All posts by jcircell

Crowd Sourcing Lab

The major benefit of crowd sourcing in the projects we used was that it utilizes external, usually uncompensated, labor in order to expand the information presented on the site. The use of human labor provides a service that cannot normally be done through computational methods. This creates a community which is contributing to something that they find worth while. Best scenario for a crowd sourcing project would be something similar to Wikipedia, where the community driving the informational database flourishes and creates generally reliable pages of information. At the same time the creators of the project are benefiting through a free source of labor and a means of easier sustainability. Therefore, from a business standpoint it is an idea with a lot of potential, but this comes with a few assumptions.

These assumptions can be viewed as the drawbacks of creating a crowd sourcing site. The main assumption being made in the creation of one of these projects is that people will stay interested in contributing to the community driven informational input. With websites such as MapGive and apps such as MapSwipe do not provide a tangible output to your input, making it seem not worth while for many users. Another issue that may be seen in these sources is the human error that must be accounted for in these mapping sites. It is accounted for through motoring the results of the submissions on MapGive, so this is not a completely community driven project. In the end a crowd sourcing website has a lot of upside, but it must be managed correctly in order to maintain a productive community.


-Seamus Glavin, Jacob Circelli



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, 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

Lab #3: Individual Evaluation

In this lab, we looked at how GIS has been integrated into DHi projects. The use of maps in DHi projects has made it possible to create spatial arguments much more easily than ever before. In the second part of this lab we looked at “Mapping Jewish LA” and “Twitter in Real-time”. Both projects used existing information and added a spatial layer to the information in to change the point of view of the same argument.

In “Mapping Jewish LA” one can see the growth of the Jewish community in LA over time. Also, rather than just seeing an increase in numbers, one can see the distribution of the growing population. This is something that could not be observed as easily without the usage of GPS and mapping.

Looking at the next project, “Twitter in Real-time”, one can see a more “modern” usage of GIS to convey information. In this project one can see the distribution of tweets about a certain topic by searching for a keyword in tweets within a 2-kilometer radius on a map.

As seen in both projects a special argument is introduced to a set of data, allowing users to observe that data in a different way and come up with new questions and connections. These questions involve how spatial relativity can effect outcomes and trends in the past and present.



Jacob Circelli

Writing Assignment 2: 3D Modeling

A Digital Humanities project that integrates 3D modeling into a pastime many Americans enjoy can be seen every Sunday. The NFL integration of the yellow first down line on Sept. 27, 1998 changed the way American Football has been viewed. This project was created with the goal of enhancing the enjoyment of watching Americas favorite sport. This system for transposing the yellow line onto the football field was developed by Sportsvision and ESPN. This project may not be found online, but it can be considered a DHi project, as it displayed how new technological tools can be used to display information in a different way. This project is interesting because many of us students at Hamilton that enjoy watching football on Sundays were too young to remember seeing a game without that yellow line marking a first down. Through the usage of video editing techniques Sportsvision and ESPN used new computational techniques to create a keystone addition to the game as we view it today. 3D modeling is part of this project because one of the main problems that were faced during the creation of this seemingly simple line was transposing it on the field in an authentic way. To preserve the authenticity of the line being on the field the league had to make it appear that the players were running over the line. The creators of the first down line then had to create a 3D model of the NFL field for every viewing angle of the field. They then had to collect the color that should be drawn over at each point on the field at different times of day to make sure that the ground is the only thing being drawn over, and not a similarly colored jersey of a player. As time has progressed, there has been more information and insightful markers added to the viewing interface for the fans. Although this form of digital humanities is not found online this project does apply to the field of study because of the idea behind the entire project. Sportsvision created a tool which shifted the way an entire nation views a form of entertainment and it provides more information to the viewer of the program in a completely innovative manner. The way that this program has cemented itself into the “norm” of the viewing experience can be seen in the backlash against FOX sports for removing the first down line in hopes of saving a few bucks. So, in a way this project has implanted itself into society in a way that databases have become part of our lives. Both provide a new way to view information and both provide a new-found ease of use provided by an advancement in technological tools.




