My last blog post addressed the criteria of inclusion I am using for the Directory of Oneota Scholars. As I was collecting names of scholars, I had to eventually stop and begin working through this corpus to gather information on their current research interests, position, the institution (or entity they are at), and a website for contacting the individual. To track down this information, I have mainly used Google to search for individual’s names on their own and then with ‘archaeology’ in the search bar. It has been a bit difficult to track down current information on multiple scholars: out of 110 scholars, I have no current information on 14 individuals. I will continue to try and gather information on these individuals and begin filling my website with the content. Thankfully, I have already created my website and a coding template for each scholar, and the site is ready to be populated. I hope to finish populating the site with content in the next month. Please comment below if you have any questions about the project!
I have not updated the blog about my project in a while. Its scope has been pared down significantly – as Ethan has said from the start that it would. The main change is that in order to make the creation of a database manageable within the time parameters of the program, given my total lack of experience with SQL, I have had to identify one highly uni-variant form of data within the corpus of economic and environmental statistics that exist in relation to the Lake Victoria basin. I selected tables relating to the production and consumption of electricity in East Africa, for historiographical and methodological reasons. The generation of hydropower at Owen Falls is an emerging point of emphasis in the historiography of East Africa, and will likely have considerable significance within the context of my dissertation. Therefore, I think that data from Owen Falls and other sites in East Africa offers a useful point of focus for this exercise.
It also offers a relatively accessible point of entry into writing SQL, because the information consists mostly of simple X-Y tables with recurring categories, e.g. Power (Horsepower) produced, Light (Kilowatts) consumed. Still, I have had to do some data cleaning, because these observations were not necessarily made to be compared with one another and were not produced in a standard form like Blue Books (at least, I haven’t digitized any relevant Blue Books). This data includes some tables that are pre-grouped. The largest bodies of information among these groups are a time-series that charts power and light production at sites across Kenya and Uganda across a decade, and a set of revised projections for the demand for electricity based on a revised estimate for the cost of power generation. These groups of tables seem to offer the most low-hanging fruit for the linking of tables through SQL – and the most historically-sound use of the language in this context, given the fact that the creators of these tables intended to group them.
The tables in these groups have also categories in common with other tables outside their own groupings, and so through the use of SQL these data can reveal an integrated picture of electricity production and consumption. This can give researchers increased access to the history of the region, but can also impose an ahistorical image onto the hydropower industry in East Africa, because historical actors did not necessarily see the industry in the ways that a database might present it. Then again, this tension can also be valuable in trying to understand the historical trajectory of hydropower.
The past few months have been incredibly frustrating as I made little headway in creating my clickable SVG of a juvenile skeleton using Raphaël.js. By clicking on a certain bone, the user would be taken to another page corresponding to age estimation methods for that bone and use the features specified to come up with an estimated age. Since clickable SVGs are created as paths that have beginnings and endings, each path corresponds to either a single bone or a closed path on a bone. As a result, this means that each bone would have its own link, so to simplify the process, entire regions of bones will be selected at once no matter which bone you click on. The skeletal regions have been split up according to standard anatomical regions: skull, thorax (ribs, vertebrae, sternum), upper limbs (hands, forearms, arms, clavicles, scapulae), pelvic girdle (pelvis and sacrum), and lower limbs.
Although I appeared to have the correct links and format for Raphaël.js, nothing would work and nothing showed up on my webpage. Fortunately, I think I have found a way around that. Instead of linking raphaël.js and my skeletal SVG data paths from separate files, I was able to successfully link embed the SVG data directly into the body of my html page without even using raphaël.js. Downside is that this makes the code on my html page much longer and look less clean. However, it correctly links and works and so I’m happy to have slightly less concise code if it means that one of the main functions will work!
As an example, I’ve copied and pasted my example here (https://jabiggs13.github.io/skull-test/). For right now, the outlines of the skeleton are linked to another website so when you click on a feature, it takes you to eskeletons.org – a website created by the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin dedicated to teaching basic human skeletal anatomy as well as focusing on other primate skeletal morphology. (This was honestly the first site that popped in my head when testing to see if the linking feature of my SVG worked).
As it stands right now, there is a major problem that I had not anticipated. The only portion of the skeleton that is truly clickable is the outline of each bone, not the actual bone itself. This was not a problem I had thought about until I finally got everything working. My solution to this problem is basically messing with the original paths and outlines of the SVG so that the space between the outline is filled in and is the actual clickable content. With this process, there are now exponentially more paths, meaning that there are way more individual closed loops that would require their own separate links as the program (Inkscape – free!) is no longer recognizing my grouped regions (i.e. it is not recognizing the ‘ribcage’ but each individual rib or piece of rib that is its own separate loop). Though less than ideal, this may just be the nature of the beast so that each individual path would then have to have its own link, making my skeletal regions less useful as an overarching theme.
