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Autumn Beyer

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June 22, 2016

Morton Village Continued: Updating the main website

June 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

This summer, Nikki Silva and I are working on updating the main website for the Morton Village Research project: mortonvillage.anthropology.msu.edu. This website/blog was created in 2008 and is in need of some major updates. We have several areas of the site that we are going to update!

Website Theme: Currently it is an outdated version of the 2011 wordpress style. We will be updating the theme to the 2014 version, which is more modern and includes sections for integrating videos and photos.

About the Project: We are going to expand the description of the project and include photos of the project directors, Drs Jodie O’Gorman and Mike Conner.

Research Page: Update the language used (make it more public friendly), add photos within the text.

Add A Graduate Student Research Page: Include blurbs from past and present graduate students on their research at the site.

Expand the Resources Page: Add descriptions for links, direct links to articles on the site, link to Mapping Morton Village, and add PDFs of conference poster presentations.

Add Photo/Video Galleries: Include field and lab photos and videos, as well as images from conference presentations.

 

As we work on changing and adding pages, we will continue to re-evaluate the site to see if there are any other changes we would like to make! Please let us know if you have any comments or ideas!

 

jfelipe195

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May 20, 2016

Introducing BARDSS

May 20, 2016 | By | No Comments

logoIntroducing BARDSS is a website developed as part of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative, to explains and promote another digital project called BARDSS, the Baptismal Records Database for Slave Societies. BARDSS is intended to be a user-friendly and searchable online database that will make accessible detailed data from the baptismal records of thousands of African and African-descended individuals across the Americas. Because BARDSS is still a work in progress, we created this site to update about its progress and to discuss some of their features.

Our goal with this website is to socialize and receive feedback for the construction of this project before we launch the software. We discuss our decisions in relation to the structure of the fields, the selection of the data, and how we visualize future search tools. This democratic process of creating knowledge, we believe, is one of the main achievements of our nascent digital age. The site is divided in six sections including the landing page. We cover the majority of the key issues we faced while creating BARDSS. The pages explains, the records we used and what that type of information their contain. The Fields section detailed how we group the content of the baptismal records into categories. The Search section shows ho we envision the tools that users will have available to conduct different type of crossed search. Finally, the section called Visualization is a projection of what type of questions BARDSS can answer through its visualization tool.  We hope that BARDSS will be not only be public as a finished digital tool, but that its creation will also be a public endeavor and that this website could help to achieve this goal

Sara Bijani

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May 7, 2016

Announcing the (Soft) Launch of the Finally Got the News Digital Audio Archive

May 7, 2016 | By | No Comments

I feel hesitant to describe this phase of the Finally Got the News audio reel archive as a “launch” of the project, simply because my aspirations for the collaborative and interpretative dimensions of this work won’t be completed until later this summer. The archive itself, however, is in a highly functional and sharable state. Rather than describing the project in full (I’ll save that for a later post this summer), I’ll use this announcement to walk through the functionality of the digital archive, available at: http://newsreeldetroit.matrix.msu.edu/blackstarproductions/.

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wargojon

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May 7, 2016

The Launch and (Re)Emergence of #HearMyHome

May 7, 2016 | By | No Comments

Originally conceived of as an “everyday” cultural heritage informatics project interrogating how contemporary youth write community through and with sound. #hearmyhome inquires how hearing difference and listening to community may re-educate the senses and attune us towards cultural difference. Ultimately working to develop materials that hear, recognize, and sustain community literacies and cultural rhetorics, #hearmyhome asks educators, users, and participants alike to take heed of the frequencies and rhythms of culture as they architect, design, and teach towards more equitable landscapes for learning.Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 9.33.34 PM

Focusing on “everyday” cultural heritage, #hearmyhome demonstrates how youth can “hear” and “listen” to better understand difference and community literacies through expansive personal learning networks (PLN). Illustrated by the site’s larger open-networked soundscapes map, #hearmyhome is an affinity space wherein participants share both knowledge and life experiences (through audio, visual, and text) as a way to form interpersonal relationships and create a fuller understanding of community.

#hearmyhome has three primary goals:

  • As an area for research, #hearmyhome is about examining rhythmic rituals and the ambient soundscapes of culture that cut across the contexts of home, school, and community, looking at the connections, overlaps, and disjunctures.
  • As a pedagogical project for learning, #hearmyhome posits that some of the most meaningful forms of learning happen when a learners have interests or passions they are pursuing across contexts of (inter)cultural affinity, social support, and shared purpose.
  • As a model for connected learning design, #hearmyhome offers a way of connecting the spheres of home, school, and community-based learning, leveraging the affordances of digital and networked media.

