All posts by acadet

Lab #3

Part 1: What are the two spatial arguments being made? What features, display techniques, or visualizations advance these spatial arguments? What might you have done differently to strengthen the argument(s)?

Our two selections: Project Gemini and the Battle of Chancellorsville

  1. Project Gemini over Baja California Sur shows the differences between images taken from the Gemini 5 and Gemini 11 project missions. These images from the Gemini missions are also compared to images taken from current satellites. The two Gemini images are laid over a current satellite image of the Baja California area, with lines and boxes indicating the matching points between the three pictures. This project argues that the Gemini missions and current satellites used/use different imaging techniques and that each technique provided/provides a unique view of the terrain. The second spatial project shows the evolution of the Battle of Chancellorsville, a major battle in the American Civil War. This project argues that the terrain of Chancellorsville affected the battle and that the movements of Union and Confederate troops were calculated and organized.
  2. The side-by-side representation of the six-foot man, Manhattan, and Isla San Josa, clarified the spatial scale of the project. The scale incremented in miles and inches gave the user the units of measure. Lastly, the boxes around the islands gave the user the ability to link to the name and a further description. The lines connecting the satellite image and the map were taken by Gemini links their relationship in location and change over time. The Battle of Chancellorsville uses color-coded and labeled arrows to show the movement of each set of troops. Though placing the primary sourced map on the digital map provided issues in scaling, it did provide great context to where the battle occurred. The detailed cross-timeline shows the events over time.
  3. Project Gemini: In order to strengthen the argument I may have altered the presentation of the map and the comparison with the terrestrial images. I think in an attempt to convey the argument of Gemini over Baja I would have provided the images from the same angle. The two images presented are from different perspectives making it difficult to evaluate the differences between them. In order to portray a clearer picture for the user I would have added pictures of more than one location in my project, as a way to further enforce the argument regarding spatial relations. I also would have provided more images from different locations as a to provide more evidence, considering an uneducated user, with no background, does not know the normal specifications of spatial images. In order to enhance the user experience a scale may be better shown as a distance between islands or from the camera lens to the ground, making the relationship between foreground and background more evident. The Battle of Chancellorsville: In order to reinforce and strengthen the argument that geography affected the battle, I would rearrange the presentation. The current display of an outdated, unclear map with written arrows does not provide a clear image for the user as it is not to scale with the more updated map in the background. In order to display a better image for the user I would outline the battle on a modern satellite image of the territory, which would allow users to better gauge the area’s topography and landscape.

Part 2
What are the two spatial arguments being made?

The Twitter in Realtime project uses several tools such as keyword searching, timelines, and geospatial mapping to make arguments related to the effects of location on the social media platform Twitter. The project argues that both time and place affect people’s tweets; also, that some locations may harbor differing opinions on ‘tweetable’ topics, while other locations may tend to possess similar opinions on those same topics. The City Witness project uses virtual maps, representations of structures, stories, and games to explore the medieval city Swansea. This project argues that although Swansea is almost impossible to see nowadays, the city was an important centre in the Middle Ages.

What features, display techniques, or visualizations advance these spatial arguments? (be specific)

The search bar, grab tool, and resize tool of Twitter in Realtime allows for the advanced interactivity. The twitter timeline shows the from feed various locations. However, these tools do not clarify the argument they just expand the user’s capabilities to explore. The tweets are accompanied by the time. The project only shows singular tweets, no conversations, likes, nor retweets. The lack of context in the project makes it hard to decipher the spatial arguments. The City Witness project is much different and much more extensive. In Tours, the ordered and number points guide the user through each story of Medieval Swansea. When the user clicks the points further description is provided. The project provides a key that gives a better picture of Swansea’s layout. Lastly, the Change opacity dial shifts the user throughout time. However, the dial is not accompanied with dates, so it is difficult to understand what time frame the user is in between the beginning and current times

What might you have done differently to strengthen the argument(s)?

Twitter in Realtime: This project does not possess a clear cut argument, as the project is merely a tool for users to find evidence for their own evidence. In order to make the project more argumentative I would use the homepage as a means for pointing users in a certain direction. I would present users with certain topics and locations to explore in order to gauge relationships between things like politics and demographics. I would also provide users with a way to change the search radius to their preferences in order to customize the tool’s capabilities. I would also provide users with a way to filter the tweets, either by most favorites or relevancy.

