Visual Media Workshop

The VMW is
a lab/
creative zone/


sits at the intersection between/
falls between established disciplines of/
crosses the fields of

art history and information studies/
humanistic inquiry and technology/
established humanistic and new data-driven approaches

(Alex Oliver, April 2014)



    Exploring the Path to England

    Recently, I have taken some time to explore the changes made to medart’s menu page for England (menuengland). Some of the most drastic changes to medart occurred on this page. In the earliest snapshot we have of menuengland from 12.25.1996 the user had to navigate to the images they wanted through a map. The user had to click on the location of whichever monument they wanted images of. They did have a link to an alphabetic site list one could choose as an alternative to the map. In 2000, they increased the size of the map and made the alternative site list a more prominent feature on the site. By 2008, the map had been eradicated and the only navigation option was through the site list. I wanted to dig deeper into the reasons these changes were made and discovered a number of possibilities. My understanding is that the map used on the menuengland page of medart from 1996-2008 is an image map. One definition of an image map “is a list of coordinates relating to a specific image, created in order to hyperlink areas of the image to different destinations (as opposed to a normal image link, in which the entire area of the image links to a single destination),” (Wikipedia 2016). This essentially is what the map on menuengland does. There have been two different types of image maps. Server-side image maps were the first type and were used starting in 1993. The second type of image map is a client-side image map, and those were used starting in January of 1997. Therefore, we can assume that at least at first menuengland was using a server-side image map. I’m a little fuzzy on the different between a server-side and client-side image map, but I think it has to do with how the browser finds the URL you’ve clicked on within the image map. People had a lot of trouble with server-side image maps, because the browser didn’t always understand where to send the user. Now if you happen to see an image map on the web (the sites I was on seemed to scoff at the continued use of image maps and referred to them as “mystery-meat navigation”) it’s almost always client-side (Bloom). The modifications to menuengland happened primarily in 1998 (35%), 2000 (21%), and 2001 (38%). After 2001 it was only modified once each in 2008 and 2009 and then twice in 2014 that I can tell. The modifications may have been more frequent in 1998 because they were switching to the newly invented client-side image map. Then in 1999 the Web Content Access Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 was published. WCAG 1.0 mentions image maps quite a bit, because they are inaccessible to someone using a keyboard. They recommend web developers provide a text equivalent when using an image map (W3C 1999). This could explain the changes in 2000 and 2001. In 2000, they changed menuengland by enlarging the map and making the site list (their alternative to the image map) more prominent. Previously, the site list was at the bottom of the page, and after 2000 it was moved to the top of the page and enlarged. They also added an option to explore the sites by category. This may have been an attempt to better comply with the WCAG or at least to make the site more accessible. The image map was not fully removed until 2008. From the Wayback Machine I can tell the image map was removed sometime between 5/9/2008 and 12/16/2008. However, upon looking at the metadata I was able to find an exact date since there was only one modification in 2008: 10/7/2008. This is very near to when WCAG 2.0 was published (December 11, 2008). WCAG 2.0 similarly condemned image maps and urged web developers to provide alternatives to users who needed assistive technologies to use a computer (W3C 2008). Medart removed the image map prior to the release of WCAG 2.0, but if it was a hot topic at the time they may still have removed it for accessibility reasons. They replaced the image map with a site list organized alphabetically and created an identical one for menufrance. Connecting the actions of the creators of medart to what was going on in the world of web development is both enlightening and exciting. Adding that context gives the changes made to medart more meaning. The changes they made to menuengland were likely not made on a whim to improve aesthetics or style but instead to improve the accessibility of the site and extend its usefulness to more people. References Bloom, Zack. “A Quick History of Image Maps.” Eager. Accessed November 28, 2016. W3C. 1999. “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.” Last modified May 5, 1999. W3C. 2008. “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.” Last Modified December 11, 2008. Wikipedia. 2016. “Image Map.” Last modified November 11, 2016.

