A Guide to Developing Digital Oral History Projects using DH Press, Part 1

Since the launch of “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement,” people have been asking me how they can develop their own audio-based digital projects using the beta version of DH Press. Given all of the interest, I thought it would be helpful to dedicate an entire post to the process we developed to create the Long Women’s Movement project.

This post (which is broken into two parts – skip to Part 2) provides basic documentation for planning and executing a digital oral history project. Intended as a basic primer, the discussion/instructions will be fairly general. I will conclude this post by discussing some of the ways DH Press might be adapted for audio or visual media projects well beyond the oral history context.

To learn more about whether DH Press is right for your project, you can email me to set up a brief (virtual) consultation.

At a Glance

DH Press is a flexible, repurposable, extensible digital humanities toolkit designed for non-technical users. Designed as a WordPress plugin, it enables administrative users to mashup and visualize a variety of digitized humanities-related material, including historical maps, images, manuscripts, and multimedia content. DH Press can be used to create a range of digital projects, from virtual walking tours and interactive exhibits, to classroom teaching tools and community repositories. Learn more.

We used “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement” as the primary project for developing DH Press. As a result, the toolkit is quite robust in its handling of oral history content.

Specifically, DH Press offers an innovative approach to delivering digitized oral history content through its Audio/Transcript Tool. Traditional library catalogs may host an oral history’s full audio file, accompanied by a transcript (often as a PDF). But that system is often inadequate for finding what you’re looking for, since it relies upon limited indexing and in-browser searching (which only works for exact text matches). And while the audio files are accessible, they are typically underutilized because it is far easier to skim a transcript than listen to a long interview.

Our toolkit allows users to explore audio files and their accompanying transcripts by jumping directly into the audio file, using the transcript and the map-based visualization as anchors for searching and browsing the content. Each marker on the map is associated with a segment of an audio file. When you click on a marker, you’ll be able to listen to that section of the interview, read the corresponding transcript, and see additional information about that audio segment. You can then link out to the full audio/transcript, where you can listen to the entire file or jump around / explore as you like. Read more.

Here’s a brief demo of our “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement” digital oral history project:

What You’ll Need

In order to create your own digital oral history project using DH Press, you’ll need the following:

  1. Digital media files of interviews
    1. Audio Files: mp3 or mp4
    2. Video Files: see this list of supported file formats
    3. Clean/edited transcripts with timestamps
    4. A WordPress website with the DH Press plugin installed and the map library installed
      1. Note: wordpress.com sites cannot support DH Press
      2. Learn how to use DH Press
    5. Third-party streaming account with one or both of the following providers, depending on whether you’re using audio or video files
      1. Audio Files: SoundCloud account (possibly a pro account depending on the amount of content you have)
      2. Video Files: YouTube account

Supported File Formats

Language

Currently, DH Press supports English-language transcripts. We are in the process of testing the tool with Spanish oral histories; preliminary results indicate that we can support Spanish.

In theory, we believe the tool will support any language that can be formatted in encoded as Unicode UTF-8 characters.

Media Files

Likewise, currently DH Press supports audio files streamed from SoundCloud. We are currently expanding the Audio/Transcript Tool to support videos streamed from YouTube. However, we have not yet tested this functionality and cannot guarantee immediate support for this format.

Part 2 of this post will cover the recommended workflow for creating your own Oral History project in DH Press.

DH Press Update: Fall 2013

I’ve delayed updating my project blog for quite some time while the DH Press team has worked to prioritize the enhancements and added features for the beta 2.0 version. These features have been determined in large part by the needs and requirements of many of our ongoing projects. We have several DH Press projects that will be launching in the next several months; these projects must necessarily determine much of our work for the time being. Specifically, the Digital Portobelo project (a DIL/IAH Faculty Fellow Project; learn more at the project blog) and the Lebanese Migration to NC Project have firm launch dates. Both projects require enhancements to the tool that, we hope, will make for a more robust platform for other users. I’ll blog about these two projects shortly.

