Sarah’s thoughts.

And here we are, somehow, at the end again, and I am not ready. The poem, “Little Gidding,” that I included on the prompt, feels a little contrived and unfair: “and to make an end is to make a beginning./The end is where we start from.” It equates beginnings and ends, countering finality with continuation. It feels unfair because it makes me feel like I should wrap up this experience neatly and move on, with the knowledge that yes, it is an end, and something else will come.  It’s unfair, but it isn’t untrue; it just doesn’t really do justice to how much this experience means, and how much of it I will carry with me forever.


For me, the beginning of this summer wasn’t in May, or April, but two years ago, when I first arrived at Lafayette and met the first cohort of summer scholars. I remember taking them to the Bucknell conference that year and being so impressed by their work, but even more than that, being moved by who they were, the questions they were asking, their willingness to take on uncertainty. And two years later, having witnessed three cohorts, I am still impressed; still moved. And I am very grateful, especially to you.


If we’re talking about becomings and being, being your teacher has helped me become a librarian. I will never forget one of my first conversations with Tedi, when she told me she started painting because she wasn’t good at it and she wanted to make room in her life for things she wasn’t good at but nevertheless loved. I think that this is the true spirit of research— to love what you don’t understand and don’t know if you can master. To try and set some mystery out into the light, like John did with Lamar’s album under bell hooks’ theory. These examples astound me, who, perfection-oriented in college, was far readier to dismiss what I couldn’t articulate than acknowledge a wider view than my own eyes, than acknowledge a nimbler tongue.

I loved watching Ben explain how his  research was limited by his own insistence on clarity of detail. How, he could imagine opening up storylines that had neither the exactitude nor the instantaneousness of a timeline, but had the narrative. I was proud when Daniel didn’t take a lazy path of exaggerating cause— when he gave nod to the many factors and directions that would play into more accurate ways of understanding inequality. I suppose I often see people bypass what is true (that answers are difficult, unclear, murky, and half-wrong) for what is neat, and I’m so thankful to have you as models for choosing harder, better ways.

Camilla, Idil, Jovanté, Tedi, I am glad you took on the matter of representation. I admire so much how tenderly you orient your thoughts to others, to who may or may not appear in the picture. Camilla, you are a writer; Jovanté, you are a poet. Idil, your meditations on freedom and values from our dinner strike me as deeply wise.  Maria, I knew (and loved) you first, and I adore how your question was born out of a true investigation into a seemingly simple question. Why would these folks choose the cold, when there’s a whole country for them?

You are beautiful; I am so grateful that I have had the chance to witness you. I think, as I grow older, I realize that one’s own habits of mind, the deeply treaded furrows, are dull after awhile. Thinking about other people, listening to them and learning from them— it’s refreshing and reinvigorating and you have made me anew, because you have offered me other ways of seeing, of thinking. You have turned flowers into metaphors and metaphors into sustenance. What alchemy you are!

There are things I could have done better. I wish I had found a way to stave off the anxiety of week 4. I wish I had given you more of a sense of what was coming, earlier on, and restacked assignments. I wish I had been here for week three. I wish we had more time. I’d love to hear your ideas for the shape of the future; I’d love to know how you imagine this program looking. You will have the chance to fight for it, and that’s a good thing.

And even though I’m not ceasing from exploration, soon I am taking up a position at UNC, the place where I started. Maybe the poem isn’t so unfair after all. But, because of you, I know that I will have a chance to see it better. See it with an eye toward representation, toward history, toward access, toward joy.

I have learned so much from you. I hope you are proud of your own minds, of each other. I hope that you continue to allow the things that you love to take up residence in your hours. I hope you offer your thoughts to the world and sometimes, I hope you’ll send them to me.


With love,


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.

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 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 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-

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 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:

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:

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 (

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 (

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 (

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.

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-

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-

                  “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-

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:

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:

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:

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 (

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 (

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” (

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.


Losses and Gains

There is a word in Greek that I am found of, ἀπορέω, which means something approximating “to be at a loss.” From it we take the word “aporetic,” which means to “inclined to doubt” and also “aporia,” more or less “puzzlement.” But I like the original phrase, “to be at a loss,” which is an odd construction in English, mimicking the phenomenon it describes. The gaps, the losses, lead us to puzzlement, skepticism, and also wonder. But first we have to admit a loss.

This is what I wanted for you: to begin to articulate questions and to articulate them in many ways. I wanted, at the beginning, for you to write about your personal interests in your topics because that is how you know that there are stakes to the work that you do. I’m proud to see that, even though your topics were narrowed, you didn’t (apparently) lose interest in the ideas surrounding them. That you began to see scholarship, digital and other, as a conversation, not a soliloquy. At some point all of you realized that to do what you wanted to do well, you were going to have to (a) rely on the grounding work of other scholars, and (b) to resolve not to do everything. That is the best ethos to have as a true scholar, a true researcher.

