What’s the deal with modelling in Digital Humanities?

Modelling is central to the Digital Humanities. Even so much that some claim it is what unites the DH as a field or discipline! But what is modelling? What do we mean by it anyway? This post will hopefully provide you with the primer you need. Sorry for the very sporadic blogging lately. I still haven’t figured out how to include blogging into my PostDoc life. I think I want to get to a rhythm of around 1-2 posts per month. More than that is absolutely not realistic but, as you may have realized, I didn’t even manage that consistently over the last year. Then again, it’s not like I’m not producing teaching materials anymore. Most of my efforts this year have gone into all the classes I have been teaching (I’m hoping to share slides and teaching materials for all of them once they are cleaned up) – I have taught an intro to text mining, my usual information

read more What’s the deal with modelling in Digital Humanities?

What you really need to know about Digital Scholarly Editing

Today’s post is a short introduction to digital scholarly editing. I will explain some basic principles (so mostly theory) and point you to a few resources you will need to get started in a more practical fashion. I’m teaching a class on digital scholarly editing this term, so I thought I could use the opportunity to write an intro post on this important topic. How does a Digital Edition relate to an analogue scholarly edition? Unlike analogue scholarly editons, digital editions are not exclusive to text and they overcome the limitations of print by following what we call a digital paradigm rather than an analogue one. This means that a digital edition cannot be given in print without loss of content or functionality. A retrodigitized edition (an existing analogue edition which is digitized and made available online), thus, isn’t enough to qualify as a digital edition because it follows the analogue paradigm. Ergo: It’s not about the storage medium. A

read more What you really need to know about Digital Scholarly Editing

A Primer on Version Control and Why You Need It

Today’s post is a quick introduction to version control as a concept and version control systems. It explains what they are and why you should be using them. I was just sending one of my best old-timey blogposts to a friend (How to quit MS Word for good), ended up re-reading it and realized that therein, I had promised that I would write a blog post on version control some day. And, if I’m not mistaken, I never followed up on that. So here you are, a short post on version control just to keep things going on the blog. What is Version Control? So I read this book a few years ago. The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide: How to Learn Programming Languages Quickly, Ace Your Programming Interview, and Land Your Software Developer Dream Job by John Sonmez (Simple Programmer 2017). While I’m not that fond of its author anymore since I realized that he uses his platform to

read more A Primer on Version Control and Why You Need It

First ever LaTeX Ninja workshop at Harvard: “Beyond TEI: Digital Editions with XPath and XSLT for the Web and in LaTeX”

It’s been awfully quiet on this blog but actually, there’s lots of Ninja activity going on right now: I’m excited to announce that I will give the first ever official LaTeX Ninja workshop, in person at Harvard in about two weeks! It’s called “Beyond TEI: Digital Editions with XPath and XSLT for the Web and in LaTeX”. (Apart from that, there’s a short book review coming up in TUGboat.) Since there probably are a good number of people who would be interested in such a workshop but can’t attend in person, I will share the slides and teaching materials on Github later on. That way, they can be reused for self-study. This blogpost gives somewhat of an outline of the contents of the workshop and contains links to related posts on this blog. Participants might want to read some of them in preparation or as an additional resource. [Get to the github repo with all the materials (`additional resources’ directory)

read more First ever LaTeX Ninja workshop at Harvard: “Beyond TEI: Digital Editions with XPath and XSLT for the Web and in LaTeX”

Why I stopped my Twitter bots

As some of you might know, I have written about my Twitter bots on this blog a number of times. Now I decided to shut them all down and wanted to give at least a short explanation of why that was. TLDR: It got unexpectedly expensive and I reasoned the benefit wasn’t really worth the price. Off-topic note on posting schedule: As my devoted readers have probably noticed by now, we’re down to a bi-weekly posting schedule at the most. I have been thinking about it and I’m aiming for two posts per month for now. Actually that’s less than every second week. The point is, I have been reflecting about what makes this blog what it is and I think that’s the good posts I come up with every once in a while. When those add up, that makes the blog a useful resource for time to come. It’s these posts that I want to focus on. And frankly,

read more Why I stopped my Twitter bots

How to write (Ancient) Greek in LaTeX

Because I’m a classicist by training, I have been wanting to broach the topic of how to typeset Ancient Greek in LaTeX for a long time. So today comes a short post on the topic. There are a number of ways you can approach this but most importantly, you need to decide whether you need just any Greek letters or Ancient Greek letters. Because Ancient Greek has diacritics which aren’t featured in all (“normal”) Greek keyboards. This blogpost covers the three sub-topics I deemed relevant to the question and they are: How do I get my Greek letters in the first place? (related to 1) How/Where do I get a Greek keyboard and which one to choose? How to typeset Greek in LaTeX? How to get your Greek letters If you’re just adding, say a note on the origin of a word to your text, you might not even need to install a Greek keyword at all. When I just

read more How to write (Ancient) Greek in LaTeX

How to use Deliberate Practice to reach your Peak [Book Review]

