2017 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.

Camilla Samuelsson

Google My Maps *

Google My Maps is a mapping tool that allows users to create their own maps by inputting their own data. The description page includes a step-by-step process of how to create a map, starting by adding a title, description, and then adding layers either by drawing them onto the map or importing data. This can be done using Microsoft Excel or other software. This tool appears to be relatively straightforward. I am not sure where I would receive information about latitude and longitude, but using addresses from different places in the cities I am researching in Sweden, I might be able to make a map showing Sami institutions, if I decide to get that detailed with my mapping. Either way, this tool is usable with Scalar and the map can be presented on a web page that I create, helping compliment my work. But I can also use it on its own, potentially zooming in on cities and providing descriptions of different city features and institutions through pop-up areas on the map, labeling different themes that way. This would remove certain parts of my idea, such as symbolic Sami identity, and would focus more on how the city represents Sami culture and on quantitative data, rather than qualitative data. I do not fully understand this tool yet. I do believe that it will take a lot of time to learn and will challenge me, especially in determining what to put on the map and how to get it to where it needs to be. Still, since Google Maps is already pretty detailed on its own, addresses and designated areas located through my research on these cities may be easier to input on this than on a tool like ArcGIS. I think that the difference is that on Google Maps, I can layout different places on a map and structure them to show recurring themes and importance, whereas on other tools the features can get more advanced and represent space over time and require programming skills that this tool does not require. The tool is not very customizable, as it is mostly data visualization, but different layers can be added. Using color coding and a side bar I can customize the representation of my data, but the map’s appearance seems to be pretty standard to what a Google Map looks like. https://www.google.com/earth/outreach/learn/visualize-your-data-on-a-custom-map-using-google-my-maps/

Scalar 2

Scalar’s goal is to expand “visual practices” and work with scholars to create media platforms and scholarship. Scalar is a template in order to create a “book” but from what I can tell from projects I have seen and reviewed, it appears to be a blog-like webpage with a lot of different uses available. It can allow me to visualize my ideas and expand on them through mapping, displaying images, and displaying my data in order to create a comprehensive site that is understandable and accessible to my audience (which I still haven’t determined). The Overview states that it is “as easy as blogging.” As someone who has worked with a few blogs over the past 10 years, I think this tool will be workable. The tool has built in tools to complete parts of the project such as annotating and embedding media content such as video, audio, and images. There are two forms of structure: paths and tags. Paths create sequences of content that work linearly, meaning that they connect one after the other. Tags are not linear, but group content. Tags are probably going to be my focus since my content will be series of images and other media that display Sami life, but that do not necessarily have a linear pathway.

I created an account on Scalar, and the page that popped up immediately directed me to create a new book. There are steps clearly displayed as to how to design a layout, create pages, and add media. It might take me awhile to figure out an efficient way to work on a book. As of right now, I think this tool aligns well with my research question. With a goal of visualizing Sami urban culture, using tags and basic Google Mapping (a challenge in of itself, in my opinion) to display my findings and represent the different Sami populated cities.


ArcGIS is a digital mapping tool that can be used to analyze maps and visualize different events and places that have happened/are happening around the world. On the lesson page, users can learn how to make cartographic creations, analyze businesses, and analyze statistics. Lessons can help a user get familiarized and get started. For example, a lesson on ArcGIS online teaches mapmaking through exploring Hawaiian volcanoes. In order to use this tool, I would have to learn how to add layers to a map, add data to a map, and form pop-ups to make the map interactive and informative. While originally I had intended to use ArcGIS to create my project, my research question has changed from displaying migration overtime to analyzing city Sami communities. Therefore, GIS may not be the most useful tool for me, but could potentially assist me if I decide to make my mapping component more detailed. This depends on what kind of data I find on the cities I am exploring in Sweden. If I find data that can be displayed in a map—maybe as a way to explore the cities through maps—then this tool could be useful, but I am thinking that a webpage with mixed media and exhibits is more related to the goal I have in mind. I think that this tool would take a lot of practice as well, as I have never mapped before. Since my mapping goals at the moment are small and just a fraction of my whole project, I may benefit from using another tool instead. Still, I see that ArcGIS has many different layers to it and what seems like endless possibilities and ways to use it.

Tedi Beemer

Scalar- http://scalar.usc.edu/

Scalar seems to be more in line with what I’m looking for in a website-design tool. The program doesn’t require the user to build from scratch or to learn a coding language, which is a feature that I really appreciate. The site is incredibly customizable and allows the user a wide range of choice in deciding how to represent their data. Naturally, there are more restrictions in this format since there’s less building and more designing, but I don’t find these limitations to be hindrances, but rather allowances—letting me pick from prearranged formats is simpler for me, the designer, and I don’t feel incapacitated by the relatively limited choice. I say relatively limited because, of course, Scalar still presents a plethora of options for customization. My debility with internet/web design leads me to predict that this tool will still challenge me, though less so than learning to code would. I don’t have a full understanding of this tool; in fact, the cornucopia of options on Scalar overwhelms me, so I imagine that I could master this tool with a little more investigation.  This tool would not help me answer my essential research question but would help me present my essential research question in the way that I desire to. What I like most about Scalar is the emphasis on publication of e-books; my ultimate project goal is to build an e-book/web documentary.

Positives: This format allows for a high degree of customization but provides preset formulas for those unfamiliar with coding and allows for research to be presented in a chronological/narrative format.

Negatives: The user doesn’t get complete control over customization, the URL must be prefaced with a Scalar tag, and the e-book format may not be right for every research project.


WordPress- https://wordpress.com/

WordPress is fundamentally more similar to Scalar than to Thimble; WordPress doesn’t require the user to code, but rather presents them with preset formats and formulas for ease of editing and design. This tool interacts with data in a similar way as well, by allowing the user to present their data in a method of their choice. Though neither site helps to answer an essential research question, the site presents important information in an aesthetically pleasing and customizable fashion. This tool may challenge me slightly less than Scalar, since I do have experience using similar sites like Wix. One crucial difference between the two sites is presentation method. Scalar sites, self-designed “e-books” allow for a more fluid, narrative style of research delivery than WordPress, which is better for more stagnant projects, ones which require less emphasis on the chronology of information. While I think that Scalar would be ideal for my DH project, I can see WordPress being far better for an online shop, a restaurant, or a small business. While Scalar gravitates towards research and academic products, WordPress is less specific and more general. The broadness and genericalness of WordPress makes me think that Scalar would be more suited for the type of research I’m doing and how I want to present it. WordPress, however, has no evident gaping flaws, and may be perfect for someone with a different project or vision.

Positives: Allows for a high degree of customization, great aesthetic appeal, very easy to use and edit.

Negatives: Limited to preset themes with user modifications, static method of presenting information, widely-used, big limits to what is customizable.


Mozilla Thimble- https://thimble.mozilla.org/en-US/

Mozilla Thimble is a website building program and a self-described “online code editor.” I selected to review this tool because I want to build a website for my project. While I like the amount of choice that this site allows for users, building a website is really only feasible for those comfortable with CSS, HTML, and Javascript. I felt out of my league attempting to create a website with this tool because of my little knowledge of coding language and script. For someone with a background in any of these languages, or the patience to complete complicated tutorials, this would be a great site to build a website (almost) completely from scratch. Since I admittedly place a lot of emphasis on website aesthetic, this is probably not the tool for me. If you’re looking to dabble in coding, want the challenge of building a website from scratch, and are somewhat apathetic about your site’s visual appeal, then this could be the tool for you. After all, the information on a site is far more important than the site’s aesthetic, and I acknowledge that my emphasis on site design is somewhat frivolous. Learning this tool would definitely be a challenge; for me, I feel as though it would be a challenge too great, as I would prefer to focus my energy and resources on researching my topic rather than acquiring coding knowledge. Any quandary or qualm I have with this site is purely due to my belief that this tool would be ultimately unhelpful in designing my project; otherwise, I find the site to be well-designed, easy to navigate, and ultimately appealing.

Positives: Almost full control over website design, lengthy tutorials that actually teach how to code, project will be entirely unique.

Negatives: Must code to use, websites start essentially from scratch, requires great effort to design even a primitive site.

Maria Ahmed 

Omeka*: http://omeka.org/

Omeka is open source software that allows you to publish and upload data as exhibits. With in Omeka, there are different plugins that you can use. I want to use Neatline for my project. Neatline is exhibit builder that allows you build interactive maps, annotate images/maps and use collections from Omeka exhibits. Neatline makes it easy to tell a story and makes it easy for users to interact and follow the story visually. I want to use this platform to share the stories and the movement of some Somali refugees in the US.

Positives: you can upload data for example I can upload exciting maps, so I don’t have to use the default maps in the site. You can annotate documents, so your visual map has information it needs.

Negatives: when you are using the maps in Neatline, you can search for location, you have to manually find the place you want on the Map. This could be hard especially if you don’t know where the exact location is.


Google My Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/d/

Google my maps is a mapping tool that allows users to create their own map with the information or data they collected. You can add locations, name and lines to connect two or more places. You can use to see the distance between places too. I could use this tool to plug in the location that Somali refugees are moving to and from. It is very easy tool to use and to customize so it will be helpful I want to make my own map and upload it as exhibit in Omeka.

Positives: very easy to add data layers, so you can make it as detailed as you want.

Negatives: So far I don’t think you can annotate on this tool. For example, when I connect two locations by a line, I can’t write if the line means people moving in or out of Maine. May be there is a way, but I could not figure out so far.

Zee Maps: https://www.zeemaps.com/

Zee maps is tool that allows you create interactive maps from data stored in Microsoft’s OneDrive spreadsheet. The site has pictures that work you through how to attach your spreadsheet to your Zee map. It is east to follow the directions. If I collect large data that would need spreadsheet, this tool will be useful for my project.

Positives: Updates maps as whenever you update your spreadsheet as long as the location and the name of your spreadsheet stay the same.

Negatives: if you change either the name or location of your spreadsheet, you have to delete all the data on the map and reattach if you still want it to automatically update itself with new data. The basic version of this tool is free but the professional version, you have to subscribe monthly.

