2nd Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities
Monday, 02 October 2017 - Phoenix, Arizona, USA


We invite contributions for the 2017 Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities. This will be a half-day workshop taking place as part of IEEE VIS 2017 in Phoenix, AZ.

The purpose of this workshop is to propose new research directions in visualization for the digital humanities, to familiarize the visualization research community with the problems faced by digital humanities researchers, and to foster future collaboration between visualization and digital humanities research.

Despite the growing popularity of digital methods for research in the humanities, digital humanists are underserved by academics in visualization, and under-represented in visualization conferences. This is due to a number of factors:

  1. The differences in rhetorics of proof and discovery (and so differences in data culture and use) in the humanities as opposed to other, typically scientific or analytic fields where visualization research is commonly focused.
  2. The difficulty of performing task analysis and evaluation for many humanities questions, that may have no ground truth.
  3. In text visualization specifically, the difference between the needs of digital humanists (who perform close readings and critical engagements with texts) as opposed to more standard text visualization scenarios (e.g. text analytics on datasets for intelligence or social media analysis).

Addressing these difficulties requires exposure of these data issues, interdisciplinary collaboration, and steering of future research directions.

For more information, please see our call for papers.


Workshop Schedule

14:00 - 14:05 Opening
Welcome note by the workshop OC.
14:05 - 15:00 Keynote by Uta Hinrichs
45-minute talk, 10 minutes for questions.
15:00 - 15:40 Paper Session I
10 minutes (8 presentation + 2 questions) per paper, 4 total speakers.
15:40 - 16:15 Break
16:15 - 17:15 Paper Session II
10 minutes (8 presentation + 2 questions) per paper, 6 total speakers.
17:15 - 17:50 Discussion
Q & A audience driven, moderated by a conference organizers.
17:50 - 17:55 Closing
Closing note by the workshop OC.
20:00 - 22:00 Dinner
We would like to go to dinner together after the workshop. Please RSVP (by Sep 26) to join.

Session I
Session II

Sandcastles & Speculative Practices

Toward Research Thinking & Cross-disciplinary Discourse through Visualization in Digital Humanities

Abstract: In this talk I will examine the role that visualization can play as part of (digital) humanities research and related cross-disciplinary collaborations. While the potential of visualization to facilitate humanities research practices is widely acknowledged, the predominant terminology used to describe visualizations in this context focuses on their use as a means to an end: we create visualization “tools” that then can be applied to (hopefully) facilitate the exploration of humanities research questions or the communication of insights and discoveries. This narrow perspective can hamper the recognition of rich, but unexpected discoveries that are born out of synergies emerging as part of collaborations between visualization and humanities researchers, but that may not align with the initial research goals.

What if we consider visualization in DH as “sandcastles” – idiosyncratic, transient structures that, in the process of their construction, facilitate the exploration of research questions, and, in their final stage, reflect detours and lessons learned?

Drawing from previous case studies and theory, I will illustrate this metaphor further, and make a case for a more holistic approach to cross-disciplinary knowledge generation that embraces visualization as (1) a dynamic interdisciplinary process where speculation and re-interpretation advance knowledge in all disciplines involved, (2) a mediator of ideas and theories within and across disciplines and (3) an aesthetic provocation to elicit critical insights, interpretation, speculation and discussions within and beyond scholarly audiences.

Uta Hinrichs

Uta Hinrichs is a Lecturer at the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, specializing in Information Visualization and Human Computer Interaction (HCI). She received her PhD in Computer Science with specialization in Computational Media Design from the University of Calgary, Canada. Heavily drawing form fields outside of Computer Science (e.g., Design, Literary Studies, and Information Sciences), Uta’s research is driven by the question of how to facilitate insightful, pleasurable and critical interactions with information in physical and digital spaces, both as part of professional activities and everyday life. She explores this question through the design of visualizations and visual interfaces and by studying their use in-situ. As a visualization researcher Uta has been involved in number of collaborations with artists, historians, and literary scholars which have fueled her interest in the role of visualization as part of humanities research and practice. Her research has been presented and published at academic venues spanning the fields of Visualization, HCI, Literary Studies, and Digital Humanities, as well as, museums, libraries, and art galleries.

