Reflection 3

The past week has been very productive in shaping my project but also extremely stressful. For me, changing my project topic to make a more specific argument and analyze a smaller scope has initially felt like a huge compromise and limitation. However, after reformulating my argument a bit, I actually really liked the direction I have gone in of using Ibn Battuta’s travels as a lens through which I can illustrate the cultural and economic interconnectivity of the Indian Ocean world. While I was pretty excited about moving in this direction, I have faced more bumps in the road after speaking to a librarian about hashing out my argument. While the lens was narrowed, my argument was still said to be too broad or too big for a DH project and more like a dissertation. I struggled a little because I felt as though the Indian Ocean in general is seen as too big to analyze and therefore I must choose a specific region or city. This I feel really takes away from my project as the point is to illustrate a mobile maritime community that isn’t founded only in one region. However, I realized that I can still use a case study to make a broader argument about the roles of Hadramis in Indian Ocean port cities and still also utilize Ibn Battuta’s travel descriptions of these cities. After updating John Clark on this new trajectory, I felt a lot better about this switch and I don’t have to make too many changes to the map I will be creating in ArcGIS as it will mostly serve as a background illustration for information that I will bring to life in Neatline using pop-ups and the timeline.

Another positive has been that compiling data for Ibn Battuta’s travels has been far more easier and focused. I messed around a little bit with ArcGIS and was able to reorient the Indian Ocean in Yemeni-centered way fairly easily, so it seems that with the help of John making my base layer maps won’t be extremely time consuming as long as my data tables are well structured and documented. Moreover, after looking at some Neatline tutorials I can really see my project come into shape; now it’s just about executing my plan. I think my maps and Neatline annotations have a lot of potential and I have compiled a majority of my data which makes it feel more possible. I am considering learning HTML because I am not really pleased with how my Omeka site looks, but if it becomes overly time consuming I might have to make another sacrifice. Overall, I have been facing a lot of challenges both in terms of my argument and how I want my site to be built; however, I have been rolling with the punches and I definitely can envision my project with a more realistic lens than initially. I also feel that the compromises I have made will pay off in the long run and it will be something I will probably be more aware of after the fact than in the moment.

Reflection 3 — Supreme Court

This week has really made me realize how much I need to buckle down and get to work on my data collection and building the tools. I think right now I need to work on building a web scraper to get collect all the Supreme Court documents I need online, and put them into text files for each justice. I found a website in which the URL of each case mimics the docket number, so now I just need to write a code that will collect the documents. This should be fairly easy to do, but I will need help from computer science professors. However, that is what I will spend most of this week doing. Since I already have a lot of my research done and some of my literature review written (because my outline consisted of parts of my literature review), it shouldn’t be too hard to dedicate my time to building the code for this part of the project. After that, I just need to run the topic modeling analysis on MALLET—which I already did with the sample text MALLET came with. So, that should be fairly easy to put together. My goal for the end of the week is to have successfully collected by data and to begin the analysis.

Reflection three

Regarding my project in the past week, the amount of stress/pressure I feel has definitely gone up. Creating my data set has taken up a large amount of my time, but I successfully have finished creating my original 2010s index and now I just need to edit the older index. Surprisingly, the editing of the old index is looking like it may be more time consuming than creating the new one, which is a little worrying. However, there is not much I can do to avoid that besides just work! Additionally, I have gathered many sources that should lend themselves to a robust literature review. Now, I just have to write it all–which should be an interesting process. I have also started working very minimally on my Omeka site, which I enjoy because I like to design. I have been thinking that after doing my topic modeling, it would make the most to use my time to make a timeline instead of a Neatline exhibit.
Aside from the stress of the time I have left, overall, I have been enjoying what I have been doing quite a bit. Going through The Lafayette has been extremely fun for me, especially seeing what is being written about and also just learning more about Lafayette as a school. I’m a little apprehensive about using software and creating a visualization, but I have ideas for making it a little more manageable for me. Also, I decided I also want to make some graphs as well because some of the data that I want to include lends itself to a more traditional visualization. One of the coolest things though is that I put the 2010s index into Cytoscape to portray a certain visualization (because I want to create multiple visualizations) and it looks awesome and is doing what I want it to do! So I am excited.

Reflection 3 – Tools and Challenges

I have been increasingly frustrated with using google maps. The more I try to do with it the more I feel it is not going to be the path I want to take for my project. I have begun working with Tableau and using that to generate maps. I really like tableau although it is also challenging to use. At least with tableau I am satisfied with the way the map is starting to look. I have input data for endangered species from 2008 and 2015 for all countries and islands. Now when you scroll over the countries it displays this information with the percent increase for the number of endangered species. I am currently working on trying to figure out how to create different colors for the percent increase for each country. I want to code the map based on which countries are experiencing the most species under threat. So I am currently working on trying to figure out the best way to do that. In addition to that I want to create a graph that interacts with the map. Tableau allows you to do this but I am having difficulty so far generating one. I plan to keep reviewing the instructional videos to figure out how to create a graph the way I want it. The only other challenge I am facing is having too much information and narrowing it all down to be more concise. I am trying to include a human factor to show why all of my data has increased over the past 7 years so I am thinking of incorporating not only human population, but maybe deforestation and pollution/emissions data as well.