Topics in Digital Mapping: Timelines and Palladio Meeting Report

Digital map makers are often interested in animating the spatial visualization over time or linking their maps to a timeline.  This session provided participants with examples of animations and timelines using Neatline and GeoTemCo.  The workshop also covered data formats and how time and mapping can be combined in Palladio, a free, web-based visualization platform designed for the humanities. All of the information provided to participants is available in a google doc.

We opened with examples of animated map visualizations. Two of particular interest are the Islamic Urban Centers project and the Atlas of Early Printing. While creating an animated visualization was not covered, these projects give a good idea for what the integration of time into our datasets can be used to do.

Abigail Sargent, MVST student, gave a brief presentation on the French of Italy NeatLine exhibit, a project that uses Omeka’s NeatLine plug-in to visualize the locations and dates of medieval French texts of Italian origin.

We then moved into talking about Palladio, and what each of the three main presenters are using it for. David Wrisley introduced participants to the idea of point-to-point data, of seeing the relationships of pieces to things in medieval texts. David Levine demonstrated some of the limitations of Palladio by pulling up a very large data set about medieval woodland and demonstrating how Palladio’s visualizations and network mapping can be useful. Alisa Beer drew on her research into medieval English libraries and demonstrated how Palladio can map points geographically as well as how the timeline function can be used.

We then broke into small groups and trouble-shot an intentionally broken data set, and then had participants create a .csv file based on Amtrak time tables from 1971, including the trip from New York to Boston.

Once participants had created a .csv file, we uploaded to Palladio and discussed the point-to-point map we had created!

Palladio Amtrak Image

Interested in learning more about Palladio?
Check out Miriam Posner’s tutorial to Palladio. Then open this google doc for participants, where you will find an intentionally broken data set to fix and upload into Palladio!

Exciting Spring Events!

After a hiatus last semester, the Fordham Graduate Student Digital Humanities Group is back with a bang.  We’ve got a great list of events coming up, and two series going on.

FGSDH Events
Rose Hill Campus, 2pm-3pm
February 4: Debates in the Digital Humanities
February 25: Digital Pedagogy
March 25: Building and Maintaining an Online Profile
April 18: Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

Topics in Digital Mapping Events
Lincoln Center Campus, 3-5pm Workshops, 2-3pm Meet&Greet
February 11: Thinking about Time with Maps: Timelines/Palladio
March 4: Georectifying/MapWarper
April 15: Intro to CartoDB

Online Profile Management Workshop

This post is a response and reaction to the workshop I led on April 23rd, Your Online Presence: Google, Facebook, and Life Ahead It is not a summary of the workshop, but instead my takeaways from it, particularly my suggestions and questions for anyone interested in leading a similar discussion.

Many DH-savvy people perhaps take for granted the idea of managing one’s online profile — we know that we will be Googled by other scholars, by potential employers, even by potential dates.  As participants in DH projects, we often have content associated with our names that is readily available.

I think it is easy for us to forget, however, that not everyone is as interested in, or as aware of, their online presence: we may assume too high a level of awareness.  I found, when I presented for a class of undergraduate juniors and seniors, that while most of them understood what an online “presence” consisted of, many of them appeared unconcerned about what it contained.

The idea, for example, that someone might lose their job over a picture of drinking posted on Facebook seemed horrifying and almost unbelievable to some of the students.  The idea of generating content intentionally on sites like LinkedIn and a personal blog seemed foreign to many of them, and the idea of using social media professionally (or of employers using/searching Facebook, much less any other social media site) seemed, in some cases, to be quite a bit to swallow.  Other students seemed to already be quite media-savvy, so it was a mixed group: I don’t mean to imply that all of them were surprised.

My biggest question, which I hope we will have the chance to discuss as a group in the fall, but which I encourage anyone to respond to in the comments, is this:

How essential do you consider online presence management?  Does everyone need to worry about this, or only those who are interested in pursuing a more digitally-oriented job?

