The Workings Under The Hood

Cells are the building blocks of life itself, the essence of every single human on this planet.  Just as cells create us, DH projects are similar in that they have key blocks that are necessary to create a ‘life’.  These blocks are called the front end and the back end, the front end is essentially the polished finished external view that is presented to the public eyes of the scholarly world.  However, the back end is made up of servers, browsers, databases, search engines, processing programs and networks as well as the user experience; as I read on the article. “ Analysis of DH Projects.”  

A, B and C, or as they are known globally, the ABCs of the alphabet.  These letters come together to create words, words are essential to everyone involved in the world of digital humanity regardless of their expertise.  Communication is important, words come together to create communication whether it be good, bad, explanations or directions, words create. At the beginning , middle and end of every project or task, Trevor Owens, in his article “Please Write it Down: Design and Research in Digital Humanities”; frequent mention is made to the importance of proper documentation of projects.  Documentation serves as a guide for the next step, looking back on past steps taken and many more reasons. Without documentation, did we really do that thing? Did Mae Carol Jemison really become the first person of color to travel in space back in 1992? Words are a digital humanists most reliable tool and over the course of this class I hope to develop this tool of mine through reading and observation.  Writing is an important part of any process.

Beginning this journey to becoming a digital humanist, my peers and I will be exposed to various tools to use, this includes various software such as Omeka.  Omeka provides open-source web publishing platforms for sharing digital collections and creating media-rich online exhibits.

by Tracey Daway

Stepping into the Digital World.


As the world progresses, it has become more dependent on the internet and technology alike. As we explore the world, we use the internet for everything. At one time I thought the internet was just to find out where we are going and to explain difficult questions, but with the help of digital humanities we can now find out where we come from and how far we have come, learn to code and use tools and software to analyse information.

In my opinion, Digital Humanities is a field in which the humanities of the world which are literature, history, arts and physiology connect with technology. With this, everyone has the ability to become teachers, creators, designers, and even students. It’s never too late to learn. And with this rapidly growing technological world, digital humanists have created methods, tools and software to expand our digital use.

I believe that the digital humanities course should be offered to all students as the world is becoming more tech savvy. Everyone should be given the opportunity to advance themselves in technology even if they don’t have a strong background in that field. With the world revolving around technology we all have the chance of becoming students whether young or old.

The Creation of A Digital Humanities Project by Chelsea Bertrand

In the field of digital humanities person a required to provide fresh, new takes on different projects.  Trevor Owens in his article states that “Every document and artifact that you create in the process of design could serve as a new genre of humanities scholarship.  

When Digital Humanities comes to mind persons most times shift their thought process towards online coding rather than written documentation while in truth  digital humanities needs written records. Trevor Owens states in his article that a project without a written component is void of purpose or substance. This however does not mean that one must convert their programming to a word format.  An individual should publish in essence the reasoning for or an explanation of the project as well as their thoughts leading up to the creation of the project.

After finishing the project the creator should not just banish the experience from their mind.  A reflection upon the events must occur. In this stage the person must ask themself “What have I learned from this experience?”.  This does not need to be recorded it is simply a moment to reflect mentally on the events.

Trevor Owens in his article mentions both reflective designers and design based researchers; upon further research it was stated that reflective designing is more theoretical and analytic while design based research is a systematic hands on approach.  

I believe that any project should be a combination of the two any researcher should employ both methods to better understand how to think deeply all while commenting on the work of others.  This collaboration appeals to two different but equally important processes.

From this article, I learnt that a lot of work goes into making a digital humanities project.

One must provide new ideas to the field of study this keeping it updated. I also learnt that coding and written documentation should go hand in hand while creating a project. A project should contain a detailed explanation of any coding component it contains.  This new information shall prove very useful when it is my turn to produce a digital humanities project.

Digital Preservation

By Alaina Mathew

The availability of technology has made us better able to explore and understand humanistic inquiry.
Textual analysis and Digital preservation are very important factors that helps us better understand history.

