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Getting Started for HASTAC Scholars

Part of the purpose of the HASTAC Scholars program is to introduce participants to Digital Humanities. In that spirit, we will be sending out periodic emails that give you an overview of Digital Humanities (DH).

Digital Humanities is an amorphous concept, it has a lot of different definitions. We may think of DH as a big tent that encompasses many different digital approaches to research and teaching such as network analysis, text mining, mapping, crowdsourcing data, web scraping, digital collections, and video games.

What is Network Analysis?

Network analysis looks at relationships within a dataset. In the humanities, network analysis can look at kinship ties, social media connections, or conversations between characters in a novel.

Example Network Project: Printed Pathways in US Latino Periodicals

From the author:

“This is a comprehensive authority list that contains robust bibliographic information about US Latina/o authors and poets collected by Carolina Villarroel. This project was led by Isis Campos and developed at the US Latino Digital Humanities program (USLDH) at the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage/Arte Público Press.How to use:Purple dots represent authors, while red dots represent periodicals. Click on these dots to read more info. You can also search for authors or periodicals by clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper lefthand corner. Click on the pause button on the right to freeze the frame.”

Helpful Tool for Doing Network Analysis: Graph Commons  

HASTAC Blog post about the Printed Pathways Latino Periodical project

Video demo of how to use Graph Commons:


DH as a Teaching and Learning Practice

Digital humanities is more than just using digital tools for research, it also includes using digital technology for online, hybrid and in-person instruction. As defined by Brian Croxall, digital pedagogy is, “the use of electronic elements to enhance or to change the experience of education.” This may include using digital resources, contributing to digital resources, or producing digital resources (Rebecca Frost Davis). From blogs and MOOCs to VR and video games, digital pedagogy can take many forms.

Resources at Vanderbilt: 

Two great places to start learning about digital pedagogy are the Center for Teaching and the Digital Commons at Vanderbilt.


Digital Pedagogy Texts:

If you are interested in learning about best practices for incorporating digital tools into your classes and evaluating digital work, check out:


Example Projects:

Check out examples of lesson plans incorporating digital tools on Vanderbilt’s world languages’ lesson plan repository Language Panda.