Reflection On Final Project

Since the beginning of HUMN 100 class, we have used a bunch of digital humanity tools to study the diary of the journey of Payne and Froehlich. We have done the work that starts from distant reading and ends to close reading. The work we have done on this diary is like a tree that Omeka and Juxta Edition are the most basic things of the work just like tree trunk and Oxygen, Timeglider, Time Mapper,  GIS and Gephi are all very detail and all presents different aspects of the diary, just like branches.

Spiderscribe of work assigning
Spiderscribe of work assigning

Since we have done a lot of work on this diary, we decided, at the end of the class, to make a website presenting the work we have done through the whole semester to people outside our class, including humanists and people who are not in this area. Therefore, we decided to go over most  of the work we have done in this class and divide it into different work to everyone in our class.  My job in this final project was to put original archive on Omeka and do the proofread of the transcription we did in early time of this semester on Juxta Edition.

omeka provides a simple description for the diary and categorizes it into group called shamokin diary
omeka provides a simple description for the diary and categorizes it into group called shamokin diary

The job I got was crucial to the job we have done since they were quite fundamental in all the work we have done. The first step is to put original archive on Omeka. I have two choices: either to put all the images of the archives into one item or to put each pages into different items. At first I tried the first one, thinking it would be more convenient for viewers to find out all the pages of the diaries if I put them together. However, there were some problems if I chose this. The first thing is that, once I put them all in one item and I submit them, they just appear in random order, for example, the first page follows the third page and the last page follows the second one. Therefore I decided to change the name of the images so that viewers will know which page they are reading. However, I found it would take a lot of time to find out the right page and it is inconvenient since every pages look similar and it is easy to mess up. Therefore, I decided to put image of page on Omeka separately which means I put one page into one item. I searched out the item with all the pages we transcribed from Omeka and added something on it based on my previous experience on Omeka. I added description, which is manuscript, language, which is English and type, which is journal. The information gives viewer a deeper understanding of the work the first time they see it.

Showing how Juxta edition present transcribed documents
Showing how Juxta edition present transcribed documents

The second step is doing proofread of the transcription we have done on Juxta Edition. The rule of the thumb of this work is to make sure the transcription work is as similar as possible to the original archive.  However, such goal is hard to reach, since once we transcribe, we lose something, for example, calligraphy, the material of paper, the fringe of the text and different shades of color of the text. I used as much as I could use on the Juxta Edition to make sure not only we had the same spelling of the word in the transcription work with the original archive but also similar format of the text with the original one. I fond some mistakes we transcribed in spelling word: some are misreading and some are just typo. Also, we made some problem in format, and the most common one is that some of us choose to ignore the writing deleted by the author in the original transcription. So I added them on the transcription. I could not recognize some of the words Payne deleted and I counted how many letter Payne deleted and replaced them with “x”. I also use the “delete” format in Juxta Edition for these “x”s.

The work we have done this semester gives us basic understanding of digital humanity study. At the beginning of this semester, I was very confused about the work we would do. However, as we did more and more work on Payne and Froehlich’s diary, their journey became clearer and clearer to us. The work was becoming more and more detailed as we using different digital humanities tools. We started from transcribing the original document, which enabled us to read. Then, the work of XML helped us to extract the names, places and time and other traits from the text. We put them on time glider to extract the important events connected to places, people and time. Then, we explored more detail of this study—Gephi: explore the relationship between people. At last, we used GIS  to make story maps. This work is quite different from the work we have done before, in which we just focused on the diary itself. However, GIS helped us to  extend our study— we not only has the route of Payne and Froehlich’s journey, but also different map layers, which brought different events or aspects that happened in the same period together. By putting different layers together, we can learn about something that we can not know by simply reading the diary, for example, how did Payne and Froehlich picked up their route. The final project not only gave us a chance to present our work that we have done in the whole semester, but also enabled us to review what we have learned before.

