Patrick Egan, PhD

Patrick Egan (Pádraig Mac Aodhgáin), PhD, is an international scholar specializing in digital humanities, ethnomusicology and archival metadata. He is a lecturer in digital humanities at University College Cork. As a wide-ranging creative, Patrick is also a performer of Irish traditional music on concertina. He is a researcher of cultural heritage, developer of digital artefacts, digital preservation workflow, digital timeline visualisations and gives papers at conferences in Ireland, England, Europe and North America.

Patrick Egan at the American Folklife Center, 2019. Photo by Steve Winnick
Patrick Egan at the American Folklife Center – Photo by Steve Winnick
May 17, 2022The latest news on Patrick’s research: Patrick Egan is a scholar and musician from Ireland, who in 2019 served as a Fellow in Digital Studies at the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress and a Fulbright Tech Impact scholarship. His PhD focused on digital humanities with ethnomusicology at University College Cork. Patrick’s interests over the past number of years have explored ways to creatively use descriptive data (metadata) in order to re-imagine how research is conducted with archival collections. Throughout 2019, Patrick worked on a number of digital projects under the title, Connections in Sound. Patrick is sharing data about recordings of Irish traditional music collected and held by the American Folklife Center (AFC). Patrick’s research aims to understand more fully the role that archives and collections might play in the lives of performers, as a result of the digital turn. He has created a number of prototypes for exploring the collections and some examples can be seen below. Patrick agreed to share his research and these ongoing digital projects with the public as he created them and he’s interested in receiving feedback from researchers, experts, librarians, archivists and the Irish traditional music community. Visualisations: Pathways to the collections that contain Irish traditional music at the American Folklife Center: Irish born emigrants in the US (1850-1980) and locations of collections that were discovered during the “Connections in Sound” project: Patrick conducted a survey of Irish traditional music in North America (finished in 2020), with specific reference to the use of sound files on the internet and with the websites of archives. A visualisation of a sample set of results at the end of 2019 is shown below, with over 439 responses. By September 2020, the total responses for this survey were 528. This survey is online and open until the end of October. These projects are work-in-progress. You can follow Patrick as he documents his fellowships at the Library of Congress on Twitter. Comment and share your ideas with him there or in the comments below. A final note from Patrick: “This research is digital and cultural in nature, and community feedback is greatly encouraged and much appreciated.” Patrick is sharing the results of his research in a number of ways. He is documenting his research and thoughts via Open Science Framework. You can dig into his wiki activity and explore the collections data for yourself. You can find code for these visualizations at Patrick’s GitHub account here. Event: Revealing and uniting hidden recordings of Irish traditional music  During his time as a Kluge Fellow in Digital Studies and Fulbright Tech Impact scholar, Patrick Egan’s project, Connections in Sound focused on experimental ways to re-combine archived audio material in the digital age. On Thursday 29th August 2019 at 12pm in Library of Congress room LJ119, Patrick was in conversation with staff from the American Folklife Center and digital experts about the audio collections that contain Irish traditional music. He presented some digital visualizations and digital infrastructures that he is using for linking music recordings, and finished with a performance of Irish traditional music with local DC musicians. Check out this inspiring TED talk by Jaron Lanier on “how we need to remake the internet”. [...]
February 1, 2022Patrick Egan (Pádraig Mac Aodhgáin) performing at the Library of Congress in August 2019 alongside local musicians from Washington DC My research article “In search of the item: Irish traditional music, archived fieldwork and the digital” is now published in Archival Science journal, web version here: Thanks to all at the Library of Congress, the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress Labs, Digital Specialist Matt Miller, and all the Irish Traditional Music Archive. In this article, I demonstrate the challenges and possibilities for using #LinkedData with archived fieldwork (audio collections) from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The project, Connections in Sound, a case study that identified how archived audio metadata of Irish traditional music is important for infrastructure like @ITMADublin’s LITMUS project & Authority Files at @librarycongress & points towards future possibilities when using them. The team developed datasets, created proof-of-concept RDF Triples using Python to connect non-commercial audio material across AFC collections and then on the WWW, with LITMUS ontology, the Séamus Connolly Collection in Boston & tune ID web scrapes on This experimentation helps to inform possibilities & limitations for digital infrastructures as they evolve -ways of representing a more diverse selection of musical performers in archives & across the Web (especially musicians who perform but who do not record commercially) Suggestion: enable diversity by using collections such as the AFC’s, musicians recorded by collectors. Add them to resources like Wikidata/Wikipedia so they can be identified & linked to multiple other performances of a certain tune / song / dance (both professional & amateur) The ideal is a “multiplicity”, see Foley’s “Oral Traditions and the Internet”, “Listening to multiple versions…and programmatically denying priority to any single one – will go a long way toward providing a … sense of the song’s many-sided, irreducible character.” There are many ways to represent Irish traditional music, and digital infrastructures are evolving, but archived collections of fieldwork that contain a wide variety of material from oral traditions could have a big part to play if considered. This research was generously supported by the Fulbright Tech Impact Award and a Kluge Fellowship in Digital Studies. More to come as in 2022 I present my major survey of performers of Irish traditional music in North America. Engage with this discussion on Twitter: My research article “In search of the item: Irish traditional music, archived fieldwork and the digital” is now published in Archival Science journal, web version here: Thanks to all @librarycongress & AFC, @LC_Labs, @thisismmiller, and @ITMA 1/— Patrick Egan (Pádraig Mac Aodhgáin), PhD (@drpatrickegan) February 1, 2022 In search of the item: Irish traditional music, archived fieldwork and the digital Abstract In the past ten years, a growing number of digital projects have emerged within archives, and they have placed a focus on using Linked Data to facilitate connections to be made between music related materials across the World Wide Web. Projects such as Linked Jazz exemplify the possibilities that can be achieved between researchers, digital experts and archivists. Recent developments for Irish traditional music at the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) in Dublin, Ireland mean that the genre can also now be described using an extensive ontology, LITMUS (Linked Irish Traditional Music). In 2019, we engaged this ontology within a digital project entitled Connections in Sound, exploring the challenges and possibilities for Linked Data based on audio collections of Irish traditional music from the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. The project adapted an experimental approach to enriching metadata from audio materials of Irish traditional music, song and dance at the AFC by creating and working with proof-of-concept resources. Using the project entitled Connections in Sound as a case study, this paper will demonstrate the challenges, opportunities and particularities related to engaging a range of fieldwork and transcribed metadata as Linked Data. This paper suggests that the work of experimenting with certain types of non-commercial digital audio material for use in datasets and digital infrastructures informs ways to represent diversity of musical traditions in the archive and across the World Wide Web. View this article in full Visit my Google Scholar Profile. [...]
