Journal Entry 1: Hannah House


Journal entry

Gregorian calendar date: 17 February 2019


Readers — feel free not to be. 

I was on the fence whether to post this publicly or privately. This will be boring and irrelevant to most of you, however I do like cheerleading great people in public (see mentions of my teammates in this post), so here in public we are.

The TRIKE group project is moving along at a brisk but sustainable clip. The team is working together well. Everyone is putting in good thinking and lots of effort. This is the most highly motivated and collaborative group with whom I’ve ever group-projecked.* 

My activities on this project so far include (but are not limited to) these below.

I am serving as project manager. In that capacity I set up a Slack workspace for our project, with a handful of channels dedicated to specific aspects. I integrated it with Google Drive. I also added in Giphy (opportunities for levity are good for morale). Rob added a task management function that he and Sabina are using as they work on the technical development side of the project. I’ll be checking that out too. It sounds great. This is my first time using Slack, though I’ve used other comparable platforms.

I created a robust work plan detailing activities and deliverables week by week through the semester. These are targets, not mandates. I got rave reviews on the previous iteration of my work plan from Matt Gold and Steve Brier. I’m good at breaking down tasks and estimating what is doable within various timing and resource constraints.

While we were discussing our technology options, I made a simple wireframe of desired site architecture. Sabina turned it into a basic working WordPress shell site with absolutely blinding speed. It was seriously in what felt like a few minutes. That helped change my mind on the following…

I confess I’d been hoping this project would be a chance to try out a minimal computing solution, so I was initially opposed to building this on WordPress. But I caved. WordPress makes sense for execution in this short timeframe as multiple team members already have experience with it. And it is pretty handy that it can be hosted for free on the Commons. Rob has extensive and valuable experience with WordPress deployments on the Commons. I’ve used WordPress before but I’m waffling on whether it’s where I want to invest my time. I do still want to learn a tech skill this semester, though, so I’m going to carve out time to help on a project up at Columbia where a DH friend is teaching me about static site generators (there are an infinite number of them, which feels vaguely ironic in the context of minimal computing). But I digress.

Natasha introduced the idea of having a theme to connect the datasets when she joined the team, which is a great way to make our project more cohesive. We are leaning toward a theme of datasets connected with Shakespeare’s the Tempest. Natasha mentioned that, “it has critical traditions within feminist studies, post colonial studies, queer theory, etc.” I am entirely ignorant of Shakespeare studies, but I’m happy to hear that about this play. I am going to have to read it (again – I made a point of reading most Shakespeare plays when I was 15 just to flex nerd**, but then a lot of bad things happened and my brain entirely overwrote that knowledge). I plan to read the Tempest next weekend.

The idea is we have at least 3 different types of datasets related to the theme. If mapping is appropriate for the Tempest I may do something critical of cartesian ways of knowing, and the mismatched levels of detail between geo coordinates and literary descriptions to supplement this project. I get pretty excited about that, and also about the implications of how metadata structures like TEI reduce friction to / privilege certain types of knowledge and analysis.

Nancy transformed our initial brainstorm on potential datasets and analysis types into a really well organized outline in a shared Google doc. We are having an active ongoing discussion about potential datasets, which tracks perfectly with our workplan.

Everything is going well.


* “group-projecked” should be a thing

** “flex nerd” is definitely now a thing



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