Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Author: Krisafitsa


I remember coming to this class without any idea what digital humanities was. And of course, there isn’t a perfect explanation for it. However, I’ve learned a lot throughout this course. I learned what digital humanities can do, and just what power it holds.

In this class, I learned the importance of metadata and preserving information online. I learned about different takes on the topic of digital humanities and how it could solve so many problems.

To close, here’s A Grimm Exploration, a project that my group and I worked on for the class. We used some of the techniques we learned to sort the metadata and form the exhibits. I hope you enjoy!

Further Experimentation with Palladio and Google Fusion Tables

Recently we did further experimentation with both Palladio and Google Fusion Tables using this dataset.

(Click the images for better quality!)


One thing I found interesting was the “highlight” function. Highlighting “giver” and “recipient” produced different results that add to understanding of the dataset.

In the following image, “giver” is highlighted. It’s showcased by the purple box, and it proves how all of them give.


However, when you highlight “recipient,” as indicated with the blue box, the dots change. Now, it’s clear that not all of them receive. This information can help you understand your data more.


Google Fusion Tables was a bit more confusing to use, and the data became cluttered. Also, Fusion Tables can’t show all the details that Palladio can.



Palladio was easier to use, but Fusion Tables had more color options and other things that I have yet to explore. Perhaps further experimentation with both of them will make it easier to understand data.

Palladio and Google Fusion Tables

The Cushman Collection was used to create these datasets.



Palladio and Google Fusion Tables were similar but had some different functions.

One thing I really liked about the Fusion Tables was how you can use the “street view” functions and move around. This was something that Palladio didn’t have. However, as showcased in my previous post, Palladio gives a good timeline. Palladio can ultimately do more, but it wasn’t easy to work with.



Both of them honed in on specific points, and it was interesting it to see where all the photos came from.

We read Patricia Seed’s article awhile ago, where she said that digital maps can be “inadequate.” Though not 100% accurate, digital maps still provide a way to see things that you simply can’t do with non-digital maps.







We experimented with Palladio today using the Cushman Collection. Palladio’s aesthetically pleasing, and it was cool to see everything you could do with it. For example,  you can choose just a small section of the data to view (the second picture).

This is another example of what you can do with digital humanities.

Cushman Collection Experimentation


Today in class we used Google Fusion Tables to visualize the Cushman Collection. After customizing the appearance and looking through different categories (dates, city and state, etc.), I settled on the one called “Description from Notebook.” Everything ended up being the same (not surprising because there’s one description per image), but it still ended up looking pretty cool. I think today’s work gives everyone a broader perspective on what can happen with Digital Humanities and data.

Omeka Exhibit

After studying a text about Perpetua and Felicitas, our Digital Humanities class came up with questions and themes related to the reading. We formed groups and created an online exhibit to showcase our research and further develop our knowledge.

My group focused on martyrdom. The exhibit itself was simple to make, but it was interesting as well. It was the first time I had done something like this. Easier to use than Blogspot and WordPress (through probably not as neat and definitely not as customizable), Omeka provided simple tools for students to use to create items, collections, and exhibits. To create them, we had to find photos from online sources such as museum websites, Wikimedia, and Flickr. We had to know what data to search for, so we had to look up certain tags and scan a variety of sources to find good examples. During and after that, metadata was vital for this portion. When looking for items to add to my exhibit, I searched under tags such as “martyr” and “martyrdom.” These helped me find the photos I needed because people tagged them under those.

Lastly, this exhibit shed more light on what we learn in class. For instance, we read Mark Sample’s “The Digital Humanities is not about Building, it’s about Sharing.” After we completed the exhibit, I realized that Sample’s words were true. We were not necessarily “building” something new, but we called upon our knowledge and performed research to further understand the concept that we were trying to grasp. Afterwards, we all shared the information with each other.

This project contributed to our understanding of this course, and as time goes on, we will all expand our knowledge about Digital Humanities.

."Allegorical Figure of Faith" by Giovanni Battista Gaulli

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