2016 Tool Reviews

Find three digital tools that you might use in your project. Provide a link, a summary, and both positives and negatives.  Include whether it has platform restrictions or limitations. Order the tools from most useful (the one you will demo for the class) to least useful for your project. If that distinction is difficult to make, note why.

Caroline Nawrocki


The first tool, and most useful tool in my opinion that I plan to use in my project is a software called Cytoscape. It is an open-source, Java based software for data visualization. It does not require me to learn additional languages; however, I do think it can help. However, there is plenty I can do without languages. The tool interacts with Excel or csv files–basically spreadsheets. It then takes the info I put in the spreadsheet and I choose how these columns are connected to create a network visualization. It is highly customizable in terms of how you make your design look, but this leads me to the level of challenge Cytoscape will bring me. There is a lot I want to do in terms of topic modeling and I can probably do most of it with Cytoscape. However, it is not a very intuitive software, at least not for me, so I’m definitely going to need to spend a lot of time getting used to it and learning how to make it do what I want. It does visualize the answers to my essential research questions.

Heurist Data Manager

Heurist Data Manager is an open-source online database builder. It does not require outside programming, and makes that a main point of what this is trying to do. It take metadata in spreadsheet form and puts it into a database where you can then create networks, maps, and show relationships between your data. It is customizable in the sense you can do a lot with the visualization of the data and the database adapts easily. It also works well with multiple kinds of web publishing. Like Cytoscape, since it deals with a lot of data it will take some time to get used to manipulating all of my data and messing around with the program so it will be a challenge at first. However, unlike Cytoscape, this program is less geared toward science researchers and also has a lot more helpful tutorials. It also is geared toward non-programmers. This would help visualize my essential research questions. The reason I have this listed second to Cytoscape is because I am more familiar with Cytoscape, but I am curious if Heurist is more fit for me because it is designed for humanists who cannot program.


Neatline is an “exhibit-builder” for humanities work. It does not look like extra languages is necessary to work with the software. In the situation I would want to do, my “data” would be documents that I’d upload. Then, the software would allow me to use those documents as exhibits that would have interactive annotations. It is also customizable and is meant to work as a plug in with Omeka–so I would have to use Omeka as my platform if  I chose to use Neatline. This software does not seem too difficult to use, especially since my ultimate goal with using this software is pretty straightforward. I would only need to upload the various newspaper pages I want to use as exhibits. I will also probably use this only if I have extra time to add things to my digital project. It would not be used to answer my essential research questions, but in fact just enhance my overall visual depiction of my project.

Jillian Fahy



For my website platform I am using Wix, which is an online website creator program that has many tools to generate a webpage. What I am most excited about is the blog page feature that I have been working on. I created three categories using wix for a blog to go along with my map. I have a “project blog”, “importance of species” section and “extinction spotlight”. This blog feature is a really great way to get out information and make the webpage more interactive. For creating the blog section there is a tool that allows you to generate different categories. After you have made categories you can begin building the blog by selecting a category and creating a post. As you created the posts the tool allows you to insert pictures and videos that you can embed right into the text. I really like the way the videos show up as you can play them without even fully opening up the whole post on that topic. I also used the tool to select “Featured Posts” that will show up on the side of my webpage on any page that the user clicks on. I then am able to select which specific posts will show up in this featured section. I have not previously used wix but have found it moderately easy to figure out by simply experimenting and playing around with different buttons on the webpage.

Google Maps


After meeting with John Clark I have gained a bit more knowledge on how to use google maps. This will be very helpful to my project because it will allow me to add layers to a map in order to show change in endangered species over time, as well as add a layer to show urbanization/land clearing data. Although I have not totally mastered Google Maps to date I have future meetings with Mr. Clark to continue learning it further. Using google maps I will be importing geospatial data from the IUCN redlist and converting it to KML files so that google can process it. The maps are very versatile and I will be able to hopefully build several different maps with all of the data I am looking to convey. The con of using google maps is that I will have to generate several different maps and they are not “interactive” in the way that I want them to be. I have found google maps to be very challenging so far and not very versatile in terms of formatting.




