Lab #3: Group Summary

When analyzing the project regarding the Battle of Chancellorsville the creators’ goal was to show where and when historic events occurred during this battle relative to one another. This was done through using a map of the Battle of Chancellorsville battlefield along with a timeline to go along with the annotations of events. The timeline gives the location in history of these events down to the hour. The timeline is linked to points on the map that then provide more information on the event. This system presents the info in a way that better conveys relativity of events in history. Unlike this source, the Gemini over Baha source looks at spatial humanities from a different point of view.

Point of view is a term that should be taken literally in this case. The Gemini over Baha project looks at how the Gemini project took pictures of the same area but about a year apart from different angles. This project made an argument of perspective and how that changes how one can look at an image and gather different information from a seemingly identical image. These projects emanate the essence of digital humanities, as they use of new technology to look at pre-existing knowledge under a new light.

Although these projects process well executed spatial arguments, there are still some imperfections. For the Battle of Chancellorsville project, when using the timeline to find locations on the map, the program jumps to the next point the user clicks on. To further their argument, they could make it so that the user zooms out and slides to the next event they click on to make the special argument clearer. When looking at the Gemini project the argument proposed by the project is not easy to spot off the bat due to the format of the home page. Organizing the layout of their webpage would strengthen the argument and make it a more practical source for information.

In the second part of this experiment we looked at two different projects. First, we looked at the “Mapping Jewish LA”, which is a project created to display the development of the Jewish population in Los Angeles. This is also done using maps, allowing for the distribution of the Jewish population easier to visualize. This website appeared to be in development, as it did not contain massive amounts of information. Therefore, over time if it is continuously updated it could be a useful DHi project. After this we looked at “Twitter in Real-time”, which is a more modern usage of spatial humanities. This project can be used to observe trends in social media in real time in specific areas. This makes the goal of this source obvious, as it sets out to let its users to find trends in social media posts and derive their own hypotheses. The main problem with this source was the lack of customization of the search. For example, the radius of the search was locked at 2 kilometers of a set location.

All these sources we looked at can be found on http://www.hypercities.com, a hub for digital humanities projects. An overall review of the website reveals the utility of the hub, but also the flaws. The website is useful as an epicenter for some very impressive digital humanities projects, but the organization and fluidity of the experience leaves a lot to be desired. This will therefore take away from the spatial humanities websites because navigating hypercities puts an underwhelmed opinion in the brains of those using the digital humanities projects.

 

-Jean Beecher, Jill Fu, & Jacob Circelli

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