    • Sustaining DH
    • Sustaining MedArt
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW

    Considering Artistic Movements to Focus On & A Prelude to Photoshop Pixel Histogram Analysis

    In my last blog-post, I touched on a potential method to study neuroesthetics by first analyzing the specific characteristics of some artwork using Adobe Photoshop. While I have continued to look at possible ways to quantify artwork characteristics, I first decided on a methodology. I plan on using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an online-based method designed to get human subject input. I can create a dataset of artwork (discussed later) and have each subject judge which artwork he or she finds more pleasing from a random selection of two. From this, I can gather data on which artworks are preferred more, and relate that to the characteristics of the artworks. For example, if as the contrast in artwork increases, the preference also increases, then perhaps that is an interesting correlation worth studying more.

    For creation of the dataset, in my last blog-post, I considered Abstract Expressionism. After discussions with Dr. Alison Langmead and Lily Brewer, I have come across several other possible movements of art that could be used to create my dataset. What is important is that this dataset is not a random collection of artwork from different time periods and different artistic movements. To reduce potential bias from subjects simply preferring one style of art over another, they should all be somewhat similar in theme (or even all from the same artist), unless one wants to compare two different styles. For example, Minimalism (Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, etc.) was a movement that partly originated as a reaction to Abstract Expressionism, so it may be interesting to look at both minimalist and abstract expressionist artworks together. Separate from the Mechanical Turk project, analyzing these movements could show more similarities than previously thought (e.g. maybe they differ in shapes and lines but use color and contrast similarly). Another potential robust genre of artwork for the dataset is landscape paintings (Hudson River School, Dutch Landscape Painting, etc.), as many of them have a similar theme but may differ in qualities like contrast and color. Here, another potential comparison would be landscape paintings versus landscape photography (Timothy O’Sullivan, Ansel Adams, etc.). Currently, I am considering all of these movements/genres and analyzing few works from each, and will have selected one (or two for comparison) for the dataset by the end of this semester.

    In analyzing these few works, I have been using Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop can be used to find pixel measurements throughout the artwork, especially via the histogram feature. Below are the histograms of two minimalist artworks, Harran II by Frank Stella and Untitled by Agnes Martin.



    From this window, the mean, standard deviation (std dev), and a median pixel value, all with a value from 0 to 255, can be found for a variety of channels (RGB, Red, Green, Blue, Luminosity). In addition, one can also find the Gray Value minimum, maximum, mean, and median of the work, which are measures of general brightness1. Below are tables with the histogram information for both works:



    As far as comparisons between the two images, nothing within these measures is surprising; for example, there is certainly less color variation in Martin’s work, as seen in the lower Std. Dev. In my last blogpost, I considered a method to look at symmetry of artworks. After looking at these histograms, I reasoned that I could use the same method to look at symmetry again. This time, I would simply compare the histograms of the left and right sides to show possible similarities between the general characteristics of each half. Below is the data from those histograms:


    As far as looking at the general pixel characteristics of both the left and right halves of each image, this method proves useful, though it does not say much about line or compositional symmetry. Both halves of Agnes Martin’s work have very similar colors (and are otherwise very symmetrical), which is shown by the close histogram values for the left and right side. However, in Stella’s work, the left and right halves use fairly different colors, and this difference is shown especially in the margin between the means/medians of the halves for all channels.

    I think this method for analysis of the artwork is very promising for looking at color usage in these artworks. As far as the symmetry analysis goes, a further step could be to overlay the histograms of each half over one another and measure the common area. This would show more accurately how similar these histograms are, since they are not unimodal and the mean/median and standard deviation could potentially be similar for two very different histograms. 

    In my next blogpost, I will further discuss movements being consdier for the dataset as well as development in this Photoshop histogram analysis. 



