Author Archives: Miaoling Xue

Week 14: DirectHERS update

As our encoding expedition project comes to a close, we have done extensive research on 15 women directors and produced several pilot files to showcase the flexibility of XML.

Our team has successfully collected and annotated the careers and works of 15 pioneering women directors from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. By delving into their biographies, filmographies, and the themes they have tackled in and beyond their works, we’ve gained valuable insights into their feminist perspectives and impact on the film industry. We also learn about their struggles and failures, like funding or casting issues. The tag glossary is glowing while we annotate, but now we need to find where and when to stop to give a tentative range for our files and search engine.

Maria has produced tag network diagrams, and we will have an outreach video editing meeting to prepare short clips to showcase our work.

The XML-XSLT-HTML mode runs lively, and each research team member will choose at least one director to play this model.
The search engine is under development. We discussed an option for a word cloud of our tags with clickable links, but we will see if we have enough time. Otherwise, a search box will do.
Our workflow will serve as a model for future projects aiming to build similar digital archives. We aim to show the workflow with screenshots and recordings to create a digital story.
The web dev work faced a challenge when GitHub pushed the page. Our tech team is working diligently to address this issue and restore the lost data. But since we kept our transferable XML files and written documents, we are also making a backup plan.

Thank everyone for their hard work and dedication!

Personal Blog Week 13

This week while I am producing more XML files for the five directors, I am trying to design a mechanism to showcase how flexible and transformable XML files could be. My first trial is about XML-XSLT-HTML, which means I use XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) to transfer my XML code into HTML for web content.



And here is the screenshot of my result.



As you can see in my XML file (upper left), I have adjusted the structure in XSLT five times to get the current result (button left). So then, I will ask members to revisit their structures and give me the files. I will guide everybody through the DTD and XSLT tomorrow; ideally, we will get three pilot samples that we could show on our website. A total of 15 XML files will be saved in our shared folder. We decided to do 3 pilot example HTML pages, and instead of only showing the final result, we will tell the behind-the-scenes story with screenshots or screen recordings of our codes. The time probably wouldn’t allow us to do all 15 in this XML-XSLT-HTML format, but if anyone follows our workflow, they could get an HTML code by spending some time and effort.

Designing our DTDs and XSLT is difficult because we encoded our files individually. It is just so hard to do collective encoding this semester due to time limits and course structure. We don’t have a mechanism like the Orlando project, so we tried our best to give pilots and show our workflow.

You might notice that we use different tags, and even for one director, for different films, some tags appear, and some do not. (Because for some films, we just couldn’t find that much information). So, in this case, we need to give a conditional code in XSLT as xsl: if to make sure there is no empty content in our display. This if logic also works in our DTDs in which a question mark appears after the element like this “<!ELEMENT div2 (title, movie_info, based_on?)>”, indicating that the element is optional (it can be present once or not at all).

So to give a bigger picture, I will mention that we collect the data, choose annotation tools as pointers, and write the XML code in my presentation. While we give an example of XML-XSLT-HTML, there are also possible options for JSON, CSV, SQL database, or mobile applications. And you may wonder about the relationship between XML and TEI; this is my work this week before the final delivery to explain the connection between XML-TEI. Actually, the Orlando team started with the SGML and transferred their codes to the TEI structure, which I guess is for publication purposes.

Something you might read further:  (as a quick answer to why we are building XML files on women directors by our scholarly annotations instead of scraping data directly from the internet)

I tested a way to retrieve XML information of Kayo Hatta using Google Colab from IMDB:

Look at the result and how limited and short it is:


Week 10 DirectHERS Group Update

The DirectHERS team has adjusted our member roles, project scope, and work distribution since mid-February. As a result, we reached several milestones, including completing the basic TEI/XML training, making a custom-designed XML glossary, and five pilot director XML files for testing the search functionality. But our scope is no longer limited to Japanese women directors. Instead, we create a list of non-western groundbreaking directors based on our competencies and backgrounds. We also decided to use more Hypothesis annotations in our encoding as “hyperlink pointers,” which was not our aim in the initial plan. We also need to work more on the glossary, primarily focusing on our customized tags and their definitions. The initial goal for the delivery is that we have 15 directors. The good news is we probably will have more than that number. From the project manager’s perspective, management apps like Asana are not working well for us. As a small team, emails, zoom meetings, and slack are efficient enough.

Gemma wrote the following update for the web dev team:

Dev Team is working on the website, which is starting to take a more defined shape; the idea is to display a selection of the directors’ bios and photos and find a home for some of the high-level information related to the project.
The tag glossary, or dictionary, is also in the process of being added to the website; however, as this is a live document, the final design is still in progress.
Zico is exploring one option for the search engine with Tableau, which will allow filtering and comparing features; nevertheless, other options might still be viable should Tableau fail to meet the team’s expectations. (Other options: Javascript and Ajax; basic search within GitHub pages)
For the two upcoming weeks, Gemma will have one-on-one meetings with all the other team members to go over the directors’ bios assigned to them, their XML contents, and their personal bios which will be crafted in an ad-hoc manner.
The final product is now composed of six main sections, which can be divided as follows: About, the Team, the Project, Research/Inspiration, Search, and Contact.

