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CHI Project Info

Charlotte Marie Cable

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October 14, 2011

Adventures in Archaeology: Charlotte Marie Cable enters the digital world

October 14, 2011 | By | No Comments

Community archaeology, Mid-East anthropology, Alaska, Adventure, Cycling, and Logophilia

Archaeology is the search for culture through material: intangible ideas about the world are made tangible through the ways we arrange and rearrange our physical worlds to reflect those ideas. These physical remains are what we archaeologists study: and usually, we study these remains by their destruction. We learn by taking things apart – and in such a way that we can’t put them back together again (imagine rebuilding a ziggurat!). This poses a major problem: as our knowledge grows, what we have, physically, to show for it decreases. The challenge in archaeology is trying to make what we’ve learned as easy to see, to touch, and to understand as the earth from which it comes.

I was born and raised in Alaska, where it takes 12 hours to drive to the center of the state. Visiting the “Lower 48” usually involved a Read More

Jennifer Sano-Franchini

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September 9, 2011

Digital Humanities, Drupal, and the End of Phase I

September 9, 2011 | By | No Comments

In many ways, I think of my time in the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative as an introduction to the digital humanities. Through the CHI fellowship I read a handful of texts about the digital humanities, explored digital archives, participated in Great Lakes THATCamp and THATCamp CHNM, and, of course, worked hands-on using technologies, and developing a digital project. I began learning the language of digital humanists and gained a sense of what people meant when they were talking about metadata, the semantic web, and linked data. I became acquainted with Digital Humanities Questions & Answers, and participated in a couple of conversations on the forum. (By the way, I definitely encourage incoming fellows to use this resource! It’s great not just for getting help on your own projects, but also for gaining a sense of what kinds of things people concerned with DH are thinking about and working on.) I also Read More

Jennifer Bengtson

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April 15, 2011

Project Update: Digital Repository for Mississippian Archaeological Site Materials

April 15, 2011 | By | No Comments

I have been working to create a basic organizational framework for my repository (http://chi.anthropology.msu.edu/2011/02/28/a-digital-repository-for-mississippian-archaeologists/), and the process is actually coming along much better than I expected it would. A couple of weeks ago, I met with Dr. Goldstein to discuss my plans and to briefly browse through the materials she has available for the Aztalan site. To maximize inter-site comparability, we decided that it would be best to decide on a basic set of material types that I would expect to encounter as the project progresses. My initial decisions are, of course, based largely on what I have available for Aztalan, but these types of materials will likely be available for other sites as they are added to the repository. The preliminary categories are basic site information, maps, images, full text documents, bibliographies, and raw data. Of course, I plan to design the repository in a way that unique or 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

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

Katy Meyers

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November 11, 2010

Project Introduction: The Bone Collective

November 11, 2010 | By | 6 Comments

The use of archaeological skeletal material is strongly reliant on methods for the identification of sex, age, ancestry, disease, and other variables that leave their marks on bone. As methods improve, identification also improves. Throughout the archaeological community, there is constant re-assessment of these methods as well as the creation of new more accurate ones especially through the innovative use of technology. However, the progress of this field is limited by its ability to communicate this progress of the various levels of academia and different international institutions. While texts, journals and conferences do allow for the transfer of information, they are limited in the information they choose to include and the audience that they address. We need to move beyond a one way transfer of knowledge to a community sourced discourse and dialogue.

Therefore, I have begun work on a project known as “The Bone Collective”. The goal is to create a Read More