DigiA&H Fall 2014 Newsletter

Digital Arts & Humanities @ UH

Fall 2015

“Doing a lot with a little since 2012”


Welcome to the Digital Arts and Humanities Initiative. We have updated and streamlined our introduction to the Initiative. Everything you need to know to get started and find out what we are up to is in our user guide. We have an exciting lineup of Fall lunch guests, beginning with a walkthrough led by the artist of Scott Groeniger's new exhibit “Meta” at the Art Department Gallery. We will let you know the rest of the schedule as we get the dates set.

Membership is self-serve once the initial signup is completed. Please take a moment (go ahead and click, we'll still be here, and it will really only take a moment) review your interests and information on Digital Arts & Humanities People Google spreadsheet. We show your name, affiliation, and interests (but not your email) live on the Digital Arts & Humanities web site People page. Please log in to Google with address you gave me (the one this email is sent to). If you wish to retire from the initiative for any reason, just delete your row in the spreadsheet and you will no longer appear on the web page and will not get future emails. We will miss you, but will always think highly of you.

DAHI and (Super)Computers

We moved our web site to our own collocated server, which will look exactly the same as our old server due to extensive testing. Behind the scenes, however, it gives us a powerful platform on which to implement Digital A&H. We are already hosting a number of excellent open source web platforms and innovative projects. We have two MediaWiki installations, one for the Moving Images in the Pacific database and a second (so far empty) one called SemanticWiki to test out RDF, a data classification scheme. See Github issue #4 if you are curious about the latter, and drop us a line if you want an account to use it. We have a working installation of Omeka that several people are developing projects on as well as a number of bespoke projects that you can track on GitHub.

It is a pain to type Digital Arts and Humanities Initiative over and over. For a while were were going faux Latin with DigiAH, but now that we have a permanent web address at dahi.manoa.hawaii.edu, we have decided to simply go with DAHI for the acronym.

We had a great tour of the new Information and Computer Sciences building. Gwen Jacobs, Director of Cyberinfrastructure, Information Technology Services, also gave us an amazing tour of the new Cray supercomputer. We have an account and can use the supercomputer, but so far anything that would put it to use has eluded us. We have a few ideas. Can you think of what to do with a supercomputer? Let us know and we will set you up if it is a DAHI project.


We have been successfully using the GitHub repository's Issues feature to track our projects. We ran a testing phase where we invited people with active projects to participate. That was a success, but the signup process was a pain, so we have opened the issues page so anyone can read it. If you have a GitHub account (takes five minutes and does not slurp your data for advertisers!) you can create or add to current issues. You can see what is currently on our development plate by looking at the milestone for the month or the semester, which will give you a list of issues we hope to complete before that time elapses. We strongly encourage you to look through and see all the issues we have and contribute where you can. No tech knowledge is necessary for many of them, as the problems are A&H based as well as to do with code. In particular, just look for things tagged “question,” “help wanted,” or “discussion.” You can find out more in the user guide.


We are developing a system of “Achievements” that have tasks that any DAHI member can complete. We can help on any of them if you need it, and once completed, the achievements will be attached to your username so you can show off (and help others). Together they will provide much of the digital literacy we are thinking is needed in Arts and Humanities. We are still compiling the achievements, so if you can think of any we missed, add them on.

Two DAHI courses

Rich Rath will be offering two courses this semester, Digital History in the Global Village (HIST 400), and a Graduate Seminar in Digital Humanities (HIST 605). Both will be a combination of history of the digital era and hands on practice with using digital tools in the humanities. There a few seats left in both sections if you are still shopping!

David Goldberg

We have good news all around about David Goldberg. First off, he has been doing an amazing job coding the ideas for our various projects into reality, as any of you who worked with him will attest. He has a rare mix of coder skills and the critical analysis and training in arts and humanities and we are extraordinarly fortunate to have him working with us. Second, David is shifting positions from part-time staff to the PhD program in American Studies. As part of his package, the Dean of A&H, American Studies, History, and we at DAHI have all worked together to create a graduate assistantship so that David can continue with his DAHI work as he pursues his PhD.

Welcome to…

We want to issue a warm welcome to Sveta Stoytcheva and David Beales, both of whom will be Humanities librarians specializing in Digital A&H. We are thrilled with their presence and the support the library has shown for digital arts and humanities, and look forward to working with you both!

Space is the Place

Come visit DAHI's new office/multiuse room, in Sakamaki B213. The history department was gracious enough to provide us this space. Come experience the magic that is our whiteboard, meet with us for tea or coffee, play in our Linux/Open Source sandbox, or just stop by to say hello and chat. We will be holding a series of “teas” on issues we think will interest our participants. Watch for the dates.


