Seminar: Unlocking the Past in the Digital Age: Research Questions, Methods, and Best Practices

PaikkaHouse of Science and Letters, room 505, Kirkkokatu 6, Helsinki
thurs 16.11.2023
Aikaat 9.30–13.15

This half-day seminar will explore issues that all digital humanities projects are facing today: how best to process – structure, compare, contrast and share – data, how to guide users in understanding these choices and the local specificities of the data, and how to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. In “All Data Are Local: Thinking Critically in a Data-Driven Society” (MIT Press, 2019), Yanni Alexander Loukissas emphasizes that we should learn to analyze data settings rather than data sets; this seminar follows in Loukissas’ footsteps and asks what unknown and unexpected insights we can gain by paying critical attention to the biases and temporal and spatial layers in the data we process and study. The seminar will also provide concrete examples of data sets and settings currently being aggregated and used in digital humanities research projects, and will discuss the potential impact of such research.


Dirk van Miert (Huygens Institute for History and Culture of the Netherlands & Utrecht University): Sharing Data & Building Infrastructure – Lessons Learned and Future Prospects
Charles van den Heuvel (Huygens Institute for History and Culture of the Netherlands): Indexing Images and Finnish Folklore: Ontology Design Patterns and Networks of Art Classifications


11.00–11.15 Coffee break

Pasi Ihalainen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland): Bridging Quantitative and Qualitative Conceptual History of Democracy with Parliaments as the Analytical Nexus
Mikko Kivelä (Aalto University): Communication Now and Then: Analyzing the Republic of Letters as a Communication Network


Veli-Matti Pynttäri (University of Eastern Finland): A Digital Look at the History of Fiction in Finland in the 19th Century: Challenges and Future Prospects
Ilona Pikkanen (the Finnish Literature Society): Nineteenth-Century Epistolary Metadata as a Research Resource


The seminar is free and open. Register yourself below for catering by November 6th. Welcome!