Doing Digital History with Python II: creating custom Word Clouds

by Monika Barget

In the second edition of Doing digital history with Python, I would like to address word clouds as a visual method of finding patterns in texts (see critical reflection in Basic Text Mining: Word Clouds, their Limitations, and Moving Beyond Them). Word clouds display the frequency or importance of individual keywords in individual texts or entire corpora. There are many ready-made tools in multiple languages that help you create word clouds in different designs, such as the in-built word cloud generator in Voyant Tools or browser-based tools such as However, not all of them may be suitable for your specific use case. „Doing Digital History with Python II: creating custom Word Clouds“ weiterlesen


von Thorsten Wübbena


Vor ungefähr drei Monaten fand die DHd 2020 „Spielräume: Digital Humanities zwischen Modellierung und Interpretation“ in Paderborn statt und wie jedes Jahr brachte auch diese DHd-Tagung nicht nur Einblicke in aktuelle Forschungsfragen, sondern versammelte eine Community und schaffte Gelegenheiten für Diskussionen. In der mittlerweile siebten Auflage der Konferenz kam im Austausch mit meiner Peergroup – also jenen, die schon ein paar Jahre länger im Job sind – mehrfach das Gespräch auf beobachtete und/oder selbst vollzogene berufliche Veränderungen der jüngeren Zeit. Die Überlegung, wer von uns denn in den vergangenen Jahren schon wo und mit wem zusammengearbeitet hatte, nahm ich mit und fragte mich: Wie könnte ein Personen-Affiliationen-Netzwerk der DHd-Tagung 2020 aussehen bzw. wie erstelle ich es auf möglichst geschmeidige Art und Weise?

„ORCIDgraph“ weiterlesen

Initial familiarity with Transkribus: The User Conference 2020

By Alessandro Grazi

It was a cold, sunny, winter morning, and just like every other morning I was standing on a platform of Giessen’s train station. But this time I wasn’t headed to the IEG in Mainz, where I work, but to Innsbruck, Austria. No, the anticipation I felt wasn’t for an exciting skiing weekend on the Austrian Alps (I can’t ski, anyway!), but for the Transkribus User Conference 2020. How can one be excited for a conference on a Handwriting Text Recognition Software, you ask? Well, as a cultural historian, a humanist, I find it always intriguing when I get to deal with something “technical”, something “scientific”. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons why I took on a research project in Jewish Studies, my original field, which uses digital methods.

„Initial familiarity with Transkribus: The User Conference 2020“ weiterlesen

Research visit in New Zealand: Modelling the spread of COVID-19 on higher-order networks

At the beginning of March, I went to New Zealand for a research visit with a planned duration of four weeks. This visit was part of a collaboration involving the IEG DH Lab and Te Pūnaha Matatini, a New Zealand centre of research excellence for complex systems and data science hosted by the University of Auckland’s Department of Physics.

The main goal of the visit was to further develop our research on the structure of higher-order networks, that is, networks which account for interactions between individuals stemming from their membership to groups. Higher-order networks are usually represented by either bipartite (two-mode) networks, or hypergraphs, or simplicial complexes. Our last publications on this topic can be seen in the Journal of Complex Networks and the Physical Review E (also available on arXiv, here and here).

I arrived about one week before New Zealand closed its borders to the world, allowing only citizens and long-term residents to enter into the country. „Research visit in New Zealand: Modelling the spread of COVID-19 on higher-order networks“ weiterlesen

Doing Digital History with Python I: reading (messy) XML & JSON data

by Monika Barget

During our DH brownbag lunches at the IEG, colleagues have repeatedly asked us if we could recommend Python packages for digital history. We have therefore set up a list of packages we at the IEG DH Lab are using for the analysis of text (stored, for instance, in XML/TEI or JSON formats), the modelling of historical networks, or the creation of interactive maps.

