Call for Participants: Digital Mitford Coding School, June 27 – July 1, 2017

Update: Online Registration is now active!
Coding School Schedule: We are in session for full days from Wed. June 28 through Fri. June 30. (Arrivals June 27; Departures July 1.)
Please send e-mail of interest to me at ebb8 at, ideally by 21 April: See our post on the Digital Mitford project blog for details.

Digital Mitford

We invite you to join members of the Digital Mitford project team from Wed. June 28 through Friday June 30, 2017 for the Fifth Annual Workshop Series and Coding School, hosted by the Pitt-Greensburg’s Center for the Digital Text. E-mail your interest by Monday April 3; and send registration fee (described below) by Monday May 15.

As featured on its public website,, the Digital Mitford project has two major purposes:

  1. to produce the first comprehensive scholarly edition of the works and letters of Mary Russell Mitford, and
  2. to share knowledge of TEI XML and related humanities computing practices with all serious scholars interested in contributing to the project.

Our editing team meets face-to-face to brush up on project methods and make major decisions, and we invite participants and prospective new editors to learn our methods and think with us about project management challenges during the Coding School…

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Digital Mitford Coding School, June 25-27, 2016

We invite you to join members of the Digital Mitford project team from Saturday June 25 through Monday June 27, 2016 for the Fourth Annual Workshop Series and Coding School, hosted by the newly est…

Source: Digital Mitford Coding School, June 25-27, 2016

from 900 to 1425 xml:ids: A Mitfordian milestone

The Digital Mitford team coordinated a massive effort last fall to complete a burst of coding, in particular to finish up transcriptions of assigned letters and to research and develop new prosopog…

Source: from 900 to 1425 xml:ids: A Mitfordian milestone

Presentation for the Digital Diversity Conference, 9 May 2015

Our Prezi for the Digital Diversity Conference in Edmonton, Alberta.

Digital Mitford

Here’s a link to our our Prezi presentation for our Digital Mitford panel at the Digital Diversity Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, for 9 May 2015. This conference celebrates the 20th anniversary of The Orlando Project and the Women Writers Project, and it was wonderful for us to be invited to propose and give a panel on the Mitford project here!

Elizabeth Raisanen, Lisa Wilson, and I will co-present, and Elizabeth’s task is to introduce us by discussing how our project responds to the history of digital archives and databases on women authors. Lisa and I will discuss our project, workflow, and training methods, and show some of our data visualizations–our co-occurrence networks and mapping experiments thus far.snipviewPrezi

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The Digital Mitford Coding School, May 27 – 31, 2015 at Pitt-Greensburg: Our Third Annual Workshop

Just posted on the Digital Mitford blog: Please join us for our Digital Mitford Coding School at the end of May 2015!

Digital Mitford

Digital Mitford Workshop Participants: June 2014 Digital Mitford Workshop Participants: June 2014

We call for participants and prospective new editors to join us from Wed. May 27 through Sunday May 31, 2015  for the Third Annual Workshop Series (or Coding School) of the Digital Mitford: the Mary Russell Mitford Archive, at Please join us if you want to learn text encoding methods in Digital Humanities through hands-on participation in a large-scale digital archive project now well underway. We are happy to teach what we know and are learning, and to orient you to coding with hands-on experience on our active project as part of our end-of-May three-day workshop series.  Our workshops are held at the lovely Pitt-Greensburg campus ( during the last week of May 2015. We expect people to arrive on  Wednesday May 27 and depart on Sunday. May 31, with our workshops running during the days from Thursday morning May 28 through Saturday evening May 30.


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A Rare Photo, and New Network Graphs of Mitford’s Reading

Digital Mitford

Greg has discovered a photograph of Mary Russell Mitford in the Reading Central Library Catalog! The photo was taken by Henry Fox Talbot, and is one of a kind of early photo that he invented called  a “Talbotype”, roughly contemporary with the daguerrotype. The Talbotype is apparently undated, but it must be from the 1840s or 50s, since Talbot pioneered his photographic method in 1841. We’ve added it to our little carousel of Mitford images on the Digital Mitford project site.


I have also been working on network analysis from 88 coded letters and literary texts that are established enough for us to coordinate data on Mitord’s social network and her many and frequent references to titles–of books, periodicals, and works of art. Here are some preliminary views:




Please visit our project site page on Mitford’s People, Places, and Networks for a discussion of the graphs, and what we’re currently…

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Some Key Locational Terms and Concepts in Network Analysis

Here is my own working list of key terms and definitions in network analysis. Several of these are also discussed in the wonderfully fun Six Degrees of Spaghetti Monsters blog site, with examples from the social network of Harry Potter. This list accompanies my tutorial on Network Analysis and Cytoscape for XML Coders and my Thalaba project post, “Spectacular Intersections of Place.”

Walk—A sequence of nodes and lines—with a beginning and end point node, Can double back on itself—may not be straight.  A walk (as well as a trail and a path) has a length, number of lines.

Trail—A walk with distinct lines—no connection (or communication or link) is used more than once, but a node can come up more than once (doubling back).

Path—All nodes and all lines are distinct—No node is connected more than once along a path. This is a direct route.

