2019 Poster Session

GitAnnotated: Creating a Digital Annotated Bibliography on GitHub

Librarians are experts at helping the individual move from where they are to where they want to be in terms of knowledge and access. While this can be transformative work, it is based in pragmatism in that it continues to use the status quo as a map for these journeys. For academia, the status quo is often shaped in the traditional classroom. Librarians have an opportunity to impact this status quo when they are invited for instructional purposes. These opportunities for librarians are critical as this may be the only time the librarians are able to work with a large number of students at once. However, librarians are rarely taught how to teach or introduced to pedagogy in their MLS coursework. They must learn to teach from trial and error; and pedagogy is a difficult area to learn without a theoretical or conceptual background, not to mention the increased struggle to apply it into praxis. Further, pedagogy specifically designed for librarianship can be harder to find and can increase frustration when librarians may simply be trying to find an answer to: “How can I just deliver more information in a more engaging manner in such a short time.” In answer to these difficulties, the resulting project aims to provide three outcomes: 1) a bibliography of pedagogical resources that directly combine literacy, pedagogy, philosophy, and theory for the LIS profession; 2) annotations that allow librarians to quickly understand how it may relate to their context; and 3) promote wider access of these topics within the academic librarian community. The project, pedagogies4liaisons, is a digital annotated bibliography hosted on GitHub that contains resources on pedagogy topics. This projected originated from an annotated bibliography that included resources for self-directed learning in pedagogy and theory for librarianship. As more resources were added, the increased complexity required a richer environment for documenting, organizing, and sharing this information. Using Github, the presenters were able to create a website that could support additions to the bibliography while also providing a mechanism for others to collaborate. The project is an example of reconfigured, participatory knowledge production through the digitization of traditional academic scholarship. It also represents a learning and collaborative experience for both contributors that illustrates the intentions of the project itself. In this presentation, we’ll discuss the impetus of the project, the considerations for its digital shape, and how the project was executed by the team members. Ms. Henson will present on the challenges she faced while working on this project. This project was her first digital scholarship experience, requiring her to learn markdown in the process. Ms. Andrews will present on the methods used to organize the files and code necessary for building the bibliography and project site.

Pamela Andrews (Tarrant County College)
Brea Henson (University of North Texas)

PyGallica: Creating a Python Wrapper for the Gallica Digital Library

Creating open source software in libraries can provide a valuable way to encourage access and collaboration with web-accessible digital collections, allowing users to easily access information and explore different facets of online libraries across institutions. This poster will describe the creation of PyGallica, a Python wrapper for the National Library of France’s Gallica API. I will address the ways in which working on such coding projects can help librarians better serve communities both on and beyond their campuses, and how the experience of building the tool served as a learning experience and an experiment in open source software creation in academic libraries, specifically as a piece of software that increases the discoverability and accessibility of digital collections. I will also talk about ways in which I plan to incorporate the wrapper into future workshops and instruction, and about how the tool facilitates online collaboration and communication between others in the digital humanities and scholarship community. This project fits into the category of Smashing Disciplinary Boundaries, as it builds boundaries between international institutions and is being collaboratively developed as open source software on GitHub. The poster will describe what a Python wrapper is and why it is of value to librarians, and will compare this project to other coding projects undertaken at other academic libraries in the U.S. I will describe the technology involved, the efficacy of librarians creating such tools and disseminating them as pieces of open source software that can help make library collections more accessible, and the best practices for making such software available (including licensing and hosting opportunities). I will give a brief overview of the tool itself, including its code, and then talk about publicizing the tool and its future as a piece of collaborative, open source software. I will also discuss how I’ve worked with the National Library of France to highlight the tool to an international audience.

