All posts by nfu

DH Midterm Persues Digital Library

 

0 – Not meeting any expectation 1 – Below Expectation 2 – Meet basic expectation 3 – Above expectation 4 – Excellent
Content displayed -Difficult to understand what the research question is

-Obvious and relevant information missing

-Research question is not clear

-Information is lacking in content

-Research question is present but lacks clarity

-Content is understandable but lacks clarity or has obvious flaws

-Research question is outlined clearly but not the first thing the user sees

-Content is appropriate but lacking certain material

-Research question clearly defined and present

-Content is relevant and complete

Presentation -No visualizations -Visuals are not of good quality

-Some scattered and unorganized visuals are present

-Decent framework of images and/or text, but lacks balance between visual and text -Adequate visuals are present -Visually captivating

-Simplistic and engaging, good balance of text and visuals

Visualization -Presentation lacked any interactive elements -Presentation is scattered and disorganized

-The interactive elements are not presented clearly

-Presentation is okay but could be better

-The interactive elements are present but not easy to navigate

-Presentation is acceptable with minimal mistakes

-The interactive elements are present but contain minimal problems

-The project possesses impressive interactive elements

-Writing clear with no mistakes

Accessibility -Hyperlinks are not present or nonfunctional

-Project is not navigable

-Hyperlinks are present but not easy to find and some are nonfunctional

-Project difficult to navigate

-Hyperlinks are present but not great quality

-Project is easy to navigate but complex

-Hyperlinks function

-Project is easy to navigate and simple

-Hyperlinks function well and are relevant

-Project is navigable and intuitive

Sustainability and Possibility of Growth -Does not have continuous funding

-Website is completely not working

– Have some funding

– Part of the website is not functioning

-Have small amount of funding

-Website is working but lack of up to date maintenance

-Have some continuous funding

-Website is working under maintenance but does not have a lot of traffic

-Have sufficient amount of continuous funding

-Website is constantly updated and maintained with high traffic

Academic Importance -Does not contribute to any academic field

-Never used by scholars or public

-Have a little contribution to a specific field of study

-Seldomly used by scholars and public

-Have some contribution to a certain field

-Sometimes used by scholars and public for a specific area of study

-Have some contribution to a variety of academic fields

-Often used by some scholars and public

-Have a huge contribution and importance to various field of study

-Always used by scholar and public studying different fields

Credibility -No citations at all in the project

-Obvious factual mistake

-Not all citations are present or are in improper form

-Some easily noticeable content flaws

-Citations are present but in a improper form

-A few content flaws and factual mistakes are minimal

-Citations are generally correct

-Content flaws are minimal

-Citations are well-presented

-No content flaws or factual mistakes

 

OVERALL SCORE: 23.5/28

 

Evaluation:

 

Content Displayed: 3/4

The Perseus Digital Library homepage has information regarding its most recent blog posts, release announcements, and popular texts. There is also a toolbar at the top of the page with different options the user can select. The tabs include, ‘Collections/Texts’, ‘Perseus Catalog’, ‘Research’, ‘Grants’, ‘Open Source’, ‘About’ and ‘Help’. The user has to select the ‘About’ tab in order to access a page that explains the research questions and purpose of the website. The content is not so much lacking certain material, because the material is available, but it is not immediately present to the user. Within the ‘About’ page, the user finds that the Perseus Digital Library exists to explore possibilities and challenges of digital collections. The research question is “what happens when libraries move online? We gave The Perseus Digital Library a 3 out of 4 because the research question was not immediately in front of the user as the project was accessed.

 

Presentation: 2.5/4

The Perseus Digital Library project is one based on textual objects. There are not many visual graphics that need to be displayed. The project is text-heavy and daunting when a user opens the website. There is not much balance between the visuals and text. However, the framework for the text is very simple and manageable for all users, there is just quite a bit of it. That being said, we gave the project a 2.5 out of 4 because we think that it straddles a decent framework as well as adequate visual design.

