All posts by Ben Schmidt

Installing Git

Using git will make it easier to access the course files in RStudio.

Here’s how to get it.

On Linux, it’s probably already installed. Any package manager will include a git install.

On Windows, just follow the official instructions.

On OS X, you’ll need to install the “XCode command line tools.”

There are instructions online for doing this: the precise mechanism varies by operating system. You can always upgrade to Yosemite, the latest version, and follow these instructions. But don’t feel the need to upgrade if you’re on an old machine: it may slow you down.

On some versions, that will install git directly. But if you want to install more command-line tools, it may be worthwhile (on a Mac) also installing a program called homebrew. 

To install it, open the application “terminal,” and paste the following:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Follow the prompts. It will require your password.

Afterwards, you can install the latest version of git. The way to do this is to type at the command line:

brew install git

This works for all sorts of programs: you can also, for example, upgrade to the latest version of R by typing

brew install R

Some R packages you may encounter on your own have complicated “dependencies:” that is, they may need some other set of programs installed. (For example, to do advanced mapping in R, you may need the gdal toolset). `brew install XXX` will frequently let you install a program without even having to find its website.

First post

Hello, world. The course is slowing coming online. See the syllabus outline for a description of the aims of the class: the first paragraphs are here.

Our course time is currently looking to be Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:00. Tuesday afternoons might also be a possibility. Anyone who has any predispositions on behalf of particular times should contact me at {}, at {}.

Data analysis in the humanities presents challenges of scale, interpretation, and communication distinct from the social sciences or sciences. It also, some argue, opens up new opportunities for creative storytelling and narrativity. This seminar will explore the emerging pratices of data analysis in the digital humanities from both a critical and a practical perspective.

What light can algorithmic approaches shed on live questions in humanistic scholarship? What new forms of research are enabled by the use of data? What sort of data do practicing humanists want museums and libraries to make available?

Our goal in this class will be to explore the new emerging forms of data analysis taking place in humanities scholarship, both in terms of applying algorithms and in terms of better investigating the presuppositions and biases of the digital object. We’ll aim to come out much more sophisticated in the use of computational techniques and much more informed about how others might use them.