Despite this newest hiccup, I am incredibly relieved to be past this one major hurdle do I can now focus on each of the individual ageing methods that will link up to specific bones.
Greetings all! I don’t have many exciting new developments to report on my CHI project, so instead I thought I would share with you some screen shots of where I am at right now, and some of the pieces I could use help on. The first is coming up with a flashier banner to go across the top. You can see my current placeholder banner below:
Along with that, I need a flashier title for my project. You should be able to access it here, if you want to take a look at it in its current state. I’m still working on formatting, so you may still see some odd placement, off font size, or other issues. However, please point them out!
All that aside, I have been learning a lot about how to make archaeological information accessible to the public. It is a lot more difficult than I anticipated to take the language from a National Register form, convert it into something that a school kid could understand, and maintain the information about why that site is importance. I’ve done more editing on the text for each of my timeline events than on anything else! We often underestimate the importance of communicating archaeology to the public. One of my main goals with this project is to successfully show how important archaeology is to understanding our past. I hope by the time I am finished I will have succeeded, at least somewhat, in doing just that.
As I’ve worked on building my corpus of scholars for the Directory of Oneota Scholars, I’ve realized that I need more than just one page to house information on scholars. I will create a drop down menu with four page options: Academics/Professionals, Graduate Students, Emeritus, and Deceased. The Academics/Professionals page will have individual scholars employed in university settings and those working for CRM firms and in museums. The Graduate Students page will have graduate students currently pursuing Master’s degrees and PhDs. The ‘Emeritus’ page will include individuals who were once employed in an academic setting but have since retired and the ‘Deceased’ page will include individuals who are deceased, but their work remains important in Oneota archaeology.
At this point in my project exploring Norwegian national identity in literature over time, there is not much to report other than my continued progress knee-deep into the different pieces of my project. Over the past several weeks, I have been delving into different visualization tools to illustrate trends in national identity in Norway over time, and Ngram viewers (such as Google Ngram Viewer and Culturomics Bookworm, as well as a new fun Ngram discovery from the Norwegian Nasjonalbibliotekets Språkbanken repository) are the tools I am currently testing as my visualization for these trends. Read More
Construction of my timeline project is moving right along. I have almost completely entered in all of the basic events, and have formatted the website into what it will basically look like. It is really coming together! I am using Timeglider JS as the framework for the timeline portion of my project and coding the rest of the pages with html/css. So far, it has been pretty easy to manipulate the basic components of Timeglider to enter in my own data points and re-do the icons (I’m pretty proud of my legend). It has definitely been a learning process, but I think it will do what I want. Assuming I keep all my commas where they are supposed to be.
While the content is not yet as complete as it will be by the end of the project, I welcome feedback (just understand that nothing is yet in its final version!). You can view my timeline here. Perhaps more importantly, I need a catchy title! Timeline of Michigan Archaeology is just too long. What do you think, internet? Take a peak through the site, then give me your feedback. If I choose your title, I’ll give you an acknowledgement on my page! 🙂
As my project starts to move into a more intelligible form, I’d like to share a few of the new features on the beginning pages. Initially, my plan was to focus on three waves of Filipinx immigrants and where they settled in Michigan. Each wave would have its own page, showcasing movement and settlement. However, it meant an extensive pursuit of data, and to make room for time constraints and limited skill, I resolved to focus only on post-1965 groups since they seemed to be potentially informative for contemporary concerns of displacement and urban planning.
I’ve settled on two current Filipinx and Asian American spatially representative sites, and have started wrapping up analysis on the impact of one of them, but something about the accumulating narrative of the site still fell short for me. The pictures and stories of the first groups of APA immigrants kept coming back, providing a fuller arc in the discussion of what it means to be a citizen, and I realized this would be an important underlying consideration as users explore the later pages about continuous efforts to carve out space for cultures.
As a result, I created a beginning page with maps highlighting some of the first Filipinx immigrants’ residences in Ann Arbor and Detroit. By some stroke of luck, I managed to create a toggling button for seeing map layers of these residences by decade. Users would ideally be able to click on specific decades, gradually populating the map with the general areas of initial settlement. Markers are also written with popups that reveal the name, year registered in the Bureau of Insular Affairs, address, major/job, and school. If my luck persists, I hope to also overlay the maps with circled areas that represent urban development affecting residential areas. Populating these maps will take some time and the data will be nowhere near exhaustive, but it will provide an interesting portrait of the general areas of immigrant settlement.
Following up on my previous blog about choosing an MSU theme for the Capturing Campus Cuisine webpage, this post will focus on the user interaction and experience. While the major sections of the webpage of this project had been previously decided, I was still not completely sure how I wanted the users to move through and interact with the site. After discussion with my partner on this project, Susan Kooiman, and the director of the Campus Archaeology Program, we decided to have the headers of the sections organized going from the themes of food practices, to our research methods used to learn about the various food practices, then the complete meal reconstruction conclusions, followed by the interactive atlas and additional resources.Read More