I really like the interactive maps and graphs that are generated through Tableau. They change based on where you hover your mouse and what filters you apply. Therefore they can incorporate many different features into one single map. As you change things within either the graph or the map the other visual will change along with it. I really like this feature and think that it is super cool to be able to change what you are seeing through interaction with both the map and the graph. I plan to do something with a chart or graph through tableau however that will depend on my map. I really like the interplay between the graph and table so if I do not make a map with Tableau then I may not end up generating a chart with it. I have never worked with this tool previously and have found it to be rather difficult however I have found the online tutorials to be helpful.

Mila Temnyalova

Google – My Maps

I met with John Clark, who gave me useful insight as to how I should present my map. I am able to create a .cvs dataset of my monuments and import it into a custom-created map. I will not be able to create a historic map, however, there is a variety of different styles in which the map can be presented. Regardless of similar limitations, I have the opportunity to color-code the map points. For instance, if I have a dataset of 300 monuments, the 100 demolished ones will be the ”red” points, the 10 that I will use as case studies to prove my thesis statement will be ”blue” points, and the rest will be ”white” points. This all comes with a legend, which will make navigating the map quite useful. Furthermore, I am able to give the readers more information, as clicking on one of the points will generate a photograph (if available), as well as information about when the monument was built, and the history behind it. Because the pop-up information allows the inclusion of link, for my case studies, I can include a link to a blog post, which will involve more detailed information. Overall, there are some limitations, but it is a pretty neat tool!

Harvard – World Map

Harvard’s World Map tool is one I found during my project review task. It creates beautiful, layered maps, but the tool is still in beta testing, so the developers are cautious of glitches that may occur. The fact that WorldMap is still under constructions means that I will most likely not use this tool, but I believe that when it is finished and officially ready to use, it will be like an upgraded version of Google’s My Maps. What I particularly like is the options for viewers to choose which layers are displayed: that being said, while in My Maps you cannot choose only one of the color-codes to appear (for better localization if it’s a large dataset), in World Map that is completely possible – if my viewers wanted to see the 10 blue-coded case studies that I will be examining on the map, without having to zoom in because the other white and red dots will be clouding the blue ones, this is the perfect tool.


This is an online data visualization and exhibition platform. At this point I am not sure if I will use Silk or WordPress: I feel like Silk is very convenient in terms of creating collections, maps and graphs, but I don’t find myself enjoying the design of the site itself. Although the creation of maps and graphs would be very  convenient for me, as I wouldn’t even have to embed them into my site since they would be automatically included… from demo sites I have viewed, it lacks the blog-type feel that I also want my platform to have. This seems like endless scrolling! I am currently trying to see if I will be able to create a graph or map on Silk and then embed it on another platform – but so far, that seems impossible.

Johnny Gossick

Timeline JS – https://timeline.knightlab.com

Timeline JS is a free and easy to use tool for making embedded timelines.  Users create their own timeline by filling in one of Timeline JS’s templates on a google sheet.  The data from this sheet is taken by Timeline JS and fashioned into an embeddable I-frame link.  Users can add text and embed a link to a picture, soundcloud file, tweet, youtube video and more in each major  timeline date.   Timeline JS is minimally adjustable; users can adjust height, width, set language, fonts, starting slide and more on the homepage.  Timeline JS is visually refined and very beautiful.  It presents information in a simple intuitive manner, allowing the user to add eras as well as important dates. It does not work with WordPress without a plugin and can awkwardly format text if there is a lot of text and a small media file.  This tool is easily learnable, but I still have to figure out how to customize its themes to make my project more aesthetically pleasing.  It helps answer my research question by presenting an easily accessible narrative of synthesizer technology development.

