28thMar2017

Iterative Data Modelling

In the past years, we have given various nodegoat workshops to groups of scholars and students. Even though the entry level of the participants varied from workshop to workshop there were similar challenges that emerged every time. These challenges can be grouped into the following three questions:

  1. What is a relational database?
  2. My material is very vague/ambiguous/uncertain/contradictory/unique/special, how can I use this in a database?
  3. How do I use the nodegoat interface?
nodegoat Workshop at the University of Luxembourg.

Since most of the workshops we give are nodegoat-specific, we aim to teach participants how to do data modelling from within the nodegoat interface. Because of this, and as a result of the usual time constraints (often half a day), we have to leave the first two fundamental questions largely untouched. To remedy this, we have written two blog posts in which we aim to cover the first two questions. The third question is being addressed in the nodegoat video tutorials, the FAQ & forum, and in the near future the documentation.[....]

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28thMar2017

Formulating Ambiguity in a Database

Photograph of the staff of the International Institute of Bibliography, writing and classifying records

One of the most obvious questions to start with when working with structured data in the humanities is: what is data? Miriam Posner has captured this challenge in the title of her talk on this topic: 'Humanities Data: A Necessary Contradiction'. Oftentimes, scholars think about their research material in terms of nuances, vagueness, uniqueness, whereas data is perceived as binary, strict and repetitive. The realisation that nuances, vagueness, and uniqueness can also be captured by data in a database is something that has to grow over time.

As soon as we start talk about 'data' it is important to keep two things in mind. First, we should be ready to reflect on the fact that data oriented processes can dehumanise data. This process has been described by Scott Weingart in his essay on digitising and storing holocaust survivor stories. Even though we can efficiently organise large collections of data, the implications of this process have to be taken into account.[....]

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28thMar2017

What is a Relational Database?

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. Room 100, including card catalogs

At a certain moment in your research process, you might decide that you need to order your material in a structured format. A reason could be that there are too many different people in your body of research and it's becoming hard to keep track of them, let alone their different attributes. Another reason could be that you have repetitive sources, like letters or books, that you want to store and include in your analysis.

In the old days, you would get yourself a card catalogue and start reworking your notes onto these little handy cards.[....]

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04thOct2016

Upcoming nodegoat workshops in Ghent & Washington D.C. (and more)

Next week there will be a nodegoat workshop at the 'DARIAH-EU Annual Meeting' in Gent. This event will take place on 10-13 October. The nodegoat workshop will be on Tuesday 11 October from 14:00 to 15:30. You can find the full program here.

There will also be a nodegoat workshop at the conference 'Creating Spatial Historical Knowledge. New Approaches, Opportunities and Epistemological Implications of Mapping History Digitally'. This conference is organised by the German Historical Institute in Washington DC. The conference takes place on 20-22 October. The nodegoat workshop will be on Thursday 20 October from 14.15 to 16.00. This workshop requires individual registration. The full program of the conference can be found here.

We have proposed a session at the THATCamp Amsterdam on Linked Data challenges. Together with Ingeborg van Vugt we plan to discuss the benefits and difficulties of Linked Data in the humanities.

After a stimulating Virtual Heritage Network conference last year in Maynooth, we look forward to this year's conference in Cork. The conference will take place on 8-10 December.[....]

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