Closed Walk—begins and ends at same node (loop).
Cycle—closed walk of 3+ nodes—all lines distinct—all nodes in between the start and finish are distinct (and the start node = finish node).

Tour—closed walk using each line in the whole graph.

Connected vs. Disconnected: Is there a path between all nodes in the graph? If disconnected, we can refer to components of the graph (connected units of it).

Geodesic: shortest path between two nodes. Geodesic distance: length of the shortest path. If there’s no path between nodes, the geodesic distance is either considered infinite or undefined, since they can’t be reached.

Eccentricity (or association number): largest geodesic distance between a node and any other node

 Diameter of a graph: defined by the largest geodesic distance between two nodes.

Connectivity: Does a graph remain connected without particular nodes or lines?

Vulnerability: if a graph is easily broken at a few nodes or edges

Cutpoint and Cutset—Cutpoint= node that if removed makes multiple components (splits a unified graph) Cutset = set of nodes that maintains connectedness.

Bridge: Line (edge) critical to connectedness

Centralities of Various Kinds: A Useful Site for Telling Them Apart

Degree Centrality – The most central node has the highest number of ties to other nodes

Ego Density—a node’s ties / max number of possible ties

Closeness and Closeness Centrality: How quickly can a node interact with all the other nodes? Does the node need to rely on lots of other nodes to connect across the graph, or can it get to all these nodes relatively quickly?

Betweenness and Betweenness Centrality: Which nodes are in-between other nodes—which are necessary to control or mediate interactions?

Eigenvector Centrality: measures the influence of a node on the other nodes around it–a way of studying the relative importance of nodes to making other nodes more central

Random Walk Centrality: involves starting from any node and randomly moving about—how long it takes to traverse the network—sort of like pouring turning on a tap at one node and watching to see where the water runs.

Information and Information Centrality: Information of a path = inverse of its length. “In brief, the length of any path is directly related to the variance of transmitting a signal from one node to another; thus the information contained in this path is the reciprocal of this variance. Thus any path (and hence, each and every combined path) has an ‘information content.’” (Wasserman and Faust 194)

Clique: 3+ nodes adjacent to each other—a subset of nodes, in which no others are also adjacent to ALL the members. (Thalaba is full of cliques)

Small World: Most nodes aren’t connected to each other, but can be reached in one or two steps (strangers linked by mutual acquaintance)


Borgatti, Stephen P. “Centrality and Network Flow.” Social Networks 27 (2005) 55–71.

Newman, M. E. J. “A measure of betweenness centrality based on random walks. arXiv:cond-mat/0309045v1 [cond-mat.stat-mech]  (Submitted on 1 Sep 2003).
Wasserman, Stanley and Katherine Faust. Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications (Cambridge UP, 1994).

A Network Analysis and Cytoscape Tutorial

I’ve finally completed a tutorial I’d long promised on network analysis and plotting graphs with Cytoscape, making use of the Network Analyzer tools to exemplify important concepts in graph theory! It’s probably riddled with errors, so thanks for any feedback and corrections here. It is also liberally dotted with screen captures, and I hope this provides a useful, in-depth introduction.

This accompanies my posts here on Locational Terms and Concepts in Network Analysis  and on my Thalaba Network Analysis Project.


The Digital Mitford’s Guide to 19th-Century British Postmarks, and How To Code Them in TEI

Sharing from our Digital Mitford Project Blog–a very helpful annotated guide to TEI encoding of the more challenging aspects of 19th-c. manuscript letters.

Digital Mitford

Here is a colorful, annotated series of powerpoint slides prepared by Greg Bondar, working from my notes on TEI coding, our photos of letters from the Reading Central Library (posted with their permission), and information from the canonical reference tome, Alcock and Holland’s The Postmarks of Great Britain and Ireland. (You really need to borrow the print book from a library-not enough of it is available online.) This should help us with identifying and encoding some of the more challenging aspects of 19th-century mansucript letters! Thanks, Greg!

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New Developments in the Thalaba Antisocial Network Analysis

Practical Matters: Working in Cytoscape:

See my Tutorial, An Introduction to Network Analysis and Cytoscape for XML Coders for a much more detailed explanation of how to read and make network graphs, and step-by-step advice on things you can do and try with Cytoscape’s network analyzer tools.

Sample .tsv file for import to Cytoscape:

Use import wizard to designate nodes and edges, and node + edge attributes for use in labelling info.

Eliminate self-loops and remove duplicated edges in Edit menu (or find ways to filter out unnecessary information that clutters your graph).

Use the Network Analyzer to calculate network statistics. Think about them. Choose among graphical layouts with care.

Of interest in my original graph was Betweenness Centrality of Nodes. Where does my network of places break (cutpoints)? Metaplaces were essential to network coherence.

Now, I’ve generated some new graphs to simplify our view of the places, eliminate the clutter of line-group nodes (moving that information to the edges). And I’m interested in Path Lengths of Edges (Average Shortest Path Length), and Closeness of Nodes.

Here’s a new network graph oriented to Closeness Centrality of Nodes (SVG output from Cytoscape).

I’m also measuring the Eccentricity of the Nodes–how far they are from each other, which produced a rather remarkable result: (SVG output from Cytoscape)