Daniel Gonzalez

Esri ArcGIS Online/ArcMap

ArcGIS is a geographic information system (GIS) for working with maps and geographic information. It is used for creating and using maps, compiling geographic data, analyzing mapped information, sharing and discovering geographic information, using maps and geographic information in a range of applications, and managing geographic information in a database, according to Wikipedia. Esri in general has a huge array of tools for mapping and for analyzing geographic data in general. ArcGIS is the one I am already using to compile and analyze my data. The other GIS system that is commonly use is QGIS which, unlike ArcGIS, is free to use. Luckily, we have more of Esri’s products on Lafayette’s computers, so price is not a problem.

In general, I think that understanding GIS does have a bit of a learning curve. There are certain things you need to learn before even beginning to manipulate the data. For example, maps in general aren’t real representations of the data that is stored in them. This is simply because you can’t turn a 3D shape- the earth- into a 2D projection without expanding or compressing certain pixels or areas of the earth. So that means that every 2D map that exists uses a specific projection. The first famous projection was the Mercator’s map. However, the most common is the 1984 map. This map is identified with the EPSG map code 3857.

Furthermore, it’s necessary to understand the files that ArcGIS uses. They use .shp files which are saved as a .zip and are themselves comprised of other files (.dbf,.prj.shp.shx). There are other aspects needed to understand when thinking about ArcGIS. Layers are a good example of this. They basically tell the computer how to understand the files.

There are other aspects to consider when even putting maps online. For example, rendering isn’t the same with vector data as it is with rastor data.

In the end, I know I’m using this tool for my project. The real problem is when I have to combine the desktop version with the online version- it adds some complications to data analysis and access.

ArcGIS Story Map

Esri Story Maps let you combine authoritative maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content. They make it easy to harness the power of maps and geography to tell your story. There really isn’t much to say about this application other than the fact that it basically lets you embed your own maps into it. The layout is alright- it seems like there isn’t as much flexibility as I had originally hoped for. I’m somewhat disappointed after exploring it but maybe I can come up with new and creative ways of using the software.

It’s pretty simple- it reminds me of wordpress in a way, as it lets you choose from a number of possible layouts and themes. Then you can choose how you can incorporate each part of your project. Swipe left, right, up down, click, etc.

From what I see, there really isn’t much complicating coding to be done- though I will need to pick up some skills in terms of encoding where and what I want to put on the website. I’m not sure how it is done yet. In the end, I think I’ll use this just because it meshes in well with the ArcMap, but if I weren’t using ArcGIS I would probably use a different tool like Timeline.

Esri CityEngine

This is definitely the feature that seems the most visually exciting, but unfortunately won’t be used in my project. Furthermore, it hasn’t been downloaded onto Lafayette’s computers even though we have the data and resources for it (and the license).

Esri CityEngine is a 3D software developed by Esri which tries to look at cities and urban environments. It looks in detail at the structure of cities. It manages many aspects of the environment, including the terrain. It has a ton of uses, but the learning curve for this software is also high. There are a lot of coding languages you will need to use to be able to understand and use all of its features. This includes python and java, I believe.

However, the pros of this product are endless. If you look at the videos on their website there are a ton of things you can do with 3D models of a city. From transportation to zoning, this is the tool to use for a utopic representation of a city.


Jovante Anderson



I really liked the layout of TimelineJS because of how user-friendly it is which is possibly why it is so widely used by media outlets such as CNN, TIME, and Mashable.  It is also free which makes it more accessible than many other tools.  Created by Northwestern University’s Knight Lab, TimelineJS is generally used for projects that require a storytelling format which can be an advantage or disadvantage.  For example, it would work to examine the history of the Civil Rights Movement or the story of the journey of undocumented immigrants into the US, but may not be as useful for talking about folk songs in the Caribbean.  TimelineJS can pull in media from a variety of sources. Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Dailymotion, Google Maps, Wikipedia, SoundCloud, DocumentCloud among other platforms.

Another advantage of using TimelineJS is that it allows more than one user to edit as the project is being compiled which allows for the kind of collaboration for which the Digital Humanities advocates.  However, creating the platform is very time-consuming because you have to manually input all the information into a Google spreadsheet so it does not seem to be very suited to inputting large amounts of information.  You also have to be proficient in using Google spreadsheets.  Another benefit, however, of TimelineJS is that you don’t run into copyright issues because it allows you to use material from other platforms while giving proper credit to them.



WordPress is an open source website creation tool that allows for easy blogging-style input which means that its formatting is accessible to many people.  It seems that you need to have little to no prior knowledge, like coding, in order to use this tool.  Editing is also very easy.  However, if you are looking for flexibility in building a platform, WordPress is not the most appropriate tool since it has a relatively set structure for your website creation.  I was also reading (though I don’t quite understand) that creators might encounter copyright issues in that the website will protect the content, but not the ideas or concepts presented.

It is also easy to review how users of your website are receiving your content by allowing for comments on the page and it also allows for you to filter comments should you need to delete inappropriate comments or not approve them in the first place.  You may also be able to see many different editions of your work since each draft is saved and this would allow you to return to a former version of your work if necessary.  In line with that is the ability to not only save drafts, but to save content and schedule for it to be posted at a later date.  I like the simplicity of WordPress the most and I like that I might be able to post essays and larger bodies of work on it and I’m still back and forthing between this tool, Scalar and TimelineJS (though the order I’ve placed them in is my order of preference currently).


Scalar is also a free open source website creation tool that I like especially for how fairly sophisticated its websites look.  You can also easily embed media alongside, for example, a YouTube video, rather than above or below the written content.  It allows for you to link to media from other platforms (in a way that is similar to TimelineJS).  You may also make annotations, especially if you’re working with content on which you want to deliver commentary.  Similar to WordPress and TimelineJS, the site does not require you to know how to code and you are basically building your website from a generic structure, though it does allow you to choose from a variety of options to customize particular aspects of your website.

I also like that it allows for user feedback, as I had said in my reflection, because I really want to be engaging in dialogue with my users, particularly those who regularly engage in working class Jamaican dancehall spaces.  Admittedly, though, this is tool with which I’m least familiar and I’m still trying to learn how to maneuver it.


john rodriguez

  1. Ghost (https://tpab.ghost.io/ghost/2/)

This program is useful for joint projects and people that know how to code. The program allows one to make several pages, almost like Scalar. However, each page is noted as a blog, a term that implies authorship is not to the highest degree. One can edit images into the background while text takes over most of the page. Granted I do not know how to code, I like how the software provides two screens for editing purposes so that one can see the result of the coding, rather than having to go back to the actual post to see the results.

Personally, the tool is not aesthetically pleasing because the final product seems to have too much space on the page. The text is too centered, and I could not find many options to change fonts. Also, there is too much emphasis on the project being a blog. I feel the tool should be left open for interpretation, in terms of how the software is used, because the potential of the programs extends past being a blog. In regards to technical critiques, I feel that navigation between the editing and publishing is very confusing and needs more work. The free trial is cool, but it is not worth paying for a subscription.


  1. TEI/XML (http://www.tei-c.org/Support/Learn/tutorials.xml#tut-gen)

This software is another great tool for people that know how to code and want to do textual analysis. By coding and editing the language within the text, one can extrapolate points without straying away from the page. From the examples shown, with the program, one could literally highlight aspects, figurative language, disturbing phrases, etc, of the text to draw the reader’s visual attention. If needed, one could even track how many times a phrase is repeated by highlighting one term, rather than tediously counting each time the phrase is mentioned.

I do not have any negative statements about the software because I am not an experienced coder and do not have any hands-on experience with the system.


  1. Timeline JS (https://timeline.knightlab.com/)

Out of the three that I have found, this format is the most aesthetically pleasing. I enjoy that the program gives the chance to visually follow the project, while providing core details in a succinct place. Granted my project would be better presented on a different surface, I find that this software succeeds in presenting the material in a fashion that combines text and photos.

A drawback is that all the information needs to be inputted manually. Also, knowledge of Google Spreadsheets is needed, which serves as another drawback. It is almost comical that one would need to learn another software in order to manage this software. However, the final product is amazing and seems to be worth the time and effort.


Ben Minerva


Odyssey is an online mapping tool that allows users to create clear and easy to use interactive maps that tell stories. Users have the option to pick from three pre-constructed templates that each tell the story in a different way, or to create their own template from scratch. After choosing a template the user can place pinpoint in custom location and fill in text and add images for those particular marks. For each mark, the title, text and image are customizable. The only other customizable component is the aesthetics of the map, which offers only three different options. Despite the limited actions afforded by Odyssey, the execution is clear and concrete. It is easy to fill in information and it looks well done. For advanced users who are familiar with Java, Odyssey offers many more customizable options as well. But for beginners it is a good option for easily creating a clear map with marks supported with text and media.


TimelineJS by Nightlab is a tool that allows users to easily create timelines by plugging in their own unique data into a google spreadsheet template provided by the website. The template has columns and categories already set out, so in that way the tool is limited, but this also makes it easier to use and the construction time more precise. The pre-designated columns are for start date (separated into year, month, day and time), End date (same deal), text, and media. In each of the columns, all the user has to do is input the information into the spreadsheet where each row is one event or mark on the timeline, and fill out however they feel fitting. Of course the content for each timeline created will be unique, however the only place to customize the look of the timeline is through the media column. TimelineJS can pull a selection of media sources including flickr, google maps, youtube, vimeo and a few others that allow the user to add different dimensions to their project, resulting in more unique and varied results. However, the selection of media outlets that the user has access to is still quite limited, so the customization is only modest at best. Once the user has finished inputting their data, they can publish the spreadsheet to the internet and the final result will be a well organized interactive timeline.


StoryMap JS requires users to sign in using their google account, but once they have signed it, they have access to an easy to use timeline/mapping tool. The map is built into the system, all the user has to do it create slides and provide information. For each slide, the user is given a pinpoint that they can drag to location on the map, or can search existing place names and position the point that way. In a addition to adding a headline and text for each mark, the user can add media through a URL or by uploading an image to make the slides more dynamic and engaging. Despite the options to input unique texts and images, the customizable options are limited, especially considering that the map that the story is on is already provided.

One thing that I thought was problematic about the mapping tool is that the viewers do not have an option to view the map in its entirety. Even when you click on “map overview” a portion is still covered by the “start exploring tab” Additionally, the only way to proceed through the map is linearly. This limits the type of project that can use StoryMap JS. For my project this might not be useful because I will most likely not track the story of the Jews in a linear fashion, but rather compare two locations from the same general time period.

StoryMap JS is very singular in its usage, with few options to customize or make differentiate projects. However, it is very easy to use, and for the right project, this tool is a good option.

