PUL partners with Center for Digital Humanities on "Year of Data" events

Year of Data

It’s the “Year of Data.”

This fall, the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) will kick off a campus-wide initiative featuring over 20 events, including talks, workshops, and discussions to encourage critical thinking about how data shapes our research, teaching, and daily lives. YoDA for short, “Year of Data” will invite members of the Princeton community to explore how we conceive the human record as data; the analytical, methodological, and technological practices users bring to bear on questions of data in the humanities; and how humanistic approaches can enhance the data sciences.

Princeton University Library is excited to partner on several YoDA events with the CDH, including their keynote address presented by Safiya Noble, author of “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism,” which challenges the idea that search engines such as Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities.

On Dec. 6, Noble, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, will present a lecture based on her book at 4:30 p.m. in East Pyne Hall 010. Open to the public, her lecture will explore the idea that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color.

Throughout the fall, three PUL librarians will lead “Year of Data” workshops. Seth Porter, Head of Stokes Library, will help users clean, analyze, and visualize their data using the open source cleaning power tool, OpenRefine, on Oct. 3 at 12:00 p.m. in Stokes Library. PUL’s Cataloging and Metadata Services Director, Joyce Bell, will present, “Controlled Vocabularies: People, Places, Dates,” on Nov. 7 at 12:00 p.m. in the CDH, where she’ll bring her extensive experience as a cataloger to introduce standards and best practices for dealing with data for people, places, and dates. Luiza Wainer, Metadata Librarian, Spanish/Portuguese Specialty, will lead a beginner, hands-on introduction to Wikidata on Nov. 6 at 12:00 p.m. to empower and engage users to help create data that can be used effectively and disseminated globally.

CDH and PUL will collaborate throughout the year to highlight the Library’s role in creating rich and valuable data. The Center’s monthly reading group, “Collections as Data,” will bring together PUL librarians, CDH staff, and Princeton researchers to discuss how the Library’s collections can be leveraged to support computationally-driven research and teaching. Several YoDA events will connect PUL data to Princeton’s data science, research developer and creative coding communities, such as a “hackathon” on the Library’s Latin American Ephemera Collection codebase, “Playing with Data” workshops at the Council on Science and Technology StudioLab, and a “Data Meetup” with members of the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning.  

PUL’s extensive collections will be at the heart of the Center’s fall course, “Introduction to Digital Humanities.” Taught by CDH’s Weld Postdoctoral Fellow, Nora Benedict, the course will include regular visits to PUL’s Department of Special Collections (located in Firestone Library) to let students experience the dynamic connection between rich primary sources and innovative digital methods.

In the spring, CDH will also host “Building Bridges with Data,” a one-day scholarly conference organized by Benedict, exploring how Latin American archives and archival data create powerful cross-continental conversations. Leading researchers, librarians, and teachers, including Wainer and Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez, PUL’s Librarian for Latin American Studies, Latino Studies, and Iberian Peninusular Studies, will discuss sustainable methodologies and strategies for engaging archival material.

The “Year of Data” officially begun during CDH’s Fall Open House on September 24 at 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit CDH’s website.

Written by Stephanie Ramírez, Communications Specialist & Staff Writer with input from Natalia Ermolaev, Assistant Director of the Center for Digital Humanities

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Library Communications Manager