Introduction to Digital Humanities and Social Analytics

Dit vak wordt in het Engels aangeboden. Omschrijvingen kunnen daardoor mogelijk alleen in het Engels worden weergegeven.

Doel vak

At the end of this course the student
• Has a global idea of recent developments in the field of data
digitization and research in the fields of digital humanities and social
• Understands the complexity and challenges of (global) data
• Understands the relevance of data-oriented research for humanities and
social sciences
• Is able to critically evaluate the use of digital data in humanities
and social science research and to reflect on the implications of the
selection, structuring and manipulation of data for the outcome of their
own work
• Has a basic knowledge of data formats and ontologies
• Is able to apply various computational techniques for cleaning,
parsing and structuring / modelling of digital data
• Is aware of disciplinary differences among students of humanities,
social science, informatics and other academic fields and is equipped to
work in multi-disciplinary teams

Inhoud vak

This course consists of three modules:
1 Study of current developments in the digital humanities and social
analytics through reading, evaluation and discussion
2 Introduction to hermeneutics, data criticism and tool criticism.
3 Practice in working with structured data, data curation and modelling
The humanities and social sciences have more and more digital material
at their disposal. Increasingly literature, newspapers, archival sources
as well as library and museum catalogues become available in digital
formats. Meanwhile digital born data from social media, news media
government bodies and all sorts of institutions allow scholars to work
with enormous amounts of new data on human behavior and communication.
How can humanities researchers and social scientists use digital data to
support their research? What are the digital tools at their disposal and
how can these tools provide new perspectives and research questions? In
this course you will be introduced to this cross-disciplinary research
field, to the data collections, computational tools and methods used. In
class we will also discuss what is really new about digital humanities
and social analytics and evaluate both the promises and the limits of
some digital methods.
Hermeneutics is the theory of interpretation. We will discuss
hermeneutics in relation to source-criticism and evaluate what the
methodological and theoretical implications are of the use of digitized
data, quantitative methods and large datasets.
A first step in data-oriented research is a critical understanding of
the providence, characteristics, shape and limits as well as the
potential of a given dataset. In this course, students will familiarize
with the ‘research data lifecycle’: Starting with the critical analysis
of how data are generated or how they are created through digitization
of original sources (objects), how data are formatted and structured,
how they can be cleaned and annotated, how they can be modelled and
analyzed, and finally documented, stored and published. Practical
choices that are to be made in the course of this process have crucial
implications for the way data can be used in research. In class we will
discuss the use of ontologies and different data formats and data
models. Practical problems such as the heterogeneity of humanities and
social media data, incompleteness, disambiguation, partiality and bias
will be discussed as well.


Classes will consist of a combination of bi-weekly lectures, excursions,
discussion, interdisciplinary group work and hands-on practicals
(1 x 3.45 (practicals & excursions); 1x 1.45 hours (lectures and
literature). Students are required to attend at
least 80% of the classes. Students who fail to do so without a valid
reason will be excluded from the course.


Practical assignments (40%) and written exam (60%).


Workbench Digital Humanities VU:
Further readings will be announced through CANVAS


Students who take the University Minor ‘Digital Humanities and Social
Analytics’. As long as there are available places, we welcome other
students of all disciplines, including international exchange students.
Please contact the coordinator in advance.

Algemene informatie

Vakcode L_AABAALG076
Studiepunten 6 EC
Periode P1
Vakniveau 200
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
Vakcoördinator dr. H.M.E.P. Kuijpers
Examinator dr. H.M.E.P. Kuijpers
Docenten dr. C.M. van den Akker
dr. H.M.E.P. Kuijpers

Praktische informatie

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