Digital Humanities Models


Music/Sound Related

Archival Records of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, including concert programs, 1828-1967, by D. Kern Holoman
D. Kern Holoman, from the University of California, Davis has compiled a vast number of records from the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire and made them easily searchable. The sheer amount of text involved in this undertaking makes this particular DH model less relevant to the casual user; Holoman’s archive has a definite, scholarly audience. The organization of the archive lends itself well to a variety of different research techniques; the transcribed documents, mainly concert programs but also some bylaws and a discography may be browsed by composer, instruments, or year – unfortunately, these sorting methods do not apply equally across the categories of documents. This is an invaluable resource for researchers of this field – but learning to use it will be a matter of trial and error.

Chatty Maps – Exploring How Your City Sounds
In maps made with Carto, MapBox, and OSM, researchers from Bell labs have created a Maps for the streets of the World’s major cities, and analyzed what kinds of noise are on that street (music, transportation, nature, etc). They have also included a chart of the emotions of each street – from happy to aniticipatory to angry and several emotions in between. To do this, they use sound clips and pictures from those places and create statistically “happy, musical” streets, or, in comparison, “angry transportation” streets. Their site is fairly easy to navigate and very organized, and their sources and publications are easy to find as well. While the site is accessible, you can’t zoom out at all and must pan the streets to see real change, rather than zooming out and being able to see it all at once. Looking into the “sensorial and emotional layers of cities” seems like something we could look into incorporating into our own maps. Since our maps are about history, and not the present with current technology, it would be difficult for us to gauge how happy a street would have been just through a picture or two, or even none at all.

Dezède                                                                                                                                                                                                        This non-mapping digital humanities archive, created by musicologists at the Université de Rouen, acts as a repository of chronological performance data. The archive contains over 20,000 event records, which can be searched through topical dossiers or via various authority records such as performing organization, venue, composer, date, or any combination thereof. It strikes a compelling balance between being authoritative and being open-ended. Researchers can submit data to Dezède that they have compiled on their own, in order to build the archive and make their data available to others. The archive is rigorous in its citations; all of the data for each event record comes with clearly cited sources. Dezède’s utility as a research tool depends a lot on the research subject; much of the performance data is very chronologically, temporally, and geographically spread out and spotty. Furthermore, while events under various authority records can be filtered and exported in PDF form, it’s not clear whether they can be exported to a CSV and mapped easily. However, Dezède’s philosophy is very closely aligned with our own goals: it is free, open-access, and flexible, and it is designed for both research and pedagogical use. Our event records in Elevator could end up looking quite a lot like those in Dezède, which makes it a great resource for learning how to best organize and share our data.

Early Modern London
Created in a collaboration between professors of Oxford and Victoria University in England, this is a map of “Early Modern London” which outlines buildings and roads in color-coded categories based on type of location. Any combination of the categories may be shown on the map, and clicking on a specific venue produces a pop-up that provides information about the location. The entire site is open-code, open-access, and open-source (which is beneficial for others looking into conducting similar research). However, the creators have yet to include information for many of the locations on the map.

Keeping Score                                                                                                                                                                                       Created by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, the Keeping Score website forms the online component of an ambitious, wide-ranging music history pedagogy initiative. The Keeping Score project also includes several PBS documentaries, radio programming, and lesson plans for a variety of grade levels. Designed for use by high school and college music history students, the interactive portion of the website includes dozens of Adobe Flash applications that allow the user to explore composer biographies and individual classical pieces. Most of these include some form of mapping: one describes Mahler’s travels, for example. The learning tools have a variety of interactive features, such as map pop-ups, timelines, score excerpts, and embedded audio clips. The experience is highly curated; in most cases, the user proceeds step-by-step through chronological events or from movement to movement in a piece. This approach reflects the project’s goal of presenting music history in a manner that is accessible to the general public. Its goals do not include making new and complicated historical arguments, but instead on creating teaching materials that are easy and enjoyable for many different people to use. Additionally, this site shows what can be done with clear goals and a well-funded budget.

