First Reflection

My anthropology professor approached me a few months ago to inform me about this internship opportunity. At the time, I had no idea what Digital Humanities was or how it worked. While the idea of learning to program and putting together a digital project is daunting, I am excited to do in depth research on a topic that matters to me.

With my family originally coming from Sweden and Peru, I have always been interested in the histories of these nations. However, when one thinks of Peru, one immediately thinks of Machu Picchu and the Incas, as well as to indigenous traditions and culture. Thinking of Sweden on the other hand, it is easy to discount the importance of indigenous culture and how the modernization of Scandinavia has affected their lives and influenced their native culture and habitat. Across the world, indigenous peoples have been affected by industrialization and even environmentalist movements. Seen as a part of nature or as even less than human, indigenous peoples have struggled to maintain authority over their own landscapes and ways of life over the push from national governments to develop the land or even preserve it as national parks. From a national perspective, it may seem like the right course to take, but doing so oppresses and manipulates the ways in which indigenous peoples get to live their lives.

While the Sami People now have more authority in Scandinavia then they have in the past, their landscape is changing. Efforts to preserve the forests in the arctic and to find alternative sources of energy (both valid and important efforts) have had an impact on the ability of Sami to hunt and raise their reindeer. Originally, my research question was focused on how conservation efforts have affected the land available to the Sami and to look into how the government perceives these people and their community. Now, as I have had time to think, my question is adapting. While I was in Stockholm visiting my family over spring break, my aunt asked me about the application I had sent in for this internship. When I mentioned that I was curious as to how conservation and arctic development has impacted the Sami community, she pointed out that her summer home was located in a Sami community—far from where they are originally considered to be from in the Arctic Circle. I know that Sami people in the past were forced to integrate with Swedish “modern” society (learning the language, going to Swedish schools, etc), but how do the Sami associate themselves with Sweden today? What are their motives for migration and how has that changed over time? This is a broad question that must be narrowed down, but I hope to outline how different Sami communities across Sweden have developed and how they interact with their areas. I want to look into different factors that have influenced Sami migration and by looking into the different communities that have formed, see how they have both maintained and adapted their tradition.

By doing this research, I hope to expose the importance of indigenous communities and their treatment. The removal of authority and legitimacy from indigenous peoples is a problem that exists across the world. Here in the United States Native Americans at Standing Rock, North Dakota have struggled and fought to maintain their mother—their home. In my Culture and the Environment Class, I watched a documentary about how the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, Canada, has been removed access from a lake that is rightfully theirs. Yet, through it all, these people persist, and I wish to humanize them in ways that many people are unable to understand. These communities are strong and determined, even if their ways of life are perceived as inferior by others.

I am planning on using GIS to do digital mapping in order to display Sami migration in Sweden. I want to mark various Sami communities across the nation and describe the interaction with other people in the area as well as how they got to be where they are. This will not be a simple task. My question must be narrowed down and refined in order to achieve my goal in the six weeks that I have. Furthermore, I am unsure of how I will conduct my research. I am currently looking into different Swedish census websites and I plan to look at government documents as well, but I am not sure how consistent or informational my data will be in terms of what I am looking for. But overall, I am confident that this project will have the potential to create an impact. I am excited to get the opportunity to use Digital Humanities to portray my research. Digital Humanities gives me the ability to share on a wider scale than I could have ever imagined.

First Reflection (Tedi)

As I embark on this internship, I find myself holding high expectations for the upcoming weeks. In the interest of full disclosure, I have little experience conducting such immersive, in-depth research, so I’m excited to really seize a topic and embrace it. I expect (and hope) that I’ll discover something new in my studies. I expect to grow closer to my fellow scholars as we undertake this mission together, and I expect that I’ll learn from their differing perspectives and experiences, and hope that they’ll learn from mine in turn. I expect to be taught new techniques and methods (hopefully a bit of coding!) I expect that this experience will broaden my knowledge holistically, and not just on my topic of study.

My topic currently delves into instances of deviation from social norms by examining minority treatment on 21st century reality and dating television. I wanted to examine a low culture medium to see how such a commonly discarded phenomenon (reality TV) is still reflective of malignant cultural values. This topic is important to me for several reasons. First, I’m admittedly a somewhat closeted consumer of reality television myself. Simultaneously, I harbor an interest in modern social issues, like media visibility for minority populations. I wanted to examine these issues in the context of reality television in order to examine the intersection between pop culture and society. Reality television is so commonly discarded as unacademic waste; subsequently, many believe that there is nothing of intellectual value to be derived. I wanted to reject this notion by defending reality television as a admissible means of examining culture.

