Coding for Connections: Dissenting Academies Online and Kumu Course Exercise

Just when I thought we were out of the worst of the complex digital thicket I discussed last week, this week’s assignment resolved to convince me otherwise. I’ll be the first to admit that this was an arduous task; I found myself almost affectionately missing last week’s mapping activity (almost). However, as was the case last week, there is a real sense of accomplishment when I (finally) present the end product of my hard work!

This week’s assignment was all about using the innovative data-display platform Kumu. Kumu is a great way to present hefty or complex data and show the relationships that are within it. For my map, I chose to explore the loan records of Manchester Academy in its 1845 academic year. I got this data from Dissenting Academies Online, which is a vast storage of digital information that relates to the Dissenting Academies of the United Kingdom. There was a lot of data to maneuver in this exercise, but my ultimate presentation below shows just how connected everything is!

As you can see, there is an area of the network that is extremely dense with green dots, or, books, all circling one individual reader, Robert Wallace. This indicates that Wallace took out many books in his time at Manchester Academy in that year, more than any of the others depicted by this network. Another interesting thing to point out is that the most notable connection between readers by the same books exists between this Robert Wallace and another man, John James Taylor. This might suggest that the two knew each other well and shared similar interests, or perhaps were in the same class or merely learning about similar things at the time.


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