Musical Passage
What’s different about this musical map from others annotated by our researchers is the very format of the “map” – not, as one might expect, a geographical rendering of the dissemination of Jamaican music in the 17th century, but rather a mapping of sounds onto paper using Western-style notation practices. The sheet music becomes the base map for this site. The organization of this map privileges its auditory component; scan any part of the open, manuscript page and different songs are highlighted, with the option to “Explore” the particular instrumentation of that piece by opening another bubble. Visitors to this map should also make use of the considerable textual support on the other two pages of the site (About & Read), which explains the approach of the researchers as well as the context of this isolated musical incident. The map does not pretend to generalize the music recorded in the single manuscript source to all of Jamaican music of the 17th century, but it does permit visitors to consider one interpretation of that musical environment.

Music Diplomacy
The U.S. State Department has sponsored a “Database of Cultural Presentations” map that shows locations of U.S. touring groups’ performances during the Cold War. You can search in several categories, like group name, performance city, performance type, and performance country. Though the different search bars are helpful in finding information, the user cannot zoom in enough to see specific streets or neighborhoods, and the site lacks information about what music was performed at each event. 

Musicmap is a visual genealogy that introduces the history of and relationships between popular music genres. By incorporating database construction with verbal and multimedia elaboration, this project not only builds the macroscopic frames of popular musical genres but also highlights the ambiguity and inconsistency in regard to individual cases. In addition, effective visualizations such as color coding, gridding, and family tree symbols balance the complexity of the subject with accessibility for the users to capture the information. Musicmap is a good example of a digital humanities project that contributes to both public knowledge and professional studies.

Music-Map (The Global Network of Discovery)
Music-Map is a networking map that demonstrates and classifies people’s musical tastes through graphical spacial relations. An innovative conceptual map, Music-Map uses clusters and distance to illustrate the degree of relativity between artists, thereby suggesting the likeliness of a shared audience. Though quite different from the projects involved in musical geography, Music-Map provides an opportunity for us to examine the nature of space by disengaging spatial reference from geocodes. This project inspires us to contemplate the possibility to not only locate individual events but also highlight the connections between them in our own maps.

Paris: City of Light
This site provides a map with the locations of composers’ homes, theaters, and important landmarks in Paris between 1900-1950. Additionally, it provides links to other pages in the City of Life website that detail specific information about public tourist attractions (this includes pictures, sound clips, and short films about the location). While this map uses different icons to indicate the type of location and provides general knowledge, the map uses no GIS system to link the icons to the locations; therefore, the overlay of icons becomes offset with the picture underneath if the page is zoomed in or out too far.

Radiooooo is an interactive map that provides the listener with a song from the “radio” from a specified country and decade after 1900. The map allows the listener to specify whether the selected song is slow, fast, or weird. The listener can choose one, two, or all three of the specifications and the radio will play a song. Here, oddly enough, I noticed a significant amount of privilege given to larger countries, as their mere size draws my eye to them, which makes me more likely to click on them. It also privileges countries/islands that are less known, or more of a novelty, such as Antarctica. Because I had no familiarity with these places, I found myself more likely to listen to their radio than the radio of, say, England. An entertaining aspect of the map, which I found with some exploration, were the various “islands” that were thematically categorized, rather than geographically/historically. This map presents music of cultures based on political boundaries, which may inhibit accurate representation of certain states that reside within countries. The map’s focus on the 20th century music seems to be a choice made to show how music progressed after the invention of the radio, showing significant diversification as the 20th century progresses. What I appreciated about this resource was its accessibility and its presentation. The audience is casual audiophiles, clearly displayed by its laid-back nature. This accessibility and presentation is clearly appealing, and as we move forward with our project, it may be helpful to continue to consult this map as a clear example of an accessible resource intended for any audience. Simultaneously, this map uses well what Bethany Nowviskie describes as “wise foolishness,” as it plays with the user, opening up the world of exploration in popular music throughout the 20th century. That said, a problem with this resource is its lack of authority, given that anyone is able to post a song. This significantly compromises the reliability of the database.

