Tag Archives: DH project pitches

Tokyo Destruction Diary Pre-Pitch

The basic idea is to create an interactive map of Tokyo, charting instances of rapid destruction (1923 earthquake, WWII), social upheaval (protests of the 1960’s), and random acts of violence (1995 sarin gas attack, the 2008 Akihabara massacre), along with the city’s own growth and changes during the post-war years. Then I would juxtapose this historical data with trends in media related to the destruction of Tokyo and to see how media becomes a barometer for fears generated from past trauma or changes.

Though not all change and destruction in Tokyo is the result of horrific disasters or war. Tokyo is a city that almost perpetually has buildings being torn down and new ones being built up. According to a Frekonomics podcast, half of all homes in Japan are demolished after only 38 years (http://freakonomics.com/2014/02/27/why-are-japanese-homes-disposable-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast-3/). Death and rebirth become cyclical parts of daily life that shape Tokyo, literally and figuratively.
So why focus on Japan and Tokyo? From the 1980’s (arguably earlier) to today, we have seen Japanese pop culture become more and more present in the American cultural landscape. It informs how we perceive Japan’s history and culture (though sometimes these perceptions may be skewed) and once obscure portions of Japanese arts and media have now become common knowledge thanks to fan communities, bloggers, publishers, and other people bridging the gap between our culture and Japan’s. Through this exchange, we’ve seen the Japanese death/rebirth cycle take form in movies, tv shows, books, video games, and more. Mothra snaps Tokyo Tower in twain, only for it to be in one piece again the next time Godzilla emerges from the murky depths.

This project would act as a way to chart Japan’s history, it’s changes in media, and it would ultimately take the form of a website which would be viewed by people interested in media, history, and Japanese culture.


@jojokarlin’s Memory Trip pre-pitch

I am massively intimidated by the awesome pitches people are composing so concisely! I feel like Little Red in Into the Woods— scared, well ExcITED AND scared. I offer a rather hasty outline of what my pitch might be on Tuesday…

Memory is tricky stuff. In these digital times, it is a tradable commodity. How many gigs is your phone?

I want to create a memory map of my grandmother’s memory (loosely based on the map of a road trip) and in the process model a platform that others could use to assemble their own memory map with elderly relations who are not particularly digitally inclined. (My grandmother buys disposable wind up cameras).

1. Memory Map—  I am interested in modeling, in a map of sorts, my soon to be 97-year-old grandmother’s remarkable (largely pre-digital) memory. The Dodge ad from the Super Bowl somewhat made my argument for tying my grandmother’s memories to a road trip. She’s been driving a long time and her life almost spans the history of the automobile industry in America. Not only is the road trip a tradition I have with her, time in the car tends to be fairly meditative. The metaphor is useful — roads more and less traveled in life take us down paths we maybe remember– and the project becomes more memory tourism than memorial monument. (I don’t want to build a museum or a family archive — it’s not about ossifying the “true” facts of my grandmother’s life. I want the map to be an interactive spatialization of the way memory from all her years live in her today.

2. Platform for others to use– I have been thinking it should be done in Neatline with some fancy plugins. I would love to make something that doesn’t require elaborate tools for data collection (I’ve done initial interviews and video with my iphone). Ideally, once built, the memory map could be available to people wanting a way to digitally document the way older generations go about remembering.


I offer a photo of my grandmother at the Getty Museum — I bit their social media bait and had her pose and tweeted it. Naturally @theGettymuseum responded:

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 7.05.35 PM

I would like to help my grandmother continue to win the internet.




syllabi DHify (pre-pitch)

In preparation for Wednesday’s class, here’s my pre-pitch for Syllabi DHify:

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 12.20.05 PM

A syllabus should be a living document that evolves as the semester progresses. However, in practice a syllabus becomes quickly outdated — from the moment a single student scrawls marginalia onto a handout, indicating that something was incomplete, something had changed.

At the most basic level, Syllabi DHify will be a platform for both students and professors to quickly access and update course syllabi, removing the need for erroneous print-outs or Word documents shared via e-mail.

For teaching professionals Syllabi DHify will go a step further by providing a space for active pedagogical collaboration. Users at this level will have the opporutnity to share existing syllabi, collaborate with peers, and re-use shared content. Syllabi DHify will facilitate the incorporation of new pedagogical methods across disciplines. The platform itself will be an exercise in Digital Humanities methods and practices, drawing on the open sharing principles behind Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Access (OA). As such, it will provide provide teaching professionals not familiar with Digital Humanities a means to incorporate its technological, collaborative, and systematic practices into existing student course work.

Syllabi DHify aims to improve upon the way in which information is shared, allowing for a more fluid, collaborative learning experience.

If you’re interested in sharing the work of DH to the larger knowledge community — come join me.
If you’re ready to see higher education move forward — come join me.
We can take our methods from DH and share it. With anyone.

TANDEM (0.5)

Let’s build a GUI that combines the power of Google’s Tesseract OCR and FeatureExtractor.

The idea is to build an environment (web-based or standalone) where you can take your text overlayed object, toss it in, and have a save ready output file to take away with you. Generate the data you need to visualize, explore, parse apart, and build the story. There is an interesting dialogue between text and images happening in comics, children’s picture books, marketing materials, illustrated maps, illuminated manuscripts, etc. Get your data, understand the output variables in simple and easy to reference ways, and get back to finding your story.

