Skip to main content

CDH Heads West: DHSI Victoria 2013

Auditorium at DHSI 2013

This past June, members of Ryerson’s Centre for Digital Humanities travelled to the University of Victoria to attend the 11th session of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. On the wooded campus replete with deer, ponds, and flower gardens, CDH folks settled in for an intensive week of hands-on training complemented by graduate colloquia, unconference lunch breaks, and institute lectures.

Liz Podnieks, working to digitize and expand her print scholarly edition of the modernist diary of Emily Holmes Coleman, studied “Digital Editions.” This course was taught by digital scholar Dean Irvine, director of Editing Modernism in Canada (EMiC), and Alan Stanley, a developer of the Islandora open-source software framework used by the EMiC community on the Modernist Commons. Also on hand was Tanya Clement who, as Associate Editor of the Versioning Machine, introduced the class to cutting-edge ways to visualize and collate documents.

Michelle Schwartz and Jason Boyd attended “Introduction to XSLT for Digital Humanists,” taught by Syd Bauman and Martin Holmes. Michelle experimented with using XSLT to extract data from Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada, a TEI-encoded document that is included in the Canadian Writing and Research Collaboratory (CWRC) corpus. Jason experimented with extracting and tabulating data for analysis using TEI-encoded biographical texts relating to Oscar Wilde for his in-development "Texting Wilde Project."

Reg Beatty, Project Manager at the CDH, and always drawn to the farthest points on the DH horizon, took “Physical Computing and Desktop Fabrication in the Humanities” led by Jentery Sawyers (University of Victoria) and Bill Turkel and Devon Elliot (both from Western University.) Reg sampled a host of options including experimenting with Arduino microcontrollers, modelling 3D objects, and building a 3D printer.

Meanwhile, Sarah Henstra took part in the “Digitalization Fundamentals and Their Application” course, offered by Robin Dixon and Michael Nixon. Intended for those new to the digitization field, the course offered students skills to bring real-world objects such as text, image, sound, and video into a digital space. Added training in using digital tools to enhance the digital versions was also offered. Sarah took the course with her current research on mourning and communities in mind.

And as Co-Directors of The Yellow Nineties Online, Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra developed innovative mark-up methodologies for tagging the decorated pages of the avant-garde periodical, The Evergreen (1895-96), for a searchable electronic edition. Their digital project benefited greatly from the joint expertise of Julia Flanders (Brown U) and Constance Crompton (UBC Okanagan) in the "Introduction to TEI workshop." They were also delighted to see The Yellow Nineties Online showcased as an exemplary scholarly site in the DHSI program.

All the CDH members who attended testify to the remarkable learning curve offered by the DSHI courses and the community of instructors and participants. The rewards of the program are obvious: inspired by the experiences and experiential learning – as well as the cool beverages served at the end of a long day at the Smugglers Cove Pub in Cadboro Bay – CDH members returned to Ryerson well-trained to move forward on their digital projects.