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All Things Digital at UCR

November 20th, 2014

Steve Anderson

At a few recent meetings we’ve talked about the new digital projects and resources being developed at UC Riverside, as well as other opportunities for graduate students and faculty interested in digital humanities.

Digital Scholars Lab

The UCR Rivera Library will be opening a new Digital Scholars Lab in the coming months. Over the Summer and Fall quarters, I’ve been working for the library as an advisor on digital scholarship projects and digital humanities in general. Once the Lab is open it will be a meeting place for graduate students, researchers, and faculty to start new digital scholarship projects or get help with existing ones. In the meantime if you need assistance with a project or would like more information on digital scholarship and digital humanities, please send me (Steve Anderson) an email: Although the Lab isn’t officially open at the moment, the Library is still happy to work with scholars and has many resources available. I’ve also made a website as a place to keep my notes for the development of the Lab. The website is a work in progress and it is not the official Lab website, but it does list many resources on digital scholarship and digital humanities:

Critical Digital Humanities

For the past few years Critical Digital Humanities has been holding discussions on critical theory, reading groups on technoculture and digital media, and hosting invited speakers from a wide array of fields and subjects concerning the digital humanities. These workshops have been made possible by generous funding from the Center for Ideas and Society and Mellon workshop grants. For the 2014-2015 academic year CDH is working on pedagogy and production with Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished film Que Viva Mexico! as our focus.


In Southern California the digital humanities community stays up to date on recent projects and opportunities through the DHSocal website: The calendar is up to date and active, there are lists of resources, and also CFPs and job opportunities. DHSocal is also on Twitter (@dhsocal and #dhsocal), but most of the activity takes place within individual accounts. If you’re just getting started with Twitter and DH, Miriam Posner (@miriamkp) over at UCLA has a very active Twitter feed, and don’t miss her weekly newsletter on DH happenings, tools, and opportunities:

Digital Humanities Summer Programs

If you’re interested in digital humanities, week-long summer workshops are a great way to hone your skills and make new friends. Newcomers to the digital humanities are welcome, and most workshops do not require any technical programming skills or equipment. Over the summer I attended two of these workshops, and they were quite extraordinary experiences. HILT is the Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching workshop, which was held at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, or MITH, at the University of Maryland. This coming summer in 2015, HILT will be held at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in Indianapolis, with registration beginning soon. The other workshop I attended was the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, or DHSI, at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. DHSI offers three separate weeks of instruction now and registration is currently open. Both HILT and DHSI have many opportunities to offset the cost of travel and tuition, as well as on-campus housing. DHSI is also offering a Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities which I hope to finish this year. There are other summer programs in Europe as well, the Joint Culture & Technology and CLARIN-D Summer School in Germany, and the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School in England.

Crossposted from HGSA.

Day of DH on April 8th

March 24th, 2014

Steve Anderson


“Day of DH 2014” is occurring this April 8th:

Here’s the info from the About page at Day of DH 2014:

A Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities (Day of DH) is an open community publication project that will bring together scholars interested in the digital humanities from around the world to document what they do on one day. This year, Day of DH will take place on April 8th. The goal of the project is to create a web site that weaves together a picture of the participant’s activities on the day which answers the question, “Just what do digital humanists really do?” Participants document their day through photographs and text, all of which is published on a community online platform (which, for this year, lives at Both during and after the day, people are encouraged to read and comment on their fellow participant’s posts. Eventually, all the data will be grouped together, undergo some light semantic editing, and released for others to study. We hope that, beyond the original online publication, the raw data will be of use to those interested in further visualization or digital community ethnographic research.

Accessible Digital Production in the Classroom

October 14th, 2013

Kimberly Hall

by Ian Ross

The pedagogical implementations of digital technology have been widely hailed, but are frequently implemented in the form of making traditional pedagogical procedures more conveniently accessible (online classrooms, digital office hours, etc.). However, there is a largely ignored degree to which digital production by students is helpful to composition, comprehension, and critical thinking in the classroom. Unfortunately, the primary roadblock to pedagogical digital production in curriculum centering around this production is the inaccessibility of coding as a means of that writing. However, if this process can be made more accessible, the constructed nature of binary code, as well as its inability to work with logical fallacy, has the potential to illustrate much clearer narratological and argumentative skills to novice writers.

In an attempt to work around this problem, I have enacted a classroom project based around the free and universally available program Inform7, an interactive text based video game production space designed to use English language “coding” to create digital spaces with which the audience can interact. The first attempt at this project involved individual students building games using a peer produced message board for guidance, produced limited results, and ended with most students circulating around an “expert” with previous experience. However, the second attempt was designed as a group project and guided by a greater amount of classroom instruction. Students in groups of four posted their games along with the code, and were asked to play the games designed by the three other groups before looking at the code that Inform7 translated into gameplay.

This structure created an identifiable divide between author and audience, and allowed for a direct discussion of narrative production, symbol, icon, and metaphor. The program uses binary logic (i.e. one thing cannot be two things) within an English language code to produce games. Giving “objects” (which are defined by description, portability, and/or their ability to contain other objects) names helped students understand the arbitrary nature of language and concepts like simulacra. For instance, a container is given size by the decoding audience: there is no difference between a “wallet” and a “bucket” unless the programmer provides a difference. Using language to define meaning, and illustrating the degree to which this takes place in everyday life is a central benefit to this project.

