I’m back from my leave – and starting right away with being the leader for the digital research methods team at the ‘new’ library for humanities and social sciences. The library has undergone a process of re-organization, changing internal structures, and making more room for cross-departmental collaboration. We’re now largely organized as teams instead of sections, and team members can be from any (former) department.

I will be leading the team for digital research methods, or better: research activities – with a special focus on the humanities, social sciences, and pedagogy. In the next couple of weeks, all new team leaders together with the department leaders will define the new roles and responsibilities and look into new ways and modes of working together in and across teams to best serve our patrons: the students and researchers of the University of Oslo.

I am looking forward to my new role – and the challenges and possibilities it entails!

In the meantime, there is a new weblog for digital research activities that will publish a new blog post at least once per month, hopefully, every other week. And we have created a new resource site on text mining which will be complemented with a series of information and resource sites on key methods.

Together with the Digital Scholarship Center, I expect to teach and host a couple of workshops this fall, too, with a focus on research data management and introductory coding.

As of October 1st, 2020, I am working as senior academic librarian for digital research methods at the Humanities and Social Sciences (SSH) library at the University of Oslo! The position is newly created to meet the needs and challenges of today’s students and researchers in SSH and located at the section for reference and research. If you ever come visit the University of Oslo, I am sitting in the big black marble building on Blindern campus.

It’s been quite a journey for me and I am glad to say that this is a permanent job – the first I’ve ever had! I’ve been employed in various constellations since 2005 when I signed my first contract as a student research assistant with the Peter Weiss’ Notebooks project at Freie Universität Berlin. I’ve worked at universities and libraries in Germany and Norway and even tried my luck – shortly – in the private sector working in data quality assurance.

In all these years, I’ve been doing a lot of project consultation, teaching skill-building workshops, providing individual research consultation within Digital Humanities, doing community building, etc. in a voluntary fashion: it wasn’t officially part of my “jobs”, but it certainly was where my passion was and I had the strong drive to help where ever I could and felt I was needed. And now I am actually paid to do so!

I am grateful for all the learning opportunities and the many experiences I could gather on that journey. I’m especially grateful to all the people I’ve met during this journey: they are my friends, my colleagues, my mentors and mentees, my trainers and trainees, my brothers and sisters in DH-spirit, my inspirations, my sparring partners, and my critics: my network. Thanks to you all for your support along the way!

If you are a student, a researcher or research support at the University of Oslo – work in the Humanities and Social Sciences – feel free to get in contact with me for anything that relates to digital research methods (including data management, research dissemination, etc.) within SSH. You can find me in Georg Sverdrups hus, or online on Twitter, on GitHub or on one of my research blogs on Hypotheses.org. Happy to meet you!

DHN – Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries – was supposed to have its 4th International Conference and Annual Members’ Meeting in beautiful Riga/Latvia in March 2020. Then COVID-19 happened and the conference was postponed to late October 2020 – and with it the Members’ Meeting and the announcement of the results of the Board election and the election of the officers of the Board.

Nevertheless, work for the Board did not stop – with very short notice, serious and long-sighted decisions had to be made in times of great uncertainty, stress, and worry. So, it was without the appropriate festive framing and severity that we said farewell to our retiring Vice-Chair and long-standing Board member Bente Mægaard who had substantially shaped DHN and chaired the DHN2019 conference in Copenhagen/Denmark last year. And it was under equally modest circumstances that we welcomed our new Board member, Costanza Navarretta, and to welcome our re-elected Board members Olga Holownia and Ditte Laursen for three more years. Due to Bente’s retirement, the office of Vice-Chair had become vacant and the election of officers by the Board members was to be held during a virtual meeting, too.

I have been on the Board of DHN since its foundation on April 23, 2015, in Oslo/Norway. I had been one of the small group of people who had been working on getting the first Nordic DH conference going and who came to the assumption that it would be good to have an association officially backing a conference of that scale and to serve as a meeting place for all the disparate Nordic digital humanities scholars and ‘alt-acs’.

