Leiden University Centre for Digital Humanities
Digital Humanities Student Network
As a result of the digital revolution, new approaches, tools, and ways of sharing knowledge are becoming increasingly accessible to researchers in all fields, including the humanities. Results can be visualized with the click of a button, and automated analyses can rapidly increase our systemic understanding of complicated issues. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the field of digital scholarship has become increasingly important in the Humanities. Yet for all the potential the digital environment holds, it can be difficult to find the best way to incorporate computational research methods – especially to those first crossing the threshold into the Digital Humanities.
The Digital Humanities Student Network of Leiden (DH/SN) is a community of students who have set out to overcome some of the hurdles facing new Digital Humanities scholars. Working in isolation on highly specific problems can be draining and demoralizing. It is our belief that students can benefit from increased awareness of each other’s work, expertise, methodologies, and tools – so they won’t end up accidentally having to reinvent the digital wheel. DH/SN organizes seminars, workshops, presentations, and discussions. If you are a PhD student, we invite you to join DH/SN to expand your network and share your enthusiasm for Digital Humanities with other students from a wide variety of scholarly fields!
Seminars and workshops
DH/SN has organized biweekly seminars in the past for students on a wide variety of topics. These ranged from visualization, to database management, to natural language processing. Typically, no reading material is mandatory in advance of a seminar. Instead, participating students are asked to provide examples of the topic at hand, either in their own research or which they have encountered elsewhere. These examples can range from the highly pragmatic and easy to pick up, to very advanced or theoretical. Thus, the seminars will offer insights into existing methods and will foster discussion on their advantages, disadvantages, and possible workarounds. Moreover, problems, or lacunae in skills, shared by the larger group can be identified and tackled together. In such cases, DH/SN aims to provide additional support by organizing workshops. These may be geared towards further in-depth discussion, or knowledge acquisition on a specific topic such as how to use particular software.
In addition to the regular content of the seminars, DH/SN invites students to prepare presentations about their own research, for which time will be reserved in the seminars. Such presentations may provide insight into matters of methodology, and will provide valuable inspiration to peers engaging with similar material. Additionally, they form an opportunity for the presenter to get feedback, and explore possible alternative approaches.
Topics have included:
- Database management
- Topic modelling
- Natural language processing and text-mining
- Visualization (revisited) – Gephi, R, Google Chart, etc.
- Digital Humanities in the field