Keystone DH 2024 @ Penn State Erie, The Behrend College


Embracing the Glitch

Amanda Licastro

Swarthmore College

Embracing the Glitch” examines how emerging technology is being used to cultivate community and interdisciplinarity in ethical and accessible ways. With a focus on scholarship, Dr. Amanda Licastro will demonstrate play-based methods of creating interest in the immersive world of Extended Reality.

Designing and Building a VR Game for Primary Source Literacy

Jasmine Clark

Temple University

The Virtual Blockson is a project that utilizes virtual reality (VR) to teach high school students primary source literacy using materials from the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection (Blockson Collection) housed at the Temple University Libraries.The Blockson Collection, comprising over 700,000 items related to the African Diaspora, includes a multitude of materials types such as books, sheet music, manuscripts, photographs, sculptures, and films. This rich variety of materials, covering a broad range of topics and time periods, is suited to gamification via a multi-modal medium like VR. In addition to the VR game itself, accompanying teaching guides, onboarding materials for teachers and players, and stand alone 3D models will be created to situate the game within a broader social studies curriculum. The completion of the game, in tandem with accompanying teaching materials, will allow students to meet the learning objectives laid out in the Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy developed by a joint task force on behalf of the Association of College and Research Libraries Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (ACRL/RBMS) and the Society of American Archivists (SAA).

Quantifying Kissinger

Micki Kaufman

Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Micki’s talk will focus on the ways in which the concept of ‘serious play’ has enabled, inhabited, and energized her academic pursuits, including and most of all, her current doctoral dissertation. At times motivated by challenges of overwhelming scale, dizzying dimension or paradoxical personalities, Micki’s musical, creative, gaming and other ostensibly inapplicable spheres of interest have instead deeply suffused and shaped her digital analysis of the Kissinger correspondence. She will describe her research process, represented via the use of creative prototypes as interventions with the archive through animation, deformation and dimensional reduction, network and data physicalization, visualization and sonification, and spatial and immersive environments. The dissertation’s current Data Stroll prototypes are a procedurally generated interactive collaborative data representation that can be explored and “strolled” like a modern poetry nature walk, a star voyage or a library stacks crawl - at an individual’s own pace and style. While observing the functional needs of the tools and the provenance of the archive, how can such approaches deepen our collective access to, understanding of and engagement with one another regarding historical and other archives? the dissertation’s solution, currently under development, is a combination of the essential lessons from prior prototypes combining textual, network and data visualization in a gamified analysis, dissemination and play space in XR. Uniting her prior methodological approaches with a unified and popularly accessible medium, it is hoped users of a wide range of archival skill and technology access will be able to engage in research exploration, share findings and fascinations, and create a space for debate, community and civic dialogue about the inevitable differing interpretations and narratives of human archival inquiry (with or without a gamepad).


Launching a 3D Printing Initiative

Dr. Mark Gallimore and Tyler Kron-Piatek

Canisius University

Among emerging technologies 3D printing is one of the most affordable for individuals, academic programs, campus offices, and tight budgets commonly found at small liberal arts colleges and universities. More recently, it has become easy to learn and do, since printers have become more reliable and predictable. In the Canisius University Center for Online Learning and Innovation, we have developed a 3D printing program based on consumer-grade printers, that interdisciplinary academics, campus community, and additive manufacturing. We have supported poetry and physics classes, research in human-animal relationships, and student gaming groups. Our 3D printing is part of a larger maker initiative, and draws from hobbyist and tabletop gaming culture, but is oriented to support scholarship and building an inclusive community of creators who share methods, skills and ideas.

In this 90-minute workshop, we will discuss the essentials for starting a 3D printing initiative. This includes the types of spaces, hardware, and software required. It also includes possibilities for supporting courses, faculty research, and initiatives across the university campus. We will demonstrate a free, simple, but powerful CAD toolset for students, that can be incorporated into most courses without substantial syllabus modification. And of course we’ll bring along Mordecai, one of our 3D printers, and have it running during the event!

Art + Data Workshop

Chelsea Gunn and Liz Monk

University of Pittsburgh

Traditional data education often includes computers, software, and/or spreadsheets, which can create a barrier to engagement. In a quest to make data more accessible, enjoyable and playful, we have created an Art + Data workshop.

This workshop invites attendees to consider the humanistic, interpretive nature of data collection, analysis, and visualization. Together, we will explore relevant data sources, including personal, civic, and humanities data, and spend time creating playful data visualizations.

The hands-on workshop will include:

  • a humanistic exploration of what is data
  • sharing data art inspiration
  • exploring relevant sources
  • spending time making our own physical data visualizations through playful exploration.
We will conclude by sharing our OER zine, which workshop attendees may use to adapt materials for their own communities, and facilitating a conversation on creative approaches to data literacy education.

Panel Presentations

Black Ludology: Theorizing Play in Black Literature

Austin Anderson

Howard University

Friedrich Schiller famously claimed, man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays. To play is to be human. While the totalizing system of anti-Blackness that developed in tandem and as rational for transatlantic slavery dictated that Black people were not fully human nor fully alive, Black literature has repeatedly refused this logic, and literary representations of play have repeatedly activated aliveness in Black literature. Using the History of Black Writing corpus, I explore the many mentions of games, play, sports, gambling, and other terms that are associated with ludic pleasure in Black literature. How have Black writers discussed, explored, and represented play in literary works? What is distinct about these references to play? How can these instances of play help us theorize about Black ludology? By exploring the persistent allusions to play and associated terms in Black literature, this project hopes to work towards a theory of Black ludology through Black literature. This presentation begins by charting the many mentions of play within the History of Black Writing corpus by applying Distant Reading to the corpus, and then it turns to several exemplary instances of play in Black literature. After offering close readings of these instances of play, I work towards a theory about ludology in Black literature, including its aesthetic value and political power.

Developing StoryWorlds ITK (Indigenous Traditional Knowledge)

Dmitriy Babichenko

University of Pittsburgh

Around the world, many cultures are significantly threatened by the erosion of cultural integrity, climate change, loss of habitat, the environmental impact of globalization, and the ravages of epidemics. Cultures that do not have a strong written tradition are especially threatened – as younger generations move away in search of education and jobs, and as globalization forces linguistic shifts to more global languages such as English and iish, rich oral traditions either disappear completely or become artifacts in university or library archives, accessible only to small groups of academics. Many initiatives have been activated to preserve and revitalize indigenous cultures, traditions, and languages. While quite a few of these initiatives involve the use of computational technologies and multimedia to document and archive indigenous languages, knowledge, and cultures, much of what has been created to date is primarily designed to serve academic communities and does not provide access to either the broader public (e.g., anyone who wishes to learn about a particular culture) or to the indigenous communities that provided the data in the first place. Moreover, existing systems tend to focus on a single corpus of stories and do not provide possibilities to connect and map stories, characters, and concepts across multiple cultures and languages.

Our team has collaborated with indigenous communities in Ecuador and with scholars from several universities to develop StoryWorlds ITK (Indigenous Traditional Knowledge), an innovative software infrastructure designed for cultural preservation and education. StoryWorlds ITK consists of two interconnected systems - (1) a web-based knowledge graph (KG) data collection and management system which stores, connects, and presents Indigenous traditional knowledge (ITK) in the form of stories, myths, and testimonies from multiple cultures and languages; (2) a virtual environment rendering pipeline which utilizes large language models (LLM), Unity3D, and Meta Quest software development kit (SDK) to procedurally generate virtual worlds from the KG data.

