In recent years, digital methodologies have become an intrinsic part of research practices in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The application of formal, quantitative methods has substantial consequences on the questions asked and inferences drawn from data that is digitally stored, managed, and manipulated. These effects can only be fully understood if researchers develop a fundamental understanding of the underlying technologies. As critical readings of IT infrastructures and code aim to reveal and prevent (unconscious) biases, Digital Humanists need to reflect on the significance of their decisions: The collection of data, the development of tools and the provision of infrastructures all have lasting impact on the presentation, evaluation and interpretation of their research subjects.
In 2021, the annual “International Summer School” (ISS) of the MA program "Digital Methods in the Humanities and Cultural Sciences" jointly conducted by the Johannes Gutenberg-University and the University of Applied Sciences Mainz will put a special focus on the critical reflection of data, methods and algorithms within the Digital Humanities. The main goal of the summer school is to build up expertise on foundational concepts, methods and tools used in a broad range of disciplines. At the same time, participants are encouraged to take a critical look at the presented methodologies and discuss the implications of their application within the research process.
The schedule comprises introductory lessons on web-based collaboration and annotation tools (like structuring and writing text with Markdown) as well as classes on annotating texts and images or the encoding and digital presentation of music. Another block of sessions will cover network analysis and its application to historical sources as well as a critical evaluation of different data visualization practices. Finally, spatial analysis by digital means, tools like graph databases supporting data exploration and indexing and an overview over NLP (natural language processing) methods will complete the picture.