Author: Jennifer Vinopal (page 1 of 2)

IIIF will fundamentally change the way we deliver and use images on the web

IIIFWouldn’t it be great to be able to virtually reconstruct a manuscript whose physical pages are dispersed among multiple archives?

How about easily using a virtual lightbox to compare art images from museums around the world?

Don’t you want to be able to crop, zoom, annotate, embed, and reuse these images within your own websites to make scholarly arguments?

And what if you could do this without even having to download any images from any websites?

IIIF, the International Image Interoperability Framework, is designed to make this dream a reality. IIIF is a set of specifications designed to facilitate image (and eventually 3D image and multimedia) sharing among cultural heritage institutions (libraries, archives, museums, etc.) and provide users the ability to do the things described above.

I just attended the 2016 IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) conference in NYC.  We saw examples of how IIIF is currently working, including a few different viewers for using IIIF-compliant images. Watch this short demo of a tool called Mirador, which showcases the key functionality of IIIF.

Basically, what institutions with image collections need to do is set up their image repositories to be IIIF compliant and the user needs to use a IIIF-compliant viewer, and away they go! The IIIF website has information on technical details and the IIIF community page has information at the bottom about how to stay informed, get involved, and find IIIF documentation, code, and specifications on github.

Over the coming year NYU Libraries will be exploring this technology and considering how to expand access to our many digital collections.

What is NYU Digital Scholarship Services Working On? – #DayofDH2016

Image by flickr user patchtok (CC BY 2.0)

Image by flickr user patchtok (CC BY 2.0)

You know us as colleagues. You know us as consultants, service providers, and teachers. You know us as experts in copyright and fair use, knowledge management, media creation, web publishing, digital archiving & preservation, and repositories. You know us as organizers and leaders of digital humanities communities and initiatives at NYU and beyond.

But what you might not know is that we’re also scholars: we publish and present our work and we’re always exploring and learning new things.  Our research is a very important part of who we are and what we do both in and outside of NYU.

So for Day of DH 2016 we thought we’d help you get to know us as creators in our own right, by telling you about our scholarship. Here’s what we’ve been working on over the past year:

April Hathcock, Scholarly Communications Librarian, has been focusing much of her research in the last year on issues of diversity and inclusion in librarianship. She published an article on library diversity initiatives in the online journal In the Library with the Lead Pipe and is currently looking forward to several speaking engagements in the spring and summer relating to her work. She’ll be delivering the opening talk at the 2016 LACUNY Institute in May and will be joining Chris Bourg, the head of MIT Libraries, to deliver the closing keynote for the 2016 National Diversity in Libraries Conference at UCLA in August.

Monica McCormick, Program Officer for Digital Scholarly Publishing, has been learning about linked open data and the semantic web as part of a three-year grant-funded project to create infrastructure for the Enhanced Networked Monograph. She published a chapter on uniting the skills of librarians and university publishers in Getting the Word Out: Academic Libraries as Scholarly Publishers.  And in May 2016 she will serve as the facilitator at the P2L (Publishers Reporting to Libraries) Summit in Philadelphia, organized by the ARL, the AAUP, and the CNI.

Zach Coble, Digital Scholarship Specialist, is working on a paper on citation analysis of retractions in biomedical journals and wrote a chapter on getting started in DH in libraries for a forthcoming book, Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library. In addition to editing dh+lib and  leading various DH workshops at NYU and beyond, he is finishing his first year in NYU’s ITP master’s program, where he has made Drake The Autogenerating Ebook and other art+technology projects.

Amanda Watson (Librarian for English and Comparative Literature) has been working with her colleagues in Humanities and Social Sciences on a group digital project, Downtown Digital, as a way to improve their collective digital humanities skill sets. The project, inspired by the Developing Librarian Project at Columbia University, is focused on the history Washington Square and Greenwich Village. Each librarian involved in the project has been investigating a topic relevant to their own interests within the larger scope of the project. The participating librarians have been receiving training in the use of digital tools such as WordPress, Omeka, GitHub, and CartoDB. Their work is still in progress, but will eventually be showcased on the Downtown Digital site.