Idil Tanrisever



Using scalar, you can create a digital book. It is a free platform created by USC and you can just create your own website by signing up. In the digital book, you can create a gallery, map, timeline or different platforms to present your data. It is really easy to use and there is no need to know how to code. You can also customize the website, add chapters/tabs, have data visualization or just customize each page within given models. Another cool thing about Scalar is that you can transfer media from other platforms such as Omeka, Youtube, Vimeo, etc. and when you transfer media, the content comes with important information about the date created, resource and such. This makes everything so much easier, because when you create a timeline or a map, the content is automatically placed whatever category it belongs. There is also a bunch of different ways to organize the content, so your content can be complicated but still organized. Downsides of Scalar is that there isn’t much flexibility if you aren’t willing to code, so you have to stick with guidelines and I couldn’t figure out how to add data or connect Tableau or another data visualization platform to Scalar.


Tableau is a data visualization platform where you can import a dataset and play with it using different data visualization concepts. It makes it so much easier to understand data by having different options to visualize it. It is adjustable to different data types whether it is a spreadsheet, database or big data. You can also combine data to compare two different datasets. You can also share your graphs and dashboards online so that others can access it. Since I will use and compare data in my project, I think Tableau would make it so much easier to see different trends, similarities and contrasts within datasets. I am not sure if I can use the dashboards and graphs I create on Tableau on other platforms and as I tried to download the free trial I came across issues, but I definitely want to try using this tool.


I used Omeka in one of my classes the passed semester and we created an exhibit on the sites in Easton. I liked using Omeka, because all the images we uploaded we put in the description, date, resource, author and all known information. This way it is really organized and if you want to use the items, it is really easy to organize them since all the information is put in the first place. Something else I like about Omeka is that once you create a collection, you can also create pages where you analyze items, so it is not just a gallery but it is more like a gallery with analysis of items in it.

Understanding Stratification Geographically

Wading through digital projects and readings, where are you finding your inspiration? What parts of things you’re reading and seeing resonate most with you? Where are the gaps in your research and what are you still looking for? What are your thoughts as you get started

If there is one thing that needs to be constant during a project, especially a self-guided one, it is the inspiration behind what you’re doing. Without inspiration or purpose, it makes no sense to construct anything. As such, I am happy to still feel inspired by the complexity of my home city. Socioeconomic stratification, as used in the Colombian context, is not a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, Colombia is the only country (as far as the research I’ve seen) that uses a system of taxing public utilities by socioeconomic division. In my mind, this makes it even more important to research.

I’m at a crossroads however, in terms of what I want to research. As of now there are two questions I’m thinking of answering. The first is related to the representation of stratification. In other words, what stratification looks like in the city. This first approach would be more specific to individual stories of buildings and specific areas of the city. Things I would include here are comparisons between different strata levels, a historical explanation of where strata came from, and whether or not strata are ‘good’ for urban development and its original purpose of taxing differently for different people depending on where they live. The way I would portray this is through Story Map, an ArcGIS software. It would be based on the story I wish to tell, incorporating an interactive map with a user-friendly explanation, based on source heavy material.

The other approach I have is looking more towards the social justice area of stratification. In other words, how is living in strata 1 different from strata 6, quantitatively. This seems to me, I admit, more interesting, but also more difficult to research. This is because to quantify this I need more background on GIS and data gathering. Examples include accessibility to schools, police stations, etc. I’m not sure how this would look like in terms of a deliverable. I can see it as an article but not necessarily a technological tool. So the question I would have to answer is ‘what would the user be doing? What would they interact with?’

One thing is certain however- 3D mapping seems to have slowly grown out of the picture. Esthetically, it would be great to use 3D mapping. Unfortunately- it takes too long (we don’t even have City Engine installed in our computers, which was surprising). Also, I really don’t think there is any value added. The things I can show with 3D mapping can easily be viewed through pictures on google maps. Although I really wanted to use it, I simply can’t find a way to incorporate it without it being a hassle and not a tool. I’m not ready to completely take it out of the picture yet.

As of now, there are still a lot of unknowns in terms of the data I can gather and use. I’ve been hard at work trying to gather data from a government site. Unfortunately, we have kept running into roadblocks with the people who are helping me out. The ability to access this data is what is going to shape my question and the approach I’m inevitably going to use. Currently, Professor Gallemore has run a code to gather the Object ID’s for polygons that described stratification in Bogota. However, some seems to be missing. Even finding this data has been hard, considering that the government has been apparently moving information around and shaping it to their own use. This is both surprising and exciting. It’s surprising because I really didn’t think that the government would even be looking at this type of thing but they are! They created a department called IDECA and its focused solely on geographical mapping of Colombia. It’s pretty cool- if you want to check it out.  It’s also exciting because it means that the Colombian government is working on the same thing right now. For example, the first day I went on their website I saw about 50 items being worked on for stratification. As of today, they have more than 70. I also realize how lucky I am to have the website I’m looking at – not all governments, especially in South America, have this type of dataset. They seem to have also hovered over Bogota and collected very high quality pictures. One thing to keep in mind however, is that it took a few hours to even find this website; you’d be surprised what you can find on the web!

So the real question is: what are the following steps?

First, I really need to start reading a lot more about the topic. This type of stratification isn’t a thing anywhere else, so instead it’d be a good idea to look at Urban Inequality. To this end I have a few readings printed that I’ll start considering. Furthermore, I also think that I need to start creating a historical sense of stratification by looking at the law passed by congress that created stratification as a possible system. If possible, it would also look at why the government considered the law to be necessary. Was it a push, right after the end of the Cold War, for socialistic tendencies. Or was it the influence of the new constitution and the socialist members that composed it? Second, I need to find the data I’ve been looking for. This data is on the website but I haven’t been able to export it. Third, I need to decide how my user will experiment with my tool. Do I want them to interact with it, or should I tell them the story? (a possible side thought- how about a video?)

We, as scholars, are making progress- though I feel as though we’ve all been isolated in our readings. I think once we have a clearer direction, we will also come together more to tackle all the tools we need to make our projects a success.

Here’s to a good week one.

Fighting in Outer Space is Hard, Y’all

Wading through digital projects and readings, where are you finding your inspiration? What parts of things you’re reading and seeing resonate most with you? Where are the gaps in your research and what are you still looking for? What are your thoughts as you get started?

Y’all, grappling is an understatement.  Imagine me on Mars fighting a muscular, hungry grizzly bear that voted for Trump and then you’ll get a better idea of the kind of struggling in which I’ve been engaged for the past couple days.  I don’t know if I’m winning this fight, but I do know that the more I wrestle with some of the questions of my research is the more I feel encouraged to refine my scope, particularly because of the readings I’ve done and the projects with which I have engaged.   Due to lack of resources, my project has changed shape and will no longer examine folk songs (though I will be taking that project up very soon in the future), but rather, I will examine dancehall, a vibrant genre of Jamaican music and I have been particularly influenced by the readings I’ve done.  Most prominently, Carolyn Cooper’s Sweet & Sour Sauce: Sexual Politics in Jamaican Dancehall Culture, Donna Hope’s Man Vibes: Masculinities in the Jamaican Dancehall, Johannes Skjelbo’s Jamaican Dancehall Censored: Music, Homophobia, and the Black Body in the Postcolonial World,  various readings on Queer Theory and the tool Scalar have been most useful to me in discerning the direction of my project.

Cooper’s incisive analysis on the nuanced meaning that dancehall takes on in working class communities (and how it is perceived by middle and upper class Jamaica) has especially inspired me to ask questions about how women negotiate their sexuality and claim (sexual) agency in a space that is highly patriarchal.  She challenges readings of women in dancehall (which she said are afflicted by the Western gaze) as merely capitulating to patriarchal oppression and instead offers instances in which women exercise their agency in the choices they make in the music about their sexuality.  This is an area of interest for me that I think could be further illuminated.  The contemporary moment of dancehall has seen singers like Ishawna publicly (and perhaps privately) reclaiming a sense of their sexuality most tangibly by demanding that their male sexual partners to reciprocate oral sex (a taboo of massive proportions).  Reading Queer Theory has also helped me to identify a framework from which to examine the ‘abnormal’ in the dancehall music industry and what that might have to say about the social landscape.

I’m also particularly interested in using TimelineJS or Scalar (or both if possible).  I’m still a bit intimidated by learning how to use either tool, but I think Scalar especially would be a good platform (based on what John has showed me) to post videos, links to scholarly articles, interviews all organized around my main argument that is interested in identifying moments where women have used dancehall as a space of feminist engagement.  I also like that it allows for conversation from my users because studies of dancehall music are relatively new and feedback is necessary to enhance the quality of scholarship.  I also don’t like the idea of studying working class culture, but not ceding platform for those who are most directly influenced by it to weigh in on its effects.  Scalar seems to resolve those points of conflict.

In concluding, I am so excited that I’ve come closer to the questions I want to be asking and I look forward to continuous fights on Mars with the bear who voted for Trump which will hopefully lead to much more pertinent questions being posed (and perhaps, even answered) of intergalactic proportions.


Reflection 2

So far, I have been reading Working Women in America which is about the history of women working women, women in everyday jobs and gender inequality in workforce. I also have another book Women’s Magazines 1940-1960 which is about gender roles and the popular press and that will be useful in determining how magazines were structured after World War 2.

I also have been looking up different companies’ ads over different periods and Bureau of Labor statistics. I am trying to find a pattern between different companies in similar times and the statistics on Bureau of Labor. Determining which companies’ ads to use and excluding or including the exceptions are the what I am looking into currently. Jean Kilbourne’s documentary series Killing Us Softly is also a really interesting resource about the ideal image of woman that ads create. Although the documentary series is not about working women and more about the ideal beauty, it is still really helpful and interesting.

Looking at other digital humanities projects, I really like the exhibit on The Archigram Archive Project and I want to have a similar exhibit for the ads I am using in my project. I wanted to make a timeline, but I don’t think timeline will work especially because I will be looking at specific time periods rather than a continuous period. I also feel better about Scalar and I think it will give me a lot of flexibility since I can create different tabs for different things.

I need to start narrowing down my topic, but there are so many interesting resources that I don’t know how to narrow it down. I will read all the research done and documents I found so far within this week and hopefully will come to conclusion.

