Vim is arguably the most powerful text editor available today. It is lightweight, programmable, versatile, efficient, and has been in active development, in one incarnation or another, since 1976. Most importantly, it is free and open-source software that runs on every major operating system, including Android and iOS, and can even be run remotely over SSH. It is installed by default in most webservers, and also comes preinstalled in MacOS. It is in widespread use among computer scientists and IT professionals, but remains virtually unknown among humanists. Digital humanists, who are often faced with text editing tasks, would especially benefit from the power and efficiency of Vim. The following is a brief proposal for a workshop in Vim for digital humanists. By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with basic Vim commands, and will have the resources necessary to start learning more about this amazing text editor. The workshop is one hour long, and will cover:

  • Basic movements and commands
    • Cheat-sheets will be distributed
    • Movements will be practiced with a few short games of "vim golf"
  • Applications of vim: plain text editing, notetaking, word processing, and coding
    • Cleaning up of text files for analysis or publication
    • Digital scholarly editing
    • Writing and editing HTML, TEI XML, and others.
  • Useful plugins for humanists
    • NERDTree, vim-pandoc, notes.vim, zen-coding, todo.txt, and more
  • A few intermediate techniques
    • filtering texts through external command-line programs
    • writing beautifully typeset PDF articles using markdown, pandoc, and LaTeX


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