Can you imagine how easy it is to find and read online that were published in the 1800s? Were it not for all the technological advancements that we are so blessed to have now, a lot of historical facts and information would be long forgotten.

Textual analysis analyses old texts, images etc from previous decades, represent them as data and then mine for patterns and trends in these texts . This links with digital preservation as they work hand in hand. It ensures that digital information of continuing value remains accessible and usable for future use. This enables us to keep track of important records and documentations at the tip of our fingers.

The Willa Cather Archives is a prime example of this. This is where all the information of willa Cather is stored. From her biography, to all her books and other writings and even old photographs of her. This makes information much more easily accessible.

Also, digital newspapers are another great example of how textual analysis and Digital preservation are beneficial to us today. There are many of us who stored countless amount of newspapers from previous years somewhere in our house. And this was to ensure that we kept track of the past occurrences in our country. Now however, it seems almost silly to have a vast amounts of outraged newspapers in our homes as it is so simple to find it online.

The advancing world of technology has made our daily lives much simpler. Would you be able to function in a non- digital world? Over the past decade there has been a major improvement in our lives as it relates to technology. Can you imagine what our world would be like 10 years from Now? With even more advancements and windows for opportunity? I for one am excited to see what it brings.

Little strokes fell great oaks – by Kodie Jean-Jacques

            Have you ever been deluged with assignments at work or school? I’m sure you have. Oftentimes, we sit and sulk over the amount of work we must do and as a result, not even get any work done. A similar situation transpires in the field of digital humanities. What if everybody said – “This one little map won’t make an impact.” Or “Me managing this one database will not have an impact on the world.” Then there would not be any information at our fingertips now. Throughout this blog post, I will be elucidating how we can all play our part in being benevolent using technology because not only digital humanists should be burdened with the huge task of making information available.

            Firstly, one could create or help maintain a knowledge site. This website’s purposes are to make a set of works in the public domain more accessible and to introduce academic audiences to a particular subject or specific angle which they may be unaware of. An example of this site is Wikipedia. A person may choose to write and upload information on a wide spectrum of subjects where it can be accessed by thousands of people. This is the epitome of digital humanities.

            If he doesn’t fancy doing research, writing or uploading literature, there are several other ways in which he can contribute to an ever-developing scene of information distribution.  For example, he may choose to create a 3-D model or start a crowdsourcing project or even host an online event.  

According to “Digital Humanities is what Digital Humanists do” by Rafael Alvarado, a digital 3-d model is a detailed model of a particular area based on historical data . Digital humanists normally create these models in order to recreate the experience of being in a space or to document an area for restoration or recreation. Normally, a lot of research goes into siphoning information to place on these models. There are currently several digital 3-D models online such as Marie Saldana’s digital magnesia and Digital Karnak. A small project and a big project respectively.

            A benevolent person may choose to host an online event. At the surface, hosting an online event sounds fun. It is fun. However, there is lots of work involved. One would have to create a schedule, establish which discussion software to be used (e.g. VanillaForums) and then actually execute it. An example of an online event is DHPoco summer school.

            My personal favorite method of siphoning and disseminating information is crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is essentially a collaborative effort between several people over the internet to achieve the same objectives. Crowdsourcing seeks to make siphoning information easier by using the divide-and-conquer problem-solving technique. The major drawback of this method is that users will all need to learn how to work their way around the crowdsourcing platform.

            As I made vivid in the preceding paragraphs, little strokes can fell great oaks. If everyone plays a part in the digital humanities objective, the internet could be a whole lot better.

The Making of a Digital Humanities Project

By Shalian Shaw

When I was first introduced to digital humanities and what it entailed I felt somewhat intimidated and worried that I would not be able to fulfill my tasks as well as I hoped as a Create Caribbean intern. I requested help from older interns many times regarding how to go about this internship and what was required of me. Previously working with Create as a volunteer during the summer programme ‘Create And Code’ also generated some concerns about my lack of knowledge in relation to coding, computers in general and the technical skills required.