For now, I want to share what we’ve been working on lately, and the directions we expect to be taking in the next three months or so.

 

Recent Developments

For starters, Joe Hope (RENCI) has been working diligently to clean up the beta plugin. He’s been streamlining the code to make future programming easier. He’s also removing all legacy references to “diPH” (the original and ill-fitted name of the toolkit). In the process, he has significantly revised some of the existing functionality, and our DH Press development team is now testing the revised plugin (version 1.5?) to help debug it. Joe will be updating the plugin on GitHub soon.

Joe has also created a new multisite WordPress environment for live projects, so that we can get them out of our Sandbox. This will help us clean the Sandbox, and reserve it as a space entirely for testing and playing. Right now, we have 39 sites and a total of 87 users in the Sandbox. Many of the sites are inactive, and I am currently assessing which of our inactive sites can be deleted to free up server space for our more active users (if you have a Sandbox account, look for an email from me in the coming weeks).

We are also updating the default WordPress theme for DH Press from Twenty Twelve to Twenty Thirteen. This will improve the usability of DH Press projects by moving the navigation bar below the header image (we hope that will be more intuitive for most users). We are currently exploring how we can enhance the customizability of DH Press’s interface, either through customized child themes or through the adoption of existing widgets and other plugins. Since many of our display pages require PHP (because they are dynamic pages which aggregate content based on categories), the trick will be to find lightweight solutions to configuring the look of a DH Press site that do not require much beyond CSS and widget/plugin experimentation. Jade Davis is spearheading this effort for us.

 

Plugin Improvements

Here’s a closer look at what we’ve done so far to improve the beta plugin:

1. Bundled DH Press with the other required plugins

Previously, in order to use DH Press, users needed to install three other plugins (CSV Importer, which allows users to bulk load their project data; Term Menu Order; and Taxonomy Metadata). Joe has incorporated the CSV Importer and Term Menu Order into the current plugin, and is working on adding Taxonomy Metadata to allow for an easier, one-click install of DH Press in any WordPress site.

2. Eliminate category conflict

Over the summer, we began noticing odd bugs as a result of creating multiple similar projects in a single DH Press environment. While conducting trainings, we would typically use the same training data set. But when participants would go to configure their map legends, we’d see empty duplicate values. Joe has been working hard to fix this, in the event that someone wants to host multiple DH Press projects in a single site, rather than keeping projects in separate silos. Now, if your DH Press site has projects with similar or overlapping data, DH Press will create “alias” values that will improve legend set-up.

3. Parsing multiple values in a custom field

While we had always envisioned supporting motes / custom fields containing multiple unique values, we had not yet implemented this. Now, DH Press allows you to create fields containing multiple values. DH Press will parse those values properly. If you’re using that field / mote to create a legend, the first listed value in the field will determine the marker’s appearance when all markers are selected. The marker will change appearance as the filters are applied on the map, and the marker will show up any time its associated values are turned on in the map legend. The default delimiter is a comma; if you plan to use a comma you will not need to specify the delimiter when creating the mote. If you use something else (e.g. a semicolon), you can specify that so that DH Press will know how to parse your data.

For example, if a datum from the Charlotte 1911 project represents a space that is both residential and commercial, you would be able to list it as “residential,commercial” (rather than having to create a new category, such as “residential and commercial,” or “both”). When activating the “residential” markers in the building use legend, the marker would show up. But it would also show up when clicking the “commercial” value. If both values were turned on, the marker would appear as a “residential” marker.

In addition to these improvements, we are very close to supporting two additional functions:

4. Faceted search

DH Press currently allows you to create parent-child relationships in legends. You can even create new parent categories that had not been included in your original data set. This was a really important feature for “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement,” as it allowed us to create large groupings of concepts and spaces. Rather than create a unique marker for each of the 100+ concepts in our data, we grouped them into eleven parent categories (following the principle that the human eye can only process about 10-12 colors quickly). But we do not have the capacity to display all of the unique child values in the marker legend, such that a user could click on individual child categories to filter the map. Joe is very close to finishing this, so that users can drill down into the visualization with more precision in a faceted search approach.