And in the same way, I was glad to see your methodologies reflecting your priorities. Building where you could and relying on the tools of others to finish or display or reveal what you couldn’t, in this time frame, on your own. My hope was that you’d see building not just as an afterthought, but as intellectual work that could enrich your thesis or work against it. As a teacher, I have room to grow here, in figuring out how to introduce tools, allow exploration and choice, but also to deeply explore the impact that each choice you make while building has on the overall argument. In the future I’d like to do more “user experience” workshops, where students test out each other’s work and try and deconstruct the visual arguments.

At points I wondered about my positioning. These are your projects; this is your work, from start to finish. Sometimes I wondered if I was pushing you enough; sometimes I wondered if I was not giving you enough freedom. These are smaller questions deriving from a bigger question: what am I offering you? Is it enough? I hope you can answer the smaller questions for me in the evaluation tomorrow. The bigger one is a landscape for me to revisit over and over.

The hardest week, for me, was the week I was away, and perhaps the first class of my return, when morale was low and I felt you all swimming with newly-refined topics, surrounded by drifting old-datasets and tools. I am so glad my colleagues came to class, because it is a good reminder to me that I am not an expert, either, and that I, too, benefit from opening up my “project” (the class) to other eyes. Your theses were so much better for it.  

The best insights I had during this period came not from the readings or writings but from my students. You all said, in your presentations, papers, discussion, and panel responses, things I wish that I had thought to say. How little our work is in the wide-eyed scope of works before and after us, this collective litany of failures (Joe), and yet how valuable, to have the privilege and luxury to read and meditate on a question we love (Abdul). How community is essential (Mila), because it makes us better. To employ a Biblical metaphor: iron sharpens iron (but also, equally as important, solders soften iron, hammers and tongs bend iron, and so on and so forth). We are not only about sharpening but also about expanding and narrowing and making something solid and beautiful. It’s a lot of work, and we need others.

To that point, we, as scholars, participate in something that extends before us (Tawfiq) and could extend beyond us, with a transparent process and a degree of generosity (Will). How, at this moment, looking at the world, we have to first acknowledge our understanding is incomplete (Jillian), and that the terms we use to voice our understanding change over time (Caroline). In order to pin down anything, we have engage our critical, our common, and our musical (broadly speaking) selves with our work (Johnny).

I care very much about what you made; I care even more about you. I’m at a loss to say more.

Congratulations on finishing a very small thing. I hope this is just the beginning.



Sarah’s Reflection

My scholars, here is something to read and think about, as you encounter frustrations that may feel like ends more than generative spaces.

Be capacious, allow room within yourselves for all that you do not know.



“The word failure is imperfect. Once we begin to transform it, it ceases to be that any longer. The term is always slipping off the edges of our vision, not simply because it’s hard to see without wincing, but because once we are ready to talk about it, we often call the event something else — a learning experience, a trial, a reinvention — no longer the static concept of failure.

We thrive, in part, when we have purpose, when we still have more to do. The deliberate incomplete has long been a central part of creation myths themselves. In Navajo culture, some craftsmen and women sought imperfection, giving their textiles and ceramics an intended flaw called a “spirit line” so that there is a forward thrust, a reason to continue making work. Nearly a quarter of twentieth century Navajo rugs have these contrasting-color threads that run out from the inner pattern to just beyond the border that contains it; Navajo baskets and often pottery have an equivalent line called a “heart line” or a “spirit break.” The undone pattern is meant to give the weaver’s spirit a way out, to prevent it from getting trapped and reaching what we sense is an unnatural end.

There is an inevitable incompletion that comes with mastery. It occurs because the greater our proficiency, the more smooth our current path, the more clearly we may spot the mountain that hovers in our gaze. “What would you say increases with knowledge?” Jordan Elgrably once asked James Baldwin. “You learn how little you know,” Baldwin said.

It is as true of vision as it is of justice — distorted, flat, horizontal worlds become more full when we accept that the limit of vision is the way we see unfolding, infinite depth. Painted and printed images used to be just flat bands of color until the invention of perspectival construction and with it, the vanishing point — the void, nothing, the start of infinite possibility. Moving toward a reality that is just, collectively and for each of us individually, comes from a similar engagement with an inbuilt failure. A fuller vision comes from our ability to recognize the fallibility in our current and past forms of sight.

The moment we designate the used or maligned as a state with generative capacity, our reality expands. President John F. Kennedy once mentioned an old saying that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Failure is an orphan until we give it a narrative. Then it is palatable because it comes in the context of story, as stars within a beloved constellation.

Once we reach a certain height we see how a rise often starts on a seemingly outworn foundation. . . .

When we take the long view, we value the arc of a rise not because of what we have achieved at that height, but because of what it tells us about our capacity, due to how improbable, indefinable, and imperceptible the rise remains.”


Read More through The Rise by Sarah Lewis, or here at

Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Crucial Difference Between Success and Mastery

2016 Tool Reviews

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

Caroline Nawrocki


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

Heurist Data Manager

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


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

Jillian Fahy


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

Google Maps

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


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

Mila Temnyalova

Google – My Maps

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

Harvard – World Map

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


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

Johnny Gossick

Timeline JS –

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


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


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

William Gordon


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

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


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

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


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

Tawfiq Alhamedi

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

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

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

Abdul Manan


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


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


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

2016 Project Reviews

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.


