Providing resources and trai­ning in the practices and tools of the digital humanities

The Uncanny Valley and the Ghost in the Machine: a discussion of analogies for thinking about digitized medieval manuscripts

Digital Humanities Seminar
Co-Sponsored with the Hall Center for the Humanities

Monday, September 17, 2018
3:00pm - 4:30pm
Hall Center for the Humanities

The Uncanny Valley and the Ghost in the Machine: a discussion of analogies for thinking about digitized medieval manuscripts
Dot Porter, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Kislak Center for Special Collections, University of Pennsylvania

As the digitization of manuscripts becomes more and more widespread, and as we develop new methods for digitizing manuscripts in compelling ways and making use of these digital objects, we as a scholarly community have had to come up with various methods for communicating about these objects. We use relatively straightforward terms, such as surrogate, facsimile, and avatar, as well as more complex analogies. In the last chapter of 2008’s Printing the Middle Ages, “Coda; The Ghost in the Machine; Digital Avatars of Medieval Manuscripts,” Sian Echard talks of “the ominous implications of the phrase ‘the ghost in the machine’” in the consideration of modern reception, particularly digital reception, of medieval manuscripts. Beginning with the concept of mind-body dualism, described as “the ghost in the machine” by 20th century philosopher Gilbert Ryle, my talk will consider the appropriation of a variety of terms and analogies from philosophy, literature, and popular culture, and how we might use them to help us think about digitized medieval manuscripts and their uses.

Bio: As Curator of Digital Research Services in the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Dot Porter participates in a wide-ranging digital humanities research and development team within the context of a special collections department. Dot holds Master's degrees in Medieval Studies and Library Science and started her career working on image-based digital editions of medieval manuscripts. Her current projects focus on the digitization and visualization of medieval manuscripts.

Digital Donuts! - Fall 2018 Kick-off

Digital Donuts
Thursday, September 6 from 10-11AM
@ the DH Studio, Watson 410A

Kick off the school year with some tasty bytes of digital humanities knowledge! We’ve got updates on recent DH travel and projects, demos of a few digital humanities tools, and a great lineup of fall 2018 events to share. Plus, free donuts! (And who doesn’t like that?)

Open to all KU faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. Please share!

RSVP to Pam LeRow at by 09/01/2018.

Drop-ins welcome, but donuts may not be available to those who do not RSVP.

KU Teaching Summit: Critical Engagement through Digital Pedagogy

The KU Teaching Summit will have the following session on digital pedagogy:

Critical Engagement through Digital Pedagogy (Equity) Wescoe 4040

10:55 – 11:35 Breakout Sessions II

An Sasala, Film & Media Studies; Brian Rosenblum & Dhanashree Thorat, Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities

This session outlines two case studies for implementing a critical digital pedagogy in the humanities and social sciences classroom. Session facilitators will discuss how digital tools and platforms were used to further their course objectives and to encourage students to think critically about course content as well as digital technologies. This session will be useful for faculty who are interested in creating digital assignments: we will discuss how to write and scaffold digital assignments, share rubrics for evaluating student work created using digital tools, and identify resources for faculty interested in digital pedagogy.

The powerpoint for this session can be accessed here and the handout for this session, on creating your own digital assignment, can be downloaded here.

Data Violence: Dignity and Vulnerability Beyond Algorithmic Discrimination - March 15

KU Libraries will host a presentation by Anna Lauren Hoffmann, assistant professor with the Information School at the University of Washington, titled “Data Violence: Dignity and Vulnerability Beyond Algorithmic Discrimination.” The event, co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of Diversity and Equity, will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, at Watson Library, third floor West.

In the presentation, Hoffmann will look at the connections between big data, algorithms and automation, and the unjust distributions of rights, opportunities and material wealth. Hoffmann will explore the need to reckon with the symbolic and cultural violences extended and amplified by data-intensive technologies.

“We are excited to host Anna Lauren Hoffmann, as she is a pioneer in the area of data violence,” said Kevin L. Smith, dean of libraries. “This presentation will highlight the issues of fairness and bias in algorithmic systems, an important and ever-present subject for all students, researchers and scholars.”

Hoffmann’s research is situated at the intersections of data, technology, culture and ethics, and in particular, the ways in which the design and use of information technology can promote or hinder the pursuit of important human values like respect and justice. Her work has appeared in various scholarly journals like New Media & Society, The Library Quarterly, First Monday and JASIST, as well as popular outlets including The Guardian, Slate, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

The event will begin with a cocktail reception at 4:30 p.m., followed by the presentation beginning at 5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public; those who plan to attend should RSVP to Leah Hallstrom by March 12 at

Digital Storytelling Showcase – March 12

Undergraduate students enrolled in Germaine Halegoua's online class, FMS355: Storytelling With Digital Media, will display their final projects on March 12 from 12-2pm in the DH Studio. Students created digital, interactive projects based on the affordances of digital media and concepts of place and placemaking encountered over the 8 week course. Students used a variety of platforms including Twine, Google Maps, Ren'py, Omeka, Unity, Instagram, websites and interactive video to create short games, interactive fiction, map-based narratives, and other interactive experiences.

