Week 9 | More Than Surviving Group update

This week we’ve continued to fine tune and lock in key elements of the project. As we see aspects of design and tech locked in, we are shifting into the next phases of some of our work. We’ll see outreach and front end design become more prominent, while research continues, soon to shift into website copywriting. 

We are on track to finalize design, having a logo, palette, typography treatment and high fidelity mockups in place. Estefany pushed the entire system forward—implementing treatments arrived at independently and in collaboration with Majel and Elizabeth.

Next Step:
A few minor adjustments are being made in response to team feedback. Next week our social channels will start being updated with the new look, and the front end of our site can start to be coded with CSS tying back to the branding.


This past week Elizabeth and Majel continued capturing event and activist stories and entering them in the database. We currently have 4 activists entered, and 3 events. This part of the process has been slower going than anticipated, but it’s key that we pull in adequate resources, have a decent handle on the subject matter, and then take the time to offer it in a format and language that is easily accessible. Events have been evolving — as more moments reveal themselves during research. If possible we’ll continue to add more, time permitting, to help flesh out our map.

Next Step:
Our focus will be on entering more events—ideally with 2-3 more entered within the next week. 

Zelda has set up the foundations for our front end and walked the team through the files. At the moment, tech is contingent on the finalization of design and the continued development of research/data points. 

Next Step:
With design wrapping up, we hope to shift into skinning the front end of the pages in preparation for the database being plugged in. We’ll continue to refine and troubleshoot layouts to account for the nature of the data as much as we can, but recognize there’s a cut-off. 

Now that we have more research and write ups in place, we’ve started discussing pulling in expert eyes. This includes revisiting possible connections with professors we’ve identified with expertise in our subject area.  

Next Step:
With design wrapping up and the nature of our research/content becoming clearer, Estefany will be able to shift into developing detailed content calendars and getting our social channels looking in line with our project. 



Week 9, DirectHERS group update

This past week is the first week after our adjusted work distribution. The web team continues to provide us with exciting updates on the website design from scratch using HTML. Gemma designed navigation bars and each page structure. Now we have a basic idea of the site map. And Zico, as the search engine lead, gives us three options for the search functionality. The JavaScript and Ajax one looks amazing despite its limited capacity due to the budget issue.

The research team provides the web team with their bios, photos, and short bios/available images of their directors. Now we have a list of nine directors and aim for 10-15 for the final product. The research team made significant progress in making their first DTD (an agreement between members on using and defining tags and structures) and drafting three XML files on three directors. Maria and Miaoling had a constructive and fruitful conversation with Prof. Jill Cirasella regarding the copyright issue. They reported it to the team for the picture citation rules and the XML hyperlinks citation rules. We will use Hypothesis annotations a lot in our XML encoding.

Maria, JP, and Miaoling are also working on the tag glossary (or, you could say, a dictionary) for our customized tags, definitions, and comparison with the TEI/Orlando tags. Maria is leading the “social” section; JP and Miaoling are working on the “Production Information” section. We agreed to have a full list to record our working process but will only show a more concise version in the final delivery.

As the outreach lead, Maria designed great banners for our Twitter account and has already built one account. Please follow us! https://twitter.com/directHERS We will post updates shortly.

Tomorrow, Miaoling will briefly introduce our work-in-progress via zoom at a mini-symposium at the University of South Carolina.

More work this week, but looking forward to seeing all of our avatars on our website. We are members sharing the same vibes.

Week 9_Ob&Up is getting analytical, almost

We’re all working toward our pivotal midpoint (pre-spring break) meeting next week. The goal of the midpoint meeting is to set the direction for the final phase of the project’s development. What exactly these goals are will depend on the preliminary findings of our text analysis. Based on the analyisis results, we will then make final decisions on the structure of the website and its relevant content.  

So, the main goal for next week is to have preliminary text analysis findings. To achieve this, we have to finalize the corpora and then run analysis on Voyant. More complicated analysis (sentiment analysis, e.g.) can possibly wait until after next week’s meeting. Teddy’s Season 12 corpus is ready for analysis, and they will focus on mining the corpus for insights this coming week. Season 2 is still in the midst of cleaning, but the goal is for Maria to finish the final cleaning in time for the initial analysis.

Meanwhile, the development of the website and the game/s is progressing apace. RC is discovering more about the limits of housing a website on the Commons. Plug-ins that might be important for our project, i.e., a Bingo game plug-in, are not allowed/functioning on a CUNY-integrated site. This discovery has led us to reconsider the hosting infrastructure. We’ve decided to adjust the budget, use funds initially earmarked for advertising to buy a hosting service, and see if the game plug-ins can be integrated this way. Nuraly continues to investigate coding for games and existing game plug-in alternatives, and he will coordinate with RC to keep testing the functionality of the project’s games on the site. 

