Profile of Constance Crompton and LGLC in “Accelerate Okanagan”

Accelerate Okanagan published an excellent profile of Constance Crompton and the LGLC project. The article does a great job of providing clear explanations of our project and the digital humanities!

Screen Shot Accelerate Okanagan

“With a small crew of curious students and research assistants, Connie’s academic passion is truly interdisciplinary. Attracting students from the likes of creative writing, social and computer sciences, she’s able to create data visualizations (like the one pictured below) that provide greater meaning about a subject in a way that the text would not be able to offer on its own.”

“The project she’s most ‘jazzed’ about, is the creation of a digital chronology of the Gay Liberation Movement in Canada. Rather than just reading historical documents on the screen, Connie and the project’s co-director Michelle Schwartz (Ryerson University) are able to insert tiny bits of code — right into the text — and teach the computer that this is a person or this is an event. From that, she’s able to develop visual maps to see when and where these different events happened and who is showing up with whom.”

UBC Announcement for LGLC

1964 TimeMapThe University of British Columbia has posted a lovely story on “Coding Character,” the SSHRC Insight grant-funded research project that will support Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada for the next five years.

Results for the 2013 Insight Grant program have been posted on the SSHRC website. We couldn’t be prouder to have received this grant, and to be listed amongst so many inspiring research projects taking place across Canada.

Visualizing Gay Liberation in Canada: Using Digital Tools to Represent Identity

Presented as part of the CSDH/ACCUTE joint session on “Difference, Identity, Diversity” at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences on May 26th, 2014.

Some great Tweets from the session:

Congress 2014

I will be presenting as part of the CSDH/ACCUTE joint session on “Difference, Identity, Diversity” at Congress 2014 on May 26th. I will be giving a short talk on “Visualizing Gay Liberation in Canada: Using Digital Tools to Represent Identity.” Congress 2014 logoFrom the call for proposals: “The humanities have long worked to specify, recover, contextualize, and understand difference and diversity. We are now seeing increasing emphasis on difference–race, gender, ability, postcoloniality, alternative academic status, and global economic disparity being the most prominent–within digital humanities debates and practices. This panel asks how difference, diversity, marginalization, and power register within digital research and culture.”

Visualizing Gay Liberation in Canada: Using Digital Tools to Represent People and Places

Some great Tweets from the presentation, courtesy of the amazing keynote speaker, Shawn Micallef.

Exploring LGLC data with free tools

Inspired by a recent article, “Tales of an Indiscriminate Tool Adopter,” in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I decided to evaluate some of the suggested tools and see how easy they would be to implement.

First was RAW, a visualization tool that helps represent the connections and relationships between and within sets of data. Using RAW is as simple as copying a table from Excel and pasting it into a text box. Using data from Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada, I tried to visualize the information I have on gay liberation periodicals being published in Canada in the Sixties and Seventies. I pasted in an imperfect CSV file, fully expecting it not to work, and with a few minutes of fiddling I had created this dendrogram showing all the periodicals sorted by the cities in which they were published. In just a glance I could see that Toronto was publishing the most, followed by Montreal and Vancouver. Ottawa was comparatively rather silent on the matter. There was also an unlabeled point on the dendrogram, which has helped me identify some data that requires a bit of additional research to determine publishing location. RAW isn’t the most comprehensive tool and the visualizations it creates can sometimes be a bit muddled, but it certainly was fast, easy to use, and free.

Periodicals dendrogram

Next I was interested in trying TimeMapper, an open-source web-based tool to create maps and timelines. I had previously used Timemap to build a map and timeline representing the year 1964 in the LGLC data. Building this required quite a bit of fussing with HTML and the creation of a compatible kml file. TimeMapper, on the other hand, requires users to simply input the URL for a Google Spreadsheet. I followed their sample template and created my own with an excerpt of the 1964 data, pasted the link into TimeMapper when prompted, and it generated this:

(View TimeMapper sample in new window)

TimeMapper required a bit more work than RAW, as the Google Spreadsheet has to be created to match their template, however it was still remarkably simple considering the beautiful result. It would also require some more work if you wanted to host your own images (I linked to external images on the web just for the purposes of testing it out). And no fussing with HTML, Javascript, or KML required! The template even includes a Google script that will convert plain text names (ex. Toronto) into their geographic coordinates.

Mapping LGLC, 1964

As part of a Web Mapping Applications course in my GIS program, I’ve been testing out various platforms for mapping the LGLC dataset.

First came Google Fusion Tables. Here I used two Fusion Tables, one with the event data from the LGLC dataset and the other which creates the Provincial border polygons using KML coordinates. View full map.

Google Fusion Tables

Then came the open source equivalent of Google Fusion Tables, CartoDB, in combination with Stamen’s Toner map style.

LGLC with CartoDB

Finally, I used Google Maps in combination with TimeMap (built on the Simile Timeline) to create a timeline and map combination showing the actual individual events, publications, and organizations for the year 1964. View full map.

1964 TimeMap