5. Filtering the map on multiple map legends

Faceted search will be enhanced even further once users will be able to apply filters from multiple legends. Currently, we can only show one legend at a time, but with this enhancement, we’ll be able to show the intersection (“AND” / “OR”) of two (possibly more) legends. So, users exploring the Long Women’s Movement project would be able to look for markers that include a value from the “concepts” legend, and one from the “spaces” legend, for instance: oral history segments that discuss feminism (primary concept) in educational spaces.

 

Next Steps

Once the updated plugin is debugged, we’ll begin working on the new set of features required for our current projects:

Maps

We hope to add additional base maps, such as Google satellite view. But more importantly, we are working hard to extend the current map library beyond historic NC maps. Currently we are experimenting with TMS maps (an OpenLayers protocol) to pull in maps the CDLA processed for Driving Through Time, using a different protocol than those done for the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. If we can pull these maps in, we expect that other TMS-styled maps will work, too!

Finally, we are working hard to create an interface that supports multiple unique map views. While I’d like to have up to four views, this may prove too taxing for load time. So right now we’re working on two map views. This would mean that you’d be able to see, for instance, a map of Charlotte in 1911 and a map of Winston-Salem in 1912. Or maybe you want to see two different years for one place. This will be a critical feature for our Lebanese Migration to NC project, which will be part of an exhibit at the NC Museum of Art in February, 2013.

Audio/Transcript Tool

We are also working to extend the audio/transcript tool in two significant ways:

First, we are expanding to include video files that are streaming from YouTube. This would function exactly like our SoundCloud audio files, but it would work with an embedded YouTube media player instead.

Second, we are working to extend the capabilities beyond English interviews. While we cannot automate the transcript timestamping process for non-English files (our version of Docsoft:AV only supports English and is cost-prohibitive to update), preliminary experimentation with manual timestamping has been encouraging. We are developing a process for handling parallel English and Spanish transcripts in a single instance, such that users may be able to view one or the other (or both) transcripts while listening to the audio. Stay tuned for our progress on that front.

We’re also hoping to create a more dynamic transcript view that scrolls along with the playing audio, to help users find their way in the transcripts better.

Additional Entry Points

Once we’ve stabilized the new version of the plugin, we’ll also begin adding additional entry points, or visualizations. We’ll start with a timeline view. Preliminary discussions suggest that the first implementation will be integrated with the map, so that site visitors would be able to see the display of markers in a chronology. We have not yet begun testing this, so our implementation will likely change.

Secondly, we’ll be working on what we’ve been calling the “topic card” view, which is a gallery entry point into the data (check out this early demo using jScroll for infinite scrolling). This will be a nice visualization for image-heavy projects, such as the Digital Portobelo project.

Ultimately, users will be able to create multiple entry points into a single project. We think this will require configuring modals that are unique to each entry point. This will greatly enhance the power of DH Press, and move it beyond a spatial-mapping tool.

I’ll report back on our progress over the coming months. In the meantime, got an idea for a feature? Email me!

DH Press Workshop at the University of South Carolina

Just over a week ago, DIL/DH Press team member Stephanie Barnwell and I traveled to Columbia, S.C. to conduct a one-day workshop on DH Press for the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of South Carolina.

We spent a lovely day with about twenty-two faculty, library staff, and graduate students. Many have been involved in digital humanities work for some time now; others were just getting started.

Stephanie Barnwell explains WordPress.

Stephanie Barnwell explains WordPress.

Despite a few technical hiccups (aren’t there always a few?), we managed to cover a lot of ground. After a brief introduction to DH Press, we provided a quick primer in WordPress basics, and then spent the rest of the morning discussing the nature of humanities data — how to build humanities data sets, what some of the challenges might be in working with incomplete and “fuzzy” data, and how to anticipate your data needs.

