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Donnie Sackey


November 7, 2012

@donniejsackey, or that green gentleman

November 7, 2012 | By | No Comments

I’ve been lurking for some time now trying to figure out how best to introduce myself to those of you out there who frequent this site or are members of the digital humanities community at-large. So, I’ll begin where all good introductions start: My name is Donnie Johnson Sackey. Outside (and inside) of academia, people know three things about me: (1) I am an “amazing” vegetarian cook who’s willing to experiment in the kitchen, (2) I’m a homebrewer and (3) I am a tennis enthusiast. As a matter of fact, I consistently daydream about playing in professional tennis tournaments. I mean the tennis calendar spans from December 31-November 18. Somewhere around the world somebody’s playing tennis! So, if you see me spacing out, it is probably because I’m thinking about watching tennis, playing tennis, wearing tennis clothes, or planning a bracket scenarios in my mind. But I bet you folks Read More

Sylvia Deskaj


November 7, 2012


November 7, 2012 | By | No Comments

Hello, world. My name is Sylvia Deskaj, and, as of October 21st of this year, I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the department of anthropology here at Michigan State University. Yay!!! Now in my fourth year in the department, I am looking forward to working on my CHI project with Dr. Ethan Watrall and the rest of the CHI community (stay tuned for more on this!).

Traveling around Michigan and meeting locals is something that I thoroughly enjoy, and fortunately, get to do often. After three years of living here, the state of Michigan is really growing on me. I especially enjoy hanging out with friends in Flint and camping in the Upper Peninsula (where the locals refer to each other as “Yoopers”).

Since graduating from college (“big up” to Northeastern Illinois University and Dr. Jon Hageman!) in 2008, I have worked in the Balkan nation of Albania, Read More

Madhu Narayan


November 6, 2012

“I just like making things.” – Madhu Narayan, Rhetorician/Writer

November 6, 2012 | By | No Comments

My name is Madhu Narayan. On twitter, I go by @ladymadrietta. I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. My research interests include rhetorical history, theory, archives, queer rhetorics and cultural rhetorics. I also like nonfiction writing. This year, in addition to being a CHI fellow, I am teaching, finishing up my dissertation, and applying for jobs. Phew. In my “free” time, I like to knit, crochet and cross-stitch. Currently, I have several craft projects in-progress, most notably a blanket that I have been working on for over a year. I am not sure when I’ll finish it. I also like making zines, although I am not very good at it. Really, I just like making things.

In my dissertation, I put rhetoric and composition scholars in conversation with archivists and archival theorists. I develop a framework for studying archives as material Read More

Taz Karim


November 5, 2012

@PharmaCulture – Where Prescription Drugs meet Digital Anthropology

November 5, 2012 | By | One Comment

Although fall semester is in full swing here at Michigan State University, and the first major frost has already ruined my morning, I am excited to take a break from the stress and the cold to introduce myself to my new digital (versus real or imaginary) friends. Hopefully in the midst of writing my dissertation, a conference paper, and postdoc applications, I still have some coherent thoughts left before I hit my quota for the day.

My name is Taz Karim and I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at MSU. I also currently serve as chair of the Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Study Group of the Society for Medical Anthropology. Outside of academia you can find me playing soccer (indoor and outdoor) or coaching crew on the Grand River. I also enjoy fashion, playing the guitar, riding my moped, and playing with my miniature pinscher, Lola. So yes, Read More

Rachael Hodder


September 15, 2012

Corridor: Redux

September 15, 2012 | By | No Comments

After many months of holding you in suspense, it’s now time to show my CHI fellowship project and bid you all adieu with this final post as a CHI fellow.