 

Visualization: 4/4

As mentioned above, there is a lot of a text within the project. The text is clear, concise and does not have any writing mistakes. Additionally, when sifting through the collections and texts that the digital library contains, the tools are interactive and make the process of reading quicker and easier. For instance, imagine the user selects a certain book. There is a sidebar that allows the user to jump from Chapter 1 to Chapter 10 in one click. Furthermore, there is a tool at the top of the page that presents the book in a timeline fashion. The reader can see which chapter is the longest, allowing the user to skip from chapter to chapter with this feature in addition to the toolbar. Also, the user can automatically look for certain people, dates, or locations. One of the coolest visualizations is the map. This visualization pinpoints all of the locations discussed within the text using a google map. Due to all of these impressive interactive elements and clarity in the writing, we gave this project a 4 out of 4 for visualization.

 

Accessibility: 2/4

This is the weakest part of the Perseus Digital Library project. In regards to the hyperlinks, some links are broken. For example, under the funding tab, ‘The Dynamic Lexicon’ link is broken and does not work. Additionally, the project is easy to navigate but it is complex. It is complex due to the breadth of information that is on the website. We are not sure if there is a better way to organize the material, but in some cases, the user has to click through many links in order to finally get to where they want to be. In regards to the goal of the project, which is to increase the accessibility of Pre Modern texts, it does succeed in doing so. However, it is a complex website due to the vast information. Therefore, we gave this project a 2 out of 4 for accessibility.

 

Sustainability and Possibility of Growth: 4/4

The Perseus Digital Library is funded through various sources, which are all listed under the Grant page of the project. Different fundings from distinct sources go to a specific part of the project and are well-described in the project. Moreover, as we see the funding list, it only shows the active grants that support the research. The project first started in 1985 and it is still getting funded today. As a result, we are really optimistic that it will keep being funded in the future and the library collection will keep growing.  In the description, it lists the two major funding sources which offer 2.8 million and 2.5 million for the past two decades. These two huge amounts of continuous fundings is the main reason we give the section of sustainability a 4 out of 4. Also, in the front page of the project and in their own blog, the developers keep a good track of the updates of the materials in the project and different versions that have been launched. The constant updates and maintenance make sure that the project can last and be active for a long time.

 

Academic Importance: 4/4

The mission of The Perseus Digital Library is to make a full record of humanity, from various fields of studies. The whole collection consists of texts and documents from different time periods and different cultures. The concreteness of the collection and the amount of detailed descriptions in each catalog of the collection can be useful for a wide range of studies and research. Since the library is open to public, everyone can use it as a resource for research. Due to the large amount of data stored in the library, we believe that it is constantly used by scholars. As mentioned above, the website is being constantly updated, which is also an indicator for the amount of traffic that the project gets. Moreover, the project lists its current ongoing researches to let the public know about the work they are doing. For the above reasons, we give the project a 4 out of 4 for academic importance.

 

Credibility:4/4

Every document or text in this project is properly cited and well-presented. There is no visible mistake or flaw in either the design of the project or the content displayed. Every picture it used has been credited to the original photographer. One thing we think that makes this project a professional one is that it has a list of people who are evolved in the project and those in charge. Reading each of their introduction page and getting to know the team that is behind the project offer the user more information and will make this project more reliable. Moreover, there is a list of publications that are works of the staff and collaborators of the project. The amount of information that is being offered make us believe that the work presented to us is trustworthy.

 

~ Jill Fu & Harris Pollack

Lab 3: Spatial Humanities

Exercise One

http://hotchkiss.neatline.org/neatline-exhibits/show/battle-of-chancellorsville/fullscreen

http://neatline.dclure.org/neatline/show/gemini-over-baja-california

What are the two spatial arguments being made?

When analyzing the second link there was a definite focus on the correlation between spatial relations and the time that those events took place. This can be seen through the timelines located above and to the right of the map. Each event listed on the timeline on the right can be clicked on to reveal the location of the event. The most interesting information which can be taken away from clicking on different events can be seen when clicking on events that happened at the same time. Through this one gets a visual representation of how multiple events may have taken place at the same time. This project therefore presents information some may know about American history in a different manner.

