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CHI Grad Fellow Post

Autumn Beyer

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June 22, 2016

Morton Village Continued: Updating the main website

June 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

This summer, Nikki Silva and I are working on updating the main website for the Morton Village Research project: mortonvillage.anthropology.msu.edu. This website/blog was created in 2008 and is in need of some major updates. We have several areas of the site that we are going to update!

Website Theme: Currently it is an outdated version of the 2011 wordpress style. We will be updating the theme to the 2014 version, which is more modern and includes sections for integrating videos and photos.

About the Project: We are going to expand the description of the project and include photos of the project directors, Drs Jodie O’Gorman and Mike Conner.

Research Page: Update the language used (make it more public friendly), add photos within the text.

Add A Graduate Student Research Page: Include blurbs from past and present graduate students on their research at the site.

Expand the Resources Page: Add descriptions for links, direct links to articles on the site, link to Mapping Morton Village, and add PDFs of conference poster presentations.

Add Photo/Video Galleries: Include field and lab photos and videos, as well as images from conference presentations.

 

As we work on changing and adding pages, we will continue to re-evaluate the site to see if there are any other changes we would like to make! Please let us know if you have any comments or ideas!

 

jfelipe195

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May 20, 2016

Introducing BARDSS

May 20, 2016 | By | No Comments

logoIntroducing BARDSS is a website developed as part of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative, to explains and promote another digital project called BARDSS, the Baptismal Records Database for Slave Societies. BARDSS is intended to be a user-friendly and searchable online database that will make accessible detailed data from the baptismal records of thousands of African and African-descended individuals across the Americas. Because BARDSS is still a work in progress, we created this site to update about its progress and to discuss some of their features.

Our goal with this website is to socialize and receive feedback for the construction of this project before we launch the software. We discuss our decisions in relation to the structure of the fields, the selection of the data, and how we visualize future search tools. This democratic process of creating knowledge, we believe, is one of the main achievements of our nascent digital age. The site is divided in six sections including the landing page. We cover the majority of the key issues we faced while creating BARDSS. The pages explains, the records we used and what that type of information their contain. The Fields section detailed how we group the content of the baptismal records into categories. The Search section shows ho we envision the tools that users will have available to conduct different type of crossed search. Finally, the section called Visualization is a projection of what type of questions BARDSS can answer through its visualization tool.  We hope that BARDSS will be not only be public as a finished digital tool, but that its creation will also be a public endeavor and that this website could help to achieve this goal

Sara Bijani

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May 7, 2016

Announcing the (Soft) Launch of the Finally Got the News Digital Audio Archive

May 7, 2016 | By | No Comments

I feel hesitant to describe this phase of the Finally Got the News audio reel archive as a “launch” of the project, simply because my aspirations for the collaborative and interpretative dimensions of this work won’t be completed until later this summer. The archive itself, however, is in a highly functional and sharable state. Rather than describing the project in full (I’ll save that for a later post this summer), I’ll use this announcement to walk through the functionality of the digital archive, available at: http://newsreeldetroit.matrix.msu.edu/blackstarproductions/.

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wargojon

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May 7, 2016

The Launch and (Re)Emergence of #HearMyHome

May 7, 2016 | By | No Comments

Originally conceived of as an “everyday” cultural heritage informatics project interrogating how contemporary youth write community through and with sound. #hearmyhome inquires how hearing difference and listening to community may re-educate the senses and attune us towards cultural difference. Ultimately working to develop materials that hear, recognize, and sustain community literacies and cultural rhetorics, #hearmyhome asks educators, users, and participants alike to take heed of the frequencies and rhythms of culture as they architect, design, and teach towards more equitable landscapes for learning.Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 9.33.34 PM

Focusing on “everyday” cultural heritage, #hearmyhome demonstrates how youth can “hear” and “listen” to better understand difference and community literacies through expansive personal learning networks (PLN). Illustrated by the site’s larger open-networked soundscapes map, #hearmyhome is an affinity space wherein participants share both knowledge and life experiences (through audio, visual, and text) as a way to form interpersonal relationships and create a fuller understanding of community.

