Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing, or NLP, refers to computer aided analysis of text data. Because text data is typically generated by humans and intended for human audiences, it poses unique challenges for computational analysis. All the contextual information humans use to understand the ambiguities in one another’s speech are very difficult to reproduce for computers. However, recent advances in NLP tools and related technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have not only made them extremely sophisticated and powerful, but also far more accessible for researchers in all disciplines.


DMPTool Resource Updates

One of the primary services RDS offers to researchers on campus is guidance for generating Data Management Plans as part of grant applications. RDS experts are available to help you write your DMP at any stage of the process. Contact us here

To further help researchers, UW-Madison is a member institution in DMPTool, which is a powerful resource for helping you write your DMP. DMPTool provides instructions and resources for every stage of the writing process, custom guidance, and the ability to share the DMP with your collaborators, and get feedback from RDS. 

We have updated our resources for DMPs and the DMPTool. Below we have listed the improvements and we hope you find them helpful. 


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.


Look to Open Source Options for GIS Software

Topographic map of a hiking trail made using QGIS

Creating maps as a way to communicate data is becoming increasingly popular across and integrated into a broader set of academic disciplines. In the humanities, mapping is often used to create visual and interactive objects of  scholarship from research in subjects such as history or literature; in public health, maps can be used to show the spread or prevalence of disease. Certain mapping and geospatial data management software is prohibitively expensive, but some equally powerful open-source options have emerged, making the incorporation of mapping into research workflows more easily accessible and available. Continue reading to discover some of the most popular open-source options for geospatial data analysis and visualization. (more…)

Refresh Your Data Management Savvy This New Year

Happy New Year’s! The start of a new year and a new semester are as good a time as ever to evaluate your data management practices. Here are some reminders about data management best practices, groups on campus who can help you with managing your data, and some upcoming opportunities for you to sharpen your skills.


Tool: Scalar

What Is Scalar?

Scalar is a free and open-source authoring and publishing platform that allows users to integrate multiple media types into born-digital scholarly works. Built by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, Scalar allows users to create publications that would be the length of an essay, article, or even a book. Scalar’s flexible content management structure means that it allows users to adapt its features for their own needs.