RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Category: DH


I remember coming to this class without any idea what digital humanities was. And of course, there isn’t a perfect explanation for it. However, I’ve learned a lot throughout this course. I learned what digital humanities can do, and just what power it holds.

In this class, I learned the importance of metadata and preserving information online. I learned about different takes on the topic of digital humanities and how it could solve so many problems.

To close, here’s A Grimm Exploration, a project that my group and I worked on for the class. We used some of the techniques we learned to sort the metadata and form the exhibits. I hope you enjoy!

Tigers Demographics Final Project

Our tigers demographics project was to collect data of tuition here at The University of The Pacific, from the years 2001-2015, as well as to examine the increase/decrease in applications during the same years. For our project, we created a wordpress that included an about page for our website, a data page, a charts page, a sources page, and a credits page. For our project, we created spreadsheets describing the data we collected as well as charts to go along with the spreasheets.

This project that my group members and I put together was origionally supposed to be something way more complex; however, we werent able to gather the amount of information that we needed so unfortunately we had to change the project to something different which was what we did our project on. Being a part of this group taught me many things. It taught me how to work better as a team and not just for myself. It taught me how to never give up on your team. It also taught me consideration of others’ time and better time managment skills.

This project was no walk in the park. Changing our topic half way through was definitely stressfull for every member in the group, but even though it was tough, we still manged to complete it. Overall, I can absolutely say that this was an enjoyable experience working with Ray, Mimi, and Leslie because I feel like working together helped us become more familiar with one another and helped us build better friendships with eachother.

Digital Humanities: Experimenting With Palladio II- Network Analysis

Continuing our work with Palladio, we are using another one of its features, the “graph” portion of the tool. This graphing is a network analysis of the data we are using, and networks are described by Scott Weingart simply as “Stuff and relationships” in his post Demystifying Networks. The data used for this experiment was Marten Durer’s Sample Data for Network Extraction, which looks at both the relationships of some people who assisted each other during the Holocaust, and the attributes of those people including their sex and racial status.

Palladio Network 1

My first network analysis visualization shows the relationship between “givers” and “recipients” and I scaled the nodes of the recipients to show the volume of people who have helped them.

Palladio Network 2

My second network analysis shows the relationship between people’s “date of first meeting” and “date of activity”. With the limitations of Palladio, I couldn’t display the results I would have liked, particularly due to the fact that Palladio does not show directional relationships, for example here I would have shown which days people met that led to people being helped.

Further Experimentation with Palladio and Google Fusion Tables

Recently we did further experimentation with both Palladio and Google Fusion Tables using this dataset.

(Click the images for better quality!)


One thing I found interesting was the “highlight” function. Highlighting “giver” and “recipient” produced different results that add to understanding of the dataset.

In the following image, “giver” is highlighted. It’s showcased by the purple box, and it proves how all of them give.


However, when you highlight “recipient,” as indicated with the blue box, the dots change. Now, it’s clear that not all of them receive. This information can help you understand your data more.


Google Fusion Tables was a bit more confusing to use, and the data became cluttered. Also, Fusion Tables can’t show all the details that Palladio can.



Palladio was easier to use, but Fusion Tables had more color options and other things that I have yet to explore. Perhaps further experimentation with both of them will make it easier to understand data.

Palladio Network Graphs

So, not only does Palladio do this cool thing with mapping data and showing the relationships it may have with a specific location, but it can also reveal relationships between the data itself. In particular, the datasets we used in class provided information about people who helped Jewish people in the midst of World War II. The dataset revealed information about what kind of help was given or received, who received or gave it, and details about the people themselves, such as their sex, whether they were Jewish or not, and the relationship they may have had with the people they were giving/receiving help to/from. Looking at the datasets themselves seemed a little confusing at first, as it was just a Google table with two pages of lists giving information on people and their relations.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.35.47 PM

Starting off with this data in Palladio, I looked at the relationships between the givers and receivers of help. After uploading the datasets and forming a link between both tables, I was able to produce this network graph, detailing the flow of help (that is, who was receiving help and who was giving it).Now, this is just a simple network graph, but seeing it immediately gives insight into the relationship between the people listed. I put “Giver” as the source and “Recipient” as the target, highlighting “Recipient” so that it would provide some contrast. The darker circles are the highlighted ones, and shows that some people who received help also gave help to others. When I highlighted “Givers” instead of “Recipients”, this revealed the very same, that the majority of the listed people were givers, as seen below:

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.43.46 PM

Palladio has several filtering features, a facet filter that can show what forms of help was given or received (among others, such as date of first meeting, sex, NS race status, etc.) or choosing a timespan or timeline to see when the relationships may have taken place. These filters effectively narrow down the kind of data you’re looking at, and provides more details about what the graph is showing.

