A #DH Syllabus

Post Update: This is the final syl­labus for a dig­i­tal human­i­ties course—Catalog # Hum 340—I taught for the School of Arts & Human­i­ties, Clare­mont Grad­u­ate Uni­ver­sity, the sum­mers of 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 as a research tool (in lieu of for­eign lan­guage) and the spring of 2011 and 2012 as a research tool and/or for credit. This course is no longer offered as the fac­ulty cur­ricu­lum com­mit­tee re-evaluates the course. Posts cat­e­go­rized 340 (or tagged 340) are asso­ci­ated in some way with this course.

Any medium pow­er­ful enough to extend man’s reach is pow­er­ful enough to top­ple his world. To get the medium’s magic to work for one’s aims rather than against them is to attain literacy.

Dig­i­tal Human­i­ties is a col­lab­o­ra­tive approach to schol­ar­ship that com­bines tra­di­tional forms of human­is­tic study with infor­ma­tional tech­nolo­gies. The emer­gence and adop­tion of infor­ma­tional tech­nolo­gies into the human­i­ties is more than a means to an end; infor­ma­tional tech­nolo­gies have had and will have a sig­nif­i­cant and vital role in shap­ing schol­ar­ship within the human­i­ties. In this course, we will explore the core con­cepts of the dig­i­tal human­i­ties both the­o­ret­i­cally and prac­ti­cally through dis­cus­sion and “hands–on” expe­ri­ence using infor­ma­tional technologies—e.g., search, cita­tion man­age­ment, visu­al­iza­tion, pro­gram­ming—to increase your abil­ity to find, col­lect, man­age, manip­u­late, do, and pub­lish your research.


Ulti­mately, I do not expect that you will leave this class as a tech­ni­cally pro­fi­cient pro­gram­ming dig­i­tal human­ist. I do expect, how­ever, that you will leave this course with a greater under­stand­ing of the basic tools and “lan­guages” of a dig­i­tal human­ist and their impact on human­is­tic study.

Specif­i­cally, stu­dents will acquire basic famil­iar­ity with: the major con­cepts and trends in the dig­i­tal human­i­ties; work­ing with files and direc­to­ries; infor­ma­tion trap­ping via RSS and cita­tion man­age­ment; pro­gram­ming; and using web pub­lish­ing pro­grams (see Tasks for more details).


  • Ses­sion 01 (Jan 18): Secu­rity, Accounts, Files;
  • Ses­sion 02 (Jan 25): Files, Twit­ter, RSS;
  • Ses­sion 03 (Feb 01): Search, Zotero;
  • Ses­sion 04 (Feb 08): Zotero (cont.);
  • Ses­sion 05 (Feb 15): Zotero Review, DH Projects;
  • Ses­sion 06 (Feb 22): DH Projects Pro­posal, Project Tools;
  • Ses­sion 07 (Feb 29): Project Read­ing and Pre­lim­i­nary Project Pro­posal Due, Project Tools;
  • Ses­sion 08 (Mar 07): Project Tools;
  • Ses­sion 09 (Mar 14): Spring Break;
  • Ses­sion 09 (Mar 21): Final Project Pro­posal Due, Project Tools;
  • Ses­sion 10 (Mar 28): Project Work;
  • Ses­sion 11 (Apr 04): Project Work;
  • Ses­sion 12 (Apr 11): Project Work;
  • Ses­sion 13 (Apr 18): Project Work;
  • Ses­sion 14 (Apr 25): Project Work;
  • Ses­sion 15 (May 02): Final Project Due.

Please note: this sched­ule is sub­ject to change.

Require­ments & Policies

Basic Require­ments

  • com­plete all assigned in–class and out–of–class tuto­ri­als and exercises;
  • com­plete the assigned project readings;
  • com­plete a final project.


Atten­dance is manda­tory, please let me know if you are going to miss a ses­sion. It is the student’s respon­si­bil­ity to com­plete any tasks, read­ings, and/or project work missed dur­ing the student’s absence.


The fol­low­ing rubric will be used in grad­ing the student’s efforts for this class on a pass/fail scale:

  • 1/4: using assigned social media, and over­all par­tic­i­pa­tion and effort (includ­ing atten­dance) in the course;
  • 1/4: com­plet­ing assigned tasks;
  • 1/2: final project:
    • 1/3: project proposal;
    • 2/3: final project.

I do not dis­tin­guish, when assess­ing stu­dents, between those stu­dents tak­ing this course as a research tool and those tak­ing this course for credit. I treat both equally.


There is often con­fu­sion about how this class counts. To avoid con­fu­sion, this course may count:

  • as a sec­ond research tool—in lieu of a for­eign language—for Ph.D. stu­dents in all human­i­ties pro­grams and for MA stu­dents in the Arts Man­age­ment program;
  • or as a 4 credit course.