Throughout the project, I want to maintain a theme that places a critical lens over reality love and dating television. I would really like this critical lens to be an examination of age, race, ability, and sexual orientation. These are the main tenets of my project and I would like them to remain so. More flexible elements of my project include how I’m going to study these intersecting ideas. Currently, I imagine that I’ll examine instances of deviation and explore public reaction to such cases. An armless contestant on Bachelor in Paradise or a gay couple on Bachelor Australia come to mind. I also want to quantify these instances of deviation in a chart as well; for instance, a chart that illustrates the number of people of color on several relevant dating shows for the past 17 years. Perhaps a bar graph or pie chart would be the best way to graphically display this information. This part of my project, the accumulation and representation of data, is still flexible.

I can imagine encountering problems considering the scope of my project. I would consider limiting my project to one minority quadrant in order to slim my research, but I think a more comprehensive project would study several factions in order to draw multiple parallels as to varying minority treatments. I am also concerned that what I aim to study may not be quantifiable. I must find a scientific, empirical way to study what I want to study. Measuring how desirable the general public finds a certain person is not a realistic aim; examining public reaction to a certain instance is an academically permissible way to ascertain data. I hope that I can fathom my many questions into one arguable thesis.

When considering my time and resource constraints, I want to embrace a topic that is feasible. If the scope of my project is too large, or my ambitions too great, proper research will never be accomplished. A valuable resource for me will be the opinions and advice of my librarian associates and peers. I believe that this peer collaboration will be an essential component of me designing my project within my constraints. Sometimes, my fellows have a better idea of what is accomplishable than I do myself. If I feel as though my research may overextend the range of my resources, consulting with a friend or mentor should be greatly assistive.

I’m very excited to get started!

Reflection 4

This past week has been eventful, to say the least. It was definitely very stressful. After being told by the other librarians that my research was not really interesting and that I needed more of a context for it, I had a mini-panic, and then went back to work trying to find that context. I decided on focusing in on the idea that one of the reasons why there are less traditional modes of activism on campus is because these political discussions are incorporated into our academic life through interactions with the faculty and events. From that point, I was able to re-research and I feel pretty good about the research/paper aspect of the whole situation. However, the stressful part comes in when I think about the project aspect. Because my topic has shifted, I’m not even sure topic modeling makes sense anymore, which makes all of the work I put into getting data that fits for cytoscape and the work I did using this project potentially completely useless. I’m also having trouble really nailing down what I want to do now in terms of visualization of data, and even exactly if the kind of data I am looking for is the best data I could be looking for. I do have ideas, but the fact a project draft is due on Thursday is daunting when I still don’t have a clear idea of what my project will look like with a topic change seemingly small, yet dramatic in terms of how it affects my project. The ideas I do have theoretically will not take too long to execute; I am just worried that they will not be enough to really get a great point across with a visualization.

Reflection 3

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

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

Reflection three

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

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

Cytoscape

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

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

Wix

www.wix.com

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

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edithl=en_US&app=mp&mid=1YddiWJxGlKN2MBjcL2cShIJtfBs

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.

Tableau

https://public.tableau.com/s/gallery

https://public.tableau.com/profile/publish/Endangeredspecies2008to15/Sheet2#!/publish-confirm

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.

Silk

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

Johnny Gossick

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

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

Scalar-  http://scalar.usc.edu

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

Souncloud- https://soundcloud.com

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

William Gordon

GitHub

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

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.

SHIVA

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

Neatline

http://neatline.org/

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.

Scalar

http://scalar.usc.edu/

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.

Thinglink

https://www.thinglink.com/

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.

Research Elements – Jillian Fahy

Research Question – May 26

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

 

Working Thesis and Outline Draft – May 31

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

DRAFT

Introduction and Thesis

-Background information on endangered species and extinction

-Endangered species numbers and statistics for America

-Human induced climate change and other human caused problems

-What do I hope to accomplish with this project

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

Literature Review

-Study on endangered species

-Analysis of the research/project

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

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

Methodology

-What projects/resources inspired my project

-How did I design my project

-What decisions and tools changed along the way

Analysis

-Discussion and summation of the project

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

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

Conclusion

-Final concluding remarks

-What is the big take away message

-My journey embarking as a DHSS student

Thesis and Introduction- July 7

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

Intro:

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

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

https://public.tableau.com/s/gallery/airbnb-prices-san-francisco

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.

https://public.tableau.com/s/gallery/prevalence-diabetes-world

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.

http://www.virtualfreedomtrailproject.org/

http://www.dhinitiative.org/projects/vftp

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
http://thestoryofthestuff.com

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

Home

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
http://dhcommons.org/projects/digital-pop-latinoa-mobility-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

Website http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-middle-east-key-players-notable-relationships/

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 : http://hyperstudio.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/US-Iran-whitepaper.pdf

http://hyperstudio.mit.edu/projects/us-iran/

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

Website http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/mapping-the-kurds-an-interactive-chart

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

http://miltonrevealed.berkeley.edu/

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.

 

http://darknessvisible.christs.cam.ac.uk/index.html

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.

 

http://www.shawnaross.com/yeatsblog.html

 

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.