I looked at the facet filter, and under the “Dimensions” tab, I put “Form of Help”. After that, I chose a number representing one of the multiple forms of help that was given/received, and Palladio instantly mapped who may have been involved in this sort of network. Keeping the “Recipient” target nodes highlighted, I was able to see who had received Form of Help #3, and who had given it. As you can see from the graph below, the networks are much smaller and not as connected (as there had been when just graphing “Recipients” and “Givers”), Rita Neumann and Ralph Neumann did not have one person as a mediator for the 3rd form of help, and this particular network of help seemed to occur very separately.
Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.47.55 PM

Network visualizations, such as those that can be created with Palladio, are extremely useful when, as Scott Weingart says in his article “Demystifying Networks“, “network studies are made under the assumption that neither the stuff nor the relationships are the whole story on their own.” This means that networks are typically used to show the interdependency of certain factors (like the people and types of relationships in the dataset I used on Palladio), rather than giving the implication that they are independent, thus giving a special emphasis on the relationships between these factors. Weingart proceeds to say that there is a variety of relationships that can be shown in a network visualization, and that they can be indicated with different kinds of “edges” (links), whether they be curved or straight, the edges will indicate a specific relationship between the objects at each node. However, Palladio does not seem to utilize curved edges, and so, by choosing to view a specific relationship, it has to be done using a facet filter. Altogether, Weingart shows in his article just how much information can be portrayed in a network graph, and how it can be done.

On the other hand, in the other reading we had, “Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere” by Kieran Healy, networks can be formed without looking directly at the relationships that may have formed between specific people. Healy gives the example of looking at metadata that provided information on several US Founding Father’s memberships to different organizations, and from there, being able to see who may have been in the same organization, and thus whether they knew each other or not. Just by looking at the metadata and organizing it into a structure that indicated membership, Healy and his/her fellow researchers were able to find possible relationships and networks between these people. Additionally, Healy formed a chart of how many people each organization had in common, and thus was able to see what organizations may be linked to each other through its members. Healy’s research also indicated how much a visual network graph can reveal about relationships, not only between people, but between organizations or institutions. All of this was done without the relationships just being provided, they were formed by conclusions and contributed to an indication of greater relations occurring through the people.

All-in-all, network graphs are extremely useful in showing relationships and discovering new ones, as evidenced with Palladio, Weingart, and Healy. These network visualizations provide information about the relationships, such as how they were formed or what kind of relationship it was, but it can also lead to new revelations about what else may be interconnected through those people or objects.

Graphing through Palladio

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.31.05 PMLast week, we have learned a bit more about Palladio through how it graphs its given data.  It became an interesting experience as it presents itself as another way to help people understand information through visualizations.  This is similar to mapping data from analyzing what we visually see and then be able to relate to it.  According to the Demystifying Networks reading, it explained how representing the information through networks implies in comprehending whatever is going on.  I was able to see how networks analyze data from the dataset during the tutorial in class.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 2.18.38 PMFirst, I loaded in the dataset that provided the people and relations that they had.  The data that I used was about the people who offered to help others who were facing some trouble during WWII.  Then, I set up the settings that provided an outline between the givers and receivers.  Finally, I narrowed down both the facet and timespan filters, which quickly reduced the number of people and relations.  In comparing these two visualizations, I noticed some differences when playing around with the timespan.  The timespan in the second picture expands “between 0011-12-22 and 0013-12-29” in which it shows the each of the relations between the contributors and receivers.  The larger relation from both of these pictures show that they kept the same relationship as time passed by.  However, there were some differences between the smaller relationships as they expanded a bit throughout time.

In conclusion, analyzing data through networks is useful in providing an understanding of the information and offering an explanation to what it represents.

Mapping in Digital Humanities

Within these past two weeks, our digital humanities class was introduced to 2 new mapping softwares; Palladio and Google fusion tables. These were the two applications we used to create digitized maps. During the google fusion tutorial we downloaded the cushman collection app onto our computers and uploaded them onto the app. In my opinion, the google fusion tables and palladio were both very similar in many ways but also very different however, in my opinion google fusion tables was easier for me to navigate and i liked it more than Palladio.

With the google fusion software, i tried playing around with it because it was my first time working with it and I found it kind of difficult to work with in the beginning, due to computer difficulties but afterwards I was able to figure it out and get everything going and it was actually pretty interesting and easy to work with. I liked how we looked at the different maps on google fusion and tried to figure out what they were doing and how to read them.

I also found this weeks tutorials in working with palladio pretty cool too. Palladio was also very interesting as well despite the minor difficulties navigating it. In the beginning, Dr S. helped us out and walked us through how to use each of the programs and afterwards she let us play around with them on our own to get more familarized with the programs. While using palladio we learned how to also create maps and explain what the maps are doing. I played around with the palladio features and created geocoordinates. According to Dr S, palladio doesn’t have as many options when it comes to presenting your data to the outside world, however, when it comes to playing around and getting to know more about your own data, palladio is great!

Finally, to connect this back to our previous reading Spacial Mapping. I think both of these programs were effective in working. In the reading, it gave me the impression the when we digitaze maps, they no longer show the original message of the map.

Palladio’s Mapping

In class we played around with the Palladio Mapping system and it was quite interesting to play with. The program is really fun with all the different types of customization and mapping options.

The first map that I created was between the time zone during World War 2. The “dots” are all based off of a data set and represent where each photograph was taken. And the bigger “dots” Untitled WW2represent more photograph taken in the specific area.
Untitled Post-WW2

The next map I created was during the Post-World  War 2. I found it interesting that during the war there were more photos taken in the East Coast while after the War there was more Photos taken in the West Coast.