Everyone in our group has had to deal with extracurricular snags this past week. Whether it be illnesses, apartment emergencies, or other unstoppable life emergencies, the reverberations of these aspects of human existence might influence our timeline a bit. We’ll see where we’re at next Wednesday and adjust accordingly.


Week 9: <!ELEMENT family (description) > or <!ELEMENT behindthescene (#PCDATA, citation)> (Miaoling’s creative DTD structure)

Follow our (for now) empty Twitter account: @DirectHERS

Clare Weiskopf (British-Colombian), Lulu Wang (Chinese-American) and Rea Tajiri (Japanese-American) have all done films exploring their family ties, their mothers or grandmothers and their views on personhood and motherhood. In Amazona (2016) director Weiskopf visits her mother, an 80-year old woman who lives in a village on the Amazon jungle. Weiskopf is pregnant and embarks on an intense journey to explore their family history and the decisions her mother took during her life. Wisdom Gone Wild (2022) portrays the relationship between Rea Tajiri’s mom and her, it reveals how the parenting roles evolve and merge as her mother deals with dementia. Rather than wanting her mother to remember the “truth” or “reality” the director portrays dementia as a sort of new wisdom, a new perspective on life, a vision gone wild. And The Farewell (2019) tells the story of a family that decides to hide from their grandmother the fact that she’s been diagnosed with cancer. To say goodbye, the family travels together and spends with their grandmother whatever remaining time she might have left. All of this films deal with the director’s personal lives so, how do you separate the two? their profiles are intertwined with their work and the work with who they’ve been. As of now, in our XML language this means:

<based_on>true life story</based_on>


We’ve started to tag things like this. But how to choose the correct words? and why is that important? We have sort of grouped them under <family> or <behind_the_scene> or <based_on>. I’m mesmerized with the connections. Why are they all three dealing with the same themes? is it inherently feminist? To portray the personal on a close-up camera angle. As much as it would be lovely to grapple longer with this questions and reflect, we don’t have the time and must make decisions. If time wouldn’t be a concern I would love to explore coming up with names for tagging <motherhood> or <grandmotherhood> or <daughterhood>. In Amazona there’s a moment in which the director ask her mother: “Did you ever feel that your needs came first than your children’s?” to which her mother replies, “I think so”, because “the most important thing about your life is your own life”. There are so many interesting debates dealing with this questions. What is motherhood anyways? are we romanticizing a historically care labor unequally and unjustly assigned only to those bodies deemed as reproductive and so tagged as “women”? Or is there something about the labor, affect, care and responsibility of being a mother that gives the tag “women” a distinctive and unique way of experiencing life? But <women>, as many feminist thinkers have told us, should not be seen as an essential category and rather as a political category. Today, we were discussing intensely our DTD structure, which is basically (as our PM brilliantly put it) our common agreement on what elements will be present in the XML file. The correct avenues of thought. And why is that important? Why are labels in life so important? Anyways, as of now all the intense questions arising from the work of this directors are headed sort of under <family>…but not sure, the possibilities could be endless it seems. No answers. Just questions. This post is an invitation to see the films because they are beautiful, that is, if you can find them and a bit outreach on the side, why don’t you  follow us on twitter! c:

Blog Post

This week I was sick but I have managed to get some of the stuff done. Meanwhile I am working on a game Bingo for our final project as a side project in order to see If I can make the game in Python with all of its user interface ready to compete with the plugin already done and created for word press. The experience has taught me well the value of teamwork because some things can not be done by yourself and especially when it concerns the project as ambitious as these group projects, and each of them unique and with unique challenges. The importance of diversity of thought and unconventional solutions matter when this kind of projects are thrown into the fold. The importance of open communication and understanding of each other weaknesses and strength are also an important aspect when building a group and deciding on the challenges to take each week. Hopefully everything will turn out just fine in the end and we are satisfied with the end product.

Update for the week 9

Along the way to finding the solution of search engines that incorporate XML, I discovered many gems. To clarify, the amount of solutions within scope is not abundant, and on top of that, it is constrained by the financial backing allocated for the project and also its future viability. Furthermore, the time for implementation is so limited!

I want to build something that remains functional for years to come, no matter who maintains the project or not!

I am thinking outside the box right now. Try to come up with something that is unique. The idea is rather simple and seamless. The design concept is so Apple: as long as it gets the job done, why build something novel? More coming in the next week!

