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CHI Articles & Discussions



January 12, 2018

Tokyo: The Virtual City

January 12, 2018 | By | No Comments

In May of 2017 while in Tokyo I visited Meiji shrine in Shinjuku for the Spring Grand Festival, a series of traditional performances including dance, archery and theater. After returning home, I posted a few photos of the event to social media, as people of my generation tend to do. I soon received a comment from a friend. “Oh wow, I’m there right now!”

His comment took me by surprise. I had no idea my friend was in Japan, much less that they were at Meiji shrine that day. I quickly messaged him to see how long he would remain in the Shinjuku area and if he would like to get dinner that evening, or at the very least meet up later in the week.  “No, no!” my friend explained. “I’m at Meiji shrine in Persona 5. Your picture was so much like Meiji shrine in the game,” he went to on say, “that I knew exactly where you were.”

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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

David Walton


January 12, 2014

Announcing “The Virtual Black Romulus Cultural Heritage Map (VBRCHM)”

January 12, 2014 | By | No Comments

In this brief blog, I will provide a description of my project, discuss the importance of my project, and present the intended functionality of my project.  The hope is that the discussion of this project may inspire others to embark on similar projects as well as utilize the completed project for personal, professional and educational purposes. 


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).  As its name implies, the VBRCHM is an on-line interactive map that will operate as a virtual cultural heritage tour of important historical and contemporary sites that are important to the history, culture and heritage of Romulus, Michigan’s African American community.  The VBRCHM is being designed to serve as a research and educational tool and resource for k-12 and undergraduate students, as well as for the community at-large.  The map will identify and describe sites in Romulus, Michigan, that are important to the culture, history and heritage of the African-American community.  The points of interest sites in Romulus will be aggregated by time, type of events, biographies and various movement(s) significance.

Why is it important?:

Digitizing and preserving African American history and heritage is an important mission in the digital age.  Providing access to K-12 and undergraduate students and educators, as well as the community at large, is the largest challenge.  With the increase in technology and digitization, students are accessing information via the internet in increasing numbers.  Furthermore, educators are also utilizing information via the internet in equally increasing numbers.  Thus, digitizing and preserving African American history and heritage; especially in small localized communities such as Romulus, is extremely important to the educational development of K-12 and undergraduate students.  With that being said, it is important that more and more projects and initiatives dedicated to the digitizing and preserving of African American history and heritage emerge.


I am building the web-site using Twitter Bootstrap; in addition, I am using Leaflet for mapping. For the imaging of points of interest, I will personally take all photographs.  Further, for points of interest, the map will include markers that can be clicked on to display information, pictures and/or video, as well as URL links for each site.  I am designing the VBRCHM to be extremely user friendly and simple since K-12 students will be a significant population of users.




December 19, 2013

Digitizing the Dead

December 19, 2013 | By | No Comments

Recently, a joint effort between the Royal College of Surgeons of London, the University of Bradford, and the Museum of London Archaeology announced the creation of a collection of digitized pathological skeletal specimens for study by osteoarchaeologists and bioarchaeologists.  Digitised Disease, which is currently in beta version, will provide high resolution 3D models generated by laser scanning, CT models, and radiography.  According to the project description, “Of major interest to many will be high-fidelity photo-realistic digital representations of 3D bones that can be viewed, downloaded and manipulated on their computer, tablet or smartphone”

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December 18, 2013

Toilet Technology: The Appropriation of Bathrooms for Digital Activity

December 18, 2013 | By | No Comments

One of the distinguishing, if not alarming qualities of our current historical moment is that cultural change occurs so rapidly and dramatically that one generation can scarcely recognize the next.  Digital innovations of even the last twenty years have so forcefully changed everyday behaviors and communicatory norms that a grandparent simply asking a grandchild “what are you up to?” will likely end in confusion or belabored explanation.  Home routines are similarly succumbing to the speed of change as digital devices become more common and portable.  Years ago, I heard a man proudly proclaim that his new iPhone was the first thing he touched every morning and the last thing he touched every night.  Yet, perhaps one of the oddest and what elders might find least recognizable changes to customs of the home is how digital technology has intruded into one of the home’s most sacred sanctuary spaces…the bathroom.

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December 13, 2013

Indigenous Language and Twitter

December 13, 2013 | By | No Comments

As and older student I remember being an undergraduate during a time when email was new and rarely used on campus. Most of my communication with my professors was in person or sometimes by telephone; the kind that were attached to walls! Grades were posted outside of their doors next to your social security numbers to protect your identity. Also my university mailed grades home so If you performed like me as an undergrad then opening your grades after the semesters ended was meet with half dread and half hope. I greatly appreciate the advances that have taken place sense those days and I am happy to report that I am a much better student. However while I have had a Facebook account for some time I have not delved into other things like Instagram and Twitter.  So after a few failed attempts at using twitter I finally forced myself to get an account. I am particularly interested in how Native languages are used and presented in social media.

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David Walton


December 12, 2013

Laypeople’s Role in Cultural and Heritage Preservation

December 12, 2013 | By | No Comments

Laypeople and community organizations can aid scholars and professionals dedicated to digitizing African American culture and heritage in four important ways.  First, scanning photographs, obituaries, organizational documents, class photos, workplace photos, and other documents (such as report cards and newspaper clippings) into digital format will help preserve primary sources that will prove valuable for students, educators and researchers.  Secondly, due to the rapid increase in technology, such as digital cameras, camera phones, iPads, and etc.; anyone can quickly and easily take digital photographs.  Photographs of important historical sites of your community and/or organization are valuable assets in the cause of digitizing African American culture and heritage. Further, photographs of sites, events and people that the community presently deems important are also valuable assets in the process of cultural and heritage preservation, as well as family gatherings such as weddings, funerals, family reunions, graduations and etc.

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David Walton


October 28, 2013

Digitizing and Preserving African American History and Heritage

October 28, 2013 | By | No Comments

Digitizing and preserving African American history and heritage is an important mission in the digital age.  Providing access to K-12 and undergraduate students and educators, as well as the community at large, is the largest challenge.  Furthermore, strategies for preserving African American heritage and history as it happens is the newest challenge faced by those interested in the field.  Thus, at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) 98th Annual National Convention held October 2-6, 2013, in Jacksonville, Florida, two sessions were dedicated to this very issue.

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David Bennett


October 22, 2013

The Visual Image’s Challenge to History as a Profession

October 22, 2013 | By | One Comment

Asked to imagine the trial and death of Socrates, we might conjure up an image of Jacque-Louis David’s oil painting Death of Socrates, or recall Plato’s written accounts. We might even imagine modern day reinterpretations of the event. However, none of these interpretations are perfect reconstructions, and their flaws – be they problems of translation, or questions about authenticity or their creator’s intent – cause us to harbor a deeply rooted skepticism about them. The historian’s role, for centuries, has been to engage in a peculiar type of storytelling which attempts to allay that skepticism.
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Ashley Wiersma


March 11, 2013

Talking about Digital Pedagogy

March 11, 2013 | By | No Comments

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Education has begun to embrace the digital environment, but institutions and instructors are faced with the decision to accept (or not) the possibilities that this new space offers to “practice freedom”. On its surface, one may wonder why a university or instructor would not choose freedom, but this question requires the deconstruction of everything we thought we knew about instruction from the definition of a “course,” to the roles of teachers and students, as well as the location of authority. Digital pedagogy forces us to examine each Read More