Digital Methods for Undergrads

Here’s the link to a shared Google doc that we can use if the group decides to do some workshopping during this afternoon session.  Also, below are some questions that were generated on the session proposal thread—

Questions from comment thread:

  • What are the tools/skills our students need to engage in digital research?

  • What digital projects can be completed during one or two flipped class sessions?
  • How do students engage art history digitally already?

  • How can/should we channel those experiences into the classroom?

  • How can using digital art history methods, or producing digital projects benefit students and their teachers (addressing some of the concerns of technology-resistant colleagues)?

  • How are people using under-utilized tools in their university’s LMS in innovative ways?

  • How do we go about training our students to use technical skills without assuming that they are comfortable already?

  • How might gaming or applications be used in new ways?

  • Can students drive these projects?

  • What issues arise in working with a technologists to create the flipped classroom (a more practical aspect)?

representing uncertainty

competing aspects of time//the risks of hyperreality
showing alternatives in reconstruction (archeology)
what is the “truth” of a site/piece of art/etc
what are the ethics of uncertainty? injecting uncertainty into the classroom without confusing students.
allowing students to explore the uncertainty and annotate and visualize uncertainties themselves
varied audiences//disclosure of uncertainty for different groups//responsibilities. layers of absolute evidence – helps for “consumers”
interdisciplinary approach to research and presentation. especially helpful for non-visual research, such as sounds and smells.
“always dealing with a part for the whole” and the need for “truthiness.” even with graphics programs, it’s always a simulation, no matter how accurate you can be.
finding strategies to tell students to pick something apart.
what is the role of the model if you are just going to change it when it’s built?
restoring for functionality vs restoring for other reasons
art history’s embrace of the unitary object; need to embrace a diachronic nature of objects. cultural biography.
hard to talk about uncertainty in a visual way because of our insistence on visual objects being “true.”
wobbly/fuzzy maps: leaving off info is just as bad as “fudging” the data. what kind of data can you make fuzzy, then? (for example, if you don’t know a location, where do you put it when it’s required? possible example: create a “range” on your visualization, create a homespun effect)
instead of throwing a million examples at undergrads, lets slow down and give less information and talk about them in a broader context
multiple reconstructions of monuments to present to a class/representing process (allows for representing uncertainty)
even simple things like physically erasing what we’re uncertain of can allow students to visualize.
audiences: community engagement//what/why are we trying to recreate, and for whom? experiential spaces/physical spaces (creating a story)
phenomenology (smell and sound scapes as well as visual narratives)
mashups and influences; representing stylistic and perceptive shifts
tools//examples: // GIS // // sketchup // ben franklin home wireframe // OWL //

Art + Feminism Wikipedia Meetup

Wikipedia’s gender trouble is well documented: in a 2010 survey, Wikimedia found that less than 13% of its contributors are female. The reasons for the gender gap are up for debate: suggestions include leisure inequality, how gender socialization shapes public comportment, and the contentious nature of Wikipedia’s talk pages. The practical effect of this disparity, however, is not. Content is skewed by the lack of female participation. Many articles on notable women in history and art are absent on Wikipedia. This represents an alarming aporia in an increasingly important repository of shared knowledge.

We invite you to help address this absence at a Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at THATCamp. Below is a list of helpful links.


How Can Art Historians Publish Their DH Projects?, Part II: Resources

Resources discussed:

Leonardo Reviews

“Leonardo Reviews is the work of an international panel of scholars and professionals invited from a wide range of disciplines to review books, exhibitions, CD-ROMs, Web sites, and conferences. Collectively they represent an intellectual commitment to engaging with the emergent debates and manifestations that are the consequences of the convergence of the arts, science and technology.”


Anvil Acadmic

“Welcome to Anvil Academic, a pioneering, exclusively digital scholarly publisher. We bring the analog publishing world’s traditional editorial rigor to the emerging world of digitally mediated humanities scholarship.”


Ariah Online Publishing Prize

“This award, which carries a $1,000 prize, seeks to encourage and promote high scholarly standards in online publishing in all fields of art history.”



“The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture seeks to enrich the intellectual potential of our fields to inform understandings of an expanding array of visual practices as they are reshaped within digital culture, while also creating scholarly contexts for the use of digital media in film, media and visual studies. By working with humanities centers, scholarly societies, and key library, archive, and university press partners, we are investigating and developing sustainable platforms for publishing interactive and rich media scholarship.”



Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (DAACH) is an on-line, peer-reviewed journal in which scholars can publish 3D digital models of the world’s cultural heritage sitesmonuments, and palaeoanthropological remains accompanied by associated academic articles.”


