Pedagogical Outreach for NINES

 archives, digital humanities, pedagogy  Comments Off on Pedagogical Outreach for NINES
Oct 092015

[Written by Joanna Swafford and cross-posted from

I’m happy to announce that I am now on the NINES Executive Council as the Head of Pedagogical Outreach! I’m honored by this new position, and I’m eager to start!

In the coming weeks and months, I hope to do a survey of how the projects NINES has peer-reviewed are used in classes and start creating a repository of lesson plans and assignments.

To start us off, here is an example of how I’ve used the crowd-sourcing project Book Traces in the classroom. For anyone who hasn’t yet used it, Book Traces is a site, sponsored by NINES, that collects 19th century marginalia from 19th century books located in the stacks (not special collections) of university libraries. Participants then photograph these examples of marginalia and upload them into the site to create an archive of readers’ markings in texts, helping scholars examine how actual Victorian readers responded to literature. In my introduction to digital humanities class, my students first read articles about Book Traces, then met with librarian Stephan Macaluso, who explained how to recognize different types of 19th century handwriting (Copperplate, Spencerian, and Palmer) and writing implements (steel-nip and fountain pen) so they could figure out which marginalia would meet the assignment requirements. Armed with this knowledge, we let them loose in the stacks. Even though SUNY New Paltz’s library only contains about 2000 books from the 19th century, most of my students were able to find examples to upload into Book Traces, and in fact, they uploaded the 400th unique volume into the site. Here are some of their most interesting discoveries:


One student found a handwritten letter in German from 1897 attached to the inside cover of Johann Gustav Droysen’s Principles of History, which was translated from the original German into English by E. Benjamin Andrews. The letter appears to be from the writer to the translator, giving him permission to translate the book into English.

lupinoAnother student found the book Shakespeare: The Man and his Stage with the inscription “To Barry Lupino . . . .a souvenir, Theatre Royal Huddenfield, July 16, 1923 from Alfred Wareing”: with some research, she was able to determine that Lupino was a British actor, and Wareing, a theatrical producer with a reputation for producing demanding productions and creating the Theatre Royal.

Book Traces gets students into the library, encourages them to rethink their definition of a book, and engages them in a large-scale scholarly project, while showing them that research can be fun. If you’d like to do an assignment like this in one of your classes, feel free to use my assignment as a model:

If you have assignments using digital projects that NINES has peer-reviewed, or if you have other ideas as to how NINES can bolster its pedagogical mission, please email, tweet, or comment on this post!

I look forward to hearing from all of you!

Found Maps & Etc. Junk 3

 01 What's A Map?  Comments Off on Found Maps & Etc. Junk 3
Oct 092015

Vogel’s Scale of Urine Tints (1879)

Image from page 69 of “Die Heilgymnastik in der Gynaekologie : und die mechanische Behandlung von Erkrankungen des Uterus und seiner Adnexe nach Thure Brandt” (1895)

Bird’s eye view of White Sulfur Springs, Virginia (1859).

Comparison of red blood cells. (1892)

Image from page 88 of “Di͡e͡tskai͡a͡ ėnt͡s͡iklopedīi͡a͡” (1913)

Image from page 135 of “Mechty i zvuki poezii” (1842)

Image from page 830 of “North Carolina Christian advocate” (1894)

Map: Manhattan Building Height and Area Restrictions (1920).

Image from page 362 of “American journal of physiology” (1898)

Kite designs (1908).

The European spider spins it’s iron web over all the world (1900).

Map: Maximum Deaths, Connecticut, 1906

Junk found while searching for stuff for the 3rd edition of Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS. Out late Spring 2016.

Sign up for training on online resource discovery for digital collections

 training  Comments Off on Sign up for training on online resource discovery for digital collections
Oct 092015

Following on from the successful resource discovery pilot training programme, Jisc is launching a series of training sessions to support institutions in making their digital collections easier to discover.

The training sessions are free and open to all FE and HE staff working within digital libraries, collections and archives. The course is also open to staff working in libraries, museums or art galleries who have collections that can be used for learning, teaching and research.

Registration is open, please sign up today.

The training sessions will focus on the use of social media, analytics and a variety of other tools to help digital collections become discoverable to wider audiences online. They will also cover, making collections available and user friendly for teaching and learning, improving user experience and reaching more academic researchers.

