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CHI Fellowship Program



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



July 12, 2012

2012 Allied Media Conference: A First Timer’s Thoughts

July 12, 2012 | By | No Comments

From June 28th to July 1st, I had the opportunity to attend my first Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan. The conference is put on by the Allied Media Projects (AMP), an organization dedicated to developing media strategies ‘for a more just and creative world’ by drawing on disciplines such as technology, education, and communications. AMP is also one of the founding members of Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, which is comprised of organizations dedicated to ‘activities that are grounded in the digital justice principles of: access, participation, common ownership, and healthy communities’.

This year, the Allied Media conference drew around 2,000 attendees. While the overall framework for the conference was social justice, the organizers divided the sessions into tracks, such as Web making, Analog Media, and Imagining Better Futures Through Game Design and Play. The conference also featured practice spaces, such as the Media-A-Go-Go Hands-on Technology space, where attendees had the chance Read More

Rachael Hodder


July 2, 2012

APIs and Cultural Heritage

July 2, 2012 | By | No Comments

Word cloud based on the text of this blog post about application programming interfaces and cultural heritageAn essential area of focus for cultural heritage scholars should be application programming interfaces, or APIs. APIs are, in very simple terms, code libraries assembled by web service companies to enable third-party applications to communicate with the web service platform. Though an API is an interface, it is invisible to the human eye; indeed, it’s an interface that facilitates computer-to-computer communication. Within the domain of cultural heritage, there is incredible potential create tools that can revolutionize not only the presentation of collections, but the way that people experience and interact with cultural heritage. But before we can leverage APIs in useful ways or even build APIs of our own, I think it’s important to think about the implications of utilizing these interfaces.

APIs often include software development kits (SDKs), documentation, and other tools for web developers to use to leverage the functionality of the web service for their own projects – be Read More



June 21, 2012

DHSI and Digital Scholarship

June 21, 2012 | By | No Comments

At the start of June, I attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. I was asked a number of interesting questions from other participants that I thought I would share:

What did I attend DHSI? A focused classroom setting with a proven record of leaving students with new skills. I was interested in GIS software as a way to build maps and analyze quantitative and spatial data in my dissertation, but had limited success in exploring the software on my own because of the steep learning curve. The GIS course has delivered on its promise of combining examples of the utility of GIS in helping answer questions in humanities research while also providing excellent guided tutorials and one-on-one help from the instructor. DHSI also came highly recommended by colleagues as a place not only to learn new skills, but to network with a large and engaging group of people producing digital scholarship.

Why am Read More



June 11, 2012

SocioCultural Anthropology and The AnthroDataDPA Report: Part 1

June 11, 2012 | By | No Comments

Over the past year, I have searched for resources addressing digital preservation and access issues applicable to sociocultural anthropology, my larger subfield, or at least qualitatively leaning researchers. One of my finds was the AnthroDataDPA Report (Anthropological Data Digital Preservation and Access), which will be the primary focus of this post. Generated from a weekend workshop in 2009 and organized by Carol R. Ember, Eric Delson, Jeff Good, and Dean Snow, efforts behind the organization of the AnthroDataDPA Report were designed to provide general anthropological best practices concerning digital preservation and access issues.

One of the unique contributions about this report, in my opinion, is that it tackles issues applicable to the entire anthropological discipline as well as those more sub-discipline specific. Some of the overall recommendations concerning data digitization and access include: retaining physical records even after digitization due to lack of long term preservation plans for several projects; freeing access Read More

Rachael Hodder


May 29, 2012

Dismantling the Troubling Monolithic Representation of Coding in the Humanities

May 29, 2012 | By | No Comments

Coding in the humanities has been the topic of much heated discussion. The conversation has spanned the shoulds-and-should-nots, the whys-and-why-nots, and the who-and-who’s-nots. What troubles me most about the conversations surrounding coding in the humanities is that the notion of coding is constructed as almost monolithic which dangerously lends to the construction of Coding, Coders, and Coding Culture wherein all Coders have ascended some pre-determined set of skill markers to attain the same knowledge, skills, and motives. The fact of the matter is that this just isn’t true – people code in a variety of different programming and markup languages at varying skill-levels to accomplish any number of goals and aims. This monolithic representation of Code is damaging to both people who build on the web and aspiring builders; it creates a tense climate and alienates potential teachers from new/potential learners, making the literacies, skills, and rationale involved in coding even Read More