Digital Education Resources - Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Lab

Scripting and Programming Languages

The resources here are intended to get you up and running on the scripting languages most commonly used in research. If you need to learn serious coding, you may consider taking a computer science course online or here at Vanderbilt.

To learn Python or R, check out our self-paced, online learning series: CodeGraf.


Python is an easy to learn general purpose programming language. It is broadly used across disciplines and there is a wide variety of code packages available to accomplish diverse tasks.

Python lessons page

Python resources page


R is a freely-available, open-source programming language that is widely used for statistics and data visualization. It is available for PC, Mac, and Linux. Although R itself is a programming language, there are collections of pre-programmed functions, code, and data sets called packages that can be called on by users. R can be run from the command line, but it is often used through an integrated development environment (IDE) called RStudio. RStudio makes it easy to run R commands, create scripts, and check on the values of variables.

R lessons page

R resources page


XQuery is a functional programming language that excells at processing XML. It is a favorite tool for dealing with markup systems like the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and is often used in Digital Humanities projects.

XQuery resources page

XQuery Working Group website - Currently not meeting, but you can check out meeting notes from 2019.

Other tools

Two commonly used tools that are used to facilitate programming are Anaconda and Jupyter notebooks. They are used with both Python and R.

For a comprehensive guide to text and data mining, see this guide.

Introductory text analysis with Python by JSTOR.

Revised 2021-02-15

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