The Roaring Twenties
This interactive website includes documentation of noise complaints in New York in the 1920s. The site, with excellent presentation and citing of information, includes separate tabs on the time, space, and sounds of this period of history. These sounds come from automobiles, loud neighbors, and immigrant communities. Though this model of retrieving sonic information seems effective, in our research, noise complaints from Paris are difficult to come by, especially only ones that are music-related. On our site, rather than use several tabs and separate time, space, and sound, we hope to combine them all together on the maps to create a more immersive experience.

Schönberg World Map
While this map displays excellent primary source data and general information about Shönberg’s influence, the markers are grouped by general area until selected, and then they automatically zoom in and split into even more markers. Once you split it down to an individual venue or other location, the pop-up is finally available to view. Many of the pop-ups lack specific date information, program information, or contextual information for the letters and primary sources presented.

Repository of Digital Resources for Musicology:

In addition to its own catalogue of sources, the Digital Resources in Musicology showcases “ADAM: Archive of Digital Applications in Musicology, EVE: Electronic and Virtual Editions, and Harvard’s Online Resources for Music Scholars.” The repository, which serves as a vast collection of ideas and information, aggregates study and research information for scholars. Within its categories, it provides links to GIS maps from different sources around the world – some of these maps show information from antiquity, while others include more modern information. One such map is Lomax’s Global Jukebox map, which impressively seeks to show relationships between different origins of musical style.

Database of Performances by the Société Nationale de Musique, 1909-1919, by Michel Duchesneau:

Troubadour Tradition Map by Katie Chapman (part of Troubadour Melodies project)

Foreign Musicians in Paris Database:

Early Music Issue dedicated to computer-assisted analysis

Archive of Digitized Wax Cylinders

Harmony Bench – Digital Research in Dance Studies

Spotify’s “Musical Cities”

Daat-Hamakom – Map of Jewish musics, worldwide

Hip Hop Geography

Musicians in Venice

Smithsonian Folkways Holiday Music

Radio Garden

Radio Garden is produced by Studio Puckey and Moniker, both Amsterdam-based design studios. This interactive globe delivers radio transmissions: click around in the Stories tab, or click on the other three tabs to listen to radio stations on autoplay. The site allows the user to analyze how radio has affected the relationship between place and social events through its “History,” “Jingles,” and “Stories” tabs. These include broadcasts and captions that present sounds from the past and present around the world, especially Europe and North America. The “Live” tab does stream many stations from Asia, South America, Africa, and Australia, however, and addresses cultures that may have been poorly documented and preserved throughout history. This source provides immediately meaningful visualizations of radio livestreams, even if they only can show radio stations with online presences.



Non-Mapping, but similar database and analysis:

Non-Mapping, but digitized concert programs and administrative materials relating to Société des Concerts du Conservatoire:

Non-Mapping, but digitized concert programs from Koussevitzky’s 1920s Paris Concerts:

Begging to be mapped: British Musical Festivals

Social Science and Science

Columbia Center for Spatial Research
This particular website houses a number of projects which examine the applications of digital mapping to humanities research. A number of the featured projects focus on world conflicts (management and history); summaries of different projects are provided within the main site, which then links out to each project site. This is a very detailed website, and provides a diverse assortment of sources for future research as well as being an exhibition of research conducted at Columbia University. The most helpful tabs for the semi-casual visitor will be “About” and “Projects,” but it’s also worth your time to explore the “News” and “Publications” tab, especially if there is an interest in current projects or research within the digital spatial humanities.

Digital Harrisburg – Excellent example of leading users through an interactive, historical map that includes 40 years’ worth of Harrisburg census information.