Have you heard of the concept of “deliberate practice”? It’s a method for rapid skill aquisition through practicing in a certain way. The concept is discussed in detail in a highly recommened book: Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by K. Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool (2016). So here it is. At last. The long promised book review and summary of the most important takeaways from Peak. Ever wonder why you’re not improving at skills despite using them every day? You’re not using deliberate practice is why. So what is deliberate practice anyway? […] deliberate practice [is a] a term coined by Ericsson to refer to the specific learning method used by experts to achieve superior performance in their fields, and mental representations. (Wikipedia entry on Peak) The book resulted from one of the top reserachers in the science of expertise, K. Anders Ericsson, cooperating with science communicator Robert Pool to make his research understandable to the masses. Malcom

read more How to use Deliberate Practice to reach your Peak [Book Review]

The Right Mindset for Learning Challenging New Skills

In today’s post, I wanted to pick up again on a topic I had adressed previously in The most important book to read if you want to learn Digital Humanities, Computer Science, Maths, Programming or LaTeX. The general gist was that when you want to learn a new skill which you perceive as challenging or difficult, maybe even anxiety-inducing (up to a degree that you’re seriously doubting your ability to learn it all), the most important thing to work on before doing anything else is changing your mindset. Today I will elaborate what your self-image and/or identity has to do with that and how you can use it to your advantage when learning daunting new skills. Do you enjoy posts on learning and skill building? Let me know! I feel that people are actually enjoying my posts on learning how to learn because they generate likes months after they have been posted. I guess there really isn’t enough material out

read more The Right Mindset for Learning Challenging New Skills

Why is it so normalized to make snarky side comments about LaTeX?

Actually I wanted to write about something different today and had a post already prepared. But then I came across yet another instance of people making negative comments about LaTeX (for apparently no reason and without explaining why they think so) and I guess that made me angry, so here’s today’s post about today’s topic: Why is it so normalized to make snarky side comments about LaTeX? Both in the DH community and otherwise. What is people’s problem with LaTeX? So the offending post, in this case, was this – but I really don’t mean to shit on it because it’s a great post otherwise (I have actually written something similar in Where can I *actually learn* programming? (as DH and otherwise). I guess that’s part of the reason why it makes me so angry. It’s an overall great post by people who are influential in the DH, with a considerable audience and otherwise doing great work. And then a

read more Why is it so normalized to make snarky side comments about LaTeX?

Preparing your literature review and excerpting: My workflow in LaTeX

It’s Halloween and while for me, this is a holiday which usually pretty much passed me by unnoticed, I know that many of you probably care and celebrate. So I thought: What topics in Academia or academic writing especially are spooky? The honest anwer is probably: Way too many. But one stood out in particular and that’s the dreaded part of the writing process which lends itself to procrastination like no other: The literature review and excerpting process. Without it, not a lot of writing can happen (except maybe if you start working on a case study or use our Article Outline Template to sharpen your argument). So anyway, I thought this counts as a sufficiently scary activity for Halloween 😉 Info: I think I might end up not having proper code formatting in this post. Sorry for the inconvenience but it seems that the backtick on my keyboard is broken and WordPress has long since removed the keyboard shortcut

read more Preparing your literature review and excerpting: My workflow in LaTeX

How to get started using LaTeX for academic writing? A book review of “S. Kottwitz, LaTeX Beginner’s Guide (2nd ed., Packt 2021)

Many prospective LaTeX users wonder: How do I get started? How to find my way in the jungle that learning LaTeX often seems to be to a first time user? Today I wanted to share my review of Stefan Kottwitz, LaTeX. A Beginner’s Guide (Packt 2021) with you. This book can help you find your way and get started using LaTeX after just the first chapter. Acknowledgement: I was sent a free reviewer’s copy of this book and asked to write a review about it which I happily agreed to do. Disclaimer: My book review policy Probably related to my upbringing in Germany, I don’t think a review can call itself a proper/serious review if it doesn’t contain criticism. I’m aware this is relatively different from reviews in the American style (especially on the covers of books) to just praise the book and not mention any criticism – but sadly, this also is becoming the norm in many an academic

read more How to get started using LaTeX for academic writing? A book review of “S. Kottwitz, LaTeX Beginner’s Guide (2nd ed., Packt 2021)

Top 5 magic LaTeX packages you didn’t know about

In the process of coming up with the archaeological catalogue from CSV solution which you all seem to have loved, I had a realization: There are some packages which are just ‘magic’ in that they can make your life so much easier in just an instant. That is, if you know about them. So I decided to come up with a top 5 which reflect my own preferences because, ultimately, this choice is pretty personal. I researched some blogposts and online resources as well as checking in with the Twitter #TeXLaTeX community. I summarized the results of this extensive search in the following post 😉 So why did I choose the topic of today’s post? I think the answer is very close to the overall purpose of this blog: There are lots of great resources on LaTeX on the internet, almost unlimited amounts of documentation – but how is a newbie supposed to know which information to read first or

read more Top 5 magic LaTeX packages you didn’t know about

Applying deliberate practice to online learning using a learning diary?