City Witness: This project is a more thorough and in-depth presentation compared to the twitter project. The argument is clear and that is to present users with information regarding medieval Swansea, as much of that information has been lost throughout the years. The project does a good job with high-quality animations and interactive maps, but these resources may lack direction for the user on their own. I would create more of an emphasis on either comparing medieval Swansea to the modern version or to other medieval towns, and I would have these resources side by side, so they could be easily compared by the user. The tours are a good means of providing users with a sense of direction, but they are not straightforward. The project should present the user with a certain order to click on each location, so it would be easier to connect the dots and relate the information. However, the tours do present users with a contrasting viewpoint of the modern Swansea layout, which helps support the argument.

Part 3: Hypercities (see, vs. Neatline: What are the major differences between these two platforms/tools? Compare and contrast these two platforms/tools? What makes these “better” platforms/tools for making spatial arguments?

When comparing the tools between Hypercities and Neatline, the tools used by Hypercities allows for interactivity. Meanwhile, Neatline has one way to interact with the site. Additionally, Neatline uses built-in maps and Hypercities uses third-party services like google maps. The spatial representations and visuals make these two platforms “better.” Both use maps to convey a sense of time and location, as well as diagrams and vector-like shapes to show movement and/or change over time. The two tools also allow for users to be more interactive with games and activities related to the topic at-hand.

Summary Statement

After analyzing and reviewing various spatial humanities projects, there were compelling findings. The spatial projects all provided an argument and answered questions that help visualize spatial relationships. Each project were displayed on maps that showed changed over time,  relationships of objects and ideas, movement of people and property. The Cities Witness has a dial feature that shows the change over time and the Swansea-ians’ relationship to certain objects and buildings in how the city of Swansea has changed and how the city preserved its historical culture. Additionally, The Battle of Chancellorsville traces the movement of Union and Confederate troops during the civil war. These spatial projects show relationships that track how people interact and interacted with their spatial environment. (Alex)

Reviewing and comparing the spatial DH projects made me realize that successful DH spatial projects should be accessible and interactive with users, as well as useful in their display of information. A project’s creators should also consider the ability of the used-platform to maintain and preserve itself over time. As we learned by looking through the Hypercities projects, some technologies, such as certain plug-ins for viewing virtual maps, become obsolete. Once computers are unable to access a project’s website, that project is no longer relevant and is essentially dead. Although almost all forms of preservation become old and unusable at some point, the Hypercities projects are relatively recent and should be utilizing some other way of displaying their digital worlds. The Neatline projects, on the other hand, are extremely easy to access and explore and are constantly being updated with new and improved ways to display their information. The constant updates make Neatline a sustainable platform, unlike Hypercities. (Ian)

After comparing and contrasting the spatial humanities projects, in both neatline and hypercities, there are clear characteristics that can be used to classify a project as effective and efficient. The one aspect that is essential to a project is a clearly stated and thought out argument to be presented and supported by underlying evidence within the project. Both Project Gemini and the Battle of Chancellorsville can be used as examples of a clearly stated argument. Although these projects are not as dense as the hypercities projects they are effective in stating their argument to the user. However, the hypercities projects excel in the other category of being interactive. The users can manipulate these sites and utilize the various forms of information. The neatline projects state their points, but cannot be manipulated by the user. Both outlets have components of effective Digital Humanities project, but it may be difficult for an author to incorporate all of these components into one. (Zach)


Alex Cadet, Ian Nish, Zach Kleinbaum

Lab Session: Cultural Analytics & Visualizations

  1. What kinds of patterns are being examined and how are they being measured in the projects found at the Stanford Literary Lab?  Examine the content from 1 or 2 of those sites at the Stanford Literary Lab — then answer the two questions: a. what kind of patterns are being examined/analyzed? b. how are those patterns being measured?

The Stanford Literary Lab analyzes networks from historical literature. They use computer models to trace the interactions between genres and patterns of growth.

Suspense: Language, Narrative, Affect: This project correlates the experience of suspense as it is felt by the reader and the features that may lead to producing suspense. They track these links through comparative analysis of “suspenseful” texts from 1750 to the present day.