The Palladio Program was really fun to play with but, there were many problems with the program. For Example, the program had so much lag and crashed so many times. Also, with the program if you were to acidently leave the site all the data and all teh work that you did was gone and lost.

Palladio? Not to be confused with Pilates.

We live in a world where technology is constantly advancing. One of them being the ability to digitize actual maps for others to see them. There are plenty of programs that allow you to do this, but a few of them are: Palladio, Google Fusion Tables, and CartoDB.

For this posting, we were required to create 2 maps, with either of the three programs; I decided to use Palladio for both, considering that I am not too comfortable with CartoDB or Google Fusion Tables.

Map #1:

Palladio Map #2

For this mapping, I appointed everything to the “geocoordinates” of the Cushman data we were given. I edited things like: Terrain, Streets, Land, and Building/Areas. Throughout working with the different settings and options for the map, I was able to come up with the image above. Palladio seems to be a great tool for the customization of the map, as far as color choices work.

Map #2:

Palladio Map #1

For this mapping, I also used: Terrain, Streets, Land, Building/Areas, but I also experimented with the Satellite options, as well as adding in another “streets” layer. Palladio turned out to be a great tool for these specific uses. It gave a real good depiction of every place in which the pictures in the Cushman Collection were taken.

Palladio Compared to Google Fusion:

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 12.46.51 PM

This mapping was done in Google Fusion Tables, and has the majority of the points placed around the Bay Area, but a few were also up in the foothills. Believe it or not, this is the SAME exact data input that was used in Palladio (The Cushman Data). I’m not too sure as to why the actual placement of the points are different (Maybe this could be a great discussion topic for in-class). Palladio definitely beats Google Fusion in the cosmetic category, but in terms of actual data goes, Google Fusion is able to give a better depiction of it.

Relation to Patricia Seed’s Article:

In Patricia Seed’s article, “A Map Is Not a Picture,” we learned that maps all have a distinct meaning behind them; we just have to find out what it is. Essentially, a map really isn’t a picture, its a form of data. Maps can really show you many things; for example, look at the Cushman data. Without creation of the Palladio map, it would have just been data, but with the inclusion of it, we are able to see where each photo was taken, giving us more insight into the matter, not just strictly numbers or data.


Palladio and Google Fusion Tables

The Cushman Collection was used to create these datasets.



Palladio and Google Fusion Tables were similar but had some different functions.

One thing I really liked about the Fusion Tables was how you can use the “street view” functions and move around. This was something that Palladio didn’t have. However, as showcased in my previous post, Palladio gives a good timeline. Palladio can ultimately do more, but it wasn’t easy to work with.



Both of them honed in on specific points, and it was interesting it to see where all the photos came from.

We read Patricia Seed’s article awhile ago, where she said that digital maps can be “inadequate.” Though not 100% accurate, digital maps still provide a way to see things that you simply can’t do with non-digital maps.

Digital Humanities: Experimenting with Palladio

Another day, another experiment with Digital Humanities Tools. We are currently playing with Palladio, a mapping tool, once again using The Cushman Collection data set from Indiana University. The Cushman Collection data set is a comma delimited file which contains data on photographs, when and where they were taken, descriptions of each photo, and plenty of other useful information. A fun fact that everyone should know is that Palladio, as an in browser application, does not have an online storage system. If you want to keep your progress, you have to save an offline copy for yourself then load it in again. And like with all documents, be sure to save frequently in case say, your internet connection is reset and you attempt to load something new and all your work is lost. I also ran into issues of the program using up almost all the processing on my computer whenever I attempted to manipulate the map, such as add new layers, change point color, or even zoom in. Even with these quips, I was still able to get some rather nice visualizations by playing around.

Palladio Map 2

A basic map looking at the data with the “streets” filer applied, which displays state and country borders, as well as city names if you zoom in far enough.

 When comparing Palladio to Google Fusion Tables, I would have to say that Palladio wins out aesthetically, but the sheer number of times it crashed my browser and had me re-input the information and settings over and over just to capture a few screenshots makes me sad for anyone trying to do actual research with the tool. Until it is more stable, I think that Palladio needs to pull back on its features for a little while. On the other hand, Google Fusion Tables let me zoom in, out, and move the map to my hearts content without batting an eye. The no hassle stability of the map generator it was using, alongside the online saved data made me much less frustrated than I was with Palladio.

Google Fusion Map

A map displaying the same information as the one above, less attractive, but also much easier to work with.

All in all, when working with these mapping programs, I find it interesting to think of what applications they can have in the field of digital humanities. As discussed in Zephyr Frank’s Spatial History as Scholarly Practice from Between Humanities and the Digital, these sorts of maps focusing on the spatial relationship between objects and events create a distinct kind of visual that is very useful in communicating important ideas to an audience.

Mapping and Spatial History

Recently we’ve been working on graphic visualizations using maps to show spatial history. One thing that was clearly emphasized in many of the recent readings is that a map is not just a picture. In Patricia Seed’s article, “A Map Is Not a Picture,” we discovered that maps are intended to mean something. Maps can convey a message about population size, spatial history, demographics, climate, and other information related to the given location. Thus, when a map is treated just like any other image by reproduction companies and is tampered with to increase aesthetic appeal before being published, the message can be lost. Digital mapping technology pointed out this problem upon its development, and so is often more accurate than any map that has been reproduced by a publishing company.

