Tech + Text


What makes a DH/DS project work or splutter out depends partly on the wedding of digital tool and project materials. With the wrong combination, the whole project can go awry. This week we took the time to consider how the KWE Native American book collection might cooperate with one of the tools we’ve “sandboxed” to get a feel for.

  • ArcGIS. After completing a four-day, twelve-hour workshop in ArcGIS, we got a feel for the capabilities of importing census data, using different map projections, and layering on features like rivers or elevation data. In theory, this could provide a way to look at the KWE, perhaps using locales mentioned in the texts or mapping out the publishing houses over the decades.
  • Tiki-Toki. Other advantages might come from using a more traditional approach of the timeline. Online timelines created with Tiki-Toki are interactive and web-embeddable, with some degree of customizable looks.
  • Scalar.¬†In terms of telling a story through the materials, perhaps more as artifacts than as texts, we might think of arranging digitized materials on the online tool Scalar. It seems to work for some modern forms of online storytelling, often nonlinear, that guide a visitor through a particular subset of works.
  • Omeka. This program is one that the Frost Library has on some computers for us to use. Previous online exhibits for individual classes have used this tool to create digital exhibits. Using this would require a fair amount of visual information and secondary source research to produce a well-shaped, informed exhibit.

Combinations of these digital tools might be useful, or then again it might be clunky and less streamlined.

While making some kind of game or comprehensive digital archive might be something I’m interested in, the framing of a project should always take into consideration time/resources constraints. Still, it’s quite the job to winnow down from all the platforms and topics available to us to settle on one project. Next week calls for ¬†secondary source research.

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