A course blog delving into the lives that books lead.

Month: February 2017

The Ties That Bind (Part II)

Apparently Safari and Kumu are having domestic problems, and I suspect it is because Chrome and Kumu are in the middle of an affair. All of that is a round about way of saying that my loading problem with Kumu magically fixed itself as soon as I used Chrome.

Technical difficulties aside, I really enjoyed using Kumu. I think that like Timeline JS this is a fun way of showing visually the data we are working with. It also builds upon the connection work we did with the spreadsheets, except that the Kumu map is colorful. In all seriousness however, I think that being able to interact with large amounts of data in this manner is extremely helpful to building an understanding concerning the data. The ability to work with it in some physical manner rather than trying to project it all in one’s head is lovely and helps foster better analysis.

Below is my recreation of Professor Pauley’s Manchester data. I really want to find some way to incorporate this into our local project.

The Ties That Bind

First and foremost I would like to say that while I did not end up getting my version of the data (all of which we found using the Dissenting Academies Online) into Kumu (which decided it was just going to sit at 99% loaded and stay there, I really liked this assignment. Some of it was frustrating to get to work correctly, but working with all of those different sheets gives a tangible idea of how the final product is going to look. The constant reorganization of the same information allows you to think of all the different ways in which it is connected. I think that getting to see everything in color and being able to navigate through it really highlights the connections in a more concrete light and I am very excited to see how I can utilize this in my own project!

Connections are way more important than we give them credit for in my opinion. Every single way we react to anything and everything is a connection of some kind. Some of them are fleeting and are gone in seconds, but others last lifetimes. But we don’t every really think about these connections as being tangible things, strings we can reach out and touch. Sometimes we give them material objects like wedding bands, or do our best to document them with photos. However, what I like about the Kumu project is that it gives a visible representation of the actual connection. Rather than say a picture of someone with this book, there is an actual chart of a sort that shows the different lines and connections between people and books. Now, perhaps it isn’t as romantic or exciting as the types of connections that we normally have, but with a little creativity and ingenuity I think we could create some very cool representations of connections here.

Here there be the link to my Google sheet (which I will turn into embedded sheets as soon as I remember how).


Let it be said that I have a new respect for cartographers of all kinds. Using at least five different programs for one project is not up my alley; I simply do not have the patience for it (especially not when I had to wipe everything Zotero related and start over). All-in-all though, I think the end result is amazing and I can think of hundreds of really useful applications for something like this: tracing the movements of books and people people; labeling mathematical achievements in a certain field; looking at old wars; and so on!

Now as to the book I used, I ended up using The Elements of Euclid, a collection of mathematical proofs written by Euclid. The proofs range all over the various mathematical fields and are some of the first formally constructed proofs. This book had a significant impact on mathematics, and so I figured that it would have been printed in many cities. Now, the sampling that I took is very small, but that is because many of the copies printed were edited or had notes in them to help readers perhaps not so fluent. For the most part, I believe that these collections simply had the original volumes written by Euclid with the only edition perhaps being a preface.

Timeline Project!

While I found some of the specifics of the Timeline JS to be difficult, I rather like the final outcome. Visually it is aesthetically pleasing and I think this medium is fantastic for topics that can be covered easily in bullet points. This project I think asked for just enough information that it was hard to edit it down to easily manageable slides. In addition, if you have a topic that can use videos, music, photos, and all other various sorts of media to change things up, this type of timeline becomes a lot more interesting. Unfortunately, for my particular project, I have only photos of the book’s inscriptions. (Although…now that I think about it, I might have been able to find a YouTube video on George Herbert. Perhaps I’ll update the timeline.)

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