Digital Humanities Projects

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To find some digital Humanities Projects, I stumbled upon Digital Humanities Awards, which lists year by year from 2012-2018 many DH projects of note that have either won, or been nominated for an award in their category.

ORBIS

The first DH project I looked at is called ORBIS. This is an interactive map that details the Ancient Roman Empires roads and passage ways, based on cost of time and expense, season, and mode of travel. Personally, this is my favourite project of the five that I looked at. I Really enjoy ancient history, and having a resource that records not just the roads and routes traveled, but the potential reason to use other roads is very exciting, and helps me to understand more of what life could have been like back then. Obviously people would travel through a blizzardy mountain pass during winter, so what other routes are available? Which routes are best for the common people, which for traders? This projects gives a more detailed look into a booming civilization that happened a long time ago.

It must have taken a lot of meticulous work to input all of the coordinates and information into this system accurately, and to gather enough knowledge to build up the effects of seasonality and mode of travel to effect the route. The dedication these scholars had to this project is very admirable. I also appreciate the interface of ORBIS’ page. It uses good colours, symbols, and easy to read text. The best part in my opinion is the information boxes that appear when hovering over some of the filtering options. It makes ORBIS that much more user friendly. I also respect the fact that the builders of this project chose to not settle by using a platform such as google maps, and instead developed their own interface to truly display the knowledge and functionality they intended.

Southern Mosaic

This project is very interesting to me, documenting the journey of John Lomax, his family and fellow researchers, and archiving all of his recordings and research in one interactive web page. It is interesting viewing what might have been his route across the southern states, and seeing who he encountered where and when. I think that one of the most important parts of this project was digitizing the songs he recorded, and making them available to the public online using this website. John Lomax’s research was built around the idea of preserving the folk songs and music of the south, and this project continues that work.

I like how sleek the Southern Mosaic website is. I love the colour theme and the interactive info-graphics which makes it much more satisfying to view and learn from. One thing I did not like, however, was the lack of a menu or locating system. I would have liked the ability to have a menu to choose which state to look at from the very beginning. I think it would have made it more functional if the user could choose to click directly to the section of this project they were interested in, instead of scrolling all the way through the webpage to have the risk of skipping the information. Even if the goal of the page was to discourage the skipping of information so that all songs and information could be read in context, when I had to go back through the page to find specific information relating to the sources and platform used, I had to scroll and re read all of the information that was very time consuming.

While I don’t know what platform was used to create the info-graphics for this project, I think they are very effective, helpful, and fun to use. It was an interesting choice of graphic to use, with its spidering information tree style, and the ability to be able to section off bits of information piece by piece allows for a person to see how things connect more easily.

Wearing Gay History

I really enjoy this project because I think it has the potential to be one that can continue to be applicable for a long period of time. It is very interesting to see the history of t-shirts relating to LGBTQ+ issues and which views and messages have changed, as well as which ones have stayed the same. It is interesting that the project creators chose the specific collection of the
Chris Gonzalez Library and Archives. Most probably is that it is considered the leading LGBTQ+ library in the Midwest, but it would be interesting to see what shirts are not included in the library and what other opinion or contexts they could provide.

The use of Omeka for this project really showcases the amount of information stored in this project. Not only does the website look clean, finished, and functional, but it is very user friendly and easy to explore. I think displaying the photos of the t-shirts and using them as links to more information and locations is genius. It hooks the reader right away into wanting to learn more. The way the shirts have been organized and archived is well done as well, with a tagging system and ID’s to help identify each individual shirt.

I think the choice of using Leaflet to map t-shirt origin was well thought out. Using Leaflet allows them to archive multiple different shirts in one location, where as with Google and other platforms the layering of data can be difficult.

Visualizing Emancipation

This project is very eye opening. It takes a complex moment in history and visually displays the historic moments and their effect on an interactive map. It includes an animation for the map, which shows month by month where certain army units and events were located, and another feature of the website is all of the events listed with the ability to sort them by different parameters.

This project’s use of JavaScript code allowed this project to be built to be more specific to the concept the builders originally had. It also allows for the use of other platforms such as GeoServer, which they used to display and record the historic events. Alongside Geoserver, the use of OpenLayers allowed the project leads to further the display of historic events and create a more interactive map detailing them all. There are many different kinds of mapping and geo-location software available, but the combination of all of these softwares allowed for this project to have an effective visual timeline of events that other software may not have been able to accomplish.

The Shape of History

This is a very interesting project, that is all visual, and quite complex. The whole project is inspired by the system developed by Elizabeth Palmer Peabody in the 19th century, to create a new interactive and visual way to understand history. The Shape of History definitely captures that idea, and uses grids filled with colour to create an artistic, historical timeline of events.

The Shape of History is a very usable tool, especially for schools and teaching. It provides a new way of looking at long, complex series of events, and builds a visual context for them. The website itself is built to mimic the grid system, and introduces users to the concept right away.

The use of JavaScript in this project enabled the builders to create a website specific to their project idea, reflecting the visual aspect they were trying to create in the historical grids. D3.js allowed them to make it all interactive, and using HTML, CSS, and jQuery enabled their coding to be simple and effective.

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