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Micalee Sullivan

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May 13, 2011

Digital Duds and Collaboration Wins – Part 1

May 13, 2011 | By | No Comments

Sixteen Tons was derived as a way to share research to other scholars, teachers, and the public based upon the many hours I spent working in archives around the world. Coming from a field where research tends to be highly guarded and secretive until your work is published, my work with the CHI initiative has provided me with the understanding that it is, not only okay to share my research, but it could provide a useful alternative to the bulky dissertation that tends to mostly collect dust on a library shelf. By simply adding media and a web address to my dissertation research, I’m going to be able to reach far more people.

Most of the inspiration behind my project came from another online project, Like a Family. It is a website component to the book of the same title – one that I had read during my Read More

Katy Meyers

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May 13, 2011

Changing Directions: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the F-Word

May 13, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

This post was supposed to be an update on my mediawiki project, the Bone Collective, a collborative wiki for bioarchaeological information. At the AAPA and PPA conferences I was going to get collaborators, and from them I would be able to get content for the site. Instead of working towards the alpha launch of the project I’m learning to embrace the F-word: Failure.

I didn’t fail in a technical sense. The beast of mediawiki has already been reigned in and is under my control. However, what I failed to realize was that the project itself was not something that the bioarchaeological world would help with or even really wanted. Sadly my vision for a communal space for bioarchaeological knowledge cannot be operationalized. The overwhelming responses to the project was that that while they may want to help with the project they didn’t see the overall benefit. Responses from graduate students were primarily Read More

Jennifer Bengtson

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May 6, 2011

My Project-Finding Adventure

May 6, 2011 | By | No Comments

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed that I was the last of the fellows to come up with a project. When I first applied to this program, I had an idea in mind that I thought was a “sure thing.” There was seriously no way that anyone could have a problem letting me create a digital repository to organize, store, and preserve all of the information they had been collecting over an entire career, right? I thought that this was the kind of thing that everyone wants to do, but just doesn’t have time for. So who was going be the lucky recipient of all the hard work I was about to invest in learning about and creating a digital repository? I was about to become someone’s digital hero. I just knew it.

Well, it took me two rejections to learn that, in reality, there are several reasons that Read More

Katy Meyers

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April 29, 2011

What I learned from GLTHATCamp Bootcamps

April 29, 2011 | By | One Comment

Great Lakes THAT Camp bootcamps took place this Friday at the Michigan State University campus. During the day, I attended two bootcamps: Hacking WordPress and Copyright/Open Access Bootcamp. In this post, I’m going to discuss some of the skills and overall knowledge that I gleaned from my first ever day of THATCamp bootcamps.

Hacking WordPress Bootcamp


Wordpress Logo


Major Lesson: CSS, XAMPP, PhP and all those other acronyms aren’t as scary as they seem.

The requirement for this bootcamp was that we came in with XAMPP, a program that allows your personal computer to act as a server, and WordPress.org, a platform for blogging. Honestly, as I was downloading these onto my computer last night I had already decided that I would consider myself a success if I was able to just get the XAMPP to work at Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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April 19, 2011

A (very) brief metadata tutorial

April 19, 2011 | By | No Comments

Sixteen Tons is finally starting to see some life. Unfortunately, most of this is in the form of massive chaos as I continue upload item after item into my digital repository. I’ve decided that, before I can even begin to think about the organization of the website, I need to place my items into my Omeka site and then begin the process of sorting and organizing. Ideally, I’d like to complete this first step by May so that I can then work on the organization of my website during the summer.

When I add a new item to my Omeka site, the first thing I do is begin to fill out the metadata boxes. Omeka uses Dublin Core (DC) standard – it’s complete enough to accurately describe various materials but simple enough for people to use who do not possess an LIS degree. Some of the Read More

Katy Meyers

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March 14, 2011

Linked Data: Uniting Scotland’s Past

March 14, 2011 | By | One Comment

One of the best parts of asking for research help at the library is the way that the librarians can link data. If I’m researching haggis, they can not only lead me to recipes and history of haggis, but will also know that overall Scottish history is pertinent and may suggest some sources I never would have thought of checking- like a biography of a Scottish chef. I am able to get access to sources that I wouldn’t have been able to find through a simple online search. Linked data, however, is changing this.

Linked data consists of any information which has been connected and integrated with other information within the semantic web. The semantic web is a way of building relationships between items that are often easily connected in the human mind but not in computers. By defining rules for connecting information, the semantic web allows for once disparate information to Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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March 10, 2011

The Digital Archive and Copyright Headaches

March 10, 2011 | By | 3 Comments

Undoubtedly, by now, there has been a lot written about the issue of copyrights and digitized archival material. Yet, I’m pretty sure no one has a definite answer for me yet. I came to Arizona to do some research this week and was determined to find an answer to this problem. In my “Sixteen Tons” project, I wanted to use pictures that I have taken in the archives of, not just archival photographs, but also actual documents. Allowing students to view high res photos of the actual documents gives them the opportunity to struggle with interpreting the faded, spotty, and outdated handwriting just as a historian would and can be much more interesting to view than just transcribed material on a word document.

But even posting photographs of these documents provides many of the same problems that using archival photographs does – problems that go beyond just crediting Read More

Katy Meyers

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March 5, 2011

Announcing the GradHacker Bootcamp

March 5, 2011 | By | No Comments

We grad students at the CHI Initiative have been talking about what a great experience it is to be able to play with technologies in ways that many of us would never have attempted otherwise. We thought it would be great to be able to share in this experience with other graduate students who are interested in technology but have not yet had the chance to explore what’s out there. So, we decided to coordinate a CHI digital bootcamp for graduate students.

When: March 26th 8:30 to 3

Where: MATRIX 4th Floor Conference Room

Who: Any graduate or professional students

Why: To learn about technology in a collaborative and open environment with other graduate and professional students

This bootcamp will include roundtable discussions and demos on new Online Social Media like Twitter and LinkedIn, Reference and Collaboration Platforms like Zotero, and Personal Websites using WordPress or Drupal. We will also have an open play time where Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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February 16, 2011

Teaching Digital Humanities to the Progressive Era Historian

February 16, 2011 | By | One Comment

Last week I made my first attempt at installing Omeka onto a server – my first step towards creating my Sixteen Tons project. Let’s just say I’m still in the process of completing this first step, but I am happy to have been given the opportunity to try a task that I would have never even attempted before becoming a CHI fellow. At times, I feel like the digital underdog, frantically Googling things like, “what does RT mean on Twitter?” (it means Re-Tweet!). But I am most likely not an exception to the wide array of professional historians out there.

Historians now recognize and value the importance of digital archive collections. While computers cannot replace cultural submersion experiences that many history graduate students are expected to participate in for their specializing region/s, I personally have benefited from the vast amount of primary documents that are a growing part Read More

Katy Meyers

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January 28, 2011

Open Access Archaeology: Two Different Approaches

January 28, 2011 | By | 4 Comments

Archaeological site information is a precious commodity; once material is fully excavated it is the only knowledge we have of the site. After spending, years (or even decades) excavating a site the information can become packed away in a few notebooks or boxes, lost in the realm of gray material, and not uncovered until needed by another regional specialist or graduate student. Some information becomes a heavily guarded secret to prevent loss of material, either due to looting of the site or forced return due to NAGPRA. A third option now exists: make the information visible on the internet. This is the option that I am advocating for: open access archaeology.

One of the problems for archaeologists is that what we do, the process by which we build hypotheses, create inferences, and the methods for analyzing the materials we use are not understood by the general public. The media has portrayed archaeologists Read More