Nicholas Wolf recently completed his first publication to include appropriately linked datasets and R scripts to reproduce the paper’s findings. The essay, set to appear in the edited collection of lectures from the 2015 Heaney Series at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, to be published by Four Courts Press later this year, examines the distribution of national schools in relation to Irish-speaking regions in Ireland in the nineteenth century. He has had a busy travel schedule this spring, participating in a colloquium on contemporary Irish literature and culture at University College Dublin in February, the Historical Sociolinguistics Network conference in Helsinki in March, and the American Conference for Irish Studies annual meeting in April where he led a workshop on Irish Studies and digital humanities and participated in a roundtable discussion on library and archival collections in the Irish Studies field.

Jennifer Vinopal, Head of  Digital Scholarship Services, wrote an article entitled The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action and is currently working with April Hathcock on a chapter on feminist praxis in library leadership for a forthcoming book entitled The Feminists Among Us: Resistance and Advocacy in Library Leadership.  Jennifer delivered the closing keynote at the fall 2015 Taiga Forum and will be keynoting the June 2016 Oberlin Group Digital Scholarship Conference. In her free time, Jennifer is currently taking a Coursera course on Research Data Management and is learning Spanish.


Invitation to participate: Web Hosting Pilot

NYU Web HostingNYU Libraries is offering a Web Hosting Pilot, powered by Reclaim Hosting, to provide pilot users with access to flexible web space and customizable hosting platforms, including Omeka, WordPress, Scalar, as well as command line and FTP access to make changes to core web development technologies such as MySQL, PHP and Python.  This Web Hosting Pilot, offered from January 2016 to December 2016 supports teaching, learning, and research and is designed to explore the potential uses and benefits of this web hosting solution.

To request to participate in this Web Hosting Pilot, fill out the Digital Scholarship Services webform and select “I want to make an appointment for:Web Hosting Pilot.”

NYU #nycdhweek workshops a great success!

#nycdhweek word cloud

Word cloud of tweets with #nycdhweek hashtag.

NYU Digital Scholarship Services participated in the first annual NYCDH Week, a week-long celebration of all things digital humanities in New York City, February 8-12, 2016.

NYCDH Week, organized by the New York City Digital Humanities Group, offered open workshops across the city, networking sessions, a meeting of the DH community, and of course social events.

The 6 NYU workshops for NYCDH Week were a great success, covering topics such as Omeka, social media scraping for qualitative research, APIs for humanities research, and an introduction to working at the command line. We had 84 total attendees representing every school at NYU as well as the larger NYCDH community.

A few quotes from workshop instructors:

The event succeeded in helping attendees feel more comfortable with the command line, and also demonstrated several ways this tool can be incorporated in research projects.

In the Social Media Scraping workshop, attendees used NCapture and NVivo and learned methods to incorporate the context from web pages, online PDFs, and social media into their research design.

Keep an eye out on this space, subscribe to liblink, and to the NYUDH group to learn about upcoming workshops and other events.

Digital Scholarship Services team featured in NYU Libraries’ Progressions magazine

NYU Digital Scholarship Services team

With the fitting title “Library Services go Way Beyond the Website,” the fall/winter 2015-2016 issue of NYU Libraries’ Progressions magazine features the work of Digital Scholarship Services. Check out the 2-page spread with pictures of the DSS team and a description of some of the work we’re doing.

Celebrating NYCDH Week, February 8-12, 2016


Come celebrate NYCDH Week 2016 with NYU Digital Scholarship Services and the rest of the NYCDH community!

DHWeek is a week-long celebration of all things DH in New York City that includes networking sessions, a meeting of the DH community, open workshops offered across the city, and of course social events.

That week, we are offering 5 workshops at  Bobst Library. Registration is required so sign up now.