CityLab Maps

This map by Bloomberg presents the shocking reality of climate change. The timeline at the bottom of the screen plays with the expectations of the user with it’s intentionally slow interface. From 1982-2002 we see a rather steady, but small decline of ice in the north pole. Once 2002 arrives, the user faces the reality of climate change as ice coverage drops to 10% in a year. This visualization of climate change is quite effective in creating an emotional response in the user. It shows both quantitative and qualitative evidence, as it gathers stories of those affected directly by climate change. While the map continues through these slides, it moves from geographic location to geographic location, which effectively portrays climate change as an entirely global challenge that affects all citizens of the earth.

Moving Bodies, Moving Culture Project
Not one map, but several – the maps on this particular research blog are intended both to support the textual evidence of the research on dance touring practices by Kate Elswit  (in conjunction with her ongoing collaboration with Harmony Bench) and to inspire new research questions. Elswit sums up the purpose of her blog in a brief note at the top, calling the maps “exploratory visualizations” of the American Ballet Caravan’s progress in 1941 South America. The maps tend not to highlight geography in and of itself, and the background maps are fairly plain or matte, but the bright lines, circles, and polygons overlaying the maps aim to highlight the possible connections between the dancers on the tour as bodies both on a performance stage and on the world stage, moving across oceans. The maps and must-read surrounding research blog bring up interesting questions about the intersections between the individual dancers, the company as a whole, and the many places to and from which they travel.

Mapping America’s Bike Commuters
In this map, we see a visual representation of both the number and percentage of bikers who commute to work. This map has a drop-down legend so that your first impressions of the map are “what is this?” and “what am I looking at?” After pulling down the legend, it becomes easier to remark how the map functions. The mapmakers at Esri organized the map into two gradients, size and color. The size gradient shows bulk populations of people that bike to work, while the color gradient shows those who bike in proportion to the rest of the population. I found that this set-up made it interesting to see how the two categorizations interact with each other. For example, in Wyoming, few people bike to work, but in relation with the overall population of Wyoming (which is quite small), the percentage of people who bike to work is quite large. By combining these two gradients, the viewer is able to more accurately understand the relationship between the sheer number of people who bike to work and the overall percentage of the population that bikes to work. If this map had included only one or the other, the representation of the data would not have been as accurate as one that includes both.

Maps that make you see France differently
This BuzzFeed article promises that they will show you 16 maps that will “change how you see France,” and they deliver. From the maps that displayed historical land losses and gains, ancient maps drawn by monks, how many kisses it is customary to give in each region, and the spread of the motorway system from 1940, you can see the past and present political, social, and environmental changes in France. Since the page incorporates so many different types of maps (chronological, separated by region, etc.), it gives a well-rounded experience of France that once map alone could not accomplish. We would like to do this with our own website as well. All of the maps were courtesy of Wikimedia commons, however, and so the accuracy of the maps could be questionable without further citation of the original source.

OPEC data 
In this article posted on the Azavea Atlas website, John Branigan details his first experience working with CartoDB, an open source PostGIS database that graphs information on a map with the capabilities to include bar graphs (among other graphing techniques). This map in particular deals with OPEC’s data on known oil reserves from 1960 to 2011. While the data is not relevant to our research, Branigan highlights specific capabilities of CartoDB and praises its user-friendly nature. 

Pizza Place Geography                                                                                                                                                                    Statistician Nathan Yau’s Flowing Data site was introduced to us via a specific project: this map of pizza place geography in the United States. The map isn’t interactive, or even animated- yet it communicates data extremely clearly, thanks to the side-by-side comparison of map layers shown underneath the main image. This particular project serves as a good reminder that interactivity, media-richness, or eye-catching animations aren’t necessarily requirements for making an effective and engaging map. The rest of the Flowing Data website offers dozens of striking data visualizations, from animated maps showing the change in unemployment rate over time, to U.S. maps that compare the locations of firearm dealers versus popular food vendors. The website also has what is essentially its own project annotations page like this one, which links to several other interesting mapping models. While we may not have the coding tools at our disposal to create similar projects right now, looking through this website is a great way to find examples of clear, user-friendly, compelling, and attractive data visualizations and maps.

