Full- and half-day training workshops will take place on Day 1 of the conference. Participants must register for their chosen workshops in advance, via our online registration site. Workshops are open to all delegates at no additional charge. Abstracts for the four workshops are posted below.

In addition, conference delegates who wish to develop their programming skills are encouraged to register for the Ladies Learning Code workshop, An Introduction to Ruby for Beginners, taking place in Edmonton on 16 May. The LLC team has generously provided our conference participants with a 20% discount code for their workshop: use DigitalDiversity. More information about the session is available here.


Inside Collective Biographies of Women: Mid-Range Reading

A Workshop on Stand-Aside XML Analysis of Printed Biographies in Cohorts and Networks

Alison Booth, University of Virginia

(Full-day workshop, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm with breaks)

Note: Participants should have laptops, access to WiFi, and a licensed (30-day free trial), installed Oxygen XML Editor 16 unless they already have licensed Oxygen.

This workshop has two main goals: first, to introduce participants to Collective Biographies of Women (CBW) in relation to the challenges of biographical studies of women, whether we search in online databases, archival finding aids, or printed texts; and second, to explore CBW’s experiment in digital interpretation of biographical narrative.

The workshop is designed for anyone who is interested in the history of women, biography, books and publishing history, narrative and textual interpretation, and of course, advanced tools and methods of research.

There are few systematic studies of biography or narrative theory of nonfiction. Digital-humanities approaches to narrative and to comparing textual variants vary widely but do not overlap much with the purposes of this study of versions of real women’s lives printed in books published before 1940.

Collective Biographies of Women (CBW) is not a study of women writers of poetry, fiction, or drama. Nor is it an “archive” of digitized texts. The genre in the CBW bibliography consists of all English-language books presenting three or more biographies of women (British and North American, primarily 1830-1940); most of the authors were men, and the subjects are a fascinating range of 8500+ women of all occupations and contexts. CBW broadly seeks to unite the benefits of digitization of masses of printed texts with the theoretical insights of feminist literary and historical studies as well as innovative methods of DH.

See and (new version to be launched by 2015: No prior experience in XML is necessary, though some familiarity is useful (as in The workshop can adapt to varied levels of experience among participants, and will use the time for both hands-on experience in databases, applied interpretation of text (some hard copies and pencils!), a short practicum in XML editing, and discussion-demonstration.

CBW is a work in progress, and this workshop will enhance our research. The session will be guided but collaborative and open to the input of all. This does not claim to be an introduction to XML editing. The aim is to experiment with the validity, usability, and adaptability of CBW’s approach to mid-range interpretation of narratives within sample corpora of interrelated biographies. The workshop will also be a success if it provokes discussion about the forms and rhetoric of representations of women, and the ways that a database can facilitate quantitative interpretation of trends in gender ideology in historical dimensions.


I. Introduction to Collective Biographies of Women project

II. CBW and Data about Historical Women

III. Overview of Biographical Elements and Structure Schema (BESS)

III. Step-by-Step Explanation of the Workflow in CBW for interpreting short biographies in a collective biography using BESS.

IV. Hands-on Editing

V. The Potential User Experience, Collaboration, Pedagogy: Slides and Discussion

VI. Discussion of Digital Research on Nonfiction Narratives in Social and Documentary Networks; Implications of Gender and Genre?


Orlando 2.0: Diversifying Literary History Online

Susan Brown, University of Guelph and University of Alberta

Isobel Grundy, University of Alberta

Kathryn Holland, MacEwan University

(Full-day workshop, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm with breaks)

Participants in this introductory workshop will learn about the objectives and tools of the next phase of the Orlando Project, which produces the interactive textbase, Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Orlando’s original production system required substantial training and drew on the expertise of a limited number of contributors. It is now migrating to the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) platform, whose new production infrastructure includes CWRCWriter, an open-source, in-browser text markup editor for use in collaborative scholarly editing projects. CWRCWriter is one of the tools Orlando will use to create new entries as the textbase continues to grow, along with systems for managing links and workflow. These changes enable current team members to begin to train interested scholars to become Orlando contributors, allowing the project to draw members of our most dedicated group of scholarly users and experts in women’s writing into the position of collaborators and digital producers.

