DH Toolbox: Fall 2020


Got data? Need data? Don’t know where to start? Then the Fall semester’s DH Toolbox workshops are for you! Join us virtually for a series of workshops on data management, finding data, scraping data, cleaning data and more!


23 September: You have Data! Data! Data! Do you know what to do with it?

Dr. Felicity Tayler, Research Data Management Librarian (uOttawa)

Chantal Ripp, Research Librarian, Data (uOttawa)

So you’ve collected data, now what? This session will help you understand your data workflow, the importance of documenting it, and other best practices for managing your data with a view towards sharing it with others. We will also address when it is not ok to share your data and what you should do with it instead.

7 October: Finding research data

Yoo Young Lee, Web and Digital Initiatives Librarian (uOttawa)

In a digital world, data is everywhere: your tweets, your clicks, your likes, and even your typos. These types of online datasets enable researchers to study humanities in a new way. In this workshop, you will learn where and how to find unconventional digital datasets with real case studies.

21 October: Cleaning your data

Dr. Constance Crompton, Communication (uOttawa)

Tidy, scrub, polish… concatenate! In this hands-on workshop we walk through OpenRefine’s tools for cleaning tabular data, and explore the various output formats for visualization, publication, and statistical analysis. Please download and install the latest version OpenRefine before the workshop. 

4 November: Metadata and Instagram: Ways of seeing

Dr. Shawn Graham, History (Carleton)

In this workshop, Dr. Graham will walk you through some of the ways you can retrieve the metadata behind the photos on Instagram. If time allows, he’ll also walk you through determining visual similarity with the Yale DH Lab’s ‘pix-plot’ package. You will need to have Python installed on your machine; Anaconda is an easy-to-install version https://www.anaconda.com/products/individual

18 November: No highlighters required! Using Nvivo to analyze qualitative data

Patrick Labelle, Research Librarian Specializing in Education, Psychology and Social Work (uOttawa)

Are the days of highlighters and hand-written annotations behind us? How can we use digital tools to capture qualitative and descriptive information from our research materials?

This presentation will introduce basic features of NVivo 12 for preparing, managing and analyzing qualitative data. Topics covered include how to import data, code various data formats and run different types of queries. Please note that NVivo 12 Plus for Windows will be used during the session.

This presentation will be offered as a demonstration. Participants can download NVivo (3-year license) through Information Technology.

2 December: “Should we clean our data?” Roundtable on Data Ethics.

In the final session of the semester, all of the panelists will return for a round table discussion about the ethics of working with data. Discussion will center around Chapter 5 of Catherine d’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein’s recently published Data Feminism (MIT, 2020). In this chapter, entitled “Unicorns, Janitors, Ninjas, Wizards, and Rock Stars,” the authors write about the mythos of data cleaning — that data analysis is 80% data cleaning with the goal of wrangling unstructured chaos into orderly tables. “But what might be lost int he process of dominating and disciplining data?” they ask. “Whose perspectives might be additionally imposed?” Moderated by Jada Watson, the Fall term panelists will think about the ethics of data cleaning and relate their thoughts to the session that they led this term.