THATCamp Kansas will host a several workshops on Thursday and Friday, September 20th and 21st. Workshops provide hands-on introductions to digital tools and practices. All sessions will be held in the Watson Library. Full workshop descriptions and times are listed below.

See below for descriptions, and click here to view schedule

(1) Voyant for Text Analysis and Visualization

Thursday, 9am – noon (Watson 455)
Instructor: Geoffrey Rockwell, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Computing, University of Alberta, Canada

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You have a collection of digital texts, now what? This Voyant workshop provides a gentle introduction to text analysis in the digital humanities using Voyant Tools, a collection of free web-based tools that can handle larger collections of texts, be they digitized novels, online news articles, twitter feeds, or other textual content. This workshop will be a hands-on, practical guide so bring your own texts. In the workshop we will cover the following:

* Preliminary exploration techniques using Voyant;
* Basic issues in choosing, compiling, and preparing a text corpus;
* Visualization tools and speculative representations of texts; and
* Integrating tool results into digital scholarship.

Participants should have access to an internet connected computer (laptop with wireless access). If they have a text they want to try during the workshop they should prepare it (save it as a plain text file) and make sure it is accessible (put it online or have on hard drive).

The class outline is at:


(2) Visualizing Humanities Data Sets in Improvise

Thursday, 1pm – 4pm (Watson 455)
Instructor: Chris Weaver, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science and the Center for Spatial Analysis, University of Oklahoma

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Improvise is a desktop application for building and browsing highly interactive visualizations of multidimensional data sets. Building is live, using a flexible declarative language to specify how to translate data and interactions into graphics. This approach makes it practical for a trained user to design, implement, and refine full-featured visualization tools in a matter of days or even hours. Improvise has been used to explore and analyze diverse information sources, with particular focus on humanities data sets, such as hotel guest registries in late 19th/early 20th century Pennsylvania, political events in international newswire stories, economic indicators in the World Bank’s Africa Competitiveness Report, health and census demographics in Bulgaria, crowd movement in a simulated health facility evacuation, and social networks in the Internet Movie Database. In this tutorial, we will begin by browsing several existing Improvise visualizations, including a visualization of the Electronic Enlightenment database that offers a new visual querying method to explore social relationships in the Republic of Letters. As time permits, we will discuss the core features of the Improvise visualization architecture, including data access, visual encoding, and coordination between multiple views, and use Improvise to build a modest visualization of a simple data set.

Prerequisite knowledge is at least some experience with programming and graphical design, roughly equivalent to moderate-to-advanced programming in a spreadsheet or with a query language like SQL.

The following will be needed for this workshop:

* A recent model laptop or desktop, preferably with a screen resolution of 1440×900 or larger

* About 150MB of disk space.

* A network connection to download tutorial materials and to allow demonstration of a few visualization features that involve the web.

* Java version 1.4 or later, with Web Start (jnlp) capability (

* Software to view PDFs


(3) Creating an Online Exhibition

Thursday, 9:00 am – 9:50 am (Watson 503)
Instructors: Sarah Thiel, KU Libraries, University of Kansas and Bill Kummerow, English, University of Kansas

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Suggestions for creating a reliable and easily-modified exhibition template.


(4) Managing Digital Objects and Creating Web Exhibits with Omeka

10:00am – 10:50am (Watson 503)
Instructor: Amanda French, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University

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Omeka is a simple system used by scholarly archives, libraries, and museums all over the world to manage and describe digital images, audio files, videos, and texts; to put such digital objects online in a searchable database; and to create attractive web exhibits from them. In this introduction to Omeka, you’ll create your own digital archive of images, audio, video, and texts that meets scholarly metadata standards and creates a search engine-optimized website. We’ll go over the difference between the hosted version of Omeka and the open source server-side version of Omeka, and we’ll learn about the Dublin Core metadata standard for describing digital objects. We’ll also look at some examples of pedagogical use of Omeka in humanities courses and talk about assigning students to create digital archives in individual or group projects.

Participants should:

  1.  bring a laptop (not a tablet) with wireless internet access, and
  2. sign up for a free account at before the workshop.