    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW

    Site Specificity and Diversity Concerns within Itinera


    Since starting on Itinera, I've focused on Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, an 18th-Century aristocrat and poet. Specifically, I focus on her tour from London, through Eastern Europe, and into Istanbul with her hubsband, the English ambassador to Turkey. As her introduction reads:

    With her husband and ambassador Edward Wortley Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu set out to Turkey from Westminster, England by way of the Netherlands, Austria, and Serbia in August of 1716. At that time, Turkey was at war with the Venetian Republic, whereby Mr. Montagu was assigned to mediate on behalf of England an agreement with Austria, in the attempt to prevent Austria from engaging with the Spanish power in the Mediterranean. During this time, Lady Montagu entertained at court while studying Arabic and reading Arabic poetry. Toward the end of their tour, her husband inevitably failed at establishing a truce with Austria, his position was usurped by competition, and he failed to ascend to a political post of any import. Shortly after they separated. Lady Montagu turned her sights to Italy for almost the rest of her life, keeping up with her studies and correspondence with her stately and artistic friends abroad.

    Originally, I saw my take on this project to be one that diversifies both the travelling agent and their destinations. As it was, and, in light of recent electoral events, selecting and following a wealthy, white woman as she travels through Eastern Europe and Turkey was not going to suffice. Thus I've redirected my thinking on what it means to do diverse digital humanities and scholarship as far as I can see: though it would be wrong to ignore the readily available histories of white travellers during this time, I use Montagu as locus to investigate the structural biases built in to the historicization and visualization of these white, European travellers.

    In doing so, I hope to place at the forefront practical and conceptual best practices: practically, I aim for site specificity in order to visually differentiate the plot points on Itinera's map. When an agent, Montagu, visits Rome, for example, she lists details such as churches, squares, villas, often without naming the building or describing its function. So I focus my attention on teasing evidence foremost from the primary material, (i.e., Montagu's Turkish Embassy Letters) and historical data (i.e., histories of medieval bridges, churches, etc.) in order to best differentiate between sites. I ask myself questions such as:

    • Architecturally, which sites, details, buildings were extant while she was visiting and what buildings are known to have been demolished? This question might lead to understanding what peoples were displaced with the destruction of their communities and spaces both during the Austrio-Turskish War as well as more contemporary wars.
    • Socio-politically: what positions did her hosts hold? I can find much of this information in the endnotes, but sometimes this would still need further investigation, especially with the misspelling of a name or location. Certainly, this question can help in determining in what "castle on the hill" she stayed while in Budapest in January 1717, but even more importantly this specificity can shed light on her hosts' alliances and what hand they had in the erasure of other histories.
    • Also socio-politically: what historically significant meetings and events occurred while she was in that city that would indicate the location of a town center, assembly hall, or city center? This question could shed light on significant events in the history of the Habsburg Empire and could point to the location of other points of interest in uncovering other histories. For example, what effects, if any, did Montagu's epistolary criticism of the Imperial German Diet's assembly to other aristocrats (i.e., Alexander Pope) have on court life? Would the ramifications of her criticisms have any political or legistlative effect?

    Practically, if I'm able to piece together pieces of evidence that in some way answer questions such as these, I am able to narrow down a specific location with some degree of certainty. And if such details are not available, I do not take it upon myself to differentiate the location and will, as necessary, defer to others who specialize in these histories. I recognize at this point I am an interlocutor to interpret subjective data and place it into a flattened network of other data points on a map. In this case, if I name the site simply as "Rome instead" of "the north wall of the Colosseum," I leave the reponsibility of further specification to a future historian that may perhaps work with a new visualization and evidence.

    This attention to site specificity, of course, serves a worthwhile conceptual function as well. Although I am still working on this connection, attention to historio-politically mediated spaces in turn draws attention to the systems of power and the erasure of other histories. 

    • Environment
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Itinera
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW

    Discoveries in Medart

    With the help of Matt Burton we were able to successfully extract metadata from the medart folders via unix commands. We have since imported that data into an excel spreadsheet from which we have begun analyzing and organizing our findings. I have been specifically looking at when which directories were most frequently modified and which file types were used most prominently. Unsurprisingly, the files are overwhelmingly jpgs followed by gifs and the directory with the most files by far is the “image” directory. We have also looked at which months showed the most activity and have found that their actions directly reflect the school year with the most modifications taking place in May and June and the fewest during the winter holidays in December and January.

