1. AEGARON (Ancient Egyptian Architecture Online)

Link: http://dai.aegaron.ucla.edu/

Question 1: What are these projects trying to do?

AEGARON is an online project which provides a globally accessible and open access publication of high-quality plans and architectural drawings of ancient Egyptian buildings. The information in the database is researched in detail, proving its credibility, collected from multiple sources, checked on-site and accounted for in extensive metadata. AEGARON is also constantly maintained and sustained by UCLA digital library.

As architectural drawings of buildings dating back to the Pharaonic period are often hard to find or not published adequately – showing an issue of databases face, it was difficult to get an overview of the built environment of the time. Hence this project was created to improve the present state of architectural representations by developing an open-access online archive of vetted plans.

Question 2: Are the projects doing something that a book or article couldn’t do? If so, what?

Yes I feel that information can be constantly updated in this project as compared to a static archived database like books. I appreciate how a selection of drawings is made, based on the quality of first hand information that it comprises. To prevent the potential distortion of the drawings, they are first scanned and loaded into AutoCAD for redrawing. Each building is also examined in detail so that information given can be transferred to a standardized visual language. With similar drawing conventions, it also allow the understanding of the buildings and details while facilitating comparisons with other buildings.

Additionally, each plan is accompanied by a critical apparatus (drawing log) which contains background information. This project is definitely more interactive than a book/article with its ability to be downloaded freely in various formats, so users can change them according to their learning preferences. It also comes with tutorials to teach users how to best read the readings, which standards had been developed and how to extract measurements.

Question 3: How would you classify each project (e.g. history, literature, philosophy..?)

I would classify this project under history and architecture. However, taking into consideration that the architecture was represented as accurately and similarly as possible, without limitation to or focus on any classical era of the Egyptian culture, I wouldn’t say this is a cultural piece.

Question 4: What do you like about these projects?

I like this project for its capability for me to refer to background information with regards to the Egyptian culture in the event I need some context to understand the history of the buildings.  I also like the various drawings that are depicted in multiple states. I feel this will provide various kinds of interpretations as a user. Also the additional files and features that the project includes to provide a more spatial perspective for the users are really useful to provide a more engaged sense of place for individuals.

Question 5: What do you dislike and how would you improve them?

I feel an audio element could be added to provide a more inclusive environment for the individual to be in. With the proliferation of 360 degree videos and/or use of virtual reality (VR) headsets, such technology can also be implemented in the project to allow for an immersive experience for users to engage in – while looking at the various visuals, individuals can also understand the history better by “being in it”.

2. Quantifying Kissinger

Link: http://blog.quantifyingkissinger.com/

Question 1: What are these projects trying to do?

“Quantifying Kissinger” is a computational analysis of Henry Kissinger’s correspondence from 1968 to 1977. After an interview with Nixon’s Domestic Affairs Assistar John Ehrlichman in 1982, which revealed that historians were engaged and charged for with listening and analyzing all of the administration’s correspondence, this project was created to exhibit an awareness of Digital Humanities in relations to history.

Question 2: Are the projects doing something that a book or article couldn’t do? If so, what?

This project allows visualizations in animated form to show changes in the various descriptive metadata from the ‘n-gram mapping’ done. Facing a common frustration which is scarcity of information in the past, historians are facing complications to historically situate and interpret Kissinger. However, in the present is the the opposite – which is the overwhelming load of information. This project deals with the struggle of understanding and managing ‘big data’, with new adaptation, development and employment of numerous tools/methods/interpretive frameworks to overcome such an issue to facilitate new historical interpretations.

Question 3: How would you classify each project (e.g. history, literature, philosophy..?)

I would classify this project to be history, considering the series of historical text analyses and data visualizations conducted on the DNSA (Digital National Security Archives)’s Kissinger ‘Memcons’ collection and ‘Telcons’ collection.

Question 4: What do you like about these projects?

I like how textual and sentiment analyses can be conducted to the project, providing a broad computational approach for data visualization. It allows for new quantitative avenues to explore a sophisticated challenge that diplomatic historians face – which is to assess and track the changes in influence and participation of individuals and/organizations in foreign policy making.

Question 5: What do you dislike and how would you improve them?

I feel the inconsistencies that come with the emotions expressed could be better analyzed via another method. Such subjectivity should not be a text-based analysis since it could be a sentiment for numerous other compelling interpretations and explanations.

