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David Bennett


June 13, 2014

Visualizing Southern Television 2.0: Expanding Television’s Reach

June 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

Television is a geographically complex technology, as its signals ignore state and national boundaries and the physical location of a station’s tower is not as important, historically, as the distance traveled by its signal at any given point in time.  While Visualizing Southern Television (VST) 1.0 offers a visual map of television stations’ tower locations, such a map is a limited representation of whether broadcasts would have been received by viewers.

Over the course of the summer, I will be working on VST 2.0, the goal of which is to visualize the estimated reach of each tower’s broadcasts, over time, in order to show which geographical areas were within the reach of each broadcast signal. In order to achieve this, the first upgrade I will have to make is to substitute the Geo Mashup mapping interface of VST 1.0 (see Figure 1 below) with JavaScript (see Figure 2).

As shown above in Figure 2, the new interface will visually display the approximate distance each signal was being transmitted at any point in time, with each upgrade to a new antenna recorded on a separate sub-post. (Note: the above mock-up displays visual capability without regard to data—in other words, Figure 2 is intended to show visual capability of software, not accurate station data.)

VST 2.0 will also project through time as well.  Right now VST 1.0 shows all of the television stations as they were on air in 1965.  VST 2.0 will be more dynamic, showing the map through various points between 1942 and 1965.  This second upgrade will involve the addition of a time-restricted Slider bar (see Figure 3 below and source), which will link the map display to a timeline, allowing the user to move the slider and watch as stations begin operations and signals increase range. Overall, these changes will ultimately result in a far more robust and informative mapping interface (see Figure 3).

These upgrades to the user interface will result in a much more detailed representation of the reach of television to communities in the American South during this period.



May 14, 2014

CUBORIENTE: Image Mapping Africa-Inspired Religio-Cultural Heritage in Eastern Cuba…Launched!

May 14, 2014 | By | One Comment

The Cuboriente website project is dedicated to a digital image mapping of Africa-inspired religio-cultural heritage in the eastern, Oriente region of Cuba. Motivated by the opportunities of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative (CHI), Cuboriente developed from a desire to contribute to Afro-Caribbean digital humanities work. The project is grounded in the eastern Cuba research of the African Atlantic Research Team (AART) of Michigan State University. The website represents the collaborative efforts of Prof. Jualynne E. Dodson, director of AART, CHI Fellow Shanti Zaid, and Dr. Sonya Maria Johnson, building on the work and resources of the Research Team. We created Cuboriente as a digital public educational resource to showcase some of the African heritage religious and cultural activity from a region of the island that few have a chance to see.

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May 12, 2014

rapKenya is Launched!

May 12, 2014 | By | One Comment

rapKenya imageI am excited to launch my project, rapKenya, which can be viewed at . rapKenya is intended to be a one-stop online resource for people interested in accessing and learning more about Kenyan hip-hop culture, particularly rap music.There are two components of this project: 1) digitization and annotation of Kenyan hip-hop lyrics and, 2) building of an online Sheng dictionary. Both components work towards the goal of giving people access to Kenyan hip-hop lyrics and help them discover the meaning of the lyrics. So far, I have completed what I would call the phase one of this project. I have built a website where this project will live using Foundation5 html framework.

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Ethan Watrall


May 12, 2014

Call for 2014-2015 Cultural Heritage Informatics Graduate Fellowship Applications

May 12, 2014 | By | No Comments

The Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative invites applications for its 2014-2015 Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship program.

The Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowships offer MSU graduate students in departments and programs with an emphasis on cultural heritage (Anthropology, History, Art History, Museum Studies, Historical & Cultural Geography, Classics, etc.) the theoretical and methodological skills necessary to creatively apply information, computing, and communication technologies to cultural heritage materials. In addition, the fellowships provide graduate students with the opportunity to influence the current state of cultural heritage informatics, and become leaders for the future of cultural heritage informatics.

During the course of their fellowship (which lasts an academic year), students will collaboratively develop a significant and innovative cultural heritage informatics project. Projects might include (but are certainly not limited to) a serious game, a mobile application, a digital archive, or a collaborative digital publication. To support their work, fellows will receive a stipend of $2000 Read More

David Walton


May 11, 2014

Introducing the Virtual Black Romulus Cultural Heritage Center

May 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Introducing the Virtual Black Romulus Cultural Heritage Center (VBRCHC), whose web address is:


I must begin by stating that I was born and raised in Romulus, MI.  I attended Cory Elementary, Romulus Middle School and Romulus High School.  This project is a labor of love. It truly all began when I was an elementary school student at Cory Elementary.  My mother took my siblings and me to the IGA Super Market.   On the wall was a mural that represented the Black heritage in Romulus.  I was shocked and amazed.  As I continued my education in middle and high school, no one could decipher nor translate the mural into common lay person terms.  I asked my elementary and middle school teachers about the information represented in the mural, but as people that were not from Romulus, they were ill equipped to address my questions.  From that moment forward, I have been dedicated to presenting the history, heritage and legacy of African Americans to the development of Romulus, MI.  Thus, my 2013-2014 Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) project is titled the “Virtual Black Romulus Cultural Heritage Map (VBRCHM).”  The VBRCHM is the first step of a larger project, the Virtual Black Romulus Cultural Heritage Center (VBRCHC).  This project is the manifestation of that childhood dream and passion. Read More

David Bennett


May 9, 2014

Visualizing Southern Television (v. 1.0) Launched!