Representations of Race and Ethnicity in American Fiction, 1789-1964: This project reconstructs racial discourse in American literature. They track the terms and imagery and compare this discourse with specific representations by using various analysis and visualization tools.

  1. Review the visualizations listed below.  What makes these visualizations successful?  Examine the content from 1 or 2 of the sites listed below.  How would you determine their success?  Are they successful?  How are you determining success?  What features (eg. use of color, graphic technique, etc.) make these successful visualizations?

To determine the success of a project it is important to measure the success of the visual component of color scheme and graphics. Additionally, I assess the content and description to further understand the context of the project. Lastly, I evaluate the effectiveness of the correlation between the visual and context.

Make Grey Your Best Friend is effective and successful. I enjoyed, in particular, the Energy Flowchart. The representation projected a clear goal. The goal is to display how different energy sources will be used differently over time. The use of gray highlights the impact of coal. The Bloomberg Billionaires project is also intriguing because it exposes the billionaires in which the public does not know what they look like. Overall, the use of gray is effective throughout all the projects.

This visualization is appealing. From the color schemes to the images, it caught my eye. However, after a closer look, the various maps and charts are difficult to completely understand and are ambiguous in terms of labeling and purpose. The project assumes the audience is very familiar with Chicago. Overall, there is a lack of context which makes the visualization unsuccessful in conveying its purpose.

  1. Go to Dirt (Digital Research Tools) and choose one (1) tool listed under “Analyze Data” and one tool listed under “Visualize Data.” How might these tools be useful in analyzing large amounts of data? The tools will only be useful if they align well with the kinds of “big data” being examined.

Recogito 2 makes organizing texts and images easy and intuitive. It can pair annotation to the user’s data. It allows for collaboration. Overall, it organizes and cleans large amounts of data.

Gephi is a graphing and mapping software tool. Gephi works with text and is useful for text and network analysis. This tool uncovers patterns and networks within large samples of text.


-Alex Cadet

Writing Assignment 2_ Alex Cadet

Mapping LA Neighborhoods

Mapping LA Neighborhoods is insightful and extensive. The map records the demographics of each LA neighborhood. The user is able to manipulate the view of each neighborhood from the granule level to the more general areas of LA. The user can search by neighborhood, age, race, crime, education, income, marital status levels, military service, and more. The map familiarizes the user to the many neighborhoods and diversity of LA. In doing so, it exposes LA’s housing segregation and wealth disparity. Additionally, I was able to notice strong correlations between housing locations to race, income, and educational status.

The readability and accessibility are open to many people no matter the device or educational level. Since this map is accessible on mobile and on the very popular LA Times, the map is available to millions of people. Its content is at a low reading level and supplemented by charts that help explain the demographic statistics.

While evaluating the website, I came across zero glitches and it operated smoothly. It was intuitive and fast. By the end of my first search, I was able to understand how to manipulate the map. Additionally, the map was categorized in terms that were easy to understand.

I thoroughly enjoyed this site because I lived in LA for a summer and I was able to further understand where I was living and who I was living with. The map encouraged me to explore more neighborhoods in LA and I found a “hidden gem” that defies the statistics. Unfortunately, according to the map, a majority of predominantly black LA neighborhoods are riddled with crime, poverty, and have low education levels. However, View Park-Windsor Hills is 86.5% black with a median income of $81,214, high educational statistics, high marriage rates, and high rates of home ownership. These rates exceed the statistics of the beach community of Santa Monica. In addition, the comments about View Park-Windsor Hills are all positive.

Nevertheless, Mapping LA Neighborhoods did focus heavily on education and crime rates, which could further perpetuate stereotypes and housing segregation. With this emphasis, it was clear to see the disparity in black and brown communities to white communities. However, one can also interpret these statistics as a call-to-action to help fight wealth and educational inequality. By comparing Bel-Air’s $207,938 median income to Downtown’s of $15,003, one can understand the significance of these statistics. Overall, this map is thought-provoking, intuitive, and informative.


-Alex Cadet

Evaluating The Walt Whitman Archives (WWA) & Harlem Project

By using the evaluating methods detailed by Todd Presner in How to Evaluate Digital Scholarship we evaluated The Walt Whitman Archives (WWA) & Harlem Project.

