Category Archives: Weekly Project Reports 2014

Weekly project reports from the various student DH projects going on during the Spring 2014 semester.

New Friend, New Platform for DH Box

Cross-posted from: https://dhbox.commons.gc.cuny.edu/blog/2014/dh-box-new-friend-new-platform


This week the DH Box team reconsidered their choice of platform, with the help of Dennis Tenen, a professor at Columbia University in the Digital Humanities and New Media Studies program (and former developer with Microsoft).

A couple weeks ago we were surprised and delighted to find that another team had come up with the idea for a portable tool that could help users quickly get going with DH applications. And this week we found that Professor Tenen and colleagues had also discussed how to tackle such a project and had come up with yet a different solution! In discussing that solution, we found it matched our aim of providing an ease of quickly setting up an environment for new users and made us change our focus for both implementation and outreach.

Read more

Beyond Citation: Understanding Databases

Every year, more and more research is done by scholars online via academic databases. Print journals, scholarly monographs, newspapers, periodical indexes, and even ephemera and image collections are steadily transitioning from print to electronic.

Historically, research using print collections took place in library reading rooms with material owned by the library. Increasingly, research using electronic collections takes place outside of the library using proprietary digital platforms subscribed to by libraries. This change greatly affects how libraries function — an ownership model morphs into an access model — and how research is done. Database searches are crucial to uncovering information, but little is known about how these searches work. Additionally, it’s not always easy to find what full text content is covered in these database titles.

The goal of Beyond Citation is to help the researcher to better understand how academic databases work, and provide easier access to the database’s holdings information. For the CUNY Digital Praxis Seminar, the Beyond Citation team needed to determine which databases to feature in its initial launch, and what information to gather about each title.

First, we wanted to feature humanities databases and steer away from STEM titles. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.) Second, we ideally wanted to cover titles that were available at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Mina Rees Library, and we wanted representation from the big three “e” vendors: EBSCO, Gale, and ProQuest. Additionally, we wanted to cover different kinds of content, including historical newspapers, scholarly journals, and historical e-books from both non-profit and for-profit companies.

After much discussion, the Beyond Citation team has decided to focus on the following databases and collections for its initial launch.

Google Books

HathiTrust

ArtStor

ProQuest Historical Newspapers

19th Century U.S. Newspapers (Gale)

Early English Books Online (EEBO) with TCP (Text Creation Partnership) (ProQuest)

Gale Artemis: Primary Sources – Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO).

JSTOR

Project Muse (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Artemis Literature Resources (Gale)

EBSCO Humanities Source

We are open to and eager for feedback from users of these titles, or from any other researchers and librarians who use databases in their research. More to come in future posts on what information we hope to gather from each title, and how that information will be displayed. You can reach us at BeyondCitation [at] gmail.com

Travelogue team journal post #2

Travelogue group members
Sarah – Project Manager
Amy – Technology and Design
Melanie – Outreach and Communication
Evonne – Research
Adam – Technology and Design

Monday, February 24th

Since the last class meeting, the Travelogue team has decided to focus on two American authors, Zora Neale Hurston and Ernest Hemingway.

Amy has created the Travelogue Commons site, which includes photos of the two chosen authors, the Travelogue logo, Twitter button, contact form (including a Travelogue gmail account) and a bio page featuring photos of the Travelogue team members.  Each team member has been working on a short bio and those will be posted soon.  The Travelogue email includes a signature with the team’s Twitter handle.

Evonne has created a research plan for the project and added it to the Travelogue Google Drive folder.  She also created a Zotero folder for the project, as to track resources and references. Evonne will cross post the resources and references in the Google Drive folders for each author.

Adam has updated the Travelogue logo that can now be seen on the Commons site and soon on the Twitter page.  He has continued to research Omeka+Neatline.  Adam is exploring HTML, CSS and other resources that will be helpful once a mapping platform has been chosen for the project.

Sarah has organized a consultation meeting for the team with Steven Romalewski.  The goal is to decide on a mapping platform that fits the Travelogue project scope.  Sarah has also provided the team with a list of “action items” and organized a schedule of weekly check-ins for the team.

In thinking about Travelogue as a pedagogical tool, but also an accessible resource for those outside of an academic environment, I have been exploring how to identify who the target audience is.  I have been using the Journal of Digital Humanities as a resource to research best publicity practices for a DH project.  I have continued to document the Travelogue team’s progress in journal posts and updated the team’s Twitter.