Note: some, but not all, depart­ments allow stu­dents to dou­ble count this course. Please check with your aca­d­e­mic adviser and/or depart­ment chair to ver­ify your department’s pol­icy regard­ing dou­ble count­ing courses.

Final Project

All students—individually or collaboratively—are required to com­plete a final project. Projects may involve but are not lim­ited to:

  • research that brings new approaches or doc­u­ments best prac­tices in the study of the dig­i­tal humanities;”
  • plan­ning and devel­op­ing pro­to­types of new dig­i­tal tools for pre­serv­ing, ana­lyz­ing, and mak­ing acces­si­ble dig­i­tal resources, includ­ing libraries’ and muse­ums’ dig­i­tal assets;”
  • schol­ar­ship or stud­ies that exam­ine the philo­soph­i­cal or prac­ti­cal impli­ca­tions and impact of the use of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies in spe­cific fields or dis­ci­plines of the human­i­ties, or in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tions involv­ing sev­eral fields or disciplines;”
  • inno­v­a­tive uses of tech­nol­ogy for pub­lic pro­gram­ming and edu­ca­tion uti­liz­ing both tra­di­tional and new media; and”
  • new dig­i­tal modes of pub­li­ca­tion that facil­i­tate the dis­sem­i­na­tion of human­i­ties schol­ar­ship in advanced aca­d­e­mic as well as infor­mal or for­mal edu­ca­tional set­tings at all aca­d­e­mic levels.”

*Note: The project ideas listed above are from the National Endow­ment for the Human­i­tiesOffice of Dig­i­tal Human­i­ties Start–Up Grants.

Project Due Dates

  1. Project Read­ing due Feb 29th;
  2. Project Pro­posal
    • pre­lim­i­nary pro­posal (descrip­tion sec­tion only) due Feb 29th,
    • final pro­posal (all sec­tions) due Mar 21st,
    • pro­pos­als should be sub­mit­ted as a Google Doc and shared with the instruc­tor @ goa­trock­re­search [at] gmail [dot] com; and a
  3. Project Site due May 2nd.

Project Read­ing

Think­ing About the Dig­i­tal Humanities
Cohen, Daniel, and Roy Rosen­zweig. “Promises and Per­ils of Dig­i­tal His­tory.” In Dig­i­tal His­tory: A Guide to Gath­er­ing, Pre­serv­ing, and Pre­sent­ing the Past on the Web, 1 — 17. Philadel­phia: Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Press, 2005.
———. “Explor­ing the His­tory Web.” In Dig­i­tal His­tory: A Guide to Gath­er­ing, Pre­serv­ing, and Pre­sent­ing the Past on the Web, 18 — 50. Philadel­phia: Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Press, 2005.
Doing a Dig­i­tal Project
Cohen, Daniel, and Roy Rosen­zweig. “Get­ting Started.” In Dig­i­tal His­tory: A Guide to Gath­er­ing, Pre­serv­ing, and Pre­sent­ing the Past on the Web, 50 — 79. Philadel­phia: Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Press, 2005.
———. “Becom­ing Dig­i­tal.” In Dig­i­tal His­tory: A Guide to Gath­er­ing, Pre­serv­ing, and Pre­sent­ing the Past on the Web, 80 — 107. Philadel­phia: Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Press, 2005.
———. “Design­ing for the His­tory Web.” In Dig­i­tal His­tory: A Guide to Gath­er­ing, Pre­serv­ing, and Pre­sent­ing the Past on the Web, 108 — 140. Philadel­phia: Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Press, 2005.
———. “Build­ing an Audi­ence.” In Dig­i­tal His­tory: A Guide to Gath­er­ing, Pre­serv­ing, and Pre­sent­ing the Past on the Web, 141 — 159. Philadel­phia: Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Press, 2005.

Project Read­ing Due: Feb­ru­ary 29.

The Dig­i­tal His­tory chap­ters listed above are the only required required read­ings for this course. How­ever, the instruc­tor will also post a vari­ety of rec­om­mended—but not required—read­ings to assist stu­dents in com­plet­ing assigned tasks, the final project, and explor­ing the dig­i­tal human­i­ties in general.

