Category Archives: Final Projects

Examples of Project Websites

Great dataset presentations today!

A few of you asked me questions after class about the final project option 3, creating a website analyzing two data sets. I hope the guidelines we gave today will be helpful, but I also want to make sure that if you pick that option you understand the scope of the project: it is much more involved than just cleaning up your dataset project. It is not just presenting data in graphical form or visualizing it using a tool, but rather asking and answering questions of two related data sets in order to create some new knowledge or insight about your topic.

To give a sense, here are some examples of what I would consider to be successful website projects (from a DH 101 class at UCLA; these are undergraduates, but they’re working in teams):

Elf Yelp
Project Chop Suey
Exploring Andean Pottery
Getty’s Provenance Data

Apigee – Fashion Studies Dataset project #stansmith

Instagram —> # Stan Smith —> APIGEE to create a collection of data —> pictures and hashtag —> mapping or story-line

Scarlett and I decided to deepen fashion studies through DH tools that we learned during the semester. Since we are studying fashion, we noticed two different aspects that we would like to develop and that both are necessary in our field. The first one is visualization, while the second one is connectivity. For the first, we decided to start from Instagram. Between all social media we have today, Instagram is based on hashtag and images. Fashion is a visual thing, and the absence of pictures wouldn’t allow its growth. The second aspect would be connectivity: through a specific detail, like Stan Smith shoes, we can trace the visual story of fashion, declined in that specific detail. Marketing strategies, level of interests all over the world, connect people with same passions and interests, etc.… It could not be appealing for someone, but we think fashion owns this power of connection. This is what we consider a tool that has the power of social mobility, etc.…

We started with Apigee, the leading provider of API technology and services for enterprises and developers. Hundreds of companies including Walgreens, Bechtel, eBay, Pearson, and Gilt Group as well as tens of thousands of developers use Apigee to simplify the delivery, management and analysis of APIs and apps ( Our classmates in the Fashion Studies Track have suggested this program to us because it would have helped for a good but simple data project; so let’s see how it works.

Basically we wanted to collect images, find tags with StanSmith, locations all over the world, to see what relationship exists between the world and the shoes. I guess this could also be a good project to keep track of marketing movements in the entire fashion world, and with all the items, not only one specific.

We typed in the search bar and in the page that popped out we chose “Instagram” in the column API. The next step is to select OAuth2 under the column “Authentication” because to interact with data through Apigee is necessary to authorize your Instagram account.

At this point you will have three options (Query, Template and Headers). We chose “Template” (for Instagram) and in the “tag name*” slot we typed our tag “stansmith”. Right after this step the authentication is complete, authorizing Apigee to use your social media account.

It’s necessary to select an API method and it’s important to select the second choice under the “Tags” section of the list.

We only had to click on “send” and the response came: Instagram has pagination, so the data we got were divided in pages. Copying the URL in the picture, and pasting it in a new searching bar we obtained a weird data page in order to see the next page.

Our friend told us that the process was almost complete, but the last step was to download “JSONview” (with Safari it doesn’t work, so we used Chrome), to see the data in an organized form. This step is specifically for an easier visualization of images, profile pictures, username, etc.…and we also found the numbers for “created_time”. This part is very important because converting this numbers from Unix epoch time to GMT is necessary for the visualization of images.

With Epoch Converter we were able to convert everything and the result is a list of data, where every “attribution” is a post. We collapsed the posts, having the chance to look at posted pictures in different resolutions!

For the presentation we’ll provide a Power Point with images step by step of the process to reach this data that we will probably use for a mapping or a timeline of the item.


Thanks for your time,


Nico and Scarlett

Hey Girl

For those of you thinking of a public history-oriented final project proposal (like I am), you might appreciate the Public History Ryan Gosling Tumblr.  Although its most recent entry is from 2013 and the meme is old, the ideas are still very relevant. More to the point , this  short post by the authors on the NCPH website explains how they used their Tumblr  to call attention to issues around public engagement, the ethics of historical representation of the “underrepresented”, public communities vs. academic communities, and more. Anyway, it’s a helpful reminder of things to consider while developing a project. Plus Ryan Gosling.

