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Analysing and Visualising Social Media Data (Workshop) new Mon 11 Feb 2019   14:00 Finished

This session introduces a variety of analytical strategies, with a focus on Social Network Analysis, the most widely used and abused method for analysing and visualising digital and social media data. At the end of this session, you will be familiar with the basic concepts, techniques and measures of social network analysis.

Archival Photography: An Introduction new Wed 12 Jun 2019   11:00 Finished

This session focusses on providing photography skills for those undertaking archival research. Dr Oliver Dunn has experience spanning a decade filming documents for major academic research projects. He will go over practical approaches to finding and ordering materials in the archive, methods of handling and filming them, digital file storage, and transcription strategies. The focus is very much on low-tech approaches and small budgets. We’ll consider best uses of smartphones, digital cameras and tripods. The session is held at the Digital Content Unit at the University Library.

Automated writing in the age of Machine Learning new Mon 7 Dec 2020   11:30 Finished

Computer programmes which predict the likely next words in sentences are a familiar part of everyday life for billions of people who encounter them in auto-complete tools for search engines and the predictive keyboards used by mobile phones and word processing software. These tools rely on “language models” developed by researchers in fields such as natural language processing (NLP) and information retrieval which assign probabilities to words in a sequence based on a specific set of “training data” (in this case a collection of texts where the frequencies of word pairings or three-word phrases have been calculated in advance).

Recent developments in machine learning have led to the creation of general language models trained on extremely large datasets which can now produce ‘synthetic’ texts, answer questions, summarise information without the need for lengthy or costly processes of training for each new task. The difficulties in distinguishing the outputs of these language models from texts written by humans has provoked widespread interest in the media. Researchers have experimented with prompting GPT-3, a language model developed by OpenAI to write short stories, answer philosophical questions and apparently propose potential medical treatments -although GPT-3 did have some difficulty with the question “how many eyes does a horse have?”. Meanwhile, The Guardian ‘commissioned’ an op-ed from GPT-3.

This Methods Workshop will explore the generation of ‘synthetic’ texts through presentations, discussion and demonstrations of text generation techniques which participants will be encouraged to try out for themselves during the sessions. We will also report back from the Ghost Fictions Guided Project, organised by Cambridge Digital Humanities Learning Programme in October and November this year. The project looks at how ideas about the distinction between ‘fact’, ‘fiction’ and ‘nonfiction’ are shaping the reception of text generation methods and aims to stimulate deeper critical engagement with machine learning by humanities researchers.

Prior knowledge of programming, computer science or Machine Learning is not required. In order to try out the text generation techniques demonstrated during the course you will need access to Google Drive (accessible via Raven login for University of Cambridge users).

Beginner's Filmmaking Workshop new Mon 17 Feb 2020   10:00 Finished

Tutors: Sarah McEvoy / Kostas Chondros

Are you curious about making a short documentary film?

This beginner’s filmmaking workshop will help you to start thinking visually and communicate using sound and film. Over two days you will be introduced to different camera shot types, how to construct a basic story, use digital video cameras and sound recorders to shoot your own footage, and then edit a short sequence for export.

The workshop assumes no or very little prior knowledge of filmmaking and no prior preparation is required for the workshop. This is a hands-on practical workshop, working in small teams of two or three people. We expect a willingness to be open to ideas and work in a team to jointly create a short film clip.

The workshop will give you the foundational skills to incorporate film and sound in your own future projects, for example short clips for social media, publicity about research projects as a way to engage wider audiences etc.

During the workshop you will work with dedicated video equipment, but the techniques you will learn can be adapted to film making with smartphones, tablets and other readily available personal electronic devices.