The research team will meet next Tuesday to finalize one pilot XML file and update the tag glossary. Miaoling will update the DTD file accordingly to validate all XML structures produced by the research team. During the break, the research team will also spend some time writing lab notes, video plans, personal reflections, about page info, and any research-related documents that will be later published on the website. After April 18, the research team will move its focus to writing and stop producing more XML files.

Maria and Miaoling will start drafting tweets and outreach emails next Tuesday and during the break.

The design keeps changing and evolving as more and more contents progressively become available; it’s undeniable that there is now general excitement about the final presentation and the potential of this 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! 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 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


Miaoling Bio

Miaoling Xue is a junior scholar whose research focuses on Japanese women’s/gender history, women in literary narratives, multilingual Digital Humanities, and digital tools for premodern studies. She has studied and taught in China, Japan, Canada, and the United States, and her background shaped her awareness and appreciation of cross-cultural understanding and knowledge-sharing. During the rapid shift to remote research and collaboration in the past three years, Miaoling had the opportunity to acquire new digital competencies while managing many collaborative public-facing initiatives. She led a team launching an educational video project (Exploring Premodern Japan) that guides the audience through the world of premodern Japan; she conducted a pilot study on a seventeenth-century Japanese travel account to test how to harness the power of ArcGIS StoryMaps in understanding travel writing and poetry. These attempts show her passion for dedicating greater effort to acknowledging and utilizing digital spaces and tools in order to improve pedagogical practice and connect expert knowledge in Asian Studies/Digital Humanities to the public.

Miaoling serves as the project manager of the Feminist Markup project. She is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the project, from the initial TEI/XML training to the final delivery of customized tagsets and XML models with searchable features. Specifically, she is working with the team to define the overall goals in this phase (spring semester), allocate technical and content resources, and develop plans to mitigate potential risks generated during the experimental process.

Week 1: personal reflections on the project

Last week I recruited three amazing members to join me in making the Feminist Markup project. We have confirmed our communication methods, preferred meeting times, and ways to manage documents/track progresses. In addition, I have contacted Dr. Laird for available data and the final delivery methods. She and I both believe the lab notes could be submitted to the JWD site as public available essays. This probably could answer the question I received last week about participants’ footprints and credits.

We had a great start, but I also noticed that there would be a big challenge to design a mechanism working under the gaps between the hierarchical trees of XML and scalar definitions of gender and feminism. I am also in Dr. Lisa Rhody’s Feminist Text Analysis course this semester. Our discussion on the scalar and fluid definitions of gender this past Monday in class inspired me a lot. This structural question also exists in ways we do the intertextual encoding. As for directors’ profiles, the intertextuality question could also be seen in networks, influences, co-workers, etc. I will work with my team to read Intertextual Encoding in the Writing of Women’s Literary History.

I also prepared materials for XML-TEI training for the group:

XML/TEI in Five Minutes

CMU DH Literacy Guidebook Elisa Beshero-Bondar How to grow data forests with XML trees

Digital Scholarly Editions: Manuscripts, Texts and TEI 

A very good one I refer to often:

TEI by Example

We are going to design a schedule today to learn and practice XML and write lab entries to record our questions and solutions.

Regarding team management, I went through One Week One Tool recourses and was motivated and inspired by their management models and personal reflections. The readings lead me to the questions: 1. How does our team record our failures and successes and improve the project from our lab notes?  How could we define failures or non-significant results? 2. How to balance our team roles with members’ different available time during the semester?

Miaoling Skillset

Project management: I have professional experience managing teams to conduct public humanities projects. (Take a look at my past work if you are interested: Exploring Premodern Japan, Japanese Women Directors, the CJR lunch series. My past members in these teams worked in diverse sections on translation, video editing, outreach, grant writing, workshop organizing, tech support, etc.) In addition, I have eight years of experience in international education and have studied and taught in China, Japan, Canada and the United States. My background has shaped my awareness and appreciation of intercultural communication and collaborative working environment. Team and task management apps like Asana are my good friends that helped our past team members stay on track and assist each other. 

Research and writing: I am very familiar with writing in academic settings, such as descriptive, analytical, and critical, and have successfully obtained more than ten fellowships/grants. (some of them are canceled due to Covid travel restrictions.) I have the ability to search for, locate, organize, and present information on a particular topic, ask critical questions and address the questions in my responses.
I am trained in political science, literature, and history, but I also have experience writing medical and scientific proposals/reports. I know where to go if we have questions! But I also want to develop this skill, particularly writing, working in a team this semester.

Outreach/social media: I am not a social media person, but I have experience designing branding strategies and leveraging my network to promote projects and book launches. I also know how to write formal emails in English, Chinese, and Japanese.

Video/audio editing: I use Premiere Pro and Audacity. I know how to manage a YouTube Channel and make subtitles.

Developer: I have basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. But I am taking courses on python, tableau, ArcGIS Pro, and XML last and this semester. I am comfortable using Twine, ArcGIS StoryMap, and WordPress. I hope to improve my skills this semester and beyond.