The article “How did they make that?” By Miriam Posner provides readers with a list of projects and tools and technologies available for those interested in doing digital humanities work. I found this quite helpful to be exposed to some of the tools used by a few digital humanists and the technologies needed to get started on similar projects. Whilst reading this article I also realized how much technology has advanced. The number of different tools that are now available to conduct humanities work and other projects in general is somewhat amazing. These tools make it so much easier to get projects done. Besides these tools and technologies, many tutorials are readily available to anyone who has an interest in learning.

In Trevor Owens’ “Please Write it Down: Design and Research in Digital Humanities”, the importance of writing when working on digital humanities projects is explained. He is of the view that without at least a page of writing linked to your work, you have no project. This writing may be the result of some reflection or some sort of explanation of the purpose and result of your project. I personally agree that everyone should do some sort of reflection in relation to their work. You not only view how successful your effort was but the lessons learnt are made apparent.

Behind the scenes of a DH Project

By Rhesa Lawrence

 Just as all scientist use SI units of measurements and the IUPAC standards for naming compounds; it makes sense that digital humanist has their own language. HTML stands For Hyper Text Mark-up Language; digital humanist that create websites for their findings will know how to write in this language. In all operations and transactions in life there are two ends. To fully understand it we as digital humanist, do the research, compile the finding in such a way that you the user will understand; this is called the back end of all digital projects. However, the front end is how you the user access the knowledge’s and the design of how the knowledge is presented.

Before a project/ research paper can be publish, the author is always encouraged to reflect on their finding or on the execution of the of the project. It is the same in a DH Project as it is a method used to ensure that we stayed on course, and a way to find out if we really accomplished what we set out to do and if we learned more about a topic that we did.

 After reading all three articles it has now come to my understanding that taking on A digital humanities project is not the same as finding information for your next lecture, but a lot more is needed to be taken into consideration. Not only are we to think about the data we are collecting on a topic, but we need to think about the viewer we are targeting and a way in which is best to capture their attention so that the information can stick with them.

On the other hand, what is a digital humanist without at least some computer science skills. To be able to digitally pass on the knowledge; the understanding and the ability to fluently write in languages such as HTML and JavaScript is needed. Furthermore, a digital humanist must be able to understand the workings of simple apps like google maps and be able to analytically understand statistical data. In short, a digital humanist must have some form of technological and scholarly inclination for them to efficiently carry out a Digital Humanities Project.

What’s Behind the Screen? – How Digital Humanities Projects are Made

By Serena Maxwell

Growing up in the age of technology where knowledge and information is literally at my fingertips, I have to admit , I am privileged. It has come to the point where the internet has been integrated into my life, so much so, that I cannot even imagine life with it .Prior to reading the article ‘How Did They Make That?’ by Miriam Posner, I have never stopped to ask myself how the internet came to be. I remember at the age of ten, my father had brought home the first computer and by the end of that day, I had been able to navigate my way through the device and the world wide web. I also recall my mother asking how was I able to master this device in such a short space of time, having had no prior experience with it. As much as I would love to believe that I was a child prodigy with special technological powers, unfortunately that was not the case.

The user friendly interface combined with my curious nature enabled me to quickly learn the mechanisms of the device. It has now been eight years since I first used the internet and not once in those eight years did I ever question its evolution nor how information was made available on the internet, that is , until now.

The article described thoroughly the various aspects of digital humanities projects and how they aid in creating the final product. For example, occasionally, I used Google Maps and was able to travel the world on the internet, yet I never wondered how this was even made possible. I would search for maps of various countries and historical events and would be exposed to a wealth of information. By reading this article I discovered that some of these images and sources of historical information were created using sites such as or and Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) , which Google defines as a standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, colour, graphic, and hyperlink effects on World Wide Web pages.

One digital humanities project mentioned in the post which I found particularly interesting was ‘A Mapping Project: The Negro Travelers’ Green Book’. Essentially, this is a software which identifies the addresses of African Americans in 1956 using Google maps. I found it astonishing that in this current era anyone with access to the internet are able to find the addresses of people from 1956, all thanks to the power of the internet.