Scalar-  http://scalar.usc.edu

Scalar is a free and easy to use open source authoring and publishing platform.  It uses metadata and lets the user link any form of media or text to anywhere else in the scalar “book.” For this reason, it is ideal for creating a semi-linear narrative in which one main path is suggested but the user is easily able to navigate elsewhere.  The tool does not require me to learn any other languages, however, it can be customized using CSS and Javascript knowledge.  This option will challenge me when trying to customize my project’s theme.  In the meantime, adding text, data, and paths have been a relatively simple process.  I have embedded a timeline JS prototype into my scalar book using an I-frame with no trouble.  Scalar is great at creating a semi-linear narrative, which I have decided is the best format for my research question.  The only real drawback is the url name hosted by USC.

Souncloud- https://soundcloud.com

Soundcloud is an online platform for hosting audio files online.  It is free with a certain number of minutes online and can be easily embedded using its attractive web player formant.  It is minimally customizable, with the option of adding thumbnail images or descriptions.  There is no learning curve to this tool for me, but it will be valuable in hosting the sound files for my compositions and audio examples.

William Gordon


GitHub is a website for people to write and share code. It can also be used to host websites. The great thing about GitHub is that it’s totally open-sourced and based on the idea of collaboration with other coders—making it fit perfectly with one of the major tenets of the digital humanities. Coders make “repositories” for their projects—which are essentially folders, like the kind you might find a computer. Then, they can create branches to these repositories to work on edits for their project before they implement them into their final project. If another coder wants to improve your work, he or she can pull your code and work on it, and then send it back to you with a message on what changes they made. After that, you can choose whether or not you want to accept these changes.

The amount of freedom one can have with GitHub will also make things more difficult for me. I will have to relearn a lot of HTML/CSS in order to produce a website. I plan on making the site fairly simplistic, but it will still look nice. I’m excited to develop my skills working with HTML/CSS further, even though I recognize that it will be a challenge.


MALLET is a way to perform topic modeling. It’s the same program Cameron Belvins used when he topic modeled Martha Ballard’s diary. After getting a corpus of text, I can input it into the program and it will produce a list of words that come up for each “theme” or “topic” and the frequency for which they appear in each document. Since each document in my project will be written by a certain justice, I will be able to use this tool to see which documents resemble what theme.

One problem with MALLET is that it is absolutely not intuitive. The user must run it from the control panel on Windows (or Mac), and make all the commands from there. For someone not used to this—like me—it can take some getting used to. After running through a tutorial online from The Programming Historian, I was able to do topic modeling for the sample texts the program came with. Still, it took a bit of time to get the hang of it—and it will still take some more getting used to.


This allows the user to create interactive graphs, charts, maps, timetables and more for his or her website. I want to make interactive graphs that show word frequency in my project, so I will use it for that. To do this, I can put the data I want to use in a Google spreadsheet, put the link to the spreadsheet in the template for the graph, create the graph and embed it on my website. This site is really intuitive and, by the looks of it, easy to use. It seems like the only challenge I may face is actually embedding the chart into my site—which will be more of a challenge of my HTML/CSS skills rather than the website itself.

Tawfiq Alhamedi

Omeka is the platform I will be using for my project. With Omeka I was able to create a decent looking homepage and set up different tabs for the array of information I intend to provide. While the themes Omeka provide look a little dated, once the exhibits are created they are pretty easy to navigate for viewers which is a benefit. For my project, the first couple of tabs are to be introductory and provide background information and pictures relating to the Hadrami diaspora, Hadrami social systems, and Indian Ocean trade routes in order for users to better understand the interactive map which will be the highlight of my site. The interactive map will be made using Neatline, which is a plug-in for Omeka. Making a tab on my site where an interactive map and corresponding timeline is shown was fairly easy. However, I ran into trouble in terms of actually inputting data points on the timeline or map, but that was more due to my lack of knowledge rather than the functions of Neatline itself. Nonetheless, from the project I reviewed that used Neatline, the potential of this tool is obvious and definitely worthwhile. As I want my interactive map to be oriented in a way that places Hadramawt in the focal point, I will be creating my own map using ArcGIS and then I will import the image of the map into Neatline where it can be georeferenced. Given that Neatline offers this option, it will be extremely useful for me to convey broader points about presenting an alternate worldview. Ultimately, I think there is potential for Omeka in creating an easy to use, minimalistic website; Neatline as well has much to offer in terms of making an attractive interactive map and timeline.

