of pandemic visualizations, different iterations of what flattening the curve might look like, and how to use data responsibly in visualizations.

Open access publisher, Frontiers, has developed a portal that connects researchers studying the COVID-19 virus to sources of funding. In addition to listing open funding calls, the portal features a dashboard that presents essential information about funding requirements, deadlines, and organizations, all of which streamlines the search for funding for researchers. You can also find resources for COVID-19 research funding, general funding, and tools to help throughout the award lifecycle from UW Madison’s Research and Sponsored Programs.

Kent Emerson

To help during the COVID-19 related campus closure, DoIT shares technology for working remotely and technology for learning remotely.

Tool: Digital Mappa

Written by Martin Foys and Maxwell Gray

What is Digital Mappa?

Digital Mappa 2.0 (DM) is an open-source, collaborative digital humanities platform for public or private workspaces, projects and scholarly publications. The platform software can be installed on a local or cloud server, and collaborators can highlight, annotate and link collections of digital texts and local, online and/or IIIF images through an array of easy to use tools. The platform development is directed by UW-Madison Professor of English Martin Foys, and there is a UW instance of it run under the UW Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture.

What Can DM Do For You?

The premise of DM is simple: if you have a collection of digital images and texts, then you should be able to develop a project where you can identify specific moments on these images and texts, annotate them as much as you want, link them together, generate searchable text content, collaborate with your colleagues, and publish your work online at a durable URL for others to see and share. DM 2.0 gives you the environment to make this happen, and users can create basic or sophisticated individual or collaborative projects with no coding ability whatsoever. Users can add images to DM projects locally or remotely through remote urls or IIIF image protocols. A search feature compiles all annotation text in a project into a searchable resource, and projects can be set to private, group or public access.

DM 2.0 was initially developed for deployment on the Heroku cloud-server platform, where installation and administration is straightforward for server administrators, after which developing individual projects requires no specific IT expertise. DM is now also available for local server installation and administration.