During the 5 years of serving DHN, I have been serving as deputy treasurer, then as treasurer and helped consolidating DHN financially and in this capacity also helped organising the membership management. I have been the EADH AO Forum liason and served in this role for more than two years. I’ve been handling a plethora of tasks as a Board member of a young association, and boy has it been a ride!

Since Monday, May 4, 2020, I have been elected as Vice-Chair of DHN! It was not an easy decision for me. I had stepped in as a deputy treasurer in 2017 and when I was officially elected as Treasurer in 2018, I set out to sort out DHN’s financial obligations, the membership management, the intricacies of DHN’s membership affiliation with EADH and the day-to-day business of a medium-sized, international association that has to handle a budget. My aim was to tidy up the workflows of the treasurer business and the membership management, to document tasks, and establish good routines. Even though I think I succeeded, it still feels like there is a lot to do. It’s no easy task if you are an association dealing with international membership and lots of cross-border payments (exchange rate fluctuations…) and the challenges that come with DHN being officially registered in Sweden but the treasurer is a German citizen living permanently in Norway.

So, when I was asked if I would consider becoming Vice-Chair of DHN, I felt that while I was acknowledged for my many contributions to DHN throughout the years and offered more responsibilities but also more visibility, that I was abandoning the treasurer office without having achieved everything I set out to do. Objectively, that is not the case. However, human nature is such that the person who has been working on a task long enough often only sees all the tiny threads they were not able to gather instead of the sturdy rope they have been twisting. I’m happy to be handing over the treasurer task to fellow DHN Board member Veronika Laippala whom I trust completely in that she will be doing an awesome job handling DHN’s account and membership obligations.

With this being said: I am proud to be now the Vice-Chair of the association that I helped bringing into life. I will be continuing the former Vice-Chair’s work on the DHN constitution and together with the other Board members shape DHN’s strategy and its short and long-term objectives. DHN-members should not expect anything less from me than passion, dedication, and excellence in fulfilling the office of Vice-Chair. It is my pleasure!

Yesterday, I gave an introductory lecture on Digital Humanities to master students of history at the University of Oslo. I thought it would help to show how and when going digital could be useful by telling them about how I came to embrace DH from being a very traditional book history student. So I went back to my masters thesis project, a study on the first print run of the famous “Narrenschiff” (Ship of Fools), by Sebastian Brant, printed in 1494 in Basel for the first time.

While doing some browsing of images of said print, I found out that the Berlin copy (I used this copy of the 1494 print run mostly), had been digitized and made available open access by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. It included not only the full-color digital reproduction of the entire book (incl. the bookbinding and the Exlibris of former owners), it also included the IIIF-manifest and a link to the Mirador Viewer running on the SBB-PK servers.

I became really curious and checked out whether other libraries which held copies of the 1494 print had also digitized it, and yes: Basel, Heidelberg, and Darmstadt had – and to my surprise, the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. had digitized their copy, too! All of them also provided digitization with an IIIF-manifest. Awesome!

Today, I had the following idea which I shared on Twitter: (Since I cannot integrate Twitter-feeds into this website anymore, here’s the content of my tweets – or check them out on Twitter).

It’s a challenge that I put out there:

Reproduce (the Empirical Part of) My Study!

/1 I want to put a challenge out there (this is a primer, I have to flesh the thing out a bit): I want (someone) to reproduce the empirical part of my study on the 1494 print of the Ship of Fools.

/2 The study can be found here: https://peterlang.com/view/title/13048…, I will make it #openaccess but I have to negotiate with the publisher first. In the meantime, drop me a line if you want the pdf.Produktion und Drucküberlieferung der editio princeps von Sebastian Brants «Narrenschiff» (Basel…peterlang.com

/3 Now, many of the 12 surviving copies of the 1st edition of this famous print are digitized and accessible, which makes it significantly easier to compare the copies. I had to this manually, with no two copies in the same place.

/4 And for most copies, I had to rely on the old printed version of the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, where *some* of the differences between the copies of the 1st edition had been recorded; this also had been done manually (more than 100yrs ago).