After lunch, we jumped into DH Press. First, our participants each created a project in DH Press using a subset of data from the “Charlotte 1911” project. I always like to start trainings with data that I know are clean and formatted to work in DH Press. This way, it’s easier to solve the problems that may arise along the way. Fortunately, just about everyone was able to create and publish a project.

We ended the day with a highly experimental session, one that I’d never tried before and wasn’t sure would even work. We asked participants to bring their own data sets (and we provided some random data sets for those who didn’t have one). These were “messy” data sets — not necessarily well suited for DH Press, many lacking any sort of geographical information required for the map visualization. The goal was to get these data sets into DH Press by the end of the day.

We asked participants to think about what they wanted to do with their data — what did they want to visualize and present to others, what sort of information would they need to extract, and what stories were they trying to tell? Participants then had to determine what sort of information was missing from their data, and how they would go about filling in those gaps. While we ran out of time to finish this session, several individuals were able to format their data successfully and publish a project.

We were so grateful for the opportunity to share DH Press with USC. We hope that some folks down there will adopt DH Press for their own projects, in which case I’ll share the results of any of those projects.

And a special thank you to Stephanie, who did an amazing job teaching everyone how to use WordPress and DH Press. She proved to be an excellent instructor and a wonderful traveling buddy.

DH Press and the Long Women’s Movement Attract Attention

Since the official launch of “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement,” DH Press has begun attracting attention in the media, which is attracting more users. This blog post will serve as a running list of the ongoing news coverage.

  • For starters, WUNC posted a short piece about the project on their website (21 August 2013).
  • UNC’s University Gazette featured our work in their 21 August issue, as well. Read the full story.
  • UNC’s School of Information and Library Science published a nice piece on August 26.

Look for more to come soon!

DIL Launches “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement”

I am pleased to announce that our leading DH Press pilot project, Mapping the Long Women’s Movement, is now online! This project represents a major collaboration between the Digital Innovation Lab, the Southern Oral History Program, and the Renaissance Computing Institute. Read more.

This project, which has been the primary use case for developing the beta release of DH Press, has been a long time in the making. What began as a tentative conversation with SOHP Digital Humanities Coordinator, Seth Kotch, in February 2012 is now a full-fledged project. We had an idea that we wanted to spatialize/map a collection of oral histories that all spoke to the importance of place and space in the women’s movement in Appalachia. But this project is so much more than a visualization of sound. Read more about the project.

Project Highlights

Mapping the Long Women's Movement

Visualizing oral history: each marker on the map represents a segment of an oral history.

Mapping the Long Women’s Movement offers an innovative approach to delivering digitized oral history content. Traditional library catalogs may host an oral history’s full audio file, accompanied by a transcript (often as a PDF). But this system is often inadequate for finding what you’re looking for, since it relies upon limited indexing and in-browser searching (which only works for exact text matches). And while the audio files are accessible, they are typically underutilized because it is far easier to skim a transcript than listen to a long interview.

Our project allows users to explore audio files and accompanying transcripts by jumping directly into the audio file, using the transcript and the map-based visualization as anchors for searching and browsing the content. Each marker on the map is associated with a segment of an audio file. When you click on a marker, you’ll be able to listen to that section of the interview, read the corresponding transcript, and see additional information about that audio segment. You can then link out to the full audio/transcript, where you can listen to the entire file or jump around as you like.

Start Exploring

audio and transcript

Explore the audio/transcript with a click of the mouse.

 

When you launch the project, you’ll be taken to a map with lots of markers on it. These represent stories categorized by eleven unique concepts — the women’s movement, life history, movements/social activism, etc. — across the forty-eight interviews in the project. You can switch the markers you see on the map by changing the layer (each layer filters the markers based on a different attribute in the data). You can filter the map by concept, type of space, interviewee, or interviewer.