To practice how these maps may relay information, we started off by mapping a dataset of the Cushman Collection. We first entered the Cushman Collection into Google Fusion Tables. With this app, we were able to see what kind of information the dataset gave us, and create, in addition to a map, charts and graphs. The dataset gave us plenty of information, from the IU archives number to the date the photo was taken, from the photo’s slide condition to the genre of the photo itself.

With Google Fusion Tables’ mScreen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.35.13 PMapping feature, the IU archives number of each photo was mapped using geocoordinates. This map indicates where each photo was taken, using the IU archives number. To get to this map, I uploaded the Cushman .csv file into the Google app, clicked on the “Map of City and State” feature, and made sure the location was set to geocoordinates.

Another mapping tool we used seemed to be more sophisticated than that of the Google Fusion Tables. In any case, it seemed a little more straight-forward when using it, and it was easier to map specific items from the Cushman Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.22.14 PMdataset. In the map I created on Palladio, I mapped the location by genre, rather than by the IU archive number. It looks pretty similar to the Google Fusion Tables’ map, but the Palladio map was much more fun to play with. Hovering the mouse over each dot on the map reveals the genre of the photo that was taken at that location, rather than the IU archives number. In order to get this map, it required a little more effort than the Google Fusion Tables, as the dataset itself had to be altered so the date could be correctly recorded on the mapping tool. But once the time zone was deleted from the dataset, the mapping feature wasn’t so complicated.

Altogether, both mapping tools were useful in revealing specific information about the dataset and the importance of each point on the map. This exemplifies Patricia Seed’s point entirely, in the fact that, if the map was altered too much, it may change the original message. Maps are supposed to reveal information about a given object, place, or thing and its relationship with a given location.


Web Mapping

We are exploring three types of mapping tools in building the visualization of Cushman Collection data this week. These mapping toolsets are Google Fusion, Palladio and CartoDB. Each enables scholars to learn research projects more efficiently. I believe Google Fusion offers some of the best user interfaces because it gives an organized view of data. People will be able to click dots on maps to see the detailed descriptions of photographs. This feature results in more fun and interactive learning experiences. Google Fusion 3   Google Fusion 2 Zephyr Frank’s “Spatial History as Scholarly Practice” talks about learning histories by examining movements in spatial history. His idea means that scholars will be able to formulate more in-depth research topics by browsing on interactive learning websites such as the Valley of Shadow, Richard Pryor’s Peoria and Shaping the West. I think mappings give people an opportunity to develop unique knowledges because the process of seeing various resources and information at once helps store valuable information in the brains. I was able to picture where each photograph was taken by mapping on Google Fusion, Palladio and CartoDB. This scenario is similar to Frank’s concept that mappings make arguments rather than illustrations. Although Google Fusion provides excellent layouts, I think Palladio and CartoDB construct a more aesthetic map visually.   Palladio CartoDB1   Both Palladio and CartoDB share similar table charts that illustrate the dates and locations where photographs were taken. Palladio has customize features that allow scholars to select different information.   Palladio 2 CartoDB2   Google Fusion, Palladio and CartoDB all have interesting features that help scholars create visualization of data. However, I still need to learn the methods of using the excel data on CartoDB.    

Differences in Mapping

Sometimes it is difficult in analyzing a map, but for this assignment it seemed like it was easy to understand through a few simple processes in Palladio and Google Fusion.  For these visualizations, I wanted to see specifically where most of the photographs from the Cushman Collections were taken in California.  The red dots are the geocoordinates of where the pictures were taken.  In comparing the two maps from these different programs, they have some interesting qualities that makes them unique.

When I developed these visualizations, I simply loaded the Cushman edited spreadsheet into the sites, applied the geocoordinates and made them visible to view, and outlined the California borders in order for the viewer to see the coordinates within the state.  The Palladio map shows the same geocoordinates as the Google Fusion map, but they are different from the layers that I offered for Palladio.  However, Google Fusion map does not offer a lot of choices in changing the map’s background, unlike what Palladio did.

From looking over at these maps, they helped me understand how these pictures correlate with each other.  In the spatial history reading from Zephyr Frank, he explains that spatial history teaches us the importance of space in offering us a historical outlook through visual analysis.  Both visualizations show the spaces in between of where the photographs took place in; when analyzing them, they were mostly taken around the coastal, central, and southern areas of California.

Overall, they were quick and easy maps to create and they provided interesting information to me visually about the Cushman photographs in California.


The Use of Palladio in Researches

We learned to use the mapping software Palladio to create the visualizations of Cushman Collection data this week. I used streets and satellites as layers to show places where each photograph was gathered. I enjoyed learning these skills because it is quite important to show research data by using different types of graphs. Scholars will benefit from using both Palladio and Google Fusion because graphical charts help scholars’ research results become clear and concise. People will be able to learn the gist of research presentations by looking at graphical displays of Palladio maps and Google Fusion charts. Palladio







We experimented with Palladio today using the Cushman Collection. Palladio’s aesthetically pleasing, and it was cool to see everything you could do with it. For example,  you can choose just a small section of the data to view (the second picture).