-Melanie

If you want to contact us please do. Our project blog is at  travelogue.commons.gc.cuny.edu. Email us at dhtravelogue [at] gmail [dot] com or follow us on Twitter @DhTravelogue

Travelogue team journal post #1

Travelogue group members
Sarah  – Project Manager
Amy  – Technology and Design
Melanie  – Outreach and Communication
Evonne  – Research
Adam  – Technology and Design

The Travelogue project will disrupt and broaden the expatriate narrative, while at the same time compiling American literary travel narratives and timelines with web mapping.  Mapping these journeys for display on an interactive website will provide both a visual and theoretical representation of modern literary movements in America, enabling the humanities community to gain a broader understanding of the history and underlying structure of these works.  It will also act as a pedagogical tool, allowing students to see narratives and literary movements represented through interactive, visual means, and as a general source of information for a wider public audience.

Thursday, February 20th

The team has been off to a successful start, communicating consistently through the Travelogue CUNY Commons group page that Amy created.  As a group, we have been discussing what the scope of the project is and what we would like it to look like.

Sarah created a Google folder for the project.  The folder features the project plan Excel spreadsheet and sheets for info on each of the four authors Travelogue will feature.  Sarah has been providing an outline for the project scope, noting details of the author’s “life journey” that Travelogue should be highlighting.

We have been exploring a diverse list of American authors that have traveled substantially and or lived abroad.  This week we plan on solidifying the list of four authors.  Zora Neale Hurston http://chdr.cah.ucf.edu/hurstonarchive/ and Ernest Hemingway http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/The-Ernest-Hemingway-Collection.aspx will most likely be featured.  Evonne has been researching the authors, narrowing down the list to authors that fit the Travelogue criteria, and have the greatest volume of digital content available.  She has created a Google doc with the data collected.

Amy and I have been researching tutorials and guides for the possible platforms.  We have been sharing the info and links on the group’s Commons page.  Amy and I have also researched possible authors to feature, focusing on female authors.  I created a Twitter account for Travelogue and shared the account info with the group.  During the next collaborative class session, I will inquire as to what the best practices are for sharing project progression details publicly through social media.

Possible platforms the group has discussed:

– CartoDB
– Mapbox
– Google Maps + Google Fusion Tables
– Omeka + Neatline

Adam sketched a logo for Travelogue.  We all agreed it was great.  He has scanned it and has been actively sharing drafts of the logo with the group as he works on the design.  Adam has also been researching Neatline+Omeka, along with other platforms and tutorials.  The group is looking forward to consulting with Steven Romalewski on which platform would be best and most feasible within the scope of the project.  The front runner, platform-wise, has been Omeka+Neatline.  Sarah has also been researching CartoDB, its functionalities and  the cost involved in the usage of CartoDB.

If you want to contact us please do. Our project blog is at  travelogue.commons.gc.cuny.edu. Email us at dhtravelogue [at] gmail [dot] com or follow us on Twitter @DhTravelogue

DH Box: Tackling Project Scope

We have this great Digital Humanities project idea, but what happens between now and launch time?

With an idea like DH Box (a customized linux OS with preinstalled DH Tools and the flexibility to operate on a computer as cheap and portable as the Raspberry Pi) there are a number of directions we could take, and will certainly consider for further iterations of DH Box beyond the Spring term (this blog currently documents the experiences of a project team enrolled in a graduate course in Digital Humanities Praxis at the Graduate Center, CUNY).

In order to refine the scope of our tool, we asked ourselves some questions:

  • What approach will we take around educating users about coding, the infrastructure around the DH Box software, hardware, and operating system?
  • Which DH Tools should we include? See Alan Liu’s curated list for more info on the scope of DH tools out there
  • What user(s) are we building this for?

The success of our project hinges on our ability to carefully model the scope of the tool by shaping the answers to these questions . . . all by May 12th (public launch date)!

Educational Value

Beyond providing a collection of accessible DH Tools, we want DH Box to help bridge knowledge gaps by delivering a strong educational component. We’d like for instance, undergraduate English students to gain exposure and develop proficiency in Digital Humanities inquiry through the kind of guidance and practical experience DH Box will offer. To that end, we will begin an interactive textbook to provide instruction about the specific tools included in this first iteration of DH Box. We are most inspired by the Learn Code the Hard Way interactive textbook series by Zed Shaw.

Tools

We are gearing this version of DH Box to bring Topic Modeling and Text Analysis to Humanities students!

We began by considering the most popular DH Tools out there and quickly realized it made a lot of sense to whittle the list down for this current project phase. We’ve made choices based on optimal software performance with the Raspberry Pi. We also want to provide DH Tools that haven’t yet had the level of proliferation like some of the more popular content management systems such as WordPress.

Users

Undergraduate Humanities students currently have little familiarity with terms like tokenizationsentiment analysis, etc., and how these components of text analysis can open expansive modes of textual inquiry. As part of its mission, DH Box will work to make these methods accessible to a broad audience!

Stay tuned for exciting updates on implementing the install scripts, using IPython Notebook, and more!

 

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