Jacob Circelli

Digital Humanities Evaluation: Digital Harlem


We chose to evaluate Digital Harlem, an interactive website which transposes Harlem from nearly a century ago where current day Harlem is. In addition to this there is a timeline feature which further allows for users to sense a change over time of Harlem from 1920-1930. All the visualization and interactive tools used to enhance the usefulness of this website can be evaluated using the steps provided by Todd Presner in his article, “How to Evaluate Digital Scholarship”.

  1. Fundamentals for Initial Review: When first visiting the website, you are greeted with an interactive map of New York City which appears to be a modern map sourced from Google Maps. Within this map, Harlem has a historic map of the area transposed on the modern map showing how the area looked a century ago in a more detailed form while surrounded by modern NYC. When looking at the menu bar at the top of the webpage one can go to the map, post on a blog about Harlem, and view the sources used to create the website.
  1. Crediting: As mentioned above there is an option on the top menu bar that is called “SOURCES” which will open a drop down box which lists where documents used for the website were taken from.
  1. Intellectual Rigor: This website can undoubtedly contribute to helping visualize the layout of Harlem from 1920 through 1930. This will aid in understanding the changes that may have occurred during this time period. It uses interactive elements in order to find an interesting point on the map of Harlem to look into and it allows for users to look for documents related to that point of interest and even spark conversations about said topic in the blog section.
  1. Crossing Research, Teaching, and Service: Many scholars are faced with questions which involve change over time and this website allows for users to look at this question over a one decade span. In addition to this it appears that one of the points of this website is to nurture thinking minds and allow them to come up with their own questions based on studying the map of Harlem, finding an intriguing point, and look into that idea. The site therefore provides a great system for research because one can start at the map, spot a change or point that they would like to study, and look through the collection of documentation regarding Harlem through other databases. Also as stated above, the website itself can be considered a problem due to the fact that it nurtures the creation of more and more questions due to its nature of dropping the user into an interactive map of Harlem, providing them with a legend to understand the annotations, and not providing them with any road map of how to look at the map. This leads to different interpretations, different research points, and different conversation seen in the blog portion of the website.
  1. Peer Review: “The February 2016 issue of the American Historical Review includes an extended review of Digital Harlem” (cited from: The website was reviewed in a credible journal by Joshua Sternfeild, and then later responded to by the individual writing in the article seen in the link, Dr. Stephen Robertson. This shows that this Digital Humanities source has been looked into by credible sources and has been proven to be a fairly well working Digital Humanities mapping project.
  1. Impact: This project has the ability to reach and impact regular everyday people that are interested in the subject which the primary function of the blog section of the website. In addition to this select group of people there are also the scholars that may use this website. These scholars may include historians, sociologists, architects, and many other different professionals. This large array of scholars that could potentially make use of this website opens up the potential for the blog section of the website to also be used for interdisciplinary collaboration.
  1. Approximating Equivalencies: This project cannot be compared to any book or written source of information that can be created. The interactive implications of this website along with the ability to keep switching to different forms of knowledge would be far less efficient in any type of book, if even possible. In addition to this, being able to find all of the documents on a topic as specific as Harlem from 1920-1930 would be extremely labor intensive and would take hours upon hours of searching through an archive. Therefore finding specific changes in Harlem during this decade would be much more difficult than simply looking at the timeline given on the website.
  1. Development Cycles, Sustainability, and Ethics:It appears that this website is very new and is in the early stages of its life. In the future there may be a wider range of dates covered and more events on the timeline integrated into the map. The website will therefore be getting updates in the future hopefully. This webpage also appears to be a source of knowledge which will not die and the updates which will most likely be coming will just extend the lifespan of this project. In addition to being used as a means of expanding knowledge and contributing to research, this website will have a long life purely because it will be used as a means of preserving the history of an extremely historic area, especially in African American culture.
  1. Experimentation and Risk-Taking: This is a very unique and specific project so the risk of creating a project like this could be that it would be underappreciated and underused. This is not what you would want to happen to a project one embarks on and pours thousands of man hours of work and resources into.

Jacob Circelli and Ian Nish