Day 1 – Monday 17th February

  • 10.00 Welcome and introductions
  • 10.30 Aims of the session
  • 10.45 Introduction to shot types, camera movements, framing, telling a story, basic rules of camera use, rules of recording sound
  • 11.45 Splitting into groups – interactive demonstration of how to use the cameras
  • 13.00 Lunch
  • 14.00 Filming around Cambridge, practical exercise working in groups
  • 16.00 Return to room to look at footage from all groups
  • 17.00 Feedback session and summary of day 1 intro to day 2

Day 2 – Tuesday 18th February

We will be working on apple macs and Final Cut X; however we do not expect any prior knowledge of working with either computer or software

  • 10.00 Importing footage onto computers
  • 10.15 Basic editing, creating a 2-minute clip, summary of creating a sequence
  • 10.45 Adding clips to timeline, tools for manipulating clips, using second video track, transitions and filters, syncing audio
  • 13.00 Lunch
  • 14.00 Credits, titles, adjusting audio levels, adding music or narration, exporting footage, saving files
  • 16.00 Looking at each other’s edited clips
  • 16.45 Evaluation
  • 17.00 Finish

Handouts will be emailed after the workshop, and include:

Presentation – shot types, how to construct a sequence Editing on Final Cut x Camera functions, audio recording, info about equipment and editing software and model release forms

What you need to take with you

Headphones – preferably the kind you can plug in rather than Bluetooth headphones

Storage device – if you want to take footage you shoot with you after the workshop, you will need a hard drive, USB or SD card that can hold at least 8GB. Video files are large. Please make sure that the device is formatted to FAT32 if you use it on a PC, as we will be using macs. You can check this by right clicking the device and checking the properties. If you prefer, you don’t need to save the footage that you film and can also upload the exported film to Dropbox.

Upon booking this workshop a questionnaire will be issued to participants which must be completed in order to satisfy the booking.

The workshop is led by:

Sarah McEvoy holds BA Hons Fine Art and an MA in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths University of London and has most recently completed an MA in Art and Design in Education at UCL Institute of Education. Sarah has worked with arts organisations and charities creating short documentaries and has most recently filmed and edited a film working with a socially engaged artist in the community of South East London. As an artist-educator, Sarah works with youth groups and adults with learning disabilities in the community and museums and galleries.

Kostas Chondros holds an MA in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He also holds an MA in Social Exclusion, Minorities & Gender from Panteion University and a BA in Social Anthropology & History from the University of the Aegean, Greece. Since joining the Personal Histories film production team in 2011, Kostas has filmed several events and taught camera & film production skills. Additionally, as a freelance filmmaker, Kostas documents improvised music performances and collaborates on film projects with other artists and performers. He is also a musician, poet and translator.

Find out how to use blogging in your research. The first of two sessions on research blogging will explore the benefits and limitations of blogging for public engagement.

The second of two sessions on research blogging will explore how social media can enable public engagement with your blog, learn how to set up a Twitter chat and explore other methods to get people talking about your research.

Bug Hunt 2020 [cancelled - Covid 19] new Tue 21 Apr 2020   13:00 CANCELLED

This programme is an opportunity to learn, through practical experience and shared investigation, how to apply digital methods for exploring and analysing a body of archival texts. The core of the programme will be 5 x 2 hour classroom based sessions supplemented by group and individual work on tasks related to the project design, delivery and documentation in between sessions. In addition to attending all five face-to-face sessions, participants should set aside an additional 8-10 hours over the duration of the course for work on project-related tasks.

During the programme we’ll work together on a particular topic: how insects were represented in books created for children in the 19th century. This question will help us to think about how children’s encounters with the natural world might have been framed and shaped by their reading. We’ll work on digital collections of 19th century children’s books exploring how such collections are built and how they can be used for machine reading. We’ll develop specific research questions and you’ll learn how to explore them using different tools for textual stylistic analysis. At the end, we’ll present findings and consider the implications of what we’ve discovered.

Topics covered include;

• The development of methods for machine reading the archive – ideas, motivations and ethics • Children’s books of the long 19th century – a beginner’s guide • Designing a small-scale investigation • Building a collection of digital texts • Transforming texts into searchable data • Analysing stylistic patterns in the data

Bulk Data Capture: an overview new Tue 23 Feb 2021   10:00 Finished

This CDH Basics session provides a brief introduction to different methods for capturing bulk data from online sources or via agreement with data collection holders, including Application Programme Interfaces (APIs). We will address issues of data provenance, exceptions to copyright for text and data-mining, and discuss good practice in managing and working with data that others have created.