August 31, 2021In the last blog, “Digital Archiving – Workflow Setup“, we looked at setting up the scanning environment for the Cork LGBT Archive. Once this was achieved, our Assistant Digital Archivist, Mira Dean got to work on the archival boxes. Archival boxes of the Cork LGBT Archive Scanning for Omeka The Cork LGBT Archive website is built on the Omeka software. According to the official website, Omeka is a Swahili word that means to display or “lay out wares”. described as “a free, open-source content management system for online digital collections. As a web application, it allows users to publish and exhibit cultural heritage objects, and extend its functionality with themes and plugins”. Orla had been working on Omeka since we first met in 2014, so I had a good understanding about how it was set up and the plugins that were installed at various stages along the way. Subject headings As a digital archivist, one of the most important skills is to know the Dublin Core standard for metadata description. Dublin Core arrived on the archival scene in the 1990s, as a standard that could work across description throughout the archives world. One of the advantages of this is that it allows archives to be connected across geographical boundaries. For example if I wanted to find all the “Gay Activists” activities that occurred throughout the 1980s in Ireland and across Europe, those items would have already been described and categorised by archivists in every country across the continent. As I had already been working with both the Boole Library in UCC and the Library of Congress in Washington DC, I was very familiar with this standard. In the past seven years, I had also gained experience in working with Linked Open Data, so from a programming point of view, I knew the potential for the metadata in this archive. This is one of the most appealing things about the technological side of the Cork LGBT Archive -it has already been set up with standards like Dublin Core and Linked Open Data as well as being a place where you can introduce new ideas to improve the work and presentation of the Archive. So, for “subject” description, it was possible to use Dublin Core, but also some headings from Linked Open Data/ One of the more interesting plugins that Orla had previously installed was called “LC Suggest”, which means Library of Congress Suggest. This plugin is used in the subject description, and provides built-in subject headings that have already been used by the Library. Orla has also encouraged a number of previous digital archivists and “crowd-sourcers” to utilise LC Suggest, and another excellent resource named “Homosaurus”. is an international linked data vocabulary service that enhances the Cork LGBT Archive, as in the future it will be possible for machines to discover a whole host of information using the subject headings that were entered. Other common Dublin Core descriptions include: Description, Creator, Source, Publisher, Identifier, and Coverage. As a newcomer to such a specific area, sexual health in the gay community 1980-2000, there was some work and reading to be done in order to become more familiar with the correct use of subject headings and description of resources. I made sure to read through and think about the documents that I was encountering. One of the more helpful documents for this purpose was Kieran Rose’s book, Diverse Communities, which we scanned and described in July. It is an excellent read, and a very interesting insight into gay and lesbian politics in Ireland during the 1980s and 1990s. Absolutely delighted to add @kieranarose 1994 book DIVERSE COMMUNITIES to the Cork LGBT Archive today. A fabulous resource and record of lesbian and gay politics in Ireland. Thanks @kieranarose @MiraDean8 @drpatrickegan @OrlaEgan1— Cork LGBT Archive (@CorkLGBThistory) July 21, 2021 In all, between June 1st and July 31st, we completed just about 400 items, fully scanned, described and published. But whilst scanning and description were in full flow, there was also time to explore the technological side of the project. Orla’s son, Jacob was with us from the start, and has proven to be a superb addition to the team, both in terms of design work and web coding. Digital work – Extracting Subject Headings Quite early on in our work, we discovered that we could use the Omeka API (Application Programming Language). An API is basically all the data from the Omeka database that is made available at a url, such as: To a developer, this is gold. It means that you can search through the whole website and extract information on any aspect of the descriptions. I recognised early on that this was a brilliant opportunity to get a list of all the headings that had previously been added into the sexual health section. Some subject headings (as seen below) included AIDS Activism, Gay Health Action (Ireland), Safe Sex in AIDS Prevention, Safer Sex, AIDS Education, AIDS Awareness, Sexual Health, Donating Blood, AIDS Testing. subject headings for AIDS related documents However, in order to get the full list, we needed to write an application. Jacob is already fluent in Python, Javascript, PHP, Svelte and a host of other programming languages, and he knows GitHub as well. So it was very easy to work with him and request, “hey, can you build an application that extracts all the subject headings for sexual health?”. Jacob got to work right away, and within a short time had created not only an application for extracting subject headings, but one that lists private items, plus he made it interoperable so that any other Omeka user could use it on their website. Programming the API script to extract Subject Heading information from collections on Jacob’s work portfolio can be seen on his personal website,, and each time that an application is made, he has published it on his account as a free-to-use repository. The full code for Jacob’s subject heading extractor, plus a step-by-step process is available for the world to use (whether programmer or not) at: The full list of subject headings was extracted using Jacob’s application, and this was then loaded into Excel and printed out, so that any time the subject heading field was being filled out, a host of possible headings were available. Final list of subject headings for use with AIDS which is called the “AIDS Activism Sexual Health Ireland” collection Digital Work – Database Scrolls! After the success of extracting all the subject headings and working with Jacob on the API, it became clear that coding was an excellent way to monitor the Archive, to get a number of different overviews and to think about ways to create digital visualisations (more on visualisations in later blog posts). One of the most important aspects of my role as digital archivist was to identify the exact items that were in the Cork LGBT Archive website and to compare this to the items that had already been uploaded to the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI). I found that if I could cross-check both that it would be possible to fill in the gaps with material that had not yet been ingested into the DRI resource. Jacob’s success with the extraction of subject headings was indicative of what we could achieve – we set about getting a full list of items up to mid-July. This was quite straightforward, and again Jacob shared his work on GitHub for the world to use: I decided to utilise this digital opportunity by creating a physical, visual overview of the Archive. After using Jacob’s description extractor, I was able to edit some of the fields in Excel and use some HTML formatting software to display titles and descriptions side-by-side. I then split the title and description fields into columns and sorted it alphabetically. Next, in order to get a run-down of all the 160 or-so items in the DRI, I created a list from the website. This was then listed alphabetically, and compared to the Cork LGBT Archive listing, in order to see them side by side and to find which items were not yet added to the DRI. The result was very interesting: @drpatrickegan at the archive today with his “database scrolls”!— Cork LGBT Archive (@CorkLGBThistory) July 13, 2021 Surprises! As the work moved along in July and August, we stumbled upon some fascinating documents from the archive. Ironically, whilst working on digital scans and extracting data, we discovered a document from the Southern Gay Men’s Health Project on “Internet Outreach”. This document, written in 2003, talks about the potential of the internet as a powerful tool for Outreach. Internet Outreach Report / Update from 2003, the first piece of evidence concerning the use of the World Wide Web to spread these messages. Another surprise that developed during these busy summer months was our most important Spotify playlist! Mira’s job description to get everyone to get up and walk around the office space every hour in order to stretch the legs and take a break. For Orla, this then evolved into a way to illustrate the process involved with the workflow (scan to Omeka to DRI to Europeana) through movement, which then developed into the Shag Pack (see Love Shack from the B-52’s below). The Spotify playlist continues to evolve – if you enjoy our playlist, please like it, further suggestions are most welcome! [...]
