Author Archives: Samantha Valdivia '19

The Coding Literate Journalist

At the core, coding is an effective method in conveying information. A journalist, in particular, can tell more engaging stories by understanding the ways in which information is collected and displayed with code. They don’t necessarily need to be programming gurus, however a baseline understanding on the possibilities of Computer Programming can help journalists effectively communicate what a particular software project does.

Alex Richards designed the course Coding for Journalists “for people who have some grounding in data journalism already and experience with spreadsheets and database managers. Helpful to understand Excel functions, for example, some basic SQL.” The course is now available as a set of self-guided tutorials with sample code and data at Richards’ site:

Here you can learn how to use Python, a programming language, to scrape data from the web, parse records that fall across multiple lines, make a reusable function, geocode, work with APIs and databases, unlock data stuck in a database, practice data cleaning, and more! However, this isn’t the only place to learn programming. The Internet is scattered with a plethora of coding tutorials, some of which are:,,, and

‘Eurydice’ Play Incorporating Digital Design

Eurydice logo courtesy of South Coast Repertory.

On March 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm in Memorial Hall, Wish Theater, the Bowdoin Theater and Dance will open Eurydice, a contemporary, theatrical event that explores the power of love, loss and memory.

In this Greek myth Eurydice leaves her wedding with Orpheus for the underworld, searching for her father – but the reunion is costly. Trapped on the opposite side of death, Orpheus fights to retrieve his bride, making a deal that seals both their fates.

The incorporation of digital design began with determining what the play Eurydice needed to be projected, for example, an animated raining elevator. With subjects and scenes determined they were able to use Autodesk Maya, 3D computer graphics software, to incrementally build models needed for the play.

AutoDesk Maya Editing Environment

Professor Ryan MacDonald noted that “the most time consuming animations were the water simulations: River, Ocean, Rain, etc.” He built these animations using a plugin called Bifrost within Maya. From that point the works were put into After Effects, post- production application used for film- making, for fine tuning and exporting. Finally, Isadora, a graphic programming environment, was used to build a hierarchy between videos, which can be juxtaposed, moved specifically on the stage, and timed to the scenes.

Tickets are free. Advanced tickets can be reserved starting February 9, 2017 at Smith Union (207-725-3375) or at the door on the night of the performance. Limited Seating.

Geographic Mapping of Google Suggestions

Zeitgeist Borders is a search engine that allows for users to distinguish what others are looking for on Google at a given point in time and cultural contexts.

Excerpt of UN Women advertisement campaign against gender-based discrimination toward women. Since this campaign controversial suggestions are regularly banned by Google, replaced by non- offensive ones, or turned off.

Google’s autocomplete technologies serve to make the human- computer interaction more efficient by attempting to predict the word or sentence a user may input after only a few characters have been typed into a text input field.

Antoine Mazièrez states that “[w]hile past searches, account preferences and browsing interests differ for every individual logged user, location- specific suggestions is the only universal discriminant for suggestions, whether the user is logged in or not. Several measures allowed us to establish which elements are used by Google to perform such content discrimination: the public IP that originated the request and the “hl” (which stands or Human Language) parameter passed along with the query that express which language the user is commonly using.”

Here, the user entered “Why my dog.” On the left there are common suggestions. When you mouse over one of the suggestions it will highlight the countries with different shades to indicate the ranking of the given suggestion for the given country.

If you’d like to test it out Antoine Mazièrez’s project for yourself explore this link:


Mazieres, A. (2016). Georgraphical projection of Google's suggestions diversity. In 3rd GESIS Computational Social Science Winter Symposium.

Digital Data to Perserve and Recreate Lost Art

Factum Arte, based in Madrid, London, and Milan, consists of a team of artists, technicians, and conservators dedicated to digital preservation and recreation of lost art.

3D scanning of Paolina Borghese using NUB 3D SIDIO Scanner, Galleria Borghese, Rome, April 2013

Factum Arte’s approach to technology includes buying what they need for specific tasks and designing and fabricating the needed technology when it doesn’t exist. They write software and design operating systems to handle information. They currently use 3D scanning for cultural heritage conservation, photogrammetry, casting, recordings in two and three dimensions, multilayered files and conservation, and new technologies in print making.

Factum Arte’s successful innovations have had a strong influence on conservation methods and are redefining the role facsimiles play in the protection of cultural heritage. The Digital Information that is recorded has been used for documentation, monitoring and the production of 2D and 3D facsimiles which retain the surface complexity and characteristics of the original.