Participants who are interested in creating projects like Orlando, but focused on different groups of writers, will also have the opportunity to learn how to use the CWRC system to set up individual or collaborative projects that use the same infrastructure and similar technologies for structuring materials, making them interoperable with other, similar, projects, and with the Digital Diversity timeline/map project created before, during, and after this conference. This workshop is suitable for those interested in a general introduction to digital humanities as well as for those wishing to initiate a longer-term project, touching on key principles associated with undertaking DH scholarship, ranging from platform-independent data formats and metadata standards to text markup, preservation challenges, and semantic web principles.


Digital Woolf: A Workshop on Woolf Online

Pamela Caughie, Loyola University Chicago and Rebecca Cameron, DePaul University

(Morning workshop, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm with break)

This workshop will comprise a demonstration and discussion of Woolf Online, a digital archive of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927) and currently being expanded to include Woolf’s Orlando (1928).

Woolf Online was designed to combine the concept of a virtual archive with the concept of a virtual library carrel including all of the primary documents representing the novel with a large array of supporting and ancillary materials about the novel, in an environment with tools for literary analysis.

The two major accomplishments of the project have been, first, the construction of a new Content Management System and array of tools for developing, editing, and displaying virtual archives and editions of literary texts; and, second, the aggregation, imaging, and transcription of a large array of documents and images relating to Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. The current site consists of over 4150 records.

Because the Content Management System for Woolf Online is new and designed specifically for literary textual archives and editions, its structure and user features have innovations that first-time users might not immediately recognize. For that reason, we will demonstrate its features and usability for teaching and scholarship; seek suggestions for improvements and corrections to the site; and solicit essays on using the site to be published in Woolf Online or a scholarly journal.

In this workshop we will also demonstrate the project-in-progress devoted to Woolf’s Orlando. This project is a continuation of Digital Orlando, a sample digital text and facsimile edition of Virginia Woolf’s OrlandoDigital Orlando used the British and American first editions, making high resolution images of the texts available, as well as a searchable text, marked up in TEI, with a particular focus on the difficulties of marking up gender in a text with complex gender expressions such as Orlando. Additionally, the project contains a parallel text viewer of the British and American texts, making it possible to highlight, contrast and compare textual differences between the two editions, all of which have also been marked up in the underlying TEI.

The systems and technology in place can easily be expanded to include the full novels, as well as multiple other editions as a quick, yet thorough reference tool for textual differences between editions. The project uses similar technologies and has similar aims as Woolf Online, and can in time become a part of this.


Historians In Action: Using Digital Humanities to Teach Research Methods From Project Conception Through to Publication

Elise Chenier, Simon Fraser University

(Afternoon workshop, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm)

Interracial Intimacies demonstrates one way that digital technology can be used to facilitate student learning in historical and other disciplinary methods and modes of reasoning. By assembling archival and oral history materials collected for “Sex, Intimacy, and Desire: Interracial Intimacies in Toronto’s Chinatown 1910-1950,” as well as an article based on this research (Urban History Review, Spring 2014) the website offers a methods teaching tool through a visual representation of how one historian moved from original research question through data collection, data analysis, collaboration, to final publication of research results. By using digital materials and best methods in digital design, this project seeks to move the use of the web for historical teaching and research forward by allowing users to engage with diverse primary and secondary sources in a curated environment to better understand how social scientists work. This tool is suitable for high school and post-secondary students, and for scholars of sexuality, gender, immigration, and Asian studies, as well as the digital humanities.

After a 30-minute presentation about the conception, design, and implementation of the site, and an overview of its pedagogical goals, workshop participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the historian/researcher, the education consultant, and a student user, to explore the tool themselves, and discover ways to use it to teach research methods.