August 4, 2021Week 2-3: A Finer Level of Detail Opening the new scanner (Epson DS50000) So much has happened within the space of one month at the Cork LGBT Archive! The next series of blog posts will be published throughout August, as we catch up with all the excitement that this project has had to offer. After some initial hurdles, we had some advances in terms of the workflow process. Previous scanning processes in the Cork LGBT Archive were made efficient by Orla and her colleagues by selecting software that was suitable and not too cumbersome. So my job was to look for ways to make this happen with their new scanner. A series of different image scanning software applications were identified which were available to us for free, but as we will see in this post, it is not an easy task to locate one that is both simple and straightforward! The way that scanner software has evolved in the past few years is simultaneously excellent and flawed – informing us that automation is not always the best way forward. And the Epson Workforce DS-50000 flatbed scanner had its quirks! setting up the scanner After we unboxed our new scanner, we found that a hardware component called a “Network Interface Component” was already installed. This caused problems for the installation, as it was not possible to setup a USB connection to the laptop out of the box. With the interface connection the idea is that you are connecting the scanner to a number of computers instead of the method that we have become accustomed to of “plug-and-play” – you plug it in, and it works! Coupled with that, there were no instructions included with the scanner to show what needed to be done when setting up the machine to carry out a simple scan to laptop via USB. So the initial excitement of getting setup right away and firing up a scan were dampened, instead calling for a bit of serious investigative work (some tinkering was needed). After attempting the network connection on a number of different pieces of software (Epson Scan 2, Document Capture Pro, Windows Fax and Scan), I tried to connect to the printer using a Mac. When this also failed, I had a conversation about it with Orla’s partner, Carol. Zooming out from the situation, we decided that the most obvious option to try was to actually remove the Network Interface component and to swap it for the standard component that had been left beside the printer. Image of network interface component on the left and the standard “USB” component on the right I was a little wary of taking the scanner apart since we had only just bought the product! This initial work with the scanner required that I dis-assemble the Network Interface component with an Allen key (and awkwardly removing screw covers that had somehow been turned the wrong way around inside of the screw slot)! It was a bizarre situation to have to swap this out, as it was awkward and risked breaking something on the scanner. However, once this had been swapped for the standard component, we discovered that the scanner software eventually recognised the scanner and then everything worked without a hitch. All better in hindsight of course! Scanner and scanner software in operation The Network Interface Component did sound useful for some situations – it means that a number of devices can be connected to the scanner at one time (phones, laptops, PCs). However, for a job such as this, it was determined that only one person and one computer was needed for the scanning job at any one time, this suited our workflow best. It was decided that it would make more sense for the workflow if one person was positioned at a designated computer, connected by USB to the scanner whilst scanning documents instead of multiple people connected to the machine at once. The Network Interface Component was returned to the original box! In terms of hardware, our initial sense of the scanner was that it operated quite fast, and the sound of a scan wasn’t too clunky! In general, it promised to make the scanning very efficient, one click of preview or scan button, the scanner moved across the bed quite fast, and you had an image within 4-5 seconds. However, a 600 dpi scan required the move across the bed to slow significantly, so we ended up with 10 seconds per scan. Finding Software For software needs, one of the most important areas needed for workflow in the Cork LGBT Archive was the ability to be able to create PDF documents that contained a number of different scanned images bundled together (to add or edit pages after scanning). It became apparent that this was available in both software packages that we tried out, Epson Scan and also Document Capture Pro. With this option available, we could then move on to testing for other features. There were a number of software packages that allowed us to scan PDF/A documents, which was a major boon as the Digital Repository of Ireland (the DRI) preferred PDF/A format. One of those packages that afforded PDF/A was Epson Scan, which also provided the option of scanning to a searchable PDF for text documents. Epson scan also allowed for rotation and “correct document skew”, both very helpful features. Another plus was that there was the ability to create “Multiple TIFF” images, and in advanced settings to remove background, to enhance text and to change brightness, contrast, and gamma. Another option we had for this was that with the utility installation of this scanner software came an image editor named “Document Capture Pro”. Overall, the settings available with both of these software packages were quite similar, as the Epson Scan software was used by Document Capture Pro every time a scan was requested. One feature that was not available in Document Caputre Pro was the ability to crop images during the workflow. During the testing of the scanner, it became apparent that the scanner software cropped images automatically, but in many cases not accurately. This meant that the white background surrounding images was in view on some occasions, and not on others. Worse still, sometimes part of documents were cut off. I then tested other scanner software options to see if manual crop could be available. ArcSoft PhotoImpression was a good option, but it didn’t meet our needs. Another option that allowed us to crop images was Digitech’s PaperVision Plugin for Document Capture Pro. This website was useful in our search – it compared some of the other free versions that are available, plus important information on which ones had auto and manual cropping: We found that when using Document Capture Pro that there are two options in the main menu – 1) To do a job scan. This allows you to setup a workflow for a scanning job, which has predefined settings for the scan, a destination for the file once you have finished the scanning.2) Simple scan. This allows you to scan without taking any actions, and is not a workflow but just a scan that can give you the scanned image and then you can do what you want with it yourself. The following list of other scanning software options that demonstrate what is available as of summer 2021: AutoSplitter – very basic looking interface, has no PDF save format, has crop functionality but requires once-off payment of $30 for 2 yearsVueScan (also an app on android) Once-off payment of €20 – cropping is done based on pre-defined size of image, no crop toolPixEdit (Norway) €75 per month In previous version of Epson scanner software, the manual cropping tool was available. For example, Orla had used a very nifty tool in the Epson Expression 11000XL. With little availability of open-source tools for cropping images, I decided to test to see if the new scanner would work with older versions of the Epson scanner software (Epson Scan). However, this application did not open correctly as the scanner was not recognised (Epson Expression 11000XL). Error message, “Epson Scan cannot be started”. Eventually, after further searches for “cropping” in scanning software, a search result listed on an interesting website named, where I found this thread: … finally, a recommended software called “FastStone Image Viewer” proved to be an excellent find for our job. One contributor on the UtahRails website mentioned that, “I generally use FastStone Image Viewer for the basic stuff, like adjusting gray levels on black & white photos, or color levels on color photos. It also works very well for straightening and cropping, and simple resizing. It also has a good batch conversion tool to convert TIF to JPG, for uploading to SmugMug.“ This was a watershed moment. After all of our searching and testing, finally we found a suitable piece of open-source software that could produce scans to our liking, which were also of an excellent quality and we had the ability to crop manually. On to the workflow! Setting up a workflow As week three started, the excitement was building with the knowledge that we were now set up to scan our first box of documents. We ran some tests to check if the scanner and accompanying software would produce the desired PDFs of documents. Again, this was not without its problems, as we quickly discovered in some of the previews that the documents were not being imaged on the very outer edge of some of the documents. In some cases parts of documents were cut off when they were placed against the edge of the scanner. The scanner did have a line which demarcated the edge of an A4 scan, but even when following this rule we discovered that it sometimes cut off part of the image. We needed to come up with a way to push the document further into the scanner. As an interim decision, we placed wooden pegs at the edge of the scanner bed. This allowed documents to be placed up against their edges, facilitating an easier cropping and allowing for the full version of the document to be seen after a scan was made. Image of scanner “interventions” Innovative scanning at Cork LGBT Archive today!Trying to find something straight in @GayProjectIRL to line up Play Safe leaflet for scanning – eventually found colourful lollypop sticks in the Arts & Crafts corner. @MiraDean8 @drpatrickegan @OrlaEgan1 Creative #DigitalArchives— Cork LGBT Archive (@CorkLGBThistory) June 15, 2021 As we began to scan documents, we discovered that the workflow was turning out to be perfect for our needs. We were able to scan efficiently (with minimal set up for documents), and the process was uncomplicated (move the documents towards the sticks, crop later). With the scan process set up correctly (and happy staff working away on the scanning!), I could now turn my attention to metadata description, to getting an overview of items that were already within the DRI and Cork LGBT Archive, on to some coding and “motivational Cork LGBT Spotify Playlists”! Have you had similar experiences with scanning setup and workflow? We would love to hear from you, please leave your comments below. [...]
