Jonathan Schulz’s Project Reviews

Browsing through a wide range of Digital Humanities research projects was insightful because these projects displayed the diversity within the field of Digital Humanities, while several projects contained elements that I hope to replicate in my own project.  

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project (http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/segregated.htm) is a project ongoing in Seattle, Washington that provides an impressively-organized map of the segregation that developed within the neighborhoods of Seattle. Created by the University of Washington, the project maps out the segregated neighborhoods in Seattle and provides historical context to explain the demographic development within the city. I was impressed by how the project included ethnographic statistics for many of the neighborhoods and how the project also provided diagrams of the neighborhoods. From the perspective of a user, this project exceeded my expectations as it not only blended visualizations with historical commentary, but also included links to direct the users to digital versions of the primary documents. I would consider this project a success as it includes a balance of visuals, historical context, and primary documents, is easy to navigate, and is well-structured (chronologically by each decade). For my own project, I hope to replicate some of these elements, especially the balanced blend of visuals and written text. 

Another current project in this field is A Visual History of Chicano/A/X Literature (http://faculty.ucmerced.edu/mmartin-rodriguez/index_files/00VH.htm). Supported by UC Merced, this project is operated by Manuel Martín-Rodríguez and it compiles a list of literary works by Mexican-American authors. This list is presented chronologically by date of publication and a digital form of the original cover is provided for each piece of literature. Although this project contains important elements, I believe that it falls short of a success as it fails to provide descriptions of each works’ historic significance, summaries of the content from these books, digital scans of the original books, as well as other forms of visualization. Without commentary or copies of the original primary sources, this project was extremely limited and provided the user with very minimal information. One aspect of this project that I found successful was the manner by which these books were arranged chronologically and how they displayed a digital copy of the original cover of each document. 

The third project that I explored was the Black Press Collective (http://blackpressresearchcollective.org/visualizing-the-black-press/), which aims to explain the historic and current impact of Black newspapers in the United States. An interesting component of this project was that it included social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, as well as a page with news articles to show the current impact of these newspapers. Unlike the other projects I had examined, this project contained a page with photos of each of the contributors as well as biographies. The site used an interactive map of the U.S. that marked the locations where copies of one newspaper, The Chicago Defender’s, was sold in large quantities. Moreover, this map was accompanied with text that provided historical context to where the newspapers were sold. This approach of providing an interactive map along with text to provide historical context is something that I definitely hope to incorporate into my project. Furthermore, photographs from historically-relevant time periods accompanied the text, which provided valuable visualization for the user. I believe that this project met the criteria for a successful project as it implemented visualizations along with historical commentary, all of which was structured in a very accessible and easily navigable format.

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