Interested in learning more? Explore their website at

“Visual Effects in Film – Art, Craft, and (Sometimes) Bad Movies”

On Friday, February 17th in Kresge Auditorium at 12:30- 1:30 pm, Dave Fogler, a Bowdoin alumnus of 1990, will be accompanied by the Industrial Light + Magic in 1997 as a miniature model maker on Starship Troopers. During his eight years in ILM’s traditional model shop, Dave contributed to eight motion pictures including Star Wars: Episodes I and IIGalaxy QuestArtificial Intelligence: AI, and Pearl Harbor. In 2005, Dave transitioned to digital modeling and texturing for Star Wars: Episode III and has gone on to supervise the work on all five Transformers films, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullAvatarPacific Rim, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Currently, Fogler is the Associate Visual Effects Supervisor on Transformers: The Last Knight.

A Maine native, Fogler has a B.A. from Bowdoin College and a Masters of Fine Arts from The University of California at Berkeley.

Logistics: Friday, February 17th in Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center at 12:30- 1:30 pm.

European Summer University in Digital Humanities


From July 18- 28, 2017 the Leipzig Summer University will offer a unique space for the discussion and acquisition of new knowledge, skills, and competences in computer technologies which are essential in Humanities Computing. The eleven days of this Summer University will include an intensive program that consists of workshops, teaser sessions, public lectures, regular project presentations, a poster session and a panel discussion. Furthermore, the Summer University aims to confront the “Gender Divide,” the under- representation of women in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Germany and other parts of the world. Application deadlines and more information can be found at their website linked below:

DCS-Related Conference and Workshop Opportunities!

Early Modern Digital Agendas: Network Analysis

This two-week, July 17- 28, 2017, institute expands on the growing interest and expertise in the field of Network Analysis and its scholarly applications for early modern scholars. The focus of this institute is on the best practices for building and curating network analysis projects while ensuring that each participant comes away with their own understanding of how such work fits into the broader developments within the disciplinary fields of early modern studies and Digital Humanities. Participants are shown practical skills and methods that can be contributed to their own work. The visiting faculty are exciting people working in the United Staes, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Location: Folger Institute Washington, DC. Application Deadline: March 1, 2017.



Digital Humanities Summer Workshop 

The University of Guelph is hosting a series of 4-day workshops on topics related to digital humanities research and teaching from May 8 -11, 2017. Available workshops include: Introduction to Code/ Art and Visualization, Minimal Computing for Humanities Scholars, 3D Modeling, Getting Going with Scholarship Online, Online Public Intellectual Work through Social Media, An Introduction to Augmented Reality, Spatial Humanities, Get Down with Your Data, Omeka Workshop, Introduction to Digital Humanities Pedagogy, Making Manuscripts Digital, Integrating Archival Research into the Classroom, and XSLT for Digital Editions. Explore their website for an in-depth look at  each individual workshop! Registration Early Bird Deadline: April 1st and Registration Open until: May 1, 2017.

Five Day Coding School 

Interested in learning text encoding methods and their applications in the Digital Humanities in the context of an active digital archive project? Pitt- Greensburg’s Coding School is offering a Coding School from June 27th- July 1, 2017. Participants learn and reflect on the encoding of markings on manuscript material, as well as the auto- tagging enormous and complicated texts with regular expression matching. You are asked to indicate your data analysis and visualizaiton background that way both beginning and advanced coders will have an opportunity to learn something new at their respective level. The focus is to share knowledge of TEI XML and related humanities computing practices with all serious scholars interested contributing to the project. Email Indication of interest Deadline: email: by April 3, 2017. Registration fees Deadline: May 15, 2017.


Visualizing for Justice- Creative, Critical and Contestational Mapping

This two hour event is open to the public on April 5, 2017 at Emerson College. In order to attend you’re required to book a ticket and register your details in advance. Infographics, data visualizations, and mapping for civic engagement advocacy have grown in popularity due to the rise of Big Data, freedom of information, and user- friendly software. The rise in data visualization increases the opportunity for information re- use, increased transparency, and new forms of civic participation. Yet challenges with security, tracking down hard to find information, and more often leads to ambiguous data.  Event includes short presentations of recent data visualization and mapping work from critical cartographers, journalists, designers and social justice campaigners.