Data TRIKE week 9 update

Project TRIKE milestones for week 9 were to have the website shell tested and ready to receive content, and GitHub set up and ready to receive content. We more than made these milestones; all data sets and most of the narratives were up on GitHub, and we have started uploading content to the website.

We’re thrilled to announce that Natasha started tweeting from https://twitter.com/projectTRIKE. The Twitter bot was going to tweet first but was held up by some unexpected code hurdles which Rob and Natasha are fixing. It should be active soon.

Rob, Natasha and Hannah are reviewing the three exhibits, or transformations, that we will publish on the project website, and Sabina is uploading content as she explores numerous plugins to present the different kinds of files the data and transformations are housed in.

Hannah made a beautiful logo:

and Nancy created an excellent slide for the lightning talk on Friday 4/5.

Rob put a redirect to our “About” page in its final state on the website while we build the website, and Sabina is starting to send the link to faculty, librarians and departments to let them know about data TRIKE.

All in all, we’re right on time and looking forward to presenting our project soon.

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ImmigrantNewspapers Update

This week, Immigrant Newspapers has made some really great progress. We are at the crucial point of pulling together all of our hard work so far and publishing.

We have purchased our Domain and successfully installed the WordPress theme that was chosen. Most of the decisions have been made regarding the language that will be used in all of the important sections of the site. We were specifically concerned with identifying immigrant groups to the best of our ability for purposes of database navigation – this has the potential to be incredibly problematic, especially when identifying groups based on language as it intersects with geographic nationality.

Jen, Sandy, and Luci continue to work on writing copy for the entirety of the site, as Antonios works on incorporating a temporary version of the map onto the site and building the individual pages of the site. We hope to have our basics finished within the next week or two (the MVP for our project has been identified as the working map AND individual profile pages for each of our newspapers).

We have consolidated all of our data and cleaned it enough for it to be ready to be put onto our website. The conclusion is that we have about 45 papers that will be included in this database – those are the papers that we were able to find both addresses AND images of the paper (whether that was the paper itself or an advertisement of the paper in a city directory). This number is pretty impressive, considering all of the roadblocks that the group encountered during the research and collection phase!

The project’s logo is on its final round of notes, and we are excited to be finished with it so that we may make our Instagram live. Congruently, we will need to create an email address once the domain is more established so that the entire team will be able to log into the Instagram and generally have access to all of our platforms using that group email.

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raadproject.org UPDATE

Lost Art Collective is now raadproject.org [under construction] and is an acronym for reclaiming african art diaspora

We obtained a server through Reclaim Hosting, with the help of the GC. Carolyn registered our domain name, opened a Reclaim account, and installed Omeka to our server on Monday, March 25.

On Wed. March 27, Camilla, Carolyn, and Patty met with Stephen Klein, Digital Librarian. The focus and goal of the meeting was to log-in to our Omeka site, upload our data, test a subset of our data, and customize the fields in Omeka.

We achieved a basic set-up, but Stephen instructed us to do the following necessary data prep in order to configure and customize Omeka for raadproject.org:

1.       Spreadsheet with two columns matching DCE with your labels

see: http://www.dublincore.org/specifications/dublin-core/dcmi-terms/)

2.       Spreadsheet with your data with column headings with your labels

3.       When ready, we will edit record-metadata.php theme file overwriting DCE names with your labels

4.       Lastly your data should contain a field with data asset names and locations

a.       You will concatenate this using this methodology

Column a = <a href=’

Column b = your data

Columb c = ‘>Click here to see image</a>

Formula in Column D = =A1&B1&C1

Save  your data sheet as a CSV

Once data is ready and record-metadata.php has been modified you are ready!

Footnote and Code for step #3:

Changes Dublin Core default field labels.


For example


if ($setName == ‘Dublin Core’ && $elementName == ‘Creator’) {

$label = ‘NewName1’;

} elseif ($setName == ‘Dublin Core’ && $elementName == ‘Has Format’) {

$label = ‘ NewName2’;

} elseif ($setName == ‘Dublin Core’ && $elementName == ‘Has Part’) {

$label = ‘ NewName3’;


75% of the spreadsheets/data that Patty obtained the rights for us to use have been translated.

THOSE MOST LIKELY TO USE raadproject.org or MOST LIKELY TO BENEFIT from it being online are:

1) Students — UNDERGRAD + GRAD in Art History + African/Africana/Afrocentric Studies + Law + Humanities

2) Academics/Art Historians — the co-authors of the French report, Benedicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr, the source of  our dataset, are representative “Use Case” models.