Mila Temnyalova

Windows on War is a digital archive of Soviet propaganda posters in the period 1943-1945. Created by Nottingham University, it is a unique project in the UK, but it is also one of the largest digital Soviet collections internationally. It aims to create an online version of the 2008-2009 Lakeside “Windows on War” exhibition, and to extend the importance of conserving and digitalizing posters.

The homepage gives background information about the University’s project, emphasizing on the vividness of the colors and the opportunity to zoom into the posters. It presents the user with 6 possible pages (The Homefront, The Enemy, The Story, Artists, Writers, All Posters,  About) to view. The three most relevant pages (The Homefront, The Enemy and The Story) have their own blurbs on the homepage, giving the user some idea what the page will contain. I found the idea of having information for only these three pages very convenient, since they were big enough to fill the homepage without making it clunky. Additionally, the rest of the pages are self-explanatory and do not require an explanation blurb.

Once the user chooses a page, there is visual and textual data available. The pages are on a horizontal scrolling basis, rather than a vertical one, which makes it more visually appealing, but less convenient. Even when the cursor goes left without clicking the scroll button, the page itself scrolls in the same direction, which can be hassle. However, I enjoyed the fact that there were also sub-pages: instead of scrolling, the user can click and immediately be transported to that part of the page. If the user chooses to scroll, the sub-page title is colored in red to give the user an idea of what he is viewing.

My favorite part of the website is the “All Posters” page because it uses the conventional vertical scrolling method. Additionally, content-wise it is very easy for users to a pick a particular posters, and click on it to zoom in. This zoom function also reveals sub-menus, which contains Commentary, Facts, Artist, Context, and more — a very useful tool.

The whole project is based on the work of a multidisciplinary team composed of the University’s IT Service, Manuscripts & Special Collections, and Department of Russian and Eastern European Studies. Overall, it is a brilliant idea because it makes a physically temporary exhibition digitally timeless: a definite expansion of access. However, I feel like the fact it is actually a digitalization of a specific exhibition should have been in the “About” page, as opposed to being hidden in a one of the last sub-pages of “The Story” tab.


Abstractualized is a blog by Seth Bernstein featuring digital projects in Russian and Eurasian studies. The author himself is a historian working on Soviet History and its relation to contemporary issues in Russian society. He is interesting in using computers to enhance telling the stories.  

The project includes posts on GIS and mapping, data mining, network analysis and social media. A recent post includes a visualization of Soviet air travel networks from the summer of 1948. Other posts include a (guest) post about Deaf Space in Moscow, Mapping of the Gulag over time, and a Database of Soviet POWs of WWII.

What I found particularly interesting about this blog was the presence of a guest post, which speaks about the accessibility and level of collaboration. Additionally, some of the posts (such as mapping of the Gulag) are preceded by a How-To tutorial. It seems like a very hands-on site which gives background information on how these databases have been constructed and presented. Thus, it is very convenient and useful for beginners who are new to DH and wish to create similar content.

For the Database of POWs, the author of this project is not the one who has created the database: instead, he has taken the database from the Russian government’s OBD-Memorial, a database of Soviet soldiers who died during the war. What’s interesting is that the author of Abstractualized takes this dataset and critiques it: especially the fact that it’s indeterminable who counts as a prisoner of war and who doesn’t.

This DH project emphasizes on mapping as crucial, utilizing Google Maps, Open Layers, QGIS and other similar tools. Overall, I found this website a good example of what DH stands for: collaboration, constructive critique, and utilization of digital tools to expand access to information.


Harvard’s Eurasia website is the product of a year-long bi-weekly interdisciplinary seminar on the production, representation, and significance of cultural space, held during the 2014-2015 academic year at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. The collaborative workspace and the final projects carried out by members of the seminar are available. There are collections of group projects using Omeka, a Neatline exhibits, and an assortment of approaches to narrating the final projects.

The homepage has several pages that the user can choose from: the one that stands out to me is the Projects/Mapping one. As it turns out, this is a large-scale digital humanities production that encompasses a range of mappings and themes centered around the Eastern Bloc. The maps and the accompanying textual information are very useful, however, I feel that the site is lacking organization in the sense that some of the information could be transferred to the otherwise bare individual project homepage, rather than project sub-page. From a design point of view, the repeatedly occurring bareness of the project/mapping homepage gives off the impression of incompleteness, which could be easily fixed. 

What I really like is the depth of these maps. For instance, in the project relating to Russia’s European Colonies, the interactive map has countless ways of being viewed. The map itself can be terrain, roadmap, watercolor, etc, but the content is also highly diverse and change-able. One is able to receive visual information from the map by different categories and at different levels: region, province, country. Through different color cues, the emigre states are able to be listed either by year or by type. The roads that Vladimir Medem travelled are also mapped through lines, with the color of the line growing darker as the years progress. Overall, this brings a lot of information to the table through the tool WorldMap: developed by the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University. It is interesting that the website is utilizing the tools that the university has created, as opposed to readily available tools.