I always believe that subjects are always connected with each other, and they are not as separated as we think. This project helped me to identify this idea: in my geography class, our professor introduced it but we did not have a chance to use it. However, in this class, we learned how to use it, which helped me to gain a deeper understanding of GIS. Also, the digital humanities tools we learned in this class improved my understanding in geography class and art history class.

visit our site

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Reflection on Final Project

Our final project is to design a website together as a group, instead of doing our individual projects. Since different pages in this website talk about different digital tools we learned during this semester, our first mission is to identify each person’s role in this project. With the help of Spiderscribe, we separate the project into five different parts. Yuting is responsible for the website design and Timemapper. In her page, she talks about the historical background of the journal we are working on, which helps reader have a broader vision of what was happening at the same time in the 1740s. Sonia is responsible for both the Juxta Edition and Omeka. Since the two digital tools are what we learned in the beginning of this semester. Her work is mainly to check the spelling of the translation and the tags of people, place and time. As what she wrote on her page, Omeka is a tool to make original manuscripts more accessible for the public and Juxta Edition is amazing because it makes reading more easily. Suné’s job is to working with TEI files in Oxygen. She did really a good job in double checking the mistakes in the codes, changing the size and color of the content, highlight the places and characters’ names. Caroline and I are responsible for making new story maps which are based on the old story maps we created individually before. I also accepted the job to work with Gephi, which explores relationships between people who appear in the journal.

Assigning roles with Spiderscribe.
Assigning roles with Spiderscribe.

Since the final project is more like a connection, not a creation. We reread the blog posts we wrote before and the materials which were posted on the word press. Interestingly, The process of doing our final project reminded me a lot of what we did during the whole semester. During this whole semester, we’ve been working on the Payne and Froehlich’s Travel Journal. Since it is my first time to get access to 18th century handwriting manuscripts, the translation of cursive writing of the letter was a big challenge for me to overcome. Thanks to Professors’ help, I gradually found out the similarities between the same letters and the speed of my translating increased a lot. During the future several weeks, we learned how to use Juxta edition to tag people and places, and TEI files to do some deeper and more precise reading, which is called close reading. Gephi and Time Mapper are two more digital tools to analyze the journal in different aspects. Gephi puts emphasis on relationships between people, and otherwise, time mapper puts all event in the order of time. However, my favorite digital tool is GIS and I finally chose it as my part of final project.

The process of creating my own story map is full of fun. Although everyone’s story is based on the same journal, everyone focused on different parts. As the final project, I mixed mine, Sonia’s and Sune’s story map together. When I was browsing their map stories, I even got a deeper understanding of what Bodenhammer said “deep maps…..are genuinely multimedia and multilayered”. With different compositions of different maps, our map stories have totally different topics and focus on the new relationship between elements, like slaves, plantation and Moravian. My own map story talks about how they finally chose the route. However, after I mixed mine with other people’s story map, the whole story became more abundant. It is because the historical background, the locations of plantations, the real life of slaves made the story more trusty and logical. In this case, we can concluded that: They started from Bethlehem in Monocracy Path. They changed direction when they arrived Lancaster. It’s because along the Susquehanna River live many Native Americans and there are also many colonial ferries. After they crossed the Susquehanna River and got into Maryland, wherever they stopped and lay at is never far from plantations. They started their journey from those concentrated areas of itinerancy and preaching in Pennsylvania and tried to bring Moravian culture to occasional areas of itinerancy and preaching in Maryland and Virginia.

Story Map
I also worked on the page of the introduction of Gephi. Since there is no blog post about Gephi and it had been a month since we discussed about it, it was a big challenge for me in the beginning. Luckily, Professor Faull sent me the images of our Gephis, which did a great help in my page design. After consideration, I finally chose Suné’s and my Gephis as a contrasting example in the page. As we all know, since the visualization of Gephi largely depends on the nodes and edges we add, different thinking of relationships between characters leads to totally different Gephi. Suné and I have two contrast thinking of the design of Gephi. With two main characters, Froehlich and Payne, in the center, her Gephi is a network visualization of the relationship between each of them and all people who showed up on the journey. Comparatively, my Gephi looks a little bit simpler since it has only 1 center character, Froehlich. My idea is that, as Payne is the writer of the whole journal, he definitely has an central relationship with every other person who appeared in this journal. Because of this, I took him out of my Gephi visualization. At the top of this page, I cited what Mathieu Bastian & Sebastien Heymann said about Gephi. It is because i think it will give reader a clear view of what Gephi’s function is.