    Unfortunately, we have only been able to find the date modified for these folders. Every avenue I have tried in my attempts to find the date created has yielded either November 4, 2014 (long after medart was created) or January 1, 1970 (long before medart was even thought of). While we will continue to look for new ways to capture the date created of these files, in the meantime there is a lot that can be learned from the metadata we already have.

    Also, while combing through the data I came across a folder titled “Kalamazoo.” In it I found presentation outlines for the 2009 International Congress on Medieval Studies. The Sustaining Medart team attended this same conference in May 2016 and will again in 2017. In 2009 two of medart’s primary creators, Jane Vadnal and Phil Maye, presented on medart. While we don’t have their actual presentations the outlines do give us some insight into the creation of medart and the intentions behind it. For example, we now know medart began as a way to turn Alison Stones’ course materials into webpages.

    Studying medart is constantly leading us to new surprises and discoveries at every turn. I’m excited to see what we will find next as we put more and more pieces of the medart puzzle together.


    • Sustaining DH
    • Sustaining MedArt
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW

    New Directions in the VMW

    Alison Langmead has embarked on outreach efforts to connect the VMW with other digital humanities spaces, beginning with our colleagues in the US, but soon hoping to move more internationally. We are looking forward to all of the opportunities this will provide, and are perceiving a future where the question is less "what can computers do for the study of material culture," and more, "what shall we do today?”

    One of these outreach efforts is making the connection with Tracey Berg-Fulton, creative technologist and webmaster at Registrars Committee of the American Alliance of Museums. Berg-Fulton donated to the VMW a 26000-entry dataset of Algernon Graves' collection of 18th- to 20th-century art sales, digitized from his vast, published ledger Art Sales from Early in the Eighteen Century to Early in the Twentieth Century. In the short run, S. E. Hackney and Lily Brewer are working toward implementing this data into visual patterns and historical contextualization respectively for Sotheby’s Institute of Art Research Award through the Art Libraries Society of North America. Undergraduate research assistant Vee McGyver, under Hackney’s supervision, is working on figuring out how to visualize relationships in data based on art sales using a force-directed graph from the javascript d3 library. Frick Fine Arts Library director Kate Joranson is sponsoring these efforts.

    As Graves’ data becomes available and conceptualized in visually informative ways, we’re investigating ways in which the data can turn into objects that we can track through Itinera ( By honing and creating more geographically specific locations for these entities and tracking works of art through Graves' art sales, the VMW cohort under Brewer’s guidance is working toward diversifying Itinera by mapping the European and non-Western routes of lesser tracked populations such as influential women and people of color through 18th-century Eastern Europe and Turkey. In our attention to multiple scales and modalities of historical vision, our attention focuses on the questions, how can we visualize and generate new insights into the travels of 18th-century travelers through contemporary identity politics and digital mapping methods? Furthermore, how can mapping diverse populations in this time over this space creating meaning through historical place-making?

    As the end of the term approaches, the Sustaining MedArt team lead by Aisling Quigley continues to unearth and reconstruct the socio-technical history of the website, Images of Medieval Art and Architecture ( While the digital forensics research has provided helpful insights into the foundations of the site, this work has been arduous. The digital forensics tools are complex and uncooperative, and the dissection of the site itself has revealed a tangle of messy innards. Despite numerous obstacles, however, our team perseveres undaunted! Indeed, the complexities are revelatory in and of themselves, and the data is slowly but surely bringing to light important moments in the website creation process. Following from this work, the team, comprised of Quigley, Lindsay Decker (read Decker's reflections on the subject here), and Jedd Hakimi, is discussing and establishing a firm infrastructure for developing a socio-technical digital preservation roadmap.