When looking at the fourth link there is a display of 2 gemini photos taken roughly a year apart. The spatial argument being made in these pictures is less to do with time than it is about perspective. When looking at the comparison to the general map and the photos taken by Gemini 5 and 11 there is no major difference in geographic features, but the angles and distances that the photos were take present the location in a different light. The scaling and the perspective of the area are taken into account through the project showing scale references and showing the viewing angle of Gemini 11 making an initially confusing interface more digestible.

What features, display techniques, or visualizations advance these spatial arguments?

For the second link, a timeline is displayed at the top of the screen and at the sidebar, which allow users to redirect themselves to specific time periods and zoom in on the exact location that the event happened. Also, the map is well labeled with each attack of the battle and how the corps were laid out. Extra information is provided once the user click on the labeled region, with description about the events or the corps’ movements and pictures. It also redirects you to the wikipedia page to offer more information about each corp and the general who are in charge of the attack. Another thing that is cleverly done is that the web page does not list a lot of words on the interface. Descriptions only show up when the users want to know more about the events.


Comparing the second link with the fourth link, the fourth link is not time-sensitive compared to the second one. Since it is also not a project recording events that happened in different location, it is a collection of different perspectives from the two satellites. Similarly, the websites allows the users to click on each underlined word so that they can get more information on the map. However, this link involves a lot of reading when you first open the site. If the user wants to gain more information about the two satellites, they have to read the descriptions on the left, whereas, for the second link, it is optional for the user to read.

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

For the second link, the argument could be made stronger by showing the movement between each event in a more efficient and clear way. When you click on the events on the side in order of the times they occurred, the project simply jumps from one event to the next. A more clear way of presenting the shifts in time would be to actually show the movement on the map between the events.

The fourth link had a different sort of spatial argument than the second one. Since the gemini photos were taken only a year apart, the argument has little to do with time. This spatial argument could be made stronger by being more clear and understandable right off the bat. When first opening the link, the site is overwhelming and doesn’t make much sense. A user must read the side panel before they are able to digest the images shown.

 

Exercise Two

“Mapping Jewish LA”  http://www.mappingjewishla.org/

“Twitter in Realtime”  http://thebook.hypercities.com/#/mapping-twitter-in-realtime

What are the two spatial arguments being made?

Looking at “Mapping Jewish LA”, it can be seen that UCLA created a project that is meant to show the development of Jewish refugees cementing their culture in Los Angeles. There are only 9 sub projects on this website at the moment but there are some that are being created. The spatial argument therefore varies but the major argument being made across the board pertains to the development of Jewish culture in different facets of life in the city of Los Angeles.

When looking at “Mapping Twitter in Real Time” the spatial argument being made is very clear. The idea of this tool is clear cut in that it allows users to find repetition in tweets located around a specific area. When looking at potentially trending topics in a certain area it may show more results in areas that may be touched by that topic more. An example is when searching for the name of an NBA player that was traded to New Orleans, there were 6 tweets mentioning his name in the past 5 seconds. Therefore the goal of this project was to find trends in social media which could then be traced back to possible modern issues and news.

What features, display techniques, or visualizations advance these spatial arguments?

For “Mapping Twitter in Real Time”, the project is extremely interactive. It allows the user to search whatever topics they are interested in and look at twitter that has recently been posted in anywhere on the map. The feature of allowing the user to drag the pin on the map increases the flexibility of searches. On the interface, it shows the map on the left hand side and the content of twitter on the right hand side. The project also allows the user to set the searching radius. It is easy and quick to get the information you want.

For “Mapping Jewish LA”, it focuses mainly on history of the Jewish community around LA. The program is separated into 9 parts with each focusing on a specific aspects that can reflect the Jewish culture in LA. Each part offers further information if the user is interested in the topic. Since it focuses more on history, the project provides several timelines that are labeled with major events. It also uses pictures from time to time to show the change of the neighborhood.

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

 

The argument for “Mapping Jewish LA” is pretty simple; the project maps the development of Jewish refugees around LA. Under the “Current Exhibitions” tab, the 9 projects are listed. This page could be more effective if all the projects were presented in a sort of grid, instead of a list.  This way a user can more easily compare the projects and obtain a better overview of what the site has to offer. In a similar way, the “Works in Progress” tab could be laid out in a more effective way so that a user can see all of the projects at once.

