Wrapping Up – Using a Collaborative Blog for Teaching DH

It’s been a while since the last post was published on this site – the spring term has ended in June and it’s summer vacation now until August. The perfect time to recap the master seminar and how it was using a weblog for teaching digital humanities!

My initial idea with this site was to introduce a neat way of disseminating research that can be done relatively easily, doesn’t pose to much of a technical challenge, and provides students with skills that might come in handy later. I thought of it as the virtual classroom: where students find all the information they need for this seminar (the schedule, assignments, deadlines; the slides from each session and a syllabus) and a place to meet virtually. After all, a weblog gives one not only a platform for writing posts, but also to comment on posts.

I had designed the scope and make-up of the website prior to the seminar, deciding on what should be there and where it should be: Student engagement was supposed to happen mainly on the blogroll and in the commentary section, while the static pages were reserved for general info and the week-to-week business of the class. All students had full editing rights, though, meaning that they could create, edit and delete pages as well as blog posts – so in principle, the entire site was modifiable.

In the beginning of the seminar, I introduced the weblog – and blogging as a way of academic research and dissemination practice and students were asked to create a short profile page about themselves and publish it on the website. The goal of this task was twofold: present yourself to your classmates and the – by large anonymous – audience of blog readers, and get accustomed with the back end of the website which runs with one of the widely used content management systems for creating blogs and other websites with non-static content: WordPress.

Over the course of the spring term, I assigned three mandatory blog posts per student: One in the beginning of the seminar, one roughly in the middle, and one at the end. Blogging was thought of as an integral part of sharing knowledge in the class and getting used to producing academic texts early on. It is a challenge of many humanities seminars (at least here in Oslo, Norway), that students are expected to deliver term papers but there are no written assignments or writing tasks throughout the term. I wanted to get the ball rolling with encouraging continuous writing tasks and establishing a helpful routine of reading, thinking, and writing.

The three mandatory blog posts had different scopes:

  1. A blog post as a summary of an academic article (reading comprehension and summarizing)
  2. A blog post about using a DH tool (reporting on a practical task)
  3. A blog post about the final project, comprising of a written outline and scope (writing a short abstract/proposal for a research project)

Each blog post was supposed to be at least 300 words and at most 500 words long, a common, however short length for a post.

In addition, I had encouraged students to write some form of ‘minutes’ for each seminar session but let it go when there was little enthusiasm. After all, the seminar was relatively low in participants and I didn’t want to add too much to the workload.

All students submitted their mandatory blog posts by email first: they were assignments after all. They were later published by the students themselves to the website, which worked in most cases very well. Not all posts were published by the students, though.

The commenting function of the blog wasn’t used either, this is mainly because of me not introducing it clearly enough and not encouraging this form of student interaction enough in the seminar. The same goes for the ‘edit’ function of the blog (with versioning enabled): posts were published and then left as is.

Even though the students reportedly enjoyed writing the assignments as blog posts and found it to be useful to be introduced to academic blogging and using a content management system, I am not sure that using blog posts in this way – and using a website like this for seminar purposes – yielded the effect I had in my when I conceptualized the seminar. I believe the blogging got lost in all the other – overwhelming – new ideas, concepts, and not least: technologies that I introduced to the students and had them explore and try out.

This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t recommend using a weblog or blogging as a classroom activity: I still think it is a sensible way of engaging with DH and getting into a reading-and-writing-rhythm. I would suggest, though, to steer to focus of the seminar more towards academic blogging in itself, in a way, making it into the core learning asset of the seminar, instead of a mere feature. This should help engaging the students in working with and on the weblog and using its functionality without running risk of becoming a nuisance or yet another ‘must do’.

Last, but not least, this is a big Thank You to all my students who made this into a great seminar and helped creating content for this website!

OCR Project

What is the best way of preserving and sharing cultural heritage like books and pictures? During my studies I am met with the obstacle of not finding books that were needed for classes since they were old and nobody took the time or had the resources to make them available. I assume, this would be the case for many technologically underdeveloped countries and countries with few resources. Is it possible to do something about it with few resources, based on the voluntary work of a few enthusiasts? Thanks to DH at the University in Oslo I have obtained insight in the possibility of how something can be done about it.