Caroline Nawrocki

Viral Texts looks at new stories, fiction, and poetry in 19th century newspapers that went “viral”–meaning they appeared in multiple newspapers around the United States. The purpose of the project is to look at what qualities caused these newspaper clips to be reprinted. It also examines how a breadth of ideas (political, religious,economic, scientific, etc.)  are circulated among the public.

To find the viral texts, the researchers used their own algorithms to work with OCR, or optical character recognition. The presentation of the data took multiple forms. First, they have a database where you can search by newspaper, state, and topics to find reprint groupings. They also have an interactive exhibit highlighting one of their favorite “viral texts.” They have a visualization as well that maps all of the connections between 19th century newspaper in their research. 

The data source is the Library of Congress’s “Chronicling America” online newspaper archive. This project is important because it connects the modern concept of viralness to a larger historical context. Much like people today are interested in what makes content go viral, this project looks at what made content viral in Antebellum America. This project also contributes to the study of culture in Antebellum America, since the reprinted content often reflected cultural views of the readership. It also creates an “in” into the mass of data that is the “Chronicling America” newspaper database.

The published works that have stemmed from this research project present the project as highly successful and interesting; however, the data presentation is rather confusing for the reader. The interactive exhibit was very cool visually, but only looked at one viral text. The database’s search functions did not yield comprehensive results for me–despite saying you could search by topic, all the topics I clicked on yielded no results, so clearly the database is not finished. The coolest aspect was how they mapped the connections between newspapers. However, I wish there was more upfront information on their methodology involving how they created that. However, their published research and the things they mention in writing show they are successful in their own goals.

The project is also well maintained, and is still branching out. The researchers plan on expanding this to the United Kingdom and Australia as well as reprinting across languages, in particular German. The project is supported by NEH, the American Council of Learned Societies, and Northeastern University Research Office.

Positive takeaways: you can include multiple cool ways of visualizing data to show different aspects of the project; text mining newspapers through a database is pretty common; connecting modern phenomena to history yields really interesting results.

Negative takeaways: Despite how fluid and well-done your research is in journals, etc., if your websites are not fully functioning or explain that gets lost on your audience, and makes it less accessible to the public and mostly accessible to an academic/scholarly audience.


Media Portrays of Religion and the Secular Sacred looks at how the British media covers topics of religion in newspaper and on television as compared to a similar project done in 1982-83 about the same topic. The researchers aim to look at the reception of religion in Britain and the relationship between the media and religion both modern and historical.

Software such as SPSS, NVivo 7, and Word were used for quantitative and qualitative research through content analysis. The data sources were the previous research project, and the newspapers used in that research project. These newspapers, in addition to major British TV news sources were where the data on religion was collected from in the 08-09 study.

As the research context states, much research attention has been given to how race is discussed in the media, but not so much religion–which is also very important to examine, especially with how politicized religion is in the current day. It also builds on a previously conducted study.

Unfortunately, the researchers did not publish their data in DH ways, but instead published a book that I did find on the Lafayette catalog. However, despite being found on DH commons, this project does not feel truly “DH” to me because the representation of data was less accessible than I would have liked it to be. Of course, DH does not have to mean the final presentation of the data is done digitally, but I think it definitely could have lent itself to a project like this one. The project was sponsored by the University of Leeds.

Positives takeaways: Instead of doing a wide scope of years to compare, it is entirely possible to create a project that is based on comparisons of two time periods to look at a certain issue as represented by the media–a more manageable process.

Negatives takeaways: If you do not have an online source to look at your data, it makes your research less accessible, especially since a college library was necessary to have access to their e-book they published.


The main purpose of Mapping Texts according to the researchers is to find ways to detect patterns in huge databases of information, particularly large databases of newspapers. First, they examined the quality of the digitization process of their sample of ~250,000 newspaper pages. Then, they used text mining to find language patterns in the ~250,000 pages they were working with. The tools used are text mining through OCR and visualization through maps and timelines.

The data source for this project is the Chronicling America newspaper database (as used in the Viral Texts project), specifically newspapers from Texas digitized by the Texas Digital Newspaper Program. This project contributed methodology to the Digital Humanities world. The first visualization mapped the quality of the body of the newspapers by determining how many words were recognizable by their software as projected onto a map of Texas on a scale of bad to good. The second visualization looked at the type of language that was the most frequent in the pages they looked at.

The project is fairly well-maintained through Stanford, UNT, and NEH.

Positive takeaways: Using a large newspaper database and using more specific research material almost replicates what I intend to do. The new methodology can be applied to newspaper databases outside the Chronicling America one. I also found that the two visualizations were interesting because it breaks away from the typical “two variable” research process. The notion of testing out the quality of the digitization is also something that could be important as well because the language results will differ depending on how good the digitization is. 

Negative takeaways: I found that aspects of the visualization distracted from the purpose of them. It took me a bit of time to figure out what I was looking at since the large circles on the map were misleading, as was the timeline. It goes to show how clean and streamlined a visual project needs to be to make it truly accessible.