Week 9 — MTS

This week has all about fine tuning and information gathering. Putting my head down and diving into the research, I was able to get more entries prepped and into the database. I’ve discovered that, although it makes sense to write up our activists first, this can lead to the unearthing of a number of new events to consider. Given the time we have, I am doing my best to track these events without feeling the need to account for them in this first expression of this project. 

Although I am aware of quite a bit of Mashpee history, a lot of the history I am learning that originates in other Wampanoag communities  is very much new to me. It’s been interesting getting a bird’s-eye view of how the communities interacted— that Wampanoags as far as the Pocasset in Fall River moved to Martha’s Vineyard and joined Aquinnah and Chappaquidick families, for example. I had always known of the Aquinnah and Mashpee connection, my own family has ancestors from both.  I’ve also learned so much about the interaction of  outsiders, including the Massachusetts anti-slavery community out of Boston,  with the Wampanoag. I’ve added that entire topic to the “for later” list…which has admittedly gotten a bit long. 

Elizabeth took on the research and write-up of one of the key events for our database. I intentionally stepped away from that event, The Mashpee “Revolt”, because I had some awareness of the events—although I’ve learned so much more working on this project. I also met with Estefany to collaborate on the visual identity which we are aiming to lock in this week. Again, coming from a design background, I intentionally stepped away from fully owning that process in an effort to push outside of my comfort zone, and to  practice true collaboration. In the end, this project is impacting me on multiple levels—giving me new historical perspective, helping me better understand the development of a DH project, and helping me stretch my wings into new areas of expertise. I expect to be reaping the benefits of this process for a long time to come. 

WEEK 8_Ob&Up-date

After laying the conceptual groundwork for the project, we are now in the midst of the text-preparation phase. Over the past weeks, we were able to find near-complete transcripts for two seasons of GBBS (Season 2 and Season 12). Ruby then pre-cleaned the transcripts with Python, and now Teddy and Maria are double-cleaning the files by re/watching the show and comparing the transcript to the broadcast (and making corrections when necessary).

Teddy recently finalized the corpus for season 12, exported it to a CSV file, and, until next week, is separating out the judging sections and readying the corpus for analysis. They will also create a GitHub repository for our data.

The comparison corpus (Season 2) still needs to be double-cleaned/compared to the broadcast. Maria will focus on that for the coming week.

Our goal to have preliminary findings by our March 29 midpoint meeting remains realistic. As noted in our planning post, the focus of the final month (April) will be heavily influenced by our discoveries ahead.

[Finding a third comparison corpus from an American baking show, is not a priority at this point. But it’s not off the table entirely. For now, it is something we might return to later in the semester. Largely this is contingent on finding an appropriate American show we have easy access to.]

Meanwhile, RC has been making great progress on our website. She has created a first functional version of the site and is refining the design and structure and continuing to figure out the possibilities of the WordPress platform.

Since the site will predominantly feature the game/s, the landing page currently shows placeholders. The placeholders will remain for the coming weeks while we focus on “behind the scenes” aspects of the site. This means RC will check in with Nuraly, who is working on the game component and investigating ways to incorporate interactive game versions.
Nuraly is considering two options: Option 1 is to code a Bingo and trivia game from scratch; option 2 is using pre-existing code via an existing platform and linking that to our WordPress site. There are quite a few sites that offer plug-ins, so pursuing option 2 might be advantageous. Nuraly’s research and experiments over the next week/s will determine the route we take.

Overall, this is a very practical & technical (as opposed to conceptual) phase of the project. Our heads are down; we’re focusing on the details of spreadsheets, platforms, and game codes and (whenever applicable) developing the skills associated with our tasks.

Week 8: DirectHERS

Group Project Update

Previous week’s work: the team has agreed to slightly change the work approach by breaking the team into two sub-teams, one focused on the encoding and the other dedicated to the development of the website. The PM, research lead, and outreach lead work in the first sub-team, and two developers/designers work in the second sub-team.
The former has been putting a lot of effort into the research phase and investigating potential issues that might arise in the longer term, such as citing and copyright problems.
The latter has been designing and building the website containing two sections, one dedicated to the project and its contents and the second centered around creating a search engine prototype.
The outreach planning also continues by creating materials for upcoming promotional campaigns, such as short symposium talks, social media, and on-campus outreach.
What has been achieved: basic XML training, data scraping model, logo, color palette, tag procedure, basic web structure, a shared account for GitHub and social media, and all work plan drafts.