Myhistro is a free site that allows you to make an interactive map, using GoogleMaps, and a timeline that is connected to the different markers you add on the map. Having both tools in one is definitely a huge benefit, especially for a free site. Entering data points is fairly easy and doesn’t require the knowledge of any coding languages. It is very easy to use and does the job that Neatline can except for being able to import your own map. You are able make markers, draw lines, and make polygons that can all be linked to a date or time span on the timeline. Pictures can be attached to these different points of data to add more visual context to the map, which is helpful. The map can easily be embedded onto a platform that the creator would like to use. While the functionality of the interactive map and timeline is useful, there isn’t much room for customization of the fonts or color way for the timeline and header, which looks fairly bland. Overall, this tool is useful for its purposes but the lack of customization is definitely a drawback.

Timeglider is another free tool that allows a person to make a timeline fairly simply with little to no knowledge of coding languages, which is a benefit. The timeline looks really nice when data points are added in, especially with pictures. All the pictures are displayed at the top of the timeline and under it are the data markers than can be single dates or a range of years. When you click on a data point, a description and picture pops up which has a nice display. While the visuals are certainly better than that of Myhistro, unfortunately the timeline is too precise and needs specific dates and hours, which for my project is unrealistic given the time period. Myhistro, on the other hand, lets you put in a specific date and time if you prefer but it also allows you to only type in a year or a time span of years if the data point isn’t as precise. Another cool feature of Timeglider is that you can alter the size of the font of an event based on how important you feel it is. So key events can be made a much larger font than other events that aren’t as important. This is all presented in a way that doesn’t get too messy. You can also alter the zoom on the timeline, which is helpful because initially the timeline was separated by days. For my project I would change the scale to decades which is most appropriate for the time period I’m covering, which I was able to do. While the display is really appealing and it serves its purpose as a timeline, getting the timeline to sync with regions and cities on a separate map tool would take advanced coding knowledge which I do not have.

Abdul Manan



A helpful, interactive timeline oriented application, Neatline offers an impressive repertoire of timeline features. The application allows one to put scanned copies or digital pictures of actual documents that are accompanied with a timeline. I deem it appropriate for my project primarily due to its uncomplicated timeline structure and the space for the visual representation of documents. Considering the translation segment of my project, the space to put up a scanned copy of original documents written in Persian is very enticing. Also, Neatline offers space to write a small write up explaining the document, which in my case would prove crucial.



Using scalar one can create a book like project which can prove quite academic friendly. Given the complexities of my project and the various layers of analyses, the separate ‘chapters’ that scalar lets one create provide a useful template to build a project on. Each of the chapters also provide space for multimedia (pictures or links or videos) with additional space for a write up, all of it in a rather attractive theme. This suites my project well in two ways – helps allocate  each political institution as its own chapter and allows space for a brief translation. Another immensely useful feature of scalar is the “path” option that allows for an interactive flowchart like presentation, I could use that to mark the political structure. The space also imbibes the feature of embedding pictures and text within the various ‘points’ on the path.



I initially spotted it while reviewing a project almost exactly like mine, a flowchart that explained the political structure of the Kurdish Government. The application helps one create, on a template, an interactive chart that is quite convenient for technologically illiterate users like myself. The classification and presentation of the chart is clear and concise. One can hover the cursor over a particular segment on the chart and a small write up appears, which I could use to explain the working of the institutions. A heavy drawback of the tool is that its free version is extremely basic with little levy to tailor it to my project. The version that could satisfy the specifications of my project requires a hefty amount for subscription.