Professional Contemporary Political Maps
Here, Tim Stallmann promotes his skills as a professional cartographer on his website. He includes maps he has created for city planning projects, illustrations in books, and for general interest in social and political trends. While the promotional attitude of the site is something from which we could learn a lesson or two, the maps are just for display – you cannot interact with them on his site or on their original sites. There are pictures of maps that show his skills, but not maps in which you can immerse yourself.

This map attempts to use maps to visualize the racial divide in several US cities. Upon first glance, it seems as though there isn’t any rhyme or reason behind how the maps are dividing, but simply that they’re being shattered as if they were a mirror dropped on the ground. After some research, I found that the creator of this map used a certain technique, called force-directed mapping, to differentiate certain divides. What the map does is take information from the 2010 census on racial demographics, and then creates invisible links between neighboring sections of a city. If the demographic makeup of two parts of a city are similar, they will hardly separate. If the demographic makeup contrasts between the two parts, they will separate drastically. This visualization is effective in that it shows how de facto segregation within cities is literally creating racial divides. It also reflects how simple maps like these can have be affective as they make arguments about social issues. Data is never neutral and, used effectively, can produce powerful results.
Other Humanities Projects

Compendium of DH GIS Projects

American Newspapers Citing German Propaganda during WWI

At Harvard University, students in “History Lab” had the opportunity to analyze the effectiveness of German propaganda in the United States during World War I. Using their primary resources, they made a map (non-interactive) that shows the newspapers in the U.S. that cite the Overseas News Agency, and how many readers were likely to see this propaganda. The map is made in Carto and is a torque (chronological) map, so you can’t click on a location and get a pop-up with specific information. We have no idea what these newspapers were, or visual evidence of their propaganda. Another issue is that the map isn’t linked in the main cite for the project – you have to search for it in the maps of the man in charge of the project on Carto and find it there.

Analyzing Maps to Better Understand Global History

ArcGIS Map of Ancient Pompei

Invasion of America – Based on maps produced by the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1899, this interactive, time-sensitive map shows the expansion of United States territory from the late 18th through the late 19th century in terms of land taken from Native Americans, rather than empty land claimed by settlers (as most other maps of this process show.)

The Atlas of Early Printing

This creation of the University of Iowa provides intuitive interactive mapping through chronological, animated layers that show the spread of printing, paper mills, and other related subjects. Their pop-ups include links to the library’s site to find primary sources. This is something we aim to do as well. However, the pop-ups at the Atlas of Early Printing don’t provide many pictures or other visual context specific to each location. Additionally, some layers of the map (“Conflicts,” for example) seem out of place and could use more information as to their relevance.

CityLab Maps

Color photographs of early 1900s Paris

Digital, Non-Chronological Map of the Roman Empire

Digital Flaneurie: Mapping American Narratives in Paris

As a final project for a seminar at Michigan State University, this ArcGIS map shows different routes, locations, and neighborhoods of American narratives in Paris. While this map presents a myriad of different data sets to create a large sense of context, it does so by adding almost 60 layers to the map that are difficult to comprehend. Additionally, the pop-ups don’t provide much information that isn’t already given in the layer title. In our project, we hope to include large amounts of data to create thick maps, but we aim to do so by adding media to the pop-ups and providing more links to outside sources. We also strive to indicate why locations were important in their pop-up description, which is something this map lacks.

Free Mapping Platforms for Students

Google-Style Digital Map of Ancient Rome

Gough Map of Medieval England

This is website for a project titled “Linguistic Geographies,” and their aim is to understand how people in the Middle Ages created maps. Their website, similar to ours, shows a map and a blog, as well as an “About” and “Team” page. They focus on only one map, the Gough Map of Great Britain (believed to be one of the earliest maps “to show Britain in a geographically-recognizable form”). They include a search bar that allows the user to search by modern location or Middle Ages location name. While the use of one already-existing map provides plenty of background to the research, it limits the answers to the general research question to what you can deduce from just this one map. Additionally, they do not provide an example of a modern map with the Gough map overlayed so the user may see the context of the map’s borders vs. modern day London’s borders.