  • Team Note: Be ready to learn. Everyone involved in this intimidating project will bleed through their role and engage in collaborative learning of each of the elements needed to complete the project. Developers must understand design, designers must understand branding, outreach/branding must understand how the thing works, and the project coordinator must understand how to get conversations rolling to hit deadlines.
  • Developer:  Bravery. Develop clean and clear code that will allow us to wrap our OCR and Image Processing Software as modules to be placed in the overall software. Working understanding of code and willingness to dedicate time to digging into what needs to be written to get this off the ground. Knowledge of Python or a single language at the very least.
  • Designer: Understand user interaction and develop aesthetically simple, intuitive interface. Understand design basics, have a working proficiency in Adobe Design programs. Also maintain brand identity in conjunction with Outreach Coordinator.
  • Outreach Coordinator: Social butterflies. We need community support. Work on creating a voice and an audience for this project. Using not only social media but having the ability to track where our message is working best. What tweets work, what outlets are giving good feedback. We need to make a communal conversation that helps us reach our goal.
  • Project Manager: Keep your hand on the pulse of the schedule, set deadlines, gather learning resources, keep open lines of communication between team members. I have so many people in mind for this and each one can potentially bring an entirely different outcome to the project. I want a project manager who wants to see this thing materialize.

Reassurance – Let’s say we build it in Python and Javascript – Here are key some pieces we can consider:

Google’s Tesseract OCR

Python-tesseract is a python wrapper for google’s Tesseract-OCR

FeatureExtractor (Let’s talk to Lev about this. It is one of his tools afterall.) –

PyJamas GUI Toolkit

– Works In Progress –

We are all works in progress, eh?

I know I’ve brainstormed on no less than five projects during the last few weeks. But, each time I say them out loud or bring them to a meeting w/Steve or Matt they just don’t seem “quite right.”

This weekend I wrote a 15 page paper about “Oral Histories,” but it ended up not being to my liking. This class however, I do like.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve spent so much time experimenting.
Here is a project report.

I only have one more day to see what I’m going to pitch — I promise to ONLY pitch one!

But, if anyone has feedback I WOULD BE TOTALLY GRATEFUL.




PROJECT – Mapping Electric Mommyland [Link to project posted on my BLOG]

As part of my thesis I trace the efforts of Mom Rockers across several continents–as they play instruments, write songs, and create community. I argue this community metamorphosed into “everything mom” recognized today in the context of  “mommy bloggers,” “The Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and “Rita Rocks,” among other things. The movement formed organically as a source of empowerment and connection, in the late 1900s. Within four years an assimilation process began. By 2006 motherhood was being used to sell everything from sex, to diapers and dishwashers. The purpose of my thesis, “Electric Mommyland; Writing History Through Ethnographical Art and Music Performance Towards a Deeper Understanding of Everything Mom,” is intended to mark a time in history, when HER-story was on the rise. This project was inspired by RaveArchive and the aim would be to exhibit aspects of MOM music, culture, and history in an interactive digital format.

Article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15625457

– OR –




Communication between students at the Graduate Center can be challenging. Blackboard is not an interactive technology. Students can find access to resources in multiple locations but not have good tools to correspond with each other outside the classroom.  I propose a project that standardizes an Academic Commons web template, and puts it in the hands of even the most technologically challenged group.  These will be called CUNYspeaks! websites and they will allow every student, within every class, to interact with each other. I built a sample experimental website here: [LINK]

– OR –




The Graduate Center currently has no repository for oral history. Inspired by the New York Public Library initiatives, and the Columbia University Archives, I argue that the Graduate Center should do more to capture the passionate and authentic voices of the distinguished professors, staff, and students who comprise it. CUNYspeaks! will introduce students to the Graduate Center by way of an oral history project that situates itself within the larger New York community. I built a sample oral history page here: [LINK]

Oral History Research: NYPublic Library http://oralhistory.nypl.org/

– OR –



PROJECT – Birth; The Game

Birth; The Game is an online game that engages users in a pre-and post-conception interactive journey. Players are prompted to answer questions and make decisions that lead to unexpected outcomes. Birth the game is meant to educate users about the facts of life while inspiring them to engage in thoughtful responses. Gamers are linked to texts, images, academic interdisciplinary perspectives, and real-life resources. These are designed to enhance intersections between contemporary academic discourse and users within the sciences, arts, and history of birth and caregiving. Designed as an app and as interactive web portal meant to increase digital assets in the area of biology, history, sociology, economics, feminism, and “Mother Studies;” Birth-The Game aims to increase public engagement. The aim is to make this information widely available, accessible and appealing, in a fun, collaborative way as it pertains to human births, animal births, and the Digital Humanities. I built a sample experimental website here, but did not finish it: [LINK]

It is now possible to have a virtual baby online. This weekend I registered for an embryo that is now growing in/on my cell phone, and signed up to play “Virtual Families.

Great example: http://www.ardeaarts.org/birthBeta/

Better Birth through Games Book Sources: http://www.igi-global.com/article/better-birth-through-games/93028, Digital Birth: http://citris-uc.org/health/project/digital-birth, http://www.nucleuscatalog.com/normal-vaginal-birth-childbirth/view-item?ItemID=1614



PROJECT – Conferences in a Box or ConferenceCommons.org

How many times have you gone to an academic conference, met lots of great people and heard amazing presentations? Then—poof; its over, without a trace. Conferences in a Box is envisioned as a complete web-package resource that hosts and posts attendees names, contact information, presentation titles, social media feeds while directing twitter feeds throughout the event. It will also archive power-point presentations, and offer live-feed video through a password-protected portal post-event. Streamlining content, increasing availability, and preserving access to materials and resources, are the goals of this offering. By using new digital modes of publication Conferences in a Box hopes to set a higher bar for the dissemination of humanities scholarship.

Example: ER&L (http://electroniclibrarian.org/conference-info/, http://www.psav.com) not well maintained. Only includes one conference. I would hope to have a site like HASTAC that is ONLY all about conferences.