The Realization That is Week Two.

Iran is a dense country, dense in the most endearing sense however. The more I explore the nuances of Iranian politics, history, culture, the more forceful is the realization that there is a dearth of concepts that I am yet to flirt with. The better part of my previous week was spent willingly engulfed in the infinitely deep oasis of Iranian polity. The complexity of the intersection of politics, religion and culture in the Iranian scenario is enticing . The political structure in Iran is unlike any other, unprecedented in its formulation, robust in its ideology, and yet constantly at friction with itself. At this juncture of my research, it appears to become increasingly clear that an analytical model tailored specifically for the Iranian political structure is the only way to reach the uncharted depths of Iranian political culture.

Having elaborated much on the gains of the week, I must admit to some innocent sluggishness on the ‘technical’ front. Technologically almost illiterate, I, understandably, am nervous. Particularly testing is the realization that in Digital Humanities, much like other academic ventures, the mode of presentation is as significant as the content. While writing is a devil that I have managed to befriend, technology continues to be the ‘first crush’ that is forever elusive. But I shall not surrender.

A few attempts at understanding the tools through which my project will come alive in the digital world were mildly successful. I plan to capitalize on such mild successes in the technical aspect which hopefully will culminate into an attractive, effective digital project.

Although the past week has unearthed technical roadblocks, it has happened only in good spirit. Moreover, treading in Iranian waters, I am relieved to say, our ship has set sail.  

“The Second Coming,”

After reviewing many of the poems of William Butler Yeats and T.S. Eliot, I have fallen even more in love with my topic. The theoretical conception of my authorial and influence theory has been well under way for months. Thus, I have been working to clean poems for analysis by tools, such as Voyant. Although the cleaning of work-sheets has proven tedious and meticulous work, I am excited to get the analysis. This analysis would not be possible without an inordinate amount of time that is by analyzing every work by hand. However, I do worry that my lack of technical ability may cause me to falter. However, I think that is the “fear of only empty men.” I will continue to hone my skills and develop computer knowledge. The one thing I am thinking about is whether the analysis proves my theoretical concept, or is the work of the author more important? This question and how to structure my paper will plague my mind for the remaining planning weeks. –Joe Bronzo

Reflection 2- Narrative of Electronic Music Synthesis

Reflection 2- Narrative of Electronic Music Synthesis

After researching many different forms of electronic music synthesis, I have realized that it would be impractical to include all of my findings in a catch-all timeline as I wanted to before. One large timeline with all of the researchable types of synthesis would be a huge undertaking. With the amount of odd and/or underused forms of synthesis a timeline like this would have with scattered pieces of anecdotal information and would be lacking an easily accessible “story arch.” Instead, I have decided that it will be more feasible and effective to chose a few types of synthesis that have made significant impacts in music and music industry. I will use a scalar book to portray each different type of synthesis in an interactive semi-linear narrative with each form of synthesis as a chapter, containing a digital representation/ explanatory model explaining how this form of synthesis works, a composition demonstrating the sonic character of that form of synthesis, and an interactive timeline highlighting key historical points in music pieces and music industry.

I have had difficulty choosing some of the forms of synthesis to represent in my narrative. Because I will be constructing a narrative of synthesis that is inherently incomplete, I must be very careful in choosing which forms of synthesis to include so that they represent reality as nearly as possible. I have already identified most of the types I will use because they are clearly seminal to this narrative and easily distinguishable: Analog Subtractive synthesis, Frequency Modulation synthesis, Sample-based synthesis, and Physical Modeling synthesis. However, I have a general confusion about the distinctions between Digital Waveguide synthesis, Advanced Vector synthesis (Wavestation synthesis), and Wavetable synthesis that I need to reconcile. These forms are not only similar in name but also in the sounds they create and the basic technological principles at work. Digital Waveguide synthesis seems to be closely tied to Physical Modeling synthesis, while Wavetable synthesis is a real-time form of Additive synthesis in effect. I am still trying to find the proper terminology to represent the essence of these technologies in one simplified section.