French art historian and professor at the College de France in Paris and the Technishe Universitat of Berlin Benedicte Savoy (R) and Senegalese economist and professor at the Gaston Berger University of Saint-Louis in Senegal Felwine Sarr (L) pose on March 21, 2018, in Paris.
The French president has named Savoy and Sarr in charge of a mission to study the restitution to various African countries of art and heritage pieces currently in France. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

3) Social Justice Individuals + Reparation Activists

Use cases could also easily fan out to the Legal Community, museum curators, law enforcement, and more tbd.



LOGO sketch by Camilla will be the basis for an originally designed graphic for raadproject.org swag + branding.

DATA PREP /CLEANING DATA + FINISHING TOUCHES — we’re aiming for Tues. April 2 – Thurs. April 4.

Pam cracked the code on how to translate the spreadsheets from the original French to English using an “add-on” in Google Sheets. We divided the spreadsheets into 1/4 of the total spreadsheets per group member. Camilla and Patty have been vetting the translations for error codes and incorrect translations.

Pam is researching CARTO coordinates for future mapping.

Carolyn attended the “Finding the Right Tools for Mapping” Workshop on Wed. March 27 and learned in the workshop that Carto student accounts are free for 2 years and then Carto charges a pricey fee. If left unpaid, Carto removes the account, from which the data is then irretrievable, per the expertise of Digital Fellow Olivia who led the workshop, and Digital Fellow Javier who assisted Olivia. They also mentioned that a big drawback to Carto is that the interface changes often and without notice. In their experience, this can adversely affect projects using Carto.

The workshop was excellent and gave a great summary of the “Top 5 Mapping Platforms” which Olivia summarized in these two lists. I display them in this post for the everyone in the class to see:


Static Maps Interactive Maps


We do not have rights to images of the art/artifacts/objects. However, we can LINK to each image in the Branly-Chirac Museum’s African Collection. Stephen Klein instructed that the URL for each image, however, will have to be hard coded in html with an <a href tag within the spreadsheets to make it appear. It’s additional work but an “elegant solution” that would allow users to see the items. Carolyn observes that this will drive much traffic to the museum’s website, and content metrics are valuable. Therefore, going forward there should be some business arrangement with the museum if raadproject.org is driving alot of traffic to the Branly-Chirac Museum’s website (compensation, caption credit, etc.)

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Freedom Dreaming Update 3/28

Hello all!

It’s Brittany, back with the latest updates on the Freedom Dreaming project. Here are the highlights:

  • We are hoping to have our Phase 1 website and the social media campaign completed and implemented by April 1.
  • Currently, you can access our Phase 1 website (which is currently in draft form but should be ready to go by April 1st) here: bit.ly/freedomdreaming  
  • Our logo and social media accounts are live and we are planning to begin implementing the campaign on April 1. As of now, feel free to like/follow our accounts! We will start asking for participation/promotion of the project and accounts on/around April 1! We will keep everyone posted.
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Freedom-Dreaming-405093713396824/
  • Twitter: @call_to_imagine
  • Instagram: @call_to_imagine
  • At this point, we aren’t really looking for feedback on the website, as it’s still in draft form, though we will let people know if we need any additional feedback.

Thanks all!



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3/26-4/2 Goals

Hi teams,

As we discussed today, these are some things to potentially keep in mind as you work on projects this week. As usual, feel free to skip or ignore anything that is not relevant to your work plan:

  • Draft Beta site, publish or set formal deadline for publication
    • Complete documents to post on your site (consider, for example, publishing your documentation, a project narrative, or an about us page)
  • Draft potential use cases (e.g. who is visiting your site? what are they doing there? what kinds of research questions might they ask/answer?) and/or launch outreach plan to identify potential reviewers
  • Draft a promotion and social media/update schedule
  • Work on logos (these should be minimalistic, graphic, easily made into vector art); workshop swag ideas
  • If you have already published your websites and/or social media pages, please post links to those as well so I can offer feedback on copy

Group updates may be posted any time between now and the end of the week (ideally Friday, but before Sunday)

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Immigrant Newspapers Update

This week, we have made quite a few positive advancements for immigrant newspapers! We are working really hard in this critical moment of realization of the project.

The group agreed on a WordPress theme that works for us and incorporates all of the elements that we were hoping for on our website. We can upload our Mapbox, use a photo-based gallery for the database, host a blog, etc – It’s called Vigor.

Theme: https://demo.edge-themes.com/vigor3/

These are our plans for layout:

Main menu:

  • Map
  • Featured stories
  • Blog
  • FAQ
  • Contact

Separate pages:

  • Home
  • Product Pages
    • (final newspaper individual page – AKA Profile Page)
  • Gallery Page (calling Collection)
    • Product Page
  • Blog Page
  • About Us
    • Methodology
    • Castle Garden
    • About the team
  • Contact Us


The group has decided to keep the overlay map that we had originally chosen – after looking for something better, we realized we had the map that was most beautifully illustrated, was in the proper time period, had a good color scheme, and covered almost all of our newspaper address points.