Ian Goodale (University of Texas at Austin)

Building a Fashion Archive at a Community College

Houston Community College (HCC) has spent the last 21 months digitizing a fashion collection and would like to propose a presentation that explores approaching such an undertaking from a two year institution prospective. The collection, started at HCC during the mid 1980’s,was initially created to serve as a teaching tool and learning support for undergraduate students enrolled in Fashion Design courses. Over the years the HCC Fashion Department expanded and eventually awarded Associates of Applied Science in Fashion Design and Associates of Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising. After the program began receiving local, national and international recognition, HCC received a rare collection of 4,000 costumes donated by the late Elizabeth S. Brown, one of the founding members of the Costume Society of America and a nationally renowned fashion historian. The donation included significant pieces from local, regional and national collectors, socialites and designers. Other items in the collection, dating back to the 1740s, included dresses, menswear, outerwear, undergarments, shoes, and handbags handmade by couturiers, dressmakers, artisans, and homemakers. Three very significant pieces for study of design, apparel construction and textiles consist of a 1779 men’s embroidered linen waistcoat, a 1950’s Charles James “cloverleaf” gown, and a late 1960’s Chanel Couture dress. The collection also includes debutante gowns, military uniforms, wedding gowns and other formal, special occasion costumes, many with ornamental details. The historical undergarment pieces in particular, such as bustiers, corsets, and petticoats exhibit an interesting range of changing styles, forms and function over time, a very important learning component for design. Ms. Brown provided provenance through the transfer and accessioning of the collection which expanded the existing collection to over 6,000 pieces. Many of the garments were made of fine, delicate, antique fabrics which over time began deteriorating and prompted the move toward digitization as a preservation mechanism. Discussing the process, limited resources, staffing challenges, expected and unexpected outcomes would be the objective of our presentation. Phase one of the collection can be found at fashionarchive.hccs.edu. Phase two will be completed by August 31, 2019.

Erica Hubbard (Houston Community College)
Bethany Herman (Houston Community College)

Building Database Analytics System (BuDAS): Examining Challenges to Floor Plan Detection

Architectural floor plans are a repository of information. House plans, for example, can offer insight into changes in building culture and shifts within the family structure over time. Floor plans, however, remain an underutilized resource for researchers, who are hindered by the amount of time it takes to prepare, collect, and interpret floor plan information before analysis can occur. In order to address these challenges, we are developing the Building Database Analytics System (BuDAS). BuDas includes three main components: floor plan recognition (extractor and annotator), storage database, and data analysis and visualization (analyzer). BuDAS was developed for humanities users to allow individuals without programming knowledge to have a comprehensive recognition, storage, and analysis system (all-in-one approach). This study examines how well BuDAS performs on house plans of varying levels of complexity and detection difficulty. Most plan recognition systems can accurately detect and extract information from a basic floor plan (walls, doors, and windows), but floor plans often include layers of complex information. We, therefore, tested BuDAS on groups of plans with potential detection challenges in order to identify areas for improvement. The success of plan recognition is determined by two main factors: 1). quality of the plan image, and 2). interpretation of the plan information. Plan image quality includes factors such as clarity, contrast, and digital noise. A high-quality plan image has high contrast, minimal noise, and clear lines and text. Plan interpretation is essentially how well the system is able to process and make sense of the layers of plan information. A basic floor plan that includes walls, windows, doors, and room labels is easier for the system to interpret than a plan with additional layers of information, such as furniture, dimension stringers, material symbols, grids, landscaping, and ceilings or rooflines. These additional layers of information can result in the plan detection misidentifying other lines as walls, for example. By testing each of these variables, we are able to determine how to improve plan for users. This poster will explore the results of these tests and suggest areas for improvement.