This term paper will be created in two parts. The first part will focus on the transformation of the book from hardcover to digitalized e-book by scanning the physical copy and then using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to make the content of the book machine-readable. One of the most used programs for this type of work is ABBYY, but since it is proprietary software I will try to find a free option, possible Tesseract.

In the second part of the term paper I will walk the reader through the process of publishing the e-book and making it available for public use. This will be done by Creating an Wikisource account and learn about legal criteria and guidelines for publishing material on internet and on Wikisource. Secondly, I will make proper metadata for this book on Wikisource and make description on how it works.

The book that I will work on is a travelogue describing Norway “Letters from Norway” by Isidora Sekulich, an Serbian intellectual who traveled to Norway in 1912, and published her book in 1914. This book it is a unique view of early travels to Norway with a South-East European view. I chose the book because it does not exist in digital form yet and the copyright has expired.

I would like to write this term paper in a way that it can used as a guideline for creating other, similar projects.

Preliminary sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_character_recognition  (accessed 24.04.2018)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesseract_(software) (accessed 24.04.2018)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLXEYtvNfP (accessed 24.04.2018)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO-1rztr4O0 (accessed 24.04.2018)

https://github.com/Bockwinkel/OCR  (accessed 24.04.2018)

AI and the interpretation industry


Zhang Bei

AI (artificial intelligence) came of age in 2016 with the hallmark of the victory of AlphaGo over human Go master. And now AI is actually penetrating and shaping people’s life and different industries, including interpretation and translation industry. There are already many media reports that AI will replace human interpreters and translators some day and those reports impact people in this industry.And Chinese and foreign media discourse show different tones and perspectives towards the advent of AI and its relationship with interpreting industry. Therefore this paper collects main media outlets’ reports about how AI influences interpreting industry and compares the differences between Chinese and foreign media’s focus on this topic. The time span of the media discourse collection is from January 2016 to January 2018. And this study is based on frame analysis, a news discourse analysis theory. Frame analysis theory has three core concepts: frame, framing and framing effect. And this corresponds to discourse, discourse construction and discourse reception, namely production and communication effect.This paper aims to understand how media content, production and communication effect differ between Chinese and foreign media outlets on AI’s impact on interpreting industry. To apply the frame analysis theory, categories and frames should be determined first. And the researcher uses Voyant Tools to analyze words frequency in the collected media discourse, which helps researcher identify categories and conclude frames for those news reports. Then the researcher justifies how the frames can be used to analyze research subjects and explains the disparity between Chinese and foreign media discourse on AI’s influence on the interpreting industry. It’s estimated that Chinese media tends to sensationalize and overestimate the future of interpreting industry under the impact of AI and foreign media uses more scientific facts and technological advancement of AI to strengthen their hypothesis of interpreting industry future.



Title page


  1. Introduction
  2. Frame analysis theory

1) Definition

2) Core concepts

  1. Methodology

1) Research question and constructs

2) Research subjects and instruments

3) Categorization and determination of frames

  1. Discussion
  2. Conclusion




Entman, Robert. (1993). Framing: Toward Clarification Of a Fractured Paradigm. Journal of    Communication, 43(4), 51- 58.

Konig, Thomas. (2004). Anti-Semitism as Free Speech: A Case Study, paper presented to session  PCR 13-Methods, Research, Concepts, IAMCR Annual Meeting, Porto Alergre, Brazil, July25- 30.

Konig, Thomas. (2004). FrameAnalysis:TheoreticalPreliminaries,retrievedNovember13,2012,


Goffman, Erving. (1974). Frame Analysis: An Essay on the organization of Experience. New York:       Harper & Row.

Pan,zhongdang & Kosieki,Gerald. (1993). Framing analysis: An approach to news discourse.         Political Communication, 10(1), 57-75.

陈阳. 框架分析:一个亟待澄清的理论概念 (Framework Analysis: A Theoretical Concept to Be         Clarified). 国际新闻界, 2007(4), 19-23.

李秋杨. (2015).“中国制造”国际形象的媒体话语研究 (Research on the Media Discourse of   “Made in China” International Image). SinologiaHispanica, 1, 33-46.