We are currently working on finalizing our logo. Antonios is trying to use the Castle Garden outline as inspiration and incorporate that image with the text “Immigrant Newspapers.”

Jennifer, Sandy, and I are working on writing all of the text that will go into the website so that Antonios is able to begin coding. We will be able to start this process as soon as we have a domain purchased and we have successfully tested the Mapbox on our theme.



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Lost Art Collective – Project Update Mar 22

The Lost Art Collective team has been focused on gathering and preparing our data for entry into Omeka.  Given that the data is the heart of the project, we’d like to elaborate on how we acquired our datasets and the steps to ‘clean’ and ‘prep’ the information.

The heart of this project is based on a report, The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage:  Toward a New Relational Ethics, that was researched and presented by a team of French and African scholars, Art Historians, and researchers in November 2018.  In addition to describing the varied issues concerning the restitution of African art and artifacts back to their countries of origin, the report documents the African Collections that are housed at the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris, France, totaling over 70,000 items.

We decided to focus on the items identified in this report for the initial phase of our project.

Permissions to use the data (completed):

Our first task was to verify that we would not be violating any copyrights by incorporating these items into our database.  Carolyn emailed one of the GC’s librarians regarding “Fair Use” of the data in the report (we got the go-ahead).  As it turns out, since the information is available through the Museum’s online search, it is considered public.

However, we do not have the rights to use the images of the artifacts.  Pam and Patty figured out how to combine some of the data fields to create a url that will link to the museum’s search engine and display each item.

Gathering the data (completed):

Next step was to get the date into an excel format, so that it could be converted to a csv file (to be uploaded into Omeka).  We had a parallel approach to doing this:

Pam focused on converting the pdf version of the report to an ocr format, and then converting this into an excel file.  This proved to be very “messy” and time consuming, and would have required significant time to “clean” the data.

Concurrent to this, Patty contacted one of the report’s authors, who connected her with one of the researchers working closely with the museum’s staff to create the databases, which he kindly shared with us.  We now had all 70,000 records in an excel spreadsheet!

Understanding & Cleaning the data (60% complete):

We are currently cleaning the data (since there are 48 country files, we’ve divided this up among all group members).  These efforts include:

– translating the relevant fields from French to English

– Splitting some fields to multiple columns (in order to map the information correctly)

– adding new fields (for example, the catalogue item number includes the date that the item was entered into the museum’s collection, so we are adding a new field with this date, to add another criteria for querying the database.

Give  the volume of data, we are starting with a sub-set of some of the larger data sets.  For example, if there are over 7,000 items from a single country, we will begin by translating 10% of the records, so that we can get started with loading the data into Omeka.

Mapping the Data to Omeka (conforming to the Dublin Core Metadata Standard) (50% complete):

Patty and Camilla have begun mapping the data from the spreadsheets to the Omeka standard.  We need to learn more about Omeka before we can finalize this step.

Learning Omeka:

In our efforts to learn our chosen platform, the team attended the Omeka Workshop that was offered by the Digital Fellows on March 12th.  Having more specific questions, we attended a  follow-up session with Kristin (a Digital Fellow) on Mar 20th; unfortunately Kristin was out sick, so we are attempting to find other means to get our questions answered.

We’ve identified a few templates that would be appropriate for our project, and have begun mapping our data to the Omeka data types.

Procuring a Server for Omeka:

Carolyn is working with Andie and the Digital Fellows to procure server space, and will load Omeka on the server.

Camilla will be the Site Administrator.

Once this is complete, we can begin configuring Omeka and loading the data.

The Map and Data Visualization Component:

We originally thought to use Neatline for the map component of our project, as it plugs into Omeka.  We are re-thinking this, as we haven’t found any resources at the GC who can help us learn this product, and we don’t think we’ll have enough time to accomplish this by the end of the semester.

In the meantime, Patty and Pam will be meeting with Javier (Digital Fellows) to explore if we can use Carto for a few visualizations.

Camilla is exploring other tools to use for data visualizations.  Patty and Pam also spoke with Augustine about using R or Python to create some basic visualizations.  More to come on this.

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Project TRIKE week 8 summary

Week 8 was a busy one for Project TRIKE with our first major content deadline arriving on 3/19.  All of our data sets are ready with a little more work to do on the analyses and transformations in some cases.

Nancy and Rob tracked down a strange, abstruse bug in one of her automation scripts.  Hannah, given her dataset involves large numbers of images, addressed the GitHub repository size restrictions.