/5 I think this #ReproducibilityTest could be done in the form of a BA or even an MA-thesis: Digital humanities, book history, print history – something like that.

/6 I will put ALL materials for this project online (I have started here: https://github.com/arockenberger/Narrenschiff…). I will also investigate if my alma mater @FU_Berlin can make a digital copy of my Magisterarbeit available open access.arockenberger/NarrenschiffMaterials for my finished project on the early German Ship of Fools prints – arockenberger/Narrenschiffgithub.com

/7 What do you think?

The first Digital Humanities event of the year was the annual conference of the Italian Association for Digital Humanities, AIUCD. Held in Milan/Italy from January 15–17, 2020. The website of the conference (in Italian) has information about the event via this link: http://www.aiucd.it/convegno-annuale/.

January 2020 started fresh off with the call for hosts for the 2022 conference of DHN – Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries. Previous conferences have been in Oslo, Gothenburg, Helsinki, and Copenhagen. This year’s conference will be in Riga and next year DHN is back in Sweden with its annual conference – in Uppsala. DHN makes an effort to host the annual conference and members meeting in a different country of the Nordic and Baltic region each year, we are thus especially looking for hosts from Iceland, Faroe Islands, Estonia, Lithuania, or Norway, since it’s been quite some time since DHN has had its inaugural conference in 2016 in Oslo.

The annual conference of the German-speaking Digital Humanities, DHd, will this year be held in Paderborn/Germany, from March 2–6, 2020. The title is “Spielräume” – a wordplay somewhere between “leeway”, “clearance”, and “playroom”. The full program can be accessed via this link https://dhd2020.de/programm/.

The francophone Association for Digital Humanities, Humanistica (L’association francophone des humanités numériques/digitales), will have its annual event from May 12–14, 2020 in Bordeaux/France. The program has not yet been published, but will be available via the conference website here: https://humanistica2020.sciencesconf.org/.

The DARIAH.eu annual event will be in Zagreb/Croatia from May 26–29, 2020. This year’s topic is “Scholarly Primitives” (a term coined by John Unsworth some 20 years ago). DARIAH annual events are less of a conference and more of a networking event, workshops, and working group meetings. Info about the event can be found via this link: https://dariah-ae-2020.sciencesconf.org/.

DH Benelux, the association of digital humanities in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxemburg will be held in Leiden/The Netherlands from June 3–5, 2020. The call for papers is out and can be accessed via this link: http://2020.dhbenelux.org/2020/01/10/call-for-papers-dh-benelux-2020-3-5-june-leiden/. DH Benelux 2020 explicitly calls for contributions from the humanities and the social sciences.

The largest annual conference, the International DH Conference organized by ADHO (Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations) will take place in Ottawa/Canada from July 20–25, 2020. It’s going to be at least a bilingual event (English and French), but contributions in Spanish and German are to be expected, too. Even though “The DH” is my least favorite DH event, it is likely to be the one where you meet the greatest variety and full diversity of the field, with a truly international perspective. Find all information about DH2020 on their website via this link: https://dh2020.adho.org/.

In November last year, the European Association for Digital Humanities announced that its 2nd international congress will be held in Krasnoyarsk/Russia. The call for papers for this event has not yet been published, but it is confirmed that it will be held from September 23–25, 2020. The topic is “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Data”, the host is the Siberian Federal University which has a strong DH research community, the event is co-organized by DH Russia. Languages will hopefully be English AND Russian! For more information about the congress, check the website via this link: https://eadh2020.org/.

