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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

Micalee Sullivan

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November 15, 2010

“Sixteen Tons”: A U.S. and South African Mineworkers’ Archive

November 15, 2010 | By | 7 Comments

It was not evident to me how little the world tends to remember about the story of the working class and labor history until I visited the De Beers Mining Museum in Kimberley, South Africa. The story of the mineworkers, their families, and their communities is hidden behind the celebrated legacy of a successful company and its founder Cecil Rhodes, whose “ambition, enterprise, and vision” helped to tame the “madness and mayhem” of the frontier. The mining museum does little to inform visitors of the dangerous and often deadly conditions that thousands of men partook in on a daily basis, and there is no tribute from De Beers honoring the countless workers lost while in the mines.

My CHI project, “Sixteen Tons”: A U.S. and South African Mineworkers’ Archive will tell the story of these workers, their families, and their communities by creating a public archive and online exhibit that documents Read More