Art + Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon – March 10

The Murphy Art & Architecture Library will be hosting an Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on March 10 from 12-5pm. Art + Feminism edit-a-thons aim to make an impact on the gender gap through crucial improvements to gender, feminism and art-related subjects on Wikipedia. The all-day edit-a-thon will include tutorials for beginner Wikipedia users, ongoing editing support, and reference materials. This event is free and open to all, and no prior experience is required. If you’re interested in learning more about this opportunity, feel free to contact Paul Thomas (

Frederick Douglass' 200th Birthday: Transcribe-a-thon on the Freedmen's Bureau Papers

Federick Douglass Birthday Transcribe-a-Thon Flyer


Join us to celebrate Frederick Douglass' 200th Birthday with a Transcribe-a-thon on the Freedmen's Bureau Papers!

Wednesday, February 14
11AM -  2PM
​Watson Library 455

To celebrate the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass, the Colored Conventions Project , the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Smithsonian Transcription Center are gathering communities across the US and abroad to transcribe the Freedmen's Bureau Records.
KU Libraries and the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities (IDRH) will be hosting a local group here at KU on February 14, 11AM - 2PM in Watson Library 455.
The Colored Conventions Project will be providing an online program about the Freedmen's Burueau Papers via livestream during the event, and IDRH/Libraries staff will be on hand to assist in using the transcription website. Participants may join the event at any time. A birthday cake (while supplies last!) and refreshments will also be provided, starting at 11am. 
This event is open to students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the larger community. 
To help us in planning for the event, please RSVP to if you plan to attend.

Livestream: Digital Blackness in the Archive Symposium

On Monday, 11 December, IDRH is livestreaming the opening talk and first panel from the Digital Blackness in the Archive Symposium organized by DocNow. The symposium addresses issues at the intersection of archival practice and the existence of Black people on the web and social media. Join us in the DH Studio (Watson Library 410A) to watch and discuss the talks.

We are livestreaming the opening talk at 10:15am by Marissa Parham (Professor in English, Black Studies, and Film and Media Studies and Director of Five College Digital Humanities).

We are also livestreaming the first panel, "The Ferguson Effect on Local Activism and Community Memory" (with presentations by Alexis Templeton, Kayla Reed, Brittany Ferrell, and Aleia Brown) from 11:15am - 12:30pm.

More information about the event is available here

Event Description

Digital Blackness in the Archive

December 11-12, 2017 | St Louis | #BlackDigArchive

The second Documenting the Now symposium, to be held in conjunction with our advisory board meeting, will address issues at the intersection of archival practice and the existence of Black people on the web and social media. Invited speakers will discuss their work on the Black experience in online spaces including research on joy and creativity expressed by Black people on the web, cultural and social expression, activism and other acts of resistance, the Black experience with state sponsored online surveillance, and racism and bias in algorithm and social media platform design.​



Digital Humanities, Social justice and US Latina/o literature: A Roundtable Discussion - November 29

Digital Humanities, Social Justice, and US Latina/o Literature: A Roundtable Discussion

Wednesday, November 29
3:30pm - 5:00pm
Pine Room, Kansas Union

The Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies and IDRH welcome visiting scholars from the University of Houston, Gabriela Baeza Ventura and Carolina A. Villarroel, who were awarded a Mellon Foundation planning grant to start the first program on US Latinx digital humanities. They are also a part of the "Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage" at UH/Arte Público Press. There will be a Roundtable Discussion on U.S. Latinx presence and representation in digital humanities, literature, culture, and language. Students and faculty are welcome to attend this event.

Carolina A. Villarroel holds a Ph.D. in Spanish literature with a specialization in U.S. Latino Literature and Women's Studies.  She is the former archivist in charge of the Mexican American and African American Collections at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center at the Houston Public Library and in 2011, she became a Certified Archivist through the Academy of Certified Archivists.  Her expertise in U.S. Latino culture and literature has been fundamental to her positions at the University of Houston (UH), where she is the Brown Foundation Director of Research of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, a national program whose goal is to identify, preserve, study and make accessible the written production of Latinos/as in the United States from the colonial period until 1960. Dr. Villarroel also teaches literature at a graduate and undergraduate level in the Hispanic Studies Department at UH. She and her colleague, Gabriela Baeza Ventura, were recently awarded a Mellon Foundation planning grant to start the first program on US Latino/o digital humanities.


Gabriela Baeza Ventura is Associate Professor of Hispanic Literature in the Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston, where she teaches courses on US Latina/o literature for graduate and undergraduate students.  She is also Executive Editor for Arte Público Press, where she supervises the production of up to thirty books a year.  Her publications include a monograph on the representation of Mexican women in Spanish-language newspapers in the United States, two anthologies on US Latina/o literature, and an edited volume on the poetry of a renowned Chicana poet, Angela de Hoyos. She has also translated over 30 books for children and young adults from Spanish to English. She and her colleague, Carolina Villarroel, were recently awarded a Mellon Foundation planning grant to start the first program on US Latino/o digital humanities.


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