2016 Summer Institute

Making Meaning with Data in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Date: May 31-June 4, 2016

Location: Grinnell College

The 2016 DBSI introduced its participants to the foundational processes of data collection and manipulation leading to the compelling visual narratives of projects such as Railroads and the Making of Modern AmericaHans Rosling’s visualizations of global population data, and What Jane Saw.

We are all encountering a dramatic increase in the information available to us as teachers and scholars, from Twitter memes to large digital archives. But it is not always clear how we harness this data, using it in our teaching and scholarship to ask and answer new questions. By examining how cultural material becomes transformed into “data,” participants gained skills that will enable them to take advantage of new media resources and expose them to possible future directions for their research and teaching. We began the week by first exploring the growing landscape of digital scholarship resources available. As the week continued, we introduced participants to a range of tools that enabled them to extract data from digital sources, clean the data, and then visualize and communicate the results of their investigations. The workshop asked its participants to approach technology in a spirit of openness and experimentation, but it did not require experience in coding. We emphasized manageable applications of digital tools to teaching and scholarship while also pointing to the process by which larger projects develop in stages.


calendar159 2016 Summer Institute Schedule


woman86 2016 Summer Institute Presenters


audience1 2016 Summer Institute Participants