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CHI Grad Fellow Post

Julia DeCook

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September 22, 2017

Introduction to Julia DeCook

September 22, 2017 | By | No Comments

Hello, everybody! My name is Julia DeCook and I am a fellow in the Cultural Heritage Informatics fellowship initiative for the 2017-2018 school year. I am a 3rd-year doctoral student in the Infomation and Media Studies Ph.D. program, which is housed in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. My research focuses on online communities and how identity, ideology, and culture are created in digital spaces. My background is in Mass Communications, and so understanding the role of media in the spread of propaganda and reinforcement of a collective culture has always been an interest of mine.

The projects that I have been working on tend to fall within the realm of critical/cultural studies of media, however, I have long been wanting to apply more computational methods and approaches to gather data to conduct these analyses. Although I have a little bit of background in coding, my skills are incredibly limited, and so I am hoping through this fellowship that I gain the knowledge that I need to be able to do the research that I want to.

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mcgrat85

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September 22, 2017

Introducing CHI Fellow Laura McGrath

September 22, 2017 | By | No Comments

Hello! My name is Laura McGrath, and I’m delighted to be returning as a CHI Fellow during 2017-18. I’m a PhD Candidate in the department of English, working on computational approaches to post45 American literature.

My dissertation, Middlemen: Making Literature in the Age of Multimedia Conglomerates, studies the major shifts in the field of literary production in the wake of the mergers and acquisitions that roiled the publishing industry in the 1980s and 1990s—a process that resulted in the formation of what we now call The Big Five. Each chapter examines one influential figure in the publishing industry: the agent, the acquisitions editor, the publicist, and the social media manager. Too often dismissed as “middlemen” or mere bureaucratic functionaries, such professionals are powerful nodes between the artist and the corporation, mediating between the domain of aesthetic or literary value and the managerial imperatives of huge media firms. As such, these overlooked figures are not just powerful gatekeepers, but administrators of literary prestige, value, and “corporate taste” in the contemporary, shaping the form and content of contemporary fiction while providing access to mainstream publication, and cultural consecration.

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Nicole Raslich

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September 14, 2017

Introducing CHI Fellow Nicole A. Raslich

September 14, 2017 | By | No Comments

Hello everyone, my name is Nicole A. Raslich and I am excited to be a CHI fellow this year. The department of Anthropology here at MSU is my home, where I am a PhD. candidate. My training is in archaeology, and my research focuses on the expression of identity and landscape through ritual in descendant fisher/hunter/gatherer communities throughout the boreal forest.

During my time as an archaeologist, I have worked with Anishnabek communities throughout the Great Lakes region and the Inari Sámi of Finland on projects revolving around the protection of sacred sites. The ways in which these communities, and others, utilize archaeology to reinvigorate and raise awareness of their own cultural heritage is what piqued my curiosity about digital heritage management avenues. Being able to share methods and case studies among communities globally is one of the ways I have witnessed various communities utilizing digital cultural heritage. Much of my fieldwork has been in cultural heritage policy and law, acting as a NAGPRA representative for tribes and as an archaeological consultant for local governments regarding national heritage protection and protocol.

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carlinek

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September 13, 2017

CHI Fellow Introduction: Katie Carline

September 13, 2017 | By | No Comments

Hello everyone, Katie Carline here. I’m a student of South African history in my second year of PhD studies in the Department of History at Michigan State. I look forward to blogging about my experiences in the CHI Initiative as I learn the tools of digital cultural heritage, apply them to my own research interests (consumer culture in early twentieth century South Africa), and reflect on my position within the wide network of South African digital history scholarship.

And a wide network it is, too! South African history has a diverse representation in the digital sphere. At MSU I’ve learned from digital scholarship produced by my supervisor, Peter Alegi, and colleagues like former CHI fellow Liz Timbs, as well as many digital Africana projects by MATRIX. In South Africa itself, numerous digital projects aim to make history accessible to the public – from the independent volunteer-based encyclopedia South African History Online, to the massive digitization project at the University of Witwatersrand’s Historical Papers. Moreover, the Digital Humanities Association of Southern Africa recently established itself as a member of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.

However, there’s no simple equivalence between the digital and the public/accessible. For one thing, not everyone has equal access to the internet.[1] As I begin the CHI fellowship, some of the questions I’m reflecting on are: who is the audience for the digital project I create, and how will my work relate and compare to the many established digital presences in the world of South African history?

Ambrosia Tea Advertisement, Umlindi we Nyanga, 15 November 1939

My plan for the CHI fellowship, as it stands now, is to explore advertisements in black newspapers of the 1930s and 1940s. In this period, South African companies stepped up marketing campaigns targeted directly at black consumers. I’m especially interested in testimonial-style advertisements, where “real customers” had their photographs or addresses printed to advertise a product, like Mrs. Ntisana’s endorsement of Ambrosia Tea in the picture here.