The Walt Whitman Archives (WWA)

Fundamentals for Initial Review:

  • The project is an interface that is digital. It has many transcriptions of Walt Whitman’s work. Specifically in the manuscript section, the physical edits that Walt Whitman made are seen through text. For example, in one line of a poem, the text is crossed out and the replacement word is placed above the text. There are also scanned photographs of the manuscripts so the viewer can see for themselves the edits that Walt Whitman made. HP


  • At the bottom of the front page a note reads, “The WWA, edited by Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price…” This clearly states who it is that created the project. Also, when selecting a document, such as the Scribal Documents, the author’s site the contributors that made the digital file available. Lastly, it is evident under the staff page of the archive that many people have contributed to the archive. This is well documented as names are displayed along with the part of the database that they worked on (ie. web design, transcription and proofreading, etc). HP

Intellectual Rigor:

  • After visiting each menu tab and clicking on various links, it is evident that this archive is extensive. A visitor is able to learn in detail about his life and work. Furthermore, the archive traces the impact he and his work made globally.

Crossing Research, Teaching and Service:

  • In the Editorial Policy Statement and Procedures, the authors write that “The WWA is guided by pragmatic principles in its attempt to achieve two goals: 1) to edit the vast textual corpus Whitman produced, and 2) to provide access to a wide range of related materials that shed light on his writings, including photos, reviews, translations, criticism of his writings and accounts of his life, finding guides to his manuscripts, and a bibliography of criticism.” This demonstrates the goals of the archive and how it is to provide access to the work of one of America’s greatest writers. Additionally, there is a page on the website called ‘Resources’ with a link called ‘Teaching’. Within this link there is another link to a syllabus for people that want to administer a class on Walt Whitman. HP

Peer Review:

  • The archive includes a section that displays links to various articles written about the archive. The publishers and authors of these articles are from credible and related sources. The articles range from critiques to references.


  • The impact of this archive is felt by many scholars and fans of Walt Whitman. As mentioned earlier, there is a section for those that want to teach based on this archive. Additionally, Walt Whitman is an influential American literary figure. Through this online archive, viewers are able to see first hand the handwriting of one of America’s greatest writers. HP

Approximating Equivalencies:

  • The material is definitely equivalent to a published book or something alike. This is because poems, books, and manuscripts are all transcribed onto the website. Essentially, almost all of his life’s work is on the website. That being said, I am sure there are more letters or manuscripts that could be uploaded. For example, there are many news snippets that claim “X has been added to the collection thanks to Y for funding”. HP

Development Cycles, Sustainability and Ethics:

  • The Walt Whitman Archive is not yet complete. The archive encompasses his life’s work. The archive also have versions of the archive dating back from 1995. Currently the site is built from scratch via html. Therefore, the site is susceptible to broken links in the future.

Experimentation and Risk-Taking:

  • This project is extremely experimental. It is a fairly simple idea that does not seem to be one that can be too risky. For example, the work of Whitman is finite, it is not infinite. Therefore, the authors of this project need to locate the materials and then find the best way to upload the documents to this medium. Lastly, the creators have made long-term goals, which means that they have yet to achieve a complete archive. The long-term goal is to encode and provide digital images of all the documents that Whitman worked on, including manuscripts, letters, notebooks, daybooks, and published works. HP

Harlem Project

Fundamentals for Initial Review:

  • This is an online medium and it is presented online. The only way to use this is via a desktop or laptop computer. HP


  • The Digital Harlem Blog provides many credits. For example, “In In February 2017, the website was updated to a customised view of our research database which uses the Heurist knowledge management system (, developed by Ian Johnson and Artem Osmakov (University of Sydney Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences). The original website was built by Damien Evans, Ian Johnson, and Andrew Wilson of the Arts eResearch unit at the University of Sydney.” It is evident that the credit is clearly stated. HP

Intellectual Rigor:

  • The Harlem Project provides constructive insight. Content supplemented by the maps gives the user a bird’s eye view of life in Harlem between the 20s and 30s. The project also displays many different aspects to life like sports, nightlife, daily activities, and arrests. Overall, the project provides an extensive picture of Harlem life and provides nuanced detail of important and unappreciated events, people, and life.