We are still growing. Currently we are over 150 members strong, with people from the community at large, the Mānoa, Windward, West Oahu, Kapiolani, campuses, Arts and Humanities of course, Computing and Information Sciences, system-wide cyberinfrastructure, the UH administration, Hawai‘inuiākea (the School of Hawaiian Knowledge), Hamilton Library, Library Information Science, Language, Linguistics and Literature, Social Sciences, the Academy for Creative Media, the School of Communications, the East-West Center, the University of Hawaii Press, the College of Education, Outreach College, Advising, Fashion, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Business, the Center for Pacific Island Studies, Manoa Career Center, Geography, and Academic Services.


We presented two very successful events in our new series, EthnoDigitalSonics. The first, a collaborative effort with the recently sunsetted and much missed Kakaʿako Agora, was a talk story/demonstration from Tahir Hemphill, founder of the Rap Research Lab straight outta the Bronx. The second was an interview and audience participation demo from Beatmaker Scott Ohtoro. Rich will have an essay as part of the upcoming volume Provoke! Digital Sound Studies that discusses what EthnoDigital Sonics means in the context of his historical work on Creolized African music in seventeenth-century Jamaica

Place-Based Digital Research in Hawaiʿi

We have several Hawaiʿi place-based projects underway. We are working with Noelani Arista to expand her very successful 365 Days of Aloha Facebook page and set up a geomapped database of laments from the Leeward side that appear in Hawaiian language newspapers. Stay tuned for more information on these two projects. The “Oli Stack” is the brainchild of English professor ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui. It will take the chant and geolocation data she has collected over the years and make it accessible in place-based layers that show the areas each chant is associated with. You can follow and help with the development of Oli Stack on Github. Last but not least, David Goldberg is just completing work on database design and implementation for Noelle Kahanu's “Strengthening Museums” project, a survey instrument for Hawaiʿi's museums.


The Moving Images in the Pacific Islands Database is live and has come home to roost at UH, where it began its life a couple of decades ago. Alex Mawyer from the Center for Pacific Island Studies is the leader, and we can expect a formal launch sometime later this year, once the next round of updates goes through.

Music and Performing Arts in Colonial America

The MAPACA database is very close to release. You can take it for a spin and search for anything to do with music and the performaing arts in American newspapers from 1704 to 1783. It has a powerful search interface for the 1.0 version, with the ability to download the search results and work with them in your favorite spreadsheet or statistical package. You can also save complex searches and run them again later. We are just knocking out what we hope are the last few bugs and setting up the support/discussion forums before we announce the release.

Graduate Work

We have three very active graduate student projects. To begin with the latest, poet and English Department PhD student Julia Wieting is developing an “Archive of Silences.” In it she works with the soundscapes of different places around the UH campus, writing poetry about each of a half dozen or so spaces. Julia is putting together a digital chapbook of her poems. She and Rich Rath have made several forays around the campus, popping balloons in each place, and recording the pop and its reverberation in that space. The “pop” is then deleted, leaving only the sound of the space behind. Through a process called convolution, any other recorded sound can be digitally mixed with the sound of the space, making the chosen recording sound as if it is in that space. We are setting up the DAHI server to take an audio file that is uploaded and mix it in with the “silence” of the chosen space. Each of the poems, actually recorded in the appropriate space, will be part of the chapbook. We will have a blog entry on the process soon, so stay tuned.

Jeanette Hall, an American Studies Ph.D student, has been working on her “Blues Women” project, helping us make sure everything is in working order on Omeka on the new server. You can peak into a preview of that project here. She has entered it into a competition for the journal Frontiers as part of a special issue devoted to digital work. Break a leg Jeanette!

Huston Ladner, also an American Studies Ph.D. student, has posted the first in what we hope will be a series about the history of sports stadiums and regional identity. It draws on a mapping interface that he and David Goldberg have been working on together.

David Goldberg gets another shout out here for trying out the MJuke audio/video mixing and presentation platform at “Three the Hard Way” discussion punctuated with extemporaneous video clips and audio with David, UH Law Prof Chuck Lawrence, and Black Lives Matter activist Prentis Hemphill in June.

Tech Story

We participated for the second year in the annual TechLogic conference put on by the Center for Teaching Excellence. We are Looking forward to participating again in February 2016, where it looks like the theme will be distance education.

If I missed any projects, you can probably find them in our GitHub account. Hope to see you there!