This is another example of what you can do with digital humanities.

Spatial history and mapping websites discussed in class

In addition to the websites already on the syllabus, in class I discussed the following:

Spatial History Project

We are learning about the spatial history this week which is a concept of developing understandings of histories by using the geographic information system (GIS). I find it an innovative idea because mapping research data gives us a novel way of learning from the visualization of data. The geographic information system is a software that establishes outlook of places on maps. It uses geographical data to map the numerous amounts of details about places. Google Maps is a type of geographic information system because it presents views of streets. I believe the spatial history projects will create stimulating and interactive learning experiences because using the geographic information system to map significant places lead to a memorable learning process. The main advantages of spatial history are that the geographic information system maps the views of venues that people hope to study. It enables scholars to analyze the social and environmental factors of places. A lot of researchers use the geographic information system to create an interactive website that allows people to explore key factors in data. I think the spatial history gives people valuable learning experiences because people are able to set and test data. This idea means that people will be able to explore patterns by adjusting data on the geographic information system. However, the spatial histories may take scholars a significant amount of time to create. People will need to learn programmings, data managements and mapping skills first to establish the visualizations of data on the Internet.

Digital Humanities: Experimenting with Google Fusion Tables

In our Digital Humanities class, we worked with a comma separated values file of The Cushman Collection from Indiana University using Google Fusion Tables, the product of what I played with can be found here.

Google Fusion Tables

This is my network map comparing the “Genre 1” and “Location” subjects within the Cushman Collection.

I also played around with various other visual tools within Google Fusion Tables, including network maps of categories that don’t correlate to each other, like my map of “Description from Notebook” compared to “Topical Subject Heading”.

Something else I would like to play around with in Google Fusion Tables would be to see how I can interpret information using the “Cards” feature.

Google Fusion Charts!

I think after throwing this Cushman Collection of photos into Google Fusion Tables, I have sufficiently learned that I should not have the power of data displays in my hands. I have way too much fun playing around with them. Particularly this one here:


Network graphs though. They’re like jellyfish turned into graphs. And I even figured out how to embed it so everyone can play with it. In the case of this little graph, I was comparing the “Genre 1” and “Genre 2” categories of the Cushman photographs. I must confess, I’m not entirely sure how network graphs work, but I think what can be gleaned from this is that the bigger “nodes” are the genres that show up more often, and the lines between different nodes show genres that’re connected to each other. This is a pretty handy and fun way to figure out which genres the makers of this collection use the most, and what correlations there are between the genres.

I also decided to make a couple pie graphs about the genres, complete with Comic Sans font because I’m that obnoxious:



The first pie chart is for Genre 1, and the second is for Genre 2. I knocked the Genre 2 chart down from twenty slices to ten, because there weren’t enough categories in Genre 2 to have that many slices. These pie charts are a little different from the network graph, because although they have prettier colors, they don’t show the connections between these photographs’ different genres. It does make it much easier to see which genres are used the most often, and compare their frequencies to each other, but Genre 1 and 2 remain very distinct categories with the pie charts. Clearly, the way you choose to display data is significant, because different kinds of graphs and charts can reveal very different things about data.

Google Fusion Charts!

I think after throwing this Cushman Collection of photos into Google Fusion Tables, I have sufficiently learned that I should not have the power of data displays in my hands. I have way too much fun playing around with them. Particularly this one here:


Network graphs though. They’re like jellyfish turned into graphs. And I even figured out how to embed it so everyone can play with it. In the case of this little graph, I was comparing the “Genre 1” and “Genre 2” categories of the Cushman photographs. I must confess, I’m not entirely sure how network graphs work, but I think what can be gleaned from this is that the bigger “nodes” are the genres that show up more often, and the lines between different nodes show genres that’re connected to each other. This is a pretty handy and fun way to figure out which genres the makers of this collection use the most, and what correlations there are between the genres.

I also decided to make a couple pie graphs about the genres, complete with Comic Sans font because I’m that obnoxious:



The first pie chart is for Genre 1, and the second is for Genre 2. I knocked the Genre 2 chart down from twenty slices to ten, because there weren’t enough categories in Genre 2 to have that many slices. These pie charts are a little different from the network graph, because although they have prettier colors, they don’t show the connections between these photographs’ different genres. It does make it much easier to see which genres are used the most often, and compare their frequencies to each other, but Genre 1 and 2 remain very distinct categories with the pie charts. Clearly, the way you choose to display data is significant, because different kinds of graphs and charts can reveal very different things about data.

Cushman Collection Experimentation


Today in class we used Google Fusion Tables to visualize the Cushman Collection. After customizing the appearance and looking through different categories (dates, city and state, etc.), I settled on the one called “Description from Notebook.” Everything ended up being the same (not surprising because there’s one description per image), but it still ended up looking pretty cool. I think today’s work gives everyone a broader perspective on what can happen with Digital Humanities and data.

Omeka Exhibit

After studying a text about Perpetua and Felicitas, our Digital Humanities class came up with questions and themes related to the reading. We formed groups and created an online exhibit to showcase our research and further develop our knowledge.

