We will be using various digital tools throughout the semester, and all of your work will be submitted electronically. If you do not have regular access to a computer, you will need to plan in advance to work at the library. All of the digital tools we will use are open-source, meaning they are free to use. However, some will require you to install browser extensions or software on your computer. If this is an issue for you, please come talk to me as soon as possible.
Guidelines for various digital tools will be available on this blog. If you are interested in a digital tool that I don’t discuss, come talk to me about it. What tools you use for your own work are flexible; I encourage you to look around and see what’s available and interesting to you.
While your work will be visible to me and to your fellow students, that does not mean that it needs to be identifiable to the general public. You are not required to put your real name on anything you publish online for this class. You are welcome to use an alias, as long as you inform me of your alias. You should consider this carefully; while this is an academic course, psychology and mental health are personal and you may wish to share personal experiences in your blogs. In this case, I advise you to use an alias.
Digital Humanities Methods & Tools
Text analysis is the use of computational methods to investigate a written work. This can involve using an algorithm to look at a single written work, to compare several works, or to look at patterns within a large number of works. Algorithms might be used to see what terms occur most frequently in a written document, which words within a document are most commonly connected, or where in the work specific words tend to appear. Programming languages like R and Python can be used for text analysis, but simple tools like the ones available at Voyant and Textalyser can be used too. These two tools allow you to analyze one or a few texts. Other tools (like Google Ngrams and Hathi Trust Research Center) allow you to analyze large databases of texts.
Visualizations: When writing a paper, most of the work is textual—you quote or describe sources with words, and you use your own words to tackle an issue. However, sometimes using images, video, sound or other sources can help drive an argument. There are several free and open-source presentation tools that can be used to incorporate these kinds of materials. Knight Labs has several tools that allow you to annotate data and images and embed media into text. TimeMapper and several other sites allow you to create multimedia timelines. You can create maps through Google Maps or the tools listed here.
Annotation & Curation: hypothes.is, Zotero, WordPress, Omeka & Neatline, Wiki editing.
Hypothes.is is an online annotation tool. It allows you to take notes and highlight text on any webpage. You can also take collaborative notes via our class group. These notes will be visible to me and to your classmates. This makes it easy for you to see what your classmates found interesting or confusing about a reading, and respond to their annotations. You can tag your notes, making it easier to sort through them. You can access your notes both on a computer and on your phones. Instructions for getting started with hypothes.is are available here; you can join our class group via this link.
Games/Interactive Fiction: Sometimes games can be used to tell a story or make an argument. Two examples of this are Inpatient and Depression Question, which put the player in the shoes of someone suffering from mental health issues. These two games are meant to build empathy and understanding for what mentally ill people go through. You could create a game like this, but you could also create a game to show what kinds of options were available to people historically and to draw out differences in how we think about mental health versus how people thought about it historically. Twine is a relatively simple way to build interactive fiction games. There are many other open-source game engines, some of which are suitable for beginners but most of which require programming skills.
For more information, visit these websites: