Practicum Assignments


This page is a supplement to the main Assignments page for this course.  Detailed here are the individual practicum assignments for classes 3-8.


Course "practicums" are hands-on, small-scale exercises that ask students to experiment at a beginner's level with the tools of the digital humanities. Classes 3-8 in the course each include a practicum that should be completed before class. Typically, a practicum asks students to try out a digital tool and method, then to leave an interesting "souvenir" on a page they create on the Student Work site for this course. The "souvenir" can be as simple as a screenshot of, or link to, something created (or found) during the exploration.  (Practicums are not individually graded, but are graded as part of a student's Portfolio.) 



General Instructions for Leaving a "Souvenir" of Practicum Exercises


(i) Perform the practicum exercise

(See the instructions for the individual practicums below).


(ii) For each practicum, create a page on the Student Work site for this course through the PBWorks editing menu bar: "Pages & Files" > "New" > "Create a Page":


PBworks - Create a Page


(iii) Name the page "Your Name - Name of Practicum Exercise" (e.g., "Alan Liu - Text Encoding"), and place it in the folder on the site for that practicum (so that we can easily find all the student pages for a practicum together):


PBworks - Name Page and Assign to Folder


(iv) When your new page is open, select the "Edit" tab in the top menu.  Add your textual or other content.  Be sure to "save your work as you go: 


PBwworks - edit


(v) By default, editing is done in GUI or graphical user interface that shows you approximately what the final result will be.  However, you can also edit in the source-code view by toggling "source" in the editing interface:


PBworks - source code view


(vi) You can upload images and other media from your computer to the site using the "Images and files" tab in the editing interface.  Once the images are uploaded, then you can add them at your cursor location while editing a page by clicking on the link for the image in the sidebar:


Pbworks image uploader



Practicum 1 Assignment - Text Encoding

For Class 3

The purpose of this encoding exercise is to engage in just enough elementary encoding of text or other media in HTML to allow students to think about the underlying premises, concepts, and structure of text encoding.

  1. Go the folder called "Practicum 1 - Text Encoding" on the Student Work site and create a page there called "Your Name - Text Encoding".
  2. When your new page is open, select the "Edit" tab in the top menu.  Then click the "Source" button in the editing interface menu to toggle from the GUI (graphical user interface) editing view to the source-code view that allows you to do plain-text encoding. (You can always toggle back to the GUI view for a quick check on your work or as a cheat-sheet for basic encoding of HTML features.) Be sure to "save" your work as you go.

     PBWorks - Source Code

  3. Using the source-code view as much as possible, create a simple web page with any content, images, and links you wish (subject, of course, to good taste and copyright laws).  The page should include at least the following features:
    1. Text formatted in basic ways (as headers, bold, italics, etc.)
    2. Text in paragraph structures
    3. Text in lists
    4. Links
    5. A table
    6. An image


For tutorials and beginner guides to HTML go to the instructor's DH Toychest and look at the section on the Tutorials page on "HTML & CSS." Important: students who are beginners should not be intimidated by this assignment. Use the tutorials to learn the most basic concepts and try the most elementary encoding.  Your experiment doesn't even have to work; it can "fail" in instructive or interesting ways.  (For students more advanced in encoding, try the other encoding exercises included in the instructor's graduate course in the digital humanities).



Practicum 2 Assignment - Finding Digital Texts

For Class 4

  1. Browse the online document/image collections listed in the instructors DH Toychest > Data Collections and Datasets > Document/Image Collectsions section. in order to get a sense of what digital texts are available. Concentrate on texts that are no longer in copyright or texts that can be used under a Creative Commons license; and that are available in plain-text or HTML format).  Be sure to look especially at the larger, general purpose text collections that contain downloadable plaint-text, HTML, or XML files to see what is there--e.g.:
    1. EEBO-TCP Texts (see also catalog)
    2. Internet Archive (click on "Download" link on a book page for download format options)
    3. Open Library
    4. Oxford University Text Archive
    5. Project Gutenberg
  2. Examine the corpus of nearly 2,731 nineteenth-century British novels in plain text format gathered by the Stanford Lit Lab from Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive and shared with the UCSB English Department.  See spreadsheet (metadata.xls)  listing the authors and novels.  Students on the UCSB network or using the UCSB VPN service can download the corpus as a .zip file (898 Mb).  (The zip file contains the spreadsheet metadata.xls and a folder containing the full text of all the novels in plain-text form.)
         Instructions on unzipping (decompressing) zip files: Mac, Windows.
  3. Collect a list of 10 sample works (with links to them) that can be worked with in plain-text format and leave it as a souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (go to the folder "Practicum 2 - Finding Digital Texts" and create a page there called "Your Name - Finding Digital Texts").



Practicum 3 Assignment - Text Analysis 1

For Class 5

  1. Browse the text analysis tools (especially those with checkmarks red check mark or blue check mark) listed in the instructor's DH Toychest > Tools section > Text Analysis section.
  2. Using a collection of texts (perhaps one you assembled from the previous practicum), experiment with one or more of the following three tools that allow you to work with your own texts: Antconc, Voyant Tools (see Voyant documentation), and Lexos (see Lexos FAQ and demos). (You need to use all three tools by the end of the next practicum.) Leave souvenirs of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (go to the folder "Practicum 3 - Text Analysis 1" and create a page there called "Your Name - Text Analysis 1").
    1. Note: "Stop word" lists are lists of words that you can use to tell a text-analysis tool to ignore common or other words ("the," "a," "of," etc.) in a text.  Here are two standard stop word lists for the English language: Fox 1992 stop word list (429 words) | SMART 1971 stop word list (571 words).  (You can also grab them as .txt files here: Fox 1992 stop word list | SMART 1971 stop word list ) 
    2. For example, in Antconc, you can use a stop word list as follows: Go to Tool Preferences > Word List.  Choose the option to "use a stoplist below."  Then either paste in the stop word list, or invoke it from a file.


