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Micalee Sullivan

Micalee Sullivan

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September 9, 2011

The Trials and Errors of a Digital Humanities Project

September 9, 2011 | By | No Comments

Last week marked an end to my Cultural Heritage and Informatics Initiative Fellowship. Although this also marks the technical end to my project, Sixteen Tons, I really view it as the start of what I hope will be a continually expanding project. In hindsight, many of the aims of the project, including a collaborative component and lessons plans, were a bit ambitious. I have to agree with Katy’s advice to new fellows – struggle with this project, because you will. In my head, I imagined a much longer time line of project design and creation, but unfortunately, I hit several technical snags along the way that really hindered my process. I suppose now I can recall Ethan telling us that this was just the start of our projects and we shouldn’t try to expect too much out of initial launch, but I also suppose we all Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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August 5, 2011

Project Breakdown: Creating exhibits with Omeka

August 5, 2011 | By | No Comments

I’ve uploaded most of my content for Sixteen Tons and can start the process of organizing my content. I was fortunate enough to have photographed a large potion of my material. I have also transcribed most of the primary documents that I was not able to photograph, or that would have been too difficult to read in digital form (most of my documents are over a century old). Omeka makes the organization a bit easier by providing categories in which you can place your items into. For my own website, I chose to use broad themes that all of my research can fall under. Once I created these broad category titles, it was easy to choose a category from the dropdown menu as I uploaded individual items.

[caption id=”attachment_871″ align=”aligncenter” width=”300″ caption=”Some of the collections I used to organize the many individual items I uploaded to my Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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May 13, 2011

Digital Duds and Collaboration Wins – Part 2

May 13, 2011 | By | One Comment

Historypin, timetoast, and the Brooklyn Museum website have embraced the idea that if you let the public have a shot at contributing to the development of a project, you’re going to end up with something really fantastic. After the success of collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Youtube, these newest projects continue to build upon the success of online collaboration. And of course, they’re free and open to the public.

Timetoast, launched in 2008, is a timeline web application that allows users to create their own timelines and upload corresponding media for them.

Timetoast also allows users to insert a photo or link into each event entered, providing viewers with a possible multi-media view of created timelines. The timelines have a neat appearance – events quickly appear as you scroll across over the timeline, and you can click on events to reveal more details about them. When your timeline is ready Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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May 13, 2011

Digital Duds and Collaboration Wins – Part 1

May 13, 2011 | By | No Comments

Sixteen Tons was derived as a way to share research to other scholars, teachers, and the public based upon the many hours I spent working in archives around the world. Coming from a field where research tends to be highly guarded and secretive until your work is published, my work with the CHI initiative has provided me with the understanding that it is, not only okay to share my research, but it could provide a useful alternative to the bulky dissertation that tends to mostly collect dust on a library shelf. By simply adding media and a web address to my dissertation research, I’m going to be able to reach far more people.

Most of the inspiration behind my project came from another online project, Like a Family. It is a website component to the book of the same title – one that I had read during my Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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April 19, 2011

A (very) brief metadata tutorial

April 19, 2011 | By | No Comments

Sixteen Tons is finally starting to see some life. Unfortunately, most of this is in the form of massive chaos as I continue upload item after item into my digital repository. I’ve decided that, before I can even begin to think about the organization of the website, I need to place my items into my Omeka site and then begin the process of sorting and organizing. Ideally, I’d like to complete this first step by May so that I can then work on the organization of my website during the summer.

When I add a new item to my Omeka site, the first thing I do is begin to fill out the metadata boxes. Omeka uses Dublin Core (DC) standard – it’s complete enough to accurately describe various materials but simple enough for people to use who do not possess an LIS degree. Some of the Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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March 10, 2011

The Digital Archive and Copyright Headaches

March 10, 2011 | By | 3 Comments

Undoubtedly, by now, there has been a lot written about the issue of copyrights and digitized archival material. Yet, I’m pretty sure no one has a definite answer for me yet. I came to Arizona to do some research this week and was determined to find an answer to this problem. In my “Sixteen Tons” project, I wanted to use pictures that I have taken in the archives of, not just archival photographs, but also actual documents. Allowing students to view high res photos of the actual documents gives them the opportunity to struggle with interpreting the faded, spotty, and outdated handwriting just as a historian would and can be much more interesting to view than just transcribed material on a word document.

But even posting photographs of these documents provides many of the same problems that using archival photographs does – problems that go beyond just crediting Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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February 16, 2011

Teaching Digital Humanities to the Progressive Era Historian

February 16, 2011 | By | One Comment

Last week I made my first attempt at installing Omeka onto a server – my first step towards creating my Sixteen Tons project. Let’s just say I’m still in the process of completing this first step, but I am happy to have been given the opportunity to try a task that I would have never even attempted before becoming a CHI fellow. At times, I feel like the digital underdog, frantically Googling things like, “what does RT mean on Twitter?” (it means Re-Tweet!). But I am most likely not an exception to the wide array of professional historians out there.

Historians now recognize and value the importance of digital archive collections. While computers cannot replace cultural submersion experiences that many history graduate students are expected to participate in for their specializing region/s, I personally have benefited from the vast amount of primary documents that are a growing part Read More

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November 15, 2010

“Sixteen Tons”: A U.S. and South African Mineworkers’ Archive

November 15, 2010 | By | 7 Comments

It was not evident to me how little the world tends to remember about the story of the working class and labor history until I visited the De Beers Mining Museum in Kimberley, South Africa. The story of the mineworkers, their families, and their communities is hidden behind the celebrated legacy of a successful company and its founder Cecil Rhodes, whose “ambition, enterprise, and vision” helped to tame the “madness and mayhem” of the frontier. The mining museum does little to inform visitors of the dangerous and often deadly conditions that thousands of men partook in on a daily basis, and there is no tribute from De Beers honoring the countless workers lost while in the mines.

My CHI project, “Sixteen Tons”: A U.S. and South African Mineworkers’ Archive will tell the story of these workers, their families, and their communities by creating a public archive and online exhibit that documents Read More