I have discovered a general trend in the most popular forms of synthesis in my research. Each popular form of synthesis became popular largely because it could create new and more realistic sounds than its predecessor. The trend is true for the progression from Analog, to FM, to Sample-based, to Physical Modeling. While electronic musicians have been known to rush to the “next-big-thing,” in recent years there has been a huge industry shift catering to the widespread nostalgia for “that classic analog sound.” The most technologically advanced form of synthesis, Physical Modeling synthesis, is used to replicate the sound of analog synthesizers in ever-increasing detail in both hardware and software synthesizers called Virtual Analog synthesizers. With the release of the Yamaha Montage and Korg Volca FM this year, the market is also moving to cater to the growing nostalgia for the FM sound that dominated the 1980s.

Older forms of synthesis such as analog or FM do not exist compartmentalized into different periods of time. Writing about synthesizers as if they exist in one singular form in one era is similar to writing in the ethnographic present in anthropology. These older technologies are integral to the current state of the music industry. Companies and musicians alike are actively searching to replicate the classic sounds of previous eras and innovate upon these technologies. I have chosen to represent each popular form of synthesis in chapters to create an easily accessible and comprehendible narrative of the progression of synthesis but this could create the illusion of each form of synthesis compartmentalized to an era. I will use the interactive timeline in each chapter to show the different incarnations and innovations of each form of synthesis up to the present in order to dispel this illusion.

Reflection 2–Supreme Court Project

As the due date for this project comes close, and every article I read opens up new avenues for research, I feel overwhelmed with amount of reading I have to do. However, while I still need to do more research, I think I have created a good outline for my project, and established the different avenues of research I need to look into. As I read more and more scholarly articles and books, I am noticing tangible steps forward in my familiarity with the names of prominent scholars and theories. These improvements in my fluidity with scholarly language encourage me to read more, and make my reading list seem less overwhelming. Overall, I think these first couple weeks—familiarizing myself with the literature and designing the project—will be the most challenging.

I look forward to building my research tools and coding. I hope to start doing that after I create a solid theoretical basis for my research and write a literature review. Of course, there will stumbling blocks along the way, but I think this process will be—for the most part—enjoyable, since it will combine a lot of my different interdisciplinary interests. It will also allow me to build skills I want to develop to produce the best project possible.

But for now—with the goal of focusing more on the tools needed to build my project in the future—I feel the need to keep reading as much of the literature as possible. While I will look into what tools I will use as part of my research process, the project’s final design will not come until later.

Reflection two

In the past week, my project has finally been taking shape into something where all the parts seem to be falling into place. By choosing my focus to be student activism as seen through The Lafayette, I have found purpose and academic placement for my project. I have spent my first week doing a number of productive things. I have found a lot of excellent primary and secondary sources about student activism in the US and at Lafayette, which has led to me narrowing down the years I plan on using.

After meeting with Diane Shaw, I also have some great resources on my hand. I have good primary/secondary sources about my topic in the context of Lafayette. Additionally, the index about the Lafayette and social-issue related articles is going to be extremely useful and gives me more time to focus on the rest of the project. From this point on, I have some clear-cut work to do. I will continue to do background research, particularly finding article on the modern state of student activism. I also want to make edits to the already created index to adjust it to what I want to focus on, and also to go through and double check the articles they included. I also will be making a modern index. I also discovered a cool tool call Cytoscape which looks like it will lend itself nicely to the type of topic modeling I want to do. However, I definitely need to mess around with it more and I anticipate that it will take some time to get it to do what I want. Overall, things are going well and I feel more secure in what I am doing and what my next steps should be.