Actions for the team for the next two weeks:
– For the research team: provide the web team with a short summary of the directors they are researching/encoding, plus usable pictures of them (due by March 22);
– For the research team: provide the web team with an XML sample (tentative samples due by March 22 and a pilot sample [one long XML file] of five directors due by March 29);
– For the research team: meet before class on March 22 to generate templates for the customized glossary and XML file. If necessary, meet again before class on March 29 to further polish the templates.
– For the web team: review the XML samples to find any potential errors and feed the information back to the research team. All error records will eventually be posted to the website under resource-the XML tutorial package.
– For the web team: elaborate on the way to replicate one of the suggested websites and prepare the script to host the contents;
– For everyone: explore potential solutions through technical and content perspectives for the fair use/copyright issue brought up by the PM. PM and outreach lead will meet Prof. Jill Cirasella this week to ask for advice.


The PM works with the web team in two weeks:
– Decide what contents will make it to the final cut and will be destined to be published on the website.

Home: Key feature info/headline introducing the website’s main purpose

About: Team and project introduction

Research (might need to be separated into different navigation bars, pending team decision): Lab notes/Error records/Tag search/pilot search functionality/useful materials

Inspiration (maybe Explore): connections/inspirations with other existing projects

Get in Touch: Contact info and a place for comment submission



The project has a number of moving parts — with a custom database being developed that will support a timeline, map and front end experience, there’s a lot to come together for the project to be public ready. The early stages of the project have been devoted to solidifying frameworks and processes to bring them to life, and at week 8 we have truly put our project plan in motion. Being able to learn from each other and engage with each person’s expertise (!) and curiosity has been a tremendously engaging and educational experience.  

Estefany is refining our project’s visual identity, pulling cultural references into the final expression. This includes drawing inspiration from the meaning of Wampanoag—People of the First Light. Generally referring to the Wampanoag’s location on the East coast where the sun first breaks on Turtle Island, Estefany has also drawn a message of hope and forward thinking, portrayed in a sunrise icon. She is also fine tuning the color palette and font hierarchy that will give our front end expression its unique character. Our intention is to be confident and rooted in positivity and hope. The purple central to her work is being tweaked to move it even closer to the shades that emerge in Wampum, a type of shell with ceremonial significance that was used as currency, adornment, and to capture and record treaties and emotional and spiritual intentions.

Next Steps:
Our intention is to have an agreed upon identity within the next week so we can begin putting it into action across social and to inform the front end design of the website. 


This past week Elizabeth and Majel further ironed out the process for gathering research and transferring it into the database structure. In examining the various types of events and activists that will need to be accounted for, it became apparent that not all of the data could be treated the same in the research process. Decisions about how to group information for the fullest comprehension were taken with our primary audience in mind. It is very important that our visitors can feel the interconnectivity of the narratives that intersect on local, state, and national levels and that the context from which activism emerged is at the forefront. 

This week we’ve created a finite list of activists and selected a representational sampling of  their activities which we can account for in our database. A step-by-step process has been templated in ClickUp, enabling us to distribute the work beyond a single teammate. 

Next Steps
With the process in place we can now build on the existing work and start turning out bios and event write ups to populate the database. This is to be completed by the end of March.  



Elizabeth and Zelda have been very busy determining the appropriate platforms, software and framework for our interactive project features: the timeline and the map. Elizabeth, having built out wireframes to demonstrate the functionality of TimelineJS, shared the back end requirements with Zelda. Zelda has now taken these requirements and that of the database environment they are building and written the code that will integrate our local google sheets and the formal hosted database that will eventually sit behind our website. They have walked us through their decisions, and, with new information from the research side, have made adjustments to help properly reflect the stories we are telling. Key decision making on Zelda’s part was to give the local database (where researchers input data), the liaising code and commands with the formal database (housed in google collab), and the formal hosted database (to be developed once the local work is complete) each its own home to ensure there is distinction and clarity of use for future project participants. 

Next Steps
Zelda will be building out the framework for the front end of the site—setting up pages and architecture in preparation for the full build when the visual identity is finalized.  Once research is complete and input into the database we will begin testing the interactive features in earnest.


With a work plan in place and a growing outreach list, Estefany is well situated to kick things off once we have our social channels and eventually the site up and running.

Next Steps
Estefany is meeting with her counterpart Maria from another team to exchange ideas and potential network connections. She’s also started to consider events and a social calendar, but this is secondary to completing the visual design which has a direct impact on our outreach efforts. 


Still on the docket is website copy, social media calendar and asset creation, and outreach. These items will kick off in earnest once the items above have been either completed or in a well developed state. By the end of the month it is our intention that our front end will start to take shape in earnest, and our focus will shift to content creation, outreach, and fine tuning tech as needed.