Introduction to Omeka

Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions. This workshop will explain the basics of why and when to use Omeka and include a walkthrough of how to use Omeka to manage online collections and create digital exhibitions.

Date: Monday, February 8, 2016
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Location: Bobst Library, Rm. 619, 6th Floor

Advanced Omeka

Building on the Introduction to Omeka workshop, this workshop will show you how to gain greater control of your Omeka installation. Participants will learn the difference between different deployments of Omeka, how to manage your own hosted Omeka installation, and how to use plugins, themes, HTML, CSS, and PHP to customize your collections and exhibitions. Some familiarity with web file transfers, web design, and content management system administration is recommended.

Date: Monday, February 8, 2016
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Bobst Library, Rm. 619, 6th Floor

Public Participation in Humanities Research: Using APIs and Crowd Sourcing Platforms (Intro level)

Participants will learn how to use Internet Archive’s API to pull a set of documents from the web. They will then test a hypothesis by loading those documents onto a crowd sourcing website and asking others to answer questions about those documents.

Note: You must bring your own laptop with Vagrant and Virtual Box pre-installed. (Instructions on sign-up page)

Date: Monday, February 8, 2016
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Avery Fisher Center, East Room, 2nd Floor

Intro to the Command Line

Learn how to use the command line to perform basic tasks. We’ll begin by discussing why humanists would want to learn something so technical, then jump into learning how to create and edit files and directories. Knowledge of the command line can be applied in many contexts, including several of the other workshops offered this week!

Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: Bobst Library, 613, 6th Floor

Social Media Scraping for Qualitative Research (Introductory Level)

This workshop will introduce the basics of using small-scale web scraping of social media for qualitative analysis. Using NCapture, a web browser extension, and NVivo, a qualitative analysis software package, this session will focus on methods to incorporate the context from web pages, online PDFs, and social media into your research design. Presenters will provide detailed examples for importing and coding Facebook and Twitter data using the NVivo software platform. In addition, discussions may include topics such as collecting, storing, and reporting social media data as academic researchers. Brief overview of aims of Qualitative Research and NVivo Software will be provided. Please note that this workshop will not cover larger data sets and web scraping using tools like Python or R.

Introductory level.

Date: Thursday, February 11, 2016
Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Location: Bobst Library, Rm. 617, 6th Floor


Introduction to Project Development with Jennifer Guiliano

Today we learned about project development from Jennifer Guiliano, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Guiliano’s concept of project management hinges on communication. If you have a great project but can’t communicate about it, it won’t be successful. Every good project has a good question, problem, or provocation; an analytical activity; an audience; and concrete products.

What’s a project?
  • a sequence of related activities
  • derived from a question, issue, or problem
  • that requires the development of resources
  • and requires an audience and/or other participants
  • and results in a product

(NB: a dissertation is a project!)


Guiliano asked us “What is your question, problem, or provocation?” and helped us to explain and clarify our research topics (“How would you explain that to an 11 year old?”). She also urges us to be as explicit and succinct as possible because grant and job applications frequently limit the number of characters you can use in your submission.

Interdisciplinary Work

What kind of difficulties do you envision as you work in an interdisciplinary space? Imagine future questions/criticism from scholars in other disciplines, fields, or areas of specialization. Your answers to this question should be included in your research outputs (dissertation, book, articles, presentations, etc.). This will make your work stronger and less open to critique from scholars outside your specialized research area.


Key at the outset of a project is to identify the significance of your project and communicate that clearly to multiple audiences. Answer these questions: How does your project contribute to a particular discipline or field? How does it contribute to the humanities more generally? What is the impact of your research? Why and how is your research innovative? Guiliano also recommends communicating your research topic to the larger scholarly community early on in order to tell people about what you’re working on and possibly discover other scholars working in related areas.


Guiliano says that failure is an option in the digital humanities. You learn so much from failure; it helps you and other scholars know what to work on next or what just simply doesn’t work.