This CDH Basics session explores how data which you have captured rather than created yourself, is likely to need cleaning up before you can use it effectively. This short session will introduce you to the basic principles of creating structured datasets and walk through some case studies in data cleaning with OpenRefine, a powerful open source tool for working with messy data.

Creating Databases from Historical Sources (Workshop) Mon 25 Feb 2019   11:00 Finished

This workshop will examine strategies for transforming a variety of sources into structured digital data, ranging from crumbling manuscripts to printed documents and books.

Leonardo Impett, Cambridge Digital Humanities

Application forms should be returned to CDH Learning ( by Friday 22 May 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by 26 May 2020.

This course will introduce graduate students, early-career researchers, and professionals in the humanities to the technologies of image recognition and machine vision, including recent developments in machine vision research in the past half-decade. The course will seek to combine a technical understanding of how machine vision systems work, with a detailed understanding of the possibilities they open to research and study in the humanities, and with a critical exploration of the social, political and ideological dimensions of machine vision.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the basic tasks of machine vision, such as Image Classification, Object Detection, Image-to-Image Translation, Image Captioning, Image Segmentation etc.
  • Understand the fundamental technical operations of image processing and machine vision: the pixel encoding of images, Gaussian and convolutional filters,
  • Explore critical aspects of machine vision in a technically-informed way: e.g. the problems in algorithmic bias brought about by featureless convolutional networks
  • Develop and run their own simple machine vision and image processing pipelines, in a visual programming language compiling to Python
  • Understand the potential synergies and limitations of machine vision applications in humanities research and cultural heritage institutions
Data Presentation and Preservation new Tue 28 Jan 2020   11:30 Finished

The afterlife of your research data forms a vitally important part of your research project. Research funders and academic journal publishers are often strongly committed to the re-use of data and are reluctant to fund or publish research where datasets are not accessible for the purposes of peer review or further use. Yet the push for open data exists in tension with the expectations of data protection law which requires transparency from researchers about how long they will retain personal data. This session will explore good practice in data sharing and archiving as well as introducing sources of further information and advice within the University on this topic.

Data Wrangling (Workshop) new Mon 4 Feb 2019   14:00 Finished

Garbage in, garbage out! Your output is as good or as bad as your input. Data collected from online sources is often dirty and messy. Discover how to clean and organise your data. After transforming raw data into a structured dataset, you will be ready to perform data analysis.

Application forms should be returned to CDH Learning ( by Tuesday 6 October 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by Thursday 8 October 2020.

Massive digital archives such as the Internet Archive offer researchers tantalising possibilities for the recovery of lost, forgotten and neglected literary texts. Yet the reality can be very frustrating due to limitations in the design of the archives and the tools available for exploring them. This programme supports researchers in understanding the issues they are likely to encounter and developing practical methods for delving into massive digital archives.

Digital Data Collection and Wrangling new Tue 14 Jan 2020   11:30 Finished

This session addresses the technical and ethical aspects of digital data collection and wrangling – two fundamental stages in the lifecycle of a digital research project. Participants will be introduced to online data sources and practices of internet-mediated data collection, including retrieving data from social media platforms. As data collected from online sources is often dirty and messy, we will also provide a short practical introduction to the process of transforming raw data into a clean and structured dataset using free and open-source software.

Digital Data Collection (Workshop) new Mon 28 Jan 2019   14:00 Finished

This session is a primer on digital data collection. The goal is to become familiar with online data sources and practices of internet-mediated data collection, including retrieving data from social media platforms.

The shelf-life of your dataset dictates the longevity of your findings. Sharing your data and assuring its integrity is a fundamental part of a digital research project. In this session we will discuss the principles of open data, channels for data dissemination and the fundamentals of data preservation.

Digital Mapping for Historians new Wed 26 Jun 2019   09:30 Finished

This intensive workshop will provide an overview of a range of applications of digital mapping in historical research projects and introduce GIS tools and software.

Digital Research Design and Data Ethics new Tue 24 Nov 2020   10:00 Finished

This CDHBasics session explores the lifecycle of a digital research project across the stages of design;

  • data capture
  • transformation
  • analysis
  • presentation and preservation

it also introduces tactics for embedding ethical research principles and practices at each stage of the research process.