Practicum 4 Assignment - Text Analysis 2

For Class 6

  1. Complete or deepen your experimentation from the last practicum with the Antconc, Voyant Tools, and Lexos tools on a collection of texts that you have gathered in plain-text format.
  2. Leave souvenirs of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (go to the folder Practicum 4 - Text Analysis 2 and create a page there called "Your Name - Text Analysis Exercise 2").


Practicum 5 Assignment - Topic Modeling

For Class 7

  1. Experiment with David Mimno's online In-Browser Topic Modeling (which works with a pre-set document corpus consisting of Stte of the Union addresses).
  2. Then download the Topic Modeling Tool, which is a Java-based implementation of the well-known MALLET topic modeling tool.  Try it on some texts.
  3. Optional: If you are interested and want a challenge (or if you decide to do topic modeling "for real" in the future for the class project), download, install, and experiment with the full MALLET topic-modeling suite, which is a command-line program. (See the excellent Programming Historian Tutorial "Getting Started with Topic Modeling and MALLET" for instructions on installing and running MALLET).  Copies of MALLET are also installed on some of the workstations in South Hall 2509 (see software inventory for machines in SH 2509).  An ideal experiment is to topic model a small collection of multiple texts (e.g., several articles that you have extracted as plain text and put in a folder) or a "chunked" plain-text version of a long text (e.g., a novel with separate files for each chapter).
  4. Leave at least one souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (go to the folder Practicum 5 - Topic Modeling and create a page there called "Your Name - Topic Modeling").


Practicum 6 Assignment - Social Network Analysis

For Class 8

This practicum asks you first to create a small, manually created social network graph in order to focus on the conceptual paradigm of social network analysis.  Then it offers you the option (not required, but recommended) of trying the Gephi visualization tool, which is one of the common tools used to take a set of data about social relations (e.g., who talks to whom) and create a social graph from it.

  1. Manual assignment: First, read through Par Martin Grandjean's Gephi "Introduction to Network Visualization with GEPHI", but you don't have to do his actual tutorial unless you want to add on the optional part of this practicum below.  This is to complement the reading assignments for this class by giving you a better grasp of the concepts.
         Then choose a short piece of literature (e.g., an act from a play, a chapter from a novel) that can be analyzed conceptually in terms of relations between characters.  For example, relations can be who talks to whom, who is on the scene at the same time, who is related by family to whom, etc.  Based on that work of literature, make a table of the social relations and also a hand-drawn (or otherwise created) social graph that looks something like this (an example from the Par Martin Grandjean tutorial cited below):
    Social network analysis example

    Here the left column of the table records an ID number for a character, the name of a character, and then (option) a code for an attribute (e.g., 1 = male, 2 = female).  The right column records relations between the characters (e.g., 1,2 are the ID numbers showing that John talked to Carla).  The graph is a visualization of the table, where characters are "nodes," and relations are "links" (also called "edges" in graph theory).  If you have recorded attributes such as gender, you can use that to color the nodes differently.  (Don't worry about the fact that the nodes are different sizes in the example graph.  That represents a weighting factor, e.g., how many relations a character has.)
         When you're done, take a screenshot, scan in, or photograph your work and make it your "souvenir" for the practicum.  On the course Student Work site, go to the folder Practicum 6 - Social Network Analysis and create a page there called "Your Name - Social Network Analysis".
  2. Optional: Work through Par Martin Grandjean's Gephi "Introduction to Network Visualization with GEPHI" and actually do his tutorial social network analysis exercise, using the Gephi tool to visualize the results.  (For other Gephi help resources, see instructor's DH Toychest > Tutorials> Network Visualization) (Ideally, you will be able to install and run Gephi on your own computer. However, there will also be installations available for use in South Hall 2509.)
    1. If you want to install Gephi on your own machine:
    2. Try to understand the logic/format of the two .csv files used in Grandjean's Gephi tutorial (one that identifies the "nodes" and the other the "edges," or relations between nodes).  Then choose a very limited work or works that would be of interest to humanities scholars (e.g., a chapter in a novel, a scene in a play or film, an hour of a Twitter timeline from a conference) and create your own nodes and edges .csv files (which can be created in a plain-text editor or exported from a spreadsheet or even work processor).  Use your.csv files in Gephi to create a visualization.  (If you wish, you can create just a hypothetical set of nodes and edges "as if" you were analyzing something even though you don't have time to do that for real at present.) 
    3. You may also be interested in downloading, unzipping, and opening or importing in Gephi some of the other Gephi datasets available from in a variety of formats (.gexf and .gml)
    4. Leave a souvenir of your experimentation on the course Student Work site (go to the folder Practicum 6 - Social Network Analysis and create a page there called "Your Name - Social Network Analysis").