Each marker you click will bring up a different excerpt of an interview; you can listen to that section or jump out to the entire interview. When listening to the entire interview, you’ll be able to jump to any point in the audio or transcript with a simple click of your mouse: either drag the red line in the media player, or click on any point in the transcript to start jumping around. It’s that easy!

You can also link out to related content from each marker. By clicking the “concept link” in each marker bubble, you can see a set of related markers based on that concept. So if you are exploring the theme of feminism, you can see a set of related content across all of the interviews.

We’ll start formal user testing with this project in the Fall 2013 semester. In the meantime, email me to let us know what you think about the project!

Look for additional features, including a timeline visualization and “topic card” visualization, to come online soon!


Special thanks to the DH Press development team: Joe Hope (RENCI), Stephanie Barnwell & Jade Davis; along with our former contributors: Joe Ryan, Chien-Yi Hou, and Bryan Gaston, and all of our wonderful undergraduates: Chris Breedlove, Beth Carter, Charlotte Fryar & Lauren Stutts. At the SOHP: Jessie Wilkerson, Liz Lundeen and Hudson Vaughan did a great job creating and verifying the content. And, of course, a major thank you to Seth Kotch, our client/PI, for his everlasting patience and good humor as we stumbled along.

DH Press Demo

With the beta release of DH Press behind us, and the bulk of our admin user documentation drafted, we’ve begun to turn our attention to filming short demos about DH Press features and capabilities. Check out our first demo, created in large part by graduate Lab Associate Stephanie Barnwell, with assistance from Jade Davis.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/70490275[/vimeo]

Look for more demos soon!

Preview: “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement”

We’re quickly approaching the official launch of our DH Press Pilot Project, “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement,” a collaboration with the Southern Oral History Program.

This project visualizes a collection of about fifty oral histories conducted with Appalachian women whose activism centered around space and place. Given the connection between space and activism, we started out trying to map excerpts of each oral history to help visualize the interconnectivity of these women’s experiences. In the process, we have been experimenting with new ways of accessing oral history collections, ways that bring the audio and text transcript together and that allow for new types of exploration.

Challenges and Possibilities

As with any DH project, the intellectual work of scoping a project and building a dataset is one of the most laborious, and most important, tasks.

Each marker color represents a conceptual grouping across the entire collection.

Each marker color represents a conceptual grouping across the entire collection.

Working with a team of students at SOHP and the DIL, we manually went through each and every transcript, identifying historical concepts to associate with each audio excerpt. The resulting set of concepts exceeded one hundred, so we then had to organize these concepts into related groupings, using a traditional “parent-child” relationship to implement the groupings. These groupings will drive the map-based visualization; each concept (such as “race and the women’s movement” or “women’s health”) will appear as a unique marker color on the map.

Perhaps one of the most innovative aspects of this project has been in linking audio and text—see this early demo to get a sense of the way you can move around in the text and audio simultaneously. We devised this approach so that we could avoid slicing each interview into many smaller bits. We believe it is important that users experience these interviews in context, rather than simply listen to a short segment here and there. My earlier blog post explains the process we developed to facilitate this user experience.

One of the biggest unanticipated problems we faced in accomplishing an audio-transcript linkage was the size of the audio files. Because we were not able to stream the files, we were experiencing browser performance issues that delayed our launch.

The Streaming Problem

Streaming a media file means that the file “is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider.” This allows you to begin watching or listening to something while the file is still loading. The alternative is to make the user wait for the entire file to download before playback can begin. This can be extremely problematic for large files, as load time can be quite significant and the process can prove taxing for some browsers. (Learn more.) 

In our initial implementation of the project, we pointed to the audio files that “live” in the UNC Library’s Catalog, which does not currently provide streaming services. So anytime a user in our project would want to listen to an audio file, he/she would have to wait for the entire file to download. Unfortunately, this process would occur each and every time a user might click on a marker—even a marker associated with an interview previously downloaded. So if someone clicked one too many times, the browser would inevitably crash. And a crashing browser is a surefire way to deter users from using a DH project.