In creating the #HearMyHome landing page, I used two primary tools: Bootstrap and GoogleMaps. Bootstrap was used early on during the Fellowship year to create the front-end framework and GoogleMaps was used to create a participatory archive of pins with links to modal referents and participation. Pins include reference to username, mode, and link. Explore!

Across the 8 week sonic series (Feb 8 – April 2, 2016), #hearmyhome introduced over 100+ users to the affordances of audio and sonic composition. From Billings, Montana to Coffs Harbour, Australia, we earwitnessed community and culture from a variety of peoples, places, and soundscapes. Although I was initially disappointed that the project did not have the massive 500+ member following I hoped for, the avenues of collaboration and networks of participation that transpired excite me. I look forward to collaborating with folks from #CLMOOC, #walkmyworld, and Sounding Out!

This summer, I hope to categorize, index, and host the soundscapes of participation for users to download, remix, and employ in their own interrogation of sound and audio possibility. Additionally, I hope to write grants that explore the sonic possibilities of classroom composition, connected learning, and practitioner-inquiry. Still interested in collaborating? Join by signing up for our email correspondences here or like our page on Facebook for more information on each sonic event, or simply ‘lurk and learn’ by following the #hearmyhome hashtag across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

mcgrat85

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May 6, 2016

Launching the Armed Services Editions: A Computational Analysis

May 6, 2016 | By | No Comments

ASE Website

 

I am happy to announce the launch of my CHI Project, The Armed Services Editions: A Computational Analysis. On my page, users can navigate through three “Data Narratives”: simple analyses that I conducted to answer critical questions about these data. The Gender Data Narrative considers the distribution of gendered pronoun usage throughout the corpus, and features a basic foray into LDA topic modeling. The Genre Data Narrative considers the types of books that were sent to servicemen, and how the generic representation of books may have shifted over time. Finally, the Geography Data Narrative the geographic imagination of the corpus– both domestic and internationally– with NER.

This first phase of this project is, quite simply, a book history project. To date, the ASE Corpus has not been studied in total. Several scholars have published institutional histories of the Council on Books in Wartime, or discussed the role of specific books, or even discussed the ASEs in relation to a larger sociological project. I am interested in assembling a more thorough, stylistic, macro-history of the ASEs, that attends to both it sociological import as well as its formal properties through computational analysis. The data I’ve assembled is descriptive, working toward that end, and is a necessary foundation to the more advanced analysis I will be conducting this summer.

In addition to an analysis of the ASE Corpus, this website is also a record that chronicles the development of my methodological chops. While I had a basic foundation in R (thanks to a fabulous course at HILT), my skills needed (and still need) development. I used two textbooks to improve my skills, testing my dataset throughout. Users familiar with Text Analysis with R for Students of Literature by Matt Jockers and Humanities Data in R by Lauren Tilton and Taylor Arnold will likely be able to trace my data analysis back to the chapter problem sets.

Full disclosure: I feel insecure about this. I would like, eventually, to publish on the ASEs. A record of my fledgling explorations in R and data analysis is… well, nerve-wracking. Yet, as Ethan Wattrall has reminded me in a variety of ways, it’s also an important intervention. Over and over again this year, I have been reminded of and impressed by the generosity of my colleagues in DH; I post this basic data analysis in hopes of inviting that same generous conversation.

Only a fraction of the work that was completed on this project his featured on my project website. I should have foreseen this problem and created a time-lapse video of my hours and hours running OCR on hundreds of documents, or adding metadata to my database. Or, better yet, learning how to analyze data in R. For this project, however, I decided to visualize my data using Tableau. Tableau provides far less specificity, for sure, but it also allows for a greater degree of user interactivity. Since my data is, at this stage, largely descriptive, I wanted users to be able to explore with greater flexibility.

It’s been a long year working on this project, and that long year has turned out to be just the beginning. I’m so excited to see how this project continues to develop. Over the summer, I’ll be continuing this project by running these analyses—and much more interesting, advanced analysis (fingers crossed)—on the entirety of my corpus.

