Tag Archives: Digital Humanities Forum

A Fab Fall for the (Digital) Humanities

As the days get shorter and the weather much chillier, I’m not only reminded of how quickly fall semester is passing, but also of the many great humanities and digital humanities events I’ve had the chance to attend over the past few months here at Penn.

HAIKUIt seems appropriate to kick off a discussion of the humanities at Penn with the (wonderfully and fittingly named) HAIKU Conference: The Humanities and Arts in the Integrated Knowledge University. The conference, sponsored by the Office of the Provost’s Art & Culture Initiative, offered two days of multidisciplinary presentations, discussions, and performances addressing questions such as, “What do the humanities and the arts have to offer contemporary efforts to integrate distinct bodies of knowledge within the research university?” and “How will the humanities and the arts retain their specificity within this climate of integration and is it even important that they do so?” Scholars discussed topics including (but not limited to): what “art-making” means in the 21st century and the importance of the artist in the academic community; using digital storytelling to capture the history and memory of a particular community; questions of how translation can lead to inequality in representing a culture or nation; and the trajectory of creative writing programs in US higher education, as they differ from core literary programs.  The breadth in topic diversity at HAIKU indicated the continued influence of the arts and humanities on various research disciplines and how they enlighten all of us who make up the “integrated knowledge university.”

Continue reading A Fab Fall for the (Digital) Humanities

Creating a Culture of Openness and Accessibility

Open Access (storefront)
Open Access (storefront) / Photographer: Gideon Burton

During my short time so far as the Digital Projects Fellow for WIC and the EC, I’ve been out and about meeting new people and attending events to learn how both Commons can better support teaching and learning across campus.  As I was signing up for some talks and events a few weeks ago, I didn’t anticipate how nicely all three I chose would tie together into a general theme of openness and accessibility on campus. I was struck by the significance of these themes at Penn and how we can create a culture of openness and accessibility in our Commons spaces.

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Penn DH Forum: Measuring Well-Being Using Social Media

female
A typical “female” word cloud. Image courtesy of the World Well-Being Project.

A couple of us from WIC recently attended a Digital Humanities Forum event called “Measuring Well-Being Using Social Media,” showcasing a joint project between the Department of Computer and Information Science and the Penn Positive Psychology Center.  As part of the World Well-Being Project at Penn, researchers Lyle Ungar and Andy Schwartz are using “differential language analysis” on massive amounts of data from social media sources, such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to gauge peoples’ emotions at the time they post a status update or Tweet.  The project used a Facebook app called myPersonality to track users’ status updates.  The researchers then created data clouds that show word frequencies and gender correlations with word usage.

Word clouds were grouped by the “Big Five” personality traits, which have been studied and documented in personality tests:  Extraversion, Agreeableness, Contentiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness (see the World Well-Being site for further explanations); these were further categorized by gender and age group.  The researchers found that college-aged students (ages 19-22), for example, used words and phrases such as “semester,” “campus” and “in_the_library,” versus the post-college group (ages 23-29), who used phrases like “at_work,” “new_job,” “library” (we’re glad the post-college folks are still referencing the library!).  The discussion became very animated as everyone tried to analyze their own age group and gender based on the word clouds! Continue reading Penn DH Forum: Measuring Well-Being Using Social Media