Overall, the “Mapping Twitter in Real Time” is an effective project. The interface is straightforward and easy to use. However, the only thing this project seems to have trouble with are the visual representations of the tweets showing up on the map. When you mouse over this area on the map, especially when the topic is trending, the program gets “fidgety” and it is difficult to select a single tweet to view. Other than this though, the project is very effective.

Hypercities (see, http://www.hypercities.com/) 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?

Hypercities tends to show history changes in a specific geographic region. It focuses more on offering information. However, Neatline is more like an interactive study tool, where users are able to navigate themselves through topics and events that are interesting to them.

 

Jean Beecher, Jacob Circelli, Jill Fu

Writing Assignment #2: Archive development and the Internet Archive

Archive development and Internet Archive

Archive is the accumulation or collection of historical records. As we come to the new era of doing history research, digital archive becomes a popular means for scholars to preserve data in the long term and a tool that can be easily navigated by using metadata to label and organize the existing documents.  Internet Archive is a perfect example that exemplifies what a digital archive consists of and how it functions in a digital age.

Internet Archive is a private, nonprofit database that serves to collect free documents, music, videos and movies. According to Rosenzwig’s article, by February 2002, the Internet Archive has gathered 100 terabytes of web data and the number is still going up as years pass by. What makes the Internet Archive successful is that it does not only allow professional historians or archivists to collect data and gather document, but also let the public to preserve data that they think are worth preserving. As Rosenzwig states, the Internet Archive is “a grass-roots, immediate, enthusiast response to the crisis of digital preservation”. Although this project might have a low credibility than an archive built up by archivists, it still shows the publisher, contributor and the source of the information.

As a DH project, the Internet Archive has an interactive and user-friendly interface, in which the front page offers a search engine that allows the user to navigate themselves to their desired information. As a result, the project highly relies on tagging of images, documentation and videos. There is also a section that lists some of the popular tags that have the most items in them in order to navigate users who are not sure what they are looking for. I personally used this feature a lot last year for my Intro to Video class. We used this archive as a collection of videos and musics that can be considered as the raw materials as our own video project. It is really useful just to browse what each tag has under them and to figure out which one exactly I wanted to use. Even more, the website allows users to download the file. This might be convenient for those who are benefiting from this free archive, but it also raises the issue of copyright and whether the archive has the right to publish all the free sources on the internet.

References:

Rosenzweig, Roy. “Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era.” (2003), http://chnm.gmu.edu/essays-on-history-newmedia/essays/?essayid=6

The Internet Archive, https://archive.org/

DH Project Evaluation

  1. What is the difference between a “website” and a digital humanities project?  How do research questions change our understanding of a typical website and a DH project/site?

A website can be considered as a collection of data and information, while a DH project focuses on answering a specific research question. A website is also a collection of related webpages, which uses metadata to connect each one together. Digital humanists uses website as a tool or a platform to present their research results in an organized fashion that whoever goes on the website can be easily navigated.

The research question changes our understanding of a website by providing a purpose and a question to answer when we go over the information providing on the website. The DH project is presented in a way that we can find the detailed answer and justification of the research question.

  1. What is the research question in the site below?

The Women Writers Project (http://www.wwp.northeastern.edu/)

The Women Writers Project devotes to collect and digitize texts by pre-Victorian women writers. It is a long term project that serves as an archive for scholars who are researching on women’s writing and text encoding. The project explores the role of electronic texts in teaching. The project also builds collections of primary source materials.

  1. List of Criteria of Analyzing DH projects
  • Accessibility: The navigation of the project is clear. The works are sorted by genre, date, and author. The search pane and filters provide users with both basic search and a more advanced set of search options. It is easy to get access to information the user needs.
  • Interactivity: This project is lack of interactivity. It uses XML to encode text in a clear way, but that does not allow the users to have interactions with the database.
  • Manipulatability: The project is also lack of manipulatablity because users only have the access to read the texts that are being provided.
  • Credibility: The contributors of this project tend to preserve the original text, including original spelling and typographical errors of documents they digitize.The project has information about the source’s copyright on the site. Author names, location of the source, and information about publications of the original text documents can be found together with the text if known.