Gephi
This final project is meaningful to me, not only because it provided me with a chance to review what we learned during this whole semester, but also because it made me fully understand the importance of cooperation in a team. Since Yuting is the one who designed the whole website, to upload my pages before deadline is significantly important. Here is the link to our amazing website.

封面

Reflection on Final Project

In the beginning of the semester, we worked together as a team of Humanities 100 students and professors to transcribe Payne and Froehlich’s 1747 travel journal. Using the digital copy of the journal, various digital humanities tools, and help from our professors, my classmates and I were able to look at the journal from both very broad and very close perspectives. Every person was able to develop a different understanding of the journal, depending on the questions she asked throughout the process. Even though we each found our favorite medium of interpretation, every person’s contribution provided insight and allowed us to come to a greater understanding of the journal.

Realizing that our combining our efforts, talents, and interests would provide the most thorough analysis of Payne and Froehlich’s journey, we decided to do a collaborative final project. As a class, we created a website that contained our work from throughout the semester; every member of the class was responsible for contributing a different artifact for the site. Each digital humanities scholar chose her favorite digital humanities tool and we used Spiderscribe to divide the work and delegate tasks.

Assigning roles with Spiderscribe.
Assigning roles with Spiderscribe.

Fiona and I were both most interested in working with ArcGIS as our contribution to the website; after some discussion, we determined that our separate research questions provided diverse perspectives and having two ArcGIS maps would enhance our project.

The question that I aimed to answer was: How did location impact the perception of the Moravian travelers and why did they choose this route?

I combined the ArcGIS map that I created, which touched mainly on the perceptions are Moravians in different places, with Suné’s map, which provided a helpful overview of their journey.

Screenshot from Suné's story map
Screenshot from Suné’s story map

 

 

 

Screenshot from my original story map
Screenshot from my original story map

 

 

While I was extremely proud of my own ArcGIS map and the story it told, combining it with Suné’s only enriched the work that I had already done. Piecing the two maps together allowed me to obtain a more complete answer to my research question. Having done both distant and close readings of the journal, I had a few passages in mind to incorporate into the story map.

On the home slide of the compiled story map, I decided to put both the Waggon Map and the Mission Map layers, to provide an overview of their journey in the appropriate time period. On the next slide, I combined the information from Suné’s map about the beginning of their journey with my own. I was able to successfully insert a picture of the Pennsylvania countryside into the side panel. Though this was a fairly easy task on this slide, I ran into trouble inserting and formatting an image on the following slide titled “Stay in PA Overview.” I was unable to make the image fit the slide well so you can only see portions of it at a time and need to scroll to see the whole image.

The difficult slide
The difficult slide

Though attempting to fix the image was time consuming and frustrating, it served as a valuable lesson; I learned about the glitches in and limits of the ArcGIS program. Also, I realize that this issue is a minor one that, in the grand scheme of the project, does not detract from the explanation of the travel journal.

In order to try to connect the digital artifact that I created with the original text, I sprinkled quotations from the journal throughout the story map. I was attempting to find an answer to the research question that I posed through the travelers’ own words. This allowed me to come to more accurate conclusions about the ways they were perceived in different locations and ultimately why they chose to travel along the route that they did.

Using Payne and Froehlich’s words and the layers provided by Professor Faull, my peers, and ArcGIS, I was able to uncover information about their journey that we had not discovered using any other medium. Though, the work I did on ArcGIS was made possible by the class working rigorously to transcribe and make sense of the original documents. By working so closely with one journal throughout the semester, I was able to become very familiar with the story. Originally I thought that I would come to conclusions and master the material, however as the semester went on I found myself asking more questions.

