Assignments and Other Resources

Course Schedule

According to my notes from last week this is the schedule for the next few weeks of the semester:
March 11 – 13 we finished visualizations with Mapbox, Timemapper and Timeline JS
March 18 – 20 We’re discussing copyright, wikis and crowdsourcing. (Informal Proposal Blog Post is Due)
March 25 – 27th The Digital You (Formal Proposal Due)
April 8th – 10th Games as narratives Twine and other game engines
April 15 – 17 Work in class on Projects
April 22 – 24 Controversies in Digital Humanities.
April 29 – May 1 Work in Class on Projects
May 6- May 8 Finishing Touches on Projects in Class
May 12 Projects Due
Day of Final Present your project

Embedding a Map to WordPress

Mapping Assignment (started in class)

Using the archive ( or any other data associated with place and that has some visual media that can be attached to it, create a spreadsheet (using Google sheets, Excel or Numbers) with at least 10 items. Your spreadsheet should at the very least include a title for each of the items, a description of each item, and a location using either google maps latitude and longitude or other location data marker. It could also include dates or other valuable information that could be use to visualize the data. Save your spreadsheet and export it out of the creation program as a .csv file (just to show me you can create this type of file). Link your data to a map (see below), decorate/customize said map and then embed the map into our blog and write about the experience (what did you find valuable, what was frustrating, how might you leverage this technology in your own digital project?) You should also write about the significance of mapping technology in digital history, its narrative/analytical advantages and disadvantages and the story your map is meant to tell.

Mapping and Data Visualization

  1. Log into Google 
  2. Navigate to 
  3. Click on “Create a New Map”.
  4. Give your map a title and a description by clicking on the words “Untitled Map” in the upper-left hand side of the screen and completing the empty fields.
  5. There are two ways to add data:
    • Option 1: Adding locations individually:
      • Type a location in the search box, (e.g. 221B Baker Street, London), click on the resulting point, and then click “Add to Map”
    • Option 2: Import data from a spreadsheet (we’ll be using this)
      • Click “Import” in the box on the left.
      • Click the blue “Select a File from your Computer” button, find the file, click it, and then click “open.”
      • When asked for the longitude, latitude, and title columns, select them.
      • Congrats! Your data has been imported!
  1. Choose a topic that might lend itself to being mapped. 

Here were doing the most basic form of mapping visualizations using Google Maps and a Google Spread sheet.

  1. Open be sure you’re logged into an account that will save the data. 
  2. Create a new spread sheet.
  3. For this Project you’ll want a sheet that at the very least has, Title, Description, Place on Map
  4. Fill in your spread sheet with data. 
  5. Save it with a memorable title. 
  6. First, let’s add an image to a location
    • Find your location and click on it; a window should pop up with information about it.
    • Click on the icon in the shape of a pencil and click on the icon of a camera.
    • Do a Google image search for your location to choose a picture of the area, click on the image you want, and click “Select”
    • Click “Save” to save your picture.
  7. Finally, let’s add lines to connect the locations in the story
    • Figure out the order of locations in the story
    • Select the first spot in your story, and then click the icon with circles and select “Add line or Shape” (or “Add Walking Route” if the characters walk between the points).
    • Click on each story location in order and hit enter when you’re done
    • To change the line’s appearance or color, hover over the words “Other/No value” near where the story titles are listed in the left box and click the icon that appears.
    • Select the desired color and line width.
  8. You’re done! Congrats!

Using Mapbox:

Mapbox ( is another great mapping program that lets you customize things a little more and makes more elegant maps. However, it doesn’t let multiple people edit the same map simultaneously, so you’ll have to workday yourself or together in groups and organize a time to work separately

Importing Data:

  1. Convert your Google spreadsheet to a CSV file.
  2. Make a Mapbox account and log in (
  3. Click on “New Project”
  4. Select the background map you want.
  5. Click on “Data” -> “Import” and select your CSV file.
  6. The next window will ask you to connect columns in the CSV file with basic data fields: for Title, select “Title”; for Description, select “Description.” Then, choose the color and icon size you want associated with your story.
  7. Congrats! You’ve imported your data!
  8. Click on “Project,” -> “Settings” and give your project a title and a description.
  9. Click the “Save” button.

Editing Data:

  1. Editing its appearance
    • Click “Symbol,” and select a symbol that represents the location.
    • Click “Text” and follow these instructions to add a picture
      • Do a Google image search to find the perfect image for your location.
      • Once you’ve found it, right-click and get the image URL.
    • At the end of your description in the “Add a description” field, click your curser.
  2. Next, you need to type some HTML to make the picture appear!
  3. To see what your map looks like, click “Project” -> “Info,” and copy and paste the URL listed under “Share” into a browser.
  4. Copy the “Share” URL into a new blog post.
  5. To embed the map:
  1. a. Click “Project” -> “Info,” and copy everything from the text box labeled “Embed”
    b. On the blog posting page, click on the tab labeled “Text” (it should be right next to the tab labeled “Visual”).
    c. Copy and paste the embed code there.

