Skip to content →

Category: Digital Humanities

An Easy Way to Map Data in R with Plotly

A couple of years ago, I wrote The complete n00bs guide to mapping in R, my first adventure into R. While that tutorial still holds up, if you’re looking to make a state-level Choropleth Map, there really isn’t anything easier than working with Ploty in R. Once you get R and RStudio installed and set up, there’s only a few steps that you need to take. If you have a spreadsheet or can make one easily enough of state-level data, like this ranking of mental health and access in the USA by states , you only need a couple of… Read An Easy Way to Map Data in R with Plotly

Comments closed

The Complete n00b’s Guide to Gephi

Because my last tutorial, The Complete n00b’s Guide to Mapping in R, received a positive response, I decided to create another beginner’s guide to visualizing data. For this edition, I’ve chosen Gephi, an excellent and simple tool to do social network analysis. This tutorial is meant to get you started quickly and provide the basics of using Gephi. Step 1: Get set up Download Gephi, install it, open it up and start a new project. Step 2: Import a Spreadsheet So you have a spreadsheet, maybe one like this list of bankers in Grand Rapids from 1902 (gleaned from Google… Read The Complete n00b’s Guide to Gephi

One Comment

What makes your city famous?

Last weekend, I was watching Clueless and looked up Pismo Beach, California on Wikipedia after Cher spearheads the disaster relief efforts for that city. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Pismo Beach claims to be the “Clam Capital of the World.” My dissertation examines the identities of cities claiming to be the “Capital of the World” in various industries during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and I recently released a digital project examining how Grand Rapids took on the identity of “Furniture City”. City identities, particularly ones based on economics, have been an interest of mine for a… Read What makes your city famous?

Comments closed

Constructing Furniture City

Last year, I had a wonderful opportunity to be one of the initial fellows of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities’s Digital Scholarship Incubator. I pitched an ambitious agenda during which I would create many varied visualizations all of which would evaluate the industrial ability of certain cities during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. My final product, however, is quite different. A few weeks into the incubator, I presented at a “spring showcase” for student projects where I briefly discussed some initial maps and some of the issues I encountered working with quantitative data and qualitative concepts.… Read Constructing Furniture City

Leave a Comment

Quantifying Prestige

As with any scholarly project, in my dissertation on the development of small cities during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era I need to explain why it matters. I argue these cities are worth the time and effort of a dissertation because they provide a different narrative of urbanization and industrialization. Key to this alternative narrative is the dominant role of niche industries within each city. The cities built an urban identity around these industries, often claiming to be the “capitol of the world” in crafting a certain product. In addition to being catchy, these city slogans are actually quite… Read Quantifying Prestige


The complete n00b’s guide to mapping in R

You should also check out the next tutorial in the series: The Complete n00b’s Guide to Gephi A few weeks ago, I presented to the UNL DH community about a project that I’m beginning while a fellow at the CDRH’s Digital Scholarship Incubator. The project is an effort to utilize digital tools to visualize business and organizational records related to my dissertation on industrialization in small cities. During my talk, I noted I was still uncertain as to what tool to use to create my maps, but thankfully, James Austin Wehrwein was also presenting. Afterwards he suggested I consider R… Read The complete n00b’s guide to mapping in R


Lincoln Eats (and Drinks)

With people in town for DH 2013 I thought I’d try to be useful and offer some of quick impressions of local restaurants and bars in hopes that visitors leave thinking Nebraska has things other than chain sandwich shops (seriously, there are way too many downtown). General Geography “O” Street: a dozen or so square blocks located directly South of UNL, undergrad focused places so quick lunch places and bars with cheap drinks Haymarket district: a slightly smaller area just West of campus, a bit fancier on the whole, date night locations and hangouts for people with jobs so think… Read Lincoln Eats (and Drinks)


DH Forum

Attending part of UNL’s Digital Humanities Forum last Friday, a rather simple concept struck me as deeply important. As scholars, how certain are we of our conclusions? What percentage? Using a specific measurement, can we express our certainty? In a sense, historical arguments are mostly circumstantial. Historians use sources to describe societies, ideas, and events, but complete reconstruction or replication is impossible. Instead, we build a case for our arguments with our supporting evidence to convince our audience, that’s why there are so many large monographs with extensive citations. Fields in which replication of experiments is possible seem to write… Read DH Forum

Leave a Comment

Is DH Hipster?

As a self-described digital humanist with admittedly hipster tendencies (I have a record player after all) this question may be entirely self-serving. However, I’m not the first person to put the two together, so I thought I would throw the comparison out there. Hipsters like organic and local. DHers like open access and open source. Hipsters like old things (record players, typewriters, old clothing etc). DHers like old things (especially the historians). Hipsters like new technology (i.e. Apple products). DHers like new technology (it’s the “digital” part). Hipsters listen to music you’ve never heard of. DHers have #dhmusic. Hipsters fight… Read Is DH Hipster?

Leave a Comment


Every couple of months it seems that one of my friends teases me about one of my first blog posts [re-posted here]. I’ll admit liking Pomplamoose is pretty hipster, but hey I like the music. I also really like their success in going around the traditional gatekeepers of the music industry. They first gained success by posting music on youtube (free of charge, of course), but what really struck me was when I saw that half of Pomplamoose (Nataly Dawn) raised over $100,000 to record a solo album after asking for $20,000 on Kickstarter. Then a gaming company raised over… Read Kickstarter