Our Workaround

While we are still working on long-term, sustainable solutions to the streaming problem, we have begun playing with a short-tem workaround: streaming audio via the Web 2.0 audio sharing platform, SoundCloud. Because SoundCloud is a streaming service, we are able to stream our audio content without taxing the browser.

Furthermore, we can “seek to” different points in the audio file based on pre-determined excerpts. Simply by telling the system what the start and end points are in the file, SoundCloud will take you right there. This, in turn, allows us to link our timestamped transcript to that streaming audio “clip,” thereby allowing users simultaneous access to the sound and text.

Here’s a demo of streaming audio embedded in a marker info bubble. We hope the final version of the project will function similarly:

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/68229276[/vimeo]

Next Steps

Once we launch the project, we will work hard to bring new visualizations online, including a timeline and a concept-based tree map.

Look for the launch, which should be coming very soon!

DH Press Beta Pilot Projects Launch

We have been field testing DH Press Beta (even as we were finishing it) in Robert Allen’s AMST 840: Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies (Spring 2013). Twelve graduate students from a range of disciplines (Education, Geography, History, Library/Information Sciences, Religious Studies) worked on five projects with external clients.

I am pleased to share with you their completed projects. Some of these are proof of concepts, and several are still in development. We will be testing the Honors Study Abroad in Rome this summer with about 25 students led by Professor Lucia Binotti, so stay tuned to see how that project works in the field.

We’ll be developing additional pilot projects in the coming months for implementation in the next academic year. And our primary pilot project, “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement” should be online early this summer.

To see our newest pilot projects, visit our Project Showcase.

DH Press is Mobile Ready!

DH Press is already mobile optimized. Though our design team did not intentionally focus on making the first beta release of DH Press fully mobile-ready, it plays nicely with smartphones.

All along, we’ve been designing the tool with an eye towards functionality on iPads/minis, as well as other tablet devices. As such, we’ve been mindful to keep load time to a minimum regardless of the amount of data present in a project. We made sure that our interactive filtering legends were easy to use on tablets; rather than appearing next to the map they show up underneath. Other than that, we didn’t give mobile much more thought.

But as it turns out, DH Press is ready to be used by smartphones right now. We chose as our default theme a mobile-optimized theme: Twenty Twelve. So as long as you don’t change the default theme (or pick one that is also mobile optimized), your DH Press project will render on smartphones and tablets.

Features

DH Press on Twenty Twelve features an expandable menu for easy navigation.

DH Press homepage with collapsed navigation menu.

DH Press homepage with collapsed navigation menu.

DH Press homepage with expanded navigation menu.

DH Press homepage with expanded navigation menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, we’ve customized the CSS to automatically resize the map so you won’t have to. No matter what width and height you set the initial map view for standard monitor sizes, DH Press should automatically adjust the map for mobile users!

Test

I tested the Charlotte 1911 demo project on my iPhone 4s on a wifi network. This project currently has 1,000 data points, and I was pleased to see that load time was quite reasonable. Even on a 3G network, it took less than one minute to load 1,000 points.

Charlotte 1911 DH Press Demo Project  with project header and interactive legends.

Charlotte 1911 DH Press demo project with project header and interactive legends.

Charlotte 1911 DH Press Demo Project interactive map.

Charlotte 1911 DH Press demo project interactive map.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mobile version of the project contains all of the affordances of DH Press: I can pan and zoom to explore the map, click on individual markers, see the lightboxes (“modals“) that pop up when a marker is clicked, and follow links out to individual marker pages!

Of course, projects containing large media files may still experience load time problems. Once our “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement” project comes online, we’ll see how well DH Press Beta Mobile handles large audio files. Stay tuned…

DH Press Beta Launch

I am thrilled to announce the release of DH Press Beta 1.0! Our toolkit is officially live and ready to use. Our showcase pilot project, “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement” will come online shortly.

