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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…


Forever Student Syndrome

Graduate student life has many upsides. You largely make your own schedule. You can do most of your work from any location. And you still get student discounts at the movies. But you do not want to be a graduate student forever. The life of the mind is an alluring idea, but at some point you will want a job you can explain to your relatives, livable salary, and a retirement account. With little oversight, no standard timetable and vague requirements, even students who want to finish their degrees in a timely fashion have difficulty completing their programs on-time. I…

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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…


A Reflection on Coursework

Normally, I try to blog every week, but I haven’t blogged for three months (not the most successful run in the history of blogging). Last semester was pretty busy, with organizing a conference and taking an extra course so I could finish up this summer (my final week of coursework is this week—woot). I hope the more flexible scheduling of studying for comps will allow me to return to more regular blogging. After finishing up all my history courses this spring, I did take some time to think about my coursework experience. I learned a great deal and I think…

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My View on Historical Reenactments

I’ll just admit it up front: I’m not a big fan of historical reenactments. I always tend to look at them the way this Monty Python sketch portrays them. That being said, reenactments are not innately bad, just very hard to do well. In a pure sense, reenactments are another attempt at understanding the world of the past, just as academic scholarship should attempt to do. The problem seems to be in execution. Bad reenactments can innocently allow specific details, like clothing, to overtake the importance of understanding the meanings of the event being reenacted or, more sinisterly, whitewash history…