I still am not sure which time periods to focus on, but I found lot more interesting ads after World War 2 than during the 1970’s; therefore, I will probably focus on ads during World War 2 and maybe a little after, since the later ones display women as housewives whereas the ones during the war portray working women. As for the current ads, there are a lot of controversial ads belonging to 21st century.

Reflection II (john)

Wading through digital projects and readings, where are you finding your inspiration? What parts of things you’re reading and seeing resonate most with you? Where are the gaps in your research and what are you still looking for? What are your thoughts as you get started.


I am finding my inspiration from this text “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” that I have been reading. Reading through Keeanga Taylor’s content is very engaging because she tends agree with most of Lamar’s points, but speaks differently about Obama and most Blacks in political power. Taylor’s work has also reminded me that I can extract readings from my past Cultural Anthropology class to discuss race as a social construct and how systemic racism keeps people of color out of jobs.

Before reading, I expected to find information that proved that institutional racism is existent in America. However, I did not expect Taylor to be so critical of Obama, in terms of rhetoric and statistics. Their arguments are so radically that I am having a tough time thinking through how I will seamlessly include this distinction in the paper.

My biggest issue is that I still need to find evidence discussing the role of religion in the black community, destructive or helpful, and struggles of complexion within the black community. Hopefully, when introduced to more Black thinkers, I will find solid evidence for those two topics. The smaller issue is that Taylor’s book is so rich that I have almost too much evidence for the other topics that I am discussing. Granted having too much evidence is not a terrible thing to occur, I will find a way to sift through the quotes I have extracted and still remain true to the point both Taylor and Lamar are arguing.

Second Reflection (Camilla)

Looking at websites like dhcommons.org, I have realized that my original goals for my project have shifted as I look to create a website rather than a digital map. I have received a significant amount of inspiration from one Scalar site called Latina and Latino Mobility in 20th Century California, which uses the digital tool to create multiple pages and exhibits depicting migration to America from Mexico, including the process of reviewing archives and sources used in the exhibits. I liked the path that the exhibits followed and how smoothly images were integrated with text. I changed my project question since my last reflection, and tools like Scalar are appealing to my new goals.

I want to create a site using a basic digital map with pop-ups that describe different communities and local Sami institutions. I hope to paint a picture of Sami life in urban cities, hopefully creating more understanding as to how indigenous communities interact with other city residents and maintain their cultures. There is a common misconception that Sami who move to urban cities are getting rid of their culture. In one article I read, Urban Sami Identities in Scandinavia: Hybridities, Ambivalences, and Cultural Innovation,” from Tromso University in Norway, the authors describe the process of Norwegianization, a transformation from indigeneity to a Norwegian life style. I find this term problematic, as Sami are Norwegian, too. Because of assumptions like this, it is falsely understood that there are little to no Sami people in cities. However, as cities are expanding, more Sami are moving to them and establishing their lives in cities. Many Sami have degrees from universities and participate in city life. Not all of Sami life is reindeer herding, but looking at Swedish legislation since the 1800s, Sweden interprets their indigeneity and indigenous rights as directly connected to a life of only reindeer herding. If Swedes don’t accept Sami city lives, then their rights become marginalized, and we lose sight of the realities of their own communities.

Constructing this project, I hope to shed light on the communities that Sami people have built in Swedish cities. I want to portray them honestly and justly. I know however, that that itself comes with its own challenges. As I am not in Sweden right now and cannot conduct ethnographic research or speak directly with any Swedish Sami city residents, I expect finding data and stories will be challenging. I have found a few websites of Sami organizations in various cities as well as a website called sametinget.se which posts news articles, has the Sami Parliament official website, and other valuable information. I will probably try to contact the people in charge of these websites in hopes of hearing from Sami people themselves. While at the moment the data I want seems a bit out of reach, I am confident that I will be able to create a project that explains Sami symbols, motivations, and communities in Sweden.

Furthermore, some cities in Scandinavia have celebrations called “Sami Week” in which Sami traditions are presented and shared with the entire community. I think this is a strong way to help others interact with Sami culture and to understand it as well as take more interest in it, but it reminds me of a piece I read this past semester in A&S 201—Culture and the Environment by Anna Tsing titled “Becoming a Tribal Elder, and Other Green Development Fantasies.” This piece discusses the fantasy that Indonesian indigenous groups have to create in order to gain legitimacy and understanding from the Indonesian government and people. Indigenous peoples struggle to maintain there ways of life as different operations attempt to take over the lands for their own benefits. As stated in “The politics of planning: assessing the impacts of mining on Sami lands” most of mining in Sweden occurs on Sami lands, yet they have little to no say in the decision. In my opinion, “Sami Week” may create the same fantasy in order to make Sami people more appealing and well understood, as well as more respected. I understand the motives, but I want to dig deeper to see how celebrations like this impact Sami culture as well as reflect the fantasies that indigenous peoples need to create. Also, I would like to understand the balance between urban Sami and other Swedes in the cities, and how they interact with one another.

I am excited about embarking on this mission of data visualization and story telling. I hope that I can be as honest and true to the Sami community as possible, and send a message of their resilience, growth, and adaptation as a people. It is important to recognize indigenous rights, and this is still a problem that Sweden faces today, despite the way that people see Sweden. While yes, Sweden is a welfare-state, it is wrong to assume that all people are equally treated and benefited. Through this project, I aspire to further understanding of indigenous peoples in modern/urban society.

Reflection 2 (Ben)

Reflection 2


Wading through digital projects and readings, where are you finding your inspiration? What parts of things you’re reading and seeing resonate most with you? Where are the gaps in your research and what are you still looking for? What are your thoughts as you get started?


My project is already evolving just from delving deeper into my research as well as looking at different, comparable projects for inspiration. Last week we had to review three digital humanities projects and through that assignment I found Mapping the Rebellion. This project is a GIS mapping endeavour that implemented many innovative ideas that I think could work very well in my venture. Firstly, in Mapping the Rebellion, the creators decided to provide information through a series of platforms instead of solely through the map. They constructed an interactive timeline, as well as couple of audio podcasts that also provide relevant information. The timeline is particularly captivating to me because it takes some emphasis off of the map. I originally imagined creating a map that would show the progression of time but I think that producing a more static map may be more feasible, but I would be able to tell the story and visualize the progression of time through a timeline instead.

Another part of Mapping the Rebellion that I thought was encouraging was that the creators’ discussion of their data. They did a lot of research on the rebellion, but instead of providing as much information as possible, they picked and chose sections of material that they believed more relevant to their argument and project. I knew that I would not be able to provide all of the information about Jewish migrations, but actually seeing digital humanists discuss their decision to leave out some of their research and to still construct a sophisticated and academic project was encouraging.

The next step for me will be to continue finding sources and refining my subject and argument. I am already starting to select certain portions of materials that I think are essential to my project but I’m a little worried that I still will have too much if I continue on this path, so determining my goals is definitely necessary. Also I need to think about how exactly I want to portray my research in my map and timeline. I am attempting to use a collection of both primary and secondary sources but they provide different types of information. For instance, some primary sources display census statistics whereas the secondary sources are usually more analytical and textual. I need to consider whether I want to provide textual data or statistics or a mixture of both and how I am going to do that. I have also found good quotations from the secondary sources that I may want to preserve and display in my project as well for they help articulate the story that I am trying to tell and back up my central argument productively.






Second Reflection

I am currently reading Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine. This book follows the unlikely story of few Somali minority individuals who their lives were demolished by civil war and direct discrimination against their people. In a small village called Banta, Catherine L. Besteman did her fieldwork in the late 1980s before the civil war destroyed the village and hundreds lost their lives.

This book follows the unlikely reunion of Besteman and few of the Banta residents who now are refugees in Lewiston, ME. As I read this book, I find myself imagining the lives of the people of Banta before things were a mess, when Somalia was stable, and recollecting the happier moments that my mom always talks about when she refers to anything before the civil war. Refugees are looked at as crisis, not as human beings that have stories, dreams and lives before the war. The more I read the stories of the people of Banta, the more I want to share similar personal stories of Somali refugees in the US. Some of the Banta residents are moving from other areas of the US to relocate in Lewiston, ME. I want to study if there is a similar trend of why people are moving away from their original resettlement homes to places like Maine.

This book is a good resource, but I still need a lot more data to track the second migration of the Somali refugees in the US. I am also not clear what mapping tool I am using to visually present my data. Those are some of the main things I still need to figure out.

As I get started, I really want to do justice of presenting and telling the stories of people, not only as unfortunate refugees, but also as individuals with passion and goals to achieve who find themselves in unfortunate situations. I hope this project humanizes the struggles of refugees and sheds some light on difficulties refugees face when they are resettled to foreign countries.

Second Reflection (Tedi)

The more I research, the clearer my project becomes, the sharper its image. I feel as though my final project comes into focus the more I twist the lens. Not to say that at times I don’t lost sight of my project completely, because I do—yesterday, I spent an hour mining television episodes, collecting useless data. But my overall idea, my overall vision, is so much more vivid today than it was yesterday, or the day before that, or two weeks ago. And it’s exciting. Exciting to feel yourself fathom something and build it. Exciting to collect clues and solve a mystery. Sometimes my project is a hovering, enigmatic orb, and today more than I ever I feel closer towards grounding it, materializing it, and making it something.

I’m inspired by the injustice of it; conversations about race, class, queerness that somehow exclude disability. Disability is so often forced to rest dormant on the backburner of progressive agendas while shouldering the burden of everyday inequality. As I progress further into the literature behind modern disability theory, and disability in film and literature, I find myself driven to support greater media representation for the 1 in 5 Americans that labor under a disability.

I find myself wanting to treat these issues with both the delicacy and the weight they deserve. I seek to straddle the line between rightful outrage and sanctimonious preaching. I also want to avoid patronizing the disabled community; part of being a responsible ally is listening to how disabled people want to be represented instead of speaking over their voices. Though I’m not sure if ally is the correct word for my role, or my intended role; as someone who struggles with a disorder that fluctuates between normally dormant but occasionally debilitating, I find myself somewhere between community member and community ally. Am I an impassioned confederate or a detached researcher? What’s my place, and do I even deserve to have one?
In my research, it’s been surprisingly difficult (and disheartening) to find instances of disability represented on reality love and dating TV. Considering that around 19% of the American population lives with a non-severe or severe disability, such a void in representation seems like discrimination, regardless of intent. Still, I’ll continue to spend hours pouring over bizarre dating show after bizarre dating show, in the hopes of finding contestants that don’t conform to archetypal expectations of ability.

