By Kenton Rambsy
On November 8, 2021 the University of Texas at Arlington’s Mavs Open Press published “The Data Notebook”. This project was co-edited by colleague Peace Ossom-Williamson and me. The Data Notebook was created to resemble an “Introduction to Data” or “Data 101,” and it provides instruction for data analytics and data visualization approaches relevant to a wide range of disciplines.
I met Peace in the Fall of 2015 at the Black Faculty Staff Winter Reception. We started talking about data and realized we shared a common frustration of not seeing enough content that dealt with Black subjects. We agreed that in terms of digital spaces and the expanding realm of Digital Humanities, Black-focused DH projects are under-represented. We agreed to set up a series of meetings over the next two years to consider how we might develop our understanding of Digital Humanities and how we could contribute to it meaningfully.
Over the past five years we collaborated on designing courses that used culturally relevant topics to encourage undergraduate students to explore an unfamiliar research methodologies using familiar topics and cultural figures. In the Spring of 2019, we applied for a UTA CARES grant to begin work on this project.
The book provides general information to offer readers an overview of digital humanities with an emphasis on data analytics. We even provide eight case studies with “how-to” videos that guide readers in using Tableau Public to create interactive visualizations. The examples serve as well-placed supplements geared towards fostering the understanding of the concepts introduced in the lessons and recognizing both the ‘hidden’ labor and the intellectual, subjective process of representing knowledge in digital forms.
Consequently, this book privileges Black conten -- a central component of this project. Thus, readers will develop digital humanities methodologies while engaging with Black Studies.