Beta 1.0 Overview

While we had to put some functionality on the backburner for this first release (including the non-geo-spatial visualizations and some backend customization), DH Press is nonetheless a robust, flexible, easy-to-use tool for visualizing humanistic data, one that will continue to grow over time.

DH Press makes creating a digital humanities project manageable, even for non-technical users and those new to DH. Indeed, early testers report that the biggest challenge to using the tool is building the dataset (i.e. the intellectual work of the project), which happens outside of the DH Press environment.

Project Creation Workflow

Once your data is created and formatted appropriately, it’s easy to import a CSV version into DH Press (see our documentation for more information about formatting and importing data).

DH Press Project Settings Interface

DH Press Project Settings Interface

After importing your data into DH Press, configuring the project settings is relatively straightforward. First, an admin user configures the motes (see DH Press Terms and Definitions), which are data wrappers that add functionality to custom data fields and allow them to render on the frontend. Then, set up the map view (add map layers, set the map center and zoom level, create legends for filtering, and customize the look of the markers). Finally, set up the main project page and the marker modal (the window that pops up when a marker is clicked).

The end result is a clean map that pans and zooms, filters markers, and allows you to adjust the map size and transparency (even of the base map), all while supporting the sort of exploration and search that you’d want in a DH project. And because DH Press is based in WordPress, you can incorporate narrative and in-depth analysis, or even embed your own project blog on the site.

DH Press Test Map Visualization

DH Press Test Map Visualization

The same map in Fullscreen Map mode

The same map in Fullscreen Map mode

Visualizations and Other Features

Currently, the only visualization DH Press supports is a map. However, we hope to get the following visualizations up and running shortly (by this summer):

  • Timelines (standalone and integrated with the map to show the intersection of time and space)
  • Topic Cards (like Pinterest)
  • Animations

Additionally, we hope to add the following functionality to the tool very soon:

  • Customizable page views for data points
  • New data types (integers, full-size images, thumbnail images)

And we have started thinking about how to expand the audio/transcript tool (which we’ll release when the Long Women’s Movement project launches) to handle non-English oral histories, videos, and even manuscript images.

Using DHP

There are two ways to use DH Press. If you have your own installation of WordPress (that is, you are not using the wordpress.com hosting service), you can grab the plugin from GitHub and install it. Otherwise, you can sign up to play in our Sandbox. We’ll create a user account for you, and give you your own standalone DH Press site to work in. We’ve even prepared some sample data to get you started.

Coming Soon/Next Steps

In the coming weeks, we’ll be working hard to launch our first pilot project, “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement,” which has driven the development of Beta 1.0 from the start. We’ll also be working to get our four new pilot projects (created in Bobby Allen’s AMST 840: Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies graduate seminar) launched. We’re still debugging, so keep an eye out for updates to the code (GitHub users will have to install updates; Sandbox users will not). And we’ll keep working on the new visualizations and functions. We’ll also begin user testing and our security audit to see if DH Press can be used in UNC’s WordPress environment (web.unc.edu). So stay tuned for these developments.

Acknowledgments

DH Press Beta 1.0 would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our project team.

Our lead developer, Joe Hope, has worked tirelessly to make DH Press as clean and intuitive as possible. Chien-Yi Hou handled our map functionality and Joe Ryan is taking the lead with our security audit.

Our graduate students, current and former, have played a critical role in project management, creating documentation and offering general project support: Stephanie Barnwell, Jade Davis, and Bryan Gaston. We’ve also relied heavily on Jessie Wilkerson and Liz Lundeen, History PhD students, who have led the data gathering for our Long Women’s Movement Pilot. Seth Kotch, Digital Humanities Coordinator at the SOHP, has proven to be a fearless client for this pilot. And our four DIL undergraduates contributed greatly to the Women’s Movement data gathering: Chris Breedlove, Beth Carter, Charlotte Fryar, and Lauren Stutts.

Finally, the DIL co-directors, Bobby Allen and Richard Marciano, have provided the team with support and guidance along the way.

Many thanks to you all!