 

Jill Fu and Chenchen Zhao Feb 13, 2017

 

Writing Assignment #1: What is Digital Humanities?

Digital humanities is a branch of humanity research. Since the study of humanities is to find patterns and trends in human behavior throughout time, especially for a group of people, digital humanities utilizes digital tools that help scholars visualize and generalize large amount of data or graphs into a format that a trend can be easily recognized. By using these tools, scholars can save a lot of time of looking at the data and summarizing data by themselves. Sometimes, they don’t even need to look at the exact details themselves but only let the digital tools to process them and observe the summarization that can represent the data.

However, the above definition does not draw an exact line between what is and what is not digital humanities. In the reading, Mullen states that “digital humanities is a spectrum; we are all digital humanists now.” Due to the increased popularity of digitalized tool, scholars who consider them as digital humanists or not all use a form of digital tool to some extent. Then, the line is hard to draw because we cannot give a fixed criteria that measures how large the dataset the project is processing or how digital tools are used. Therefore, I’m leaning toward Mullen’s theory that we consider digital humanities as a spectrum. It may be easier to figure out where each project is on the spectrum relatively to the others than simply saying which is or which is not digital humanities.

Although digital humanities projects are diverse and the methods undertaken can vary, most of the projects focus on studying the trends of human history and changes over time. For the projects we examined in class, I think they all share some common factors. They are all brought together by collaboration among scholars who have complementary skill sets and share the same interests. Each project involves analyzing metadata throughout history and uses various tools to present a visually appealing, often 3 dimensional, demonstration of results. Each project has been made available to public with user-friendly and interactive interface. 

In conclusion, the definition of digital humanities is blurry and the range of what digital humanities cover can get bigger as technology prevails in our daily life. 

Mullen, Author Lincoln. “Digital humanities is a spectrum; or, we’re all digital humanists now.” http://lincolnmullen.com/blog/digital-humanities-is-a-spectrum-or-we8217re-all-digital-humanists-now/.

Lab Session: Cultural Analytics

  1. What kinds of patterns are being examined and how are they being measured in the projects found at the Stanford Literary Lab?

 

All of the projects examine different patterns in a specific genre or geographic region within works of prose or literature. Large amounts of literature are being processed by computers to summarize certain patterns by analyzing words, places or terms that are mentioned. They examined how older books and genres are brought into the 21st century through new forms of analysis. By using specific tools, scholars can see trends and generate data through ways that don’t require the same amount of time as reading through the books manually.

  1. Review the visualizations listed below.  What makes these visualizations successful?

http://www.visualisingdata.com/2015/01/new-visual-package-chicago-planning-agency/

http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2015/01/make-grey-best-friend/

http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/History_n2/a.html

http://neoformix.com/2013/NovelViews.html

 

How would you measure their success?  If you had to develop a list of features that make these visualizations successful, what might those include?

We would measure their success based on how interactive/user friendly the interface appears to be. The ones that we liked (1 and 2) felt extremely 3-Dimensional and interactive. There were many pictures and colors. Different colors are used to appeal to users and separate different parts of display. The third and fourth site did not do this as well as the first two due to poor designs that don’t capture the user’s attention. The amount of words in the third and fourth is too much and the visualization of data, such as graphs and maps are not as compelling as the first and second one.

 

If we had to develop a list of features, it would include:

  • 3D and interactive features
  • Pictures and different colors to label different time period or different geographic region
  • Clean and concise design
  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?

Visualeyes (Analyze Data) transforms large amounts of data into interactive and concise graphs, charts, maps, and video. It can be used to summarize a trend over history and to analyze historical events.

 

Google Correlate (Visualize Data) shows the popularity of certain terms in a certain period time and certain geographic region. It visualizes large amount of data and summarizes the trend and distribution over time. It shows where and how popular a certain phrase is.

 

Jill Fu and Georgia Miller

Feb 2, 2017