The training consist of a series of one day workshops, supported by webinars and online resources.

3 November – Webinar: Challenges and opportunities – 10:00-12:00, online

10 November – Workshop: Enabling use of digital resources in learning and teaching, 10:00 -16:00, Bristol

17 November- Webinar: The potential of social networks and social media, 10:00-12:00, online

24 November – Workshop: Making Google work for your digital collections, 10:00- 16:00, Bristol

1 December – Webinar: Working with researchers, 10:00-12:00, online

Places for the workshops are currently fully booked. Please visit the registration page to express your interest in future events, or to be placed on the waiting list for the current workshops. Webinar registration remains open.

All the sessions are supported by our online training guide “Make your digital resources easier to discover” and case studies from universities and archives who have attended the pilot training sessions.

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 Posted by on October 9, 2015

Network Effect overwhelms with data

 Data Art, Social, Twitter, youtube  Comments Off on Network Effect overwhelms with data
Oct 082015

Network Effect

Network Effect by Jonathan Harris and Greg Hochmuth is a gathering of the emotions, non-emotion, and everyday-ness of life online. It hits you all at once and overwhelms your senses.

We gathered a vast amount of data, which is presented in a classically designed data visualization environment — all real, all impeccably annotated, all scientifically accurate, all “interesting,” and yet all basically absurd. In this way, the project calls into question the current cult of Big Data, which has become a kind of religion for atheists.

Harris and Hocmuth gathered tweets that mentioned 100 behaviors, such as hug, cry, blow, and meditate, and paired them with YouTube videos that correspond. They then employed workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to read the tweets aloud and gather data on when behaviors occurred. Tweets are continually collected to collect data on why people perform such behaviors, and Google Ngram provides historical usage context.

It is a lot of things going on at once.

I could go on, but it's better if you experience it for yourself. You're given about seven minutes per day to view, depending on the life expectancy of where you live. The weird thing is that even though it's an overwhelming view into online life, you're left wanting more, which is exactly what the creators were going for.

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Oct 082015

The last stop of my two month Peruvian sojourn was Lake Titicaca, a very large and very deep lake high-up on a never-ending Andean plateau. The lake is split between Peru and Bolivia and in case you were wondering, it is where the Sun was born. Lake Titicaca is the spiritual home and birthplace of a number of Andean cultures (including the Incas), some who still live around or even on the lake perpetuating the traditional lifestyles of their ancestors. And once you see the lake you can understand why (and Modernity is over-rated, especially in the other New World one-trick ponies of Australia and New Zealand etc. that don’t know of anything else).


Copacobana, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Puno is a fairly large but relaxed city on the Puruvian lake shore. From Puno I visited the pre-Incan Uros people who live on floating islands made of reeds a couple of kilometers off shore. They have lived this way for a thousand years originally as a defence mechanism against hostile Incas and others, but now perhaps because it is a pretty cool lifestyle. But they don’t reject Modernity entirely as I saw solar panels,TVs and radios and boats with outboard motors.


The floating islands of rhe Uros people, Lake Titicaca

There are about two thousand Uros people who live on fourty two-islands, each sitting on a living, floating reed-island made of metres-thick roots with freshly laid reeds on top (and the islands are tied to the floor of the lake so that they dont float away). And aparently when the lake gets choppy, the islands bob up and down just like a boat. The reeds on the top of the island get replaced regularly but the underlying roots rot away so the whole island needs to be rebuilt every thirty years. This reminded me of the Japanese movie by Hiroshi Teshigahata, Woman of the Dunes (1964). A salary man tired of the monotony of Japanese industrialisation escapes to the beach and whilst running along it, falls into a big hole. At the bottom of the hole lives a lady who puts him to work filling a sand bucket that must be lifted out of the hole regularly by the local villagers or the hole will cave in on itself. Perhaps the Uros people are more Modern than they think.