Explore StorymapsJS

And or: Timemapper

Digital Exhibits:

What is a Digital Exhibit?
A digital exhibit allows you to pull together items from your Omeka site into a single exhibit space. You can then contextualize this assemblage of items by providing narrative text that tells a story or makes an argument.

Add a New Exhibit

  1. Click on “Exhibits” in your left-hand menu
  2. Give your new exhibit a title
  3. Optional: The “Slug” is the URL for your exhibit. If you leave it blank, the URL will be all of the words in the title connected with hyphens (example: You can choose a custom URL by filling out the Slug field.
The Description/Summary Page:
You have two choices for the first page in your exhibit:
Fill in the “Description” box on your “Exhibit Metadata” page and use this as the first page in your exhibit by le

The Description/Summary Page:

You have two choices for the first page in your exhibit:

  1. Fill in the “Description” box on your “Exhibit Metadata” page and use this as the first page in your exhibit by leaving “Use Summary Page?” box checked.
  2. Uncheck the “Use Summary Page?” box to make the top Exhibit Page the first page in your exhibit.

Add Pages to an Exhibit

Adding pages:

  1. Click the green “Add Page” button
  2. Give your new page a title. The title of your page will be displayed in the left menu for your exhibit.
  3. The “Page Slug” will be the URL for the page; Omeka will fill this in for you when you save your page.
Left Menu Showing Pages in Public View
List of Pages in Admin View

Tip: You can re-arrange your pages or designate sub-pages by dragging and dropping the pages in Admin view

Add Content Blocks to a Page

An exhibit page will have one or more “Content Blocks.” You can combine different types of content blocks to give your pages more variety.

Content block options:

  • File with text: displays one or more item thumbnails with text
  • Gallery: displays multiple item thumbnails; option to include a larger “showcase” item and text
  • Text: displays only text
  • Geolocation Map: displays item thumbnails via markers on a map (only if the items have been assigned a map location in the item record)
  • Neatline: displays a Neatline exhibit inside the exhibit page

Be sure to look at the “Layout Options” for your content blocks (located under the text box) to move images from left to right, etc.

Content Blocks in Admin View
Same Page in Public View

Add Items to a Content Block

1. Click “Add Item” in your Content Block
2. Select the item you wish to add (note: this list will include all items in your site, use “Show Search Form” to find specific items)
3. Click “Select Item”
  1. In the “Attach an Item” pop-up use the “Provide a caption” box to enter the text for your caption
  2. Optional: You can change you caption style by using text options (eg. bold, italic) or alignment options (eg. center align)
Item with Caption View
Item with Caption in Public View

Add Narrative Text

  1. Locate the “Text” box in your Content Block (under the Items)
  2. Enter your narrative text. This is where you can provide context for your items and tell your story!
  3. Optional: Use Bold, Italic, alignment options, list options, to change the appearance of your text
  4. Click the green “Save Changes” button on the right to save your work

Add Hyperlinks to Your Text

  1. Highlight the text that you wish to link
  2. Click the chain icon on the top bar
  3. Enter the link URL in the “Link URL” field
  4. Click “Insert”

Custom Exhibit Banners

To add a custom exhibit banner image to your Omeka exhibit, go to your exhibit Edit screen.

Next, select “Berlin” from the Theme drop-down menu and click the green “Configure” button.

On the configuration screen, upload a banner image as a “Header Image” by clicking the Browse button and selecting your banner image for upload.

  • Note: For optimal display, size your banner image to be 100 pixels in height

Then click Save.

This banner image will display on all of your exhibit pages.

Links to Archival Material Generated in Class

Link to Digital Photos of Surfer Magazine

Link to Digital Scans from class

Link to Other Archival Photos

Blog Post Based on In Class Discussion

Based on your table discussions and the sites you looked at yesterday, write a blog post that addresses the following questions.

Which sites were your favorites and why?
What makes these sites effective or ineffective based on what we’ve read and talked about so far?
Are these sites leveraging technology in an appropriate/innovative way?
To what extent are these sites simple analogs of traditional resources? why?

Be sure to link to the sites that you are referencing in your posts, link images to illustrate your points and leverage the hypertextuality of this medium.

How to post to WordPress

How to use

What is Digital History Slides

Click here for the slides

First Blog Post

First Assignment: Log in to and publish your first blog post. In this post I want you to introduce yourself, write a bit about why you’re taking the class, and talk about your computer/technology experience. What was your first computing experience like. What kind of tech have you used in the past? What tech are you currently using in your life?

