Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Matthew K. Gold

Subject Categories

Communication Technology and New Media | Curriculum and Instruction | Instructional Media Design


DH, Digital Humanities, Gentle Introduction, Rails, Ruby


The Gentle Introduciton Resource (GIR) is an open-access web application that offers digital humanities researchers a malleable platform with which they can crowdsource technical material. Such material often poses challenges to the traditional humanities researcher when trying to implement digital layers to his or her research. The Gentle Introduction Resource (GIR) is an open-access web application designed to allow a single classroom or single institution to crowdsource technical information/instruction filtering out the influence of rhetorical analysis. It is written in the Ruby language on the Rails web framework. Though a GIR instance can be invoked to crowdsource primarily web-based information on any dictated theme, though metadata on physical media can be utilized as well. Initializing the GIR creates a private microblog network made up of an administrative super user, general users, and a shared datastream which can then be used to source relevant material. The GIR is also reliant on programmed constraints decided on by the administrator. Already included constraints include word count (which can be altered), set pagination, and the ability to examine output only from followed users. Topics focused on during a GIR instance can be customized and reconsidered by users during live/in-person sessions, addressing problems with filtration of big data from an exponentially growing number of users inherent in larger, open social networks like twitter. The code running the application is released under an Open Source MIT license that allows for complete code alteration with proper attribution, giving researchers freedom to experiment with the code, to add personalization, and to customize its functionality.