Reflection 2

My personal and intellectual curiosity for this topic has been a strong source of motivation in keeping up with my research. There are numerous ways in which I can approach this project, and finally finding some direction by choosing a timeline has made me feel more confident in facing the upcoming weeks. In this past week I have come across tons of valuable information that is helping me turn my ideas into an actual website. Another big source of inspiration is that my research will not stop after the program is over as I plan to use this information towards a larger project about Yemeni diaspora in the Indian Ocean. For the larger project my argument will be more concerning ideas of identity and home rather than globalization, but nonetheless learning the history behind the contemporary Yemeni diaspora has been extremely useful.

The Project Review assignment was also a useful experience. Seeing different ways in which Digital Humanists organized their information and utilized different tools has made me think less about the research content and more about how I plan to convey the information. While both are important, I feel that the visual data–especially the mapping–is more important than the textual information I have been compiling. While the software I am using for my site looks sort of bland, I have been trying to be realistic given the short amount of time we have left. For the next upcoming weeks, I will most likely have to make more sacrifices for the sake of time, but I don’t plan on letting that get in the way of creating a great project.

Monumental Reflection, 2


“Monuments are for the living, not for the dead.”

-Frank Wedekind

 As the second week of this journey draws near, a new question emerges on the horizon. Did the Communist regime start establishing ideological monuments within and beyond USSR borders gradually, or all at once? After today’s DH meeting, the more I think about it, the more appealing it is strive to achieve a project in which the map can track the establishment of monuments throughout the years. However, the tools utilization and coding aspects of the project will be a daunting task.

 With every new day, I am reminded of the short time that I have to work on something that is of a larger scale. On the one side, my research is not done and I have not yet created a dataset. On the other hand, I also have not chosen what tools I want to use and I have not learned how to use them. And finally, I have yet to choose the platform that I will build my project on. All these things I plan to (meaning, personally feel like I need to) sort out by the end of Week Two. On a brighter side, my research question, thesis and outline have been formulated!

It feels as though I have spent a lot of my free time on achieving personal goals that I had set for this summer (reading books and learning languages, mainly), yet I have not dedicated enough time to do the required research on the subject. That being said, I need to step my game up, so from this moment onward, I need to prioritize. Needless to say, DH is on the top of my list right now!

Last night, an Art History professor emailed me links to some useful books – tonight, I will give them a look, and I will start building from scratch.

Research Elements – Jillian Fahy

Research Question – May 26

For my research project I will be looking to investigate the areas in the U.S. that are seeing increased numbers of extinct or endangered species and trying to evaluate the causes of these extinctions. I am questioning whether or not humans can be blamed for the current sixth extinction period that we are going through now. Therefore, I will be investigating what human structures (housing developments, factories, power plants, etc) are in the surrounding area of these critically endangered and threatened areas to see if there is a correlation between the two. The scope of my research is very broad and going forward I know that I will have to scale it down to be more direct as I delve deeper into the topic.


Working Thesis and Outline Draft – May 31

Thesis: As a result of the encroachment and invasion of humans on the natural environment, through the construction of roadways, the demolition of natural areas for buildings, and the expulsion of toxic pollutants into our atmosphere, land and waterways, the world today is currently facing the next great sixth extinction period.


Introduction and Thesis

-Background information on endangered species and extinction

-Endangered species numbers and statistics for America

-Human induced climate change and other human caused problems

-What do I hope to accomplish with this project

-Thesis: As a result of the encroachment and invasion of humans on the natural environment, through the construction of roadways, the demolition of natural areas for buildings and the expulsion of toxic pollutants into our atmosphere, land and waterways, the world today is currently facing the next great sixth extinction period.

