R, Interactive Graphics, and Data Visualization for the Humanities

The visualization of historical and literary data has become a common practice in digital humanities, drawing on older traditions of visualizing in these disciplines. A variety of out-of-the-box tools exist for easily jumping in to data and information visualization, but when we use these tools we run the risk of research questions being wedged into a tool rather than the tool fitting the research. This course introduces students to humanities visualizations, using a programming language that let researchers prioritize their questions over the requirements of ready-made tools. Students will learn how to iteratively create plots and maps using the R statistical programming language, as well as how to manipulate data so that it can be visualized. Students will become familiar with the entire pipeline of visualization—from data manipulation to exploratory graphics to online interactive visualizations. In addition, the course will offer an introduction to Shiny, a framework for writing interactive websites with analysis in R.


Digital Humanities Summer Institute | Jun 13, 2016


Greetings! My name is Jason Heppler. I am a Digital Engagement Librarian and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a scholar of the twentieth-century United States. I often write here about the history of the North American West, technology, the environment, politics, culture, and coffee. You can follow me on Twitter, or learn more about me.