All blog posts are due by classtime on the day indicated. If your post has been edited during class, or if you’ve posted comments during class, your work will be discarded and you will receive no credit for this assignment.

The Internet is unpredictable, and occasionally browsers crash or connections fail. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you either compose your post in a separate document and paste it into the browser or install the Lazarus extension (or both). I also strongly recommend that you give yourself enough lead time to account for any mishaps that might befall your work.

Your posts should be about 400-500 words long. If there’s a significant technical component, like a data visualization, the written part can be shortened accordingly.

Monday, October 5

(Assignment borrowed from Austin Mason.)

Explore one of the sites below and write a post trying to reverse engineer one of these DH projects.

Make sure your post does the following:

  • Introduces and links to the project you explored.
  • Contains an image of the project that links directly to it.
  • Breaks down the black box of your digital project by indentifying its
    • Sources (assets)
    • Processes (services)
    • Presentations (display)

You may need to poke around the About or FAQ sections of the page to figure out this information, but see how far you can get.

Monday, October 12

Select a digital archive from one of these repositories and examine its contents. If you were going to write a paper based on this archive, what kinds of stories would you be able to tell? What would you not be able to tell based on this archive? How might you remedy that?

Monday, October 19

Find a dataset from the L.A. Controller’s Office and link to it here.

  • Identify its data types.
  • What constitutes a record in this dataset?
  • Use Wallack’s and Srinivasan’s definition to identify the dataset’s ontology.
  • From whose point of view does this ontology make the most sense? (Another way to ask this question: Who will find this data most useful and illuminating?)
  • What can this dataset tell you about the phenomenon it claims to describe?
  • What gets left out?
  • Imagine you’re starting over with data-collection and describe a completely different ontology, from someone else’s point of view.

Monday, October 26

Use one of these datasets to build a simple data visualization with the tool of your choice (we suggest these, but you can use something else if you prefer), doing your best to adhere to the principles Nathan Yau lays out in Data Points. Link to or embed your visualization in your post. What does your visualization tell you that you couldn’t see from the data itself?

Monday, November 2

Using the HTML we learned in class, build a website that contains a header, links, paragraph(s), an unordered list, and an image. (BONUS: Style your page with CSS.) Upload your page to your group’s server and link to it from your blog post.

Your page doesn’t necessarily need to be about your project; it can be about anything you want. Your blog post doesn’t need to contain anything except the link to your page.

Monday, November 9

Select and read a short story from here.* Make a list of characters. These are your nodes. Decide what constitutes a connection (e.g., characters appear together in a scene, characters speak to each other, etc.) and build an edge list. Use your edge list to build a simple network graph with Google Fusion Tables and embed it in this blog post. (You can use this tutorial.) What, if anything, does this network graph illuminate about the characters’ connections? What are its limitations?

*Click on each issue to view its table of contents. Some stories are free to read and some aren’t.

Monday, November 16

Select a DH mapping project from the following list and think about the way it uses maps. What kinds of assumptions, and whose point of view, does the map reflect? What does the map reveal and what does it obscure? Imagine and describe an alternate map.

Digital Harlem

Caribbean Cholera Map

Digital Gazetteer of the Song Dynasty


Locating London’s Past

Mapping Decadence

Monday, November 23

Choose a project from Vectors and describe its interface. What was it like to navigate this site? Based on the project’s editorial statement and your own observations, explain why you think the project designers made the design decisions they did. Do you think the project is successful? Why or why not?

Wednesday, December 3 (NOTE THE DATE)

Working with a partner, download and install 123D Catch on either a phone or a PC. Use it to build a 3D model and embed the model in a blog post.