William Gordon

Scholars Michael Evans, Wayne McIntosh, Jimmy Lin and Cynthia Cates used computational tools to perform large scale content analysis of amicus curiae briefs in two affirmative action cases in the 2007 study “Recounting the Courts? Applying Automated Content Analysis to Enhance Empirical Legal Research.” In order to find the best way to analyze the data, they test two different methods of textual analysis, a Naïve Bayes classifier and Wordscores. The researchers’ goals were to prove that textual analysis is an effective way to analyze legal texts and find the best method to do so. To do so, they tested whether or not these text analysis methods could determine if these amicus curiae briefs were liberal or conservative by looking at specific word choices in the documents. Then, they tested them against the positions clearly stated in the briefs. They found both methods were, in general, equally effective.

Afterward, they looked for patterns in word choice used by liberal and conservative texts. Based on words used, according to their findings, liberal briefs focus on the societal implications of the Court’s decision, while conservative briefs “reflect an abstract focus on legal-constitutional justifications of, and limits on, administrative procedure; the epistemological status of social science research; and individualistic conceptions of justice.”

The study, published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, is meant for scholars, not the general public. Understanding it is designed for that audience, I plan to avoid as much as possible the language used by Evans, McIntosh, Lin and Cates, which at times can be dense. Instead, my project will be accessible for a general audience.

The graphics and datasets in this study are also not easily accessible to readers, perhaps another result of the medium and audience for which it was published. I would like my project to be published on a website, and have more accessible graphics—potentially even interactive ones. I think this would provide a better way to display that data, make it more interesting and make my results easily explainable.

Conservative amicus curiae briefs for Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and Grutter/Gratz v. Bollinger, the two affirmative action cases the researchers look at, are limited. There are only 15 conservative briefs for Bakke and 19 conservative briefs for Bollinger. In total, Bakke only has 57 briefs and Bollinger has 93 briefs. According to digital and public historian Megan R. Brett, topic modeling (another type of textual analysis, similar to the technique the authors of this study used, but organizes words in “topics” or groups, and does not focus on individual words) requires hundreds, if not a thousand, texts at minimum. Naturally, the authors of this 2007 study were limited by the tools at their disposal, but I would like my project to have a larger sample size.

Still, there are some aspects to this study that I would like to use in my own project. This study uses methods that allow the researchers to go beyond surface-level analysis and paint a larger picture with their data. At its most basic level, Evans, McIntosh, Lin and Cates demonstrate that computational macroanalysis is an effective way to look at legal texts. I can see some aspects of my project building upon their research, using textual analysis to look at what the different word choices of justices in their decisions say about their beliefs on a specific line of precedents. The data they present in the article is extremely valuable and, presented in a different way, can be accessible to the public. I plan to use their methods, questions asked, data and suggestions for future research as a model for my own project.


Although the diary of a midwife in the late 1700s and early 1800s does not quite relate to my project on a textual analysis of Supreme Court opinions, digital historian Cameron Blevins’s project on topic modeling Martha Ballard’s diary does. Belvins’s goal, basically, is to look for different themes discussed in Ballard’s diary using topic analysis. Then, he writes about different conclusions he has drawn from analyzing the text. Because it is on his personal site, the individual project itself is different to navigate. But, overall, it is well-designed and its charts and graphics effectively illustrate the data.

I picked this project to review because of the tools used and the design of the site. I like the graphs and charts, along with the ability to comment and ask question of the author on the page. This design aspect is something I would like to use in my own project, along with the tools Belvins used. MALLET, a Java-based software package that allows the user to perform topic-analysis, looks like a tool I could learn fairly easily since I already know Java. Moreover, it will allow me to have more control over topic analysis compared to similar tools.

So, even though the topic itself does not relate to my research, Belvins’s large scale topic analysis of texts and his presentation of the data is something I would like to imitate in my own project. Of course, I may add more elements, like interactive graphs and charts. Still, I see Belvins’s project as a good model for my own.


The Supreme Court Database is a collection of data about Supreme Court decisions from 1791 to 2014, which cites and organizes the information in different ways for the user. The list of cases can be downloaded in zip files containing CSV files with either case centered data or justice centered data, which includes specific information about how the justices voted and who wrote the majority opinion, etc. Each of these different types can be organized in ways, including by issue or docket number.

According to the website’s “About” section, the database was started by Professor of Political Science at Michigan University Harold J. Spaeth, a prominent Supreme Court scholar when he received funding for the project from the National Science Foundation. The goal of the site, as the title suggests, is to create a database of information on roughly 50 years of Supreme Court decisions for academics, journalists and others who may be interested. Spaeth is still involved in the project, along with five other professors. Support also comes from the National Science Foundation, HeinOnline and the Center for Empirical Research in Law, which has more projects like this one.

Even though my project will not be a database of Supreme Court opinions, this project’s design to be useful to all those interested in Court opinions—not just scholars—is something I would like to put in my own project. Also, the site’s information is open source, and even includes open source code to organize the data in different ways. Being transparent about methodology is something I plan to include in my project, and this website is a good example of it.