Important Dates

(Extended) Submission Deadline: 25 July, 2017
Notification Deadline: 11 August, 2017
Camera Ready Submission Deadline: 20 August, 2017
IEEE VIS Conference: 01 - 06 October, 2017
VIS4DH Workshop: 02 October, 2017


The focus of this workshop is on applied visualization in the digital humanities, as well as highlighting domains in the digital humanities with unmet visualization challenges. These applications and domains include, but are not limited to:

  • Literature
  • Philology and Linguistics
  • Art and Art Criticism
  • Political Science
  • Performance (Music, Dance, Film, and Theatre)
  • Cultural and Historical Studies

We are especially interested in a number of open questions in this space, including:

  • The impact of visual analytics systems on research in the digital humanities:
    • How can interactive visualizations support new questions, and new scales of research, in the DH community?
    • How can we encourage DH scholars to seek out visualizations, or collaboration with visualization researchers?
  • Characteristics of visualization for the digital humanities:
    • How does visualization with a DH focus differ from general research in the visualization community?
    • How do their user groups differ? How can debates in public humanities scholarship inform DH visualization practices?
    • How can we remove obstacles for humanities scholars wanting to use visual analytics approaches for their research?
  • How digital humanities research questions and tasks can push the frontier of visualization research:
    • What challenges are there for developing systems with novelty in both visualization and DH communities?
    • How do we evaluate visualizations where we lack ground truth data?
    • How can we build bridges between salient issues in the humanities (uncertainty, interpretative complexity, critical theoretical approaches) and the conceptual languages of visualization?

Based on the result of last year’s panel and paper discussions, this year, we invite contributions focused on common problems in digital humanities projects, such as:

  • Blending Close and Distant Reading
  • Supporting Serendipitous and Guided Discovery
  • Linking Outside Resources into Analysis
  • Aesthetic Experiences
  • Annotation of Resources


This workshop is seeking work from scholars in both visualization and the humanities who use visualization as part of the process of analyzing and interrogating human culture. Submissions will present original research ideas or results as they relate to visualization for the digital humanities. Each submission should clearly state its specific contribution to this growing field of research.

Submissions will take the form of short (2-4 page - excluding references) papers, falling into one of three submission types:

  • Short Papers: These submissions are meant to summarize more mature work in visualization for the digital humanities, including case studies, system descriptions, and empirical results. Of special consideration are works that highlight the difficulties (and propose solutions) of designing visualizations for the digital humanities. Applied work from the digital humanities that is highly visual in nature would also be considered for acceptance.
  • Position Papers: These submissions are meant to present viewpoints and opinions on the interplay between visualization and the digital humanities. These positions should be informed by a deep involvement and experience in one (or ideally, both) fields. Position papers should be thought-provoking but also well-supported.

Authors of accepted short and position papers will be invited for a 9-minute research presentation (including 2 minutes for audience questions). Additionally, they will participate in a moderated panel discussion.

Submissions should be in two-column IEEE TVCG format. Latex and Word templates are available at: http://junctionpublishing.org/vgtc/Tasks/camera_tvcg.html Submissions will be optionally double blind. Authors wishing to submit their work double-blind should remove author information from the cover page of their submitted document, and take care to avoid identifying information in the submission itself (e.g., references “our” work). Submissions should be submitted via https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=vis4dh2017 by 5 PM PST, 21 July 2017. Submissions should be in pdf format, clearly indicating the paper type: extended abstract, short paper, or position paper. Submissions should not exceed four pages of content.


Generic placeholder image

Christopher Collins
University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Generic placeholder image

Michael Correll
University of Washington

Generic placeholder image

Mennatallah El-Assady
University of Konstanz /
University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Generic placeholder image

Stefan Jänicke
University of Leipzig

Generic placeholder image

Daniel Keim
University of Konstanz

Generic placeholder image

David Wrisley
New York University Abu Dhabi /
American University of Beirut

Program Committee

Eric Alexander, Carleton College
Adam Bradley, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Miriam Butt, University of Konstanz
Catherine DeRose, Yale University
Angus Forbes, University of Illinois
Valentin Gold, University of Göttingen
Markus John, University of Stuttgart
Steffen Koch, University of Stuttgart
Florian Windhager, Danube University Krems

Contact for any publication-related issues: vis4dh@gmail.com