My group focused on martyrdom. The exhibit itself was simple to make, but it was interesting as well. It was the first time I had done something like this. Easier to use than Blogspot and WordPress (through probably not as neat and definitely not as customizable), Omeka provided simple tools for students to use to create items, collections, and exhibits. To create them, we had to find photos from online sources such as museum websites, Wikimedia, and Flickr. We had to know what data to search for, so we had to look up certain tags and scan a variety of sources to find good examples. During and after that, metadata was vital for this portion. When looking for items to add to my exhibit, I searched under tags such as “martyr” and “martyrdom.” These helped me find the photos I needed because people tagged them under those.

Lastly, this exhibit shed more light on what we learn in class. For instance, we read Mark Sample’s “The Digital Humanities is not about Building, it’s about Sharing.” After we completed the exhibit, I realized that Sample’s words were true. We were not necessarily “building” something new, but we called upon our knowledge and performed research to further understand the concept that we were trying to grasp. Afterwards, we all shared the information with each other.

This project contributed to our understanding of this course, and as time goes on, we will all expand our knowledge about Digital Humanities.

."Allegorical Figure of Faith" by Giovanni Battista Gaulli

My Omeka Experience

For lack of a better word, using Omeka is an interesting experience. At worst, Omeka is not that useful for people unless they want to become a historian or other such figure that documents information (there are many useless things in the world, nonetheless, and this is not the most useless at the very least). Data classification and inputting metadata is a tedious task, but something quite necessary in order to assemble items efficiently. I particularly realized this when I wasn’t able to find certain images except by going through them one by one due to inaccurate tags.

Inaccurate metadata and tags lead to challenging identification.
Inaccurate metadata and tags lead to challenging identification.

While I did think creating a collection was rather mind-numbing, what I did think was interesting was putting together a webpage, which is something I may continue to do in the future via blog posts. Omeka was useful, here, and had an efficient interface. Adding pictures using the site was easier than doing so with WordPress and already had references attached to them. While formatting left nothing to imagination, it was quite easy to use and would be sufficient for those who merely want to put forth information.

Finishing this project prompted me to think about some of the past readings. As I refuted before, I have to refute again, using our recent project as an example. Although Mark Sample states that “The Digital Humanities is Not about Building, It’s about Sharing,” he is inaccurate in that there would be no Digital Humanities without building, for without it, the Digital humanities would merely be a database and nothing more, like Omeka’s catalog of items. While sharing is an integral part of learning, it is more fundamental to build. Only then can there be improvements made to a field. Omeka’s catalog would only be a database, but our exhibitions were built on that database, thus allowing us to share it in addition to new information. It was through our creation that we were able to impart to others what we learned. Kathleen Fitzpatrick summarizes this, opposing Sample, quite nicely in her article, “The Humanities Done Digitally,” stating “The particular contribution of the digital humanities, however, lies in its exploration of the difference that the digital can make to the kinds of work that we do as well as to the ways that we communicate with one another.” In other words, building and then sharing.

Omeka and the Sharing of Digital Content

We’ve been using Omeka for a long while, mainly to explore all the different aspects associated with the biblical story of the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas. Omeka not only allowed us to put these items together, but it allowed us to see just how complex the context of one story can possibly be. We found a massive variety of items that not only pertain to the story and historical context of Felicitas and Perpetua, and thus increase our own understanding of the history of their time, but it also allows us to see the influence their story of martyrdom has on artists from different time periods, as well as the influence on modern day culture. Putting exhibits together allowed us to see how each of the items might fit together in a category, and how that category effects Perpetua’s and Felicitas’s story. Omeka altogether showed that items can be categorized in many ways, and thus provides a means of a different way of understanding the same story or idea.

Omeka was easy to use in the fact that, not only did it provide a means for showing metadata, but it allowed us as a class to pool together our data/items and thus share our opinions and ideas without having to wade through a bunch of pages (like on WordPress). I found Omeka extremely easy to use, but the only downside was having to find all the information about an item so that I could post the metadata and see if I was legally able to reproduce it on a different website. This wasn’t exactly difficult, but it was extremely time-consuming.

Omeka is an extremely useful tool in terms of the field of digital humanities. Omeka enables the sharing of not only contributors to the online exhibit, but any scholar who wishes to use items in the online exhibit. This ability contributes to the digital humanities because, as Mark Sample said in his article “The Digital Humanities is Not Building, It’s about Sharing,” the new field of study is primarily about sharing knowledge to contribute to the further reshaping or reforming of that knowledge to develop a better understanding.

All in all, Omeka contributed to the better comprehension of the vast topic of Christian martyrdom in a time when the Pagans were in authoritative positions through the historical context of the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas.


(This image taken from Omeka, all rights displayed)


Using Omeka on Martyrdom

Last week, my Digital Humanities class has been busy with creating a public website about martyrdom through Omeka.  We worked on this website in order to help us analyze martyrdom and develop some connections with other historical artifacts or pictures that relate to it.  Apparently the whole process in developing a resourceful website for others to see and use seems a bit more difficult than it looks, but I guess it takes some time to get used to it and learn more about what it can do.