Locating Lutheranism

Locating Lutheranism, funded by St. Olaf College’s Digital Humanities on the Hill initiative, seeks to learn about Norwegian-American Lutheran populations in MN through mapping and analyzing the names, locations, and census information associated with historical and present-day Lutheran congregations. Student and faculty collaborators used WordPress and ArcGIS to display their data, and use ArcGIS JS and Storymap to focus on four particular Minnesota congregations that drew their attention. On their site, they include multiple maps to show different ideas. While some could be combined to show layering of data, their site shows clear purpose, data, process, and results that we strive to emulate. Additionally, you can use the search bar on their site to search for towns and keywords related to the Lutheran Church in Minnesota.

Map of 1900’s Paris

click on a place and postcards from that era appear (sketchy and poorly put together, but the pictures are really cool!)

Mapping Arms Data

Prepare to be wowed by the graphics in this very nifty, glowing map which tracks the trade in arms (as in weaponry) over a twenty-year span, 1992-2012. The timeline at the bottom of the page permits an easy scan of change over time, and the globe-map at the center of the page can be manipulated both to consider the various points from different angles and also to click on different regions of the world. Also helpful is the color coding – the toolbar at the left corresponds to the volume of trade in dollars of various kinds of arms dealing (such as civilian weapons vs. ammunition) and uses a color for each kind of import/export. The legend is easily read in the bottom right-hand corner. Take a good look at these two sections first, though, because otherwise the glowing arcs across the globe from each can be somewhat confusing – these demonstrate where a given country on the map exports or imports what kind of weaponry. The map is much stronger on visuals than it is on text, which makes a powerful statement but also makes it more difficult to read into the producer’s (Peace Research Institute Oslo/Igarape Institute) methodology.


Monroe Work Today

The OED in Two Minutes                                                                                                                                                                             This map, published by the Oxford English Dictionary’s website, shows how the English language has been formed from borrowed words throughout history. Despite its humble appearance, this application packs an effective punch. It combines one of the features we’ve wished for in creating our own maps: you can watch dots pop up and disappear over time, and when you pause the time-lapse feature, you can click on the points individually to learn more about each word. (This is a really nice feature that most of the platforms we’re working with don’t allow for: in Carto, for example, you can have a time lapse or pop-ups, but not both.) The other graphics at the bottom of the map are interesting as well: an animated bubble shows the rate of language change, while a graph tracks the “growth” of English into the modern language we know today. These features are mentioned briefly in the text accompanying the map, but in order to fully understand their purpose (or to understand the map’s color-coding), the user must hover over the graphic, at which point more explanatory text appears. This limitation took a bit of time to figure out, but overall this map presents a compelling “story” of the English language that still allows the user to explore on their own.

The Oxford English Dictionary online site has published a chronological map that shows the emergence of every modern word in the English language from 1152 – 2010 (most of them were in existence in 1152, so they began there). The map also shows the origin of each word – Germanic, Old English, Romance languages, and Latin. You can pause the map and click on any point at any time – this is a feature we would like to incorporate into our own maps. The project also is open-access, as our project strives to be.

USGS Historical Maps

Vilna Theater and Yiddish Geography

Debra Caplan, Assistant Professor of Theater at Baruch College, has conducted extensive research into “The Vilna Troupe,” a famous Yiddish theater company between 1915 and 1936. She created a social networking map; to do this, she placed dots in a circle and assigned names to the dots. Through drawing different colored lines (to indicate type of relationship) to connect the dots, Caplan created what appears to be an optical illusion. Users may select the different dots to see one person’s relationship with anyone else on the circle, or they may use a filter bar to decide which types of relationships they would like to see. While the idea exemplifies the social relationships that maps may convey, the map lacks labels on the dots (until they are selected) and also lacks other information on the performers other than their relationships represented with the colored lines.

Temporal / Spatial Digital Humanities Tools