Elise King (Baylor University)

If you had my love feat. Californication: imaginarios de la Internet en videos musicales, 1999

En 1999 hubo una explosión en los medios de comunicación de la cultura pop por el inicio en la masificación del acceso doméstico de la internet. Ya no solamente la televisión y las revistas de papel serían parte del tiempo de ocio de los jóvenes. Los programas y salones de chat, la descarga de música PSP, los juegos en línea y el uso de la webcam cambiarían radicalmente las formas de comunicación y la relación entre usuarios. Al mismo tiempo, la internet trajo consigo una estética propia y específica que se caracterizaba en el uso de elementos que remitían a formas futurísticas e interconectadas, las cuales hacían referencia a la existencia de un mundo digital, paralelo al mundo real. Este mundo digital no solamente era parte de un mundo de ciencia ficción ‘espacial’ (tipo Star Wars o Star Trek), sino que se demostraba más accesible a los usuarios y con un semblante optimista sobre el uso de la técnología en el cotidiano. Es el caso contrario a lo expuesto en obras cyberpunk como The Matrix, película también estrenada en 1999, la cual tuvo una gran aceptación por parte de la crítica y los espectadores. En el cyberpunk el futuro es percibido como distópico y el uso intensivo de la tecnología es presentado de manera pesimista y existencialista, haciendo que la distinción entre humano y máquina sea difícil de dintinguir. En vísperas al temido Y2K, los videoclips ampliamente difundidos por MTV “If you had my love” y “Californication” de los artistas norteamericanos Jennifer López y Red Hot Chili Peppers aparecieron en las pantallas de millones de telespectadores-usuarios. Ambos videoclips ayudaron a fijar las estéticas del videochat y de los videojuegos en línea en un imaginario particular de dicha época, no solo en los Estados Unidos, sino que a nivel global. Dichas estéticas e imaginarios también se instalaron entre personas que, sin acceso a computadores e internet --pero que sí tenían acceso a la televisión, empezaron a comprender y a ser parte de este giro a lo digital, desde una perspectiva progresiva, optimista y recreativa, pero que daba la ilusión de ser inclusivo. En definitiva, estos videoclips ayudaron a establecer las ansiedades propias del cambio de milenio y las características visuales de una generación.

Nicole Larrondo (University of Texas at Austin)

Digital libraries and prison labor, a preliminary inquiry

In 2015, Mother Jones shed light on the Mormon church’s use of prison labor to index genealogical records and digitize government records. A 2016, book published by ALA lauded the affordability of having one’s yearbook collections digitized by prisoners in Oklahoma. A number of state prison industries have microfilm and document digitization services listed on their sites. While not epidemic, libraries and researchers have relied on prison labor to build digital collections and projects for at least two decades, quite often without knowing it. Most reporting on prison labor and library digitization has presented it as a uniformly positive phenomena, even as discussions around exploited and invisible labor in libraries grow in popularity. My research will bring the lens of critical prison studies to the outsourcing of library labor to incarcerated workers. What are the ethical implications for digital scholarship? Can we lay claim to a liberatory praxis while relying on digital objects created by workers making significantly less than the minimum wage? Does using these materials for a greater good cancel out the harm of perpetuating an unjust system? These are some of the questions I hope to pursue in this research and poster presentation.

Alexis Logsdon (University of Minnesota)

Chants and Hypertexts

Chants and Hypertexts is a companion website for a forthcoming book that is a study and edition of a substantial body of liturgical music from medieval southern Italy, that of the prosulas of the Proper of the Mass included in the so-called Beneventan manuscripts. This repertory is significant under many points of view. It allows us to detect the many multicultural influences of an area with a highly diversified population. Romans, Byzantines, Lombards, Normans, Franks, Jews, and Muslim were present in the region at different times and with different political roles. They all left their marks on its cultural production, including the liturgical music used for the rites of the Latin Church and women, and in particular nuns, were active participants in this musical and liturgical production. Although studies in musicology have been increasingly recognizing the role of nuns in the creation and diffusion of music, the role of earlier medieval Benedictine nuns (at least up until the late 13th century) is generally neglected. This poster presentation, thus, intends to highlight the role of the Benedictine nuns of the monasteries of St Peter Inside and St Peter Outside the Walls in the city of Benevento in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. My research shows not only that the nuns were able to compose and transcribe their own chants, but also that they were active participants in the social and cultural life of the city and in constant contact with their male counterparts. This is demonstrated by exclusive borrowings from multiple manuscripts that were used at male establishments within the same city. Based on cultic, archeological, and paleographical evidence these borrowings can only be explained by positing the notion of a ‘diffused’ scriptorium within the city for which books could be borrowed among several institutions. This notion drastically changes the commonly accepted narrative of the scriptorium as a self-contained space in which (mostly) monks worked in isolation copying from a single source. In addition to “tearing down” the wall of the representation of female creativity in the Middle Ages, this website also tackles the questions of “ethical collaboration” by being fully transparent about its contributors. This is why the website has an “About the team” section (still under construction) in which all collaborators and editors are listed. In addition, each entry of the website, whether an image, a transcriptions, or an annotation will also be individually signed. This way the website will show its commitment to give full voice to the artists, regardless of their gender, of the past and to the scholars and technicians of today.

