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Katy Meyers

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March 5, 2011

Announcing the GradHacker Bootcamp

March 5, 2011 | By | No Comments

We grad students at the CHI Initiative have been talking about what a great experience it is to be able to play with technologies in ways that many of us would never have attempted otherwise. We thought it would be great to be able to share in this experience with other graduate students who are interested in technology but have not yet had the chance to explore what’s out there. So, we decided to coordinate a CHI digital bootcamp for graduate students.

When: March 26th 8:30 to 3

Where: MATRIX 4th Floor Conference Room

Who: Any graduate or professional students

Why: To learn about technology in a collaborative and open environment with other graduate and professional students

This bootcamp will include roundtable discussions and demos on new Online Social Media like Twitter and LinkedIn, Reference and Collaboration Platforms like Zotero, and Personal Websites using WordPress or Drupal. We will also have an open play time where Read More

Jennifer Bengtson

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February 28, 2011

A Digital Repository for Mississippian Archaeologists

February 28, 2011 | By | 8 Comments

For my CHI fellowship project, I will create a digital repository for materials relating to major Mississippian archaeological sites. The Mississippians were the most socially-complex peoples to ever inhabit prehistoric North America, and their sites generally date to between AD 1050 and AD 1500 (several groups in the Southeast United States continued to practice a Mississippian lifestyle at the time of European contact). Their lifeway was characterized by a ranked social structure with ascribed status differentiation, hierarchical inter-site political organization, ubiquitous cleared-field maize agriculture, and a set of common religious institutions and iconography. They dramatically modified their physical environments by clearing plazas and building earthen mounds of variable size and for various purposes, many of which are still evident on the landscape today. Mississippian groups inhabited an area spanning from northern Florida to Illinois and from the Atlantic plain to Eastern Oklahoma (though evidence of their influence is even more widespread). Read More

Jennifer Sano-Franchini

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February 18, 2011

Facilitating a Rhetoric of Collaboration: A Resource for Learning/Teaching Research

February 18, 2011 | By | No Comments

I entered the CHI fellowship program without a real sense of what my cultural heritage informatics project would look like. I knew that I wanted to to be useful, and I figured it would be a best if I could connect the project to my imminent dissertation. But beyond that, I had nothing. To tell the truth, I wasn’t even sure that I fully understood what a cultural heritage informatics project should do. This is to say that the project described below developed alongside the meetings and discussions we had with the CHI program. I found it particularly generative to learn about the projects that the other fellows were working on. In listening to Katy, Micalee, and Jen talk through their projects, I was interested in the ways their projects employed technological tools to deal with issues of access, as well as to organize information.

My project works toward similar goals. Basically, 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

Katy Meyers

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February 14, 2011

Project Update: The Bone Collective

February 14, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

As I discussed in a previous post, the Bone Collective is the project that I will be working on as a Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) fellow. Currently, the Bone Collective project is in its initial development stage. This means that I am primarily learning to use the Mediawiki platform. Last week, I set up Mediawiki on our server- a task that took a surprisingly long amount of time but that was completely satisfying in the nerdiest way. There are a couple of lessons that I learned from this task. My initial reaction to the challenge of installing Mediawiki onto a server was that this task was way beyond my tech skills.

The first lesson of this experience was not to doubt my own ability. One of the benefits of being a fellow for the Cultural Heritage Initiative is that we get the opportunity to learn these technical skills through trial and Read More

alex.galarza

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February 4, 2011

Collaboration in Zotero

February 4, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

I recently gave two workshops on Zotero to give an overview of its features, evangelize for its use, and to suggest models for collaboration that take advantage of group libraries. One workshop was conducted as a departmental lunch-and-learn for historians, and the other for librarians interested in Zotero’s sharing capabilities. Each group was excited by the examples of collaboration I provided and provided their own stimulating ideas on how they might use Zotero. Here are some examples from my own collaborate work that I showcased:

Fostering a Field

My first example was the group library I have assembled for the Football Scholars Forum, an academic monthly book club that invites authors via Skype to discuss their work. In the Zotero library, we have a folder that contains all of the sessions we have conducted so far, with attachments to each citation that include review essays, news stories, and the audio recording of the Read More

Katy Meyers

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January 28, 2011

Open Access Archaeology: Two Different Approaches

January 28, 2011 | By | 4 Comments

Archaeological site information is a precious commodity; once material is fully excavated it is the only knowledge we have of the site. After spending, years (or even decades) excavating a site the information can become packed away in a few notebooks or boxes, lost in the realm of gray material, and not uncovered until needed by another regional specialist or graduate student. Some information becomes a heavily guarded secret to prevent loss of material, either due to looting of the site or forced return due to NAGPRA. A third option now exists: make the information visible on the internet. This is the option that I am advocating for: open access archaeology.

One of the problems for archaeologists is that what we do, the process by which we build hypotheses, create inferences, and the methods for analyzing the materials we use are not understood by the general public. The media has portrayed archaeologists Read More

Ethan Watrall

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January 19, 2011

Announcing the 2011 Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellows

January 19, 2011 | By | No Comments

I am extremely happy to announce this year’s Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellows. The CHI Fellowship program offers MSU graduate students (in cultural heritage focused departments) with the theoretical and methodological skills necessary to creatively apply information, computing, and communication technologies to cultural heritage materials. In addition, the fellowship provides graduate students with the opportunity to influence the current state of cultural heritage informatics, and become leaders in the future of cultural heritage informatics. During the course of their fellowship (which lasts an academic year), fellows will develop a significant and innovative cultural heritage informatics project.

This year’s fellows show great promise, and I’m very much looking forward to their projects and their contributions to the field of cultural heritage informatics.

Jennifer Bengtson

Jennifer is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology. She is primarily interested in the bioarchaeology of Late Prehistoric Midwestern peoples – specifically in issues of gender, health, and Read More

Ethan Watrall

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January 12, 2011

Announcing the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool

January 12, 2011 | By | One Comment

We are extremely happy to officially announce the launch of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool. Taking place from May 31st to July 1st (2011) on the campus of Michigan State University, the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool will introduce students to the tools and techniques required to creatively apply information and computing technologies to cultural heritage materials and questions.

The CHI Fieldschool is a unique experience that employs the model of an archaeological fieldschool (in which students come together for a period of 5 or 6 weeks to work on an archaeological site in order to learn how to do archaeology). Instead of working on an archaeological site, however, students in the CHI Fieldschool will come together to collaboratively work on several cultural heritage informatics projects. In the process they will learn a great deal about what it takes to build applications and digital user experiences that serve the domain Read More

Katy Meyers

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December 27, 2010

The Gothic Ivories Project, a Digital Museum Exemplar

December 27, 2010 | By | 3 Comments

One of the primary advantages of hosting an archive online is that it can be revised and expanded from anywhere in the world by any number of individuals. This the approach chosen by such projects as “The Gothic Ivories” (http://www.gothicivories.courtauld.ac.uk). It serves as a repository where institutions from around the globe can post descriptions, images and discussions on these ivory pieces into a single digital museum. The project launched in October 2010, and consists of material from 98 institutions from 15 countries. The project allows for anyone with ivories to add to the collection, from public museums to private collectors.

Wikimedia Commons 2010: Courtly scenes Gothic Ivory

Gothic ivories were popular in Western Europe from the 13th to mid 16th centuries. They consist of small carved elephant ivory figurines, including miniature statuettes, mirror backs, diptychs and triptychs (two or three hinged tablets of images). The pieces are primarily carved Read More