Lay out your objectives in order to have conversations with other project members (stakeholders, dissertation advisors, collaborators, etc.). Ask yourself: “What constitutes success for my project?” You may have individual objectives and group objectives, and that’s OK as long as they’re not in opposition to each other.

Working with Data

How do you get data? Go to for federal government data including census data; to analyze content on JSTOR, visit Jstor Data for Research; use ARTstor for image data (if your institution subscribes — NYU does). Plus, remember that your librarian can help you find and acquire data, including from licensed resources. Guiliano suggests that you keep two copies of your data: an original/archival form plus a working copy. You need to be able to go back to the original. Other tips:

  • work in non-proprietary file types (e.g., .txt not Word; .jpg or .tif)
  • keep a list of where you got your data, contact info, and license or rights issues about reuse and publication
  • don’t keep copies only on your local machine – keep data and work in progress somewhere else. Keep multiple backups: in the cloud, on external hard drive, and email copies to a friend for safe keeping just in case.
Sharing the Products of your Research

Make the most of your scholarship by sharing what you’ve done and getting credit for it on your CV. For example: blog posts, press releases, twitter/social media, websites, apps, books, articles (peer-reviewed vs. non), presentations,  lessons and guides, etc. You can present all the activities around a research project on your CV as a “portfolio” of activity. This is especially important for early-career professionals. Then track the results of your products: set up a google search and a google scholar search to discover citations; track engagement via comments & visits to blog posts. Some tools: Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet TAGS v6; (for announcements); Google Analytics. Hootsuite is also helpful, but costs $$.

Make sure your products match the kind of scholar you want to be and how you want to be seen. This is a way to announce your expertise to the world; it’s easier to get a job if people already know your name and your work. Think about timing: talk about your work in the weeks leading up to a conference in your field; think about the academic calendar and whether or not people will be paying attention.

Branding can make a statement about your work, who it will impact, and how  you want to be perceived as a scholar. Guiliano even suggests we consider job titles; here’s a blog post she write a few years ago on the difference between being called a “project manager” and a “project developer”: Don’t Call Me.

Why Collaborate and How?

To share expertise. A team may consist of roles such as: a subject researcher, public humanities specialist, computational researcher, information specialist, project manager. A common staffing model:

  • Project Director (intellectual & strategic leadership)
  • Associate Director (development & outreach)
  • lead programmer (technical vision & day-to-day supervision)
  • programmers (hackers, coders)
  • systems administrator
  • graphic designer (logos, brochures, etc.)
  • website designer (CMS installs, custom sites, etc.)
  • curriculum specialist
  • etc.

When assembling a team thank about what kinds of things do you need done that you don’t know how to do yourself.

Where do team members come from? Your department, college and campus IT staff, library, , even other universities or other fields entirely.

How can you get potential collaborators to say ‘yes’? Find out what motivates them and what kind of research projects they’re interested in. Barter: your skills for theirs. Buy them a donut.


We wrapped up by talking about the value of work, giving and getting credit, and how not to be taken advantage of by creating agreements up front about roles, responsibilities, and credit. Guiliano is particularly concerned about the undervalued (and typically unpaid) work of people who have less power or are already underrepresented in the field. She is speaking tomorrow (1pm Bobst Library) on a related topic: Humanities Infrastructure versus the Digital Humanities: Confronting the Legacies of Intellectual Property, Resources, and Labor in the Academy.

Final References

For oh so much more on digital humanities, project development, data, teamwork, syllabi, grant writing,  etc., see DevDH.

To learn more about DH, consider attending HILT: Humanities Intensive Learning & Teaching.

This workshop was part of the spring 2015 Polonsky Foundation Graduate Student Workshops in Digital Humanities: Tools and Methods. Visit the NYU Libraries Digital Scholarship Services website and blog to learn about our services. To contact us, fill out our appointment request form or email us at We look forward to helping you with your digital projects.