Crossing Research, Teaching and Service:

  • The developers of Digital Harlem view the site as designed “research tools: they make it possible to search and map our research.” However, they do have a blog and publications that offer as additional content.

Peer Review:

  • The Project includes a section under “Publications” that displays various sources and articles written about the project. The publishers and authors of these articles are from credible and related sources. The articles range from critiques to references.


  • The project is very interactive because one can investigate what he or she wants to investigate in regards to the everyday life of Harlem. The database demonstrates the everyday life and the crime that occupied the streets of Harlem in the time period that the database represents. For example, one can search arrests of prostitution in order to learn about the location that prostitutes were found. Seeing that there were so many cases of prostitution, one can conclude that prostitution was a major source of income for women in Harlem. Furthermore, there was only one abortion and a woman was arrested for having the abortion. This demonstrates that abortion was not common in Harlem during this time period. Using these records to map out everyday life of Harlem has a tremendous impact on helping those that view the page to understand what occurred in Harlem. HP

Approximating Equivalencies:

  • The site is interactive and the cross between the text and map makes it difficult to equate this content.

Development Cycles, Sustainability and Ethics:

  • The Digital Harlem site does not mention the iterations the developers underwent. However, it is update by the University of Sydney. The developers claim the content on the site does not offer an interpretation. However, the way the data is categorized and the content provides an interpretation. Even picking arrest records or sports is a choice to value what is important versus what is not.

Experimentation and Risk-Taking:

  • This represents a large experiment because the authors of this project are mapping out the everyday life of Harlem based on many court records and legal documents. The authors chose a map instead of an archive of all the court records and legal documents because of copyright and licensing restrictions. To get around that, the authors included brief notes and quotations from the records, and in some cases fill citations that allow readers to find the original records. The risk is that what they want to convey, everyday life in Harlem is not being conveyed because most of the information is concerning crimes and arrests. Therefore, the risk is that readers will take away all of the crime and mishaps that happened in Harlem throughout this time period. HP
  1. What is the difference between a “website” and a digital humanities project?

Digital Humanities sites have a primary focus of a scholarship. For example, these projects look to solve a problem and or answer a question. Digital Humanities also tends to incorporate archives and primary sources as a means to answer a research question. The website, is a medium for answering the question. It acts in a way to organize the information and to facilitate accessibility for all that want to access the project.

  1. What is the research question in each of the sites above?

The WWA brings the work and life of Whitman to the public and measures his global impact. Also, the website makes teaching and reading Whitman incredibly accessible to the public. This is shown through the syllabus that was posted on the website so that professors or students who have a general interest in Whitman can teach or learn about the great writer.

Digital Harlem aims to comprise everyday life in Harlem between the 20-30s. The project tries to understand the daily occurrences in Harlem in the early 20th century. Through this lens, the old-Harlem can be compared to different Harlem’s, including the present Harlem in the 21st century. The project is a historical guide and answers the question, what was Harlem like in the early 20th century?


Both of these websites lack interactivity. Users are not able to make edits to the projects. In fact, the Harlem Project is very restrictive in the fact that the website is very plain. When you select a tab, a little discussion box pops up that gives information. This happens instead of going to a new page. Additionally, it is interactive in the sense that the user can decide which feature they want to see. For example, a user can decide to see where prostitution occurred on the map. In the WWA, users can select what documents they want to see, but there is no interactivity allowed. For example, users cannot help to transcribe what is on the website.



Alex Cadet and Harris Pollack

What is Digital Humanities?

Digital Humanities: The Ambiguous Exploration

Demarcating digital humanities from non-digital humanities is a gray and an ambiguous line. However, digital humanities has specific parameters and values that develop and tease out challenges that humanist scholars face. A working definition of digital humanities would be a process that bridges practices in computation and humanities. It also can be viewed as a rebirth of the humanities through computationally engaged research, teaching, and scholarship. At its core, digital humanities is interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary and seeks to build a common language between disciplines. To name a few projects that are considered within digital humanities include: cultural analytics, 3D-mapping, data mining, visualization, data design, and text analysis. Digital humanities is breathing and adapting, therefore, though I presented a definition to provide a foundation, it is aggregated from many different scholars. Digital humanities is interpreted in various ways and to conceptualize digital humanities, there needs to be further exploration and investigation.

