Introduction to Digital Humanities


Goals and Objectives 

The aim of the course is to introduce digital humanities and to describe various aspects of digital content processing. The practical aims consist of introducing current data sources, annotation, pre-processing methods, software tools for data analysis and visualisation, and evaluation methods.
Currently, we identified that students are somewhat aware of digital humanities but it is difficult for them to dive in and, mainly, to anticipate what they should learn for their future research. A more detailed goal of this course is to present some current projects, show the datasets and technologies behind, and encourage students to explore the datasets and use the technologies on data they already know. A high level goal is to set the knowledge of the technologies and available datasets into the research iteration loop (create hypotheses -> design instruments -> collect data -> analyze and evaluate).


Department of Czech Language, Faculty of Arts
Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Description of the Training Materials

(Sub)discipline, topic, language(s) Digital Humanities
Keywords “digital humanities”, “data-driven research”, “digital content processing”, “text processing”, “image processing”, “metadata”, “word embeddings”, “evaluation”, “research infrastructures”
CLARIN resources
Teich, E. (2019). Corpus-Driven Investigation of Language Use, Variation and Change - Resources, Models, Tools CLARIN Annual Conference 2019. Leipzig, Germany. Invited talk. See videolecture.
Structure and duration The course consists of ten lessons with video material and a PowerPoint presentation with the same content. Every lesson contains a practical session – either a Jupyter Notebook to work in Python or a text file with a short description of the task. Most of the practical tasks consist of running the programme and analyse the results. Although the course does not focus on programming, the code can easily be reused in individual projects.
Target audience
Students of humanities, beginner level.
Some experience in running Python code is desirable but not required.
Facilities required Python needs to be installed together with Jupyter Notebooks. An alternative way is to upload Jupyter Notebooks into the Google Colab platform or another online Python interpreter.
Format Slides, videos
Course(s) in which the training material was used This material was used in FF: PLIN064 Introduction Digital Humanities, originally with videos in Czech.
License and  (re)use  This training material can be reused in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
Creation date September 2020
Last modification date 15 June 2021

Experience with Using CLARIN Resources in Teaching 

The CLARIN, DARIAH and PARTHENOS infrastructures were introduced during the course. Students were encouraged to use the to search for language resources and tools in the CLARIN repositories, which increased their awareness of the multimedia content (e.g. CHILDES corpus). Additionally, students browsed the catalogue of the LINDAT/CLARIN repository and learnt about the importance of persistent URLs and the license types assigned to the datasets. During the text processing sessions, students experimented with Weblicht. The students reported they were surprised how much social sciences and humanities data are already digitized, and how easily they can get particular results (e.g. OCRed or tagged text) using cloud-based services.


Students' Testimonials

''The learning format based on shared Jupyter Notebooks suited me and I really enjoyed the whole subject. It would have been better for me to enroll in the course later, with more experience, however, it gave me an insight into what digital humanities actually are and what tools they use.'' (Student at Masaryk University)


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Additional Information and Resources

Teachers who wish to reuse this course are recommended to make the videos and presentations available to the students in advance so that they get familiar with the course contents. The live sessions should include a hands-on demonstration of the Jupyter notebooks. The videos are quite short since it is expected that the students spend time working individually (browsing in repositories, reading articles, working with additional materials). 

Cite this Work

Zuzana Nevěřilová: Digital humanities: Introduction. A 10-week course with practical sessions. Masaryk University. 2020/2021

Contact Information

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