DH DevOps: Core Skills and Foundations with Dennis Tenen

We storified our tweets for this one.

This workshop was part of the spring 2015 Polonsky Foundation Graduate Student Workshops in Digital Humanities: Tools and Methods. Visit the NYU Libraries Digital Scholarship Services website and blog to learn about our services. To contact us, fill out our appointment request form or email us We look forward to helping you with your digital projects.

Recap of the DH101 Workshop by Miriam Posner

At our DH 101 session, we had the great pleasure of learning from Miriam Posner, Coordinator and Core Faculty, Digital Humanities Program, University of California, Los Angeles. This workshop turned out to be a particularly reflective, even philosophical one. Miriam is interested in uncovering the typically unexamined actions, practices, assumptions, and decisions made over the course of a digital humanities project. She urged us to be more open and reflective when we talk and write about our projects, to explain the assumptions in our work and help our readers/users understand how and why decisions were made.

Here is Miriam’s DH101: A Highly Opinionated Resource Guide with links to all the resources discussed today and then some.

“What is DH?”

Miriam’s own preferred definition is “the use of digital tools to explore humanities questions.” She says “explore” rather than “answer” because she doesn’t want to be overly positivist and claim that digital methods give us one single interpretation of any humanities question. Miriam shared a list of project types—exhibit, digital edition, map, data visualization, text analysis, 3D imaging, multimedia narrative, timeline—and said that once you have a data set these can also be combined or layered.

When you’re considering a digital project, think about “sources, processes, and presentation.”

  • Sources: files, images, text, numbers, artifacts, etc.
  • Processed: what you do to the sources, for example organize, edit, enhance, digitize, quantify, etc.
  • Presented: visualized, mapped, made searchable or interactive, made web-accessible, etc.

We looked at examples of completed digital humanities, which can seem like “black boxes,” and asked how did they make that?”  Miriam showed us how to read about and investigate a project to understand how it was constructed, emphasizing the importance of making decisions thoughtfully. Miriam created How Did They Make That? to expose and explain the methods and technologies that went into the digital humanities projects presented on the site.


Data categorization is reductive and may not reflect the lived experience of the people who are reflected in the data. Miriam gives as an example the National Geographic’s The Changing Face of America, which presents photographs of people who self-identify as multiracial. We can see that the flexibility with which these individuals describe their own biracial identity conflicts with the rigid and limited choices offered by the US Census categories.

To illustrate how reductive metadata can be, we downloaded the metadata for the photographs in the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection at the University of Indiana. We then looked at the photos themselves and reflected on what can’t be captured in the metadata or what assumptions or perspectives are encoded in the metadata.

We then uploaded the Cushman metadata to Google Fusion Tables and explored many of the visualization options (maps, charts, etc.) to look at the data. (Note: staff at NYU Libraries Data Services can help you clean and visualize your data).

Text Analysis

As an introduction to text analysis, we explored the sample texts and tools available in Voyant Tools. Voyant includes tools for word cloud, keyword in context, frequency visualization for words, a customizable stopword list, the ability to load multiple data sets and compare them, and more. For output, you can create a link to your data within the tool, export your data to another analysis or visualization tool, download your analyzed data, etc. If you like this tool but want more control over the environment and your texts, you can download Voyant and run it on your own computer.

We touched on topic modeling, but didn’t get any hands-on experience. Instead we discussed our qualms about the process of topic modeling, which seemed to some to be an opaque process. Miriam suggested giving the aptly named Topic Modeling Tool a try.

Network Analysis

The basic process for creating a network analysis is to specify a question, find the data that stipulates the relations you want to depict, specify nodes and explore and analyze your data, and interpret your results. Like all data analysis processes, this is a very iterative activity.

We downloaded sample data from a survey and used Raw to visualize the relationships among the people surveyed. We then used Gephi, which Miriam warned us is a bit buggy, especially on a Mac. In fact some of us couldn’t even get it to open on our Macs! If you are having this problem, this blog post might help: How to fix Gephi on Mac OS & Windows.