I think there are many interesting questions to be asked about this genre of advertisement – what sorts of people and products are advertised in this way? What does this tell us about consumer culture? About advertisers’ perceptions of black South African consumers?

I look forward to exploring these questions, and thinking about digital cultural heritage answers to them, over the next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Just one example of how, in South Africa, internet access shapes access to information and education: Toks Dele Oyedemi, “Digital Inequalities and Implications for Social Inequalities: A Study of Internet Penetration amongst University Students in South Africa,” Telematics & Informatics 29, no. 3 (August 2012): 302–13.

Erin Pevan

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August 20, 2017

Nationalism and Constructing the Nation in Norwegian Museums

August 20, 2017 | By | No Comments

As a continuation of my examination of Norwegian national identity and the various medium in which this can occur, during this summer I expanded my project site to go beyond looking at literature for representations or depictions of Norwegian identity and decided to focus upon the conveyance of material culture in space, particularly through the space of the museum.

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nelso663

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May 27, 2017

The Glambu-Launch Post

May 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

Question: What is the sum of the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums industry category‘s acronym (GLAM) and the archaic word ambulator (Noun, “One that walks about” [Lewis & Short, 1879])? Read More

nesbit17

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May 17, 2017

Launching Listen to Lansing!

May 17, 2017 | By | No Comments

This project is a website showcasing the results of a study I am in the process of conducting with colleagues in the Michigan State Sociolinguistics Lab.  For this project, we are investigating language change in the Greater Lansing Area (Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties). Analyzing the vowels produced by Lansing natives born between 1908 and 1997, my colleagues and I have been able to chart the decline of the local dialect spoken here in Lansing over a century of time.

Intended to be a resource for non-linguist audiences, this website provides (1) a general introduction to the dialect spoken in Michigan and the surrounding states, (2) a description of the research my colleagues and I have conducted and the results thereof including a graph showing the incremental decline in local dialect features, along with 5 second clips of speakers from each generation in our sample, and finally (3) resources, contact information and links to supplemental materials on language change in the United States are provided.

As for logistics, I created my website on GitHub, using a bootstrap theme as a base. The chart showing dialect decline was created using AMCharts’ online chart editor. The code for this chart was embedded into the HTML code of the main website. The data used for this chart was generated via acoustical analysis of the vowels produced by the speakers in my sample.  Vowel measurements were made and speakers were categorized according to sociolinguistic thresholds already established in the field of dialectology. The small sound files were spliced out of individual interviews using the phonetic software PRAAT and inserted into the website’s HTML code using the ‘source’ element.  Lastly, all supplementary material (published articles and websites) was embedded as hyperlinks into the HTML.

As stated earlier, this website is intended for those less familiar with linguistics who are interested in language change in Lansing and/or Michigan. It is also intended to act as a resource for those wishing to gain more knowledge about American dialects and/or language change in the United States.  Currently, I am working on adding two things to this site: (1) a map to the site that showcasing the representative Greater Lansing communities in our sample, and (2) a recording widget whereby visitors to the site can contribute to ongoing research by recording themselves speaking.  The site can be accessed through http://listentolansing.matrix.msu.edu/

 

 

swayampr

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May 12, 2017

Launching NorrisTown!

May 12, 2017 | By | No Comments

Welcome to NorrisTown! This work of love (literally) has taken a long time. This will be updated through the summer as I find and digitize more material, so I would really appreciate your feedback, especially if you know more than I do about the town of Norris!

The website is largely clean and accessible (I hope!) with pdfs housed together along with reflective essays. There images from the Farm Security Administration (from the Library of Congers website). In addition, there is a list of sources online and books that the website shall point you to.

While I was initially very, very afraid of having to code from ground up, in hindsight, it was easy as long as I was patient while I continuously tested the mock-up page. It took a while to finalize the mock-up page but it was well worth it. In the long run, it saved time and effort. It also made it easier to isolate issues that cropped up as I was inputting information. For instance, as I replace dummy text in the reflective essay boxes, there were alignment issues on the page as the pdfs were suddenly sent to the bottom of the page. In addition, the drop down navigational menu was going into the background. Given that I had written the code ground up, I was able to (relatively) easily isolate the problematic code and rewrite/edit it. It was small and big things like this that made the process annoying in the short run but extremely fulfilling because I learned so much.

The website was mostly created ground up, without any themes. I used iframes to house pdfs for easy access and readability. While I am happy about the project overall, there is one niggling aspect that needs some fixing. The home page does not have the originally envisioned geo-rectified site plan of Norris. Although creating the geo-rectified image was easy, there were some issues with Mapbox and I am still working towards fixing it. I would really appreciate any ideas about how to fix it. For now, the home page consists of a map I created on Googlemaps that has markers. Each of the markers is an important place on the site plan and the markers themselves have little information blurbs as well as images (when available).