Omeka has enabled me to consider a little bit more about the items that we set up online and add them to the collections.  In comparing Omeka with WordPress, the site was careful in asking many questions about what the item was, where it originated from, and if we had the right to use it.  This relates to Leopold’s, Articulating Culturally Sensitive Knowledge Online: A Cherokee Case Study in that it talked about how sensitive some items of a culture can be when it becomes public.  When searching for items to include in the collections, it seemed a bit difficult to understand what the site was asking for from the various questions it provided to us, but it became a simple process in the end.  Establishing the exhibits became interesting in thinking deeply about exhibit’s topic and utilizing different items for supporting our theme on martyrdom.  These exhibits required a lot of research on the items chosen since they had to relate to martyrdom in any way from the time it took place to how it was portrayed in other works.  Metadata takes uploading items seriously as it required information that not a lot of people would look at for any website.

Overall, the site has been useful in setting up a site that would be helpful for others in understanding history and culture.

The Omeka Experience

I really enjoyed using Omeka a lot. It was really interesting and something i’ve never worked with before but i must say it was a fun experience and I actually say that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I learned how to search for images/items to add into my collection.  I also learned how to include appropriate images, ones in which I felt connected well with my exhibit and to what I was talking about and not just including random items. Putting my exhibit together with my group and hearing all of the different Perpetua and Felicity representations from the other groups was a very benifitial activity personally because it taught me a lot more about the story of Perpetua and Felicity, their history, and their backround. I felt like I left with a much better understanding of this story that I didn’t get out of reading the story alone. I feel like now that I know more about the story, I would actually be able to take this information i learned by completing our exhibits, and tell it to others. In this experience with Omeka, I also learned about the importance of item classification and metadata and how correct or incorrect classification of items and/or metadata can either make it easier or harder for others to find your items. Lastly, I found that Omeka was actually a lot easier to use than WordPress. My experience with wordpress wasn’t that good. It seemed too complex whereas Omeka was the complete opposite.  Everything on Omeka was simple and easy to find and i had no problems using it at all.  To conclude this blog post, I want to reference one of the readings we had previously called “Re-use of Digitised Content” by Terra’s. Now the reason why I referenced this reading in particular is because it connects with the exhibits we did.  For example, one of the really important things that we learned was to check the licensing to make sure it was ok to use stuff, wich is basically what the whole reading was about. The point was that although there is a lot of content online, it is still incredibly difficult to source good material to reuse.



Digital Humanities: Experimenting with Omeka

At my university, in my Digital Humanities class, we played around with the website Omeka and made an exhibit revolving around Perpetua and Felicitas, both their story and themes relating to their martyrdom. The experience can be found here:

Researching items for this exhibit, as was creating a page of Dublin Core metadata for each item we found. It truly gave me an appreciation for metadata, as it offers more information than works cited or bibliography pages, and is in my opinion, more accessible and informational.

In Robert Leopold’s article, Articulating Culturally Sensitive Knowledge Online: A Cherokee Case Study, he makes the case for withholding information, knowledge, and content on the basis of culturally sensitive material. While I see and understand the reasoning for why this is, I also believe that transparency, as well as the appreciation of culture, is very important in making the world a better place. Archives allow the work and information to be accounted for, retrievable in the event of the loss of the original or physical work, preserved like fossils for future generations.

I do not believe that what we did with Omeka would be possible without the sharing of information and culture, and the exhibits we presented through the site are just a flash of what this kind of archival methods can be used for. The experience we had working on this experiment was very cool, and I really like the Dublin Core standard for metadata. Being able to see how the original creator of the image below tagged their data was also rather cool to me.

Dublin Core information that I inputted can be found here:

Dublin Core information that I inputted can be found here:

Observing the Inner Workings of Omeka

Well, if there’s one thing you don’t realize about the Internet before you actually do it yourself, it’s that making a website is a lot more challenging than it looks. And it already looks pretty challenging to start with. Working through Omeka to create our Digital Humanities class site eased the process a little, but it was still quite an uphill climb to get to our finished exhibits.

For starters, searching for the right information to include in an exhibit like ours is hard. I’d imagine ease of access would vary by exhibit topic, but for a website about Perpetua and Felicitas, I found it a lot more difficult than I thought it would be to scrounge up items for display. It seemed that every time I found an object that I wanted to use, someone else had put it up already, or it was under a license that kept it from being shared. There was one painting in particular that was being very stubborn, because it kept cropping up everywhere on Google, but I couldn’t find an original source for it, and so I couldn’t add it to the exhibit, even though I really liked it.
 The mosaic at the left here was something I eventually did find and could use, but that was after sifting through mountains of other pictures and items. And then, even once I had some good content to share, there was so much information that had to come with it. I hadn’t anticipated how much detail would go into the metadata of our items. Half of the the info boxes we filled out for each item were things that wouldn’t have even crossed my mind otherwise, much less have been put in the metadata if Omeka hadn’t pointed them out to me. In the scheme of things, our exhibits probably aren’t as extensive as a lot of other similar websites might be, but the work we put into them was still way more involved than I would’ve imagined. Sorting and classifying all those items and bits of metadata was pretty tricky. But it also made our items a lot easier to navigate in the end. So despite how much effort goes into making collections and figuring out how things should be grouped, classification adds a lot more coherency to jumbles of information.