After spending sometime with the primary sources and after a few weeks devoted in class to using maps in DH projects, I would like to propose a project similar to the Interactive Map of the Battle of Gettysburg by a team led by Anne Kelly Knowles. Instead of emphasizing sight lines, I would like to focus in on sound.

One of the more fascinating tidbits of Civil War history is how sound played a role on the battlefield and surrounding region. Commanders and troops used sound to clue themselves in orders or where the enemy was because the weapons of the time literally created a fog of war obscuring clear sight lines. There is a scientific phenomenon known as acoustic shadowing; some troops marching into battle sometime did not hear the cacophony of fighting until they got extremely close or just over a hill. At the same time, towns or villages dozens of miles away heard the battle as if it was close by.


-David Campmier

Hypergraphy as a Garden of Forking Paths

In zeroing in on a specific data set to begin with in my building-up-toward a more fully-conceived project for next Spring, I’ve found it necessary to first demarcate my chosen subject matter. To work backwards so to speak.

The prefix “hyper” refers to multiplicity, abundance, and heterogeneity. A hypertext is more than a written text, a hypermedium is more than a single medium. – Preface to HyperCities

Hypergraphy, sometimes called Hypergraphics or metaGraphics : a method of mapping and graphic creation used in the mid-20th century by various Surrealist movements. The approach shares some similarities with Asemic writing, a wordless open semantic form of writing which means literally “having no specific semantic content.” Some forms of Caligraphy (think stylized Japanese ink brush work) also share a similar function, whereby the non-specificity leaves space for the reader to fill in, interpret, and deduce meaning. The viewer is suspended in a state somewhere between reading and looking. Traditionally, true Asemic writing only takes place when the creator of the asemic work can not read their own writing.

Example work:


Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet, translator, and librarian. A key figure in the Spanish language literature movement, he is sometimes thought of as one of the founders of magical realism. He notably went blind in 1950 before his death. In his blindness, he continued to dictate new works (mostly poetry) and give lectures. Themes in his work include books, imaginary libraries, the art of memory, the search for wisdom, mythological and metaphorical labyrinths, dreams, as well as the concepts of time and eternity. One of his stories, the “Library of Babel”, centers around a library containing every possible 410-page text. Another “The Garden of Forking Paths” presents the idea of forking paths through networks of time, none of which is the same, all of which are equal. Borges goes back to, time and again, the recurring image of “a labyrinth that folds back upon itself in infinite regression” so we “become aware of all the possible choices we might make.”[88]

The forking paths have branches to represent these choices that ultimately lead to different endings.

Borges is also know for the philosophical term the “Borgesian Conundrum”. From wikipedia:

The philosophical term “Borgesian conundrum” is named after him and has been defined as the ontological question of “whether the writer writes the story, or it writes him.”[89] The original concept put forward by Borges is in Kafka and His Precursors—after reviewing works that were written before Kafka’s, Borges wrote:

If I am not mistaken, the heterogeneous pieces I have enumerated resemble Kafka; if I am not mistaken, not all of them resemble each other. The second fact is the more significant. In each of these texts we find Kafka’s idiosyncrasy to a greater or lesser degree, but if Kafka had never written a line, we would not perceive this quality; in other words, it would not exist. The poem “Fears and Scruples” by Browning foretells Kafka’s work, but our reading of Kafka perceptibly sharpens and deflects our reading of the poem. Browning did not read it as we do now. In the critics’ vocabulary, the word ‘precursor’ is indispensable, but it should be cleansed of all connotation of polemics or rivalry. The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.”

I’m circling around 2 or 3 different project ideas:

  1. Close Reading/Qualitative Analysis: Hypertextualizd Borges poems/short stories with an emphasis on works created during his period of blindness, re-imagined as a garden of forking paths. Break down the works into levels of constituent parts. Create an engine to re-esemble them based on a methodological algorithm informed by his ideas surrounding non-linearity, and the morphology of his oeuvre.
    1.5 *Potential Visualization Component: Hyperagraphy Engine (simulated blindness) that interacts with the hypertextualized artifacts from 1.0.
  2. Distance Reading/Quantitative Analysis: Topics as “forms of discourse” in Borges and his precursors (Potential Candidates: Cervantes, Kafka, Schopenhauer, Quevedo, Gracian, Pascal, Coleridge, Poe.)
  3. …..(Running out of time, will continue this post tonight).