The questions motivating this project are increasingly pressing, and continue to motivate me—particularly as a powerful political candidate has remained consistently hostile toward the free exchange of ideas that should define any democratic discourse. Ultimately, this project asks, what (or whose) ideas are acceptable, and what (or whose) ideas aren’t? And what (and who) makes that so? These questions should be asked about 1940, and they should be asked about 2016.

Tos_Ram

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May 6, 2016

Launching Michicanxs of Aztlán: Stories of Xicano Culture in Michigan

May 6, 2016 | By | No Comments

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 10.21.33 AM

Now live and available for your viewing pleasure, Michicanxs of Aztlán is a website documenting Xicano culture in Lower Michigan. This project grew out of my work in CHI last year with The Xicano Cookbook project, and I decided to branch off in order to take a slightly different approach on a very similar topic. Whereas last year’s project functioned like a digital essay that discursively discussed various theories, stories, and images related to Xicano culture, this year’s project is more like a collection of snapshots. By focusing on a small number of stories, I have been able to contextualize my data to a greater extent by giving it more space within my website.

Created as part of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Graduate Fellowship program, Michicanxs of Aztlán is also intended to function as an ongoing sort of repository of Xicano narratives. Great Lakes Xicanos in particular have limited space—virtually or physically—to display our work, and few repositories like this exist currently digitally.

Michicanxs of Aztlán currently displays three stories written as part of an independent in Xicano/Indigenous rhetorics, which I took fall semester 2015. Each story has its own page, with an individualized header that includes a representative image and short description of the narrative. I’ve included these descriptions below.

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Bernard C. Moore

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May 6, 2016

Namibia Digital Repository: Official Launch!

May 6, 2016 | By | No Comments

This post officially declares the project launch of the Namibia Digital Repository! For the past year, I have been slowly digitizing and piecing together a Namibian Studies online digital library. Far too often, existing scholarly materials pertaining to Namibia are not accessible to Namibians for many reasons; this project seeks to fill a gap in scholarly access.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, this project is both creative and agglomerative. It is creative in the sense that countless hours have been spent in front of scanners and VCRs digitizing books, photos, documents, and films (for more on this, click here). It is agglomerative in the sense that I also pull from existing Namibiana resources on the web, providing attribution and an alternate host for the files (for more on this, click here).

Screenshot of the Namibia Digital Repository

Screenshot of the Namibia Digital Repository

As of 5 May, 2016, I have uploaded 246 items into the repository, broken down into the following collections:

Basler Afrika Bibliographien: (2 Scanned, 18 Agglomerated)
Dissertations on Namibia: (7 Scanned, 24 Agglomerated)
Documentary Films on Namibia: (20 Digitized, 5 Agglomerated)
Finding Aids: (2 Scanned)
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung: (9 Agglomerated)
Labour Resource and Research Institute: (8 Agglomerated)
Legal Assistance Centre: (15 Agglomerated)
Leiden University: (3 Agglomerated)
Miscellaneous Articles: (3 Scanned)
Missionary and Travelers’ Diaries: (1 Scanned)
Namibia Documentary Series (Interviews): (11 Digitized)
Namibia Institute for Democracy: (12 Agglomerated)
Namibian Autobiographies: (5 Scanned, 1 Agglomerated)
Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit: (1 Scanned)
Nordic Africa Institute: (19 Agglomerated)
Nordic Documentation on the Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa: (6 Agglomerated)
Out of Print Books on Namibia: (44 Scanned, 11 Agglomerated)
Political Documents: (3 Scanned)
Thomas Baines: (11 Scanned)
Union of South Africa “Ethnological” Publications: (7 Scanned)

Some of these collections are still works-in-progress, particularly the ever-important “Out of Print Books” and the “Missionary and Travelers’ Accounts” collections, which will see their numbers rise as I include some recent scans I’ve made.

Furthermore, I’ve recently received a consignment from the retiring Professor Dr. Robert Gordon of the University of Vermont. Dr. Gordon is an esteemed and radical scholar, authoring several books on Namibian history and anthropology (perhaps his most famous is the 1991 The Bushman Myth). On his retirement, he has provided me with many boxes of old papers from the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Lusaka, Zambia and of early, pre-independence publications from the University of Namibia. During this summer, I will be digitizing these papers and publications to form two or three new collections. For digital library projects to succeed, it is necessary for them to incorporate new content regularly. I hope to continue to live up to this.

Other than continually adding more material during the summer, I will also be spending a great deal of time advertising the resource, appealing for other scholars, librarians, and archivists to make use of the repository, and hopefully add their own materials. I cannot do all of the work on my own.

