At this point in the schedule, I’ll have to confess to conflating some of the many, many new cloud-based and land-based (?) software programs we’ve learned. In an effort to keep track, here’s a (still growing) list of all the tools we’ve been exposed to that store data, collect images & other files, interpret & annotate images & video, and visualize data :

Abraham Bloemaert (Dutch, 1564 - 1651 ), Saint Bernard of Clairvaux with the Instruments of the Passion, , pen and black and brown ink, with gray and brown wash, black chalk, and graphite on laid paper, Joseph F. McCrindle Collection

Abraham Bloemaert (Dutch, 1564 – 1651), Saint Bernard of Clairvaux with the Instruments of the Passion, n.d. National Gallery of Art. Source:

Zotero (data collection)

(.net & .org versions—collection-building, exhibition-building, map integration & more)
Scalar (collection building, annotating videos)
Drupal (site building)

Prezi (Kimon’s suggested use: organizing images)

ThingLink (annotating images, sharing annotations)
YouTube (annotating videos)
Animoto (creating video stories)

Google Map Engine
(Lite—creating custom maps, working with kml data, e.g.)
Google Fusion Tables
(many uses for manipulating & sharing data, creating social network visualizations)
NYPL’s Map Warper
(Spatial/temporal: historic/modern map comparisons)
StoryMap (“Prezi with a mapping interface”)

Comment Press (Open source publishing)

Google nGrams (Word frequencies using Google Books corpus)
(Word frequencies using Open Library, Chronicling America, SSRN, etc., corpora)
(Text analysis: word frequencies, trends, including Cirrus, Bubblines, Knots plug-ins)
OpenCalais (Semantic analysis)
ViewShare (Data visualization)
ImagePlot (“Distant reading” of images; vizualization of image data)
Palladio (Data visualization)
Excel Charts (Data visualization, etc.)
Colour Lens (Collection analysis by color)

Source: Instruments

Space & Time

Carl Sagan

Millions & billions

Spatial humanities: not the final frontier, but ripe with millions & billions of possibilities. Certainly an exciting prospect for the visual-minded humanist, geospatial visualization comes in many formats. One of the tools we tried, StoryMap, is a narrative tool that demonstrates how powerfully maps can tell stories, especially for communicating with the non-scholarly audience (at least that was my impression). On the other end of the academic scale, the Fletcher & Helmreich project tantalizes with its amazing use of historic maps to reexamine the business of selling art in London through the latter nineteenth century. But isn’t mapping, after all, just another form of data visualization? If data and your research questions are solid, geospatial visualization should be a great vehicle (but Mark Monmonier’s How to Lie with Maps demonstrates just how easy it is to twist your data through cartography), but there are always pitfalls. I’m struggling with the prospect of mapping (that is, geolocating) social data. It would be possible to extract references from city directories and census, but that’s not enough (as the Digital Harlem project shows us). It would take so much more, beginning with information from handwritten archival sources. Amassing a large enough volume of research to reflect meaningful social connections—well, it would take millions & billions of brain cells, more than anything else.

Source: Space & Time

Platforms, Functionality, Usability

omekascreenshot_smWell, platforms. I guess “out of the box” is helpful & gets your project off the ground quickly. But it boxes things up, too. I experimented this afternoon with It has an impressive structure that yields some astonishingly quick results and offers simple-to-activate plug-ins. I created a collection & tried adding a few items manually and by ingesting from a csv file, then created an exhibition. It seemed as if the easiest way to pull data from Zotero in (at least according to the Zotero forum discussion that @magpie found, you can export Zotero data as a report (html), then open that file in Excel, then save as CSV. Fine, but the table needed a 90 degree rotation, and I’m Excel-phobic enough to let that deter me. So I ended up hand editing the table, but was able to save it as a CSV and pull the data into Omeka. I’m sure there’s a better way to do that, but it was worth investigating. was, however, a bit disappointing from a visual and usability standpoint. Not sure why each item needs to proclaim so loudly its metadata format. And when navigation is largely verbal, rather than visual, it affects usability. The template styles, while limited, definitely work. Apparently, solves all these issues with lots of customization options, as is clearly apparent in the stunning Peacock Room site. There is much more that can be done with, of course, and a two-hour experiment gave only time to explore it briefly—hoping for more hands-on soon!

Perhaps Drupal would provide a more flexible, tabula rasa-style platform for my project. My experience with Drupal has been from a “consumer” point of view, managing the construction of (and providing content for) a web site developed by others with time constraints, rather than from the “producer” perspective, from which all things are possible.



Source: Platforms, Functionality, Usability

“Off the shelf”

So many disparate image repositories out there! Although I’m working with an American artist, which should make things easy, her work exists in mulitple GLAM collections, some of which present images in a straightforward, scoopable format, some of which present them as individual web pages. And that doesn’t even include non-image collections. Here are a few:



In general, I’ve found repositories that include images (with or without metadata) by considering Whitman’s formats: portraits, still lifes in museum collections; book covers in rare book collections; stained glass windows on church and preservation society web sites; a mix of various media and photos of Ms. Whitman in ARTstor.

An intentional archive would be difficult, but possible; the biggest obstacle appears to be the poor quality of metadata slurped from Flickr by Zotero (the largest collection by far is the Boston Public Library’s Flickr album on SWW’s bindings.

Source: “Off the shelf”