    Undergraduate researcher Dheeraj K. Jalluri works on a neuroaesthetic research project investigating neural basis of artistic aesthetic experience in Abstract Expressionist art under Brewer's guidance. This semester, he is focusing on formulating a method to quantitatively analyze artwork qualities implicated in neuroaesthetic theories, such as symmetry and contrast and value using Photoshop. In future exploration, he gears his tools toward the crowd-sourcing tool Mechanical Turk and Fourier Analysis in the development of a larger research question that best suits these methods.

    Decomposing Bodies’ focus for the coming year will be building a unified online collection and corresponding data set for thousands Bertillon cards in the collection, and making that data accessible. The historical, physiological, and contextual data contained on these cards is a rich vein for researchers across many fields, and our goal with DB is to begin to make our digitized collection more visible to research communities and to begin building the relationships that will result in future projects and collaborations. These goals manifest in continuing the work of classifying and transcribing the cards, managing their metadata, and creating more robust public-facing representations of the project, under the guidance of project manager S. E. Hackney, and with contributions from the entire VMW cohort. (Read more of Hackney's reflections on the subject here.)

    As an invitation to inter-institutional connection and networking, those interested in our efforts toward constructing bridges to other digital humanities spaces can follow #arthistory on our Digital Humanities Slack ( and through our new listserv at

    • Current Projects
    • Decomposing Bodies
    • Itinera
    • Sustaining DH
    • Sustaining MedArt
    • Populations
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Graduate Work
    • Spaces
    • VMW

    This is the original image used, artwork by William de Kooning. 


    The Beginning of an Exploratory Project in Neuroesthetics


    My name is Dheeraj K. Jalluri and I am an undergraduate senior working on an independent project with the Visual Media Workshop under the guidance of Dr. Alison Langmead and Lily Brewer. I have long been interested in the field of “neuroesthetics”, a relatively young field of study that looks at the neural basis of aesthetic experience. Much of the literature theorizes that certain qualities of art, such as contrast, gestalt grouping, symmetry, etc. elicit neural responses such that the viewer finds them aesthetically pleasing (Ramachandran 1999). In my project, I aim to quantitatively analyze artwork in a manner that contributes to neuroesthetics. There are several approaches that I am considering. One approach is to simply use these neuroesthetics theories as a basis to which characteristic(s) to focus on, and look at the characteristic within a time period, artistic movement, etc. Using symmetry as the characteristic, I started with this approach.


    I decided to look at symmetry using programs that I already had expertise in, notably Adobe Photoshop. The methodology I came up with is as follows:

    • Find image of artwork and open in Photoshop
    • Find middle axis of image (Photoshop nicely “snags” a marker to the center)
    • Cut and paste half of the image to one side of the axis into a new layer
    • Flip that layer over (vertically or horizontally, depending on orientation of central axis used) and move on top of the other half of the work
    • Put that layer on “Subtract” mode

    After the final step here, any areas with the same exact color and value show up as black. This value of black can then be measured or quantified. This method may be done with either original images or gray-scaled images, the latter of which would instead compare symmetry of just value rather than overall color. Attached are examples of what this method looks like with a work by William de Kooning.


    This semester I am also taking a course called “Neural Basis of Vision” with Dr. Marlene Cohen. It was a class that I have been excited about taking since I decided on the Neuroscience major at Pitt! Given that she is an expert in visual neuroscience, which I am attempting to use as the basis of my investigation, I asked her for some advice. Through my discussions with both Dr. Cohen and Dr. Douglas Ruff, a postdoctoral associate in her lab, I have discovered many other methods of potentially studying neuroesthetics from different angles. Some examples are using Mechanical Turk to have people rate artwork that varies in some characteristic or creating a code that will perform Fourier Analysis on a set of artworks.   

