Digital Humanities Interns 2023/24 part 1

Each year we ask our interns to write a blog post at the end of their time working with us looking back on their time in the DH Lab. Here is the first of this year’s blogs from Emily:

Hi – I’m Emily, a second year English and Communications student and 2023/24 intern here in the DH Lab. Working in the Digital Humanities Lab this year has been an amazing experience and one which has provided new ways to engage with my own academic and creative endeavors – my favourite aspects of the job have been developing new technical skills and getting the opportunity to support current research. 

At the start of the year, we received training in photography, photogrammetry, RTI, and eventually 3D printing. I really enjoyed seeing these skills build on each other with the progression from taking high quality images, to how 3D models can be made from those photos using Agisoft Metashape, and then learning how to use the 3D printer in the Makerspace to make physical objects from the models. Here are some of the models I made during training in the autumn term: 3D models by echircop – Sketchfab 

My favourite things I 3D printed were these articulated lizards, using multicoloured filament – these were always popular on open day tours too! 

Besides taking photos in Lab 1 and 2 to digitise a variety of paper archival collections, the projects I spent the most time on were audio and video editing. Firstly, I worked on the Cast in Stone project, editing interviews about the legacies and impacts of colonial statues on their local areas. I mainly cut out erroneous or irrelevant material from the interview audio and added title cards. This was a great opportunity to learn new software, as I had not previously used Adobe Premiere Pro, and I enjoyed getting to use my technical skills to make these interviews publicly accessible. They are available here: Cast in Stone Interviews 

A screenshot of the editing process in Adobe Premiere Pro

Alongside the other interns, I also worked on a set of interviews with Cornish farmers from the Penryn Campus archive. These were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes, which were digitised in Lab 3, and many had poor audio quality. I used Audacity to amplify the volume of the recordings and remove as much background noise as possible, which was a fun and experimental process of figuring out what worked best on each individual recording. Following this, I used software called TurboScribe to create transcripts of each recording. This came with some challenges, as the software couldn’t always accurately transcribe due to accents and remaining issues with audio quality, so a lot of manual edits were necessary. This project was a valuable experience of the many moving parts and various stages that go into audio digitisation, and how to stay organised during this process. We kept a detailed spreadsheet and notes so that the whole team working on it was continually updated. I particularly enjoyed the experimental nature of many parts of this project, as it allowed me to deepen my knowledge of audio editing and try out new things like transcription.

I have loved working in the DH Lab this year! It has been exciting to explore the wide range of activities that fall under digital humanities (alongside what I’ve already mentioned, I was able to learn about coding, handling different kinds of archival objects, and making digital editions of texts) and working with such a supportive and enthusiastic team has been wonderful. I would highly recommend any students reading to consider getting involved with the DH Lab by applying to next year’s internship or looking into HASS modules that engage with digital humanities – you might be surprised by what you can learn!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.