After perusing various digital projects online, one in particular struck me— “The Story of the Stuff.” The format was a web documentary, almost like an online book. The design features a clean and simple text-heavy format with accompanying illustrations. I really want to model my project after the design and flow of this web documentary. I want to do a text-based narrative with chapters featuring case studies. I’m even considering doing illustrations for the online project, to give it a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing feel. I’m excited for what is developing and what is to come, though I expect it won’t be entirely devoid of encumbering setbacks.

2017 Project Reviews

Project Review Guidelines

Due: May 23, midnight, posted to the page.


Find three digital projects that are similar to yours in either method or content. Provide a link, a summary, and both positives and negatives. What did you learn from using or visiting this site that might be helpful in your own project?

In your research, make sure to look at the *about* page if they have one; many digital projects aim to be transparent about their processes.


Sites that discuss projects:



(others are assigned in the syllabus)


Questions to Consider (you do not need to answer all of these every time)


  1. What is the purpose of the project?
  2. What tools does it use? Does it use them effectively?
  3. What data sources does it use? Does it add something to the field of study? Is it contributing a methodology, expansion of access, a critical lens? Is it doing that well?
  4. How well-maintained is this project? What supports it (1 scholar, a team, a grant?)
  5. What lessons can be drawn from this example?

Camilla Samuelsson


A Digital Pop-up: Latina and Latino Mobility in 20th Century California, uses a Scalar web exhibition to present migration to California throughout history. The project uses digital archives and photographic collections from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University to build the exhibition. The Scalar site has many components comprised of a blog that discusses the historical texts with current events, as well as digital reviews, and student portfolios. The objective of this project is to open up opportunities for expression and representation for minorities in digital technologies.

This project uses intersectional research to display how the mobility of latina/o communities in California has been perceived and affected. The use of Scalar in this project seems effective, the website is nicely put together and easy to understand, but it is not super advanced in terms of display. Different links on the side panel lead to blog entries, images in an exhibition, and discussions of current events through a historical lens.

The Migrant Object Exhibit shows images chosen by Yale students that describe migrant objects that reflect their own migration to New Haven, CT. I think this is an interesting project component because it doesn’t directly reflect the actual research done in this project but They include details on the meanings of their objects, such as the Virgen de Guadalupe, an object representing how “spiritual guidance” has helped a student through protection and remembrance of their roots. The objects have their own mobility as they traveled to Yale with their students and represent the ways in which mementos support them. Drawing upon my reading of The Land of Open Graves by Jason de Leon, I understand how this exhibit of their own personal experiences of migration emphasize the paths people take. Additionally, they compare very nicely to migration across the US-Mexico border and how migrants struggle in the desert, but keep their mementos—pieces of their humanity, their families, their spirit—with them as they face the grasp of death in order to get to a better place.

The next exhibit tackles Latin@ Mobility in 20th Century California, which is the objective of the project. The exhibit moves geographically from the border to further north in Central California. The exhibit uses media objects to display important factors and migration motives, including huelgas or strikes, different organizations that developed, and maps to visualize the migration. The exhibit follows a “path” discussing space for Mexican-Americans and the approaches taken to dismantle their communities by the United States Government, as well as the development of “Chicano pride.”

While these exhibits are not perfectly clear to me as an outside reader, they use vibrant visuals and engaging discussions and captions to display the research and their exhibited objects. I think that through the blog posts, analyses of their data and objects in a review, and ultimately the digital exhibitions, this project does contribute to the field of study. It highlights transition, pride, power, and struggle, and helps me, a member of the audience, understand the significance of this migration and how it has shaped California today. As a California native, I see the spaces for Chicana/o culture and pride in my everyday life. As a Latina as well, I enjoy the presence of Latina/o cultural demonstrations in my home cities, but I also understand the racial struggle for legitimacy and representation at the state and national level. Latin@ migrants and Americans have struggled to develop their spaces over time, meeting obstacles such as takeovers of their parks and gathering spots, and fights to remove them from the country. It has not been easy, but this project really balances the presence of culture and the obstacles that the culture has faced. I think this project would be better understood and visualized with more maps and emphasis on the paths taken by Mexican migrants. There are a lot of important components to the website, but I find the order to be slightly confusing, and that it can be easy to go off in another direction than the main goal of the website.

This project is supported by Yale University through the Department of History and Department of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. Contributers include undergraduate students, postgraduates, and others at Yale in a class called HIST/ERM 129 that discusses 20th Century California and Latina/o mobility who designed the website, as well as Yale faculty. Genevieve Carpio is listed as a main collaborator, and looking her up I found that she was a fellow in the Department of History at Yale, but is now a professor in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at the University of California—Los Angeles.


The Refugee Project at Hamilton College while still in Phase-1, consists of documentaries about the city of Utica as well as accounts from refugees themselves. It has been created and worked on by both students and faculty at Hamilton College. It works to visualize practices, rituals, and cultural events that refugees partake in on a daily basis. Refugees come from Bosnia, Iraq, Somalia, Ukraine and Burma. Students work by conducting background research and filming these oral archives.

This project has many layers, from reviews of Journalistic Sources such as newspapers and television stations, as well as interviews with refugees, which inquire about employment and education, and adaptation to the United States regarding their cultural practices and traditions, are transcribed and taped to be placed on the website. The objective of this project is to expand participation and allow for participation and collaboration from various refugee centers around the world. Finally, this project involves creating short films to represent different aspects of refugee life in Utica. This site, while still in its early stages, has a few videos listed that depict refugee life. The components of this project help create a story for refugees in America. They represent refugees as members of a larger network, and emphasize the starting of a new life away from home.

As of right now, there are two videos around 10 minutes long on the site. The first one, “The Newcomers,” starts with an interview with a Burmese woman who left Burma during an attack on her village, who described how everyone fled and crossed the border to leave the country where they had no rights. She lived in a refugee camp for 13 years, and hopes to go home someday since she lost her country. Going through the process of moving from one place to another, she was still not given complete rights. In Thailand, graduating from her high school she still wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to college, and she had to keep going. As a refugee, she has been denied access to education, but the Newcomer Program in New York has given her a new chance. The video then discusses how the program finally gives them opportunity while they are not able to go to high school and not able to go to the adult literacy school—as they are stuck in a gap.

The second video, “Genesee Lights” begins with the story of a man who came from Bosnia during the war, initially migrating to Germany. The opening scenes depict the chaos and violence that struck Bosnia which I think is a powerful and necessary way to catch the audience’s attention. It shows the stories of people who migrated across Europe with uncertainty and hope for a better future in America. It describes the adjustments, the transition, and the challenge to get a chance in a new home from several cultures.

The tools used in this project—videography and oral history, do an excellent job of displaying the lives of refugees in Utica, NY. I think some shortcomings are the lack of scope to the project, as it is still starting out. I don’t feel like I have enough context, but the information is directly communicated from the refugees themselves which displays the story authentically and with strength. Using digital humanities to convey the stories of the refugees in Utica is effective and important because it increases accessibility to this information as well as understanding of what refugees go through in moving to a new country with a new language and new system for work and education. Especially in America, where refugees are frowned upon by many, these videos have the power to highlight these lives and increase awareness of their experiences.

I think this project has a lot of potential and room for growth. Its long-term goal of incorporating stories from across the world gives it a meaning beyond its smaller lens and perspective in Utica. I think that these stories have the ability to change the way we look at refugee lives and can open the eyes of audiences to the realities and struggles that these people face, hopefully leading to an end of judgment and discrimination against them, and leading to a call to action to help more people in dangerous and oppressive nations today.

This project collaborates with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, The Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center, and the Dhi Collection Development Team. Its directors are involved with the Digital Humanities Initiative at Hamilton College, are professors at Hamilton College in various fields from economics to Russian, and are directors of other projects at Utica College.


Montréal l’avenir du passé is a digital map using GIS to create historical infrastructure for Montreal in the 19th and 20th century. The project uses historical maps to represent all the buildings in Montreal during different years from 1825 to 2000. The project uses census returns, tax records, and other directories in order to populate the maps and further depict life during these times. This project is affiliated with McGill University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and la Bibliothèque et Archives national du Québec. MAP started in the year 2000 and is still going on, as researchers and project builders are now focusing on the turn of the century.

The site has two language options in French and English, which makes sense considering it is a Quebecois project. The website is simple with lots of colors, and I find that a bit distracting. On the left side the site lists information about who the people who made the project are and how to contact them. On the right there is a list of new features that was updated in 2014, so I wonder if the project is actually still going on. The site also emphasizes that this project while pertaining to Montreal, is for everyone, not just Canadians, as it goes into public history.

The site appears to have different tools to view the maps and databases on computers, but seems challenging to use and understand for people who are unfamiliar with programming and computer software.

On the Databases page there is an image of statistics from the city in 1825, but it is hard to read. Additionally, I am unable to run the programs on my computer as I run Linux and the site states that there is no equivalent for Macs or Linux that has been developed. The site definitely focuses more on its motivations and how it was built, but I am confused as to how to actually use the maps. In the gallery there are maps and charts marked with labels. For example, there is one titled: “La ville en 1819, fut-elle bourgeoise ?” (The city in 1819, was it bourgeois?) with markers regarding institutions and professions such as law, medicine, and the military. Overall, it is apparent that the site has been well made and has very specific intentions. But in my opinion, the audience feels limited despite the fact that it is bilingual. I don’t understand a lot of the terminology, and the programs seem pretty advanced. I would like to look further into it when I have more information.

Tedi Beemer

Arts of Film Archive- http://artsonfilm.wmin.ac.uk/

The purpose of this project is to provide a database for British films on art from 1950 to 1999. The database/archive intends to serve as a valuable historical source for scholars interested in British and global art. This project is affiliated with the University of Westminster, Arts Council England, and National Film and Television Archive. It gives a comprehensive archive of post-war art films in an organized and clear display.

