LEADS site: Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal
LEADS site: Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal
In the past couple of weeks, a flurry of articles have been published about concentration camps and their place in American society and history. My mentor shared them with me and I have found them useful in contextualizing my work with the Japanese American internment cards. I’m reminded of how my LEADS project and the data I’m working with are still relevant today, when concentrations camps can’t be relegated to the past and, in fact, are very much a reincarnated racist reality in the present. Three of the four articles sent to me (listed below) connect the history of Japanese American internment camps with current issues around the migrant detention camps that have been implemented to detain migrant children crossing the border from Mexico, and highlight the fact that this, unfortunately, is history repeating itself. For instance, Ft. Sill, which is now a migrant detention center, was founded in 1869 and was once “a relocation camp for Native Americans, a boarding school for Native children separated from their families, and an internment camp for 700 Japanese American men in 1942” (Hennessy-Fiske, 2019). Its unmitigated and irreconcilable history is a continued legacy of racial difference, segregation, and discrimination. All of the articles reinforce the importance of this project that I (and two other LEADS fellows before me) am working on, but the last piece written by the granddaughter of a survivor of the Japanese American incarcerations is truly the most motivating factor for this work: so that former internees and their family members can know their own histories.
Friedman, M. (2019, June 19). American concentration camps: A history lesson for Liz Cheney. The Typescript. Retrieved from http://thetypescript.com/american-concentration-camps-a-history-lesson-for-liz-cheney
Hennessey-Fiske, M. (2019, June 22). Japanese internment camp survivors protest Ft. Sill migrant detention center. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-japanese-internment-fort-sill-2019-story.html
Provost, L. (2019, June 22). Prepared for arrest: Japanese-Americans protest at Fort Sill over incoming migrant children. The Duncan Banner. Retrieved from https://www.duncanbanner.com/news/prepared-for-arrest-japanese-americans-protest-at-fort-still-over/article_789070aa-9542-11e9-8107-9fcd6387dce9.html
Sakurai, C. (2019, June 25). More than a name in the census: Piecing together the story of my grandmother’s life. National Japanese American Historical Society. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/notes/national-japanese-american-historical-society/more-than-a-name-in-the-census-piecing-together-the-story-of-my-grandmothers-lif/2679119588783598
My LEADS fellowship placement is with the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Digital Research Services. The project this year aims to visualize a digitized collection of book of hours manuscripts produced in middle ages Europe. The major idea behind the project is to better introduce and communicate this specific genre of book production to the audience, using visual forms and languages.
During the Drexel University boot camp between June 6-8, I took the best use of the time to visit the UPenn Library and had a meeting with my project mentor Ms. Dot Porter. We discussed the project goals and the major tasks to successfully deliver the project. We identified two possible ways to present and share our major project outcomes, one as a research paper and the other as an interactive website displaying and communicating the visualizations.
I spent the first week of LEADS project to get familiar with the “book of hours” as a genre and an artifact, reading secondary sources recommended by my mentor. By reading those materials I developed a better understanding of the book of hours in terms of its history, major characteristics, and uniqueness in the religious life of the middle ages, which has been helpful for me to think of ways to visualize the manuscript data. Week 2 was mostly utilized to browse the dataset and propose visualization strategies. The book of hours initial dataset contains information of 185 digitized manuscripts, including their dates of production, the provenance of production and circulation, the contents (i.e., passages of prayer), and the decorations. Thinking about the visualization strategies, my mentor and I had a Skype check-in and discussed issues regarding which types of visualizations and graphs to create and some potential problems involved in the visualization processes. I also reflected on the ideas and theories communicated in the information visualization session at the boot camp when trying to identify the most effective visualization strategies for the manuscript data. Following the discussion with my mentor, I started actually working with the initial dataset — the provenance data of manuscript productions in particular. As visualization goes on, I feel that each graph tends to be more complex than it appears and manuscripts data visualization is quite a craft.
Week 1: Exploring the data
My placement is with the Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal (RAMP) project at Montana State University. Nikolaus – another LEAdS fellow in the same project with me provided a nice overview of the project. Thanks, Nikolaus!
Before the bootcamp, Nikolaus and I had an online meeting with our mentor – Dr. Kenning Atlitsch and other members in the project. Dr. Atlitsch and the other members in the project helped us understand more about the project and familiarized us with the data collected from the RAMP service. Thanks to the bootcamp, I came home filled with new knowledge about library science in general and meta data in particular and new techniques in database management, visualization, and analysis with text mining and machine learning methods.
For week 1, I focused on exploring the data by doing descriptive analysis and creating crude visualizations from the data. RAMP data consists numbers from over 50 IRs and consists over 400 million rows. Due to the amount of data and memory constraints of my laptop, it takes R from a couple of minutes to hours to run a command or knit the document. I looked into the option of working with R Studio Cloud but the current version of R Studio Cloud does not enable us to upload and work with such big data like RAMP. For now, I have to use the old school way of handing generated results from R: copying and pasting one by one to a word doc rather than make use of knitting capabilities of all results in a single document using R notebook or markdown.
My plan for the 2nd week is to refine the visualization for aesthetics and readability and merge RAMP data with other data to explore research possibilities from the RAMP data.
June 23rd, 2019
In this summer, I’m going to work with my mentor John Kunze from California Digital Library (CDL), and another LEADS-4-NDP fellow Bridget Disney (University of Missouri), to do some awesome metadata research! What Jane Greenberg, John Kunze and other researchers in the area of metadata standards found problematic is that when metadata standard is being discussed and created, people (mostly domain experts) spend a relatively large amount of time to discuss and set the standards, controlled vocabularies and etc., but have little or less time to test the actual performance of such a standard and then revision.
YAMZ (Yet Another Metadata Zoo) creates a unique experience that is similar to Wikipedia and Stack Overflow in a scene that the community can co-edit and vote for a standard. Our first kickoff meeting with the LEADS-4-NDP site supervisor John was on Friday. We’ve learned that yamz.net is currently deployed on the free version of Heroku, and is going to be transferred to the Amazon cloud services (AWS) in this summer, and Bridget and I are going to be part of it. I’m very excited about we are going to be involved in this process and expecting to learn a lot of cool stuff.
To read more about Yamz:
The goals for next week:
Rewrite the new readme and improve the readability
Figure out how to remotely connect to CDL, preferably through a Drexel University Network.
For my LEADS project, I’ll be working with the Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) at the University of Maryland on a project that examines Japanese American internment camp archival records that were collected over a period of four years from 1942 to 1946. I’m really excited to work on this project because of the cultural importance and potential impact it could have on the Japanese American community, which up to this point, has not had access to these records. The records consist of 25,000 cards that include details such as incidents in the camp, births and deaths, entries and exits, as well as transfers between camps.
After talking with my internship mentor, Richard Marciano, I decided to work on data that might help us track the movement of the internees within and among the camps from entry to exit in hopes that it might provide some insight into their lives. Additionally, examining data about the births and deaths in the camps could provide additional context that can aid in telling a more complete story of the Japanese American citizens who were subjected to imprisonment in internment camps. While the entire scope of the project has not been fleshed out completely, the preliminary steps of the research project will include parsing through three data files, looking at the previous projects conducted by MLIS students, reading the grant application which will allow the release of key data to the public, and viewing the “Resistance at Tule Lake” documentary. After these initial steps, I’ll begin to conceptualize what this data project will look like in terms of data processing and visualization.
I’m looking forward to what this project will bring to light in the remaining weeks of the internship!
Jamillah R. Gabriel