11. October 2018 · Comments Off on The Carpentries Instructor Training – EMBL Heidelberg · Categories: Conference Report, Digital Humanities · Tags: ,

I spent the last couple of days in (well, technically: in the area of) Heidelberg, at the European Molecular Biology Laboratories EMBL. You might ask:  What kind of business does a humanities researcher have there? Becoming a certified Software and Data (and Library) Carpentry Instructor, of course! The Carpentries are a world-wide community of volunteers with diverse academic backgrounds that teach foundational programming and data skills to fellow researchers of all fields! Originally mainly target at STEM researchers, The Carpentries are attracting more and more social sciences and humanities researchers, especially from digital humanities. The Carpentries have also local – or regional – hubs, with lots of activities and a substantial group of instructors, helpers, and learners; here in Oslo, we have, at least according to what I hear through the grapevine, one of the largest European hubs. The Carpentry@UiO Initiative is responsible for numerous Software and Data Carpentry events since at least 2016 and I have been part of that group since then.

The Carpentries instructors are very well trained teachers and The Carpentries have their own instructor training workshops that are offered world-wide and usually quite sought after! Doing an instructor training enables one to teach official The Carpentries workshops. Note: anyone can use the materials for the lessons, they are all licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence. One can teach whatever lesson, parts of lessons or the entire course, anywhere, anytime. And even charge a workshop fee for it. You are just not allowed to flag these activities under the official The Carpentries logo. So, if you want to improve your lessons by using The Carpentries material, do so! However, it’s not just for becoming a certified instructor so you are allowed to advertise your programming and data skill workshops using an official brand – what makes the instructor training such a valuable experience is that you actually learn how to teach technology, computational thinking and programming, and data analytical skills. You will learn how to design lessons, how to assess learners motivation and prior knowledge, how to help them stay motivated during the courses, how to help them help themselves explore and become confident in coding for their research; you also learn about teaching techniques and principles of learning and teaching; evaluation, feedback and self-improvement as a teacher. And community building!

The two days were packed with knowledge and hands-on practice and the crowd of almost 40 instructors-to-be was buzzing! For me, a key motivator for engaging with The Carpentries is meeting people with a completely different academic background than me and finding out how much we have in common! And of course meeting people for future collaborations. As an immediate result of the instructor training, I have made plans teaching a workshop on git and GitHub together with a fellow instructor trainee next spring in Germany. And I will engage much closer with the European The Carpentries community than I have been able to before.

What comes next is to finish the instructor training by completing three additional tasks: Improving lessons or related material from both Software and Data Carpentry (to become certified to teach both!); participating in the instructor discussion lists and doing a short trial teaching episode with peer-evaluation. I’m looking forward to “checking out” as a certified instructor and the official acknowledgement of my work with and enthusiasm for The Carpentries! In the meantime, I will be helping with a couple of Carpentries workshop here in Oslo, namely the 1day workshops on “Databases and SQL” (Oct 17) and “git” (Oct 24). Additionally, I will teach a lesson on GitHub (under development) at the DH Seminar at the Norwegian University of Sciences and Technology (NTNU) in early November as well as at the National Library of Norway in mid November. The plan is to teach a 1day workshop with a combination of Software Carpentry and Code Refinery at the DHN2019 conference in Copenhagen as well. And I am currently developing a workshop on Complex Network Analysis for Digital Humanities Researchers based on The Carpentries lesson template and teaching method!

So, if you’re into sharing your knowledge and skills in programming, coding, technology or data analysis, consider becoming an instructor and join the awesome community of The Carpentries!

26. September 2018 · Comments Off on GitHub Workshop at NTNU University Library in Trondheim · Categories: Digital Humanities · Tags: , , ,

I will be teaching a workshop on using GitHub for writing and publishing together on the web!

The workshop is part of the 2day digital humanities seminar at the NTNU University Library and Gunnerus Library in Trondheim on November 1–2. The event is aimed at graduate students and research staff, both from the university and the libraries and focuses on research practices and tools for digital humanities.

The morning of day 1 will be dedicated to talks from internationally renowned dh practitioners on topics like policy making, EdTech, and infrastructure. The second half of the day offers six parallel workshops:

  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Text Data Analytics (with Python)
  • 3D Modelling
  • VR in Learning
  • Geospatial Visualisations
  • GitHub for collaborative working

I will teach the GitHub workshop: I’m proud to be able to use and expand the material that’s been developed here in Oslo with the UiO Carpentry Initiative, especially by Lex Nederbragt. You can read more on its contents here and join the workshop in Trondheim if you are around!