    Given the wealth of already established literature devoted to quantifying art, especially those with implications in neuroscience, I have decided to focus on understanding and learning these methods before continuing on with my previously described Photoshop method. Proper knowledge of these methods may help me in improving my own methods and/or lead to a more interesting focus of study! In my next blog post, I will detail what I have learned and possible next steps in formulating a method of study for my project.



    Ramachandran, V. S., and William Hirstein. "The Science of Art: A Neurological Theory of Aesthetic Experience." Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (1999): 15-51.

    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW

    Almost There with BitCurator

    For the last  couple of weeks on the Sustaining MedArt project I have focused on compiling what I have learned from comparing MedArt with MedArt-2014 in addition to continuing to work with BitCurator.

    In my last post I excitedly announced that I had conquered BitCurator perhaps a bit prematurely. I have found that creating a disk image of the hard drive holding MedArt and MedArt-2014 may not be possible. The 2 TB hard drive is too large to be successfully imaged on a computer with only 700 GB of storage left. To combat this problem I tried making a copy of MedArt (which is only 1.8 GB and much easier to work with than the 7.7 GB MedArt-2014), but I have not been able to get BitCurator to read any of the copies I made.

    However, I was able to simply copy and paste MedArt onto a small 16 GB flash drive and was able to use it to successfully experiment with some of the forensic tools on BitCurator. Using tools like Bulk Extractor to create reports I was able to see everything that had ever been on the flash drive I was using, even though everything on the flash drive was deleted before the copy of MedArt was added. I did find a few things that were interesting like email addresses attached to certain files that showed me when the files had been emailed and to whom. But the reports really seemed to focus on the actual flash drive more than on its present contents. So I think I will start moving away from BitCurator tools that require a disk image, granted there are not very many.

    The BitCurator tools that might provide more useful responses are FITS and sdhash, which I learned about by talking to Matt Burton in DSS. FITS can extract metadata from MedArt and MedArt-2014, and sdhash can compare data. I’m also going to look into Mac’s Filemerge utility which can compare folders. Hopefully using these tools I will be able to get results more relevant to the Sustaining MedArt project.   


    • Sustaining DH
    • Sustaining MedArt
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW

    Structuring Decomposing Bodies

    Working on Decomposing Bodies over the last month and a half has been an exercise in process. Shortly after the start of the semester, the Data (after)Lives show went up, featuring data from DB, some of the physical Bertillon cards and exploring many of the same ideas that we confront in DB every day. Data (after)Lives was a great way for me to see what Decomposing Bodies is as a concept, but since then, most of my work has been examining and manipulating it as a structure.

    Since DB has changed hands several times over the past few years, a lot of what I have been doing is following the threads of my predecessors, trying to understand their processes, the choices they’ve made, and their relationships to the thousands of image files that truly compose the heart of this project. For every task that needs to happen to construct the dataset around these images, and to make that data available to researchers, there are dozens of tiny tasks that have to take place. Tasks from, “mark which files have been uploaded to Omeka” and “transcribe the handwriting on the cards into metadata fields” all the way to “defrag the hard drive” and “back everything up.”

    Let me be honest, visual media isn’t actually my area of expertise. Or even my research interest. But! The way people collect, label and organize things is. In case you couldn’t guess, I am a PhD student at the iSchool, rather than in Art History. For me, Decomposing Bodies is an interesting blurring of observing and contributing to how resources get organized and disseminated. I am finding gaps in documentation— what does tag “pass1c” mean?— and creating my own protocols for the project going forward— it means the “Age”, “Apparent Age”, “Born in”, and “Complexion” fields have been transcribed.

    Everything that the VMW does with DB is in preparation for other people to do something else with it later. We have to try and answer questions about how imaginary potential future researchers will want our data to be formatted, and what kinds of questions they might want to ask. The Data (after)Lives exhibit is the beginning of presenting those questions, and inviting conversation around what it means that these cards exist in the first place. My work, for now, is about making sure that those conversations can continue, and that all the pieces of this project are speaking the same language.