The only tool this database uses is an archive which records British films by film ID on national and international art from 1950 to 1999, when Arts Council England discontinued commission of these films. The database is very well organized, presenting each document with a full set of relevant data (Title, Date, Director, Production Company, Synopsis, Minutes, Film ID.) The archive is used very effectively, and allows researchers to custom search by buzzwords to discover the film that they seek. The site doesn’t, however, allow for films to be sorted by detail (say, date or director), which is a feature I dislike about the archive. I think that the database would be more easy to browse and navigate if more functions were added to allow the user to manipulate the organization of the data. If I use an archive/database for my project, I want the opportunity for my data to be represented in a fluid capacity, allowing the viewer to mold the shape of the data visually while the information stays empirically the same. I want the form of my data to be malleable without changing the data itself. The ability to view data from different directions, and in different contexts, is invaluable to deriving meaningful information from that data. The tools on this project are used very effectively, though perhaps not to their full capacity.

The archive uses production companies as a data source to categorize these art films into an accessible locus. Though the source may not add something to the field of study, it helpfully collects random data into a single data. While this project isn’t groundbreaking on its own, I can see how it would assist in the research of competitive, groundbreaking projects. It seems to me more of a project tool than a project itself, but I may be underappreciating the usefulness of such a database. It expands access to art films without making an argument or casting a critical lens. What it does, it does well, but I find it somewhat lacking on the whole.

This project is not well maintained because research is not current, modern, or continuing. At the time of its making, a team crafted the archive, but it now lies dormant and unkempt on the dusty shelves of Internet decades passed. From this example, I experience a simple but successful accumulation and representation of data. While I liked the project’s simplicity, I hope to make an argument more complex and competitive for my final DH project.


The Story of the Stuff- http://thestoryofthestuff.com/

                  “The Story of the Stuff” is a self-described web documentary that explores the mass quantity of condolence items (letters, teddy bears) sent to Newton, Connecticut in the wake of the Sandy Hook Shooting. It uses this snapshot to explore public response to tragedy and how we express our sadness in physical offerings. The author, present for the Virginia Tech shooting, sets out to consider why people express their sympathies to such atrocities through tokens. She concludes by asking readers to show their support and solidarity by beseeching their political leaders to end gun violence by sending them peace cranes instead of contributing to an unnecessary overload of sympathy stuffs. This web documentary uses a persuasive narrative to encourage meaningful change and contribution.

This project uses WordPress, Scalar, Timeline JS, and Vimeo to create a fluid, cohesive experience. I think they are used very effectively to piece together a dynamic, intercollected narrative. I particularly like the idea of an interactive web documentary, a medium which seems to give the viewer choice while eliminating the static, inert nature of traditional sites.

The author gathers data by physically visiting and cataloguing items left behind in the wake of shootings. She interviews persons vital to the gift collection process, like Newton citizens. Firsthand sources were very important to her study. It certainly adds something to a field of study that I would like to commend its creator for. What Ashely Maynor provides is an inquisitive and critical lens upon an otherwise ignored phenomenon while connection it back to the broader theme and question of how we respond to tragedy. She encourages action through persuasion, not direction.

The project seems to be very well-maintained. Though a team of artists, cinematographers, and sound mixers created the project, it seems as though the author/producer, Ashley Maynor, is the one who keeps and maintains the project. The page appears to be supported by this librarian, with grant money from her university.

This example was really inspiring to me, personally. It illustrated how a text-heavy, narrative dependent project can be lifted from a stagnant format into a lively and engaging medium. That’s exactly what I want to do with my project; engage readers with pleasant aesthetics and interesting story while making a firm and assertive statement on an issue. I found this project to be incredibly helpful in guiding me toward what I want for my project. While I have little to criticize, much of this format would have to be adapted in order to fit the content of my project, but I think that the idea of a web documentary would be a perfect way to display my project.


Performance, Learning, and Heritage- http://www.plh.manchester.ac.uk/

Performance, Learning, and Heritage examines performances as an educational tool in museums, from its uses to its impacts. It utilized case studies to examine the “extent, style, and functions of performance as a learning medium in museums and historic sites throughout the UK and abroad.” The purpose of this project is to examine how and why dramatic arts are being used as a historical/academic tool and the effectiveness of such performances.

The website seems to be designed by scratch from the University of Manchester team. From this research, the team, headed by Tony Jackson, instigated a conference and published a DVD, several journals, and a book. The website itself is largely text heavy with the occasional visual aid. While I don’t mind and actually quite appreciate text-heavy sites, there seems to be an absence of sophisticated methods of data representation. One useful tool that the site advertises is a database “housing hundreds of digital artifacts connected with war and performance.” However, the link to access the database was broken, suggesting to me that the site’s maintenance may be somewhat sporadic.

The site derives its data by gathering information of performances conducted at historical sites. I actually do believe that in this way it contributes something novel to a field of study; this is a topic I had previously not considered. The methodology and the ease of access, however, are certainly not novel or particularly noteworthy. I found the site to be a little dense, static, and difficult to navigate.

The site does not appear to be very well maintained, with several links no longer working. The site was completed almost a decade ago, and appears to have been most recently updated in 2011. Primary maintenance should be conducted by the lead researcher, Tony Jackson, but the site appears to be somewhat outdated.

What I did appreciate from this site was the clarity and transparency with which they conducted their research. The site was broken down into options to meet the team of researchers, resources (which included database and bibliography), research, and contact and credit. There was complete translucence about the research process and honestly about copyright and accessibility. What I liked about this project was that it was the first DH project that utilized case studies in their research, something that I intend to do for my final project. However, this website also helped me understand that I want to choose an alternative format to present the information in a more fluid and aesthetically pleasing way.

Ben Minerva

Digital Mesopotamia is a interactive map made developed by the TAY (The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey) Project. The initiative attempts to digitalize the historical past of Mesopotamia in an interactive mapping system through which users can click on particular cities, or historic sites and open a series of other pages offering more in depth information on them. The project is still in its early developmental stages and only an initial startup has been published, but it’s hard to decipher exactly where the developers are going to make changes, improvements and further advancements.

The current version of the interactive map is made up of a stationary satellite map of a particular section of the geographic area in focus. The interactive part of the map are the clickable pinpoints that offer the viewer an option to read information about the specific location through three separate links: a TAY datapage, wikipedia, or another source that varies based on the location. The TAY project page for each site gives more specific textual information, so as more in depth location, as well as geographical and environmental characteristics.

Digital Mesopotamia is an ambitious project, ultimately aiming to use a series of different digital resources to fulfill their goals. So far the TAY project are using satellite mapping and GPS reading tools to produce their map and aim to use these means to create a “diachronic picture of geography, cultures, subsistence patterns, and political organizations…”  The team is lead by  the research of Bulent Arikan, Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Istanbul Technical University, and Erol Balkan, Professor of Economics, DHi External Advisory Council Chair, Hamilton College, who are supported by a group of technological scholars at Hamilton College.

Although it is still in development, Digital Mesopotamia is still lacking one of its central goals which is to produce a map that displays changes over time, or in their own words, a diachronic mapping. This element is still missing from the project, and its its current state, the map is static and monotonous in the media that it displays. The Tay project should work to make their program more dynamic. Each location on the map is different, and so it should, in theory, provide varying information. So far, the basic idea of providing a map that has interactive ‘hotspots’ productive. The execution, to this point, given size of the team, is scarce.  


Mapping at the Mountains of Madness is an ArcGIS project conducted by Matt Mckinley with the help of some graduate students at Wright University. The inspiration of this endeavour is  P.H. Lovecraft’s fictional horror, At The Mountain of Madness, a story of a geologists frightful journey to Antarctica. In his work, Lovecraft central character eludes to the names and coordinated of both real and imagined locations. These locations are what Mckinley attempts to visually display in his GIS mapping construction.

Mapping at the Mountains of Madness is a map produced from ArcGIS that displays an interactive satellite image of Antarctica with a series of color coated pinpoints: the blue pinpoints are identify real locations that are referenced in P.H. Lovecraft’s novel, and the green one locate imagined places. In addition to these marks on the map, Mckinley adds two highlighted areas of that attempt define both the area that the story takes place, and more specifically, the ancient city location that is featured in the book. The particular locations are relatively accurate because Lovecraft supplies coordinates in his work, but the highlighted areas are speculative, based on the other data collected. The mapping is very well done. It is easy to navigate, and simple. Furthermore, the addition of legend that clearly marks each mark on the map makes it very user friendly.

Mckinley’s project is good inspiration in its clarity and execution, however, the data set that he used is simpler than that that I plan to use. For my GIS mapping endeavour, I want to portray data over time; have a diachronic map. Mapping at the Mountain of Madness, although well realized, it is relatively static, compared to other mapping projects that attempt to display data sets that change over time.


Mapping the Rebellion is a multi-faceted project that aims to recount the Whiskey Rebellion (1791-1794). “This digital history project, built by Stephanie (Krom) Townrow at New York University, aims to explore the Whiskey Rebellion… in time and space through an interactive map, a responsive timeline, and a heritage audio tour designed to be played in a vehicle while exploring the present-day sites of the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania.

The entire project is presented through a website with nine separate pages, beginning with textual introduction to the rebellion, supplying basic information, followed by an audio introduction, interactive map, timeline, and the audio tour. Each page is executed very well and are easily useable and accessible.

The interactive map was the most engaging of the different elements of Mapping the Rebellion. Built through neatline, the map display a modern day view of the area in focus, filled with all the the contemporary roads and townships, but adds pinpoints that open up information about that specific location. The information provided at each mark is extensive, telling what the location is and why it is significant to the rebellion. Through these descriptions, the map effectively tells the story of the Whiskey rebellion.

In addition to the well executed and user friendly interactive map, Mapping the Rebellion also supplies an in depth and clearly laid out timeline interactive timeline that sets out the story of the rebellion in the most clear manner possible. This section was constructed using TimelineJS. The project successfully makes it so that these separate elements do not overshadow each other, but rather complement each other.

The idea that viewers can use this website to track the scenes of the rebellion in real life is an ambitious one, but the different elements of Mapping the Rebellion certainly make it possible. Having the interactive map also display contemporary roads and along with the historical pinpoints is a conscious decision that serves as the users all encompassing roadmap for their journey in real life. The audio guide can be listened to along the way, and the timeline, introduction, as well as descriptive sections on the map can help fill in the gaps, or supplement information that the user missed from the guide.

Mapping the Rebellion brings up many points that I had not considered for my own project. Instead of having a diachronic map that changes over time, producing separate elements that compliment each other, such as a timeline and a map, may ease the user’s experience. In addition, Townrow uses these different elements to display her individual views of the rebellion. Both the interactive map and the timeline allow her to include the moments that she felt were most important in telling the story that she wanted to tell.

