In order to further diversify representation of perspectives at the Always Already Computational: Library Collections as Data national forum, the project team is issuing a call for nominations / self-nominations for individuals to attend and contribute to the meeting. Individuals at all levels of experience are highly encouraged to apply. Travel, lodging, and subsistence costs for selected national forum attendees will be covered by grant funds.
With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Always Already Computational: Library Collections as Data will foster a strategic approach to developing, describing, providing access to, and encouraging reuse of library collections that support computationally-driven research and teaching in areas including but not limited to Digital Humanities, Public History, Digital History, data driven Journalism, Digital Social Science, and Digital Art History. In the first stage, a national forum will bring together an expert group of librarians, archivists, museum professionals, researchers and practitioners, and technologists for 2.5 days at the University of California Santa Barbara from February 28 – March 3, 2017.
During the national forum, participants will work to draft a framework that will (1) articulate computationally amenable library collection use cases and (2) initiate a collection of best practices that support developing, describing, and providing access to computationally amenable library collections. Participants will also help develop a dynamic feedback structure that enables a wide range of communities, outside of the forum, to shape and play a primary role in the production of final project outputs. Review of the grant narrative provides a more granular description of anticipated work during the forum.
Following the national forum, the project team will iteratively refine and extend forum outputs via 6 disciplinary and professional conferences, virtual events, and this project website. At the end of the 18 month grant period, the project will produce a library collections as data framework, use cases and user stories, functional requirements for technical solutions that support library collections as data, methods for making these types of collections more discoverable, and a summative white paper.
Given calendars filling for Spring 2017, please submit nominations/self-nominations by Thursday, 11/10/2016.
Thomas Padilla (University of California Santa Barbara)
Laurie Allen (University of Pennsylvania)
Stewart Varner (University of Pennsylvania)
Sarah Potvin (Texas A&M University)
Elizabeth Russey Roke (Emory University)
Thomas G. Padilla
Humanities Data Curator
UCSB Library

Call for submissions for new section on digital methods and media

Digital research methods (i.e. the use of digital technology to collect and/or analyze research data) have become increasingly relevant over the past decade, allowing humanities researchers to formulate new questions, to find new connections in their data, and/or to synthesize very large amounts of data.  Similarly, the use of digital media has grown in relevance for the transmission of research results.  Given these advances, the editors at Encounters are creating a new section for digital methods and media, which will make its first appearance in the November 2017 issue.

We are see seeking submissions from researchers that integrate digital methods and/or digital media in their work.  Digital methods include (but are not limited to) text analytics, text topic modeling, computer-vision image analysis, GIS analysis, or any network analysis.  Digital media include (but are not limited to) software, websites, interactive displays, or data visualizations. We are accepting either paper submissions or digital submissions.  We encourage the submissions of papers that feature links to digital works or project websites, and we especially encourage the submission of digital works that can be published as web pages on our website.  Digital submissions may include (but are not limited to) interactive narratives and/or interactive data visualizations.

Guidelines for paper submissions: up to 7500 words in pdf or doc or docx format.

Guidelines for digital submissions: must run on an html platform.

Deadline: June 1st, 2017.

For further information on submissions please contact Ana Jofre (

Ground Zero

(excerpt from a working document by James Abello, Lev Manovich, Jianbo Gao, Katy Börner, and Tina Eliassi-Rad)

The Arrowhead Problems in Culture Analytics

  1. Metrics for the study of culture(s)
  2. Identifying, defining and measuring cultural complexities
  3. Is culture automatically the result of the evolution of groups (see Hilbert Problem #5)
  4. What are the fundamental mechanisms for cultural network formation?
  5. Find algorithms to detect the culturally meaningful topical structure of heterogeneous cultural data (see Hilbert Problem #10)
  6. Find algorithms to detect culturally meaningful phase transitions in heterogeneous cultural data (see Hilbert Problem #10)
  7. Identify invariance of offline and online culture(s) to understand their co-evolution
  8. Measure the impact of culture on health (e.g., there are different narratives/reasons why groups of people do not vaccinate their kids), social conflict, inequality, and the environment (social, env, public goods)
  9. Identify the densities and velocities of changing areas in culture(s) both online and offline
  10. Scaling algorithms to all heterogeneous cultural data
  11. Can one develop a calculus of culture?
  12. Are there axioms of culture and can one develop a mathematical treatment of these? (see Hilbert Problem #6)
  13. How do we measure the cultural impact of globalization?


Grand Challenges

Theoretical Challenges

    • Properties of cultural systems (what correlations, statistical models, laws exist?)
    • Phase transitions (e.g., perception of tattoos, viral spread)
    • How to measure, model, and promote cultural diversity

Empirical Challenge

    • Hypothesis testing of cultural assumption (e.g., acceleration of culture=perception of time is compressing as time progresses, need listing), validate humanistic approaches for understanding culture
    • Validate cultural paradoxes
    • AB testing for XXX
    • Creation of an open source software package that is accessible, module, adaptable and that allows for reproducibility.


Engineering/CS Challenges

    • Scalability (to trillions of records/PB of data)
    • Usability
    • Reproducibility
    • Long tail?

Practical/Societal Challenges

  • Improve health: Use social media data to predict and prevent episodes of depression
  • Reduce substance abuse: Contextualize people’s experiences and behaviors in overall contexts
  • Promote global peace by analyzing media reported events and identifying bifurcation points
  • Promote stability by decreasing (education, economic, and health) inequalities
  • Reduce education inequality: Teach diverse cultures
  • Privacy
  • Ethics
  • Access