To refresh your memory, the project I proposed last spring was called Corridor. It was a web application that would serve as a reference for academic conference hashtags while also helping to resolve the competing hashtags in play for the same academic conference. Proposed in the wake of some recent conversation about Twitter backchannels at conferences – particularly, what the use of it is, why people should join in, and how it could be made better. With the spotlight on the larger issue of scholarly communication, it seemed the time was right to try building a backchannel tool as a means of exploring the issues and questions at hand. Keeping the philosophy of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative in mind, “building as Read More



September 12, 2012 – A digital dissertation prototype

September 12, 2012 | By | No Comments

What would it be like to build an online digital repository that could be updated with archival and ethnographic sources as you found them? Could be used as a platform to experiment with digital publishing and collaborative, international research? I have built a prototype digital dissertation chapter to help answer these questions as I enter my fieldwork in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I am traveling to Argentina to investigate Boca Júniors’s Ciudad Deportiva, a mix between a stadium complex and amusement park built over seven artificial islands on sixty hectares of land filled in the Rio de la Plata. Besides an enormous 140,000-seat stadium and various athletic facilities, the project was to include mini-golf, mechanical rides for children, an aquarium built as a giant fish, and a drive-in movie theatre for five hundred cars. This project combined public and private funds, embodying a new vision of middle-class consumption that fit into city planner’s Read More

Charlotte Marie Cable


September 6, 2012

The Oman Archive: eyes forward, a look in the rearview mirror

September 6, 2012 | By | No Comments

For a country of people noted for their unhurried grace, the Sultanate of Oman is changing at a head-spinning rate. The Oman Archive (OA) was originally conceived of as a digital attempt to archive Oman’s archaeological heritage in and around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bat. The OA had several functions:

  • To integrate and curate archaeological data related to the region;
  • To provide access to original data for international researchers and collaborators interested in understanding Bat’s prehistory and history;
  • To serve as a repository for all reports, publications, and media related to the archaeological heritage of the Bat area;
  • To facilitate the documentation of changes to the archaeological record;
  • To provide specialists’ assessments for national government ministry decision-making about land use and development in the Bat area.

Put simply, I am a collaborative anthropological archaeologist interested in pursuing an extensive career in the Sultanate of Oman, and saw this Fellowship as an opportunity to use the Read More



September 1, 2012

The End is Only the Beginning for QUALANTH: A Digital Repository for Qualitative Researchers

September 1, 2012 | By | No Comments

When conceptualizing QUALANTH, I wanted to build a digital repository for researchers, like myself, who work with human research participants. Over the past year, I have tackled issues around privacy, protection of human subjects, IRB and consent form and tried to embody these issues when designing QUALANTH but this work is far from over. An overview about QUALANTH is available here.

Over the past 2011-2012, I was able to complete Phase One of QUALANTH, which basically entailed constructing the backend of the repository. There are a few issues that need to be addressed before QUALANTH can be launched publicly. Phase Two will consist of me actively seeking evaluation and critiques of QUALANTH, as a physical product and conceptually, from outside peers. I plan to continue to write blog posts about QUALANTH as well as seek out opportunities to present about the digital platform at anthropology conferences. After gathering feedback about QUALANTH, Read More

Emily Niespodziewanski


August 31, 2012

Reveal and review: Talus through development

August 31, 2012 | By | No Comments

Well, kids, it’s finally here. Please, allow me to present the mobile web app version of:


Check it out on your smartphone or shrink down a browser window to see it in reasonable dimensions.

I set out with a pretty clear vision of the product I wanted to create. Starting from total zero, besides an inclination towards technology, I learned the basics of html, JQuery, and am more oriented in terms of product creation – both for websites and apps. Although the presentation was up in the air at the beginning, I’m fairly pleased that the “meat” of this project was right on from the start.

I gathered the material that I wanted to create a home for, then learned how to structure its home by reading Information architecture for the World Wide Web, colloquially known as the Polar Bear Book. This early-web structural guide explained rules and logic for the layout of a Read More

Emily Niespodziewanski


August 7, 2012

Open Source Programs & Coding in a New Environment

August 7, 2012 | By | No Comments

Recently, I visited the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Central Identification Laboratory (JPAC/CIL) at Hickam Joint Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. (For another post chronicling my personal experiences, click here.) Although the big name is complex, you might guess from the “POW/MIA” part of it that their mission is to identify and bring home all unaccounted-for American military servicemembers. What I did there relates to the “Until they all come home” mission, but mostly I worked on a methodological research project. This means I was in the lab daily, playing with some really expensive toys and using open source software in ways I hadn’t before.

In addition to a NextEngine scanner (3D-imager), I used Meshlab and R Project for Statistical Computing. Meshlab simply processed our 3D triangular meshes (manipulating those images reminded me of the behind-the-scenes videos of Pixar!). On the other hand, R is a flexible environment in which the user can generate Read More