July 8, 2021In June 2021, I began a four month position with the Cork LGBT Archive, working for my friend and colleague, Orla Egan. We both attended UCC together since 2014, and shared an office during the past number of years. Orla’s work has always interested me, as the archive that she works on originated in a basement! Since I have known Orla, she has been sorting, digitising, promoting and sharing all sorts of interesting insight into this fascinating project. CAHG Scotland & SCA As digital archivist, my job has been to oversee the workflow of digitisation from box to digital repository. I also liaise with the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) on best practices, and have been set up by Orla on the webinar series by the Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) Scotland & Scottish Council on Archives (SCA). The CAHG & SCA deliver training and networking events to support and provide skills to volunteers in community heritage groups (more about them here: The 2021 series deals with the following topics: How to digitise your archive collections.Increase visibility of your digital collections.Strategically promote your digital collections and optimise your collection for discovery via Google and other search tools.Increase your engagement with your local community and beyond. Armed with these connections, some research, webinars, library experience and a good deal of enthusiasm, I was ready to make a start with the Cork LGBT Archive project. Week 1: An Overview First and foremost, to keep track of steps involved with the project, a series of promotions were in order. Sharing tweets about the first weeks working with the Cork LGBT Archive, and representation with the Irish Heritage Council were important. The main aim was to document the process alongside other members of the team as we went along. The promotion was backed up with these detailed blog posts about the steps involved in the project. In week one, three important first steps were to: * plan for the project review every month* manage ingesting documents into the DRI* investigate formats that were needed for this ingestion The DRI provides a very helpful formats guide, which allowed us to understand their requirements for Cork LGBT Archive to be ingested into their repository. The general guideline was that PDF/A was a preferred format for archiving, and that PDF was also acceptable. Some initial explorations into this revealed that: PDF/A is good for some images and not for others (see: for multiple images is okay, but PDF/A is better. It allows you to add extra “technical” metadata to the PDF file so that the metadata can be portable – it can move with the file wherever it goes. PDF/A also embeds fonts, which makes sure it is reproducible across systems. It is also strict – it doesn’t allow embeddings other than images (videos etc.). Organising a workflow The most important step in the digitisation and ingestion process for the DRI was to establish a way of organising how every part of the process fitted together. This has obvious advantages, “fail to plan, plan to fail”, but it also has others – for speed, efficiency, accuracy and quality. Audit of the Cork LGBT Archive Firstly, what material has been digitised, and if material exists elsewhere, will it be needed for this phase of the projectDo we need to update new scans with consistency of what has already been completed? How might this work on an ongoing basis?What is the process for digitisation with this scanner (Epson DS50000)What are the goals of these outputs – how much more material in the DRI and/or the Archive?Will this phase produce best practices / guidelines to enable consistently in the future? Backup The main goal of backup is to ensure that the Cork LGBT Archive is safe from data loss. In order to achieve this, we looked to best practices in establishing the most reasonable methods that a community archive could align with for cost, quality and consistency. We decided to work out the “3 2 1” rule of data backup for this project ( This rule basically means three things – 3 copies, 2 on media, 1 offsite. For the Cork LGBT Archive, this meant – Where is data currently stored?How is it currently stored?How can we meaningfully back up the new data as it comes in, without creating a whole new system? To answer the first question, it was determined that there were three locations:1) On a recently purchased HP laptop2) On a 4TB external hard-drive3) In the cloud (Dropbox) The recently purchased laptop had a capacity of 256GB which was determined to be unfeasible as a permanent backup. There were 2TB storage capacity on cloud storage through Dropbox and 300GB was already in use. Traversing different storage locations was an important aspect of the process of backup. The External Hard Drive contained 4TB, and as each item was saved, it could be sent to Dropbox. A further external hard-drive could then be bought to store the final permanent backup off-site and backed up every month. The next question we arrived at was, what type of software did we want to use to monitor changes in backups, and how would this workflow be established. I had already used AOMEI Backup on my own machine, but our team member Jacob suggested to use GitHub. The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) It was determined that a previous ingest of material from the Cork LGBT Archive was carried out with the DRI, where they already had a repository on their website. Orla had previously worked with Anita, Kathryn and Kevin at the DRI to make this happen. This setup allowed me to become familiar with the way that material has been presented there and the way that the backend looked. Day 1 I identified that there are some aspects to the original workflow that could be improved. The first is the scanning of documents. In the case of scanning to jpeg, it was determined that the project workflow could be made more efficient with the use of batch operations to convert TIFF files to JPEG in new destination folders. Carrying out this type of batch operation meant that this would cut the scanning workload in half, as previously both JPEG and TIFF files were created during the digitisation process. It was determined that automating made no difference to the quality of the operation as the file names of TIFFs and JPEG could be the same (and were previously). Secondly, it was found that booklets that were originally scanned as JPEGs had been scanned to the PDF format, and this made one file out of many. This was determined to be a reasonable compromise, as PDF/A is not currently available without subscription on Adobe software. Also, the benefits of PDF/A are not relevant, as the project does not have a need for portable fonts, or for technical metadata (that is metadata which is stored inside of the PDF file itself). *See later posts for updates on this. Europeana: DRI data had already been harvested for Europeana. We needed to make sure new material was also ingested. So a key goal was to find out if this was to ask staff at the DRI if Cork LGBT material gets updated with Europeana, and what the protocol is for new items that are added to a collection after the first ingest. Developing a Catalogue It was found that Cork Museum is currently carrying out a project to catalogue a number of documents that are from the Cork LGBT Archive, which will include pencil marks itemizing each document that is catalogued. It was determined that a catalogue could be made of these documents for retrieval later on by researchers. It was suggested by Orla that these documents could be used to form a catalogue in such formats as EAD, ISAD(G) or some other suitable archiving standard, and that this catalogue numbering system could then be used in other resources of the Cork LGBT Archive situated either on the DRI website or on the website within the “Related To” Dublin Core metadata. Goals for this section became to: Find out how you can start a catalogue. What way will the numbering system work? How do we get those numbers into all digital systems?Meet with Orla and staff from the museum to discussResearch suitable finding aids for this type of material (interns at the museum had started to add identifiers in pencil marks on material)An identification system was needed to let people know what is in the museum and on DRI (maybe an item number added to the “related to” field of the Dublin Core metadata here), so that they could get access to each document Subject headings The metadata subject heading options for LGBT are varied, but two main ontologies are available and currently in use: Homosaurus and the Library of Congress authorities which are available at Example 1: A list of Irish organisations is needed – an archives guide, for how to put names of people (eg egan, orla 1966-)Example 2: there are no “dike bars” in Homosaurus It was found that some of the subject headings that were previously missing from the Library of Congress can be found under a different heading name (for example “Dike Bars” can be found under “Lesbian Bars”). In this case, there can be confusion around what heading should be used, as it may be political or a preference depending on who is being referred to. It has been made clear from the Cork LGBT Archive team that previous attempts to add information were not carried out, as the information was not made available to the person(s) contributing items to the Archive. It is recommended therefore to print out a series (maybe one page list) of possible subject headings (with brief descriptions) that are already either in Homosaurus or on the Library of Congress Subject Headings resource in order to make prompts available to the person who is scanning / contributing material. Digital Repository of Ireland Through investigating what the DRI recommended, it was found that we could scan in high-res JPEG, in TIFF and PDF. The latter is an acceptable format, even though PDF/A is preferred. A number of smaller issues also arose when discussing the PDF format. Without the Adobe Pro software to rotate PDFS, a previous staff member would get her partner to rotate the PDF instead. In a previous batch ingest for the DRI, the Cork LGBT Archive team had utilised a file for the operation. Similar to the audit of the state of the Cork LGBT Archive then, the Archive’s presence on the DRI resource needed to be understood. Part of this understanding was to investigate the system that was set up for workflow in previous ingests. For a start, it was determined that this involved DCMES xml files Another minor issue was to define a method for file naming, as this had not been made clear. It was determined that complying to a standard was best, and this involved some important rules. A helpful guide for best practices is located here: At this point 397 items were already on the Cork LGBT Archive website A question to be asked was: how were booklet PDF’s originally made, and what was the process? Could it be that we use this process: Scan > Save as images > Open Acrobat > Add images > Send to DRI > Save in archive? For the new scanner that was acquired, we needed to think about PDF/A and the auto-rotate feature. Our scanner (Epson WorkForce DS-50000) facilitated both PDF/A creation, and auto-rotate. It also came with a “Dual Image Output”. However, there were other problems with this workflow. The process of cropping images manually was used in the older version of this scanner software, but did not seem to be available to us in the newer model. Test scans revealed some issues with the auto-crop, which will be explored in the next blog post. Conclusion In all, the first weeks of this project demonstrated a wide variety of different processes at work, and a lot of variables to manage. Within each stage of the process (from box to digital repository), there were specific challenges and a number of “to do” lists, each one having a potential impact. On the other hand, this archive is not represented by any institution, and so there is a great deal of flexibility on what can happen with material and the workflow that is involved with the project. This has been the interesting part of the Cork LGBT Archive, and gives it an “edge”. More to come in the next blog post! [...]
February 9, 2021In January 2021, Dr Egan worked with the Department of Digital Humanities and the Department of Music in UCC to create a web resource, which required a novel digital visualisation for a text-heavy website navigation. In order to achieve this, the Javascript library D3JS was used by implementing a version of a force layout. The existing D3 . More on that type of visualisation can be seen here. The resultant visualisation can be seen below and is available to developers at: [...]
July 2, 2020Since graduating with minor corrections in his PhD research, Patrick has been writing articles for publication in digital humanities, interdisciplinary studies and ethnomusicology. His latest article has been submitted for peer review. A word cloud that hints at its contents can be explored below. [...]