Issues discussed:

Rethinking peer review

Rethinking publication as goal

Rethinking of presenting scholarship in final, absolute form

Preserving and sharing research materials in enduring digital formats

Importance of DIY attitude

Potential of, but also what culturally discourages collaborative or crowdsourced research activities


Kirsten Ataoguz – How Can Art Historians Publish Their DH Projects?

Present: Kirsten Atagus, Sheila Beonde, Betty Leigh Hutchenson, Dene Grigar, Emily Pugh, Gail Feigenbaum, Alexandra Oliver

Introduction: Kirsten is working collaboratively with a computer scienctist to develop a model for tracking patterns of celestial/solar movements in relation to a particular architectural site. Her question: how to publish this work in a way that accurately represents the data and can be recognized as legitimate research?


  • Desktop v. online?
  • Visualizations v. narrative text description?
  • Is it important to be able to separate the data from the platform?
  • Is the goal to arrive at some kind of stable form or distribute the data, material, components across materials across several databases or platforms?
  • Are we limited by the notion of “publish” (what is “digital publishing”? Is it wider?)

Awesome points people made:

  • don’t be too apologetic about doing DH projects – there’s value in asserting the value of digital work
  • frame the projects in a way that tenure committees or other gatekeepers can understand (if not “research”, then perhaps public intellectual contributions, pedagogy)
  • books are outmoded because they fail to take advantage of the multiplicity and sophistication of new presentation tools
  • “publication” may not be the best way to think about digital presentation
  • archival preservation of data may be different from publication
  • still and moving images are now a reality of several kinds of publication, but sound, smell and touch are still a way off


To dos (in no particular order):

  • match technological platforms for publication with different audiences
  • rewrite tenure promotion guidelines to recognize new products
  • preserve what we like about the book – and discard the rest
  • change not just technology, but academic culture
  • develop guidelines for peer review (NEH and others have already been doing this)
  • pedigreeing rather than publishing: consider alterantive ways of identifying the value of DH work: not just peer review, but number of downloads, page views, screenings, prizes…

Upcoming: Emily Pugh’s organizing a panel for CCA 2015 on these issues – get in touch if you’re interested!

More: Kirsten noted and uploaded all the publications and resources discussed during this panel!

Collaborative doc for Digital Publishing lightening talk

Upcycling: Building a Professional Online Presence Through Digital Publishing
Meredith Brown (@redbrown81) and I (@ByzCapp) have created a Google doc for our lightening talk this afternoon (2/11/14).

We’re both early career researchers want to open up the discussion toward some of the pressing questions that we address regularly.

Since the talk is only fifteen minutes, we’d love it to be a starting point for further discussions over coffee and online. Please add to the discussion by contributing to the doc (be sure to use a name or initial to denote your thoughts), adding comments, or contributing helpful links.

Notes from Linked Open Data

Amy Ballmer has worked on the Avalanche Magazine Index (using WordPress) for several years and wants it to be available to the broader world of art history. Hoping linked open data (LOD) is a solution.
Shift from thinking about content as data
Artist Journal Index: Avalanche magazine; understudied magazine with underrrepresented artists

Europeana LOD video on Vimeo:

Alex Brey worked with British Museum’s LOD at a hackathon in Philly. Uses the language SPARQL, which he said is frustrating to use.

Google’s Guide to Incoporating Structured Data:

Museum Data Exchange:

Univ. MD using linked open data for projects using R language

Scholars have smaller data sets, the challenge of not being “big data” but still sharing with the broader world; LAWDI, Linked Ancient World Data Institute: NEH funded, scholars discussing ways that they can share their data

British Museum LOD, locations semantically linked together

What is linked open data? Data that is made available, as a downloadable file, online. Structured around RDF (resource description framework)
Getty vocabularies are authoritative and provide the framework for people to refer to a reliable identifier (e.g. Picasso)

Open Knowledge Foundation, based out of Norway:

Freebase, good tool for linking datasets; Liam at MIT used it for a news aggregator


What could CAA do to support and promote projects like the Avalanche Magazine index? Pleiades is one portal for ancient world

Two ways to look at the use of LOD
Querying structured data
Teaching people how to use some of the tools for LOD

Cool Stuff Made with Humanities APIs

Difference between using LOD and APIs (structured data)?

John Resig: Automated corrections of data entries on museum websites, comparing Japanese woodblock prints, Varied attributions. Working with MMA

Classical coins at American Numismatics Society using LOD