Getting Started

To get started, let’s look at what Python is and how you can use it for this module.

What is Python?

Python is a general-purpose, high-level programming language suitable for a many different tasks. It’s widely used in web development, data science, and the digital humanities, and it’s valued for its flexibility, readability, and comparatively concise syntax.

Originally created by Guido van Rossum, Python is named for the television show / comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

How can I use Python for this module?

For this module, you’ll probably do best to have a working Python installation on your machine. That said, you could carry out some of the instructions in the module using an online interpreter such as Trinket, or, better still, if you have a Google account, you could use Google’s Colab Notebooks.

This biggest challenge you’ll face for completing the module without installing Python is creating and running external scripts.

Installing Python

Python is free to download and use. If you have a working installation of Python on your machine already, it will suffice for completing this module as long as it’s a 3.x and not a 2.x version of the software. You can download Python from various sources. One is the Python Software Foundation. Another, recommended for this course, is the Anaconda distribution website.

Installing Anaconda has several advantages, including the ability to launch multiple tools from Anaconda Navigator or the command line, such as Jupyter Notebook. Jupyter Notebook gives you the ability to annotate your code with explanatory text, save sessions, and export sessions in multiple formats (.ipynb, .py, .html, .pdf, for example) in order to share them with others. Google Colaboratory is simply Google’s implementation of Jupyter Notebook.

The CUNY Graduate Center’s Digital Humanities Research Institute provides an excellent guide to Installing Anaconda.