Uros people, Lake Titicaca, Peru

From Puno I crossed the hellish and inefficient border of Puru into Bolivia to the other side of Lake Titicaca. I stayed in a friendly but claustrophobic, family-run hotel in Copacobana, a raffish tourist town on the lake edge. From here I visited Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), a quiet island about two hours by boat from Copacobana. The island was pretty damn special and reminded me a lot of the peninsulars in my very own Southern Tasmania. And having a moto I was able to easily visit many of the local villages on the mainland close to Copacobana although to call them quite is an understatement. Even the Llamas looked like they were in a coma.


Isla Del Sol, Bolivia

I am now in La Paz, which I was trying to avoid as it is too damn large, but even on a moto you have to follow the pre-defined roads (and all roads lead to La Paz).


Matt, Copacobana, Bolivia (imagining he is in Rio)

Towards a Classification of Tech-Induced Mental Disorders

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Towards a Classification of Tech-Induced Mental Disorders
Oct 072015

An increasing number of stories about internet addiction and the effect of constant device use on our minds, lives and relationships. From a culture of distraction and boot-camps for addicted teens to the “electronic apocalypse”.

Recently, I finished a long, two-year stretch at a computer creating my book. Feeling the effect of such intense screen use, I took the time to observe and catalogue how it affected my mind, emotions and behaviours.

Here, in one interactive ‘charticle’, are the disorders and strange cognitive effects I observed.

See how many you recognise:
» Intermental – towards a classification of tech-induced mental disorders.

Superhero HR dashboard

 comics, Statistical Visualization  Comments Off on Superhero HR dashboard
Oct 072015


Talent Lab is an application for human resource professionals to evaluate a work force. (I'm going to pretend that sentence didn't make me feel slightly dirty.) To demonstrate, they put in data for superheroes, so that you can explore abilities, talents, and demographics. This is great for me, because I'm building an Avengers-like workgroup.

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An Elegant Open Notebook

 tools  Comments Off on An Elegant Open Notebook
Oct 072015

I’ve been looking for an open notebook solution for some time. Tonight, I think I’ve hit a combination of tools that are sufficiently powerful and straightforward enough that I can integrate them into my undergraduate teaching. But first:

Caleb McDaniel’s eloquent argument for why one would want to do it is here:

Carl Boettiger is another inspiration:

Mark Madsen’s explanation of how his open notebook works – and the logic he organizes it by – is similarly an inspiration:

and Ben Marwick’s work is pathbreaking (especially within archaeology):

Right. So what is this solution? Zettlekasten + Pykwiki. In an earlier post I got the one-card-per-note ‘zettlekasten’ system that Dan Sheffler uses working on my machine (by the way, you will learn a *lot* if you spend some time reading Dan’s thoughts on the art of note taking). In essence, Dan’s system is just a simple plugin for Sublime Text that designates a particular folder a ‘wiki’. When I type [[ Sublime text shows me a quick list of every markdown file in that folder which I can select to make a link. The link then shows up in my file as [[something like this]] and I can ctrl click on that link to jump to the other file. If there is no file when I hit [[ I can click to create a new file with the text between the [[ and ]] as the file name. It’s a bit like Notational Velocity in that regard (and of course, you could use Notational Velocity if you wanted, though – I’d have to check – I don’t think you can save your notes as separate .md files).

So, with a bit of forethought and sensible naming conventions, I can quickly build up quite a network of cards. Dan also has a script for exporting annotations made on pdfs from Skim as markdown files (my post on this), and the resulting md file can be chopped up quickly or integrated into the existing network of cards).

This is good. What is even better is being able to keep this structure, searchable, online in a way that could be forked. This is where Pykwiki comes into the picture. Pykwiki is a static site generator, run from the command line, that will take a folder of .md files and generate a site from them, which you can then put on your own server space (see a list of features here). Now, I could just put my Zettlekasten in a github repo in the first place, and then push them online. But the files would lose that network of connections – remember, Sublime is interpreting my [[ ]] as an internal link. Pykwiki *also* understands those [[ ]] as internal links! (caveat: don’t have any spaces in file names).

So here’s the set up. I install Pykwiki. I designate Pykwiki’s ‘source’ folder as my Zettlekasten folder for Sublime text. I do my readings, I make my notes, I generate my web of notecards. I make sure to have a ‘data block’ for each note, which is [[ and ]] again, above and below the metadata, with the body of the card below – at a minimum, it looks like this:

title: Space Syntax in Pompeii - shortcomings

## Laurence, Space & Society in Roman Pompeii

+ On page 194....