Rob put together a QA plan for the website, posted to GitHub, which needs breakdown into a proper matrix with attendant responsibility assignments.

Our outreach plan, solidified by Sabina last week, is now being filled in with target faculty and departments.  When we move to contact our targets, we will need to have our “About” page in its final state and set up on the website.  Our choice was to use the final site URL and put a redirect on the front page so visitors will not easily to be able to see our site as it is being built.  That redirect will go up on Thursday 3/21.

The website now has its final theme and structure.  We discussed the nomenclature of our dataset projects and decided to call them “Exhibits”.  Each exhibit will need its own structure on the website, so we will remain agile about their architecture.

Natascha received approval from Twitter to implement a bot that will listen for key phrases (such as “raw data”) across the twittersphere, retweet them with a light, corrective note, and point people to our “About” page.

We discussed changing the name of the project from Project TRIKE to Data TRIKE to be more informative.  Everyone agreed and a good time was had by all.  Tiny Tim survived and came to think of Scrooge as a second father.

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Website / Lost Art Collective

Lost Art Collective will be housed temporarily on the CUNY Academic Commons at LostArt.commons.gc.edu while we clean and prepare the data used in a French rapport, “ The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics”.


The finished project will be hosted through Reclaim Hosting and reside on an outside server for the next two years and will be renamed RAAD.edu.omeka.org. RAAD is an abbreviation for Reclaiming African Art Diaspora. Omeka will serve as the back end of the project site and we will use plug-ins such as Neatline for our visualizations. We will launch social media accounts and a preliminary version of the website by April 15th.

The finished wed site will include information about the project, its purpose and how it can be used. It will also contain a brief history section to give context to the subject, in addition to providing a catalog of the artwork in question. This catalog will be searchable so users can utilize this tool to look for specific information they might be interested in. Additional sections will be the open source database and a contact section.

The website will have a clean look, probably with a light background for easy reading and navigating and with a solid color theme. Ideally, the landing page design will be minimal, containing the name of the project and a visualization, before the user is taken on to the site. The website will feature data visualization of the journey of the African artwork. The catalog will not include images of the artwork due to a complicated issue of rights usage. However, each item in the catalog will be equipped with a link to the item’s image contained in the database of the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris, so the users can gain visual access to the artwork of interest.

Our minimal viable product will be a searchable database website with the following sections:

  • About
  • Brief historical context
  • Catalog of artwork
  • Open source database
  • About us
  • Contact
  • Visualizations
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Freedom Dreaming Public-Facing Site and Social Media

This past week, the Freedom Dreaming team has been busy getting our public facing website and social media accounts ready to go. Since the primary basis of our project requires an interactive website and social media accounts, these items have already been a high priority for our team. Previously, we had already drafted a large amount of the written website content including:

  • Our initial website landing page prompt
  • A short explanation or “elevator pitch”
  • “About” section
  • “History of the project” section
  • “How to” section
  • Further prompts to help facilitate additional conversation (to be listed on the website and utilized on social media)
  • The intended website “vibe” section
  • A beginning list of resources
  • Some beginning notes on a privacy policy/legal disclaimer

As noted in previous blog posts we plan to utilize a Phase 1 website and a Phase 2 website. The Phase 1 website will be rolled out and promoted to the public (as well as the social media accounts) within the next 2 weeks. The Phase 2 website will be transitioned to by our final presentation.

When considering the design of our websites, our designer Andrea created some beautiful mockups included below:

The above images were included in our deliberation process. Ultimately, as a team, we preferred all images within the black and gold/yellow color scheme. The black signifies the darkness of systems of oppression and the impact it can have on individuals lives. The gold/yellow signifies hope, lightness, and optimism for a better future, one where true freedom can be achieved for all. This is continued to the logo that was also developed by Andrea, which will be used for all our social media accounts.

For this week, we are hoping to complete the following tasks so that the next time that we meet we can begin to reach out for feedback to finalize our content. Below are the tasks that we’ve decided on for each group member:

Andrea: Finalize design, brand identity, social media deliverables and add CMS to the website. Email an individual who may be able to help consult for the project.

Anthony: Book an appointment with Agustin to discuss pulling social media data and begin a basic plan for what we want to look for in our future data.

Brittany: Create social media bios, get Hootsuite connected, finalize email copy content, and type up Group post.

Kiana: Finalize a draft of the correct colors, type, and structure of Phase 1 website.

Raven: Finalize a draft of a Digital Flyer(s) and edit email copy.

All: Write up specific freedom dreaming examples and a short simple bio.

We’ve been making great progress as a group and hope to continue our momentum with the project into the following weeks as we continue our outreach efforts and implement our social media campaign. In the near future, we will begin deciding on how we will handle and manage the social media content as a team.

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