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Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities Tools

A guide to digital humanities, including definitions, sample projects, and tools.

Information Visualization

Once you have an idea of what you want to visualize or what questions you want to answer, it is important to determine what tools will be used to display your data. Many questions have seemingly obvious visualizations, but some do not. If you're just getting started with visualization, these links can be useful:

Information is Beautiful: Founded by David McCandless, author of two books on information visualization, this website is dedicated to encouraging and improving information visualization.

Dear Data: The Dear Data project was an analog drawing project to visualize information. While it isn't strictly a digital project in origin, Dear Data does build upon similar data visualization practices and techniques as many DH projects.

Data-Design: This is the web platform for a collaboratively authored introductory guide to visualizing information.

DH Tools

Knowing where to look for digital tools can be challenging. Listed below are some tool aggregators, in addition to some more popular tools. These are all either the free version of a paid software, a free online tool, or an open source alternative to a popular tool.

DiRT Directory: A directory of tools for DH work. Its organization can be a bit overwhelming, but it is very comprehensive and continuously updated.

Knight Lab: This collection of DH tools is hosted by Northwestern. These are freely available tools to visualize a variety of types of information. Two popular tools found here are TimelineJS and StoryMapJS.

Tableau Public: Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool. While there is a paid full version, the public version is completely free. The only difference is that all visualizations done in the public version are published online, free for others to view.

ArcGIS Online: ArcGIS is the go-to program for geological data. The full version is pricey, but like Tableau Public, there is a free online version. Any visualizations and maps created using the free version are published publicly.

QGIS: This is the open source version of ArcGIS, available for free. Skills may not transfer perfectly from ArcGIS to QGIS, but it can create similar visualizations.

RAWGraphs: This is a free and simple tool that will take a spreadsheet and produce neat visualizations. After you input your data it will suggest visualizations based on the input.

DHNow also has a feed of resources that is continuously updated.

What is code?

Humanists new to the digital humanities might not have done any coding before. Paul Ford's Bloomberg piece What Is Code? offers a humanistic approach to computers and coding that may serve as a good primer for interested beginners.

This Love Letter Generator gives a sample of HTML Code. It is fairly simple entry point to see how coding works.

If you have a Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh card, you can access Lynda courses online. There are many classes about different programming language, as well as training programs for different software platforms (such as ArcGIS, QGIS, and Tableau).

Code Academy is a very useful tool to help learn the basics of coding in various programming languages.

Teaching Yourself to Code in DH contains a lot of useful introductions to code for humanists who may feel they need practice, or just want some support leaning the basics. It includes many textbooks and other examples to learn from.

Programming Historian is another great collection of lessons and tutorials to better understand coding, data analysis, data visualization, and other DH skills.