…but can also include tags and other kinds of meta data that’d be useful to have. Also, a notecard can be designated ‘private’ so it doesn’t show up in search, but is still findable if you know the direct url. (And I’m also using another script from Dan Sheffler which associates BibDesk cite keys with custom URLs to open up the pdfs I was reading in the first place, so my online notes will open my pdfs on this machine or any other one where I have that script installed.).  With my session ended, I make sure to save all my cards, close Sublime, and go over to the terminal, and ‘pykwiki cache’ – et voila! The site is generated. It’s now in the ‘docroot’ folder. This folder is pushed to a github pages branch, and I’ve got myself a searchable open notebook wiki (with rss feed! So recipes from can be used to further mash things up).


(PS Thought occurs – since I sometimes also do work in R, I can probably get that whole Rmd scene working with this as well.)

(PPS At this point, you might reasonably expect to find a link to my open online notebook. Erm. Well, I only got all the bugs out of the flow this evening. Over the coming days, I’ll start trying to put some of my existing notes – or maybe, start a new notebook – up.)

(open notebook image: public domain)

 Posted by on October 7, 2015

Episode #115 – The Mills is in Basel Edition

 Conferences, Libraries, library of congress, NEH, open access  Comments Off on Episode #115 – The Mills is in Basel Edition
Oct 072015

The regulars (Stephen, Tom, Amanda, and Dan) are back for a new semester and a new season of Digital Campus in which we wave to Mills as he jaunts about Europe. We also talk about some of the summer and early autumn’s big news, including the NEH ODH’s project directors meeting, the 50th anniversary of the NEH, Librarian of Congress James Billington’s retirement, and the George Mason University History Department’s new digital dissertation guidelines. Other mentions include:

– UConn historical musical instruments project
– John Donne’s 1622 sermon for Gunpowder Day: Virtual Paul’s Cross Project
– NEH Anniversary Message from President Obama
NEH Funding Levels, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Check back in two weeks for more from the world of digital humanities, libraries, and museums and to see where Mills lands on another episode of Digital Campus.

Running time: 47:32

Download the .mp3

Web Inspector Keyboard Shortcuts

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Web Inspector Keyboard Shortcuts
Oct 072015

Web Inspector is loaded with tools to make web development easier and more effective. To help you become more efficient, Web Inspector includes keyboard shortcuts for many commonly used actions. These shortcuts will help you streamline your interactions and reduce the effort needed to complete your work.

Keyboard Shortcuts

You can learn about the shortcuts by hovering over interface elements and examining their tooltips. We’ve compiled a handy reference list of useful shortcuts to make working with Web Inspector more effortless.

Debugger Shortcuts

Debugger Shortcuts

⌘Y Disable breakpoints
⌃⌘Y or Continue script execution
F6 or ⌘’ Step over
F7 or ⌘; Step in
F8 or ⇧⌘; Step out

These shortcuts work from any Web Inspector panel, not just Debugger. One exception is ⌘Y — when editing code, ⌘Y comments out a line.



⌘⇧F — global search, it searches in all resources.
⌘F — local search, search within currently selected panel (e.g. a resource or console).

CSS selectors and XPath can be used for both global and local search.

Hide an Element

The H key hides the currently selected element by assigning “visibility: hidden” to it. Unlike deleting a node (by pressing delete key or setting “display: none”), setting “visibility: hidden” doesn’t move any other elements on the web page.

Select Next and Previous Tabs

Much like ⌘⇧] and ⌘⇧[ select next and previous tabs respectively in Safari, ⌘⇧] and ⌘⇧[ select next and previous tabs in WebKit Inspector when it’s undocked.

Toggle Split Console

The Esc key focuses on the quick console. Once it’s focused, pressing Esc toggles the split console.

Console Filters

Several filters can be selected by clicking while holding key.

Clear console

Clear console

Console can be cleared not only by clicking on the trash icon or by executing console.clear(), but also by pressing ⌘K or ⌃L.


All these keyboard shortcuts are available in both Safari 8 and 9. Please message @webkit on Twitter about keyboard shortcuts you like, don’t like or want to be implemented. If it doesn’t fit into 140 characters, file a bug report.