February 22, 2020R is a free software environment for statistics and graphics. Alongside Python, it is one of the most popular tools used for statistical analysis. R was released in 1995 and the current version is 3.1.3. As of 2018, Python is still an extremely popular programming language, but R has been rising in popularity of late, according to the Tiobe Index. A word of caution however – the popularity of programming languages can change quite rapidly within the space of a year. R vs Python One of the main differences between R and Python is that instead of being a general purpose tool, its main focus is on statistics. Therefore, it enables features for powerful data visualisation that are not possible elsewhere. Another difference is that Python focuses on code readability, whereas R comes with support for user friendly data analysis. Why Learn R? There are numerous advantages to learning R. It is easier for beginners who want to explore, as you can setup a model within a few lines of code. In other programming languages and tools, you would have to carry out a number of tasks in order to get something up and running. By seeing the possibilities of your code early on, you can imagine and understand the possibilities sooner rather than later. Part I: Getting Started with R This first tutorial will guide you through the basics of R through to an example from them of how to get it to work. We will run through an example download, setup and run of the software. In part II, we will then look at using a CSV file with R in order to understand how to use real-world examples. There are two ways to install and use R, one is with the R Studio, available at R Studio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which basically allows you to use a source code editor, build automation tools and provides a way to debug your code. Why use the console version then? The main reason for using the console is that the IDE is normally used by developers for making programs, but in this tutorial we only want to run some lines of code to see what is possible – so we don’t need all the extra add-ons. If involved in a large project, it would then make sense to have the extras of the IDE. For this tutorial, you can use a any text editor (such as Notepad or Text-Edit or even R’s Command-line interface to edit and run an R script). So first off – visit R’s official project homepage. You should see this screen: There are a number of different installation packages available depending on your computer setup. To select the correct software from the R website, visit the page where you will be presented with the following screen: Choose the software download that you need by clicking on the “Download R” link for your computer’s operating system at the top of the page. For demonstration purposes, this tutorial will look at the Windows installation. Once you have picked your own operating system, you will be brought to a page that should have your operating system appear as the heading with the download link for R underneath. As can be seen in the example below, the file we are going to download is about 60Mb in size, so we can select the first link at the top of the page: Once you click on this link this software is downloaded, and you can install it. Run the setup and once you have finished, you should be presented with the following window: Double click on the newly installed software’s icon on your desktop or in the program menu, and the Graphical User Interface for R appears. You can see a menu at the top with a sub-menu  then a “console” which has some copyright and licencing information, followed by some system information and then a cursor with some options. This is where you can communicate with the software. R looks a bit daunting at first, because there are no handy buttons to open files with, and when you click on the “open” button, the only files that can be opened are “R” files or it’s predecessor “S”. The reason for this is that you are supposed to open scripts that are written in R so that you can complete programming operations on your data files, but you are supposed to actually import your data files. To communicate with the software, click inside of the console window and type the command that simply says print ("Hello World") the program should respond like this: print ("hello world") "hello world" Digging Into Data – The Activity of “Old Faithful”  Now that we are getting a response from the program, we will want to do more. To clear the console, simply use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+L or on a Mac, Option+Ctrl+L. You can bring up a list of datasets by simply typing data(). This will bring up a window that shows the list of datasets which are already built in (real-world examples which have been downloaded with the software) and some information on them: To load these datasets, simply type the command data(name of dataset) and this command adds that dataset into your console. It doesn’t show it, because data(name of dataset) is simply loading the data. To view these datasets, you only have to type the actual name of them once they are loaded. In this example we loaded the eruption data for Old Faithful by typing data(faithful) and then just faithful You can see the data on the left hand side, inside the console which looks like a database entry – the id of the eruption is in the first column, and the “Waiting time between eruptions and the duration of the eruption for the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.” The “Format” of this dataset then is described as “A data frame with 272 observations on 2 variables.”  For more information on what these datasets do, visit the R documentation website at: These datasets can now be traversed with R commands and visualised in seconds! For example, in the case of Old Faithful, visit the webpage and copy all of the code at the bottom of that webpage, it starts off like this: require(stats); require(graphics) f.tit <- “faithful data: Eruptions of Old Faithful” Paste this code into your console window, and observe what it does with the data. The code loads in some graphics and tells R what needs to be drawn. R then plots this data with the graphics and under instruction it produces a visualisation: This simple example shows what can be done using R. Think about your own ideas and what it might be useful for. Try the other examples and see what they show and how the plotting is done. Continue to get an idea for what R is useful for, and then we will try out our own data. More R Commands Return to the console and type ‘summary(faithful)’ to see what this does. Below we can see the minimum, the maximum and the average wait times overall. Interpreting Our Code, Working with Variables (advanced) In order to understand the above code for our graph, we need to go through it line for line (this will help us later when we create our own graphs). f.tit <- “faithful data: Eruptions of Old Faithful” This means that the graph title on the right hand side will be stored as f.tit Think of f.tit simply as shorthand for the sentence Now look at the other code such as “ne60 <- round(e60 <- 60 * faithful$eruptions) faithful$better.eruptions <- ne60 / 60 te <- table(ne60)” These lines of code simply assign values to different parts of the graph that we draw. In the end, they are plotted with x and y axes, title, colours and values. So any time you see <- in a line of code that means that the value on the right hand side is being stored in the value on the left hand side. Once it is stored, it is then called a “variable”. You can access all of your variables by typing 'ls()' To remove any of these variables, simply type ‘rm(name of variable)’ and then type ‘ls()’ again. Part II: Creating Your Own Projects Now that you have went through a setup of R, opened datasets that are built-in and understood what the code is about, we’ll look at a real-world example. Once you have a hang on this second part, you can really start to see how practical examples can be carried out. For this second part, we will download a sample CSV dataset from the World Wide Web, and see what we can do with it. The dataset chosen for this tutorial is “Angling Stands” around Roscommon, a practical (and small) example to work with. It can be found here: From this webpage, download the CSV file Roscommon_Angling_Stands.csv, and rename it to file.csv for ease of use. What we need to do now is feed in the CSV file from outside of the R program – to locate the file in a directory on your computer. Before we can access the file, we need to setup a directory. In order to import your data files, you need to set the directory where R is going to look for them. In some cases it is best to create a folder on your C: drive. Go onto your start menu and open “My Computer”. When Windows Explorer opens up, double-click on C: and create a new folder in there called “RData”: Now return to the R program, clear the screen CTRL+L or Option+Ctrl+L and in the command section type: setwd("C:/RData") – this sets the current working directory to RData (where you will store file.csv) getwd() – shows the current directory that R is pointing towards list.files() – shows the current list of files within that directory The setwd has now set the current working directory of the R software to the new folder created on the C: drive. Put the Roscommon Angling file (which you renamed to file.csv earlier in this tutorial) into the RData directory on the C: drive. You can now read that file into the console by typing: myData <- read.csv(“C:/RData/file.csv”, header=TRUE) This will add your data to the software’s memory, in shorthand (or variable) as myData. It can now be read by the software in different ways. See if you can access it – here are some examples: myData – view all of your data head(myData) – shows the column headers for your data with some data myData – all of the rows between 1 and 20 plus the columns names(myData) – shows the columns only Just as in Excel where you can view and edit data based on columns and rows, you can run a line of code in R to see a similar type of layout. Here is that line: fix("myData") Mapping with Leaflet Our file.csv contains a number of different latitudinal and longitudinal co-ordinates. Next thing we are going to do is to plot these points in R in combination with LeafletJS, an open-source mapping tool. R brings the processed data, Leaflet brings the mapping software. Our file.csv is already loaded into memory and waiting to be processed, we can now add the leaflet package. Adding Leaflet In the R GUI, go to Packages>Install Package(s) In the next window, select “UK”, and then in the following window, scroll down and double click on “leaflet” It will begin loading up the package. Once this has installed, return to the console window and type: library(leaflet) There should be no response, only that the cursor moves onto a new line. If so, now we are ready to combine file.csv with leafletJS. To create a new map simply type the following: newmap=leaflet() newmap=addTiles(newmap) newmap = addProviderTiles(newmap, provider = "CartoDB.Positron") newmap=setView(newmap, lng =-8.18333, lat=53.63333, zoom=15) To view this new map simply type newmap Congratulations – You have created your first map with R and Leaflet! You can change the BaseMap simply by editing the “CartoDB.Positron” above, and running that same line of code. Have a look at your options on the right hand side over at this page: So now that this is working, we want to read in the markers in order to populate this map. First we will create one marker to test. Copy and paste the code below into your console window and hit enter: newmap=addMarkers(newmap, lng =-8.18333, lat=53.63333, popup="Roscommon") If that runs ok, that’s one marker completed. Go ahead and test your map with the “newmap” command to see if it shows up. To fill everything in from the csv file, just copy and paste the following code in the same way: newmap=addMarkers(newmap, lng = myData$WGS84Longitude, lat =myData$WGS84Latitude, popup = paste("Name:", myData$Name, " ", "Type:", myData$Type)) Summary and Full code for part II: Download the CSV (from Rename it file.csv Create a folder on the C: drive called RData Copy and paste the file.csv into RData folder In R: setwd(“C:/RData”) myData- read.csv(“C:/RData/file.csv”, header=TRUE) library(leaflet) newmap=leaflet() newmap=addTiles(newmap) newmap = addProviderTiles(newmap, provider = “CartoDB.Positron”) newmap=setView(newmap, lng=-8.1333, lat=53.65333, zoom=10) newmap=addMarkers(newmap, lng = myData$WGS84Longitude, lat =myData$WGS84Latitude, popup = paste(“Name:”, myData$Name, ” “, “Type:”, myData$Type)) This is just one of the many ways you can work with R. Have a look at the other tutorials online, such as at The Programming Historian which shows how to work with Tabular Data: What other ways can we get R to help us with datasets? [...]