(5) Telling interactive stories with maps and timelines: An Introduction to Neatline

11:00 am – 11:50 am (Watson 503)
Instructor: Wade Garrison, Center for Digital Scholarship, University of Kansas Libraries

[expand title=”Description”]

Neatline allows scholars, students, and curators to tell stories with maps and timelines. As a suite of add-on tools for Omeka, it opens new possibilities for hand-crafted, interactive spatial and temporal interpretation.


(6) Classroom Digital Humanities

Thursday, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm (Watson 503)
Instructors: Crystal Hall, French & Italian, University of Kansas and Jonathan P. Lamb, English, University of Kansas

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This workshop will provide discussion, demonstration, and models of how to use digital humanities tools and methods (e.g. data and text visualization, data mining, mapping and GIS, digital representation of knowledge) to enhance learning in the humanities classroom. Presenters will point participants to resources for finding existing syllabi, tools, and instructional materials for incorporating theory-based or project-based digital humanities material into existing or new courses. Presenters will provide some brief examples to demonstrate some of the possibilities of using DH in the classroom and generate discussion.

Each presenter will feature one or two digital tools and will model a classroom lesson using those tools. Participants may come with pedagogical goals, ideas for possible projects, or burning questions about teaching with DH. The workshop will be appropriate for those new to digital humanities and who just want to become more familiar with relevant concepts and tools as they work in the classroom. Participants may also bring ideas for topics or class assignments to share and discuss. Depending on the number of participants, the group may break up into smaller groups to provide feedback or short workshop activities about teaching ideas.

We’d like to ask our participants to bring a laptop. Participants should come come having thought about a non-DH class lesson they’d like to digitize, preferably though not necessarily a lesson involving some kind of text available in digital format (of which they have a copy). Participants should also come ready (or perhaps just willing) to discuss the usual goals of their non-DH lesson, and the potential drawbacks of digitizing it.


Note: the workshops below will be held on Friday, September 21st, along with the THATCamp sessions.

(7) XSLT Basics

Friday, 10:00 am – 10:50 am (Watson 419)
Instructor: David Birnbaum, University of Pittsburgh

[expand title=”Description”]

XSLT is a programming language designed to transform XML documents into other formats. This workshop will provide introductory information that will enable participants to begin using XSLT to manage their own XML documents. It also provides, for those without prior XSLT experience, the background needed to understand the 10:00 AM workshop on Visualizing structural similarity with plectograms and XSLT.

1. Install the oXygen XML editor (; free trial licenses are available at this site) on your laptop.
2. Basic knowledge of XML, or read
3. Read and


(8) Visualizing structural similarity with plectograms and XSLT

Friday, 11:00 am – 11:50 am (Watson 419)
Instructor: David Birnbaum, University of Pittsburgh

[expand title=”Description”]

The plectogram is a graphic model for visualizing shared textual structures, developed initially for exploring medieval miscellany manuscripts in order to identify common structural patterns. Participants will learn to write XSLT stylesheets to generate animated SVG plectograms automatically from XML-encoded documents.

1. Install the oXygen XML editor (; free trial licenses are available at this site) on your laptop.
2. Basic knowledge of XML, or read
3. Basic knowledge of XPath and XSLT. Participants who do not have prior XSLT experience should attend the 9:00 AM workshop on XSLT basics, which will provide the necessary background. All participants should read and
4. For examples of the use of plectogram use in research, read (or, at least, skim through the pictures in)


(9) Quantitative Analysis of Literary Texts With R

Friday, 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm (Watson 419)
Instructor: Jeff Rydberg-Cox, University of Missouri-Kansas City

[expand title=”Description”]

R is a powerful and useful tool for statistical analysis. However, introductory textbooks to standard statistical methods do not focus on how to use these methods to study the sorts of questions that are of interest to literary scholars. This workshop will offer a concrete discussion and hands-on examples of ways that statistical tests such as z-scores, Baysian analysis, and other techniques can be used to study plot structure and characters in literary texts.

Participants should install R before the workshop:


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  1. Digital Humanities Forum, September 20-22 - Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities

    […] Day One (Thursday, September 20): WORKSHOPS A set of in-depth, hands on workshops on digital humanities tools and topics including text mining, […]

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