In my first blog post, On Material and Digital Archives: Old Info, New Medium, I wrote, “[a] major advantage to having information on a digital platform is that it can be analyzed in new ways.” When I wrote this post, this statement was more of a speculation that I was able to test as I learned to use different programs and tools. After working with TEI files in Oxygen, creating a timeline in Timemapper, exploring personal networks with Gephi, and documenting their journey on ArcGIS, I have proven my hypothesis and analyzed the same nineteen pages of text in many different and new ways.

In my first post, I also noted the possible dangers in digitizing the journal:

 

“One of which is the inevitable bias that comes with republishing work. By taking anything out of its original context alters the meaning of the work and skews how it is perceived by readers. Even just the way information is grouped, categorized, and framed impacts the way in which readers will come to understand it. Therefore archivists must be aware of the way they frame their work and display it to the world.”

 In examining a document that is over 200 years old, it is important to keep the cultural context in mind. Regardless of how hard we try as scholars, it is impossible to eliminate our own biases and perspectives from the work we produce. Therefore it is important to regard the information as interpretations of the text rather than as whole truths. Not only are we framing the material differently, but we are also adding information that the travelers did not have. For example, on my story map, I show the slave population density and locations of plantations in the 1740s. I use these things as evidence, along with the text, to further demonstrate my point; in doing so, I am manipulating the material. The perspective of the scholar is essential to consider when reading a product from republished work.

 

The map on this slide shows the slave population density at the time of Payne and Froelich's travels
The map on this slide shows the slave population density at the time of Payne and Froelich’s travels

I have found that it is quite easy to be captivated by small details. This led me to become sidetracked and at times include unnecessary information that could muddle the actual material at hand. Keeping material focused and on point was a major challenge for me, especially with the abundance of accessible information on the Internet. For the final project I edited my work and eliminated superfluous information.

The resulting story map provided an answer to my research question: How did location impact the perception of the Moravian travelers and why did they choose this route? I found that the travelers were well received for the first ten days of their travel, as they were staying among fellow Moravians. But as they moved south, below what would soon be the Mason-Dixon line, they were met with skepticism. Their mission to share knowledge of Jesus with slaves made them tread into unfamiliar territory and interact with dubious slave owners. In addition, the pair had to travel through towns that had justices who could sign their passes. These were some of the factors that contributed to their travel decisions and the route that they took.

I am confident in the work that I produced and the conclusions I have come to, however I cannot say that my deductions are conclusive. The story map is a representation of my own truth, not necessarily Payne and Froehlich’s. The compilation of artifacts provided on our final project website, Payne-Froehlich Journal 1747: Moravian Itinerant Preachers Visit the Slave Plantations of the Chesapeake, are all interpretations of the text. However, making the information accessible and presenting it in one place allows researchers to explore the artifacts in a more complete way. The culminating final project not only allowed each member of the class to delve deeply into her chosen area of interest, but also allows us to add to the digital archive of historical information.

LINK TO STORY MAP: http://arcg.is/1D3OXWH

 

Bibliography

 

MacLure, Caroline. “On Material and Digital Archives: Old Info, New Medium.” Web blog post. The Humanities Now! Bucknell, 25 Jan. 2015. Web. <https://thehumanitiesnow2015.blogs.bucknell.edu/2015/01/25/on-material-and-digital-archives-old-info-new-medium/>.

 

 

Swart, Suné. “Highlights of the Jasper Payne Journey: October 28th – November 27th, 1747.” ArcGIS. Bucknell, n.d. Web. 05 May 2015. <http://bucknell.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=546bf0af1ad740dea6aa4149d3d8ea86>.

 

MacLure, Caroline. “Travel Route, Location, and Attitude Towards Moravians.” ArcGIS. Bucknell, n.d. Web. 05 May 2015. <http://bucknell.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=64e5bb56e60f48c48440a3ab806b2c8f&edit>.

 

 

Course website: https://thehumanitiesnow2015.blogs.bucknell.edu/

Final project website: https://paynefroehlich.blogs.bucknell.edu/

 

Reflection on Final Project

To finish out the semester, we, the students of Humanities 100, decided to create a final masterpiece together as a class. We decided not to go off and do our own individual final projects, but to instead tie everything we accomplished throughout the semester together by creating a website that connects all of our individual works. Since we had already done most of the behind-the-scenes work throughout the entire semester, this project required us to create a visual presentation of all our separate works as one project.