We wound down the day by sharing what we plan to do with our new knowledge and skills.

To learn more about what notable scholars are doing in digital humanities, attend one of our upcoming public events:

♦ Miriam Posner on Head-and-Shoulder-Hunting in the Americas: Lobotomy Photographs and the Visual Culture of Psychiatry

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2015
Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Location: Avery Fisher Center, Avery Room, 2nd Floor, Bobst Library

♦ Mark Algee-Hewett on Data and the Critical Process: Knowledge Creation in the Digital Humanities

Date: Thursday, June 4, 2015
Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Location: Avery Fisher Center, Avery Room, 2nd Floor, Bobst Library

♦ Jennifer Guiliano on Humanities Infrastructure versus the Digital Humanities: Confronting the Legacies of Intellectual Property, Resources, and Labor in the Academy

Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Location: Avery Fisher Center, Avery Room, 2nd Floor, Bobst Library


This workshop was part of the spring 2015 Polonsky Foundation Graduate Student Workshops in Digital Humanities: Tools and Methods. Visit the NYU Libraries Digital Scholarship Services website and blog to learn about our services. To contact us, fill out our appointment request form or email us at We look forward to helping you with your digital projects.

Recap of our Workshop on Copyright in Digital Humanities

This copyright workshop, the third in our series designed specifically for graduate students interested in digital humanities, was taught by NYU Libraries’ April Hathcock, Scholarly Communications Librarian, and Monica McCormick, Digital Scholarly Publishing Officer.

(See their workshop notes with links to key resources.)

Before the workshop, students were asked to prepare by reading 3D Scanned Statue Copyright Debacle: How A University Got It Wrong. It tells about a legal challenge to an artist who was 3D scanning a sculpture that is over 400 (!) years old (and definitely not under copyright).

April Hathcock provided a brief introduction to copyright and shared Cornell’s grid on when things pass into the public domain. She explained that cultural heritage institutions like archives and museums can require that you ask them for permission to re-use or re-publish copyrighted works in their collections. But if they create a scanned reproduction of something that is in the public domain, that scan won’t be copyrightable.

If you’re using digital resources that were acquired or made available under a license, then your use is governed by the license and not by copyright. For example, NYU students using ARTstor are governed by the license that NYU Libraries signed in order to make ARTstor images available to the NYU community. Hathcock showed examples of usage restrictions in the licenses of ARTstor and of the UK National Gallery.

Hathcock then walked us through the four factors of fair use analysis and which kinds of uses weigh in favor of asserting fair use. To wrap up her portion of the workshop, she brought licensing, copyright, and fair use all together into a single workflow diagram for determining when to seek permission to use a copyrighted work.

Monica McCormick talked about publishing agreements and encouraged us to negotiate when we’re faced with a publishing contract. We looked closely at parts of two typical contracts and discovered that they required the author to sign away all rights in perpetuity to the publisher. The SPARC Addendum to Publication Agreement can be used as a template for negotiating a better publishing contract.

We also looked at the Creative Commons licenses which allow creators to make explicit how they want to share their online work with users. These licenses provide the copyright holder with a spectrum of options for giving users more or less permission of their works. As well, Creative Commons licenses do not preclude users asserting their fair use rights of a copyright holder’s material.

McCormick concluded the workshop with a discussion about collaboration and provided some examples of best practices developed by scholars for collaborative work. Interesting models include the Digital Humanities Best Practices (in draft), a  Collaborators’ Bill of Rights, and INKE’s very detailed document on attribution, shared authorship, joint IP, and more.

There is more information in the workshop document. And you can find lots of great information on copyright, fair use, and licensing on April Hathcock’s copyright research guide.

Visit the NYU Libraries Digital Scholarship Services blog to see the full list of workshops and public lectures. To contact us, fill out our appointment request form or email us at We look forward to helping you with your digital projects.

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