Playing Well with Others: Creating Sustainable Digital Projects through Collaborative Exploration

Linda Ballinger, Binky Lush, Dominique Luster, and Forough Yazdanpanah

Penn State University Libraries

This presentation begins with presenting a case study in hosting and developing an online portal aggregating the archives of a contemporary feminist artist, Judy Chicago, held in multiple institutions. The portal was planned, designed, and developed at a large academic library that coordinated input and contributions from four other institutions—another academic library, two museums, and a private collection—as well as the artist’s studio and a foundation established by the artist. Although it is hosted and maintained by the large academic library, the portal is truly a collaborative effort.

This presentation then builds on that case study by delving into the measurable impact of the use and impact strategy employed by the Judy Chicago Research Portal. The proposal seeks to offer attendees practical strategies on how their libraries and archives can increase awareness and engagement with users of their digital projects, using the Judy Chicago Research portal as a study.

Like other digital library projects, the team behind the Research Portal is committed to ensuring its sustainability and promoting it intentionally in the academic community. However, the team's unique approach has combined conference presentations and social media engagement to enhance research visibility and reach. We will share insights for the non-social media expert on how we analyze website visits, user downloads, and social media engagement. Additionally, we will discuss how to leverage usage data via Google Scholar and website analytics to further investigate a project's success.

In this presentation, we will share key findings and data on how this strategy has increased research impact, present case studies highlighting specific successes from our collaboration model, and engage in open discussion on how similar digital projects can design a results-driven impact strategy.

Environmental Ethics through a Game of Non-mastery in the novel 'The Overstory.'

Sayan Bhattacharyya

Yale University

Can caricaturish depictions of pop-culture-tinged, new-age-y, faddish-sounding depictions of environmental ethics from the Global South in a western novel nevertheless serve simultaneously to lead the reader into a deeper and serious understanding of the philosophical tradition involved, in spite of the neo-orientalist tenor of such a depiction? I show how the U.S. novelist Richard Powers pulls off this difficult feat in his novel ‘The Overstory’. [1] I argue that Powers stages a necessary dialog between Indian environmental ethics and western environmentalism based on contemporary science-based environmental ethics. Powers accomplishes this, I show, through his complex portrayal of an Indian-American character who and whose immigrant family, on the surface, press the reader’s buttons in a way that conforms to prevalent, stereotypical views of the Indian immigrant in western society: the model minority dispensing earthy but trite philosophical wisdom as well as academic nerd inordinately given over to techie skills, especially computer programming. Starting from such an apparently unpromising starting premise, in which this character, Nilay Mehta, and his immigrant parents, seem destined to provide unselfconscious comic relief and to be the butt, almost, of an off-color stereotypical and even borderline-racist joke, Powers nevertheless succeeds, as the novel progresses, to endow the character with a genuine depth and complexity, and to make of him a pivotal element of a compelling, un-preachy and serious narrative plot. The key element that makes this possible is the way that Powers weaves into the story a plot element consisting of an elaborate computer video game that Nilay is depicted, over a number of long years, to have dedicated himself to creating in course of his Silicon Valley work career. This game has evolved into a game of emergence from its initial beginnings as a game of progression (in Juul’s senses of these terms). [2] I argue that such an approach in fiction, which meets the western reader where the reader is with respect to his or her initial knowledge of non-western traditions, may in fact be a very useful way to recruit environmental traditions from around the world to fit within a common and legible framework in dialog with science that informs the reader without being condescending — in fact by subverting condescension.

I show that this video game, as depicted in the novel, is crucial in settiung up a parallelism between two fantasies of supersession: ecological time as a dark hyperobject [3] transcending and ultimately superseding the human-scale time of phenomenological experience, on the one hand, and a virtual-reality planetary simulacrum populated by AI agents, on the other. Initially termed Mastery, the game is narrated to have evolved to constitute, eventually. the simulacrum of an automated posthuman and post-capitalist utopia in which the need for what Marxist geographers would call a spatial fix based on mastery has actually been superseded. What initially seemed an elaborate in-joke toying with the figure of the archetypal nerd outsider turns out to be anything but, as the novel progresses. With the help of recent theoretical interventions made by Bruce Clarke [4], I will present a reading of the novel as providing a narratological connection between the two dimensions of time and of value-extraction, extending beyond the human, into a common framework constituted by entropy — in terms of entropy’s connection with the thermodynamic arrow of time and its relation to energy-transformations.


[1] Powers, Richard. The Overstory. New York: W.W. Norton. 2018

[2] Juul, Jesper. Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge: The MIT Press. 2005.

[3] Morton, Timothy. Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence. New York: Columbia University Press. 2016.

[4] Clarke, Bruce. Gaian Systems: Lynn Margulis, Neocybernetics, and the End of the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2020.

Gaming Multilinguality with Student Teams: The unfolding story of Tower of Babel: HathiTrust Edition

Ali Bolcakan and Christi Merrill

University of Michigan

Tower of Babel: HathiTrust Edition, is an educational digital game that delves into the primordial origin story of multilingualism from Genesis. It celebrates the abundance of languages and works in the many languages of the world. Developed between Fall 2022 and Fall 2023 and under hiatus since then, we recently resumed development to improve our alpha prototype and plan to deploy the game in closed beta in Fall 2024.

The game seeks to familiarize students with the wealth of this collection, especially primary sources, and for them to experience texts the way their original readers did. The game begins with the architect laying down the foundation by setting constraints on rows, columns, and/or tiles on the 3x4 board. The players, builders, are tasked with filling these empty tiles by first turning HathiTrust records into a card, verifying and editing the HathiTrust metadata, and then placing them on the board, all the while adhering to constraints first set up by the architect. Additionally, each card needs to be compatible with its adjacent cards, i.e. their metadata should have at least one element in common. In 2022, we communicated with HathiTrust to leverage their APIs and implemented a metadata scraper, now a player can input a HathiTrust record URL and turn any page from the record into the card image.

By gamifying the archival research process, our goal is to not only teach students about the importance of engaging with primary sources but also for them to gain practical research skills in a natural and entertaining manner. Additionally, with its collaborative gameplay mechanics, the game also leverages the increasing multilingual diversity in classrooms and creates meaningful encounters with works and between students with backgrounds in different languages, scripts, cultures, and historical periods.

Cyber-Play: Interactive Digital Storytelling

Sara Cantwell

SUNY Potsdam

Contemporary digital storytelling tools, owing a debt to hypertext narratives and text-based video games, reshape our thinking about how and why stories are told. Digital tools allow storytellers to create recursive stories and metanarratives. Media innovation allows for new ways to deliver content that unites the medium with the message. All of this allows storytellers to reach new levels of textual complexity in their creative work. The capabilities of contemporary digital media are still being actively explored and developed for several multi-billion-dollar mass-market industries. And, thanks in part to the 2020 pandemic, today, there is a revived interest in communal play through digital storytelling.

From oral storytelling with VTT (virtual tabletop) TTRPGs (tabletop roleplaying games) to video games with hard-coded narratives, we will examine how and why contemporary stories require differing levels of digital literacy, community building, and player/reader agency. This presentation will outline the various shapes and structures of contemporary digital storytelling. It will highlight how interactive storytelling is enhanced via digital assets and how these enhancements are finding their way back into more traditional storytelling media. We’ll discuss the difference between readers and players, why knowing your audience's expectations and level of digital literacy is paramount, and how to make space for audience interactivity and improvisation.

Playing with/in Generative Narratives: Mapping Figures and Figura in Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch

Justin Carpenter

University of Utah

This presentation discusses the relationship between narrative, games, and spatial-temporal structure in Julio Cortázar’s generative novel Rayuela (Hopscotch). Famously defiant of traditional reading approaches, this novel offers readers two distinct paths through it and, thus, theorizes two main readerly directions. Building off the premise that games demand a spatialized hermeneutic approach, I interrogate these two readerly paths through the novel by mapping it as two distinct books. Approaching the first book, I discuss the relationship between a traditional hopscotch game, which demands a linear progression across the board. Conversely, in engaging with the second book, I observe the transformation of the hopscotch board into the metaphysical geometrical structure of the mandala. While these two readerly paths offered by Cortázar are distinct spatially and temporally, I argue that they are interrelated structurally.

To map these two books, I utilize GIS software and Stochastic block models respectively. While the first book invites a traditional chronological readerly approach that follows the novel's protagonist, Horacio Oliveira, on his journey from the streets of Paris before being deported back to Buenos Aires, the second book necessitates exploring a readerly metaphysics of hopscotching (Foster, Currents in the Contemporary Argentine Novel, 106) to navigate the text. The latter expects readers to leap between the novel's three sections, the last of which (referred to as "expendable chapters") is entirely excised from the first book. The second, more radical game of hopscotch is, therefore, not a game of hopscotch at all; rather, it mimics the generative mandala, which was the original title of the novel before it became Rayuela (Hopscotch). Thus, while the first book lends itself to a more conventional cartography, the second book is physically non-linear and so produces a different geometrical relationship between spaces, one which requires readers to reconsider space as a network of Brownian motion which can only be coherently visualized by the networked stochastic block model structure. Overall, this paper reflects on how the relationship between narrative and games—including the expanded role of readers and players—is suggestive of a ludic hermeneutic which observes these expanded roles as part of a larger process involving problems of authorship, narrative, game systems, and the active reader/player.

Digital Iran Reloaded: Iranian Gamers vs the Islamic Republic of Iran

Melinda Cohoon

University of Washington

Digital Iran is a multimodal project that has taken various forms throughout its inception in 2020. Phase one was an exploration with one other PhD student and a graduate research assistant to analyze video games on Iran to showcase the culture industry of games and player experience using Twitch live streaming as we played. In summer 2023, the second phase reflected on what has been accomplished during the lifespan of Digital Iran in podcast format with the help of a PhD research assistant. At present, I am incorporating videographic criticism essays that synthesize the findings from the last three years on video games sound and aesthetics through the lens of propaganda and culture. I have just begun phase 3, which consists of working closely with an NGO to map previously used and current (anti)censorship, (anti)surveillance, and strategies to access the internet and online video games in Iran by gamers.

In previous iterations, Digital Iran focused on video games, play, and affect (Cohoon 2021). Currently, I focus on gamers as a framework to study internet access in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), which will lead to a comprehensive analysis of VPNs and internet tiering in a digital format. Gamers use VPNs, a way to cloak their location, to help them circumvent the censorship system in Iran, like internet tiering, bandwidth throttling, and internet filtering. Internet tiering, a form of segregation based on citizens status, specifically curtails access to online content, essentially hindering citizens human rights to information. Gamers, like scholars, are among the first group to be targeted by the IRI during internet censorship crackdowns and policy change. the project seeks to elucidate issues such as internet connectivity and how the so-called protection bill enforces tiering to mitigate anti-government protests in Iran, which will help the developer community in assessing and creating better workaround methods to internet censorship for even the everyday users. Ultimately, the project will benefit all Iranians in the short-term with a here-and-now answer to internet user needs and in the long-term through internet freedom advocacy via consultation with internet freedom specialists. My goal would be to workshop the website at the Keystone DH presentation and to receive feedback from other digital humanities enthusiasts on how to best incorporate all three stages of the Digital Iran research seamlessly.

Community Devs: how an Appalachian non profit supports indie game makers

Heather Cole

MonRiverGames and West Virginia University

During the Covid19 pandemic, a hybrid learning community was formed at the West Virginia University (WVU) Game Design and Interactive Media program to support game makers in Appalachia. The model, based on cooperative art for the masses groups like the Bread & Puppet Theater found in the New England area, applied community based learning to a newer mode of making: digital game development. This community was called MonRiverGames, a non-profit 501(c)(3) community game studio. Today, it operates as an cooperative learning community program out of the Media Innovation Center in Morgantown, WV. Since its start, approximately 80 students and community members have gone through its ranks. It holds three sessions annually that run concurrent to WVU academic schedule. New members can join at the start of each session. Members jump into the exploration process by participating in game development in a large studio environment from pitching ideas, to the development of games, to publishing. This presentation will explore a deep look into this cooperative learning model, as well as demo their current games: PurpleHouse, WV Quest, and LightRush. The first is a casual mobile clickathon with strange, fantasy plants. The second is an app designed as a companion experience of the West Virginia State Museum. Both of these mobile games were developed through the Unity Game Engine. The last is a local multiplayer couch coop with mothperson like creatures. This required the exploration of the Unreal Game Engine. The studio will host a new pitch day on May 27, in which members of the public and studio will deliver pitch ideas, then vote on the next project they’ll work on together.

Discovery Research and Digital Archives in Teaching Renaissance Drama

Maria Doyle

University of West Georgia

Nancy Hensel argues in her introduction to Course-Based Undergraduate Research: Educational Equity and High-Impact Practice (2018) that Reframing the concept of undergraduate research from the apprentice model to a concept that includes working with a whole class and seeing the acquisition of research skills as a developmental process is needed for course-based research. This presentation will explore ways that this whole class collaborative model can be used to encourage contextual awareness and the process of discovery in a Renaissance drama course for students at a regional state institution, many of whom are taking the course to fulfill a breadth requirement in the English major. For students with little experience with the early modern period, aside from isolated and potentially anxiety-producing encounters with Shakespeare, this project was designed to generate excitement for the period and to move students away from thinking of research exclusively as an exercise in reading other people’s interpretations of literary works. The project engaged students in targeted but open-ended explorations of a collection of digital archives, including University of Toronto’s Records of Early English Drama and University of Victoria’s interactive Map of Early Modern London, as a means of developing students’ awareness of the material culture and local controversies that served as background to the plays included on the syllabus. This presentation will focus on the project’s multi-stage design and the elements of choice and play that informed it. Although students interacted with the archives individually and submitted individual progress checks to encourage deep and sustained engagement with the material, the final product was not a formal paper – a closed-ended task -- but a group information-sharing session, itself an extension of their original process of discovery. The open-ended nature of this product resulted in students who were less intimidated by the need to produce a polished and definitive response on material they had little experience with; they were thus more willing to formulate questions and compare ideas. Combined with more traditional writing and analysis activities, this project, which draws on a growing body of digital period-specific materials, provides students with a more robust engagement with the literature of the period and an understanding of research as a process of ongoing exploration.

There Will Be Doughnuts: Playing with Generative AI Tools to Build Community

Katherine Furlong

Bucknell University

In Spring 2023, Bucknell’s L&IT division began engaging with colleagues across the University in discussions about teaching and learning in an era of generative AI. The paradigm-shifting arrival of ChatGPT made faculty alternately horrified and gleeful of the opportunities at hand. Some faculty immediately began to teach with various AI tools, others started small AI translation businesses to supplement income, and some wanted to ban the tool in their courses outright. Our very first session on generative AI coincided with the first day of work for a new colleague in our Digital Scholarship department.

We’re all familiar with the ongoing challenge of keeping up with the pace of change in generative AI services. This Works-In-Progression session will highlight the efforts of Library and IT staff and scholars at Bucknell in engaging our campus and creating multiple avenues of campus discourse, experimentation, and play. From coffee chats to learning communities, policy groups, and student partnerships, our work grew to the first of what may become an annual regional AI Conference scheduled for early May 2024.

We will review the various formats, strategies, and techniques attempted, and discuss both successes and failures in engagement. We’ll also discuss how being new (in so many ways) helps with the success of innovative programs. We plan to query the audience using polling software about what worked on their campuses (and why). We will then create, in real time, a crowdsourced collection of ideas and feedback to produce a toolkit for participants to use in their own Fall 2024 campus programming.

Professionalization and Play: Digital Portfolio Design on Substack

Maureen Gallagher

University of Pittsburgh

As an instructor of Public and Professional Writing at the University of Pittsburgh, I find that undergraduate students highly value the development of digital deliverables that they can use as writing samples for internship applications and other professional opportunities. At the same time, undergraduate students are more highly motivated, and take increased of ownership of their writing and design efforts, when they have opportunities to play and explore, especially with contemporary digital tools that integrate multimodal design.

For the capstone project in Writing for the Public, an advanced composition course, I assign a digital portfolio on the Substack Newsletter platform. This digital portfolio connects student interests in both playful self-expression and professional development. I draw on the theory of Connected Learning, a pedagogical approach that builds on constructionism and extends the constructionist approach to the digital age. Connected Learning focuses on the affordances of digital technology to provide engaging formats for interactivity and self-expression (Ito, 2013, p. 6). Connected Learning is a socially embedded, interest-driven approach that centers on an equity agenda to channel new media-based learning opportunities in ways that translate into academic achievement for more students, including students from non-dominant groups (Ito, 2013, pp. 7-8).

I argue that Connected Learning theory applies to digital portfolio development on the Substack platform because this assignment sequence fulfills key criteria for learning through play. Substack:

  • is customizable
  • fosters creativity
  • encourages self-expression / personal writing
  • is public-facing and therefore foregrounds the relationship between writer and readers
  • integrates multimodal composition (visual / design elements, photos, hyperlinks)
  • provides a learning context that bridges in-school and out-of-school learning and experiences
Source: Ito, M., et al. Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design, 2013

Art from the Archives: Engaging Creativity With Historic Textual Descriptions of Art Works

Jacob Gordon

Penn State University

For the Fall 2023 semester, a Google Drive collection was populated with over forty textual descriptions of two- and three-dimensional artworks published prior to 1920 and digitized and uploaded to HathiTrust and the Internet Archive. These works were shared with two studio art classes that were tasked with the challenge of recreating specific elements of the artwork such as color palette, time frame, stylistic conventions or interpreting it spatially. By working with just texts, participants could use generative artificial intelligence art tools. One instructor offered students the option of using Adobe Firefly for inspiration but required them to document this usage. This presentation will detail the locating and selection of artworks, the legal and ethical concerns of using artificial intelligence models, the two class assignments, and showcase some of the original artworks and those created by both students and artificial intelligence.

Overdose: A Game in Development

Nathan Hammer

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

I propose to present my rogue-like, survival video game called Overdose. It is currently built with Unreal Engine 5 created by Epic Games. The game's primary goal is to depict the real-world effects of drugs. It integrates arcade mechanics, randomized experiences, and world interactivity, in order create an immersive and thought-provoking experience. Overdose's themes will consist of drug use/addiction, psychological decline, societal stigma, and classism. Artistically, the game is meant to illuminate these parts of society where cycles of drug addiction are present.

In the game, the player will need to balance drug consumption with maintaining their physical and mental health. All drugs referenced in the game will function as their real-life counter parts and affect the player's simulated stats. If the player neglects their well-being, some symptoms of withdrawal will emerge, and it will become harder to survive. On the other hand, if the player takes too many drugs or takes a bad combination, they may experience more severe conditions that may result in a neurotic break, or death.

The game's visual style aims to be reminiscent of older games. Its mechanical systems will not function exactly as their real-life counter parts, and there will be instances where the in-game world will shift into realms of unreality. Overdose is designed as a survival retro game with scientific concepts integrated into its mechanics. To invite the players immersion, the game apply theories like spatial presence and agency. Spatial Presence is defined as the experience when individuals are cognitively present in worlds defined by media. Agency is defined as the power an individual perceives when it comes to applying their decisions and receiving virtual feedback. At the conference, I would like the ask the questions how effectively the game immerses the player.

Temporal Weaving: Environmentalist Discourse, and Generative Cinematic Deconstruction in The Chautauqua County Almanac

Tommy Hartung

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

The Chautauqua County Almanac is an animated science fiction counterpart to Aldo Leopold's environmentalist treatise, The Sand County Almanac. The film unfolds within the setting of my familial grape farm in western New York’s Chautauqua County. This experimental documentary features a filmmaker avatar resembling Aldo Leopold, dubbed the author. The narrator traces lime plasters’ historical journey from ancient Levantine mortuary rituals to their use in contemporary agrarian societies. Initially, the narrative structure mirrors an almanac, presenting agricultural materials, ecological speculation, and local folkloric tales.

Unlike the pastoral romanticism of Lepold’s Land Ethics, encounters with local wildlife and agricultural observations lead to psychedelic transfigured visions—rural landscapes where individuals vanish into refrigerated trucks after overdoses or experience resurrections aided by Narcan. Temporal themes, ancient and dystopic, are woven into a hallucination of cultural memory and Anthropogenic interventions.

The project incorporates outdoor lapse photography and three-dimensional landscape scans. Generative technologies deconstruct and reconstruct the film’s footage, causing a sense of temporal dislocation within the viewer’s experience. Cinema becomes a nonlinear fabric, with frames becoming threads woven into patterns. In the ethereal world of post-processing, sequences that begin with original footage and then gradually become iterated, creating a montage, Deja Vu.

You can watch the project trailer here set YouTube Player to 4K:

The Chilean Parlamentos: Using XML to Create a Translation-to-Public Workflow

Pilar Herr, Bill Campbell, and Sean DiLeonardi

University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

How can methods related to the digital humanities aid the process of translation and transcultural historical research? Chilean Parlamentos: Digital Edition and Translation of Indigenous Treaties (1726-1825) is a translation project that features documents from across the Colonial and early National periods of Chile that represent the meetings, called parlamentos, between the State of Chile and the indigenous Mapuche. The translations are being published in an open-access digital edition, including both the original Spanish and a scholarly modern English translation and have been augmented with thematic essays and historical commentary in English, other explanatory notes, a glossary of terms, and interactive maps. Cross-linking of resources, such as making the English and Spanish available in parallel columns, having glossary definitions and historical notes available at a click, links to external resources, and maps will all engage the possibilities that a digital format makes possible. But these affordances required a work-flow process that included original translation, research, encoding of data using TEI XML, and web design. In our presentation, we aim to highlight our method, and some of the obstacles we encountered, in order to share a blueprint for the translation and presentation of historical documents that can be replicated for different purposes.

I Have NoSleep, and I Must Read: Re-Mediation and Hybrid Genres on Reddit’s r/NoSleep

Caden Holbrook

University of Louisville

r/NoSleep, one of the most popular communities on the website Reddit, hosts horror stories that are all supposedly authentic. This paper argues that, through the process of re-mediating ‘authentic’ horror fiction like the Gothic horror novel, writers on r/NoSleep have created an interdiscursive community writing under a novel, hybrid genre. Rhetorical analyses utilizing re-mediation and interdiscursivity have traditionally been applied to professional genres and media. This paper applies such methods to a novel genre of internet fiction. This paper analyzes how traditional forms (letters, diaries, and lost manuscripts) are re-mediated into novel, digital forms (confession posts, advice posts, and text messages) on the platform. Moreover, it looks at the unique ways that the comment feature transforms conventional audiences into participants in the fiction, turning readers into writers and characters. Finally, this paper touches on notions of authenticity, credibility, and plausibility on the internet, highlighting ways that authors on r/NoSleep co-opt novel rhetorical approaches to craft ‘authentic’ horror.

Challenges in Exploratory Data Analysis: Space in Spanish-Language Literature Workshop

Jennifer Isasi and Joshua Ortiz Baco

Pennsylvania State University and University of Tennessee

This project navigates the complexities of utilizing Spanish-language data in digital humanities research, addressing practical and epistemological challenges. Focused on a bibliographic dataset derived from Tübingen University Library's catalog of over 350 digitally available travel literature texts, we employ named-entity recognition to identify real, historical, and fictional locations. Our aim is to explore narratological and print history theories within Spanish-language literary studies, contributing to an emerging trend in spatial data projects like Global Du Bois, or the Historical Gazetteer for Latin America and the Caribbean. Utilizing exploratory data analysis, we seek innovative ways to examine narrative construction through representations of place and space.

The presentation of our work in progress aims to shed light on the hurdles faced when employing spatial technologies for research on Spanish-language sources. We discuss challenges and propose interventions that modern languages can offer to the broader digital humanities and humanidades digitales fields. Through this workshop format, we hope to contribute to the ongoing dialogue addressing the intricacies of Spanish-language data in digital humanities research.

Generative AI in Digital Humanities Education

Natasha Johnson

Carnegie Mellon University

Through technologies such as ChatGPT, generative AI has become increasingly accessible over the past few years, which has sparked concerns regarding the role that generative AI will inevitably begin to play in education. Many scholars have explored the broad affordances and limitations of ChatGPT in teaching and learning: one of its key strengths is its personal and interactive nature, while one of its most significant shortcomings is its tendency to share inaccurate information. However, little research has been done on ChatGPT’s capabilities within specific fields, such as DH. This project explores the role that ChatGPT can or should play in Digital Humanities education, particularly in helping more traditionally trained humanists understand and utilize computational methods. We break down the curriculum in Carnegie Mellon University’s Computing for Humanists class and identify the key concepts covered, which include topics such as data preparation, feature counting, and the translation of humanistic research questions into computational steps. We then test ChatGPT’s mastery of these concepts by asking it to complete or assist with class assignments in various capacities. We find that ChatGPT excels at simple computational tasks and at suggesting ways in which specific humanistic research questions can be explored computationally. However, when writing more complex functions, ChatGPT often uses out-of-date libraries and struggles to properly connect different parts of the code. Based on these results, we present the baseline level of computational education that we believe digital humanists ought to possess prior to using ChatGPT as a research tool, while also highlighting the ways in which digital humanists can be taught to use ChatGPT to help implement computational methods.

Preserving Play: A Tale of Two SimCities

Daniel Johnson

University of Notre Dame

This short talk poses a simple question with thorny potential answers: what methods have been – or could be – used to treat two versions of SimCity as referenceable cultural artifacts? The original version of the popular video SimCity was released on physical media for various systems in what I call the digital incunables era of home microcomputing in 1989. The latest installment, SimCity 2013, was released online only, with gameplay originally dependent upon an active Internet connection. Digital incunables provide points of fixity for future access, but how do we sustain software without stable physical manifestations for the scholarly record far into the future?

This talk is an early foray into investigating various inevitable tradeoffs between preservation and loss when supporting access to the different modes of rhetoric in digital-only cultural software like video games. These modes include descriptions of textual content or narrative, which are susceptible to literary analysis; predetermined visual effects across time, which are susceptible to the language of film studies; and the full interactive experience of Ian Bogost's procedural rhetoric, which gives users access to the dynamic operation of the game's portrayed model of the world. What preservation is already possible at a local level, and what will require larger, systemic efforts?

The talk is more likely to raise questions than supply answers, and the presenter hopes to use the conversation to spur further investigation.

Language Games : what artificial languages can teach us

Patrick Juola

Duquesne University

Wittgenstein famously coined the term language games to describe both the difference between the internal aspects of language (such as intended meaning) and the external aspects, as well as the arbitrary and group-dependent aspects of signification. As such, playing with language has a long history in the humanities. This presentation focuses on the use of artificial and distorted languages and what the comparative analyses of these language games can illustrate about nature of real languages.

For example, one of the key findings in authorship attribution/stylometrics is that among the best indicators of authorship are the small, nearly meaningless (function) words like of or and, or small character clusters that can represent morphological aspects of language. These results duplicate other findings about the use of these function words as an aid to human language learning. This is a cross-linguistic finding that has been confirmed on many human languages—but what about non-human languages? Many so-called conlangs have been created to explore unusual aspects of language that are not found in nature. We present results showing that common stylometric methods attribution works even in these artificial languages. We will show similar results based on other forms of distortion such as the use of an artificial non-alphabetic writing, an artificial non-morphological vocabulary, and so forth.

We present some suggestions for interesting future work, including one specific conlang (toki pona) whose properties are interesting and may show the limits of human linguistic cognition.

Shaping sympathetic classroom communities: Interactive games about mental health

Kristine Kelly

Case Western Reserve University

In my first-year writing seminar built around the topic of digital literature, I introduce students to a sequence of serious games about issues like depression and anxiety. Student responses to these interactive digital games tend to be mixed, ranging from reports that some games really resonate, with their own personal experiences, to a sense of how much they learned about the experience of a condition, to anger at games that they see as triggering or perhaps trivializing serious topics like self-harm. This range of responses and students’ diverse engagement in class discussions provoke questions about how conversations about these games might contribute to building a community of care in the first-year seminar.

In their work on the Writing New Body Worlds project, Astrid Ensslin, Christine Wilks, and their research team consider how interactive digital design and creative practice around the condition of body image dysmorphia might offer an effective form for bibliotherapy (the process of using individual or group reading practices to promote mental health). Their work offers a foundation for considering both the design and the reception of a wide body of interactive digital fiction that promotes readers’ awareness of their own or others’ psychological experiences.

Building on this work and my classroom experiences, my presentation analyzes interactive games like Gavin Inglis’s Hana Feels, Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest, and Nicky Case’s Adventures with Anxiety to consider how interactive design and story-based game play promote a unique agential approach to mental health. As such, I consider also how interactive digital literature might be used to shape a sympathetic classroom community attuned to promoting each other’s mental health or recognizing mutual involvement in other relevant social issues.

Medical Humanities: Surgery Simulations

Stephanie Kinzinger

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

My paper examines the intersection of reality as simulation theory, VR, play theory, and medical humanities. According to physician and writer Raj Telhan in Begin Cutting, Education by Knife, before his first dissection of a human cadaver, he envisioned medical school as a Platonic academy where thinking and doing came together in a moral synthesis, but as he understood the belief in the power of our vocabularies to shape our moral imaginations, in the anatomy lab he wondered: What are we today? Butchers? In other words, when tasked with cutting into a human body, Telhan questions how we can simultaneously disconnect feelings of morality—e.g. an act of violence that feels like desecration—and connect thinking about the human as an object of study—or, and educational space. In my analysis, I investigate the virtual space created by physicians that both alters their understanding of human as subject into human as object and compare it to VR experiences such as Surgeon Simulator—where morality, play, humor, and body horror converge. My paper focuses on the experience of the player and asks: how does playing surgeon reflect physicians’ experience of making a space of play to both distance themselves and bring themselves closer to the human body as subject and object. Finally, I will be teaching a VR session of Surgeon Simulator to a Medicine, Literature, and Culture class this April, where I will study future physicians and ask them how playing with a virtual body complicates our understanding of reality/education/selfhood/simulation.

1 Telhan, Raj. Begin Cutting Education by Knife. VQR A National Journal of Literature & Discussion, vol. 91, no. 4, Oct. 2015, https://www.vqronline.org/memoir-articles/2015/10/begin-cutting.

2 Johnson, Ericka. Surgical Simulators and Simulated Surgeons: Reconstituting Medical Practice and Practitioners in Simulations. Social Studies of Science, vol. 37, no. 4, Aug. 2007, pp. 585–608.

3 Stiegler, Christian. The 360° Gaze Immersions in Media, Society, and Culture. The MIT Press, 2021.

4 Chalmers, David J. Reality + Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy. W.W. Norton & Company, 2022.

Making Space: Building Virtual Museums and Imagining Audiences in the Humanities Classroom

Mariah Kupfner

Penn State Harrisburg

This presentation uses a case study of virtual reality use in a Museum Studies classroom to explore themes of accessibility, creativity, and the value of experimentation, immersion, and imagination. I discuss applications of virtual reality in introductory Museum Studies classes, noting both the visitation and construction of virtual exhibitions. While visiting virtual exhibitions affords students access to a wider variety of museum experiences and helps hone their analytical framework for examining museum spaces, the actual building of virtual exhibitions (using ArtSteps) invites students to imagine and create experiences. Using virtual reality, students are invited to experiment with floorplans, wall textures, object placement, and text. Most importantly, they are invited to imagine the people who might move through these spaces and be moved by them. All layouts can be changed. All text can be rewritten. This project invites thinking and rethinking. Using play and experimentation as core principles, students are invited to try and try again.

In this classroom, VR is not held up as a necessary or desired future, but as a tool to be examined and thought through using critical play. What does VR actually afford us in this Humanities classroom? How does the use of virtual reality allow us to imagine the reality of other minds? To think through the experience of material and virtual spaces? How can instructors foster a sense of playfulness and critical thinking in the exploration and construction of virtual spaces?

MUD, Metroid, and Mortal Kombat: Pedagogical Approaches to Video Game History

Lauren Liebe

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

Video games, as both a medium and a field of study, are still relatively young. Nevertheless, the rapidity of their technological innovations in terms of both hardware and software make much of their short history inaccessible. At the same time, video games are an important part of recent cultural history, and one that most students already have a significant degree of familiarity with, even if that familiarity is often missing much of its historical context.

This paper explores pedagogical approaches to video game history as a means of exploring cultural history and changing attitudes towards the medium, particularly in regards to its depictions of violence and sexuality. It focuses primarily on the parts of video game history that are difficult for students to access, namely pre-2000’s games and hardware.

Taking cues from media archaeology and book history, this paper explores how these games can be accessed by modern audiences—whether through recorded footage, software emulation, hardware emulation, or original hardware—and how the method of that access shapes student/player perceptions of gaming history. Likewise, this paper argues that the medium of gameplay and its shift from public to private venues also shaped much of the broader history of video game culture.

The Universe Peoples: Interrogating Mediated Communication of a Symptomatic Deep Ecology via OReilly’s Everything

Jerald Lim

University of Utah

Alenda Chang argues all forms of mass media encapsulate tacit ecological lessons that partially shape our sense of environmental self-efficacy, but games and their interactivity in particular can transform abstract information into operable form. David OReilly’s Everything, a simulative game, is one example of this, allowing players to traverse a procedurally generated universe through the perspectives of literally everything that exists in the game. This includes thousands of things, from an oxygen atom, to a cigarette butt, to a mountain lion, to a galaxy. Mediated experiences, both in the sense of digital mediums and arbitration, catalyze a broader ethic of empathy, solidarity, and care as part of the posthuman Copernican turn.

I carry out an ecocritical analysis of Everything, focusing on its narrative, mechanical, and visual rhetoric, to evaluate how it might confer a sense of who we are as an entangled ecological entity. I employ methods from literary criticism and game studies to interrogate how the game evokes and navigates the dualities of simulation & realism, anthropocentrism & agency, and anthropomorphism & ecopedagogy.

Johan Huizinga’s notion of a magic circle that contains and separates gameplay from the ‘real’ world has been thoroughly challenged by game studies scholars. Everything adds to this discourse, pointing the way not to a Wattsian ontology of symptomatic ecology that can dismantle the myths underlying our current environmental and meaning crises, but to the myriad of narrative, mechanical, and visual rhetorical approaches that interactive media can make use of to communicate such posthuman worldviews.

Preserving Palates, Cultivating Connections: Bridging Cultural, Culinary Heritages and Digital Pedagogies

Teresa Lobalsamo and Dellannia Segreti

University of Toronto Mississauga

The presentation showcases an ongoing, collaborative, digital archive project at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), Italian-Canadian Foodways, (henceforth, FOODWAYS). FOODWAYS has the two-fold aim of preserving diasporic culinary traditions, while also serving as an open platform and pedagogical tool for undergraduate students. Thanks to the project’s integration of Digital Humanities software in teaching, learning, and assessment, the project increases student access to experiential learning opportunities, promotes undergraduate research, and champions global digital pedagogies.

FOODWAYS - a capstone, cultural preservation project embedded within UTM’s Italian Studies program, but open to all undergraduates - traces Italian immigration/migration patterns into and throughout the province of Ontario, Canada, since the late 1800s. Along the way, the project explores the following objectives: it maps the culinary imprint left by Italian diaspora and it considers the place of food production and patterns of consumption in Italian-Canadian culture. Through sociocultural and historical lenses, the project further highlights the impact and contributions of the Italian community on the food industry by tracing the growth and enduring legacies of over a thousand restaurants in the face of cultural demographic shifts towards the turn of the century. Finally, expanding content beyond Italian Studies, FOODWAYS examines cuisine as one of the defining traits of cultural identity for all newcomers.

In addition to providing a space for public recognition, the open FOODWAYS platform forms a robust pedagogical resource for undergraduate students who, in addition to utilizing the site for in-class discussions and assignments, co-curate it by collecting archival materials, such as oral histories, photos, etc. through virtual and/or in-person experiential learning opportunities. Presenters will thus share various methods of assessment that have been designed around the project in order to create a student-centred experience that promotes interactivity and networked engagement with cultural heritage artifacts.

Kart Racing at the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Game Jams as Scholarly Inquiry in the History Classroom

R.C. Miessler and Greg Lord

Gettysburg College and Northeastern University

Game jams, such as Ludum Dare, are improvisational attempts to build a game from scratch, usually within a limited time frame and a specified theme. To facilitate a history-based game jam in the classroom, the presenters have developed an online tool, StoryGame/GameStory, that a facilitator uses to randomly roll parameters, from which small groups of students must sketch out the idea of a game that will convey historical concepts. GameStory starts with genre and mechanics (such as kart racing and randomly generated), while StoryGame starts with historical setting and primary sources (such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and nearly illegible handwritten letters). After deliberation, students present their pitch for their game and get feedback from their peers. While both instructors and students in the undergraduate history classroom are likely familiar with video games, their attitudes about the legitimacy of games as scholarly output will vary depending on their experiences. The game jam workshop allows the classroom to engage with the how and why historians do history, albeit in a non-traditional format. This presentation will demonstrate how to facilitate a successful game jam using the StoryGame/GameStory engine and how to customize the tool’s options to fit the needs of the class.

Anything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Video Games as Archives in the Humanities Classroom

R.C. Miessler and Bill O'Hara

Gettysburg College

Since 2018 we—a faculty member and a librarian at a Pennsylvania liberal arts college—have collaborated on a series of courses including an introduction to video game music, and first-year seminars focused broadly on methods and questions in the digital humanities, and on video games as cultural artifacts in particular. Despite little institutional support for game studies or Digital Humanities, we have collaborated to incorporate both into the classroom. In both our scholarship and teaching, we are particularly interested in the archival quirks that games provide when introducing them as primary sources to undergraduate students. Video games inhabit a space that is both physical and digital, both art and commodity. While they can be observed and interpreted on their own, the nature of games demands a playful, embodied encounter. This requires a holistic approach to the student-game encounter in the classroom. We ask students to investigate what makes a game a game by reviewing their significant properties not only as objects for play, but as significant cultural artifacts. From the perspective of game preservation and access, students appraise video games and their surrounding ephemera—boxes, manuals, contemporaneous sources—through artefactual, informational, and folkloric frameworks (Owens 2018). We do this by exploring classic video game platforms as obsolete technologies; using teaching collections to create a video games humanities lab for our students to explore; transforming gaming and computing magazines into datasets for visualizations; and undertaking traditional archival research that uses video game development documentation to shed light on the economic, technological, and cultural conditions of video game design and production. In this presentation, we demonstrate how these courses encourage students to find connections between video games, archival practices, and humanistic inquiry, providing direct examples of class sessions that tie these themes together. Examples include conducting archival research in both traditional and internet-based forms and interacting with and evaluating original video game artifacts against modern efforts at emulation, and other available facsimiles. We will close by acknowledging some of the challenges the approach of video games as archives present, such as access and copyright, and ideas we have for the future of these activities.

Owens, Trevor. The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.

Virtual Reality in Narratives and Narratives as Virtual Reality in a LitRPG: Immersiveness and the Augmented Human in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One

Manoj Singh Rana and Arnapurna Rath

Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Literary role-playing game (LitRPG) is a subgenre that includes the elements of both RPGs and science fiction. Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One (2011) is a LitRPG set in 2044 where the characters spend most of their lives in the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation or OASIS. The paper offers a critical reading of the novel through a reflection on the nature of the subgenre of LitRPG, which is a conflation of two mediums of narratives — a role-playing videogame and a narrative text usually a Science Fiction novel. The novel depicts a virtual reality world, therefore, the intertwined relationship between the two mediums can be explored by delving into how narratives can be viewed as virtual reality (Ryan, 2001) and how virtual reality is represented in the narrative text. The paper also explores the thematic trope of immersion in the novel as it is an integral part of the experience of playing a computer game (Thon, 2018). An analysis of immersion will be undertaken through a study of an avatar, which is a key element of immersion (Damer and Hinrichs, 2014). A nuanced study of different avatars of major characters will be undertaken. The avatars of James Halliday (Anorak), Wade Watts (Parzival), Samantha Cook (Art3mis), and Helen Harris (Aech) will be analysed through their presence in the virtual environment of OASIS where the characters/gamers perform virtual actions. The research demonstrates how avatar performs a dual function of embodying the identity of the user and influencing other games through its projection. In addition, the study will analyse the three broad types of immersions including spatial and ludic through the involvement of characters in OASIS.

In the final section, the paper deals with the exploration of the immersive environment offered by OASIS in producing augmented humans through varied sensorial experiences (Papagiannis, 2017). The augmentation of human is explored in the novel through haptic and visual experiences offered by different devices such as controllers, gloves, visors, and consoles. The exploration of the thematic trope of augmentation befits the subgenre of LitRPG as video game literature is a productive site to consider embodiment (Farris, 2017). The trope will also help achieve a nuanced understanding of the interaction of the human with the computer-based technology in the narratives of a Science Fiction novel.

German cursive and the promise of AI: Transcribing culinary manuscripts and having fun recreating old recipes

Jason A. Reuscher

Penn State University Libraries

Years ago, the University of Pittsburgh’s Special Collections librarians reached out to the online world through Tumblr to solve a manuscript mystery that was confounding their attempts at providing more detailed cataloging. Unsure about the provenance or the specific contents of the tome, they knew two things: 1. that it was two manuscripts of recipes bound as one (and thus entitled, Dieses Kochbuechs), and 2. that it was probably written in Kurrentschrift, a cursive form of Fraktur letters prevalent in German-speaking lands from the early modern period to the beginning of the Second World War.

Over the course of my transcription work, I realized that creating a blog site of the recipes could help immensely in exploring and organizing my glosses and digressions about these individual recipes and their ingredients. Each recipe, each gloss added to a fuller perspective on ideas about the provenance, and the blog format convinced me to create another blog for a separate project (also about recipes) from my hometown.

Both blogs give me an online presence that is flexible for my use in presentations and discussions and an informal record of my scholarship. They have also allowed me to have a little fun in recreating some of the more palatable recipes. Until recently, transcription and translation work has been traditional (building syllabaries and glossaries), but new tools developed in the past few years have made this work easier than ever. Transcription apps or sites like Transkribus can not only help transcribe but also facilitate translation, and AI models like Claude3 can provide some interesting and even playful ways to generate contemporary recipes.

Kvasir's Algorithm: developing an algorithmic model of Old Norse dróttkvætt meters for machine-assisted scansion

Jasper Sachsenmeier

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

Scansion and prosodic analysis of Old Norse skaldic poetry are made challenging by a number of factors, including its composition in a dead language, the significantly fragmented nature of the surviving corpus, as well as the intricate metrical rules governing the skaldic dróttkvætt metres. For example, each eight-line skaldic stanza contains both alliterative, line-internal rhyme, and several types of end rhyme, all arranged within specific syllables in corresponding lines. These strict metrical rules, along with the lack of existing algorithmic models of dróttkvætt, make this topic a compelling candidate for the development of machine-assisted scansion methods. These methods would, ideally, reduce the human effort required to scan for and classify metrical features, in turn increasing the accessibility of the literature and making it easier for scholars to play with this material. This project, still in the launch phase, seeks to develop an algorithmic model of skaldic metre to fill this gap and meet these needs. Important questions remain, such as how best to represent certain features, what programming languages might be best suited to operationalize this model, and what secondary applications might this model serve (hallucinating missing poetic fragments within the corpus, for instance). Given that this project remains in early stages of development, audience feedback, suggestions, and recommendations are sincerely welcomed.

Locke Anthology 2.0

Zach Schleger

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

The Locke Anthology 2.0 is based on the Locke Anthology project that was developed by Students at Penn State Behrend and collaboration with Framingham State University and was presented at the 2023 Keystone DH conference. The original project is based on Alain Locke’s book The New Negro, an interpretation, an important collection of writings published in 1925 representing many voices of the Harlem Renaissance. We worked with only the short poems and music notation from the anthology to try to bring some of its printed content to life using TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) and MEI (Music Encoding Initiative).

I have been working on redesigning the original site, which output the poems all one one page and had not completely represented the music in the anthology. The poems have been recognized and you can now find poems based on authors, and potentially find the poems based on motifs found in them. This was done in an attempt to make it easier to find the poems you want. The music in the book could only be heard if you knew how to read sheet music and played and instrument, so a goal of the project was to make the music more accessible by making it playable on the site. I am redesigning the project site with the Eleventy framework and continuing to host it on GitHub pages. Eleventy or 11ty is a static site generator that is simplistic and flexible, and can make use of templating languages such as Nunjucks which allows for additions and changes to be made site wide by editing one file. The project also uses JavaScript and JSDOM to organize and parse the HTML poem files. The purpose of this redesign was to make the site look and function better by improving the organization of the poems, add content that was not present in the original site, and to make improvements based on feedback from the previous Keystone DH conference. One potential issue with the redesign is, does changing the order/layout of the poems and music clash with the way the anthology was originally meant to be read? The goal of this project was to update the format of the anthology to make it more accessible and easier to read so that more people can experience the works in it, and I hope to discuss the redesign in progress at Keystone DH this year.

Location-based Storytelling with WordPress: Green Book Cleveland and Queer Cleveland

J. Mark Souther, Erin J. Bell, Riley Habyl, Elena Solá, and Bali White

Cleveland State University

Our panel will focus on the development and uses of PlacePress (https://wpplacepress.org), a modern WordPress plugin for location-based digital tours and stories that we developed in the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities (https://csudigitalhumanities.org) with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mark Souther will outline how PlacePress drew inspiration from the Center’s earlier practice of location-based digital storytelling. The Center had developed the Curatescape framework (https://curatescape.org), which supports the CSU-based Cleveland Historical and numerous other projects around the world. Our decision to create a Wordpress alternative to the Omeka-based Curatescape sprang from several years of research that focused on optimizing Curatescape for developing-world contexts. Our NEH-funded collaboration with an East African university led us to create a Curatescape-like WordPress plugin prototype in support of a location-based history project about Kisumu, Kenya (https://macleki.org), and that in turn led to PlacePress.

Erin Bell will discuss the considerations that informed PlacePress development, including the need to design a simple but flexible tool, and how we came to see that even a simple solution still benefits immensely from being conversant with how WordPress works and having a firm grasp of how websites are best organized. He will demonstrate how the plugin works, how it differs from other similar tools such as Curatescape, and highlight some strategies for effectively employing it in projects.

After this introduction to PlacePress, three graduate students who have been among the first to develop content with the plugin will introduce two CSU-based PlacePress projects in which they are currently involved.

Bali White will introduce Green Book Cleveland (https://greenbookcleveland.org), a restorative history project that maps and documents sites of Black leisure, recreation, and entertainment in Northeast Ohio in the era of the Green Book guides for Black travelers (1930s-60s). She will then share an example of her research on nightclubs in the Cedar-Central neighborhood.

Riley Habyl and Elena Solá will then introduce their roles in conceptualizing and contextualizing the new Queer Cleveland project (https://queerclevelandhistories.org), which maps and documents hundreds of historical LGBTQ+ sites in Cleveland from the 1930s to the 2010s. Riley and Elena will close by sharing a couple of examples of the project’s location types and narratives.

From Data to Discovery: Unraveling language patterns with Corpus Linguistics

Massimo Verzella

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

Students interested in developing their writing skills can glean a multitude of insights when they explore how the English language works using corpus linguistics and language databases. First: corpus linguistics allows students to understand how English tends to be formulaic and variable. Students can gain sociolinguistic insights by exploring language use in different social contexts, such as formal vs. informal communication, academic discourse, media discourse, and online communication. They can observe how diction varies across different genres, audiences, and communication purposes. This helps students understand how word choice impacts tone, style, and meaning in writing. Second, as students explore differences of usage across national varieties of English, they can reflect on challenges and rewards of intercultural communication in a pluricentric and hypercentral lingua franca. Students can appreciate the linguistic creativity and richness of these varieties, challenging traditional norms of English language standards. A third major reason to use corpora is to study language evolution: By studying historical corpora, students can trace the evolution of language over time. They can see language as a living organism that grows, evolves, and adapts. They can observe changes in grammatical preference, phraseology, and diction, which helps them embrace a descriptive approach to the study of language. My presentation will cover three corpora: the Corpus of Contemporary American or COCA (1 billion words, 1990-2019), GloWbE (1.9 billion, 20 countries, 2012-2013), and iWeb (14 billion words, 2017). The organization of COCA into sections (Blogs, Web, TV, spoken, fiction, magazine, news, academic) makes it easy to understand how words and expressions can be appropriate in certain genres or registers of English, but not in others. Idioms and phrasal verbs will be more common in internet English and spoken English whereas longer Latin-based words will be common in Academic English. GloWbE offers insight into variation in English. Twenty different varieties of English are available to researchers to study the use of words and expressions across global Englishes. Finally, iWeb contains 14 billion words in 22 million web pages from nearly 95,000 websites. I use iWeb in the course Writing for the Web to show patterns of language use in online texts. Importantly, iWeb allows us to explore why people use the internet and what they look for.

Teaching Ancient Chinese History Through Playing NationWar: Chronicles

Shu Wan

University at Buffalo

In the summer of 2023, I taught the undergraduate history course China and the World at the University at Buffalo. Concerned about the gamification of the pedagogy of humanities education, I designed an optional game-based assignment in which students play the free demo of NationWar: Chroniclestand thinking about the extent to which the game's representation of the inter-state relation in the Warring State period resonates with the knowledge learned from both the class notes and reading. After playing the game, students were required to write an around 300-word reflective essay and post it on Padlet. Reviewing both the design and deployment of the game-based assignment, this presentation aims to explore how to integrate video games into the curricula of history and render them interactive and interesting for Gen Z students.

Being an ‘ICHINA’ Online – Everyday Discursive (Re)production of Internet-Mediated Chinese National Identity in the Era of Consumerism and Fandom

Zhiwei Wang

University of Edinburgh

A further investigation into how Chinese national(ist) discourses are daily (re)shaped online by diverse socio-political actors (especially ordinary users) can contribute to not only deeper understandings of Chinese national sentiments on the Chinese Internet but also richer insights into the socio-technical ecology of the contemporary Chinese digital (and physical) world. Much emphasis has been placed on the political dimension of digitised Chinese national(ist) discourses and their embodied national identities, which neglects other equally important dimensions constitutive of their more discursive nature. I propose an ethnographic methodology, with Sina Weibo (a Twitter-like microblogging site) and bilibili (a YouTube-like video-streaming platform) as ‘fieldsites’. The data collection method is virtual ethnographic observation on everyday national(ist) discussions on both platforms. Critical discourse analysis is employed to analyse data. From November 2021 to December 2022, I have conducted 36 weeks’ digital ethnographic observations with 36 sets of fieldnotes obtained. For 36 weeks’ digital ethnographic observations, I concentrated much upon textual content created by ordinary users. Based on fieldnotes of the first week’s online observations, I found multifarious national(ist) discourses on Sina Weibo and bilibili, targeted both at national ‘Others’ and ‘Us’, both on the historical and real-world dimension, both aligning with and differing from or even conflicting with official discourses, both direct national(ist) expressions and articulations of sentiments in the name of presentation of national(ist) attachments but for other purposes. Second, Sina Weibo and bilibili users have agency in interpreting and deploying concrete national(ist) discourses despite the leading role played by the government and two platforms in deciding on the basic framework of national expressions. Third, the (re)production process of national(ist) discourses on Sina Weibo and bilibili depends upon not only technical affordances and limitations of the two sites but also, to a larger degree, some established socio-political mechanisms and conventions in the offline China.

Keywords: national identity; national(ist) discourse(s); everyday nationhood/nationalism; Chinese nationalism; digital media

Wilderness Walk: Computational Literary Approaches to the Digital Environmental Humanities

Zach Whalen

University of Mary Washington

In 1976, congress passed HR 13160 declaring — in defiance of Aldo Leopold’s observation that “Wilderness is a resource that can shrink but now grow” — that 79,019 acres of the Shenandoah National Park would be declared wilderness and afforded the protections outlined in the 1964 Wilderness Act. In September 2023, I spent two days hiking extensively in this federally-designated wilderness, amassing 2,996 GPS data points with the app I was using to track my progress. Using a Python program to traverse these coordinates (along with cross-referenced geographical features), I have created a script that generates a book narrating and reflecting on my route.

This presentation will share the methods and outcomes of this creative research agenda. In addition to presenting a book generated by this Python script, a book titled Wilderness Walk, I will also reflect on two other literary experiments with environmental data and computational methods. To further place my experiments into the context of computational literature, I will also analyze other examples of literature integrating environmental and generative technologies, such as Allison Parrish’s “Solar Powered Dawn Poems” (2022), and J.R. Carpenter’s “This is a Picture of Wind” (2014). While my projects and the scholarly context are not necessarily about “play” in the sense of gaming, I believe this work constitutes “trying new things without being sure you understand them” because it is my first foray, as such, into the Digital Environmental Humanities.