The final aspect of the repository, and this is the most fun, is the use of exhibits. For those of us who use archival resources in our research, one often opens old finding aids to try to locate archival boxes relevant to our research. The first few pages of the finding aids often have a brief introduction from the archivist or scholar who organized the collection. This introduction is intended to go beyond just introducing the user to how the resources are organized; it is meant to provide thematic guidance. Exhibits in Omeka can function the same way. I plan to incorporate a number of short historiographic essays into these visual exhibits, introducing the user to the materials included in the repository, as well as the significance of each one. I have built one exhibit on Namibiana studies and resources in Finland, and I have another en-route exploring writings on trade unions and labour in Namibian history. These will form a crucial component into allowing other scholars to contribute more than just PDF scans and audio files. Exhibits will also help university students navigate the website in the best way possible.

I hope that all of you enjoy going through the materials I have created and collected over the past year, and I would love to receive feedback on the content and look of the site as well.

Enjoy!
Bernard C. Moore

wargojon

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April 29, 2016

Cultural Heritage Informatics as Connected Learning? Modes, Meaning, and Metrics of Success

April 29, 2016 | By | No Comments

Last night, my collaborator and I were featured on the Google+ program Teachers Teaching Teachers to talk all things sound, community literacies, and connected learning. Across the larger broadcast we talked through the many phases of #hearmyhome, detailing how it was at once a grounded project in classroom and community spaces, while simultaneously operating as a networked collaborative that invited participants to earwitness culture and community through eight sonic events. We helped shape the soundscapes of the everyday. In the penultimate minutes of the program, the moderators asked us to consider metrics of achievement. “How would you qualify success for the project?” Eagerly, I started talking numbers. “We had over 100+ unique participants! We saw how modes connected, overlapped, and caused disjuncture in how we came to configure ‘home.’ We had participants across the globe, from East Lansing, MI to Australia.” Reflecting on my response, another language and literacy researcher, Ian, asked me to move beyond the numbers. “But what did you learn?” he asked.

As I reflect on the #hearmyhome project, and the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship in particular, I want to highlight how at a macro level, the projects that emerged from our shared community of fellows are exemplars of connected learning. Refracted through our varied interested in cultural heritage, we designed opportunities for engagement in powerful, relevant, and engaging ways. The affordances of the digital only augmented these visions and aided in the creation and building that occurred. Our learning was participatory, networked, and experiential. At a more micro level, #hearmyhome exemplified that some of the most meaningful forms of learning happen when a learners have interests or passions they are pursuing across contexts of (inter)cultural affinity and social support. The group operated with a shared purpose.
As a model for connected learning design, #hearmyhome offered a way of connecting the spheres of home, school, and community-based learning to leverage the affordances of digital and networked media. We met friends through #CLMOOC, collaborators with the team at #walkmyworld, and even had cheerleaders amplify the project at Sounding Out! In total, the modes, meanings, and metrics of success were larger than the decisions of design and/or series of sonic interactions. Sustained teaching and learning and engaged user participation was the result of making our process open.

As we close out the year here in LEADR, I know many of us would agree that at the core of the work we accomplished this year, our vision was guided by more equitable, social, and participatory forms of learning across our fields and disciplines. Through production-centered and open forms of cultural heritage informatics, we each engaged in relevant, hands-on, and innovative forms of design to fuse our own intellectual interests with digital experiences. Success, then, isn’t the completion and release of our individual projects, or the statistics and benchmarks of how many users, lurkers, and learners visit your site, but the behind-the-scenes process and sustained engagement of open learning.

Bernard C. Moore

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April 25, 2016

A Review of Namibiana Resources on the Web

April 25, 2016 | By | No Comments

A Review of Namibiana Resources on the Web

As I have mentioned in previous Blog posts for the CHI, the Namibia Digital Repository contains two main endeavors. First, it is a digitization project; countless hours have been spent standing in front of scanners digitizing books and papers, and many more have been spent setting up VHS players to record to hard drives. I have described the process of digitization in a previous post on 29, January, 2016.

This post describes the other goal of the NDR, agglomeration of existing digital resources regarding Namibia which are already on the web. A few qualifiers should be made. First, the goal of pulling existing resources – whether from university repositories, NGO web-sites or government publications – is not about replacing these repositories. It is about providing an additional home to the files. One of the less appreciated aspects of digitization and the digital humanities is the maintenance and organization of digital resources.1

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