This week’s blog post will likely be on the shorter side only because the required readings did not offer resources that I can see directly contributing to my final project. That is not to say that I did not find them helpful. In fact, I am working on another project for an anthropology course at the moment that will utilize about eight recorded interviews, so Doug Boyd’s primer on digital audio recording could certainly aid me in that area outside of this class. Nevertheless, I thought it would be best to use this space to provide a brief breakdown of what I found useful from Ethan Watrall’s presentation last week, and provide an update on the current status of my final project.
Although last week’s readings were illuminating for me, I feel much more confident understanding the ideas behind designing a web map after having actually heard an expert on the subject break down the steps. Thanks to Watrall, I know that in web mapping there are essentially two potential paths to pursue. One can either build a web map from the ground up using Open DIY, or rely on software as a service (SAS) such as Mapbox. In spite of the challenges that it might pose, I still plan to embrace the former path, taking advantage of some of the tools Watrall discussed last week. I plan to extract the mapping tiles I will need from OpenStreetMap and manipulate them using Leaflet. Ultimately, the final product should take the shape of something like the route maps on Medieval and Tudor Ships, illustrating the movement of aboriginal groups around the Great Lakes region as they signed treaties with the United States. Actually completing this project, though, will require much more practice with the software on my part. I have attempted to play around with Leaflet on my own time, but have become quickly overwhelmed despite its supposed “lower barrier to entry.” I expect to be able to voice these concerns during the meeting I have set up with Watrall after Spring Break, but I may have to seek additional assistance at LEADR before then.
This brings me to my project plan which, as I suggested above, I have not been able to follow entirely to the letter. Watrall’s own busy schedule has caused me to push back the date that I initially planned to meet with him, and the volume of data that I have accumulated has delayed me in running my corpus through OpenRefine. I have selected 25 treaties to analyze for my final project (all catalogued in my Zotero library) based on their prominence in the secondary literature I have examined so far. Together, they feature more signers than I initially anticipated. I am currently in the process of extracting all the geographic and personal information I will need for my maps. This means that Spring Break will likely be a hectic time for me because I need to resolve all of my project plan points that are past due and build a website for my web map. Beginning to actually build the web map, then, will likely be pushed back slightly, but this should hopefully not derail what I ultimately have envisioned too greatly.