    • Decomposing Bodies
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW
  • A screen grab of MedArt ca. December 1996 c/o the Internet Archive.


    Update: Phase III of Sustaining MedArt

    It seems that autumn is finally here, more or less. It is a splendid season, but also perhaps the most hectic in academia-land. New students arrive, conference abstracts and grant proposals are due, and time seems to accelerate and contract alarmingly (or so it feels, as I get older).

    The Visual Media Workshop has expanded to include eight student researchers (from undergraduates to doctoral candidates), each arriving with their own skills and experiences and their own unique roles in our various projects.

    This post will focus specifically on Sustaining MedArt, our lab project funded by a Research & Development Grant from the division of Preservation and Access at the NEH. This project takes Images of Medieval Art & Architecture, a valuable scholarly resource and early instantiation of a digital humanities project, as a case study for exploring the correlation between usability and sustainability of digital content. Our research will culminate in the creation of a Socio-Technical Digital Preservation Roadmap with broad applicability to digital humanities projects.

    As of September, we have entered the third phase of our research, having successfully completed and analyzed initial user studies. For those who are curious about how a work plan might evolve for a year-long project, I’ve described our phases below:

    May 2016
    • conducted over 100 on-site, face-to-face interviews at the 51st International Congress of Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan
    research team: Sarah Conell, Kiana Gonzalez, Alison Langmead, Jackie Lombard, and Aisling Quigley
    Summer 2016
    • transcribed and analyzed interviews from Kalamazoo
    • used grounded theory to extract phenomena from these interviews
    • began digital forensics work on the site (extracting file trees, etc.)
    research team: Kiana Gonzalez, Chelsea Gunn, Alison Langmead, and Aisling Quigley
    Fall 2016
    • develop the theoretical foundations for our project
    • continue digital forensics work with BitCurator
    • interview Dr. Alison Stones and early contributors to the site
    • submit paper abstracts for confernces
    research team: Lindsay Decker, Jedd Hakimi, Alison Langmead, and Aisling Quigley



    In this third phase, we are benefitting greatly from the significant contributions of Jedd Hakimi, doctoral candidate in Film Studies, who is creating an in-depth bibliography and developing the foundational underpinnings for our work. Lindsay Decker, MLIS student at the iSchool, is valiantly diving into BitCurator, battling with its many quirks, and becoming our in-house expert on digital forensics.

    Initial findings from our research thus far include the following discoveries:

    1.  many scholars implicitly trust the authenticity and reliability of the content on the Images of Medieval Art & Architecture site because of the obvious association with an academic institution (expressed through the ".edu" in the site's URL), and the presence of Dr. Alison Stones name on the homepage (a known and respected entity in the history of medieval art and architecture)
    2. many scholars express concern/embarassment/shame/guilt about the fact that they resort to Google for image searches, because they generally distrust the authenticity of the information they discover, or cannot find attributions for this content
    3. many assume that a search bar will improve the website. We've found evidence that the initial site creators and contributors experimented with a search feature in the early days of the website, but we've found no evidence that it was ever implemented as it is absent from the December 1996 screenshot.

    I will post with further updates in the not-too-distant future, and my fellow team-mates are also contributing to the site with their own blog entries. Stay tuned!


    • Sustaining MedArt
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW

    VMW Toolshop: Project Management

    This Friday's toolshop, facilitated by Kate Joranson, Alison Langmead, and myself, focuses on tools and techniques for project management. We have designed our discussion to encompass both available software and strategies for project planning and working with a team. For ease of accessing some of the resources we will discuss this morning, we have compiled a list of links in this post. Of course, this may also be useful for those of you who couldn't make it in person, though unfortunately, this blog post does not come with coffee or bagels.





    Google Keep




    Project charter guidelines

    Project one-pager

    Gantt charts

    Agile project management & sprints


    Trello as editorial calendar

    Other Resources

    Who are project managers? 

    Digital project management for digital humanities

    Project management for humanists

    It's a team if you use "reply all"


    • VMW