Maria Ahmed 

Sacred Centers in India: http://www.dhinitiative.org/projects/sacredcenters

The purpose of this project is to examine and study some of India’s sacred centers; Buddhist Bodhgaya and Hindu Gaya. Bodhgaya, the birthplace of Buddhism and Gaya, Hindu place of pilgrimage, have both rich histories that have been documented through written history. Through a study of history, archeology and art history, this project aims to study the reconstructions and changes in those two overlapping historical places.

This inter-disciplinary project of textual history (nature) and art history and archeology (man made) is an expansion of access and will help any one who is in one of these disciplines have easier access to information that might have not been easy otherwise. This project uses interactive mapping and 3D Virtual temple to engage with geographically distant cultures.

I like how easily you can navigate through the interactive map and click on the locations on the map for more information about them. The color coordination on the locations marked on the map makes it easy to know what location is what; for example blue is Temples and Shrines.

This project has been started in 2013 and still being developed by Abhishek Amar, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Hamilton College and group of research assistant students. It is not easy to see how the end product will look. One thing that is not super clear thus far in the project is how the 3D model furthers the user’s understanding of the history of those two holy places.

Comparative Japanese Film Archive: http://www.dhinitiative.org/projects/cjf

This project is video and audio archive from early 20th century literature and films to study the history and production of Japanese cinema. The tools they use include database, metadata and audios and videos.

There is student interview, which I though was very helpful to explain the Benshi project. Benshi were Japanese performers who provided live narration for silent films. This project discovers the silent films, Benshi audio clips and still pictures to build a database to further and make easy for researchers to access information easily. There are video clips and pictures with annotations that you can browse through.

Kyoko Omori, Ph.D. Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures (Japanese) at Hamilton College started this project with collection development team, all faculty and stuff of Hamilton College, and student assistances.

Even though this project is different from what I want to do, I think it is important to know how to collect data, which is important part of my project. Also, students use the data of this project to write scripts and perform using existing visual silent films and narrating the stories of different individuals.

Visual Freedom Trail Project: http://www.dhinitiative.org/projects/vftp

The history of the fight for freedom in Tanzania is underrepresented, and this project seeks to document the struggles of the liberation movement and the relationship between the liberation movement of Tanzania and other liberations movements in sub Saharan Africa.

Using ethnographic data, and geospatial technology, this project makes use of the exciting data about the liberation movement and wants to expand it. The houses, office places, protest sites all show the liberation movement activities; this project wants to use that to document the effects. The pictures in the website are maps and screenshot of the project, but there is no detailed link to the full project. So far, this project is at its early stages and still developing so it is hard to see where it is going.

Since I want to display my findings visually too, this project is close to what I want to do. They did not mention what specific tools they are using for visually show this. I could see this information being on a map and show how the Tanzanian liberation movement influenced other freedom movements while geographically labeling the locations of other freedom movements.

This project is also done in Hamilton College by Angel David Nieves, Ph.D. Co-Director, Digital Humanities Initiative, Hamilton College and Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, College of New Jersey. The project partners with The Institute of Development Studies in Tanzania and MuseumAfrica, Johannesburg, South Africa for more data.

Idil Tanrisever

The Archigram Archival Project is a digital resource, including drawings, collages, paintings, photographs, magazines, articles, etc. belonging to a 1960s-70s British architectural group, Archigram. The archive displays digital versions of architectural works held in different collections focusing on the main Archigram period of 1961-1974, but includes all the projects before and after these dates.

The aim of the project is to make the work of Archigram available free online for academic and public study. The project was run by EXP, an architectural research group at the University of Westminster and it was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Contributors are the surviving members of Archigram and their heirs, who retain copyright of all images.

The homepage is composed of an explanation of the project and the archive. As you go through the tabs, you see the Archigram Magazine issues, the projects on a timeline, shows, the six members of Archigram and information about the movement, the group, the research group who run the website and supplemental texts. The project creates an exhibition for archives and a timeline to track the changes in the movement within 20 years.

As you go through the images in the gallery, it gives the information about the image and it is really easy to use. I also like how visually appealing the archive is. It is also really easy to navigate through the website and as I went through the tabs, the project became more clear. I like how you can see the same data in different ways as slideshows or dates. I also like the timeline idea, since it would give an idea about how the movement and the style changed within time. However, I couldn’t get it to work. Also, besides the exhibition, although it was easy to navigate, I didn’t really enjoy the design of the website.

The Prague Spring Archive is an online portal for the Prague Spring archival materials within Texas ScholarWorks and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library. The site was built by Ian Goodale, the Russian, East European, and Eurasian & Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin, with the cooperation of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at UT Austin and the LBJ Presidential Library.

Ongoing digitization work for the project is being performed by Ian Goodale and Nicole Marino, and early digitization efforts and project organization was done by Mary Rader and Esmeralda Moscatelli. All of the digitized images from the Prague Spring materials at the LBJ Presidential Library are housed in Texas ScholarWorks.

The project uses Scalar as the main platform. Timeline and data visualization techniques are used in the project. The homepage gives the directions on how to navigate through the website and documents are categorized by archival holdings. Pages include a collection of key documents, the key figures who led and contributed to the Prague Spring, the timeline of the events, information about Texas ScholarWorks and how to find additional documents.

I like this project, because it’s design is really smooth and you can see the same information in different ways which is helpful in seeing different patterns whether it is through the timeline or data visualization. However, since it is an ongoing project and not completed, some parts in data visualization and the timeline are not complete.

Jazz Instruments and Their Women is an archive containing the stories/biographies of 8 successful jazz musicians. The aim of the project is to provide the users with information about the chosen artists’ lives on and off stage and have the users understand and appreciate the different experiences women in jazz had based on the instrument she played.

The homepage introduces the project and explains how the website is structured. The biographies are categorized by the instrument the musician plays. The project focuses on vocalists, drummers, pianists and saxophonists and each category contains two musicians. The project also attempts to highlight the different experiences women jazz artists had in relation to their race. In order to include race in the project, there is one black and one white musician per instrument.

The project uses Scalar platform. It also uses a mapping technique, to map each artist’s life, and data visualization. The map includes both a linear path and information about each pin-point or each significant location. Although the 4 builders of the project wanted the maps to be interactive, they didn’t have the time to complete it.

What I like about this project is that there is a project thesis page, so the users can easily see the purpose of the project before they delve into the biographies and stories. The project is also really transparent. Once you go to Process page, everything is explained step by step clearly.

Daniel Gonzalez

Soweto Historical GIS Project 

The Soweto Historical GIS Project’s (SHGIS) objective is “to build a multi-layered historical geographic information system that explores the social, economic and political dimensions of urban development under South African apartheid regimes (1904/1948-1994) in Johannesburg’s all-black township of Soweto.” Soweto was created to segregate black South Africans from white. The website uses geography to look at how violence, resistance, and freedom contributed to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. It looks at a very detailed town and how it relates to an apartheid state. After creating the database, the idea is to then use a wider range of spatial features. The fundamental question of the project is this: can you map residents’ resistance. In an updated post about the project- the creators seemed to have narrowed down one independent variable, population density over time, as the vital factor of the types of resistance employed by township residents.

This project began with Angel David Nieves, Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative. It then expanded to include three undergraduate students in the Department of Geography at Middlebury College. It was inspired by and drawn upon thirty-nine largely unseen maps, architectural plans and drawings in the National Archives of South Africa. The project started in 2010 and continues to this day. There is no tangible 3D/GIS mapping system available to the public yet (at least that I found). Instead, there is a blog that explains what has been going on with the project and in which direction they are heading. This blog is very informative in the sense that it gives a clearer understanding of what has been accomplished. Scrolling through the blog, I found an indication of funding for the project. In conjunction with Kim Gallon from Purdue University they were awarded $245,299 in 2014 to support a three-week summer institute and a follow-up workshop for 20 participants to explore spatial approaches to Africana Studies.

The most recent update to the site was on August 10, 2016. An admin posted pictures of newly developed software of a house in Soweto. A glimpse of the tools that were used was explained: “To develop this model, researcher and project director Angel David Nieves, Ph.D., provided the development team with blueprints for a variety of houses that comprise the represented section of the Soweto township.  Using this data, Xiao and Lord designed 3D models that used these blueprints, making sure to capture both the layout and dimensions of each building.  From there, the team used a combination of both historical and modern photographs and images to texture the houses. Finally, the team imported each of these models into the Unity engine, where they combined the models with tools that allowed them to create an accurate street map from Open Street Maps data.”

As with any other Digital Humanities project there are pros and cons. A huge con is obviously the time it has taken them to create this database of African heritage. Furthermore, a lot of money has to be put into making this database as well. As there isn’t anything tangible yet it’s hard to denote the cons. Alternatively, the pros are also very powerful. Having a tool that “maps resistance” can be a life-changer in the study of violence, displacement, and state-citizen connection. If you can find a way to map the way a certain factor (population density) changes over time and interacts with a certain social objective (anti-apartheid) then you’re one step closer to creating a fuller understanding of the motivation of humans and violence.

The Agas Map of Early Modern London

The Agas Map is a map of Early Modern London. “At The Map of Early Modern London (MoEML), our ongoing project is to map the spatial imaginary of Shakespeare’s city; we ask how London’s spaces and places were named, traversed, used, repurposed, and contested by various practitioners (Michel de Certeau’s term), writers, and civic officials. MoEML’s maps allow us to plot people, historical documents, literary works, and recent critical research onto topography and the built environment.” Furthermore, they also try to answer GeoHumanities questions using GIS. With a Digital Humanities mindset they have open peer review, open access, open source, and open code. This of course means that you can find all the xml files used to create the map.

The Agas Map is comprised of four different projects: a digital edition of the 1561 Agas map of London, an Encyclopedia and Descriptive Gazetteer, a Library of texts, and a edition of John Stow’s Survey of London. They draw their data from five databases: a Placeography of locations, a Personagraphy of early Londoners, an Orgography of organizations, a bibliography of sources, and a glossary of relevant terms.

Their team is extensive and the first version of it wasn’t even on the internet- it was an intranet predecessor at the University of Windsor between 1999 and 2003. They redeveloped it for the internet in 2006 and so far I counted more than 70 helpers in total, though the directors are Mark Kaethler,  Janelle Jenstad, Kim McLean-Fiander, and Martin Holmes.

