2013 Digital Projects Postings

Please post a link to your digital project here, along with a brief description.

These could be courses, assignments, databases, digital exhibitions, visualizations, archives, etc. The idea is for us to look at some of these projects in advance so that we can devote our time together to discussion. Some topics to mull over might be: what digital tools should we be teaching our students (the proverbial toolbox), the role of digital exhibitions in the curriculum, digital presentations as a mode of scholarship, and what happens when student work becomes pub loci, online work—how to balance the students' needs and the public needs.

Sampler Archive Project (link)

J. Ritchie Garrison, Winterthur/University of Delaware

In 2011, the University of Delaware, the University of Oregon, and the Sampler Consortium launched the Sampler Archive Project. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the mission of the Sampler Archive Project is to create an online searchable database of information and images for all known American samplers and related girlhood embroideries.

Collaborating partners already include dozens of museums, historical societies, and historic homes, as well as individual owners, collectors, and dealers from across the country. In this first round of funding the project will be working closely with three repositories of historic samplers: the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, and the DAR Museum in Washington, DC. Phase 1 efforts in will focus on:

1. Developing nationally accepted standards for describing and documenting samplers; designing and programming a dynamic and flexible database that enables easy online browsing as well as focused searches;
2. Populating the online database with information and images from samplers in the collections of our Phase 1 collaborating partners;
3. Designing and developing web-based training and support materials to ensure that procedures for sampler documentation are reliable and accurate;
4. Creating a user-friendly and customizable website that meets the needs of multiple audiences - providing users with relevant historical information, links to online resources, and tools for sharing, studying, and commenting.

We anticipate that the Sampler Archive Project will greatly expand and improve the study of American samplers by providing centralized access to high quality information and images of historic samplers in geographically dispersed collections, presented to the public in an online environment that facilitates exploration, examination, comparison, notation, and sharing.

Ethnic Imagery Research Project

Advertising Educational Foundation (work-in-progress)
Fath Davis Ruffins, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Sustaining Places Project

IMLS funded
Kasey Grier, Museum Studies Program, University of Delaware

sustainingplaces.com (link)

Visualizing Nineteenth Century New York:A BGC-NYPL Digital Student Exhibit (link)

David Jaffee, Bard Graduate Center

Visualizing Nineteenth-Century New York focuses on how a new visual order emerged in nineteenth-century New York. The city took center stage as a site of visual production and as the nation's central sight. While many marveled at the metropolis’s phenomenal growth, the city's perceptual confusion also caught the attention of visitors and residents alike. This collaborative exhibit of the Bard Graduate Center and the New York Public Library attempts to make sense of that experience.

Organized by David Jaffee, the BGC Head of New Media Research, and Joshua Greenberg, former NYPL Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship, the exhibit was produced by the students of the Bard Graduate Center in the fall and spring semesters of 2010-11. Amy Azzarito, former NYPL Digital Experience producer, greatly facilitated our work in the library in the fall, while Kimon Keramidas, Assistant Director for the Digital Media Lab at the BGC, gave invaluable guidance about all things digital in the spring.

Bard Graduate Center Craft, Art and Design Oral History Project

Catherine Whalen, Bard Graduate Center

To be launched in the fall of 2013, the Bard Graduate Center Craft, Art and Design Oral History Project is an online archive of oral history interviews of contemporary craftspeople and designers. The primary form of these oral history interviews are transcripts, often accompanied by photographs of interviewees and their work; some also feature audio and video clips. These makers come from many fields: studio craft in wood, ceramics, fiber, jewelry, and metalwork as well as multiple media; architectural, industrial, graphic, fashion, and costume design; and sculpture and installation art. Topics discussed include background and education, aesthetics, goals, career choices, and the marketplace.

The project responds to the growing interest in craft and design history, in which oral histories have been a key resource for a growing body of scholarship. The goals of the project are three-fold. One is to document, preserve and make available the voices of contemporary makers for the purpose of research. By including creators in multiple fields, the archive provides the opportunity to consider the distinctions, continuities, and fluidity among their practices and their work. The project's second aim is to share strategies for developing primary sources on contemporary craft and design via the practice of oral history. The third is to offer students the opportunity to develop professional interviewing and digital archiving skills.

The interviews have been conducted by graduate students in the seminar “Craft and Design in the USA, 1940 – Present,” taught by Assistant Professor Catherine Whalen, who also directs the project. Bard Graduate Center students have been building this archive since 2007 and will continue to do so in the future.

BGC Craft, Art and Design Oral History Project. pdf

UPDATE: The project is now live! http://www.bgccraftartdesign.org/

The Distributed Text: An Annotated Digital Edition of Franz Boas's Pioneering Ethnography (link)

Aaron Glass, Bard Graduate Center

In 1897, anthropologist Franz Boas published his major monograph, The Social Organization and the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians, a synthesis of his first decade of research on the Northwest Coast and one of the first holistic ethnographies based on field work. The text brought together data on social structure with art and material culture, detailed narratives in the Kwak’wala language, photographs taken in situ in British Columbia and at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, transcribed songs, eye-witness description of ceremonial performances, and extensive contributions from Boas’s indigenous collaborator George Hunt. Yet the report remained incomplete and fractured, and archival materials relevant to its origins and afterlives are scattered all over the world. This material includes original field notes by Boas and Hunt, museum collections records, original photographic negatives, and wax cylinder recordings of music. The goal of this collaborative project is to produce an annotated, critical digital edition that will reunite the archival material with the original text and with the indigenous families whose cultural heritage is represented. This will be an unprecedented effort within anthropology and the humanities, promising new ways of using digital media to link together disparate archives, museums, textual repositories, and contemporary Native communities in order to produce a critical historiography of the book as well as to recuperate long dormant ethnographic records.

PDF with a few images: Boas 1897 3 slides (NEH).pdf

Making a World with One Hundred Things (link)

Ivan Gaskell, Bard Graduate Center
This is the digital version of a pop-up exhibition in January 2013 derived directly from my seminar, "Tangible Things: Observing, Collecting, Sorting." Students brought modest items each week conforming to disciplinary definitions to form a class collection exemplifying an organized world. Kimon Keramidas was instrumental in realizing it in digital form.

Designing Interactives as a Context for the Research of Material Culture

Kimon Keramidas, Bard Graduate Center

The Bard Graduate Center Focus Gallery project is an initiative aimed at bringing the process of curation and exhibition development into the classroom. As such, it provides an opportunity to experiment with new approaches to the study and presentation of material culture. One significant area of experimentation is the development of digital interactives via collaboration between faculty, staff, and the students who participate in the course. The process of creating these interactives allows for the contextualization of the objects in a creative practice that allows the students a new frame within which to interpret and tell stories.

Over the past few years this practice of developing interactives has become an increasingly important part of the Focus Gallery process, and will continue to do so with upcoming projects Carrying Coca, Digital Broadway, and Computing Immediacy. The currently open show Confluences reveals this process having occurred in full effect over the course of multiple semesters, beginning with initial faculty and student research to the digitization of materials as parts of class work and internships to the creation of prototypes by students that incorporate a variety of media along with descriptive text to the final development of a touch-screen interactive by an outside firm under the guidance of faculty and staff at the BGC. Below are some of the materials that show the different stages of this creative scholarly design practice:

Confluences wiki
Hi-res digital images of scanned prints
Prototype for Raven's Notebook
Prototype for Itinerary
Interactive Developed by Mediacombo

NOTE: Information about other BGC digital projects is available on our website. See Digital Media Lab (link) and Digital Initiatives (link).

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