For now, though, I hope the website is interesting!

Jessica Yann

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May 12, 2017

Launching the Timeline of Michigan Archaeology

May 12, 2017 | By | One Comment

The Timeline of Michigan Archaeology has officially launched! You can find it at timemarch.matrix.msu.edu.  Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and I hope you are too. You can scroll through time, click on individual events (archaeological sites), or even search for a specific date to see what was going on at that point in time.  I created this timeline in part by request; I have often worked with school groups and the public at archaeology events and have had several requests for some sort of timeline. I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind, but I hope it suits the purpose.

The sites presented are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning that they are the some of the most significant archaeological sites in the state. There are two exceptions to this: the Tuscola Mastodon find and the Leavitt site. However, these present crucial information about this very early time in the state, and I thought it was important to include this information. The sites also span the complete history of the state, up to about 1930.

This site was created using the Timeglider JS widget, a Javascript element that can be embedded in HTML. It was surprisingly easy to work with once I became familiar with the code, and should I need to add new events in the future, should be able to. Anyone with questions on the technical process can contact me.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my site and find it useful. There is a lot of information contained within it. I did my best to provide what I thought people would be interested in, but if there is something that you think would be useful to include, please let me know!

Jack Biggs

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May 12, 2017

Launching J-Skel

May 12, 2017 | By | No Comments

I am very proud to announce the launch of J-Skel: The Digital Ages Estimator of Subadult Skeletons at j-skel.matrix.msu.edu!  I designed this website with the goal of]-o0 acquainting upper-level undergraduate students and early graduate students of physical anthropology and human osteology (or for anyone else just interested in bones) to aging methods of juvenile skeletons.  Though this may seem like a morose topic, skeletal remains from juveniles are actually quite enlightening and can even give information as to the quality of life, area of origin, and migration patterns across time and space.

All-in-all, juvenile remains are essential in reconstructing past populations.  This can only be done by understanding how the body grows and develops during this time period, hence J-Skel.  Data gathered for this project were from multiple resources that specialized on individual bones or elements and they aged over time during the life course.  However, the majority of these projects were conducted by white European or European-American scholars on populations of similar demographics. Although there have been recent pushes to get more geographic and cultural populational studies rolling, the majority of data out there are on individuals of European descent.

The J-Skel homepage allows you to click on an interactive SVG of a child skeleton which takes you to aging methods in different parts of the body.  After months of tearing through RaphaelJS, the original javascript library I attempted to use to create the interactive elements, I could never get the SVG I created or RaphaelJS to link to my html.  However, I was eventually able to use Inkscape to create the SVG of the child’s skeleton and directly embed this lengthy code directly into the body, giving me a large interactive component to the website.

For this site, the skeletal regions I chose to group were the skull, thorax, pelvic girdle, upper limbs, and lower limbs.  Each region/subpage is broken down by bone with general descriptions of age methods and age-related changes.  Beside those are classes of buttons which correspond to different levels of fusion between bones.  For example, the frontal bone (the forehead) is originally made up of two halves that fuse and become one single bone.  The buttons beside the description would say: ‘unfused’ – for two separate halves, ‘fusing’ – one bone that is in the process of fusing the two bones, or ’completely fused’ – the two haves have become one with no remnants of the fusion line.

Depending on which button you clicked per bony element, an appropriate age range would be generated and appear in a text box on the right side of the screen.  Using the example above, if you have a specimen in front of you from a skeletal collection where the two frontal bones are in the process of fusing, by clicking on the button labeled “Fusing”, the text box to the right would reveal: “Between 2 and 4 years old”.  This process is the same for all of the bones that I used for this project.  However, not every bone or bone type in the body is used for aging one the website.  Some bones are much better than others to use for aging, so those are the ones that were selected.

One aspect of the site that I plan to work on over the summer is to include a section over aging using dentition.  The teeth form and erupt (protrude from the bone) in a very particular order and on a strict schedule such that teeth can greatly increase accuracy in age estimations.  The reason they have not been included in the site right now is due to a function of time for research.  Teeth are incredibly complicated structures and the time it would have taken to get all of the information gathered and synthesized would have prevented me from launching the website on time, so be on the lookout for that section to pop up later this summer!

I hope you find this tool as useful, interesting, and informative as it was for me to create (both content-wise and from a web designer point-of-view).  This subject is one that may on the surface seem eerie or creepy, but recognizing the value of how infants, children, and teenagers make sense of- and are affected by the world around them helps us understand cultural processes and mechanisms of society.  This tool is just one way of starting to address these interests, so I hope you enjoy the website and learn something new!