February 21, 2020Title: Exploring ethnography and digital visualisation: a study of musical practice through the contextualisation of music related projects from the Seán Ó Riada Collection. PhD Thesis, University College Cork. Abstract: This thesis explores how cultural data of musical practice is contextualised during the process of digital visualisation and ethnographic research. The investigation utilises a two-pronged approach to examine music related projects from an archive, the Seán Ó Riada Collection, and focuses on how mid-twentieth century Irish artist Seán Ó Riada rose to prominence. Humanities scholars and digital humanists are increasingly engaged with digital technology in their work. Although ethnography and digital visualisation have often been used in research, both processes are beginning to be used in tandem. This project makes an original contribution to the scholarly literature through interrogations of how a hybrid of concepts and methodologies drawn from digital humanities and ethnomusicology may work in tandem or may be complementary. Practice theory is advanced as a suitable methodology for historical analysis, facilitating an investigation of musical practice in order to reveal evidence of change or continuity during the development of Seán Ó Riada’s career. Analysis of music related documents discovered within the Collection is framed by the circumstances through which projects were rehearsed and presented to audiences in a number of different mediums. I argue that the development of digital datasets and iterations of visualisation enable more informed questions and suitable theories to emerge when engaging with the contents of archival collections. I also argue that as a result of this activity, the selection process for suitable methodology and theory (such as event-based research) are important considerations when attempting to combine the practices of ethnography and digital humanities. This thesis also examines the complexities that emerge with exploring musical practice with digital cultural data, arguing for deeper engagement with data and digital tools in the structures where they are recombined and represented. Digital practices are perceived as challenging, informative and evolving processes of engagement. The debate concerning the use of more elaborate systems of classification for the representation of cultural data is not solved, instead it is utilised constructively and considered as part of an ongoing, self-reflexive process of research that enables knowledge discovery. In addition, this study introduces a series of semi-structured interviews that were carried out in order to assess the accounts of performance related activities, related by contemporaries and critics of Seán Ó Riada. The ethnographic section of this thesis demonstrates how ethnomusicology contributes to an improved interpretation and understanding of digital data. This study contributes to the ongoing discussion about digital humanities activities in ethnomusicology and ethnomusicology in digital humanities. It demonstrates the use of novel digital processes alongside long-form ethnographic fieldwork to contextualise historic materials in archive collections. Cite: Egan, P., 2019. Exploring ethnography and digital visualisation: a study of musical practice through the contextualisation of music related projects from the Seán Ó Riada Collection. PhD Thesis. Cork: University College Cork. Digital visualisation of Seán Ó Riada’s music-related projects: Download here Full description available at [...]
August 22, 2019The latest news on Patrick’s research: Patrick Egan is a scholar and musician from Ireland, who has just served as a Fellow in Digital Studies at the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress and is now on a Fulbright Tech Impact scholarship. He has recently submitted his PhD in digital humanities with ethnomusicology in at University College Cork. Patrick’s interests over the past number of years have focused on ways to creatively use descriptive data in order to re-imagine how research is conducted with archival collections. Throughout 2019, Patrick has had a number of digital projects underway under the working title, Connections in Sound. Patrick is sharing data about recordings of Irish traditional music collected and held by the American Folklife Center (AFC). Patrick’s research aims to understand more fully the role that archives and collections might play in the lives of performers, as a result of the digital turn. He’s created a number of prototypes for exploring the collections and some examples can be seen below. Patrick agreed to share his research and these ongoing digital projects with the public as he creates them and he’s interested in receiving feedback from researchers and the Irish traditional music community. Visualisations: Pathways to the collections that contain Irish traditional music at the American Folklife Center: Irish born emigrants in the US (1850-1980) and locations of collections that were discovered during the “Connections in Sound” project: Patrick is conducting a survey of Irish traditional music in North America, with specific reference to the use of sound files on the internet and with the websites of archives. A visualisation of results so far is shown below, with over 439 responses and counting. This survey is online and open until the end of October. If you are involved with Irish traditional music in North America, responses are greatly encouraged at this link: These projects are work-in-progress. You can follow Patrick as he documents his fellowships on Twitter. Comment and share your ideas with him there or in the comments below. A final note from Patrick: “This research is digital and cultural in nature, and community feedback is greatly encouraged and much appreciated.” Patrick is sharing his work in a number of ways. He is documenting his research and thoughts via Open Science Framework. You can dig into his wiki activity and explore the collections data for yourself. You can find code for these visualizations at Patrick’s GitHub account here. Event: Revealing and uniting hidden recordings of Irish traditional music  During his time here as a Kluge Fellow in Digital Studies and Fulbright Tech Impact scholar, Patrick Egan’s project, Connections in Sound has been focused on experimental ways to re-combine archived audio material in the digital age. On Thursday 29th August 2019 at 12pm in Library of Congress room LJ119, Patrick will be in conversation with staff from the American Folklife Center and digital experts about the audio collections that contain Irish traditional music. He will also present some digital visualizations and digital infrastructures that he is using for linking music recordings, and finish with a performance of Irish traditional music with local DC musicians. More about this event here: Check out this inspiring TED talk by Jaron Lanier on “how we need to remake the internet”. [...]