Day 2 of the DH event will be all about the application of digital methods and tools to humanities research and has everything from VR/AR reconstruction for historical research, to linked data and ontologies, corpus analysis, research data repositories and book history.

Come join the Norwegian DH scene in Trondheim! Follow the event on Twitter with the hashtag #dhntnuub18

by Alexandra Angeletaki – 2018

26. June 2018 · Comments Off on New Job: Research Librarian for Digital Humanities! · Categories: Digital Humanities, General · Tags: ,

As of July 1, I will be working as a research librarian developing the digital humanities strategy at the National Library of Norway in Oslo. Check my updated contact info here.

In April this year I’ve successfully defended my Ph.D. thesis in analytic philosophy of literary studies at the University of Oslo and taught a master class in digital humanities as well as held a guest lecture (remotely) on medieval religious plays and digital simulation and reconstruction within the seminar on digital music studies at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universtität Münster, Germany.

I will continue my work with the DH Network in the greater Oslo region and with the Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries Association as well as the EADH. And I hope to continue teaching workshops with the local Software Carpentry Initiative!

For an overview of what I am doing at the National Library of Norway and the collaborations we have nationally and internationally, stay tuned!

24. March 2017 · Comments Off on Digital Humanities Higher Education in Norway – A Preliminary Survey · Categories: Digital Humanities · Tags: , ,

Last week, DHN had its 2nd conference in beautiful Gothenburg. With nearly 200 participants and 60 presentations, over a dozen posters and three keynotes it was as well received as the Oslo conference in 2016 and supports the initial idea, that the Nordic countries could and should join their efforts in making Digital Humanities (in the broadest sense) more visible, more integrated, and sustainable.

Before the the conference, DHN had invited to participate in a variety of pre-conference workshops and I decided to join the one on Higher Education Programs in Digital Humanities: Challenges and Perspectives, organized by Koraljka Golub from Linnæus University in Växjö, Sweden. – Shortly after enrolling, I was asked if I could report on the situation in Norway which I agreed to do: after all, I thought, there isn’t much to report on anyways but it will give me the chance to do some research on what is happening DH-education-wise in my country of residence!

My initial suspicion was quite true, though: At the present moment, there is no DH-study program in higher education in Norway. (A DH-study program would be called “Digital Humanities” or “Digital Humaniora” but also “Humanities Computing” / “Humanistisk Informatikk”, either on B.A./B.Sc. or M.A./M.Sc. level.) However, finding that there isn’t anything called ‘DH’ does not mean, that there is no such thing like ‘DH’. I expanded my search and attempted also a more systematic approach:

  1. Which disciplines are commonly meant when talking about ‘Humanities’ and what does ‘Digital’ (or the older term ‘Computing’) refer to in this context?
  2. What are the institutions of higher education in Norway?
  3. Where in Norway are institutions located that provide a DH or DH-like or DH-near education?

I created a spreadsheet with all the institutions of Higher Ed in Norway and the study programs (1-year-studies, B.A./B.Sc., M.A./M.Sc.) that would fit – in the broadest and most inclusive way – under the DH-umbrella. This list can be seen here (and comments are welcome!), however, it is not finished yet. In order to get something presentable and discussable, I was rather lax in my categories: I included almost anything related to computer science, data science, data engineering, ICT-teaching; media (and film) studies; interface design and digital design; digital culture; but also statistics, e-Health, e-Administration etc.

This resulted in a large number of study programs on all levels at almost all the institutions of higher education. I think this is actually an advantage: It is easier to delete something from a list after re-evaluation of the search criteria than adding something new. The presentation of my preliminary results can be accessed (and commented on) here.