Luisa Nardini (University of Texas at Austin)
Bibiana Vergine (University of Texas at Austin)
Emily Loeffler (University of Texas at Austin)

No More Smashed Crabs: When Moving is Surviving

Christmas Island is a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, a few hundred miles off the coast of Java. It is the site of one of the most spectacular animal migrations in the world: the Christmas Island red crab migration. Every October or November, 40 million crabs begin a long journey from the jungles down to the coast to breed, continuing an annual life cycle. The crab migration intersects with the island’s main roads and has resulted in a series of inventive tunnels, bridges, and fences to protect the crabs from traffic. Another important group of people cross Christmas Island on their migration journey. In 2007, construction was completed on an Immigration Reception and Processing Centre to temporarily detain asylum seekers from neighboring islands. In response to the 2001 Pacific Solution in which “4000 islands were excised from Australia’s migration zone,” Christmas Island became a temporary holding center for boat-bound asylum seekers from Indonesia, eventually transitioning to becoming an isolated site for long-term detention . The center on Christmas Island is the largest in Australia’s onshore detention center network, which continues to operate today. For both animal and human populations, Christmas Island is the site of incredible movement. However, these two migrating populations are treated very differently. My research examines the ways in which red crab migration and asylum seeker migration are treated differently despite their close physical proximity on the island, and what this difference in their treatment reflects about what the Australian government considers worthy of protection. While focused on Christmas Island, my work aims to suggest a more general hierarchy that applies to U.S. immigration policy as well. My project, No More Smashed Crabs, is a podcast about human and animal migration on Christmas Island. The podcast is a result of both anthropological and journalistic methods. To create my audio story, I spent seven weeks living on Christmas Island and two weeks in Melbourne, conducting 20 key informant interviews with detainees, park rangers, and islanders young and old. In addition to interviews and participant observation, I also recorded ambient sounds that formed crucial parts of the story: the prayer call that sounds over the island five times a day, the sound of boots on dried leaves in the island jungle, the sound of million of crabs crawling over a metal bridge on their journey to the sea. The project is currently in a final draft stage and can be found at https://anchor.fm/followingthewater by the end of April. A blog documenting the journey of traveling to Christmas Island and completing the project can be found at https://shoreboundjourney.wordpress.com/. The project was generously funded through the Stanford University Beagle II Award and will be presented at ASURPS, the April Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Public Service at Stanford University. In addition, an audio preview of the project is debuting at The Gallery, a student-run art exhibition at the end of April.

Stephanie Niu (Stanford University)

Buildings of Texas: Exploring linked data by mapping places, events and people over time