November 13, 2018Timeline tools have become very popular within the digital humanities. From the dhresources website, here are a few that are well known to DHers: ChronoZoom timelines Dipity (timeline infographics) Histropedia (“Discover a new way to visualise Wikipedia. Choose from over 1.5 million events to create and share timelines in minutes”) Simile Widgets (embeddable code for visualizing time-based data, including Timeline, Timeplot, Runway, and Exhibition) Tiki-Toki (web-based platform for creating timelines with multimedia; capable of “3D” timelines) Timeline Builder (online tool for building interactive Flash-based timelines from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media) Timemap (“Javascript library to help use online maps, including Google, OpenLayers, and Bing, with a SIMILE timeline. The library allows you to load one or more datasets in JSON, KML, or GeoRSS onto both a map and a timeline simultaneously”) Timeline JS (the Knight Lab’s “open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually rich, interactive timelines. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet…. Experts can use their JSON skills to create custom installations, while keeping TimelineJS’s core functionality”)   Timeline JS is an open source timeline tool that was built by designers, developers, scholars and professors at Northwestern University. The initiative is known as Knightlab, a space dedicated to the creation and development of open source software. It’s slogan is “Beautifully crafted timelines that are easy, and intuitive to use”. TimelineJS basically allows you to upload event data and embed it on your webpage through the use of their software, albeit with a few options for display which are provided by them. The content is also embedded fully responsively. This means that you will have a decent display of the timeline you create on any device or browser window. The content for Timeline JS is fed through to it by Google Sheets, basically Excel online. The types of data it accepts are text, images, audio, maps and audio-visual material among others (see list of media types here: Below is an example of a fully integrated timeline. The gallery style display makes each individual event a show piece of its own. As you click through the timeline, it shows the next or previous event in relation to its position on the timeline below each item. The timeline is also zoomable. On the left hand side of the image above, you can see the magnifying glasses for zooming into an item or zooming out. This is very helpful if for instance you have a large amount of data spanning the timeline. To test out the software, follow these steps: Make sure you are logged into your Google account first. Visit the website at Click on “Get the Spreadsheet Template“. Once the template is open, click on “Use This Template“. Select most of the data which has already been entered and delete it from your new template. This will allow you to take control of data and see where your own entries are placed. Add your own event information into the template – make sure you fill in Dates, Headline and Text. Adding start and end dates will allow your events to run for a specific amount of time rather than one specific event. For more on adding content, visit this link: The media section allows you to add links to media files online. Once you have a few events added, you need to make the file public. Go to File > Publish to Web. The window that appears will give you the message “Make your content visible to anyone by publishing it to the web. You can link to or embed your document”. For this tutorial you want to click Publish right away. Next, it will show you a message, “are you sure you want to publish this selection?”, you can click OK. You will then be given a URL that needs to be copied. Copy the link that is at the top of your browser window (in the address bar of the browser). Return to the page and go to Step 3, paste the new url into the box labelled “Google Spreadsheet URL“. Change some of the options such as size, font or the default starting slide. Check out the Irish language setting that I have added to the open source code for example! Once you are happy with those options, scroll down to the button “Preview“. Use this button to check out your new timeline. If all looks good, you can embed this new timeline in your website. Now, every time you update your Google Spreadsheet, you will see the timeline updated automatically, saving you time because you don’t have to republish the timeline after updating the data. So as you can see in this test example, TimelineJS allows us to create visual representations of our work over time in a really quick way. Have a look at other Timeline tools out there and see what advantages they have over TimelineJS and what is possible. [...]
February 14, 2017Example Timelines: There are a host of tools available to visualise your data using timelines. Some of these examples afford different levels of flexibility depending on your needs. Some of the more sophisticated ones include: TimelineJS ( TimeLineCurator ( TimeMapper: ( Chronos Timeline:   Introduction To D3 D3, created by former New York Times developer Mike Bostock, is an abbreviation for Data Driven Documents. Here is a good example of it in use: It began in 2011 as a library of code written in Javascript that enables you to create interactive visualizations in web browsers. Currently in version 4.5, it works by using HTML5 and CSS alongside Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). D3 allows you to control the result of the representation of your data by giving you the freedom to grab selections of your data and control how it outputs on the browser. Examples of D3 In order to get going with D3, most developers recommend that you ‘dive in’ and use some of the examples that appear on the website. There are thousands of examples of D3 in use. On this website, developers have displayed their projects, added a description of what they do, and provided code with some sample data. You can re-use this code and add your own data to see how the code works. If you change some of the values in the code, you will be able to see the possibilities you will have for your own visualisations. Here is a quick example of how to get D3 working. First the HTML code: D3 Hello World   Then we add script tags inside the code goes here... tags like so: <script src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript">"body").style("background", "#efefef").append("p").text("Hello World"); </script> Save this as example.html and upload to your hosting space if you haven’t got a server installed on your machine. The result should look like this: Play around with the values defined above to see how D3 changes the output. Next, we’ll plot some arbitrary data in the browser.Take for example three countries with income, life expectancy and population. We are going to plot these values to get an interactive graph. <script src=""></script> See how the code above constructs the graph. Some of it is self explanatory, but make sure you know what it does before moving on. Save this file as d3-example.html and it should produce a visualisation like this: Timelines With D3 In some projects, D3 allows you to create timelines by drawing X and Y axes, adding time markers and then it allows you to feed your data into this timeline using HTML elements. A good example of this would be Timeline For D3 – Proof of Concept by user “Reinhard Rengel” This particular timeline is based on the popular open-source visualisation Simile Timeline from 2005 that was created’ by ‘David François Huynh’ available here:   Visit the url and follow the instructions for “Create your own timelines”. To create your own timeline, you need: A data file (see ‘The file structure’ above). The file ‘timeline.js’; download and put into your working directory or on your path. The file ‘timeline.css’; download and put into your working directory or on your path; change settings according to your preferences. Use ‘index.html’ (without comments) as a template and put in your filenames and paths. *Hint: When copying these files to your own computer, you will need to have a server. If you haven’t got WAMP or XAMPP installed, you can still try out this code online. I would recommend you put the copied files on your own hosted website (such as Reclaim Hosting), or else use This is just one example of many hundreds of different ways that you can use D3 for interactivity. As you can see from the same website ( there are many ways to visualise your data. [...]
October 25, 2016The following video tutorial will aid your understanding of how to add categories in the “Pages” section of your WordPress dashboard. There is also some information on how to add these categories to your main navigation menu. Disabling Top Level Links in WordPress Following some recent requests for information on how to disable the top-level links in WordPress, I would suggest you read this article on the Stack Exchange (SE) website. SE is a resource where you can exchange information related to web development. As you can see there are many different ways to disable your website visitors clicking through to your top level menu items. However, the solution that I would recommend that you use is to use jQuery code: jQuery(document).ready(function( $ ) { $(‘#your-menu-item>a’).click(function(e) { e.preventDefault(); }); }); Which you should strip using Notepad on Windows or Text Wrangler on Mac. Make sure the single quotations are properly formatted when editing in either of these text editors. #your-menu-item will the id of the element where you want to make sure the user cannot click. To find this code, right click on one of the top level items in the main navigation on any of your pages, and then select “inspect element”. See below where I studied the layout of my theme and found that each top level item has a unique ID. In this case I targeted #menu-item-35. When I add this to the jQuery, the top level item will no longer be clickable. Save the code above as a file called script.js in the “js” directory of your website theme folder. You can find this directory by logging into your hosting account (Reclaim hosting for example) and accessing the file manager of your site. Then navigate to the folder where your theme’s files are stored. In my account they are stored here: wp-content>themes>your-theme>js and save it in there. Once you have saved your file here, you need to tell your WordPress theme to access this file. So login to the backend of your site, On the menu to the left, hover the mouse over “Appearance”. Scroll down to “Editor” and click on it. Now on the right hand side look for a file called “function.php”. Click on this file. Then paste the following code in there after the first line of code that says <?php function add_js() { wp_enqueue_script( ‘script’, get_template_directory_uri() . ‘/js/script.js’, array( ‘jquery’ ), ‘1.0.0’, true ); } add_action( ‘wp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘add_js’ ); This will activate the javascript file in your WordPress theme, and you should now be able to see that the top level link does not allow clicks to go through.   Stack: The term used to refer to stacks of software for Web development environments. These stacks, usually open source, will contain your computer, the server, a database and a programming language. One of the most most well-known web stacks is LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) but there are other versions like XAMMP and WAMP. [...]