The map in itself is beautiful. It lists locations of Early Modern London by category. The categories are extensive from bridges, churches, gates, halls, liberties, markets, parishes, playhouses, prisons, sites, etc. Whenever you click on any of these locations (there must be more than 500 of them) the map zooms in directly into that area, outlines the location and gives further information about what the location is and where it is mentioned in the literature.

You can definitely tell a lot of Monday was spent on this project and I see very few negative things about it. You can even chose to point out certain locations or create your own polygons for the map. I think one of the reasons this project is successful is due to the detail of the original map. If you have a good foundation then stacking up material will be a lot easier. Individual houses are drawn on the map- close to the degree of modern technology like google maps. In general, this is a good example of a project that can be added to while still being ‘finished’.

Marie Saldaña Project Collection 

This Digital Humanities website is instead of one specific project a collection of various projects and research tools. There are seven different projects available to interact with. They are: Rhodes, Santa Maria Novella, Magnesia, Roman City Ruleset, Nysa, Manhattan Transcripts 3D, Desert Sketches. The author of these projects is Marie Saldaña. She received her M.Arch. and Ph.D. in Architecture from UCLA. She describes her projects as maps, models, drawings, interactive media, and words used to document and interpret the relationship of built environment and landscape.

The projects in themselves are fascinating to look at and Marie seems to have written scholarly articles about the work that she has done. I found a paper titled “An Integrated Approach to the Procedural Modeling of Ancient Cities and Buildings”. This is basically a ‘Roman City Ruleset’- rules for creating 3D models of Roman and Hellenistic architecture and urban environments. This paper is very interesting as it lays out everything we need to know about how Marie made her work. She tells us that she used ESRI CityEngine because it recently combined with ESRI’s ArcMap and provides advantages for managing and visualizing archaeological data. What she is trying to do is create this set of rules so that users won’t have to keep recreating them every single time they interact with the software. So instead of people having general rules to build a ‘pseudo-dipteral Hellenistic temple’ they could use her rules to set up the base and work from there. An important thing to note here is that she uses models from geodatabases imported from ArcMap. In Bogota, I’m not sure we have access to things about building types. This is one of the things I’ll have to look into.

The cons to this method is simply how meticulous you need to be in order to 3D map. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be anything interactive on the website yet. It’s just pictures. The project would definitely be more understandable to the public if there was an easier way to visualize it (her articles aren’t enough). The pros are of the site is simply having a place to share the ideas behind what she’s done. I’m not use if I can see myself creating a project like this anymore. It doesn’t seem to fit into the context of what I am trying to get to: the strata in Bogota. It seems to me that after reviewing all of these projects the best choice is to use GIS Mapping data and combine that with a type of story map that would explain the difference between various strata in Bogota.

Jovanté Anderson


When I first saw the Children’s playground games and songs in the new media age project, I was immediately drawn to it.  I realize now that my fascination comes out of the fact that, like what I’m attempting to do with Jamaican songs, this project is using British children playground games to interpret the contemporary social landscape by investigating how the games function in children’s play.  I appreciate its multidimensional approach in that it aims to digitize the material, design a website accessible to a wide audience (educators, researchers, children, etc), conduct a two-year long ethnographic study, make a documentary film, and explore its interaction with new digital technologies.  I think this approach is very useful in that it uses the values of various academic disciplines – Anthropology, Film and Media Studies, Computer Science, Linguistics, Librarianship – to respond to the crucial question being asked – what is the relevance of children’s games today?   

The website isn’t clear on all the technological tools used for the project, but I do think the data formatting is very effective.  The combination of text and videos (Apple QuickTime Movie format) provides a more comprehensive approach to understanding oral culture.  I want to use videos as well to complement my presentation and analysis in the same because I think it is important that my users see the way Jamaican music operates in an actual social space.  This will mean drawing on sources from various places (perhaps most commonly, YouTube and other audiovisual platforms).  I also appreciate that the researchers use video content across decades from as far back as the 1950s until now.  The website is also very attractive in its use of (mostly) pastel colours.

I appreciate the work of this project because it has practical implications which I think is one of the greatest assets of good research.  There is a place on the site dedicated to resources that educators can use to incorporate playground games into the classroom.  For example, the role-playing games are thought to demonstrate how give “expression through socio-dramatic play on themes important to them such as families, superheroes, leaving home, and the world of work. These are often influenced by media texts (film, TV, pop music, advertising, books, and computer games) and transform the play into fantasy worlds of space travel, battles and magic.”  I thought this was very was useful analysis for educators because then that will allow for them to approach playground activities with an understanding that children use these games to process the world around them and it will “provide ways of recording this transient experience.”  
The project seems to be well-maintained and fairly well updated since the project was completed in 2011 and the most recent contribution to the site was an article written in October 2016.  It is also funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and has an extensive team led by Dr Andrew Burns.  The data sources are from the sound archive of Iona and Peter Opie in the British Library’s National Sound Archive; digital video, sound recordings, photographs and observation data from two primary school playgrounds.

The Story of the Stuff


The Story of the Stuff that confronts the tragedy of the Sandy Hook school shooting and its aftermath in which thousands of gifts were sent to the small town.  The tragedy is explored through an interactive web documentary and attempts to understand how people respond to catastrophic events that profoundly affect the social fabric of communities.  With a combination of videos, animations, images and text, it’s quite a remarkable project in that it presents its users with one of the many ways that people are capable of immense kindness.  It is tactical in its use of emotional appeal to end gun violence.

The tools used were WordPress, TimelineJS, Vimeo and Scalar.  The TimelineJS was very useful in placing the story in a sequential order (separated into “chapters”) that moved users from a confrontation with grief to catharsis.  I think I might use something similar in my project to show how sexuality is explored in different eras of dancehall music.  I also thought that the use of WordPress to create the website was very effective and made the project very attractive, and I would like to use this platform or one similar to it.  The website was very user friendly.

The project collected most of its data from members of the town which, in my opinion, adds a much more personal touch to the story thnt the raw numbers do.  I think it adds something to the field of study of violence in that it asks us to get personal with the material we encounter in an almost ethnographic or anthropological sense.  Additionally, while many people might have heard of the tragedy, not as much news coverage was done on the outpouring of love that followed and so this project expands on story by providing users with a greater sense of the victims’ lives.  A potential weakness of the project, however, is that it has not yet been peer reviewed but the creator has made a request for the project to undergo revision.

The project, while published in 2015, doesn’t seem to need much maintenance, but I do appreciate that the project leader attaches her contact information and links the projects’ social media accounts so that people can follow for updates.  It also seems that she leads the project and is supported by a team of media production artists, graduate students and librarians.  It is also funded by the University of Tennessee Knoxville and Fractured Atlas.  

‘A Shaky Truce’ : Starkville Civil Rights Struggles, 1960-1980


The purpose of this project is to document the African-American struggle for Civil Rights in Starkville, Mississippi from 1960-1980.  Just like the Sandy Hook shooting, this project zooms in on the stories of the people and personalizes history in a way that written text often fails to do.  It takes oral history interviews and digitized archival documents to narrate the nuances of struggle for equality.  The website is categorized into four parts – the place, the people, the struggle (not sure I understand why these distinctions are made) and resources.

The project uses Google Maps, WordPress (and its plugins) TimelineJS, Oral History Metadata, and Synchronizer (OHMS).  The maps were especially useful in capturing the social memory attached to places because it provided users with a way to navigate through the areas that were affected and get a better sense of the stories being told.  The data sources used were primarily firsthand accounts of the racial tensions witnessed in the town, complemented by historical documents such as newspapers and pictures from the time.

What I appreciate most about this project is its practical implications for the current time in that it provides resources for researchers and teachers to assist them in relating the history of Jim Crow and segregation in schools.  The project is also very collaborative and and invites the participation of its users to tell their story and in this sense seems to be well-maintained.  I really like the idea of having input from users in my project since that might help to lend more nuance to the argument I will be attempting to make.  The project is also partly funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Mississippi Library Commission, and the Mississippi Humanities Council.


john rodriguez

Thomas Gray (http://www.thomasgray.org/)

This project was meant to show the public that Thomas Gray has a plethora of works outside the “Elergy written in a country churchyard” poem. Alexander Huber utilized TEI/XML the most in this digital project of his. A team of librarians, IT staff, and peers helped him review and obtain information for this massive project.

I enjoyed exploring this database of works by Thomas Gray because I am not familiar with his works. The most intriguing part was seeing how the TEI/XML tool was used to make the text open to analysis and questions. Along with the ability to edit, Huber also used the tool to guide reader comprehension through the piece. This could be a great tool for my project because some metaphors and rhyme schemes are difficult to unpack after the first read, which enables me to assist readers in comprehending overarching themes.

What helped the most was seeing how Huber was able to organize so many pieces of works, ranging from poems to prose and remakes. For example, after clicking the “poems” section, you will be lead to a large list with a filter to your right. The filter gives you the options to look for different styles that Gray has used in his pieces, while also giving the option to compare those poems to remakes. Seeing this tactic of organizing pieces has given me a clearer vision for my project.

Zoom Imagine (http://www.zoomimagine.com/AboutProject.html)

This project elaborates on several camera techniques and their respective effects on viewers. The project was constructed using Java along with the assistance of faculty and graduate students.

I like the creator’s aesthetic choice to add three dimensional diagrams to visually explain her packed jargon. However, I feel having all of the information on one page is very overwhelming for a reader, which dilutes her message. For example, during my first overview, my eyes were attracted immediately to the variety of diagrams, not the text. Thus, I argue that splitting her sections between different pages would give the reader an opportunity to understand the presented material before moving on to the next section, and/or diagram.

The information and analysis provided is very interesting, but the confines of the webpage prevents the project from having any depth.


Digitizing “Chinese Englishmen” (http://chineseenglishmen.adelinekoh.org/)

The goal of this project was to provide and comment of the works of the Straits Chinese Magazine. The term “straits” was used to refer to Chinese people that were alright with being colonized by the British. The British empire saw the Straits as the bridge between the colonizers and the natives. A large group of librarians and university students, ranging from undergraduate to graduate, helped construct this project.

The website is very well organized and included digital copies of the magazine themselves, not translated text. However, the projects description implied that analysis would be provided with the information, not in the comment section. I was expecting to find analysis from the researchers in each respected section; rather, the site is built for readers to discuss in the forum below each article. While I do appreciate the decision to have readers interact with each other, I felt an analysis would have been appropriate to add with this archive.