Digital humanities derives from humanities computing. These two processes share a characteristic of seeking to share a common ground between the humanities and technology. However, humanities computing does not incorporate the vast approaches and tools that digital humanities embraces. In addition, “humanities computing has a very strong textual focus” (Svensson). Furthermore, the title “humanities computing” implies an emphasis on using technology as a tool underneath the umbrella of humanities. However, digital humanities is broader and more nuanced. Digital humanists view “information technology as a cultural object in need of exploration and epistemological critique, traditional humanities computing treats technology in a more formal and instrumental way” (Svensson). Though they are related, the values and tools used in digital humanities distinguishes it from humanities computing.

Digital humanists pride themselves on being broad and inclusive from the tools they use to the methods they follow. In accordance with Lincoln Mullen, digital humanities is a spectrum of experience that is inclusive and a source of knowledge. Additionally, Mullen characterizes digital humanities as publicly accessible. With its openness and accessibility comes the ability to bypass traditional gatekeepers (Berry). The potential to acquire knowledge by detouring around gatekeepers adds to digital humanities’ importance and complexity.

By mapping the relations between digital humanities and humanities computing and tracing the parameters of digital humanities, highlights its ambiguity. Additionally, many scholars contend different and at times conflicting definitions of digital humanities. For example, as mentioned in lecture, digital humanities studied in Europe concentrates on text analysis, while in America, it includes research on race, class, and gender. Furthermore, European digital humanists would not consider these studies as digital humanities projects (Nieves). In terms of practice, David Berry says there are three waves of digital humanities the third being a focus on the computation forms within digital technology itself. He also views each wave as a process and not a product. Michael Kramer’s argument on what digital humanities can be is “digital can, potentially, enhance the strange, mysterious, almost mystical transit point between evidence and argument.” These arguments when fused together create an intricate yet obscure landscape of digital humanities. This essay does not paint a vivid picture, it purposely traces its gray and ambiguous figure. Digital humanities is complicated, open, and accessible to explore.


Work Cited

Berry, David. “The Computational Turn: Thinking About the Digital Humanities.” Culture Machine (2011): 1-22. 2011. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.

Mullen, Author Lincoln. “Digital Humanities Is a Spectrum; Or, We’re All Digital Humanists Now.” The Backward Glance. N.p., 14 Jan. 2017. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.

Rover, Culture. “What Does Digital Humanities Bring to the Table?” Michael J. Kramer. N.p., 13 Jan. 2017. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.

Svensson, Patrik. “Humanities Computing as Digital Humanities.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: Humanities Computing as Digital Humanities. N.p., 2009. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.

Mapping the Republic of Letters

Mapping the Republic of Letters is a visualization project that maps patterns of letter-writing networks of Voltaire, Galileo, Locke, and other intellectuals from those eras. The maps give the user a better sense of the shape and structure of the communication networks of letter-writing. The projects add and visualize complexity to a lost world of letter-writing.

  1. What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?

The site uses picture files to visualize the content. The data used tracks names, geographic locations, dates, the letters themselves, the number of letters written by a person, and the recipients. There is also chart data that provides the subject of the letter (e.i. military, sciences, clergy, state officials). Additionally, there are various interactive maps and charts for each case study. The maps and charts visualize the network of the letter writing from all over the world and give the data context.

  1. What’s the project research question? Or, questions?

The scholars behind this project created a source of data and visualization that details the communication and scholarship from earlier eras. This site aims to understand what the structure of the networks looked like, how extensive they were, and how they evolved over time.

  1. What tools are being used?  Created?

To support these files and objects, there were many different tools that were used. For the various graphics, photo editing software was used to add description and content to the pictures. Scanners were used to transfer the letters from physical to virtual. They used archives like the BnF Catalogue of letters to collect data. Spreadsheets and databases were used to organize, digitize, and chart the data from the letters. Additionally, they used mapping software tools to visualize the network. Mapping the Republic of Letters used a plethora of visualization tools, they used: Palladio, Idiographic, Knot, Inquiry, Fineo, Corrispondenza, and RPLVIZ.

  1. What methods are being undertaken?

The methods used were data analysis and digitization via scanning and databases. In addition, the method of visualization brought the data to life.

Alex Cadet and Alex Straus