Want to do some interesting research? Why not learn to code?

Tobias Blanke, Professor of Humanities and AI at the University of Amsterdam, suggests that everyone can benefit from learning to code. As digital skills are becoming ever more vital, we worked with the Programming Historian (PH) and The National Archives to develop tutorial articles focused on computational skills for digital collections.

A partnership to support computational methods

The PH team have coordinated the authoring of the series of lessons and they take the form of peer reviewed articles. It is notable that AI has been a long thread in the evolution of Digital Humanities as many Machine Learning techniques have been in use for a long while, and it is good to see the topic covered in the series. None of the articles are about ChatGPT, though the earlier version of the model on which it is built, GPT-2, is covered. That tutorial provides an excellent introduction to Machine Learning and generative models.

The tutorials

We hope that these tutorials will provide the digitally curious (those who want to know but currently may not) and the digitally obliged (those who need to provide services eg libraries, archives and research support teams) with some of the hard skills needed to understand and utilise these technologies. Our thanks to the PH team and the authors of the articles. The articles currently available in the four PH languages are:

Note that some tutorials still need to be translated into all languages and some are still undergoing review.

Some more interesting things

You may also be interested in the Library Carpentry series of tutorials.

If you haven’t already done so, do have a listen to our recent podcast Is AI for me? Perspectives from the humanities – messy humanities data (July 2023). It’s part three of our miniseries exploring artificial intelligence in the context of the humanities, Paola Marchionni is joined by Professor Jane Winters to discuss the often complex and messy data historians increasingly deal with when working with digital collections.

This post forms part of a series on Artificial Intelligence and the things we can do to be more aware of its underlying technologies.

By Peter Findlay

Subject Matter Expert, Digital Scholarship, Content and Discovery, Jisc

Working with Jisc's Higher Education members to improve access to to their special collections in the age of data-centric arts, humanities and social science research.

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