Pro­posal Guide­lines *

  1. Descrip­tion: What?; Why?; Who: Participant(s) and Audience(s)?; and
  2. Work Plan: How?
  3. The project pro­posal must be writ­ten in Google Docs and shared with the instruc­tor: goa­trock­re­search [at] gmail [dot] com;
  4. Pre­lim­i­nary draft of descrip­tion sec­tion is due Feb 29th;
  5. Final Pro­posal (all sec­tions) is due Mar 21st.
  1. Descrip­tion:
    1. Describe in one to two para­graphs, writ­ten for a non­spe­cial­ist audi­ence, the project’s: goal(s); the major issue(s) to be addressed; the intended audience(s); and how your pro­posed project con­tributes to and/or advances human­i­ties schol­ar­ship via dig­i­tal meth­ods and/or technologies.
    2. Describe in one para­graph other exist­ing dig­i­tal human­i­ties projects that are sim­i­lar in nature to your project and dis­cuss how they relate to the pro­posed project (you need not include every sim­i­lar project, just a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple: ~ 3). The scan should make it clear that you are aware of sim­i­lar work being done.
    3. Include a biog­ra­phy sec­tion that con­tains a brief, one-paragraph biog­ra­phy for the participant(s). If you are col­lab­o­rat­ing, please iden­tify the project man­ager (if one was cho­sen) and col­lab­o­ra­tors directly involved in com­plet­ing the the pro­posed project, and the rea­sons for and nature of their col­lab­o­ra­tion should be explained.
  2. Work Plan:
    1. Describe the spe­cific task(s), method(s), technology/tool(s) that will be used in some detail (~1000 char­ac­ters but no more than), not­ing which par­tic­i­pants will be involved if it is a col­lab­o­ra­tive project, and mile­stones for com­plet­ing the project. The participant(s) should also dis­cuss what pro­vi­sions will be made for the long-term main­te­nance of the project (if necessary).
    2. Dis­cuss pro­vi­sions for mak­ing the project open and acces­si­ble in every sense of the term, includ­ing the use, copy­ing, dis­tri­b­u­tion, and mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the project via a Cre­ative Com­mons license.
    3. Pro­vide a con­cise list of resources used in com­plet­ing the project—to be included in an appendix(s)—including infor­ma­tion about pre­lim­i­nary research or plan­ning, resources avail­able, and, if applic­a­ble, include wire­frames, screen shots, and other project schemat­ics, notes, tools, links etc.

*Note: The pro­posal guide­lines are adapted from the National Endow­ment for the Human­i­tiesOffice of Dig­i­tal Human­i­ties Start–Up Grants.

Project Site

The project will be deliv­ered, for most stu­dents, as a web­site. The project site may take what­ever form—extensive con­tain­ing many pages or small con­tain­ing only a few pages; com­posed pri­mar­ily of text or mul­ti­fac­eted con­tain­ing text, video, images, and/or graphics—the student(s) pro­poses. Some projects may not directly trans­late into a site per se (e.g., stu­dent decides to cre­ate an info­graphic—i.e., “Dig­i­tal Human­i­ties”—as a final project). If this is the case, the student(s) is required to cre­ate a project site that con­tains their pro­posal, marked up as an HTML doc­u­ment, and pro­vides access to the core project file(s) (e.g., stu­dent cre­ates a video, posts project video to YouTube or Vimeo, and includes a link to the YouTube or Vimeo page con­tain­ing the video). Stu­dents should con­sult with the instruc­tor to deter­mine how best to han­dle projects that are not directly web–based.

Con­cepts, Meth­ods, Tools, & Tasks *


Infor­ma­tion Trapping:



  • using web devel­op­ment lan­guages and tools (e.g., HTML);
  • basic pro­gram­ming (e.g., Python).


  • using a blog pub­lish­ing plat­form (e.g., Word­Press);
  • using an archival pub­lish­ing plat­form (e.g., Omeka).

* We may not cover all the tasks listed here due to time con­straints as well as stu­dent needs and desires.

Accounts & Software

Stu­dents are required to sign–up for and/or install the fol­low­ing software:

  • Google Account: for sub­scrib­ing to rss feeds, map­ping, doc­u­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion, YouTube.
  • Twit­ter Account: for explor­ing social networks.
  • Zotero (Fire­fox exten­sion or the stand alone ver­sion): for cita­tion management.
  • Text Edi­tor: for coding/programming. Sug­gested editors:

Pass­word Management

Stu­dents are required to sign up for sev­eral accounts. Stu­dents are respon­si­ble for keep­ing track of the accounts they sign up for as part of this course. To make this task eas­ier and more secure to man­age, I highly rec­om­mend that stu­dents invest (i.e., spend the time and money) in a good account/password man­ager. Account/password man­age­ment options:

  • 1 Pass­word (Desk­top Appli­ca­tion; Mac/Windows OS; Browser Inte­gra­tion; iOS/Android App; Edu­ca­tion: $40 — $100 depend­ing on version).
  • KeeP­ass (Desk­top Appli­ca­tion; Win­dows OS Only; Browser Inte­gra­tion; iOS/Android App; Open Source, Freeware).
  • Last­Pass (Browser-Based Appli­ca­tion; All Plat­forms, iOS/Android App; Free and Paid Versions).

I highly rec­om­mend 1 Pass­word; it costs, but it is worth the cost in my hum­ble opin­ion. KeeP­ass is also a great appli­ca­tion, but it is not avail­able for Mac OSX and its iOS inte­gra­tion is lim­ited. Last­Pass, web-based, is a good com­pro­mise between KeeP­ass and 1Password.

I can­not stress this enough: Please be sure to clearly and care­fully record each and every user id/password combo for each account. You have been warned.