Category: Tools

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.

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.

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


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.

New year, looking back and ahead

Welcome back!

As the new calendar year starts it’s nice to look back and see what kept us busy over the previous 12 months. This review is particularly meaningful to us in Digital Scholarship Services since we only got our start a little more than a year ago.

So let’s see what DSS did last year. Here’s a word cloud made with Wordle (a simple text analysis and visualization tool) from the descriptions of all our service interactions for 2014:


The more frequently a word was used in our descriptions the larger it is displayed in the word cloud. (The colors are randomly generated and are pretty but meaningless). As you can see, we talked with scholars quite a bit about their projects, collections, data and visualization, and websites using WordPress and Omeka. We frequently referred people to our Faculty Digital Archive (FDA) to store and share their papers and other data. We helped you understand copyright and fair use;  showed you how to create, manipulate, and store your media (including scanning, images, and video); and pointed you toward GIS and mapping support from NYU Data Services.

In the coming months we will be sponsoring a series of workshops for graduate students  as well as several public events on Digital Humanities methods and tools, and investigating the use of Omeka in a small pilot project. We will continue to offer consultation and to support projects in all the ways described here.

To learn more about how NYU Digital Scholarship Services can help you, check out the services we offer, read about a few of the projects that we have supported, or contact us for an appointment.

We look forward to working with you in the coming year.

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.