Digital Research Design, Methods and Ethics (Workshop) new Mon 21 Jan 2019   14:00 Finished

Find out how to shape a digital research project from scratch. This session will introduce the building blocks of online research design, from the several methodologies available to conduct the research to the ethical guidelines that should underpin our projects.

Doing Qualitative Research Online new Mon 1 Feb 2021   14:00 Finished

What happens to practices of qualitative research when interactions between researcher and research subject are largely mediated? From observations of users’ interactions on social media platforms, to interviews conducted through WhatsApp or Skype, digital communications offer both opportunities and challenges for qualitative research in a wide range of disciplines across the Social Sciences and Humanities. This methods workshop will explore a wide range of topics including:

  • Establishing trust and credibility
  • Engaging with digital gatekeepers
  • Navigating blurred boundaries between ‘private’ and ‘public’
  • Re-conceptualising ‘researchers’, the ‘research field’ and ‘ research subjects’
  • Identity, anonymity and visibility - implications for research practice
  • Mitigation strategies: from data parsimony to creative obfuscation
  • Self-care for researchers in online research
  • Embedding ethical research practice across the project lifecycle

The workshop will take place over two sessions, an introductory seminar and discussion led by Dr Anne Alexander on 1 February, after which participants will be asked to complete a short reflective piece of work assessing their own research design and identifying areas where they feel they need further help and advice. The second session on 8 February will be participant led including small group and plenary discussions exploring strategies for dealing with challenges identified by participants.

Participants should set aside around 1 hour between the two sessions to complete and submit their self-assessment.

Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the CDH Basics session Privacy, information security and consent: a guide for researchers with Dr Anne Alexander on 26 January in advance of the Methods Workshop.

We are currently reformatting our Learning programme for remote teaching; this will require some rescheduling so bookings will reopen and new sessions will be created for online courses as soon as possible. In the interim we would encourage you to register your interest so as to be notified of the new schedule. Please be aware that we hope to run many of our courses online, but that this is dependent on staff availability and resources so please be aware we may have to postpone or cancel some sessions

This workshop will develop your coding practice from testing ideas to creating an efficient workflow for your code, data and analysis. If you are using Jupyter Notebooks (but even if you’re not) this workshop will demonstrate how to better manage your code using good programming practices, and package your code into a program that is easier and quicker to run for lots of data and more reliable.

Required preparation (instructions provided): Python 3 installed on laptop; a text editor or IDE installed on laptop; git installed on laptop and signed up for GitHub; a short internet-based exercise in working with the command line.

Dr Nathan Crilly and Chih-Chun Chen explore the challenges of communicating complex ideas to diverse audiences through a variety of digital media formats. Three case studies will be reported from an EPSRC-funded research project which sought to clarify and communicate the nature of complex system design and its relationship to emerging technologies. For example, the project studied the way in which technologists working in Synthetic Biology and Swarm Robotics conceptualise and address the complexity of the systems they are designing. Outputs from the project include: • A 35-page ‘primer’ on the subject of complexity (now with over 6000 downloads) • A three-minute animated movie discussing the subjectivity of complexity (now with 2500 views) • An interactive website (implemented by Dr Chen since she has programming skills) that generates annotated bibliographies for complexity resources tailored to a user’s interests (launched in March 2019) Dr Crilly and Dr Chih-Chun will discuss the process of engaging with media partners, including working with science communication agencies, animators and film-makers, reflect on what they learned from the process and what they would do differently in future.

Film-making for Beginners new Sat 1 Dec 2018   09:30 Finished

Learn to think visually and communicate using sound and film: participants will be introduced to the language of film, shot types, camera movements, framing, basic rules of camera use, how to tell a story, and editing in the Phoenix Training Suite.

Film-making for Beginners (Level 2) new Mon 24 Jun 2019   09:30 Finished

Learn to think visually and to communicate using sound and film. Participants will be introduced to the language of film, shot types, camera movements, framing, basic rules of camera use, how to tell a story, and editing. Some prior knowledge of filming is required. Please see the CDH website for more details (

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