Putting the student in the position of the creator allows the student to more clearly understand how creation takes place as well. In my second attempt with this project, students worked around coding limitations in ways that were not apparent to their intended audience when playing. One group built a door called “the laptop”, locked it with “the flashdrive” and then named each attached room a different URL address. This created a user experience of interacting with a spatially static computer, while the translating program understood what was happening as geographical movement and location. Once students outside of the group both looked at the code designed to create this world and had played the game itself, they began to comprehend the degree to which

narrative can potentially step outside of perceived media limitations. Additionally, students who either built or played this specific game were then able to more clearly engage in close reading and authorship when they were confronted with the digital illusion of reality, as well as understand the benefits and meaning production of metaphor.

These were only a few of the ways integrating this process into classroom activity allowed for a deeper and more apparent discussion of the abilities one has access to as a writer as well as the methods of readership which take place invisibly around various socially constructed symbols. Allowing for programs like Inform7, and for the creation of more specialized programming in the classroom like it, is the first important step to bridging the digital divide in a way that will provide students with clear pedagogical connections to necessary comprehension and critical thinking skills.

For those curious, the links to Inform7 (the program used to build these games) and Frotz (the program used to play them) are below. Think of Inform7 as the software (i.e. videogame disc) and Frotz as the hardware (Console system) if the process seems confusing: 

Media in the Archives: Libraries, Popular Culture, and the Digital

October 12th, 2013

Steve Anderson

Please join the panel discussion this Wednesday, October 16, 3:30-5pm (History Library) on “Media in the Archives: Libraries, Popular Culture, and the Digital,” moderated by UCR History Professor Randy Head and featuring Dr. Dan Lewis (head of manuscripts and Dibner Senior Curator of Science, Medicine, and Technology), Jessica Taylor (NBC Universal Archives and Collections), and Dr. Brian Geiger (UCR Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research). Note that all of these organizations have a track record of hiring UCR grad students and have paid internships.

Poster Draft 2013 10 16-2

Changes to the CDH calendar

June 20th, 2013

Steve Anderson

April and I have been working on some revisions for the CDH website, especially the Calendar page.

It’s been difficult to find events in the feed of news items, and the old Calendar page with the Google Calendar wasn’t much help either.

We’ve replaced the old Calendar page with the new “Events” page.

On the Events page the blue bar signifies the next event to take place, and past events are below ↓.

Past events that have posts on the CDH website will link to them, and we can add more links for ↳ archival material also.

Events that are still being organized will be listed ↑ above the blue bar to show their pending status.

If I missed any meetings or events, or if anything needs revision, please let me know.


Mellon Workshop Grant 2013-2014

June 20th, 2013

Steve Anderson

Critical Digital Humanities is proud to announce that we have again received a Mellon Workshop Grant for the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year!

The UCR Center for Ideas and Society has been instrumental in providing access to these Mellon Workshop Grants, and we greatly appreciate their efforts.

For our third consecutive year Critical Digital Humanities is looking forward to more exciting workshops and presentations with scholars and artists from a variety of fields.

The workshop theme for this year is, “Identity and Sociality in the Networked Public Sphere,” and we will hold events beginning in the fall.

Animated Music Screening and Talk . May 30

May 12th, 2013

April Durham



Cindy Keefer, Archivist, Curator & Director . Center for Visual Music

Preserving Visual Music : The Archives of the Center for Visual Music

THURSDAY . May 30 . 4:30 PM . INTN 1113 . Refreshments served .

Cindy Keefer, Director of the Center for Visual Music Los Angeles, will discuss and screen work by pioneers of kinetic art, abstract animation and pre-digital cinema from CVM’s archives. CVM is a Los Angeles archive dedicated to visual music, experimental animation and abstract media.  CVM preserves and promotes films by Oskar Fischinger, Jordan Belson, Charles Dockum, Mary Ellen Bute, Jules Engel, Harry Smith and others, as well as contemporary artists. Keefer will screen work from CVM’s archives by Fischinger and Belson, plus Dockum’s Mobilcolor Projections, Bute’s Abstronics (an early oscilloscope film), a short Bute documentary, and more. She will also discuss Belson’s now legendary 1950s Vortex Concerts, CVM’s work with the Fischinger legacy, current preservation work, and Raumlichtkunst, the new HD 3-screen reconstruction of Fischinger’s 1920s multiple-projector performances, recently exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the Tate Modern, and scheduled for exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in summer 2013.

This is the last event CDH will host for the 2012-2013 season. Please join us for this exciting presentation.

Spring Break from Mark Marino at USC

April 17th, 2013

April Durham

This was sent to me via the SLSA listserv. Thought it might be interesting for some.
April is the cruelest month in my academic year, so if you’re like me you might enjoy this new netprov Rob Wittig and I have put together.
It’s called The Center for Twitzease Control and focuses on infectious language games spread virally over Twitter.  Each day new word games are launched from the center, and new ones are emerging and mutating.
We’re playing the games today through April 20th.  You can follow the twitter hashtag #ctwitzc or the account @ctwitzc.
This netprov features 2 Twitter bots, one by Mark Sample and the other by Brandan Howell.
[For more on netprovs, this article might help:]
Mark and Rob

CDH Research Panel Scheduled for Spring 2013

March 6th, 2013

April Durham

research-panel-s13The Critical Digital Humanities presents a CDH research panel with presentations by April Durham and Kimberly Hall. They will present drafts of recent research in digital humanities for discussion and comment.

Wednesday . April 10 . 12:30 – 2

English Department Conference Room

Refreshments will be served.


New CDH Talk : Production & Pedagogy with Professor James S. Tobias

February 25th, 2013

April Durham





Production and Pedagogy: Design in the Digital Humanities Classroom

Dr. James S. Tobias . Associate Professor . Department of English . UC Riverside

Thursday . March 14 . 3-4:30 pm . English Department Conference Room

Refreshments provided.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Ideas and Society through a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information on this and other events, please visit the website at