History 3816G / Digital Humanities 3902G:

Introduction to Digital History

Tuesdays, 6pm

Room UC-222

Contact me

Devon Elliott


Office Hours: Tuesdays, 4:00 - 5:00pm, SSC 1004 or by appointment



Map Warper



Sampling: Close Reading


Sampling: Close Reading


  • Google Drive
  • Voyant Tools

Essay Assignment

The essay assignment is a 2500-word paper on a specific topic using tools that were introduced in class to augment traditional historical research practices. You will use the computational analysis of sources to support or question claims made about the topic in the scholarly literature.

Essay Assignment

Choose a historical topic you find interesting for which primary sources are available. Apply one or more of the tools in the class to those sources. Write a history of your topic that uses secondary literature to introduce and set the context for your paper, and then explain and describe your digital work with the sources. Does your work complement and reinforce arguments made in the secondary literature? Does it contradict or indicate alternative ideas about the topic? Sample topics and resources will be provided, but you're also welcome to find and choose your own in consultation with me.

Possible Topics

  • Media/Entertainment -- Vaudeville, radio, television, film. Popular photography, from film to digital. Publishing books, newspapers. Music.
  • Popular religion -- Spiritualism, evangelists, New Thought, etc.
  • Sports
  • Advertising and consumer culture
  • Fads -- toys, ideas, movements (sci. fi., the future, homesteading, car culture, etc.)

Possible Sources

  • Internet Archive
  • Google Books
  • Western Library resources -- ie., Chronicling America
  • Digital Public Library of America
  • Other databases and repositories

Make an outline

  • State your topic
  • What are you going to ask about it?
  • What secondary sources are availble?
  • What digital primary source(s) can you introduce to your analysis?
  • What tools will you apply or try with the source(s)?
  • Contact me for assistance or share your outline for feedback if you'd like!

Specific Examples

  • Vaudeville -- New York Clipper
  • UFOs -- database of sitings
  • National monuments -- text of markers
  • Roadside Attractions -- locations, sites and structures
  • Superbowl images
  • Map events or make a timeline
  • Text analysis -- gendered pronouns, Google Ngrams, Voyant
  • Make an online exhibit
  • Virtually reconstruct something from the past
  • Create a network graph or other visualization

Google Drive



Text Analysis

Text analysis involves information retrieval, lexical analysis to study word frequency distributions, pattern recognition, tagging/annotation, information extraction, data mining techniques including link and association analysis, visualization, and predictive analytics.




Lincoln Logarithms: Finding Meaning in Sermons

More Free Text Analysis Tools

Have a great week!

See you on March 10.

Contact me at delliot8@uwo.ca or stop by SSC 1004 on Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00. I'm also available before and after class on Tuesdays, or by appointment.