And I feel like that’s something Omeka does really well as a tool. It provides a smorgasbord of ways to organize whatever data you want to throw at it. The structure of items, collections, and exhibits gives it a unique hierarchy, too, with each rung of the ladder allowing you to do different things with information. One Omeka website can show you a hundred ways to read the same images. You can zero in on a single item, or explore a broader topic with a full exhibit. The sky’s the limit, really, and that’s an advantage Omeka has over a tool like WordPress. This post I’m writing now is pretty much the epitome of what WordPress can do. It lets you blog. You can organize things by tags or categories, if you want, but it doesn’t give you the same complex kind of organizing that Omeka does.

Of course, that can be a place where Omeka falls short, too. I’ve already rambled a bit about how complicated using Omeka can be, especially if you’ve never done it before. So while it does give you the chance to expand upon and organize your information pretty much however you want, it has a much more complicated interface than WordPress. There’s a lot more that goes into an Omeka exhibit than a WordPress blog, and I think which one you used would depend on whatever intentions you have for your own website.

On a slightly different tangent, throughout the process of our class building the Perpetua and Felicitas exhibits, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the blog post we read by Melissa Terras. I feel like I can sympathize with her on a deeper level than I could before. Her whole post was about how difficult it can be to find cultural information that’s available for sharing, and now that I’ve gone through that first-hand, her arguments seem a bit more justified. Though I’m still not quite on-board with the idea of making everything accessible to share and reuse, I feel like Terras was right in calling out online museums and other sites on their lack of helpful resources. Their interfaces, while not extremely challenging, can be a bit frustrating to work with, especially if you don’t know exactly what you want from them. And it seems that so little is actually available on websites like that of the Metropolitan Museum. Many items in the online museum archives didn’t even have images attached to them, and some were guarded under licenses from being shared or reused. I agree with Terras when she says that the rights to use or not use something need to be clearer, and more accessible, because navigating those museums for things related to Perpetua and Felicitas was a huge pain in the butt. If we’re going to go to the effort to share some cultural content online (emphasis on some, because again, not all of it should be shared), then the least the providers could do is make it easy to access.

Overall, I feel like the takeaway from our experience with Omeka is that being able to share, organize, classify, and analyze online content is an invaluable pursuit. Though I can’t say I would personally use Omeka again unless it was required, since it gave me a headache at some points, once we had everything pieced together, it was pretty cool being able to look at all the information we’d scrounged up. If you’ve got the patience and ambition to work with it, then Omeka has the potential to make some really awesome online exhibitions.

Learning Experience with Omeka

Omeka… What is it? We have been using this website as a tool to view/share items pertaining to history, mostly about Perpetua and Felicitas. Omeka really opened my eyes to the history of this world: martrydom, gladiators, Ancient Rome, etc. I was able to see what life was like in another day and time; its fascinating to me. When searching for items about Perpetua and Felicitas, I found things of such nature, but also images, paintings, and engravings of other sorts of things. When putting the exhibit together with my group, I learned that we had plenty of different categories of items to work with, for example: Martrydom, Interpretations of Roman Culture, and Devotion to Others.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 1.49.53 PM

The above picture is from my group’s Perpetua and Felicitas exhibit, which was the Interpretation of Roman Culture. It is particularly the page I made about the Roman Arenas and Ruins.


When looking at Omeka compared to HTML computer language, I seen many differences. One of the differences I had seen between the two was that HTML is an actual coding language, where as Omeka is a simple user interface website which comes pre-made with layouts, and you just fill in the blanks. To be really honest, I feel like Omeka was actually MUCH easier to work with, rather than HTML, because HTML has a unique coding language that must be memorized. To me, that is more challenging that working with a template.

When thinking about how to relate one of our previous class texts to this Omeka assignment, I was stumped. After a little more thinking, I figured the best one would be the by Mark Sample reading, “The Digital Humanities is Not about Building, It’s about Sharing.” The reason I choose this one is because it literally goes hand in hand with Omeka. Omeka is all about sharing; getting items and figures online for people to see, so that other people can gain knowledge from one another. That is what its about, and so is the reading by Sample.


This picture below pretty much sums up my idea on sharing. These are items of different categories, and they are all being shared in one website. Sharing; it fits this website perfectly.

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Link to our class Omeka site:

The Use of Content Management Systems on the Internet

Omeka is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) that allows people to manage photos, videos and articles on the Internet. Omeka has the similar user interfaces as WordPress which is known to be the most used content management system in the world. When I was a child, I remember buying programming books that introduce concepts of Hypertext Markup Languages (HTMLs). However, I could not understand them due to lack of programming-related knowledge.

Both Omeka and WordPress are pleasant to use because of straightforward and user-friendly instructions. I believe learning WordPress and Omeka is one of the most valuable investments because personalized domains will become quite useful in the business world. An organization might earn significant more amounts of revenues when it builds websites that showcase its expertise. WordPress is a wonderful management system in creating themes that establish excellent images and reputations. However, it does not offer an option of displaying large collections and metadata. Omeka is perfect for allowing enterprises to manage products. An organization will be able to store its artworks of conceptual products and designs. Omeka also gives museums and scholars abilities to archive significant documents and texts for individuals to view. I enjoyed learning both WordPress and Omeka a lot because they fulfilled goals of creating personalized domains.