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3rd Digital Humanities Academy Report

Digital Ottoman Studies Platform, organized the third edition of the Digital Humanities Academy between May 22, 2023, and June 5, 2023, conducted online. The DBB Academy's third installment served as a significant platform where the humanities intersected with the digital world. This report assesses the purpose, content, benefits for participants, and potential future impacts of the academy.

Initiated by our platform for the first time in Turkey, the DBB Academy is structured with a focus on programming languages, social networks, text, and spatial analysis, and is organized almost every year.

A substantial number of applications from individuals interested in the field were evaluated based on specific criteria, and they gained the opportunity to participate in the academy. In this year's academy, we conducted workshops with 75 participants on various themes such as data analysis, spatial analysis, coding, and network analysis. The training program included workshops on Transkribus, Mapping with ArcGIS, Social Network Analysis with Gephi, and Data Analysis with R, designed to introduce new methods and approaches in the Social and Humanities Sciences. Practical training in the workshops was provided, aiming to offer content to researchers working in the field of Social and Humanities Sciences. Thanks to the academy, participants had the opportunity to generate new research questions by utilizing digital methods for analyzing Social and Humanities science data.

Introduction to Digital Humanities

The academy commenced with an Introduction to Digital Humanities course led by Fatma Aladağ. This introductory session served as a guide, discussing the methods of Digital Humanities, how these methods can be adapted to the social sciences, the advantages they provide to researchers, and a detailed exploration of the new questions and values that can be addressed through these methods. The workshop focused on the potentials and limits of digital humanities, which are becoming increasingly effective in all fields of humanities and offering new and effective methods for research. The workshop also shared examples of applications and tools, the relationship between digital humanities and different disciplines/themes, the position of artificial intelligence in the humanities, its development, and its current status.

Spatial Analysis with ArcGIS

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is one of the most commonly used methods in the DH field. In the ArcGIS Workshop, participants received introductory training on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) concepts and map creation methods. Throughout the workshop, participants learned how to create, manage, map, and visualize spatial databases.

Text Analysis with Transkribus

The TRANSKRIBUS Workshop, led by Suphan Kırmızıaltın, covered the introduction and applications of a platform that is still emerging and eagerly awaited in the DBB field. This platform offers artificial intelligence-assisted text recognition, transcription, and encoding for historical documents. During the workshop, the potential and limitations of creating a Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) model for Ottoman Turkish were discussed. Participants worked on transferring Ottoman Turkish and Turkish documents to the Transkribus platform, text segmentation, creating and editing transcripts on sample documents, and labeling, optimizing, and correcting transcript results for their own projects or sample texts.

Data Analysis with R Workshop

The Data Visualization with R Workshop, led by Arif Yasin Kavdır and Yusuf Akbulut, introduced participants to the R programming language, a software environment for statistical computation and graphics. Aimed at participants with basic knowledge of R Studio and data visualization, the workshop covered topics such as data preparation methods for data visualization, loading ready-made data, addressing data gaps, filtering, transforming, and merging data sets. Additionally, the workshop delved into creating, customizing, and visually enhancing basic chart types (histogram, scatter plot, bar chart, line chart), as well as advanced chart types (heatmap, box plot, density plot, violin plot), and interactive graphics creation, customization, and the introduction of the Plotly package.

Social Network Analysis with Gephi

In the Gephi Workshop, led by Onur Öner, participants received training in using the Gephi program to analyze social network relationships among entities, institutions, or actors. The workshop introduced participants to the fundamental elements of social network analysis, starting from an explanation of what network analysis is to preparing datasets, using existing data, providing information on Overview, Data Laboratory, and Preview, using tools in the interface, introducing different network types in layout, and conducting various centrality measurements.

The Digital Humanities Academy, with its third installment in 2023, has offered humanities scholars an important opportunity for education and development in the field of digital humanities. The content presented in the academy has enabled participants to understand the role of digital technologies in the humanities and to effectively use these technologies. The skills acquired through these workshops have empowered humanities scholars to enhance their research methods and conduct in-depth data analysis. Tools like Transkribus, ArcGIS, Gephi, and R have increased participants' capacity to solve complex problems and encouraged specialization in the field.

In conclusion, the Digital Humanities Academy has contributed to humanities scholars' understanding of the importance of digital transformation and has provided them with the skills needed in this area. We thank everyone who supported the academy and eagerly anticipate further efforts to make this valuable educational resource accessible to more participants in the future.

Serpil Özcan

DOS Board Member

Marmara University

Ph.d. Candidate


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