李海波, 郭建斌. (2013). 事实陈述vs. 道德评价:中国大陆报纸对“老人摔倒”报道的框架分析 (Statement of Facts vs. Ethical Evaluation: A Framework of Reports on “Old People’s    Falls” in Chinese Mainland Newspapers). 新闻与传播研究, 1, 51-66, 127.

廖星, 刘建平, Nicola Robinson, 谢雁鸣. (2014). 定性研究方法之框架分析法 (Framework    analysis of qualitative research methods). 中国中西医结  合杂志, 34(5), 622–626.

潘忠党. (2016). 架构分析:一个函需理论澄清的领域 (Architecture Analysis: A Domain That Needs Theoretical Clarification). 传播与社会学刊, 1, 17-46.

邵静. (2011). 媒介框架论:新闻传播中框架分析研究的现状、特点与走向 (Media Frame Theory: Status Quo, Characteristics and Trend of Framework Analysis in News         Communication). 中国传媒报告, 1,    80-90.

万小广. (2010). 论架构分析在新闻传播学研究中的应用 (On the Application of Architecture   Analysis in the Research of News Communication). 国际新闻界, 9,5-12.

万小广. (2010). 王石捐款事件报道的媒介框架分析 (Analysis of the Media Framework of  Wang Shi’s Contributions). 传播与社会学刊, 2010(12), 79-110.

19th Century American Indian Folk-Lore and Legends

North American Indian Folk-Lore and Legends, by Anonymous (1890)

Assignment 2: Find a corpus and analyze it using Voyant

by Løvetann Ripoll

I chose to look through a small corpus of Indigenous American literary texts in preparation for my thesis next year, focusing mainly on the gender representation in the selected text with a hypothesis that female characters were placed lower hierarchically in terms of representation.

At the Project Gutenberg website, the bookshelf “Native American” held the anonymously written collection, North American Folk-Tales and Legends, published in 1890 (Anonymous, “The Project Gutenberg EBook of Folk-Lore and Legends: North American Indian, by Anonymous.”)

Upon inputting the text (excluding the Project Gutenberg notes and “pg” for page) the most frequent words were: said, great, man, came and lodge (Sinclair and Rockwell). “Man” made the top five and prompted me to focus on the textual representation of gender in Folk-Tales. The results indicated to me that “men” and male gods, especially Manabozho, came up more often in the text than female characters. To verify this, I learned how to search for variants. “Man” was mentioned 146 times, “woman” 51, “men” 75, and “women” didn’t make it into the 40s. “Wife” was used 70 times, while the titles of “warrior” and “chief” came up 58 and 71 times respectively, titles presumably referring to men (for more on women chiefs and warriors, see “Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Tecumseh and Other Heroes of Native Resistance.”).


My research question became whether female figures were less prioritized in the text, and when present, were so most often as “wife,” a title that tying them to men. Conversely, then, the question included looking at whether the men in the text were represented more frequently in total, and whether they, when represented, were so in roles such as “chief” and “warrior” (this based on which words showed up in the 59 most frequently used words: see Sinclair and Rockwell.) Already at this point the research became problematic, as I will go further into below. For one, nouns such as “hunter” and “chief” may have referred to both men and women; for another, without doing close readings it was not viable to do named character searches, meaning that there might have been more named female characters than male, undermining the thesis of gender imbalanced representation.


It is important at this point that this hypothesis, that of women being less foregrounded than men in the text, was based on the reasonable assumption that the author, though anonymous, would most likely be a Anglo-male writing from a perspective. The stories he (if male) collected might be misinterpreting gender roles and hierarchy or even purposefully misrepresenting them to make the text more palatable for Anglo-patriarchal readers. Other issues of representation could be language barriers, and not in the least that North American Nations are not monocultural – as of October 2016, there were “566 federally recognized tribes” in the U.S. alone (see “List of Federal and State Recognized Tribes”). Generalizations about gender are challenging enough within a single nation, let alone when considering many hundreds (and from what I hear, some American Indians recognize over 600 tribes or nations).