However, one drawback to the project is that some of the ways in which the data is coded is complicated. In fact, there is a 132-page downloadable code book from the website to learn how to interpret the dataset. The website also only contains surface level information about the cases, but not the written opinions themselves. In my project, I will be looking at the texts of the cases and attempting to glean more analytical depth from the cases I use as my dataset. Nevertheless, looking at the texts of decisions, of course, is not the Supreme Court Database’s goal, and will be a good place for me to start when I begin looking for the cases I want to analyze.

Tawfiq Alhamedi

Jedidiah Hotchkiss and The Battle of Chancellorsville

The purpose of this project is to showcase the Battle of Chancellorsville, a major battle of the American Civil War. The creator of this interactive map intended to chronologically trace the strategic movements taken in the battle. He does so by utilizing original maps drawn by Jedidiah Hotchkiss, a well-known cartographer of the Civil War whose maps were used by Confederate generals Robert Lee and Thomas Jackson. Moreover, he uses Neatline, “a geotemporal exhibit-builder that allows you to create beautiful, complex maps, image annotations, and narrative sequences…” in order to georeference Hotchkiss’ map, which is supplemented with a timeline on the top of the page and an overview of information on the right side of the screen.

The overview of information on the side of the site is particularly useful as it is divided by the date and time for each event. When each date is clicked, the map shifts to the particular place on the map where the event took place. This is a helpful addition to the numerals, which can also be clicked on but at a first glance seems somewhat convoluted with all the arrows and lines. It would be more helpful if there were some sort of map key, which explained the difference between a dot, line, and polygon.

Overall, this site is a useful reference for organizing data in a way that simplifies information on interactive maps that can at times be confusing. While pop ups are useful, they are more informative when placed in context by having a chronological overview information. This type of organization will highly be considered when forming my project.

Globalization of the United States, 1789-1861

This site traces the United States’ transition from being a newly independent and weak nation to ultimately becoming a global power at the dawn of the American Civil War. The site has both and interactive map and exhibit, which features a plethora of information about the multiple components of U.S. globalization, such as military expansion, economic trade, and religious expansion. The creators of this site utilize a series of 19th century maps to present a change in “geographical imaginaries” over time. The tabs at the topic of the site are easy to navigate, and there is plenty of information for users to fully understand the purpose and reach of this project.

The interactive map tab not only allows users to get to the map but also offers map instructions and sources for the various maps and data. At the top right corner of the map there is a checkbox for different data users can access; these include subheadings for diplomacy, military, missionary, commerce and immigration. Upon checking whichever box the user is interested in, they are to click the play button on the timeline to see the distribution of places where the data chosen applies. The number of pop ups increase while the timeline plays as though a slideshow, indicating the increase of globalization over the years.

Altogether, this site is thoroughly developed and was contributed to by various people. There is enough information and instructions for users to make sense of the purpose and uses for this site. The checkbox of data is particularly interesting for my project as Hadhrami social structure has stratification in identity groups; there are also varying purposes for migration, such as economic, religious, military, etc. This seems like a useful tool for me to organize the internal diversity of Hadhrami communities in a different way than merely putting up a block of text.

Mapping the Catalogue of Ships

The purpose of this site is to map the series of places mentioned in the second book of the Iliad, specifically in the Catalogue of Ships. By visually representing the places that are referenced in this catalogue by Homer, the creators of the site argue that these maps showcase Homer’s deep knowledge of Ancient Greek geography. The home page has a nice visual and adequate information for users to understand the aims of this project. The creators of the site also use Neatline as well to create the interactive map.

With lines of migration and pop ups for different locations, users get a clear picture of the different locations mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships. On the right side of the page, there is the original Greek writing of the Catalogue with highlights for the different locations mentioned. When each highlight is clicked from the Greek text, the map shifts to the precise location within Ancient Greece. While the original Greek text adds more authenticity to this project, it would be helpful if there was an English translation of the text as well.

Overall, the project fulfills its purpose and is an interesting supplement to this book of the Iliad. This site has presented another option of having text that may reference different locations of the Hadhrami diaspora, such as travel logs or colonial archives, and constructing my project in a way that gives users a visual representation of archival data in real-time with just a click.


Jillian Fahy

I am really interested in this project because of the interactive map they have created. This project looks at Airbnb rentals in San Francisco. One can zoom in and out and apply different filters to the map to quickly find what you are looking for. On the map it displays different Airbnb rental locations and when you click on a specific point a bubble pops up with information on the listing. This is something I would love to incorporate into my project and that is why I chose to review this project. The really cool thing about this map is that there are different filters that can be combined together for price range, area, bed type, cancellation policy and room type. I do not know if I will need multiple filters that can be applied together but it is still something to consider. I really like the map and popup bullets but I think a con would be that there are so many dots on the map that it is overwhelming. With my project I don’t want it to be too overwhelming so that people would then just give up on using it. Somehow there would need to be a balance that there wasn’t too many bullet points in one area. The other thing I wonder is how often it is updated. People are continually adding and taking down Airbnb so in order for this site to remain effective it will have to continually be updated. This website is from a project that sought to identify the positive effect that Airbnb was having on San Francisco’s economy. It also lists some statistics but does not state how they acquired those statistics.