Second Assignment: Start a professional network. Set up a Twitter account (do not use an existing one), we’ll call this your professional twitter account (post it to class blog), and follow me (@seansmithcsulb), a few or all of your classmates and/or some of the scholars from the DH Compendium. Or you can search twitter for digital history and add those who sound interesting.  Then tweet something about our class using the hashtag #hist305csulb.

Examples of Digital History Projects and a Blog Assignment

First Assignment: Check out at least four of the following websites (including at least one Omeka site):  Valley of the Shadow, French RevolutionThe Emancipation ProjectGilded Age Murder Omeka-based sites, including Great Molasses Flood (built in Omeka and Neatline). Map Scholar; University of Houston’s Digital History site; Emile Davis Diaries; several sites at the Digital Scholarship LabMapping the Republic of LettersVirtual Paul’s Cross ProjectTrans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

Second Assignment: Blog about: 1) some creative uses of Omeka and the other projects we’ve reviewed so far. How do you imagine using Omeka? How could a WordPress or other blog be used for Digital History? How might you use these tools in combination with each other or with others you’ve used outside of class. (Be creative with your ideas here.) Then reflect on 2) Based on your review of the Digital History websites above: Think about what you like about these websites as a whole, and what you don’t.  What works and what does not? Why? For those sites that you didn’t like or understand, how could you make them better?

Third Assignment: Check out at least four of the following websites: Hurricane Digital Memory BankSeptember 11 Digital ArchiveFootnote.comJSTORInternet ArchiveA House Divided: America in the Age of LincolnFamous Law trialsCriminal Intent; PhotogrammarMapping DuBoisHull House and Neighborhoods.

Blog about: 1. What is the difference among the practices of preserving, curating, and aggregating data?  What are the challenges of each of these practices? 2. What are some of the tensions present in digital archiving?  (For example, “openness and access vs. intellectual property rights”) How are these tensions being addressed, and how, if at all, might they be resolved? Can you point to specific examples of these tensions in the Archive links I provided in the readings? 3. How would you go about digitally preserving or documenting your family history? How much would you share, and where/how would you share it? How would you determine what to keep private, if anything? How would you organize the information? How much would you curate the collection?  (For example, would you just put up a searchable database of the digital objects, or would you create finding aids, set up browsable categories, or write an essay that provides an overview of the collection?) Would you make it easy for other people to contribute to the collection, or would it be a closed collection (limited to your own objects)?  How would you determine what objects, people, or topics belonged in the collection and what did not? 4. Knowing that archivists’ time and preservation resources aren’t unlimited, what criteria should an archivist use to determine which materials or websites should be preserved? In what form should those websites be preserved, and through what interface should they be made findable by researchers and others?

Omeka Planning Document:

Omeka Google Doc 

In class, use the Google doc above to plan and layout the Omeka archive.

Omeka Tips and Resources

Here’s a space to share tips on Omeka exhibit code and the Dublin Core used for the Greenwich Village History Digital Archive. Feel free to add and embellish with links to your pages/items.

General Omeka

For Omeka Exhibits

Font selection

  • Fonts In Use provides examples searchable by time periods

Dublin Core

Dating Photos

There are a lot of tactics to help you date your undated photographs. Ask questions, like:

  1. What type of photograph is it?
  2. Who took it?
  3. Can you date any of the fashions, items, or architecture depicted?

Resources to consult:

Maps and Blogging

You should be working with your partners to finish your maps and post them either a screenshot or an embedded link to the blog. Along with the map each partner should blog about the significance of mapping technology in digital history, its narrative/analytical advantages and disadvantages and the story your map is meant to tell.

Project Proposal Assignment Sheet


Working together in a Google Doc draft a proposal essay that answers the following questions. The essay is due as a blog post on this site, and you’ll present your proposal and defend its importance and relevance to the class on Monday.


  1. What methodology are you using for your project? (GIS, visualizations, digital archive, digital edition)
  2. What are you producing? (be specific)
  3. What is your research question?
  4. Who is the audience for your project?
  5. What will someone learn from your project?
  6. What will be the hardest part about making the project?
  7. Where will you get the data/sources? (be specific: include sample bibliography to prove that sources exist )
  8. What tool/s are you using to produce your project? Why did you choose that one?
  9. Does the tool host the project online for you (i.e.  Omeka, Juxta Editions, Google Fusion Tables, Google Maps, Mapbox), or will you have to make a separate website to display your project?