September 27, 2016(For Zotero version Introduction What is Zotero? How do you use Zotero? And, how can a researcher get the most out of it? In recent weeks, I have been sending out questionaires my colleagues who are pursuing MAs, PhDs and postgraduate studies. I wanted to know how people organise their research. I asked them some simple questions about how they go about their daily business. In many cases I found that people (just as I am) are still using folders and MS Word on their computers to organise research materials and references. There are also a small number of software programs that most people like to use. Zotero has, without a doubt, been the most popular tool mentioned. However, in some cases, researchers have returned to me after I interviewed them with questions like, “is there an easy way to manage citations and bibliography?”Apparently we still need to address the question, “Why and how would you use Zotero?” Zotero, as suggested by the company website, is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. They even have the phonetic translation for those of us who would feel embarassed getting the name wrong: Zotero . The software models itself as a “personal research assistant”. On the website, the merits of using the software are described as follows; “Zotero is the only research tool that automatically senses content in your web browser, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click. Whether you’re searching for a preprint on, a journal article from JSTOR, a news story from the New York Times, or a book from your university library catalog, Zotero has you covered with support for thousands of sites.” It all seems so easy and straight forward. The homepage explains how you can “add” PDFs, images audio and video, make snapshots of web pages and “really anything else” so that you can find exactly what you are looking for with just a few keystrokes. But what after that? How does the researcher get the most out of it from there, where does it fit into the writing process, and what extras allow you to feel like you are using the software in a correct and efficient way? The following posts aim to address these questions, explore how to combine Zotero with writing in MS Word in the MLA style, and finish out with an overview of its advantages over traditional research management methods. Why now? I started using Zotero in 2012, at the beginning of my research at King’s College, London. I was previously using folders on my laptop which just grew and then became categorised until I could not decide which folders to reference by date, and which folders to reference by subject or by researchers. I also had other folders for certain conferences and folders for places where fieldwork was carried out. When I downloaded Zotero it became both a help and a hindrance. Finally, here was a way to bring all my work together in a dedicated program, easily. But as I was using it I found it to be really buggy, and it often slowed down on my computer. Sometimes it would not work properly when I tried to re-access material. It was slow to start up, and wasn’t compatible with all browsers. On top of that I was then using a new system alongside the good old folders. Which one to choose? The good news: since 2012, Zotero has gotten better, and there are some new improvements which really make it stand out from before. In particular, it has improved in speed and this means that saving references quickly and effectively while you work can become a reality. Starting With Zotero and the “connector” A very straightforward tutorial on getting it installed can be found here: One of the most important points in this “getting started” tutorial is that you install the “Zotero connector” extension on your browser so that you can create references in a more accurate manner. 1) Install Zotero Standalone from this link 2) Install Chrome browser here 3) Search for the connector plugin and add it to your browser “extensions” by visiting this url: 4) Restart your browser (use Chrome), fire up Zotero, and check them out. The Zotero Structure – Collections The basic structure of Zotero is that it allows you to create a bunch of folders which are then seen as “collections”. The difference between Zotero and simply creating folders on your computer for your research is that Zotero allows you to save your documents and citations inside of multiple collections (folders) at the same time – you don’t have to move them around between folders when you think your documents might belong in more than one collection. To understand how to manage these collections, check out this screencast: Most of the time when I see something I need to cite, I can save snapshots of webpages by right-clicking anywhere in the page and selecting “Save Page to Zotero”, but you can also simply click on the button next to the address bar and it saves automatically. But here is the catch – Zotero will be useful to you depending on how you save your references. For me, the goal of using Zotero is to get my references into Zotero and then prime them for use as footnotes in Word when I begin writing. If you are going this route, you should make sure that your referencing style matches exactly every time you export a reference from Zotero to Word. I usually check my reference on to see that the exported Zotero items correspond with the MLA 7th Edition style. Saving in Zotero – Youtube clip example First thing to remember when saving items is that on many websites the icons show up differently depending on the type of website or the content in the webpage that you are on. What you need to understand is what goes on when you click on the button that shows up in the browser and also which option is best to select when you right-click on a webpage. For example, if you visit and hover over the Zotero button on the top right, you will find that it doesn’t ask you to save the web page, but instead Save to Zotero (Embedded Metadata). Here is how that button will look: If you then view a Youtube clip, a different button will appear – “Save to Zotero (Youtube)” like this: The second button saves the reference as a type “video recording” – along with all metadata which is embedded with the uploaded clip. The advantage of this method is that when you want to access this video again, you can double click on the reference in Zotero and it will open the address of the reference that you saved correctly in the browser without having to copy and paste anything. However, the problem with using the metadata button to save is that it will save as metadata in the Info panel, and when the time comes to writing, your reference will not export neatly into Word. So instead of clicking on this button, I usually right click the webpage, and with “Zotero Connector” I am then allowed to Save as Webpage. This can then be exported as a footnote perfectly formatted (for the purposes of this article in MLA format). Saving references as webpages allows me to access the url in the info panel anyway, so I tend to use this button most. Saving to Zotero correctly for future use of footnotes Saving References in Zotero – JSTOR example JSTOR has it sorted when it comes to citation – visit their site and you’ll see a “cite” button beside any article which brings up MLA, APA and Chicago styles. They also have export for RefWorks, RIS and Text formats. When I first starting using Zotero, I chose to “Export a RIS file” which downloaded onto my computer (apparently you can easily create references when using this method). I then went to Zotero standalone and clicked on File > Import and added the RIS file. This seemed for a while to be the most straightforward method – below is the resultant footnote (the only difference is the word “Web” being used in Zotero references instead of Print which is more appropriate for articles in MLA) Prince, J. Dyneley. ‘Slav and Celt’. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 59.3 (1920): 184–193. Print. Prince, J. Dyneley. “Slav and Celt.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 59.3 (1920): 184-93. Web. Unfortunately I found out when using this method that it creates a new collection (folder) in My Library of Zotero for the RIS file, as if I didn’t already have enough of these collections! However, if you right click on the webpage on JSTOR’s website (in Chrome) and select Save to Zotero (JSTOR) from the connector menu, the reference will save as a “Journal Article”. In this way you are also saving the reference exactly as you will want it for MLA. Saving from the JSTOR website So these are just two examples of the types of saving that you must understand before you can get the best out of Zotero. Helpful tips: Identifying Collections an Item is In To see all the collections an item is in, select the item and then hold down the Option (OS X), Control (Windows) or Alt key (Linux). Keep the key pressed. After a brief delay, this highlights all the collections that contain the item. 2. Unfiled Items Items that are not in any collection can be found in the “Unfiled Items” folder found under “My Library”. This folder can also be selected by right-clicking “My Library” and selecting “Show Unfiled Items”. In my post next time, I will go into more examples, see what it looks like in MS Word, and then finish off with an discussion on the tips, tricks and advantages of Zotero. Let me know what your thoughts are, especially what might be improved in this article, by adding a comment below (note you need to click on submit once and then refresh the page for comments to be seen). Click on the “subscribe” button to be notified of the next article in the series. [...]
June 28, 2015Welcome. This site has been setup to share some of my activities as a digital humanist, ethnomusicologist, web developer, educator and musician. I am currently fellow in digital studies at the Kluge Center (Library of Congress, Washington DC) and also a Fulbright scholar (2019). I recently completed my PhD at University College Cork, Ireland. This project (2014-2018) focused on exploring a library’s special collection, the “Seán Ó Riada Collection” at University College Cork in Ireland. In my research, I am interested in the ways by which we can explore these types of collections with the use of ethnography and digital visualisation. My current project based at the Kluge Center (January 2019 – August 2019) explores ways to reveal hidden field recordings from collections of Irish traditional music, with the goal of connecting and understanding them in new and alternative ways. If you have any thoughts, comments or ideas, I would be interested in hearing from you.     Many of the ideas that I express here will not be complete, but i’m constantly revising. Get in touch on the contact page, or tweet at [...]