I chose to examine this project because I really liked the way they color coded their map. Each country was a different color to represent the prevalence of Diabetes around the world. The other feature I liked was that when you scroll over a country a bubble would pop up giving all the numbers and statistics. Another cool feature was that you could click on the “color legend” on the side of the page and the map would then only display the countries that had that level. This made it very easy to see which areas were highest and which were lowest. You also had a choice of selecting which region to use with a drop down menu. One thing I found to be a pro for them was that when a specific area or country was selected on the right hand side the total number of reported cases would pop up. I liked that this appeared without having to be clicked on and I would really like to include that in my project somehow. This number changes based on how you scroll and what you click on and what filters have been applied. Underneath the map there are interactive graphs which sum up the findings. I enjoyed this feature and now would also like to include something like this to show the total findings of my research. A major downside of this project is that it only shows data from 2013 and they have not updated it each year. I think it would be a good idea for them to continue the data onward as we go forward in time to see if there is an increase or decrease. Thinking about this has made me question whether or not my data will be collected to focus solely on current extinctions and endangered species or past ones as well.

The Virtual Freedom Trail Project seeks to document liberation struggles in Tanzania and South Africa. Although the project is not complete they show some things they have begun working on and they also have started a website to give information. They plan to have maps depicting different parts of Africa and will have bullets that you can click on to get more information. I really like the start of their website, it is very clean and understandable. It is not cluttered with too many words or pictures. Within the maps portion it pops up with some information and several images that can be clicked on to be enlarged. These pictures relate to the specific topic and there are also two buttons within the popup that allow you to click for more information and also related people. I really like this feature, how it gives a brief summary and then if you are more interested you can click further to delve in deeper. With my project I could use this technique to give a brief summary and then I can use the buttons within the popup for the viewer to access more information and resources to help protect the species that was endangered. The only thing I dislike so far is the layout of their map. I believe that it looks cluttered because they used a map that had street names and roadways, etc. For their project this may be beneficial but for mine I will not need anything on my map besides the division of states within America. I would like to keep following this project as it progresses to see what they add to it.

Johnny Gossick

The Story of the Stuff

This project explores the spontaneous memorials after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 through a web documentary. It tracks the condolence “stuff” and examines the larger public responses to the tragedy.

The tools it uses are Scalar, WordPress, Vimeo, and Timeline JS. It uses these tools very effectively. The whole webpage is accessible with the scroll bar, but the tabs on the right side of the screen allow the user to jump to each chapter. This suggests that the material should be viewed linearly, however, it allows easy access to specific parts. Vimeo links are embedded for the actual video documentary in chapters. It has one in-depth timeline from Timeline JS that uses embedded media and text and is easy to scroll through. However, the text is awkwardly formatted because of lack of space in the box.

The project draws on interviews done by the author and news reports. It contributes a more interactive way to view a documentary, allowing the reader to view pieces out of series with supplementary materials for a deeper viewing experience. It is extremely well maintained; all links work perfectly. It is supported by a team at the University of Tennessee Knoxville with a grant from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and Fractured Atlas.

I liked how the web documentary was presented linearly but gave users the option of reading it however they wanted. I think that I will treat each different style of synthesis like a chapter in this way. I disliked the format of Timeline JS that this project used, and I learned that if I use this tool, I must make sure that it is formatted properly.
‘A Shaky Truce’: Starkville Civil Rights Struggles, 1960-1980


This project re-tells the story of America’s Civil Rights movement from the perspective of Starkville, Mississippi with oral history interviews, photos, newspapers, correspondences, interviewee’s personal collections and materials from the Mississippi State University Libraries’ archives.

The tools it uses are Google Maps, WordPress, Timeline JS, Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, and WordPress Plugins. The site is very deep. It is a typical website format and is divided into three main sections: the Place, the People, and the struggle. The site links for oral history interviews go to Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, which seems like a great way to organize the large amount of interviews they have done. In addition, there are numerous supplemental materials at the bottom of each page. It features an in-depth timeline from Timeline JS that contains all the important dates on the site. This timeline is much better formatted than the one from “Story of the Stuff.” The supplemental materials help to add to the textual narrative. The one thing that the site lacked was a conclusion section or a general section that helped the reader sum all that they had read. The project as a whole adds a great deal to the volume of oral history on the Civil Rights movement and helps to contextualize its place in a small town in Mississippi. It is ongoing and very well maintained, supported by a team at Mississippi State University and supported by grants from Institute of Museums and Library Services and Mississippi Humanities Council.