Today’s post is about using a learning diary to promote something like deliberate practice for (online) learning. Probably the biggest problem of my online teaching last year was not getting (soliciting?) enough feedback from my students. The only students who ended up ever really communicating with me were the few overachievers who had already had previous experience with the main learning goal of the class, i.e. SQL databases. At the very end of term, ergo after the semester and after I could make any changes, I received feedback from some students new to Digital Humanities that I had been going at a pace which was too fast for them. They were lacking certain information they needed from me to fully engage with the material. However, nobody told me as the class went along (and as you might imagine from knowing some of my teaching materials, I tend to provide very detailed info – so I assumed we were good in

read more Applying deliberate practice to online learning using a learning diary?

The Adventures of the Ninja

Today’s post is called “The Adventures of the Ninja” which really means sorry for the radio silence and here’s what happend in the meantime. And I think I’m not exaggerating when I say “It has been quite a ride!”. Let’s start at the beginning. The story of me not really being able to blog regularly due to third-year PhD sprint stress has been slowly starting back in Mainz in 2020 (where I was a DH fellow at IEG). However, the general PhD-related stress level only got worse on my subsequent Innsbruck fellowship (Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Neo-Latin Studies) and the weeks leading up to both the submission of my PhD thesis in late May 2021 and me leaving for my fellowhip at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia in early June (the visa process was quite something, to say the least…). Anyway, I ultimately arrived in Philadelphia and was feeling pretty burnt out to be honest. (I have written down some of

read more The Adventures of the Ninja

Navigating interdisciplinarity (as a DH scholar)

Today’s post is something at the interface of rant and rambling. While I love being interdisciplinary, it’s also quite the hassle at times which is why I guess most interdisciplinary scholars sometimes wished they weren’t doing interdisciplinary work. There are so many negative stereotypes, like… “You have it easier being interdisciplinary” vs it’s actually twice the work So do you really think that we have it easier? I hate how we always get this reproach that we’re taking the easy route. Can somebody please explain to me what’s “easy” about having to follow the state of the art in multiple fields at the same time? And then not even knowing where to get published because scholars from discipline A don’t understand half of your research and the same in the other direction. I tend to be somewhat “too historical” for the Digital Humanities but then waaaay to technical for the “normal Humanities”. I think being in the DH and doing

read more Navigating interdisciplinarity (as a DH scholar)

The most important book to read if you want to learn Digital Humanities, Computer Science, Maths, Programming or LaTeX

Today I wanted to share a tiny book review of the book I claim to be the most important book you should read if you want to learn any technical topic but are unsure if you are up for it. The book I’m talking about is not Donald Knuth (although his books are highly recommended, especially if you’re a (La)TeX nerd!). It’s not even a computer book! I’m talking about: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (New York: Random House 2006). The fixed mindset versus the growth mindset This will be a short post because Dweck’s message is simple. There are two mindsets, the ‘fixed mindset’ and the ‘growth mindset’ and which one you have greatly impacts your success in learning and self-development. The ‘fixed mindset’ assumes your abilities and talents are fixed. Thus, you are proud of what you’re good at because you link it to your personality (“I’m a person who is good at…”). But

read more The most important book to read if you want to learn Digital Humanities, Computer Science, Maths, Programming or LaTeX

LaTeX for thesis writing

Having re-read my LaTeX for PhD students post, I realized I hadn’t mentioned a lot of things I would like to impart to you. So here comes LaTeX for thesis writing – a few more arguments in favour of starting to learn LaTeX now. Just to sum up what has already been said in the last post: The main points speaking in favour of you typesetting your thesis in LaTeX are the citation management, tables, maths and images which can be more of a hastle in MS Word. In the aforementioned blogpost, I also added that you should take into account that a thesis will yield two PDF outputs with very different requirements from the same document – another reason to use LaTeX. But there are many more things to take into account. LaTeX for maths, images and the like (in short, everything MS Word isn’t good at) A lot of people say that the “LaTeX is great for maths”

read more LaTeX for thesis writing