This poster will describe an ongoing project at the University of Texas Libraries (UTL) that is transforming the way we think about place, people, and events in managing archival collections. This project was developed around a dataset donated by architectural historians, Gerald Moorhead and Mario Sánchez to the Alexander Architectural Archives. This dataset was collected by a team of researchers studying architecturally significant buildings for the two-volume publication, Buildings of Texas. Our team at UT Libraries has used it as a test-bed for geolocating built works in Texas and mapping our Architectural collections. This dataset presented a clear opportunity to develop map-based digital exhibitions and finding aids for archival material, but also posed several challenges due to naming ambiguities, vague building location descriptions, and repeated references to people and architectural firms that were difficult to disambiguate and interconnect. In an attempt to overcome these challenges and develop a set of methods for dealing with similar and related collections, our cross-disciplinary team is evaluating ways to develop a flat spreadsheet into a collection of inter-related datasets. Our goal was a system that could be managed more flexibly, be easily represented through spatial and non-spatial visualizations, and—crucially—contain references to concepts and typologies defined in widely-used ontologies. We have also sought ways to contribute our data as a local authority to both the Getty vocabularies and Wikidata, as a means to broaden representation and allow for multivocality and multiplicity. We have found unique advantages to a team-approach to the cleaning and data normalization process that transformed a single spreadsheet into a graph database. Our experimentation in this process has facilitated our own visualization of the connections between places, people, and events and, in turn, has informed the way we will present this material in our online exhibitions. In addition to the graph database, we explored traditional relational database technologies, which turned out to be much easier to use for mapping the data and managing it with GIS software. Throughout the project, we have been mindful of breaking down traditional modes of archival description, of contributing to but also looking beyond perceived authorities, and about the value of the work we do for architectural artifacts and landscapes, but also any cultural heritage community of practice seeking to meaningfully describe artifacts, events, people, and places over time.

Katie Pierce Meyer (University of Texas at Austin)
Josh Conrad (University of Texas at Austin)
Michael Shensky (University of Texas at Austin)
Jessica Trelogan (University of Texas at Austin)

Diachronic Word Embeddings for Literary Research

This poster captures the rationale, methods, and analysis from my current research project as a graduate student: I am adopting machine learning methods to generate word embeddings that facilitate a comparison of canonical and non-canonical literature. Word embeddings are high-dimensional vectors of real numbers that map to a lower-dimension vector space. They are based on the concept that word meanings are generated by the contexts in which they are used, and are often employed to perform machine translation or measure word similarity. Their usefulness is dependent on the breadth and domain-relevance of the larger corpus they are trained on. In order to examine how ideas that we typically associate with Romanticism are represented in non-canonical Romantic prose and poetry (and how well those ideas map to wider word associations of the period) I am generating a distributional semantic space that allows me to measure differences in author vocabularies. Works under investigation include The Bengal Annual, published in Calcutta in 1830 and The Oriental Annual, as well as other texts that fall outside the traditional canon of Romantic Literature, such as The Woman of Colour: A Tale. This work can be represented in three parts: One, I am leveraging and augmenting a corpus of early nineteenth century texts so that I have historically-relevant material to train my word embeddings on. Two, I am working with other graduate students at San Jose State University and Dr. Katherine D. Harris to develop close readings of non-canonical Romantic literature, and using them to map concepts like beauty, Orientalism, and gender “by hand.” Three, I am looking at how these insights compare to the insights that can be generated by state-of-the-art machine learning techniques for representing words as data. My approach is backed by the hypothesis that because word meanings evolve over time, literary scholars can only use word embeddings usefully if they have better datasets (or corpora) that match their intended period of scholarly inquiry. As such, my work builds on a set of cross-disciplinary case studies (from sociology, corpus linguistics, and literary critique) that track word meanings over time using novel frameworks for the diachronic generation of word embeddings. Underlying this work is a broader desire to expose the social and mathematical dimensions of the statistical rules and concepts that underlie data-driven language analysis. I engage the history of the search technique known as Vector Space Modeling, and the mathematical challenges and social factors that led to word2vec and similar algorithms, as well as the “distributional hypothesis” that “difference of meaning correlates with difference of distribution.” My goal is to create research results and analysis that can add to cross-disciplinary conversations about how machine learning can account for bias in our social and cultural history in a more robust way. I think this starts with a better understanding of how data is modeled and critiqued differently across disciplines and industries, calling on different disciplinary histories in their approaches, scope, and future goals. This poster will present research results, but also ask: How are literary scholars in a unique position to change how we discover similarity and difference between words in multidimensional vector spaces? How have efforts to treat words as data evolved over the last half-century? How do emerging methods for “reading” words with machines open up new ways to evaluate what the recorded word is, and how do humanists insert themselves in this question? I explore how the usefulness of word vectors can only be understood in context of early information retrieval techniques, just as the usefulness of computational approaches to “reading” literary corpora can only be understood in context of a historied desire to wield language as a system.

