This course introduces participants to humanities programming through the use of Python for data acquisition, cleaning, and analysis. The course assumes no prior technical knowledge and will focus on accomplishing basic research tasks. Students should walk away feeling equipped to tackle a variety of typical problems that arise for digital humanists.

We will discuss programming and debugging concepts through the design, implementation, and presentation of small projects working with humanities data. Primary technologies and topics covered in this course will include the command line, Git, GitHub, and Python; working with data sources such as API’s, CSV files, and data scraped from the web; and basic text analysis. Over the course of the week, we will work with data from DPLA and Project Gutenberg. If the words above mean nothing to you, don’t panic—this course is for you.

If you intend to bring your own laptop, you will need to have administrative rights in order to install software. Please feel free to write us if you have concerns or questions about what that might mean – it’s easy to answer a quick email and make sure you’ll be set up for success!

Course Preparation:

We’ll be in a Windows computer lab this year. Hyperlinked are two sets of instructions – one for Mac and one for Windows. The instructions are a tad involved since this is a programming class, but nothing that we can’t handle together! Get in touch if you run into issues, and please try to take them for a spin sooner rather than later. And if you don’t have a laptop no worries! That’s why we have a computer lab.

You’ll need administrator access to your computer. This isn’t usually a big deal if it’s a personal laptop, but if you’re using a work laptop you might have to talk to IT to make sure that you have the ability to install things on it.

All of our course resources, exercises, and slides are at We’ll point you to some of these materials throughout the week, and you’ll also have them after the course is done.

Slides for the course are at

We’ll be using Python 3 in the course, but don’t worry if you don’t know what that means just yet.

You have absolutely no work to do in advance of the course. But if you feel that you prefer having a little time to do prep ahead of time so that you won’t be hanging on too tightly during the course you might check out the appendix and first 8-9 exercises available at

Course Website


1130 University Library