The list Python for digital history is based on our personal experiences and, though by no means exhaustive, may serve as an appetizer for “Doing Digital History with Python”. In a series of blog posts, we will try and introduce you to some of the packages mentioned through case studies from current IEG research.

Today’s post covers the extraction of data from XML and JSON files with xml.etree.ElementTree, lxml, json(5) and beautifulsoup(4) as reading structured text is often a starting point of digital history projects. „Doing Digital History with Python I: reading (messy) XML & JSON data“ weiterlesen

The Archaeology of Reading, COVID-19, and online teaching

by Jaap Geraerts

Prior to taking up my current position at the IEG, I was based at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL) at University College London where I served as the postdoctoral fellow on the digital humanities project “The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe” (AOR). An international collaboration between CELL, Johns Hopkins University, and Princeton University, the project team, consisting of historians, computer engineers, and librarians, aimed to enable a more structured analysis of historical reading practices through the creation of an online resource. The end result is a modified IIIF-compliant viewer comprising a corpus of 36 early modern books annotated by Gabriel Harvey and John Dee and the fully searchable transcriptions of all the “interventions” they made in these books. This viewer is accompanied by a WordPress site which contains contextual information of the scholarly and technological aspects of the project.
„The Archaeology of Reading, COVID-19, and online teaching“ weiterlesen

Redesigning the “engage!” board game – my public humanities internship

by Isabelle Tanja Reiß

Last winter I had the pleasure of working at IEG Mainz for ten weeks. This internship was part of my master programme in Digital Humanities at JGU Mainz. My task was to rework the board game “engage!” created by Monika Barget, Jack Kavanagh, Susan Schreibman, Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Sharon M. Leon in 2018. The redesign and reworking of the game was supposed to happen on the basis of  user feedback collected beforehand. “Engage!” is an educational game that introduces cultural heritage experts and humanities scholars to public engagement / engaged research, though one of the main points of critique was, that the game wasn’t engaging enough. Many praised the great discussions that arose throughout the gameplay, but criticised the missing drive to win the game in the same breath.
„Redesigning the “engage!” board game – my public humanities internship“ weiterlesen

ConedaKOR-as-a-Service. Über Kontext, Komplexität und Komplikationen

Von Fabian Cremer und Thorsten Wübbena


Der DARIAH-DE-Workshop zu ConedaKOR – einem graphbasierten Datenbanksystem zur Verwaltung und Präsentation von Objektsammlungen – führte neben neuen Entwicklungen der schnittstellenstarken und modular aufgebauten Software über die Anwendungsfälle in der Kunstgeschichte und Maya-Forschung zu grundsätzlichen Fragen in der Software- und Infrastrukturentwicklung für die Forschung:
1. Komplexe Software ist nur für komplexe Projekte sinnvoll.
2. Die Abwicklung der Infrastruktur wird zur Pflicht.
3. Die Voraussetzungen für Software-as-a-Service in der Forschung fehlen noch.
„ConedaKOR-as-a-Service. Über Kontext, Komplexität und Komplikationen“ weiterlesen

ReIReS meetings in Paris

by Jaap Geraerts

The IEG is one of the twelve partners of the Horizon2020 project “Religious Infrastructure on Religious Studies”, mostly known by its acronym “ReIReS“. Within this project, one of the main responsibilities of the IEG is the organisation of the various training sessions such DH workshops and training schools that take place at each of the partner institutions. Of particular interest for the DH Lab at the IEG are the DH workshops which allow scholars from the partner institutions as well as from external institutions to become acquainted with various tools and methods that are customarily used within the broad field that has come to be called “Digital Humanities”.
„ReIReS meetings in Paris“ weiterlesen

IEG DH Lab at NetSciX 2020

by Demival Vasques Filho

I just returned from Japan, where I attended the NetSciX (the Winter edition of NetSci) conference. It was an enjoyable event, with inspiring presentations and discussions. Here, I will share with you some of my perceptions about it!

„IEG DH Lab at NetSciX 2020“ weiterlesen