Marisa Plumb (San Jose State University)

The United Nations and the disappearing language of sexuality

In his 2004 BBC Radio commissioned Reith lecture titled “The Climate of Fear”, the Noble Laurette and African playwright Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, known as Wole Soyinka admonished an audience member, cautioning that one cannot be too harsh with the United Nations (UN) as it helped protect some smaller countries. One may argue that indeed Wole Soyinka was right that the UN does indeed protect smaller countries, but there is one area I contend that the UN has failed and continues to fail, and that is the area of sexual and reproductive health rights. In 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), for the first time the international community declared, sexual and reproductive health as fundamental human rights. The goal of this paper is to present an analysis of resolutions, which are considered the formal expressions of the opinion and the will of the UN, as well as reports presented to the UN concerning sexual and reproductive health. Using a total of 53 documents from the UN Digital library, spanning three decades; 1985- 2018, the goal of this paper is to analyze the text and the rhetoric used within these documents to trace; 1). the development and sustaining of modern colonizing sexual and reproductive health policies and 2). what led to the eventual removal of the words sexual and reproductive health from UN documents.

J. Nalubega Ross (Arizona State University)

Determining the Need for Library Support of Digital Humanities

The library is a natural driver for discussions about digital humanities. Work in the digital humanities is inherently interdisciplinary, and a recognized purpose of the library is to serve all disciplines on campus in terms of research support and physical space. The library is a place for collaboration and experimentation. It is the keeper of materials—particularly unique and rare—used by humanities researchers. It has years of experience creating and sustaining digital collections. As modes of scholarship change on campus, the library strives to provide services, technology, collections, spaces, and expertise relevant to the current needs of faculty and students. In spring 2019, the library at Illinois State University convened a task force of teaching faculty and librarians to investigate the campus’s current activities and interest in digital humanities, and from that, determine the types and levels of library support needed. This poster will describe the task force's goals, process, and strategies, including but not including but not limited to environmental scans, results of a faculty survey and focus group interviews, and deliverable (white paper submitted to library administration).

Anne Shelley (Illinois State University)

Creating a Sexuality and Gender Digital Collection to Digitally Break through to the Physical

As a queer early career librarian, coming into the digital collections space at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and not being able to see a very important part of myself reflected within the digital collection spurred me to think about ways in which I could make people like me more visible within it. Thus, for one of my early projects as the new Digital Scholarship Librarian at GVSU, I digitized the event archives from the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department, the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center, and the Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity. With this material I planned to create a sexuality and gender digital collection, with multiple objectives: to include a queer perspective within the digital collections, to raise awareness of what these physical places offer students within the digital space, and to allow easier access to the archives with the hopes of attracting people who may not have been looking specifically at what physical archives have to offer. I want the digital to break through to the physical and encourage people to go to the events and classes offered by the centers and the department. I also want to encourage students as well as people outside of academia to develop an interest working with archives in different ways. There is a need for more varied voices within the library profession as a whole, and increasing access to archival material can create interest for more LGBTQ+ people to professionally work in libraries. This project is one way I hope to spark interest in future librarians and archivists. The poster will outline the overall process this project took, and highlight the challenges and the lessons learned. Attendees will walk away with tools to start their own conversations and create digital collections alongside different departments, learn the benefits and drawbacks of working with different departments in an archival project which makes underrepresented communities more visible, and take a closer look at how a digital collection is made at Grand Valley State University.

Melina Zavala (Grand Valley State University)