After Presentations, each group will organize a work/task schedule with due dates and milestones. A project manager should be assigned and each member of the team should have their responsibilities spelled out explicitly. By the end of the class you should have worked out:

  1. How often you will meet outside of class? (digitally or in person. Try slack?)
  2. Appoint your project manager?
  3. In a new google doc or in slack, make a work plan:  break the project into smaller bits and assign deadlines and names to each bit. Share this plan with me.

Formal Proposal post to Blog

Use your informal proposal that you presented to class last week and write a formal proposal that covers the following:

1. First, you will introduce the theme: briefly explain it, noting your topic, region, chronology, key subjects, and possible thesis.  Remember that you are writing for a general audience so be specific. 

 2. Second, you will describe your approach to doing the research: what sources you will examine (such as government records, a particular newspaper, diaries, photographs, maps, oral history collections, etc.) and what kinds of questions you will ask of these sources. Be specific here, that means you should go to the library and do some research, what sources are available, and what will you ask of them (For example, if you were interested in studying the significance of the Boston Massacre for the American Revolution, you might write that you planned to use eulogies, sermons, and newspaper accounts published in the Boston Evening-Post in 1770, Paul Revere’s famous engraving of the massacre, and testimony from the trial of Captain Preston.  You might use these sources to address a number of topics, such as British and American governmental attitudes about the incident, popular perceptions of the violence, or the role of the media in fostering unrest and promoting propaganda.)  The more specific you can be about your sources and your questions, the better.  You can list questions, such as: How did different newspaper accounts assign responsibility for the incident? How and why did Paul Revere change the content of the engraving when he re-issued it? Think historically not descriptively, you’re trying to answer the question So What?  Then outline the digital tools you plan on using, how you will organize the project around them, and how these tools will offer a deeper or different understanding of your topic than a traditional methods do. Perhaps create a wireframe or mock up of your project. 

 3. Third, you will explain the significance of your project.  Consider what historical issues it will illuminate, what larger historical questions it will address.  (For example, a study of the Boston Massacre and its aftermath will shed light on the important developments that led to the American Revolution.  In particular, it will expose the growing split between colonial and British perceptions of the empire and the contributions of radicals like Samuel Adams to the Revolutionary movement.)  You may not know exactly what you’ll find. At this point, you should try to suggest the major issues that you see your project as addressing.

4. Lastly, submit an initial bibliography of 5 secondary sources and 8 primary sources that you’ll reference in your project, with brief annotations of where they fit in the overall scheme of the project and your analysis. 

I want you to post your formal proposals and bibliographies to the blog by Sunday 11:59 p.m. These should be 2 -3  tradtitional pages long answering the above. 

Remember that these are thesis driven projects and that your visualizations, archives, timelines, maps etc… are meant to supplement and extend the impact of the thesis providing new and different avenues for understanding historical narrative. All projects will have some written aspects and require traditional research in traditional sources.

I’ll be available in my office hours all week and by email or twitter if you have any questions. 

Reflection Essay

A reflective essay (three to four pages):

This essay should explain, reflect and illustrates your development in digital history and your understanding of the application of digital analysis and tools used in publishing history digitally.  Most of you have had 301 and a few of you are currently in 499, and of course, you remember and understand that to reflect means “to use the powers of the mind, as in conceiving ideas, drawing inferences, and making judgments and to consider carefully and at length.”

I expect that you’ll do exactly that, reflect upon your experiences with digital history, the development of your digital skills, and your understanding of the methods historians are using to produce their work using these new tools.  How has your perspectives and approaches to sources and evidence changed given access to these new tools? How are you thinking differently about historical concepts now that you’ve been introduced to this new methodology? How has your understanding of how historians work deepened? Why does digital history matter? What skills can you take from digital history that could be applied elsewhere?

The essay should also reflect on your project and the research and skills you developed while engaged in it. The essay should comment on the process you undertook in this course, your progress, and your achievement. This essay is a very important part of this course and should be a serious and thoughtful consideration of your improvement, accomplishment, as well as areas that need further development.

This essay should be posted as a blog post on our class site and be the equivalent of 3 – 4 typed double spaced pages. You’re welcome to include images and illustrations, but they will have no bearing on the length of your paper.

Presentation Guidelines

A successful presentation of your project will do the following:

  1. Explain your thesis and purpose and significance of the project.
  2. Explain the intended audience of your project: who should use it and how does it help them? What will they learn from the project? To what extent does your project meet the digital historians’ goals of democratizing historical knowledge.
  3. Explain the influences on your project: what DH projects inspired it?
  4. Demonstrate the site: Walk the class through how it works and its design.
  5. How well did your project live up to your original proposal?
  6. What would you have done differently and why?
  7. How does your project use digital methods in a way that makes the narrative you’re telling different than a traditional history paper?