May 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

In 1987, the University of Mississippi held a symposium entitled “Covering the South: A National Symposium on the Media and the Civil Rights Movement” wherein participants discussed the influence of media on the civil rights movement. During one panel, a group consisting of eleven Pulitzer Prize winners and three Emmy awardees make huge claims about television’s role in the movement. CBS reporter Robert Schakne claimed that “Little Rock was the first case where people really got their impression of an event from television. It was the event that nationalized a news story that would have remained a local story if it had just been a print story.”[1] NBC news correspondent John Chancellor touted that reporters “were able to show [southerners] themselves on television. They’d never seen themselves. They didn’t know their necks were red. They didn’t know they were overweight. The blacks didn’t know what they looked like… [These images provoked] a profound reaction in both the black and white communities, because they’d never seen that, because we never see ourselves.”[2] While these comments are clearly disturbing in their simplification of southern self-awareness, they also illustrate a problematic and commonly held view of television’s relationship with historical events. For these journalists, it seems, television made these historical events important. Read More



May 7, 2014

Nkwejong and Looking Forward

May 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

After some trials and tribulations I now have my project up and running. Nkwejong: Oral Histories and Stories of the Lansing Anishinaabeg community. This is just the beginning of what I hope will be an ongoing project that brings together my dissertation work and other collections of materials to record and preserve the Native history of the Lansing area.

The Lansing area has a long history of use by Native communities in the Great Lakes. While there were only a few permanent habitations in the area, it was well known as a place of intersecting trials and a place to gather resources. Some of these trials that ran through the area  would later become two of the major highway systems in the state, Grand River (I-96) and 1-27. It is also the place where the Grand River and the Red Cedar River merge. The Grand River is one of the largest rivers in Lower Michigan. At its head waters in Washtenaw County it connects to the Huron River over a short portage creating an East West water route that allows one to travel from Lake Michigan to Lake Erie. This area was a shared space used by Three Fires Anishinaabeg peoples that was eventually ceded to the United States in two separate treaties in 1807 and 1821. Anishinaabeg continued to use the area even after the Indian Removal Act of the 1830’s.

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Katy Meyers


May 6, 2014

Putting the Dead to Rest: My Last Post

May 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

Over the past six months, I’ve been developing and tweaking ieldran, an interactive Early Anglo-Saxon cemetery map. In this post, I’ve going to overview quickly why I developed the project, what tools I used, and where the project will be going.

In 410 C.E., the Roman Empire withdrew its administration and armies from England. Increasingly over the course of the 5th century, Germanic and Northern European tribal groups began to migrate into England.  Due to the changes in population and political structures, high levels of archaeological diversity and transformation characterize this period from the mid-5th to the early 7th centuries C.E. This diversity can be attributed varied cultural, social, economic and political interactions between the post-Roman Britons and incoming Northern European immigrants. There was a shift to furnished inhumation and cremation burials in the mid-5th century across England in areas where migrants were more prevalent. The archaeological remains of both cremation and inhumation practices are found in varying frequencies throughout England and often co-occur within the same cemetery. Better understanding of burial practices will aid in creating more nuanced interpretations of social, religious, political and economic relationships and identities in this period.

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May 5, 2014

Imbiza 1.0: It’s Just the Beginning!

May 5, 2014 | By | No Comments

22 June 2010 SA v France Bloemfontein (55)

Ke nako!  Imbiza 1.0: A Digital Repository of the 2010 World Cup is now live and can be found at!

Imbiza is a digital repository of over 500 photos and videos related to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  I have compiled materials for nearly every day of the tournament, and sources that are representative of all but two of the nations that competed in 2010.  The project also contains some thematic galleries, which arrange some of these photos according to certain aspects of the tournament that I hope to extrapolate on in future versions of the project (more on this below).

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David Bennett


April 29, 2014

VST: Visualizing Southern Television (Update)

April 29, 2014 | By | No Comments

Visualizing Southern Television v 1.0 is almost ready for launch: the framework is stable, and I am in the process of uploading data.  I note its version number as I have recently begun work on version 2.0.  As it stands, v 1.0 documents the southern television landscape between 1942 and 1965, visually demonstrating the challenge southern television news represented for southern print and radio news during this period. Figure 1 shows the current version of the television news station splash map. Read More