The Latest from Digital Humanities Questions and Answers


Launched in September of 2010, Digital Humanities Questions & Answers is a joint venture of the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) and ProfHacker. (See Julie Meloni’s launch announcement.)

Digital Humanities Questions and Answers (@DHAnswers on Twitter) is designed to be a free resource where anyone with an interest in the digital humanities can pose a question to the community of folks working in the field.

Since we last checked in with the site, many interesting threads have been launched and several “best answers” have been provided. Below, I’ve provided links to a few of the threads with best answers:

  • Overlaying Gephi Network onto Google Earth: “When I import [my data] into Gephi I get a giant amorphous blob of all of my nodes with no connections between them and no ability to geooverlay it or export it to google earth.”

  • How do I best convert hundreds of TEI P5 documents to plaintext?: “I’d like to use the available corpora in the German Text Archive to train OCR software. For this I need these texts as plaintext. All the German Text Archive texts however are all TEI P5 tagged. How do I best convert these (hundreds..) of documents into plaintext?”

  • Are universities / libraries running PHP 5.4 yet?: “PHP 5.4 offers some nice features for developers, but if university libraries or other institutions are slow to get onto 5.4, it’ll hold back the versions we develop with. So, anyone have a sense of whether higher ed and cultural heritage orgs have moved up to PHP 5.4 on their servers?”

  • Generating epub files that read right to left? : “I want to create some ebooks, in the epub format, but some of the works are in languages that read right-to-left (Arabic, Hebrew, and others). I’m currently using Calibre to generate epubs from html, which works great for left-to-right, but I can’t figure a way to make it generate epubs that read right-to-left (changing the language in the metadata doesn’t do anything). Is there some other software I should use, or is there some way to do this in Calibre that I just can’t figure out?”

In addition to the above questions with “best answers,” check out the discussions taking place in response to these questions:

  • Digital Annotation Tool: “I’m looking to annotate a PDF (or, if that’s not possible, a stylized text file) with words and images, and present it online. I’ve looked into five programs–A.nnotate, Annotator, HyperStudio,, and Pliny–and none allows users to share the results of their annotating publicly (whether via Word Press or a handmade site). Is anyone familiar with such a tool? “

  • Tech Foundation for a DH Center Lab: “Looking at the opportunity to write a quick proposal for equipment to be used in a new DH lab (space for 6, max 10 workstations) and thinking about generic needs of future colleagues and graduate student researchers. The quandry — we lack information about specific project needs which might emerge. Any recommendations on the foundation or baseline for such a lab?”

  • How to gain DH experience without institutional support: “I have a decent set of self-taught beginner tech skills and enjoy picking up more when I have the time. I’m aware of the great resources and advice out there for people in my situation, but my question is more specific: without institutional backing, how do I obtain CV-level involvement (for lack of a better term) in DH projects that would allow me to collaborate, learn, and work on a deeper level than just plugging away alone in my (very little) spare time on the server space I purchased out-of-pocket?”

  • Tools for making flow maps: “I’m compiling a list of tools that can be used to build maps depicting movement — for example, migration, or the movement of objects from one point to another. I’m particularly interested in tools with GUIs and tools that allow you to animate movement.”

If you’re a newcomer to the site and in need of a primer, check out “How can I find answers, get my questions answered, & help DHanswers grow?

Whether you’re just “DH-curious” or are someone working in the field with either a question to ask or expertise to lend, you should give DHAnswers a try!

[CC-licensed Flickr photo by Matthias Ripp]

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