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Digital text and data processing


Admission requirements

Course open to BDMS students only.


The development of the digital textual medium has enabled agencies, companies and institutions to create, gather and store unprecedented amounts of textual data and metadata (data on data). Just as microscopes and telescopes widen the bandwidth of human perception, computer-aided forms of reading allow us to see things in these massive amounts of textual data that we could not see before because they were not ‘in the human bandwidth’. Thus computers affect what we may know and regard as knowledge. The availability of metadata fundamentally reshapes methodologies for classifying, searching and accessing texts and therefore leads to new systems for information retrieval. Moreover, metadata aggregation allows for completely new evaluative perspectives on the text-related industries and institutions. New types of text and related data available also significantly change (humanities) research methodologies and dissemination practices. Building on the first-semester introduction to the basics of digital text technologies, this course will provide a firm grounding in data processing technologies.The course will present advanced data processing techniques using various digital tools.

Course objectives

  • Students learn the history, policies, principles and practice connected to digital text and data processing systems, especially in the text-based scholarly, institutional and commercial professions

  • Students will receive hands-on experience in (textual) data processing techniques, within a framework of the ongoing evolution of digital technology

  • Students will become able to identify a subject and topic for research, to plan and carry out the necessary research and to prepare a written account, also in preparation for writing an MA thesis within this field.


Timetable on the website

Mode of instruction

The course consists of a one-hour weekly lecture for all students, followed by a two-hour weekly seminar.

Course Load

  • Total course load for the course is 140 hours.

  • Attending lectures and seminars: 3 hours per week x 14 weeks = 42 hours

  • Reading/studying the compulsory literature and other homework assignments: 48 hours

  • Concluding paper (including reading / research): 50 hours

Assessment method

Four assignments need to be made during the course. The average mark of these assignments make up 25% of the final grade. The remaining 75% will be determined by the course essay.

In the case of a fail, you are entitled to rewrite the final course essay (plus if course assignments were insufficient, an additional assignment).


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

  • Schreibman, S., R. Siemens, J. Unsworth (eds.), A Companion to Digital Humanities (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004).

  • Gold, M. (ed.), Debates in the Digital Humanities (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012).

  • Selected articles (full bibliography to be provided)


Enrollment through uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not available.

Contact details

Media Studies student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;

Coordinator of studies: Mr. J. Donkers, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 1.01b.