#hearmyhome has three primary goals:

  • As an area for research, #hearmyhome is about examining rhythmic rituals and the ambient soundscapes of culture that cut across the contexts of home, school, and community, looking at the connections, overlaps, and disjunctures.
  • As a pedagogical project for learning, #hearmyhome posits that some of the most meaningful forms of learning happen when a learners have interests or passions they are pursuing across contexts of (inter)cultural affinity, social support, and shared purpose.
  • As a model for connected learning design, #hearmyhome offers a way of connecting the spheres of home, school, and community-based learning, leveraging the affordances of digital and networked media.

In creating the #HearMyHome landing page, I used two primary tools: Bootstrap and GoogleMaps. Bootstrap was used early on during the Fellowship year to create the front-end framework and GoogleMaps was used to create a participatory archive of pins with links to modal referents and participation. Pins include reference to username, mode, and link. Explore!

Across the 8 week sonic series (Feb 8 – April 2, 2016), #hearmyhome introduced over 100+ users to the affordances of audio and sonic composition. From Billings, Montana to Coffs Harbour, Australia, we earwitnessed community and culture from a variety of peoples, places, and soundscapes. Although I was initially disappointed that the project did not have the massive 500+ member following I hoped for, the avenues of collaboration and networks of participation that transpired excite me. I look forward to collaborating with folks from #CLMOOC, #walkmyworld, and Sounding Out!

This summer, I hope to categorize, index, and host the soundscapes of participation for users to download, remix, and employ in their own interrogation of sound and audio possibility. Additionally, I hope to write grants that explore the sonic possibilities of classroom composition, connected learning, and practitioner-inquiry. Still interested in collaborating? Join by signing up for our email correspondences here or like our page on Facebook for more information on each sonic event, or simply ‘lurk and learn’ by following the #hearmyhome hashtag across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

mcgrat85

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May 6, 2016

Launching the Armed Services Editions: A Computational Analysis

May 6, 2016 | By | No Comments

ASE Website

 

I am happy to announce the launch of my CHI Project, The Armed Services Editions: A Computational Analysis. On my page, users can navigate through three “Data Narratives”: simple analyses that I conducted to answer critical questions about these data. The Gender Data Narrative considers the distribution of gendered pronoun usage throughout the corpus, and features a basic foray into LDA topic modeling. The Genre Data Narrative considers the types of books that were sent to servicemen, and how the generic representation of books may have shifted over time. Finally, the Geography Data Narrative the geographic imagination of the corpus– both domestic and internationally– with NER.

This first phase of this project is, quite simply, a book history project. To date, the ASE Corpus has not been studied in total. Several scholars have published institutional histories of the Council on Books in Wartime, or discussed the role of specific books, or even discussed the ASEs in relation to a larger sociological project. I am interested in assembling a more thorough, stylistic, macro-history of the ASEs, that attends to both it sociological import as well as its formal properties through computational analysis. The data I’ve assembled is descriptive, working toward that end, and is a necessary foundation to the more advanced analysis I will be conducting this summer.

In addition to an analysis of the ASE Corpus, this website is also a record that chronicles the development of my methodological chops. While I had a basic foundation in R (thanks to a fabulous course at HILT), my skills needed (and still need) development. I used two textbooks to improve my skills, testing my dataset throughout. Users familiar with Text Analysis with R for Students of Literature by Matt Jockers and Humanities Data in R by Lauren Tilton and Taylor Arnold will likely be able to trace my data analysis back to the chapter problem sets.

Full disclosure: I feel insecure about this. I would like, eventually, to publish on the ASEs. A record of my fledgling explorations in R and data analysis is… well, nerve-wracking. Yet, as Ethan Wattrall has reminded me in a variety of ways, it’s also an important intervention. Over and over again this year, I have been reminded of and impressed by the generosity of my colleagues in DH; I post this basic data analysis in hopes of inviting that same generous conversation.

Only a fraction of the work that was completed on this project his featured on my project website. I should have foreseen this problem and created a time-lapse video of my hours and hours running OCR on hundreds of documents, or adding metadata to my database. Or, better yet, learning how to analyze data in R. For this project, however, I decided to visualize my data using Tableau. Tableau provides far less specificity, for sure, but it also allows for a greater degree of user interactivity. Since my data is, at this stage, largely descriptive, I wanted users to be able to explore with greater flexibility.

It’s been a long year working on this project, and that long year has turned out to be just the beginning. I’m so excited to see how this project continues to develop. Over the summer, I’ll be continuing this project by running these analyses—and much more interesting, advanced analysis (fingers crossed)—on the entirety of my corpus.