Additionally, due to the advancement of modern technology, we are able to represent statistical data using software such as Mallet and J , which is a programming language for statistical analysis and graphics. The digital humanities project which I was most intrigued by was the 3D historical model of the Hellenistic city of Magnesia. I found it incredible that individuals are able to create realistic models which are so accurate and detailed. After viewing this, my mind flooded with memories of the virtual reality games I enjoyed when I was younger. Games such as Second Life, Movie Star Planet and Small Worlds enabled me to virtually build a world of my own thanks to the existence of this type of software.

I look forward to creating a digital humanities project of my own and furthering my skills and knowledge in this field of digital humanities.

Technology as a Tool

B.Melissa Santiago

Technology can be good if we use it as a tool. But how can we make good use of a tool if we don’t know all it functions, how it’s made and where it comes from.

“Analysis of DH Projects” teaches us that all digital projects have certain structural features in common and have produced HTML as their final format. HTML is hypertext markup language, according to Miriam Posner it is used to customize the way a site looks. HTML is a language understood by individuals who study technology or have a great interest in that field. Though understanding such language may seems easy for a computer science student ; for someone like me who hasn’t paid much attention to this part of technology it may be quite difficult. That’s where the culture of technology has made reading, writing and thinking more challenging for individuals who don’t associate with creating websites or have little to no knowledge about programming.

Trevor Owen’s, ” Please Write It Down” suggests that reflective designers should share the artefacts and documents created during the process of designing. That is so because it would help them become better designers as well as help others learn to become designers. I would agree with Trevor Owen because, if normal individual such as myself can have access to such artifacts and documents i would have a better understanding of the process designers go through to create their work and I might just be able to use it as a guide to create mines.

We should pay more attention to what technology truly is and what it has to offer either than social media and search engines such as Google. It can be use for many things such as creating a historical 3D model like the one seen in Miriam Posner’s “How did they make that?”. We see a variety of digital programs in which technology is used as the tool it’s meant to be. Take “The Digital Scholarly Edition : The Willa Cather Archie” as an example, it’s used as a digital archive for Willa Cather’s writings.

Do you consider technology to be a tool or is it just your digital playground?

Collect, Asses, Repeat

By Kaila-Ann Guiste

Design-based research is the methodological approach of and using results; the creation, testing, refinement and evolution of various educational methods, to aid practical learning and improve education research. To gather this definition, I read through an article by Terry Anderson and Julie Shattuck who broke it down quite well. Design based research encourages deeper thinking and not absorbing and regurgitating information.

I understood that writing in digital humanities is not just saying what you did but the reflective process one went through when completing the task or the preexisting idea of what the creation was supposed to accomplish. It is impertinent to reflect on the goals, the experience and the results at the end of a project. It is critical for communicating said results and realizing them. If designers write reflectively at each major step, another could look at it through their perspective and branch out into another way to accomplish the same goal or another goal entirely.

I find that design-based research accompanied by reflective writing is one of the ways we can transform our interactions with technology so that we are producers of information rather than just consumers.

I think writing reflectively during the creative process makes it take longer, but it creates a sort of instructional guide to the creator or researcher on how to go about doing it or how it has been done before. It also encourages growth and unselfish learning. I myself have tried this when experimenting with my violin. In writing I would include why I did what I did, what I thought of doing, why I didn’t do it, what I had seen others do and my opinion on their methods. This process solidifies what I learned and provided a deeper understanding of what was being done. Understanding opens the floodgates of philosophies; it increases the probability of amazing and inclusive ideas and I think that is what makes reflective writing such an important step in research in general.

After reading “How did they make that?” by Miriam Posner I recognize that this blog will be very important when developing a digital humanities project. It gives lists and links to all necessary tools and how to use them. It was a very thorough tour and I couldn’t help but feel a bit apprehensive. When I say this, I mean it occurred to me ‘wow can I do this? / I can’t wait to actually try this!’. I hate to consider that I can’t do this because no matter how I slice it this is bigger than me (and it is still a distance away), but I do make it a point to remember that there is an entire team going through the same motions as I am and I would like to believe I know what I signed up for when I decided to join Create Caribbean.