IRIS Center Open House: Thursday, January 28, 1-3pm

Join IRIS (Peck Hall, 0226) this Thursday, January 28th from 1-3pm for our annual open house showcase. Learn more about recent and ongoing projects, including: Learn more about what IRIS can offer you:
  • IRIS can facilitate the conceptualization and design of cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects with digital applications
  • IRIS can support such projects via access to specialized computing facilities
  • IRIS can foster mentorship and collaboration between faculty and students at both undergraduate and graduate levels
  • IRIS can facilitate the development of curricular innovation that makes significant use of digital and informatics applications and resources
  • IRIS can promote digital endeavors that link scholarly resources and goals with community initiatives and organizations
Snacks and beverages will be provided!

IRIS Student Profile: Sarah Song’s Work on the Manang Languages Project

Hello, my name is Sarah Song and I am a Junior Business Administration major with a specialization in Human Resources. My time as an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) student with Dr. Kristine Hildebrandt this Fall has been an influential experience. Though not related directly to my major, I felt that my work with the Manang Languages Project would provide me with a valuable skill set that I could easily translate into the business administration world. My primary tasks this semester were to properly format and complete grammatical edits for Nepali language recordings captured by Dr. Hildebrandt and her research team during their time in Nepal. These minuscule, sentence-by-sentence edits, helped me to take a closer look at the details that make up another language, and, through that, another culture. Knowing that my work is a part of a greater goal to preserve this language for others to research and appreciate, makes each tiny edit worth it. I’m learning that a successful business model involves creating a connection with people first and foremost. As I spent time with the language, I was able to feel a kind of connection with the Nepali people and, through my work, I will also be able to provide the opportunity for others to form connections and use these recordings for their research. Communication is another important component in the business administration world and language is one tool we use in order to communicate our ideas. Having the opportunity to explore the structure of a new language helped to broaden my perspective on effective communication in different cultures. I also had the opportunity to work with technology in a new way. This semester I learned how to use tools such as: Elan, Toolbox, and Dropbox.  Working on this project has allowed me to explore a new culture, discover new digital tools, and think about different ways to use my business administration background.

Upcoming Omeka Update: A post from student, Ben Ostermeier

For about 4 years now, the Wide, Wide World Digital Edition has used the Omeka web publishing platform. We have not, however, kept up with the updates to the Omeka software, as more recent versions configure the themes and database differently. The newer version has grown increasingly tempting, as it both allows for more flexibility in creating exhibits and has a built in responsive design, meaning the website will be viewable on smaller-resolution phones and tablets. Thankfully, my growing expertise in web development has given me the confidence to attempt the update. Already, I’ve made a few minor tweaks to the websites theme this past spring, but now we’re heading for larger update to the latest version of Omeka. Thus far, I have made a newer theme compatible with the latest version of Omeka that is also responsive. Under the guidance of Dr. DeSpain and the fellow members of the project, I’ve based the theme on a prototype design for the website along with the current version. Check out the comparison below:

This is an old prototype of the website theme


This is the current theme


This is a prototype theme for the new version of the website

I’m not yet done with the theme. It is likely I will replace the blue-green book cover with a red one to tie it to the color scheme. I will also possibly add a subtle texture to the background. Still, look forward to that update sometime soon.

SIUE IRIS 2015-2016 Users & Groups

We proudly present the 2015-2016 IRIS users and groups! Stay tuned for 2015-2016 project updates and IRIS users’ first hand accounts on their research, tools, trials, and triumphs. Iris_usergroups_15-16  

The Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House and the IRIS Center

Howard Rambsy II

Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House As part of my work with the Institute for Urban Research, I received a small grant to begin scanning hundreds of photographs documenting activities of the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, a social service organization in East St. Louis. The organization began in the early 1900s, and the photographs span much of the 20th century. When I first received the batch of photo albums, I was excited about the possibilities. Early during the Fall semester of 2014, I met with SIUE’s metadata librarian Mary Z. Rose and then Digital Imaging Specialist Virginia Stricklin to get a sense of direction and guidance on how I might approach organizing and labeling the digital files. I was almost ready I thought, but I was concerned that I might not have a place on campus where my graduate student Jeremiah Carter could devote the necessary time to scan the documents. IRIS Center to the rescue. Kristine Hildebrandt gave Jeremiah and me a brief lesson on utilizing the equipment and software that would relate to our current project. Later, after Jeremiah and I had a couple of strategy sessions on his approach, he set about the task of scanning documents. Each week, during the Fall semester and over the first month when we returned, Jeremiah spent hours in the IRIS Center scanning and producing notes and preliminary metadata for the images. So far, we’ve expanded a collection of photo albums into more than 500 scanned images with corresponding images. And there’s much more to do. Next up, we’ll have to transfer and label slides. We also want to figure out how to utilize some of the items for public humanities programming. The IRIS Center will serve as a vital space and base for our preparations and next steps.

The Gyalsumdo Language Archive: Have a Look!

Dr. Kristine Hildebrandt and URCA Assistant Tiffany Downing have been working to upload and encode content and also technical and thematic metadata for several transcribed and translated videos of the Gyalsumdo language, a highly endangered variety of the Tibetan language spoken in central Nepal. KAH_TD These videos were recorded by SIUE Geography professor Shunfu Hu (with help from Dr. Hildebrandt’s fieldwork team) in the summers of 2012 and 2013 in Nepal. These videos will be permanently stored, and publicly available in a special archive at the University of Virginia’s Tibetan and Himalayan Library, specifically from their SHANTI platform (Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technical Initiatives).gyalsumdo Dr. Hildebrandt plans to archive with THL and SHANTI similar materials from three other languages of the same region of Nepal: Manange, Gurung and Nar-Phu.

SIUE IRIS Users & Groups 2014-2015

We proudly present the 2014-2015 users and groups of IRIS. AY1415_Poster_Hildebrandt

Wailaki Language to Live On Through Digitizing Initiative

Victor Golla is a professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies at Humboldt State University in California who also specializes in Athabaskan (Native American) languages. According to the university newspaper “Humboldt State Now” he is working there with undergraduate students (through their own URCA program) to digitize hundred year-old field notes on the Wailaki language. Wailaki is a language that is essentially extinct, save for a few people who wish to re-learn their language from these notes. Dr. Golla and his research team view digitization as a solution to problems such as longevity and preservation of rare, valuable (and fragile) language material, availability to learners across a wide geographic range, and the possibility to annotate and edit the original observations on this language in an interactive and online dimension. As Dr. Golla notes in this article : “Documents are not language; they just document it … [but](p)eople could create a new use — a revitalization — of Wailaki from these notebooks.”

Kelly Awarded HASTAC Fellowship

English graduate student, Consuella Kelly, has been awarded a fellowship by the SIUe Graduate School to participate in the online scholars consortium, Humanities Arts Sciences Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC). Consuella, who has been a member of Dr. DeSpain’s The Wide Wide World Digital Edition project team for the last two years, will be organizing forums pertaining to the digital humanities and blogging about digital humanities tools and resources.