Assigning roles with Spiderscribe.
Assigning roles with Spiderscribe.

We started to plan out our approach to this project by assigning roles among ourselves with a website called Spiderscribe. The way we went about assigning these roles was to let each erson decide what they like to do the most out of everything we’ve done this semester. We had to choose between tools such as Omeka, Juxta Editions, oXygen, TimeMapper, Gephi, and GIS. Caroline and Fiona were good candidates for doing the story maps with GIS because they both liked mapping and writing about the journey. They did a very nice job with making it look good and easy to understand. Yuting gladly accepted two of the more difficult jobs in my opinion. She was assigned to work with TimeMapper to map out what other historical events were happening during the same time. On top of that, she accepted the responsibility of designing the entire final project website. She really did a fantastic job with the design and organization of the contents. Along with Yuting, another person who accepted more than one responsibility was  Shengjue. She was responsible for talking about Juxta Editions while also making an exhibit of the journal in Omeka. She was chosen for working with Omeka because she has had some experience with it from helping Professor Faull in the past.

I was responsible for using oXygen to make sure the TEI files were consistent and formatted so we could publish a nice transcription of the journal online.

XML file in oXygen
XML file in oXygen

I was happy with this assignment because I enjoyed marking up the files in oXygen. Before I could start, Professor Jakacki had to compile our individual TEI files into one big file and email it to me. With the help of Professor Faull, we made sure the tags were consistent throughout all the files. It was important that all the people and role names were consistent, because I want to keep track of all of the characters in the text. We had to make sure that everyone tagged emotions and references to Jesus since the journal was written with an exceptional amount of emotion and most of it because of the writer’s strong religious beliefs. We needed to check that everyone marked words that were spelled differently than they are today. This may not have seemed as important for others to mark up as it was to me. It is very interesting for me to see how simple things like that change from then to now. So I wanted all of the files to have those words tagged. It was most important to have all dates tagged because I knew that this would be necessary for the CSS file and would be very noticeable if it was wrong.

After making sure everything was tagged correctly, I started to edit the final CSS file that was linked to our tagged files. With this file I could edit the way the files would be displayed online. I could format the fonts by tag, for example we could make all names of people appear in a green, italicized font if we wanted to. After thinking about this project as a whole even more deeply, I realized that it is more important to change the format of tags that are not just people, places, and dates. The reason is because those are basic tags that are already available through Juxta Editions. If I want to show off the great work I was able to do through <oXygen/> then I should highlight this by changing the color of words that were tagged as emotions and role names.

Our final transcribed journal.
Our final transcribed journal.

So this is exactly what I did. I changed the color of words tagged as “emotion” to blue and “roleName” to purple. I also decided to stick with making the dates stand out so the the journal stays easy to read. I still chose to italicize words that were differently spelled back then than they are now for the same reasons previously stated. As for paragraph breaks, I decided to break before each date in addition to after each actual journal page.

My role in this project helped me to realize just how revolutionary this field of study is.  Digital Humanists are able to view our project and use it to rediscover our artifacts. These technologies allow for them to do this from the comfort of their own homes. There is no need to travel around the world to find the artifact and then transcribe it. I like the integration of historical artifacts with modern technology. The connections that I was able to make and the conclusions I was able to derive from the artifact would not have been possible without the collaboration of these different technologies. Digital Humanities constantly fascinates me and creating this final project made me feel like I was part of something bigger than myself. It gave me a chance to formally publish work that I’ve done in a format that I can share with the world. It has been made clear to us that opportunities like this are usually not given to undergraduate students and we are very fortunate to have been able to use these tools and to be a part of a project like this. My favorite part of this project though, were the people that I was able to work with on it. My peers not only did a great job, but also made it fun and the class periods we spent working together flew by every time. My classmates were a pleasure to work with, especially because we were a very diverse group. Click on the image below to read more about us and to view our final project.

Click here to read more about us and to view our final project.
Click here to read more about us and to view our final project.