Reflection II (john)

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

 

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

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

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

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:

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

http://dhcommons.org/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

http://scalar.usc.edu/works/race-and-migration-in-the-united-states-/index

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.

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

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.

http://dhcommons.org/projects/montr%C3%A9al-lavenir-du-pass%C3%A9-map

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

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

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

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

Tedi Beemer

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben Minerva

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maria Ahmed 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Idil Tanrisever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Gonzalez

Soweto Historical GIS Project 

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

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

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

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

The Agas Map of Early Modern London

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Saldaña Project Collection 

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

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

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

Jovanté Anderson

http://www.bl.uk/playtimes

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

http://thestoryofthestuff.com/

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

Home

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

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

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

 

john rodriguez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Reflection (john)

I chose this project because, as an artist, I know the difficult process behind writing lyrics. I believe that every word is pregnant with meaning and this project operates under that. I specifically chose the To Pimp A Butterfly album because this was the first conscious rap album I have seen garner public attention, and awards. Usually, radios and mainstream outlets prefer to play music that revolves around partying, but TPAB songs managed to top charts while critiquing the very community we are apart of; the true aim of rap/hip-hop.

Discussing pro-black messages from the album is a mandatory element that cannot be changed. My time briefing with Adam opened my eyes to the fact that the album may provide a plethora of topics or evidence for my project. Given this realization, I want to extract songs that pertain to the black experience and see if research supports the message. Thus, I aim to unpack and provide “scholarly” evidence to his claims because, even though the album was popular enough to obtain a Grammy, people still think the black experience is a matter of fiction in America society. My search of evidence would ideally help me critique if social issues within the black community have improved over the past few years. I would argue that this album is the appropriate choice for my project because Kendrick Lamar succeeds well at portraying the black experience. He currently a high charting artist who speaks bluntly about social issues over sonically impressive tracks. Also, the album is highly respected and was awarded Best Rap Album of 2015.

My biggest challenge would be sifting through the massive amount of content in the album to find songs that are topical. Certain songs may require deeper analysis to see if a message lies underneath because they are complex and sometimes confusing. A potential challenge could be finding articles that are relevant to the black experience. However, if I do not, that would be intriguing because it would show how important documenting and discussing the black experience is to the academic community. I must be clear on what songs I am going to discuss by the end of the first week the latest.

In regards to my readiness for this program, the late great Marvin Gaye said it best, “Let’s get it on”.

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.