This project helps to contextualize the depth that some of these DH projects can be. I also like that it is growing and implements a sustainable architecture for growth because I hope to build upon my site in the future.
A Digital Pop-Up: Latino/a Mobility in California

This project is meant to document the work of an undergraduate class on Latina and Latino Mobility in 20th and their digital exhibit. It contains digital essays, a history blog, documentation of two exhibits, and student portfolios. It uses scalar, which is why I am looking into the site. The website is laid out very clearly, but somewhat unattractively. The table of context on the left side is helpful, but the “path” buttons are redundant because there is only one path and the references at the bottom of each page sometimes take up more screen space than the actual content. I did like how they linked words or word phrases to specific pages. The site is well maintained and is supported by a class of undergraduate students. I learned from this project that scalar is a very flexible tool, allowing you to route to anywhere in the webpage using any form of link and multiple pathways. However, I also learned that I will need to be very careful tying up the loose ends of the webpage’s aesthetic.

Analyzing Iran

(Abdul Manan)

Information is Beautiful


A website named “information is beautiful” specializes in creating visually appealing means to convey academically rigorous ideas, an effective technique I must say. One particular chart explaining the arcanely intermingled relationships between the various states and factions in the ongoing conflict in the middle east, may not directly be in line with my proposal, offers a refreshing visual idea that I could possibly use. This relationship web has an overall confusing appearance, much like reality, but as one pays a little more attention, the idea(s) begin to sync in. One can click at each point of the web to further learn about the general standing of that party in the conflict. Following the general profile, one is guided into another, smaller web that lists the specific relationships the party has in meaningful detail. The complexity of the issue is well captured by this technique.

Given the time and technical restrains attaining such level of intricate coding could prove to be a hindrance. Also, the intricacy of the entire project although important could be too overwhelming for a beginner in the subject.

Iran White Paper

Website :

The Iran White Paper is a database that converts and collects formal documents in digital formats that deal directly with Iran US relations. This project resembles my proposal, explaining Iranian political institutions that is, in its prospective form and content. The “US Iran Project Software,” is designed specifically to cater to the objective of creating a comprehensive repository of official documents for the reader to make a sense of. With different sections for documents (which include scanned copies of  partially redacted declassified documents, it looks quite appealing), speeches, ordinances, the software seems to be tailored for assessing relationships between two Governments. The project itself is accompanied by a scholarly academic paper that sets the context within which the reader is advised to view the entire undertaking.

With all its usefulness, the project falls short of exhibiting a comprehensive set of documents from Iranian polity. While one can fathom the limitations, maybe linguistic or that of credentials, lack of ample Iranian documents in the software is seriously limiting.


Kurdish Chart by the Atlantic Council


Compiled by Atlantic Council, a major think tank based in DC, this interactive chart maps the governing institutions of Kurdistan. Complex in its outlook, the chart comprehensively covers all working institutions of the Kurdish Government. This chart has incredible semblance to my conception of the outlook of my project. With short write ups about each institution, the chart establishes  a comprehensive, generic context of Kurdish political institutions. The format of the chart is pleasing to the eye and adequately complex for the brain. It is also diligently separated into the executive, legislative and judicial branches, with a separate page devoted to foreign policy.

Although the chart is comprehensive in the generic sense, it completely lacks an in depth assessment of the various institutions it represents. The impetus of my project is to delve into the details, which this project for one reason or another seldom does. I view this chart however as a starting point upon which I can capitalize to add more academic features to my project.

Joseph Bronzo

Milton Revealed is an online database, which seeks to store images and visual data related to John Milton. This is basically a database of outside the text information and interpretations of Milton’s major works. Some of the positives of the site include it’s easy to navigate web page. This is best illustrated by easy to click icons, which bring up clips of the poems being dramatically acted. Furthermore, the sole focus on a single author is an exciting positive, which relates well to my project. However, this project does have some negatives. First, there is very limited actual analysis of the written word. Furthermore, the majority of the materials are biographical and extra-textual. Therfore in my perspective they are mere obfuscations of the important material- The ACTUAL WORK! Despite the negatives, it was good to see how a project about an author’s compendium of wroks, might be structured.

Darkness Visible is another database dedicated to John Milton. However, unlike the Milton Revealed, it has a plethora of sections. This database is almost entirely dedicated to the Epic paradise lost. It has a discussion of the plot, characters, historic backdrop and the LANGUAGE! Now the language section is incredibly broad and is basically a summary with highlighted notes. Upon further review of the website, I find that it is designed to make Milton more consumable. This like Milton revealed is a website focused on taking the language and bringing it down to an everyday level. What I liked about this project is its ability to distil complex poetry down to palatable forms. What I might conceive of adding to my project is a small summary to poems, which I have analyzed in depth. Thus, this website was an exploration of an author, but lacked my methodological bend.


Finally, I came across Yeats by Shawna Ross. This digital humanities project seeks to identify the dialectical forms used by Yeats in his poetry, such that there are multiple poets within one poem. Instead of using the philosophy of Hegel to color Yeats’ poems Ms. Ross went back to the poems themselves to and charted the amount of times Yeats’ poems exhibited self-quoting, Hypotheticals, 3rd persons, and many other things. I can find only one negative in the entirety of the study, which is that the textual analysis is not taken further than the actual findings. I believe this is extremely close to what my project would encompass, and if I could combine the Interface and interesting statements of Milton Revealed with Shawna Ross’s method, I believe I would have an incredibly strong project.