All this to say: it is not an unlikely hypothesis that the filters of culture, language and gender, the end-product of Folk-Lore and Legends is likely to be guilty of misrepresentation Native American gender roles and more. The “prefatory note” of the collection praises the “Fantastic imagination, magnanimity, moral sentiment, tender feeling, and humour” of the “primitive” “Indians of North America,” (Anonymous). Here we have evidence of Anglo-stereotype of the “noble savage” (see Duane Champagne’s explanation of the derogatory nature of this in “Noble Savages and Noble Nations”). In conclusion, I do not expect the collection of folk-lore and legends that follows such a preface to be much more informed – that is, my kind of “informed,” which means intersectionally conscious of privilege and oppression between races, genders etc. – and although this initial experiment with Voyant cannot count as evidence, further research, I am confident, will support my hypothesis.





“About Open Library | Open Library.” Accessed March 11, 2018. https://openlibrary.org/help/faq/about#what.


Anonymous. “The Project Gutenberg EBook of Folk-Lore and Legends: North American Indian, by Anonymous.,” Original book 1890. Accessed March 11 2018 at: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22072/22072-h/22072-h.htm.


Champagne, Duane. “Noble Savages and Noble Nations.” Indian Country Media Network (news website), January 15, 2014. Accessed March 11 2018 at:  https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/history/events/noble-savages-and-noble-nations/.


“Getting Started | Voyant Tools Documentation.” Accessed March 11, 2018. http://docs.voyant-tools.org/start/.


“List of Federal and State Recognized Tribes.” Accessed April 1, 2018. http://www.ncsl.org/research/state-tribal-institute/list-of-federal-and-state-recognized-tribes.aspx.


“Project Gutenberg.” Project Gutenberg. Accessed March 11, 2018. http://www.gutenberg.org/. [Native American bookshelf accessed March 11, 2018 and located at: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Native_America_(Bookshelf)]


Sinclair, Stéfan and Rockwell, Geoffrey. “Summary.” Voyant Tools. 2018. Web. 1 April 2018. <http.voyant-tools.org>. Accessed April 1, 2018 at: http://voyant-tools.org/?corpus=b2e5232387dc6b8b70a4e81f3fa5202c&panels=cirrus,reader,documentterms,summary,contexts


“Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Tecumseh and Other Heroes of Native Resistance.” Indian Country Media Network (news website), July 28, 2016. Accessed March 11, 2018 at: https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/free-reports/sitting-bull-crazy-horse-geronimo-tecumseh-and-other-heroes-of-native-resistance/. [Female warriors]





How to use Voyant Tools ? Analysis of the text “Time for Outrage” by Stephane Hessel

Time for Outrage

This body of text that I chose for an analysis with Voyant Tools is from Stéphane Hessel’s book  “Time for Outrage.(page 1 to 4) Stéphane Hessel was a member of the Resistance to the Second World War, a diplomat and a writer. In 2010 he published his manifesto “Indignez vous” in which he encourages the younger generations to maintain a power of indignation.

This manifesto is engaged politically and socially.The use of Voyant Tools and in particular the word cloud allows a clearer understanding of the text. Indeed, we see several words that reveal the fundamental ideas of the text as the word ‘resistant’ that is at the heart of the speech of Stéphane Hessel, this word is the most frequently used word: Voyant tells us that it has been used more than 30 times in 4 pages. This allows us to draw a first conclusion, the use of a repeated word can anchor in the memory of the reader, the idea that the author wants to communicate. In a broader vision we also see the words ‘youth’, ‘money‘, and ‘inequality‘, ‘democracy‘ giving us a good idea of the topics that will be discussed.


The illustration of the frequencies shows us the thread of the author’s thought. Thus we can see that the word resistance appears at the beginning of the text blatantly, then that it is the word story that takes over in the last segments. Based on this graph we can therefore correlate the terms.

Nevertheless, we must keep a critical perspective on the use of Voyant. It can be seen that the tool considers words as “to” or “was” as important words in the corpus. Moreover, what is lacking is what software of this type cannot yet never give out is the possibility to understand the ambiguity of words that will not be captured by Voyant.

All the philosophical and positive dimensions of Hessel’s discourse are transcribed schematically and synthetically. The use of a tool like Voyant can allow the rapid understanding of a complex text like that of Hessel and allows us to grasp the main thesis of the author quickly. For all that, can one truly grasp the speech of a man through the machine? This is one of the questions that is raised in the digital humanities.


Merwan Slamani