The questions motivating this project are increasingly pressing, and continue to motivate me—particularly as a powerful political candidate has remained consistently hostile toward the free exchange of ideas that should define any democratic discourse. Ultimately, this project asks, what (or whose) ideas are acceptable, and what (or whose) ideas aren’t? And what (and who) makes that so? These questions should be asked about 1940, and they should be asked about 2016.

wargojon

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April 29, 2016

Cultural Heritage Informatics as Connected Learning? Modes, Meaning, and Metrics of Success

April 29, 2016 | By | No Comments

Last night, my collaborator and I were featured on the Google+ program Teachers Teaching Teachers to talk all things sound, community literacies, and connected learning. Across the larger broadcast we talked through the many phases of #hearmyhome, detailing how it was at once a grounded project in classroom and community spaces, while simultaneously operating as a networked collaborative that invited participants to earwitness culture and community through eight sonic events. We helped shape the soundscapes of the everyday. In the penultimate minutes of the program, the moderators asked us to consider metrics of achievement. “How would you qualify success for the project?” Eagerly, I started talking numbers. “We had over 100+ unique participants! We saw how modes connected, overlapped, and caused disjuncture in how we came to configure ‘home.’ We had participants across the globe, from East Lansing, MI to Australia.” Reflecting on my response, another language and literacy researcher, Ian, asked me to move beyond the numbers. “But what did you learn?” he asked.

As I reflect on the #hearmyhome project, and the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship in particular, I want to highlight how at a macro level, the projects that emerged from our shared community of fellows are exemplars of connected learning. Refracted through our varied interested in cultural heritage, we designed opportunities for engagement in powerful, relevant, and engaging ways. The affordances of the digital only augmented these visions and aided in the creation and building that occurred. Our learning was participatory, networked, and experiential. At a more micro level, #hearmyhome exemplified that some of the most meaningful forms of learning happen when a learners have interests or passions they are pursuing across contexts of (inter)cultural affinity and social support. The group operated with a shared purpose.
As a model for connected learning design, #hearmyhome offered a way of connecting the spheres of home, school, and community-based learning to leverage the affordances of digital and networked media. We met friends through #CLMOOC, collaborators with the team at #walkmyworld, and even had cheerleaders amplify the project at Sounding Out! In total, the modes, meanings, and metrics of success were larger than the decisions of design and/or series of sonic interactions. Sustained teaching and learning and engaged user participation was the result of making our process open.

As we close out the year here in LEADR, I know many of us would agree that at the core of the work we accomplished this year, our vision was guided by more equitable, social, and participatory forms of learning across our fields and disciplines. Through production-centered and open forms of cultural heritage informatics, we each engaged in relevant, hands-on, and innovative forms of design to fuse our own intellectual interests with digital experiences. Success, then, isn’t the completion and release of our individual projects, or the statistics and benchmarks of how many users, lurkers, and learners visit your site, but the behind-the-scenes process and sustained engagement of open learning.

Sara Bijani

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April 22, 2016

Reel to Reel Archive Construction and OHMS

April 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

As I’ve put this project together over the past several months, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the ideal shape of a digital archival. The more time I spend with the audio reels that form the base of my archive, listening to them over and over as I digitize and transcribe them, the more I feel they deserve to be presented with as little intervention as possible. To this end, my website has evolved into two fairly separate entities. On one end is the archive, where the collection of audio reels will eventually be reproduced in total with as little narrative intervention as possible. On the other end is the mediated environment that I have been referring to as the “galleries,” where I will publish short interpretative essays that situate the audio reels within their various historical contexts.

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Autumn Beyer

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April 22, 2016

The Launch of Mapping Morton Village

April 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

We are very pleased to announce the launch of the Mapping Morton Village interactive digital map, which provides information on archaeology in general, as well as information on the ongoing Morton Village archaeological project. Read More

Nikki Silva

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April 22, 2016

Mapping Morton Village: Finalizing the Site and Pushing to New URL

April 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

In the past few weeks Autumn and I allowed some of our friends and family, with varying levels of archaeological experience, to view the site to see if it is user friendly. With some of their constructive comments, we first added some language to the intro pop-up to better explain our map page.

We added language to our intro pop-up to explain how to toggle through the layers.

We added language to our intro pop-up to explain how to toggle through the layers.

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