Although there is very little that would intuitively be considered DH-studies, Norway has a strong focus on the digital / data driven / computational and ICT studies. Especially in its application for society, research, the medicine and health sector, governance and administration (incl. law), and teaching. Within the humanities, the focus seems to be more on the ‘digital’ as an object of study, not so much as a set of methods and approaches to deal with cultural, social, and artistic objects. Almost exclusively within media and cultural studies, digital humanities aspects can be found; especially at the University of Bergen and Norway’s Inland University (formerly University College in Hedmark).

I also discussed what this means for DH in the Nordic countries and DH in Norway specifically: DH in Norway are both young and old, the state endorses higher education (including the humanities) quite substantially, and has a strategic plan for ‘Digital’ Norway as one, if not THE, sustainable industry and (public) service of the future. Which all in all looks pretty promising for DH in higher ed. If this necessarily means that we have to establish DH-study programs (in the narrow sense), I am not sure about. Or if it means that the ‘digital turn’ in ANY field of study, including the humanities, is inevitable. And I believe this is a good thing.

I plan to expand my preliminary study a bit, especially in making a thought-through, transparent selection of criteria as to what counts as DH-proper and DH in a wider sense (in Norway at least) and what I consider to be a study program (perhaps excluding the 1-year-studies altogether) and an institution of higher education. I will also conduct comprehensive interviews with Norwegian academics who research and teach in DH-related programs and future plans and do a more in depth analysis of the strategic plans of the Ministry of Education and Research, The Research Counsil of Norway and other science and education policy institutions in Norway regarding the ‘digital’. So: stay tuned!

05. August 2016 · Comments Off on VR is here! Digital Humanities Conference in Kraków, July 11-16, 2016 · Categories: Conference Report, Digital Humanities · Tags: , ,

It’s been 4 years since my last annual international DH conference (in Hamburg), so it was about time! Kraków seemed reasonably close and affordable, and even though I had not submitted a proposal for a presentation myself, the preliminary programme and this year’s ‘hot topics’ were intriguing enough to give it a ‘participation only’ go! Also, a DH international conference is a great way to meet all the people I usually interact with online only live and in person!

Even though I had been entertaining the idea of immersing myself in stylometry and computer aided/assisted textual analysis, I ended up with a different choice of topic: High End Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality / 3D Modelling – with a number of sessions spread over 2 days on a variety of projects. Since I am planning a large(r) scale project in VR/AR myself, it seemed wise to check out the field and see what others are up to, what tech they use and have experience with, and how their projects are and were received by the DH and non-DH scientific community.

I was most impressed by the following presentations:

  • The Evolution of Virtual Harlem: Bringing the Jazz Age to Life (presented by Brian Wilson Carter) – more about the project, that has been started in 1998 and is constantly being developed, here.
  • Contested Memories: The Battle of Mount Street Bridge. Problems, Perspectives, and Challenges (presented by Susan Schreibman and Constantinos Papadopoulos) – their project can be viewed here.
  • OVAL: A Virtual Ecosystem for Immersive Scholarship and Teaching (presented by Bill Endres, Matthew Cook, Will Kurlinkus).
  • Using Computer Numerical Control Techniques to Prototype Media History (presented by Tiffany Chan)
  • An Augmented Reality Mobile Application for Intergenerational Learning and Critical Connection (presented by Tamar Gordon)

The most impressive, I have to say, was the Virtual Harlem Project! I will review this project thoroughly as well as take a closer look at the different approaches and alternative solutions to problems of visualization in other projects when I map out my own ideas.

Apart from the engaging content, I had the opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues as well as meet new ones, make plans for collaborations and pitched some DH ideas, promoted the upcoming DHN conference in Gothenburg and gathered people for an informal lunch meeting of friends and members of DHN!

And since the DH conference was going on in the same week the now viral augmented reality game Pokemon Go was released, of course me and a couple of friendly technophiles teamed up to ‘catch ’em all’ – right in the foyer of the venerable Jagiellonian University, our most hospital and welcoming host institution :)

Rare Appearance of Three Digital Humanists Trying to Catch a Drowzee That Spawned in the Foyer of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

Rare Appearance of Three Digital Humanists Trying to Catch a Drowzee That Spawned in the Foyer of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland