Author Archives: kochism

Digital Poster Session: January 27 @ 12:00 in the HUB

poster advertising digital bootcamp poster session January 27, 2014The Digital Boot Camp @ Dickinson College is an intensive 10-day training course to help students develop skills to produce and manage digital media content. During the program, participants learn about the basics of how to manage and display content in WordPress and Drupal, edit audio and video content, use Geographic Information Systems to create custom maps, and more. The poster session on January 27 will allow students to showcase their digital projects to interested faculty. Please stop by next Monday anytime between 12:00-1:30pm in one of the Social Hall sections in the Holland Union Building to see what the participants have digitally created. Food and beverages will be provided.


2014 Digital Boot Campers

  • Santiago Princ (Computer Science)
  • Barrett Ziegler (Russian Studies)
  • Chloe Miller (Archaeology and Anthropology)
  • Frank Vitale (History)
  • Laura Colleluori (Theatre Arts and Italian Studies)
  • Zha Xueyin (History and Sociology)
  • Colin Tripp (English and Creative Writing)
  • Rachel Schilling (English and German)
  • Allison Charles (English and Creative Writing)
  • Max Rubinstein (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
  • Rachel Kruchten (Psychology)
  • Ashieda McKoy (Political Science and Creative Writing)
  • Amy Hudock (undeclared)
  • Benjamin West (Archaeology)
  • Xiang Wei (undelcared)
  • Caio Santos Rodrigues (Psychology)
  • Jaime Phillips (Environmental Science)

House Divided Joins the Google Cultural Institute

Gettysburg AddressesToday marks the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln delivering his Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in 1863. Containing only 10 sentences and delivered in an elegant two-minute address, this speech is an enduring emblem of American culture. In celebration of this momentous event within the Civil War, Dickinson’s House Divided was asked by the Google Cultural Institute to curate an exhibit that brings together for the first time high resolution scans of the five known copies of the Gettysburg Address written in Lincoln’s own handwriting. These online versions of the speech that the Google Institute has uploaded were taken from copies submitted by the White House, the Library of Congress, Cornell University, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. On the site, Matthew Pinsker, the director of the House Divided Project and a history professor at Dickinson College, states that the story behind Lincoln’s speech begins on a Tuesday evening, July 7, 1863. For more information about the project, read the following article published today in The Washington Post.

Or better yet, visit the official site: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Addresses.

Digital Boot Camp @ Dickinson College January 6-18, 2014

The Digital Boot Camp at Dickinson College is an intensive 10-day paid training program to help students develop skills to produce and manage digital media content. During the program you will learn and practice the basics of how to manage and display content in WordPress, edit audio and video, use Geographic Information Systems to create custom maps, and more. You will practice skills on sample data provided by Dickinson faculty-led digital humanities projects. At the end of the experience, you will display the results of your work to interested faculty members, and be ready to apply for employment on faculty-led digital projects during the summer or during the academic year. Even those who do not find such employment will learn valuable skills that can be used both in academic work and later in professional settings. The program focuses not just on digital tools but also covers the theory and practice of how to communicate ideas and convey information effectively in the digital realm.

The program is split between online tutorials and on-campus instruction (see schedule). It is limited to 18 attendees, each of whom will receive housing, access to software and proprietary online training materials, and a $350 stipend to cover living expenses for the on-campus portion. Participants must be on campus the morning of January 14, and are approved to access their campus housing on January 14. Those who will require housing for the night of the 13 should indicate that on the application so arrangements can be made. Those students accepted into the workshop will be notified the first week of December, and will be required to attend one of two mandatory orientation sessions: Monday, December 9, 12:00-2:00 p.m. or Tuesday December 10, 12:00-2:00 p.m. To apply, fill out the application form and email it to  Please submit your application on or before Monday, November 26 at 5:00pm.

The program is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Digital Boot Camp Schedule

Digital Boot Camp Application

From Russia With Data

Student-faculty research to digitize the Russian-American experience
by Tony Moore
August 27, 2013

A sign outside Gregory Gagarin’s home displays the name of his family’s former estate in Russia. (Photo courtesy of Karl Qualls)

Twenty years from now, when Associate Professor of History Karl Qualls is getting comfortable starting his 34th year at Dickinson and Caitlin Moriarty ’13 has been an alumna for two decades, a project they started this summer might still be going.

“This could be the rest of my career,” Qualls says, without a hint of doubt. The project at hand is nothing less than creating an online repository for the entire Russian-American experience, and it began with just one person: Gregory Gagarin, a Russian prince currently living in Maryland.

In the spring of 2013, Moriarty—who has been abroad to Russia and has studied Russian—curated an archives exhibit called A Family Story: The Troussoff Collection. The exhibit detailed one family’s immigration to the United States during the Russian Revolution nearly 100 years ago. At the exhibit opening, Qualls and Moriarty were standing with Gail Troussoff Marks ’73, a descendant of the Troussoffs and the collection’s donor.

“Gail knew the Gagarins and said [Gregory Gagarin’s] daughter wanted to have someone record his oral history,” recalls Moriarty. This instantly grabbed them both, and before they knew it, Qualls and Moriarty were headed to Maryland to interview Gagarin. After hours of conversation, it became apparent that while Gagarin’s life was big, the project could be much bigger.

“It won’t be just about him,” Qualls explains. “I’m hoping this will lead to more interviews and we’ll create a Web archive of the Russian-American experience.”

The project will bring history into the modern age as a Web-based digitized project, and that aspect will function as the growth engine, eventually churning vast amounts of data.

“Making this a digitized project will be a part of the new move toward digital humanities and opens the project up to Russia,” Qualls says. “If it’s on the Web, it’s there for people in Russia to find. Once there’s a critical mass of things online, people will start coming to us instead of us looking for them.”

The process so far has been eye-opening for both Qualls and Moriarty, and the unfolding cascade of discovery is what Qualls likes best about this sort of research.

“The serendipity is the exciting thing about being a researcher,” he says. “There’s always something else out there. If you talk to the right people, have the right conversations and read the right things, there’s more out there to do than you could ever possibly finish.”

This post originally appeared on the Dickinson College website.

Notes from the Field: Isomer Musical Metacreation Project


Jamie Leidwinger, Class of 2015
Music Composition & Political Science

Over the summer, Dr. Wilder and I have set up camp in Drexel University’s Expressive and Creative Interactive Technologies (ExCITe) Center in Philadelphia to work on the Isomer Project: a digital humanities research project aimed at teaching computers to listen to music sensitively. Our goals for the summer are to develop both quantitative and qualitative aspects to Isomer’s ability to listen and identify descriptors for music. During my first day at the ExCITe Center, Dr. Wilder showed me examples of production music, or music used in advertising. Upon listening to production music on its own for the first time, I was surprised at how formulaic it sounded. Despite appearing musically clichéd, advertising music provides the perfect means to understand how emotion is transmitted in music, because it is designed to elicit specific emotions in order to create associations with a specific product. Although it was entertaining to listen to the differences between tracks, we then began to analyze exactly how this music is able to achieve its desired effect.

We started our analysis with mood keywords, such as “tension” and “romantic,” associated with each track. Dr. Wilder wrote a program to automatically extrapolate the keywords associated with each track. To better understand the relationships between the keywords, I researched social networking theory in order to navigate the massive amount of data. I found Mark Granovetter’s recently republished article “The Strength of Weak Ties” (1973) extremely useful in understanding how units relate to one another. In the relatively small sample of tracks we used (around 2,000) we found a surprisingly limited number of unique keywords, but an incredibly dense network of connections. I applied several sorting and ranking algorithms intended for social network exploration with the goal of finding the most popular keywords. Some of these included descriptors such as “vocals,” “pop rock,” and “movement.”  From there, we chose several prominent keywords, and developed them into “mood-trees.” For example, one of our root words was “electronic.” Tracks that were electronic had several mood branches, such as “electronic-dark” and “electronic-percussive,” each with their own distinct sound and usages. Eventually, we hope to have Isomer listen to and generate its own music.


Dr. Gregory Wilder
Visiting Associate Professor of Music

Dr. Wilder has been an incredible mentor this summer. One of the most interesting and valuable skills I learned while working with him is the way he ties cross-disciplinary elements into our project. With each task, a related field such as business, programming, and music cognition will intersect with our work – and when that happens, he takes the time to explain exactly how. This experience is more like a real-world collaborative business venture than just a research position in a lab, and I am incredibly grateful to have this opportunity.

Carlisle Indian Industrial School records digitized

With support from an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Digital Humanities grant, and from the College’s Research and Development Committee, Jim Gerencser (College Archivist), Susan Rose (Professor of Sociology, Director Community Studies Center), and Malinda Triller Doran (Special Collections Librarian) have spent this summer working with a team of four interns to digitize materials relating to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School held at the National Archives in Washington, DC. In the past two months the three undergraduate interns, along with Kacee Cooke (Friends of the Library Intern), have scanned 2101 student files, comprising roughly 18,200 page images. In addition, Pierce Bounds photographed twelve bound ledgers, totaling roughly 2000 pages: “Registers of Pupils (1890-1906),” “Consecutive Record of Pupils Enrolled (1905-1918),” “Attendance Books (1884-1891),” “Enrollment Status Book (1898-1902),” “Data Concerning Former Students (1898),” “Registers of Outings (1881-1887, 1912-1918),” and “Register of Visitors (1909-1917).”

Along with the materials from the National Archives, the
interns scanned items from the college’s special collections, which include 20 letters written between Richard Henry Pratt and Dr. Cornelius Rea Agnew, 6 commencement programs and invitations, and 3 souvenir programs. At this time, at least half of the student files from the National Archives records have been placed online. To learn more about the pro
ject and the materials uploaded, check out the website:

Matthew J. Kochis (