Digital Arts and Humanities

The “Electing the House of Representatives, 1840–2016” website offers the option of viewing a map (western half of the graphic) or a cartogram (eastern half of the graphic). Red and blue are not the only color options; moving the cursor back in time reveals, for example, the Whig Party, illustrated in orange.

What if you could look at a digital map and see how your hometown voted in the last election? What if you could also see how its voting history changed over the past century? A recent web project makes this possible.

In June 1945, Private Elias Friedensohn of Bronx, New York, was photographed while working for the U.S. Army at a supply distribution center in Paris.
In honor of Veterans Day, Virginia Tech and the National Archives will host a transcribe-a-thon to make accessible an unusual collection of wartime documents — 65,000 pages of uncensored reflections written by U.S. soldiers during World War II. The American Soldier in World War II transcribe-a-th...
Professor Amy Nelson uses digital humanities tools to teach Russian history at Virginia Tech.
In May, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a public briefing to release a new report that analyzes the benefits of undergraduate and graduate experiences that effectively integrate the arts and humanities with fields in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathema...
Ivica Ico Bukvic, seated, gathers with members of an earlier iteration of the Linux Laptop Orchestra.
Zip. Whoosh. Zip. Zip. These are the sounds of a needle moving in a vinyl record’s groove while someone moves a turntable back and forth. With a closer listen, the sounds transform into a melodic, rhythmic moment — or an evolving musical instrument. Record scratching — along with Virginia Tech’s ...
Soldiers in the U.S. Army’s 77th Infantry Division listen intently to the news of Germany’s surrender on May 8, 1945, thereafter known as Victory in Europe Day. Despite the good news, their faces remain battle-hardened, as they stand several yards behind the frontlines of continued fighting in Okinawa, Japan. Just minutes after the photograph was taken, the men were back at their posts.
“If an industrial concern were run as the Army is being run, it would be bankrupt in six months,” one U.S. soldier wrote on a World War II survey. “I think the whole nation should be asked to sacrifice as much as the soldier,” another scrawled. Still another concluded his handwritten remarks w...
An engraving depicts bubonic plague victims in Marseilles, France, in 1720
Medieval data on the bubonic plague, the gradual adoption of statistics in clinical best practices, and a social-network analysis of women’s health care across a century are just a few examples of the interplay between the digital humanities and the history of medicine. They’re also topics th...

Turning Big Data into Sound

The Cube at the Moss Arts Center
A unique collaboration between a music professor and an engineering professor at Virginia Tech will result in the creation of a new platform for data analysis that will make it possible to understand the significance of data by turning it into sound. Marking the first time a research project led ...
Mapping the Fourth of July
For many Americans celebrating the Fourth of July holiday translates to engaging in lighthearted festivities: firing up the grill for a day of barbecuing and revelry, and at dusk settling down to enjoy the twinkling of fireworks in myriad colors against a dark evening sky with neighbors, frien...
Home to one of the largest multichannel audio systems in the world, the Cube supports a wide range of audio approaches, from data sonification to spatial sound composition.
It is difficult to imagine the movie Jaws without its famous theme song. With just two alternating notes repeating over and over, becoming faster and faster as it progresses, the piece communicates suspense and impending danger. According to Jaws director Steven Spielberg, composer John Williams ...
Laptop Orchestra
What if a conductor didn’t have to rely on musicians playing bassoons and violas and timpani? What if the conductor’s very motions—the finger taps and arm flourishes—were what created the symphonic sounds? That question drives my students’ and my own passion for discovery with our unusual ensemble,...