Literature Review

-Study on endangered species

-Analysis of the research/project

-Study/research/project on human induced climate change/ human caused problems

-Analysis of the human impact and discussion of the factors that may affect nature


-What projects/resources inspired my project

-How did I design my project

-What decisions and tools changed along the way


-Discussion and summation of the project

-What challenges did I face and how did I alter my project to overcome these challenges

-If I could redo or change anything now looking back, what would I change


-Final concluding remarks

-What is the big take away message

-My journey embarking as a DHSS student

Thesis and Introduction- July 7

Thesis: Ecuador, The United States, Malaysia, Indonesia and Mexico are the top 5 countries in the world with the largest number of endangered species as a result of the encroachment and invasion of humans on the natural environment, through the demolition of natural areas for buildings and farming and the expulsion of toxic pollutants into our atmosphere, land and waterways.


The earth is home to millions of unique species that are vital to the survival of not only mankind, but the entire world ecosystem. If certain species were eradicated the balance within the natural world would waver and we would face catastrophic food chain collapses. If this occurred we would experience massive waves of starvation, disease, and even death. Therefore the current sixth extinction period which we are facing is not something to be taken lightly. If something as simple as the extinction of one organism could shift the entire balance of a food chain, then measures must be taken in order to prevent such a calamity. Due to the rapid industrialization and technological revolution across the globe, we have forgotten to consider the repercussions this could have on the earth’s organisms. As the human world has begun to expand and advance we have increased our carbon footprints by expelling enormous volumes of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. We have disregarded our earth’s waterways by dumping toxic pollutants into rivers and oceans and we have cut down entire forests to build houses, roadways, farms, and factories. All of these things have become necessary because of the sheer number of humans that now have to be supported by just this one earth. There is a theory that the earth has a carrying capacity, a limit as to how many people it can support, feed, shelter, and provide for. This carrying capacity will be tested in the coming decades and centuries but not without humans further degrading and polluting the earth more in order to keep pushing the limits of how many people it will support. Within this push to support as many people as possible and for the less industrialized countries to continue to advance our earth has been taken advantage of. We are now entering into a period that could forever change the world as we know it because we are now on the brink of the sixth extinction period. In the history of the earth there have been five past periods where massive numbers of organisms, if not almost all, died off or were killed off due to some factor. In the past it has been related to weather changes, or natural disasters such as extreme weather events or giant meteors. However, his sixth extinction period is very different from the others because it has been initiated by the human interaction with the earth. It is interesting to examine the human induced factors that have brought about the endangerment of species across the globe due to the varying numbers of threatened species within each country. Although each country is unique in its topography and climate we can still makes connections and draw conclusions as to why certain countries contain higher numbers of endangered species than others. Ecuador, The United States, Malaysia, Indonesia and Mexico are the top 5 countries in the world with the largest number of endangered species as a result of the encroachment and invasion of humans on the natural environment, through the demolition of natural areas for buildings and farming and the expulsion of toxic pollutants into our atmosphere, land and waterways.

Reflection 2 – Inspiration and Focus

After the project review assignment I have definitely acquired more inspiration for my project design. Looking at other peoples maps and websites has been extremely helpful. When I see a certain tool or feature that I like I envision how I can use it and mold it for my own project. It is extremely helpful to see how other scholars have laid out their project design to assess my likes an dislikes. It is also beneficial to see not only the flaws and advantages to their design but also to see what tools they have used to generate their projects. Finding the right tool to use to create my website and interactive map are the most intimidating challenges I am facing so far. Like I had mentioned in class I am worried to choose the wrong map tool and get far into it and then realize it is not as versatile as I thought. So far I have not found a mapping tool that encompasses all of the features I would like to use in my endangered species map. I really would love to have layers, bullets, pictures, and different filters on a map that does not have too much extra stuff. I think another challenge I am facing is how I can incorporate all the information I would like to without over cluttering the map. On other projects I have looked at I have found their maps to contain too much information and they become tedious to use. I really am going to focus on making my map user friendly and not overdoing it by having too many filters, etc. I have scheduled a meeting with Professor Rothenberger in the biology department who is the conservationist who inspired me to choose this topic and she is very excited to help me and give me some more resources and ideas and more of a clearer focus. I am hoping that this will help solidify some of my ideas and inspire even some new ideas that I have not thought of yet.