MLA 2013

MLA Workshop: Get Started in Digital Humanities with Help from DHCommons

Thursday, 3 January 2013, 8:30am-12:30pm

Sponsored by:

The DH Commons workshop will be held 8:30am-12:30pm on the first day of the MLA Convention (Thursday, January 3rd, 2013). It will be hosted in the Snell Library at Northeastern University. Northeastern University is just down Huntington Avenue from the MLA Convention Center and hotels. On a nice day, it's a 10-15 walk; otherwise you can catch a green-line train from the Convention Center to the Northeastern stop, catch a bus down Huntington Avenue, or hop in a cab for a very quick ride. The Snell Library is number 59 on the campus map (

At the 2012 MLA, conference attendees packed many sessions on the digital humanities (DH), reflecting the growing interest in this domain. Yet many newcomers to digital humanities lack opportunities to connect with the DH community, get help from experienced practitioners with conceptualizing and launching a project, or begin building the skills they need to realize their projects. This four-hour preconvention workshop welcomes language and literature scholars who wish to learn about, start, or join digital scholarly projects for research and/or teaching. Representatives of major digital humanities projects and initiatives will share their expertise on project design, outline available resources and opportunities,and lead small-group training sessions on DH technologies and skills. Experts will come from projects such as 18th Connect, Hypercities, Neatline, NINES, Scalar, TAPoR, and the Women Writers Project, as well as the Association for Computers and the Humanities and the NEH's Office of Digital Humanities. You can learn more about our experts at Workshop participants will leave with a plan for getting started in the digital humanities and a resource for connecting to scholars and projects in their disciplines.

To that end, this four-hour preconvention workshop welcomes scholars who wish to pursue or join digital scholarly projects but do not have institutional infrastructure to support them. The workshop will build on the model developed for and tested at the 2012 MLA Convention in Seattle. DHCommons, which was launched at that event, connects innovative scholars with mentors and opportunities for collaboration, and increases the community of participants for established projects and centers.

When and where: This workshop will be held 8:30am-12:30pm on the first day of the MLA Convention (Thursday, January 3rd, 2013). It will be hosted at Northeastern University.

Sponsors: The workshop is co-sponsored by centerNet, the Northeastern University Centers for Digital Humanities and Computational Social Science, and the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE)

Organizers: Ronald R. Bernier (Wentworth Institute of Technology), Ryan Cordell (Northeastern University), Rebecca Frost Davis (NITLE), Christopher Dickman (St. Louis University), Quinn Dombrowski (UC Berkeley), Laura Mandell (Texas A&M University), Paul Schacht (SUNY Geneseo), Lisa Spiro (NITLE)


8:30-9:30 Getting started in the Digital Humanities Roundtable
9:40-10:30 Small-Group Training Session 1
10:40-11:30 Small-Group Training Session 2
11:40-12:30 Open Q&A with Our Expert Panelists
12:40-2:00 Lunch Buffet at Wentworth Institute of Technology

Sessions and Rooms

  • Julia Flanders, Introduction to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). Learn about the key standard used to represent texts in a digital form. DMC Circle-1 (with the white puzzle-piece wall)
  • Amanda French, Building Digital Archives with Omeka. Get a hands-on look at one of the leading open source platforms for presenting digital collections. DMC-2
  • Patrick Murray-John, Building Digital Archives with Omeka. Get a hands-on look at one of the leading open source platforms for presenting digital collections. DMC-5
  • Jennifer Guiliano, Building a DH Center/Program. Explore how to develop a digital humanities initiative in a session led by the Assistant Director at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland. Conference room 242B (within 242SL, "Library Advancement Office", off the main stairwell)
  • Matthew Jockers, Topic Modeling DMC-1
  • Drew Margolin, Network Analysis DMC-4
  • Jentery Sayers, Digital Scholarly Composition with Scalar. Learn how to use this “free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online.” Classroom 219SL
  • Bethany Nowviskie, Project Management. Learn best practices for starting and managing a digital project. 421SL (4th floor, just behind main stairwell)
  • Jason Rhody and John Unsworth. Seeking Digital Humanities Funding. Learn about funding options for digital humanities projects and explore other opportunities offered through the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities. Classroom 294SL
  • Kathryn Tomasek, Getting Undergrads Involved in Research. Learn how to include undergrads in digital humanities projects and integrate projects into courses. Classroom 246SL
  • David Shepherd. Geospatial Analysis with Hypercities. Explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment. Classroom 295SL
  • Geoffrey Rockwell, Introduction to Textual Analysis with TAPoR and/or Voyant. Use textual analysis tools to search large texts quickly, perform complex searches, and present the results in ways that suit the study of texts. DMC Circle-2 (with the blue "shower curtain" wall)