NYC Digital Humanities Inaugural Event, Saturday, 9/25


The NYCDH Inaugural Event took place last Saturday at the Humanities Initiative at New York University.  Many attendees faithfully live-tweeted it at #nycdh, including a significant Fordham contingent: @kmapesy, @ecornell1, @mickimcgee, @diyclassics and @FordhamGSDH!

The two morning sessions on Building NYCDH were led by Lynne and Ray Siemens, two visiting professors from the University of Victoria, currently at NYU.  They discussed the process of building and running a digital humanities center, and the importance of dialogue, discussion and re-discussion, and interdisciplinary and inter-departmental (or inter-institutional!) work for the success of any DH project.  I can’t summarize their talks better than the working notes, so let me just say my biggest takeaway was that we may fail to conclusively define the digital humanities — and that’s okay, as long as we keep talking about it and trying to re-define it.

A summary of lightning talks on a variety of topics can alo be found in the working notes: the range of projects was fascinating, and a wonderful reminder of how lucky we are to be in a city like New York.

After the morning’s traditional conference presentations the afternoon was an unconference.  It was the first time I’d been to an unconference — I’ve heard a lot about them, but hadn’t ever attended one.  As it turns out, my unfamiliarity with the format ended up giving me a bit of a surprise!

During lunch, we wrote topics of interest on a whiteboard, and after lunch, we voted on which topics the group wanted most to discuss.  I was excited that other people wanted to talk about “metadata and DH project sustainability,” and it got through to be one of the final four sessions.  Then I found out I’d be leading it!  Fortunately, it was during the second time slot, so I had a little bit of time to prepare.  I have to admit, though, the first unconference session on pedagogy and DH drew me in pretty fast, and hearing the ways in which different people use DH tools in their classes, or even teach entire classes on the digital humanities, was fascinating, especially since I’m TA’ing this semester, and will be teaching my own classes next year.

The session on metadata was a small one, which isn’t all that surprising: not everyone is excited to talk about cataloging, project hosting and formatting our projects with the future in mind.  But we had a good variety of people in the room, library school students and academics, those with years of experience with DH and with technology and programming and those who were just coming to the field.

We ended up talking not only about metadata and its importance (why create something, if no one can find it?) and the persistence of projects, but about the role of digital humanities more broadly in the world of scholarship.  Questions of citation and of numbers of authors credited for a project came up, and the observation was made that the sciences seem to handle multiple-authorship more gracefully than the humanities.  We also discussed the question of the tension between open access and traditional scholarly publishing, and whether the digital humanities have any obligation to be open access, especially when they draw on open access sources.

The conference’s closing remarks included a list of recommended resources, which are listed in the conference notes (linked above).  At 5:30, we retired to the Swift Hybernian Lounge, just around the corner.

I would encourage anyone in the NYC area to join and be part of the process of creating the NYC DH community!  As a newly-formed group, the options for where it might go are still very flexible, and it promises to help draw together expertise and opportunities in really beneficial ways.

Photo of Alisa Beer
–Alisa Beer

Meet Fordham’s new HASTAC Scholars!

Congratulations to Alisa and Will – we look forward to working with you and seeing your development in the Digital Humanities this year!

The HASTAC program is a program of the Fordham Digital Humanities Working Group. Funding for the 2013-2014 year was provided through the generous support of the Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill. For further information about the HASTAC program, see the HASTAC At Fordham page.

Alisa Beer

Photo of Alisa Beer

Alisa is a second year Ph.D. student in the History department at Fordham University, where she studies medieval manuscript culture and medieval pilgrimage.  She holds an M.L.S. from the School of Library and Information Science of Indiana University Bloomington, and is particularly interested in information visualization, pedagogy, and the use of social media for scholarship.  She is also concerned about the long-term survival of DH projects and the condition of their metadata.

Will Fenton

Photo of Will Fenton

Will is a Ph.D. Candidate in English at Fordham University, where he specializes in nineteenth century American literature and the Digital Humanities. In addition to writing and blogging about technology, Will is the recipient of a Fordham Innovative Pedagogy Initiative Grant.