What is DH Box

H Kellaway edited this page Apr 13, 2014 · 1 revision

What is DH Box?

DH Box is a push-button Digital Humanities laboratory: a pre-configured Linux computer in the cloud, with the most useful tools for analysis and visualization, accessible from anywhere.

Users access DH Box tools directly from a web browser, performing statistical analysis with R Studio; creating digital exhibits with Omeka; or using MALLET for topic modeling, all without having to configure or install anything new. DH Box is also open-source, and we are building a community of educators, librarians, and developers organized around increasing the utility of DH Box for academia. More tools will continue to be added, and improvements will be considered based on user feedback.

Why use it?

DH Box makes it simple for scholars (and students-as-scholars) to use powerful computational tools immediately, even if they lack deep computational literacy or full service IT support. DH Box lets researchers focus on research--rather than on the finer points of systems administration.

If you are a teacher, scholar, or student interested in taking a 'DH' approach to research, DH Box is the perfect place to start. Accessible from any computer, DH Box takes care of the installation and configuration of powerful computational tools; giving users immediate access to technology that enables novel, inventive approaches to scholarship, and that would otherwise be challenging to get started with.

DH Box allows teachers to instantly deploy a computer lab in the cloud, eliminating the need to spend hours fiddling with a roomful of computers. Educators can use DH Box to work collaboratively with students using computational tools: asking and answering questions and reviewing work in real-time.

DH Box lowers the barriers for students to participate in DH/computational inquiry, even if their computer access is limited to the loaners they can find on campus. Without needing to purchase new equipment or take a dedicated course, students can begin using DH tools and develop concrete, widely applicable computational skills. At the same time, they can produce meaningful and easily transmitted works of scholarship.

What can you do with it?

A couple potential uses for DH Box:

  • Use R-Studio for statistical analysis and data visualization (eg, identify and plot the verb tenses used by central characters in a novel)
  • Use MALLET (MAchine Learning for LanguagE Toolkit) for text mining and topic modeling (eg, given a large archive of pamphlets published in eighteenth century Philadelphia, find the issues most frequently debated)
  • Use Omeka to create a quick-deploy digital repository (eg, create an interactive timeline of a writer’s works, influences, and travels)
  • Use NLTK for a whole range of textual analysis, (eg, perform sentiment analysis to determine attitudes about war in a collection of letters written between 1914 and 1924)
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