3. Freedom’s Ring

Link: http://freedomsring.stanford.edu/?view=Speech
 

Question 1: What are these projects trying to do?

This project is Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a dream” speech in animated format. In this project, users can compare the written and spoken speech, explore multimedia images, listen to movement activists and uncover the historical context. This project was created to appreciate the many people whose work and lives had contributed to Freedom’s Ring. With reference to many compelling graphics drawn, it serves to resonate with the audience through the key ideas expressed via the speech.

Question 2: Are the projects doing something that a book or article couldn’t do? If so, what?

The user can fully explore the speech via reading/listening, scrolling and tapping on various links to assess other information. Additionally, King’s improvisations and unused portions of King’s written remarks were included for better understanding. Graphic representations (in animated form) were also included to allow a better understanding. Additionally users can choose to fast forward/backward enabling reference of work atany point in time.

Question 3: How would you classify each project (e.g. history, literature, philosophy..?)

I would classify this project under history and political/social science.

Question 4: What do you like about these projects?

I like the interactivity and engagement of this project. I like the feature where I can choose to show either the spoken/written text and compare it with the actual text that was shared. Additionally, I like how as an user, I am often placed in appropriate contexts through the highlighted issues presented to me – made searchable via the index, categorized by themes.

Question 5: What do you dislike and how would you improve them?

I found the interface to be distracting in the beginning however as I continued, I found the graphics and the choice of text presentation to be fitting.

4. Voyages

Link: http://www.slavevoyages.org/
 

Question 1: What are these projects trying to do?

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on almost 36,000 slaving voyages that illustrated the forced journey for over 10 million Africans across the seas to Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Using the database, this project aims to trace back the names of the habitants in America and Europe back to their origins. The changes in names after migration/movement can also be discovered through such exploration. Different kinds of information on the voyages can also be searched (e.g. names) based on quantity with the data included.

Question 2: Are the projects doing something that a book or article couldn’t do? If so, what?

More accurately describe the historical event/phenomenon, with actual date and proof. It is a profound research, with much more refined details, that provides a well-rounded historical/anthropological experience. The interactive map in the database provides the ease of tracing the effect of this trade since it extends beyond many places in different continents. It also allows the documentation of the various course of the voyages, that detail the destinations, even deaths on slavers.

Question 3: How would you classify each project (e.g. history, literature, philosophy..?)

I would classify this as a historical project.

Question 4: What do you like about these projects?

Refresh one’s perspective of the world, as whole, through out history; adds detail to the understanding of humankind as a society, through observation of the transition of human civilization. I think this database helped to highlight the importance of slave trade during its days where many merchants/investors/ship captains made their fortune in the sale of human beings and how they made progression and living in different areas.

Question 5: What do you dislike and how would you improve them?

Nothing, although I hoped the database could also have included information on other areas where slavery could have/had occurred.

5. Kindred Britain

Link: http://kindred.stanford.edu/#

Question 1: What are these projects trying to do?

Kindred Britain assembles and visualizes records of nearly 30,000 individuals mainly (but not exclusively) British whom are extremely well-known in the nation’s culture. This project focuses on network analysis, highlighting the various affiliations and relationships shared via the correlations represented. Any person recorded can be connected to one or others via familial relationships of ancestry, descent, sibling hood, marriage. This project allows individuals to discover, experiment, speculate and play with the various nodes and connections available. It enables readers to trace back roots and understand more about the British past via the relationships these influential British shared.

Question 2: Are the projects doing something that a book or article couldn’t do? If so, what?

A static form of archive like books will not be able to allow a search function. Especially so in a database such as this with so many individuals involved, it will be difficult to refer and trace back the relationships if this database was in a paper form.

Question 3: How would you classify each project (e.g. history, literature, philosophy..?)

I would classify this project as social and/or cultural studies considering the various figures involved in British culture – mainly connected through family relationships of blood, marriage, or affiliation.

Question 4: What do you like about these projects?

I like the narrative and the potential narrative that connections/relationships between individuals can tell about their background, families and/or personal histories. It enables numerous angles to be explored through the sorting, shaping and visualizing powers of network analysis in contemporary software.

Question 5: What do you dislike and how would you improve them?

I thought more labeling could be done when exploring the various relationships different individuals shared. Side information can also be included to provide the narrative with more context.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s