Category Archives: Personal Blogs

Blog Post Week 15

The last week was a crunch, and I guess the goal of this class is to be not afraid of things that you have not done before. I would guess that the comfort zone of many students in this class was stretched to its limit. Some people prefer working alone, some are introverted, some are extroverted, some are good with technologies while others are good with writing, etc. The aggregate skill of the class is as varied as the backgrounds of its students, A diverse student group that is responsible for the project that is tangible and unique in a sense. It is a great feeling when the thing that you do think of works but it takes immense amount of tries to get it right, to feel that it is right, and create the working product that you are proud of even it is just for class. Sometimes things need to be trimmed and sometimes things need to be scoped up, and it is the journey that counts, and I would guess that many people would agree with me.

Elizabeth Personal Post – Week 15

The last few weeks have been a crunch, but also an incredible experience. Hopefully it doesn’t make me sound like a slouch to say that I’ve learned more in the last few weeks of the class than I did in most of the time before. A big part of this is the ambition of the project and my teammates — early on when we were conceptualizing the site, Zelda set an example for all of us by saying “yes” to our vision of what the project could be. With a complex, custom built site and only two developers (and that’s being generous to myself — if there are two of us total, Zelda is one and a half), the work I did had to be useful.

I can’t overstate how intimidating this was at first. When I read Gemma’s post the other day, I found so much to relate to — even with the abundance of documentation, including a developer guide Zelda wrote for me, Github still feels like a funhouse maze, or maybe a club that’s technically open to the public, but which requires complex, arcane rituals. Committing my changes, at least, always feels like an incantation that, when I say it, can lead to unexpected results, like creating a hundred extra files that I then have to delete one by one. Which makes me realize the analogy I’m looking for is this:

there was originally an embed of an official clip of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Fantasia here – I guess even the officially sanctioned Disney videos don’t play nice with WordPress, which checks out. If you’ve never seen it and want to get the reference, you can watch it here. A tl;dr – Mickey is the apprentice of a very stern sorcerer with great powers; while the sorcerer casts very cool spells, Mickey is stuck hauling buckets of water up and down stairs. When the sorcerer clocks out for the day, Mickey decides to use his magic hat to enchant a broom to carry the water for him — with disastrous consequences. The enchanted broom quickly floods the sorcerer’s dungeon, and everything Mickey does to try to stop the chaos makes it worse. As a very anxious kid, this sequence from the movie always haunted me!

Except, of course, Zelda is a much kinder, more encouraging sorcerer than poor Mickey’s boss; instead of fixing my errors for me, they’ve helped me figure out how to fix them myself and cheered me on when I (finally!) get it right. I know from experience that that often takes more time and patience, and I’m grateful for it.

And now that we’re close to the end, we have a whole website, rather than a big mess of broomsticks and buckets, and I can see how my work has helped make that possible. It’s rewarding to see how my contributions have aligned with and supported Zelda’s wizardry, Estefany’s designs, and Majel’s immense passion and knowledge.

One thing that’s been true all semester is how lucky I feel to have gotten to work on this project and to help shine a light on the history of Wampanoag activism while learning about it myself.  My feeling of gratitude has only deepened. As a (very) new mother, this semester was always going to be tough for me, but my teammates have shown me so much grace and care, from their patience when I’ve arrived late to our Saturday calls, to their ability to hear what I’m trying to express, even when I’ve been too tired or scattered to find the right words. In ideal circumstances, I wouldn’t have to write code with my baby strapped to me, or bounce him on my lap while trying to discuss database structure or 19th century history — but Estefany, Majel, and Zelda celebrated the fact that I was a new mother and a student, rather than letting me feel guilty or less than for having to balance both at once. For that reason (and so many others!) I’ll always be grateful for the time we spent working together.

RC May 2 journal

For my last personal journal entry, I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Maria Baker, our project manager!

Maria has been driving our project since day 1. She has been working so hard to make the OB&UP vision materialize. While Teddy, Nuraly, and I are working on the individual contributor work on our own schedule, Maria coordinated all our work to make sure we meet our milestones, kept our work organized, scoped our weekly deliverables, wrote all our content + updates, and prepped for the presentation. She also did all of it while also diving into much of the technical work herself (data cleaning & analysis). She has also been connecting with all of us (setting additional Zoom meetings outside of class), and with Bret (around our crazy schedules).

It’s been a really fun project for me, where I also get to learn WordPress. So again, I want to thank Maria for pitching her project, having us on her team, and making this a fun and rewarding project!



GS: Journal Entry (10/12), 29th April

Dear Journal,

I thought it would be a good idea to summarise what happened this week hoping that writing the incident down will help future iterations in explaining this to others. Anyone – if you are familiar with this problem, please reach out as any help is welcome.

Our group created a dedicated DirecterHers email account and related group GitHub repository to publish our website, files, data, and informative material.

I initially placed the folder with my html, css, and javascript files on my desktop, ready for it to be pushed to the new repository. After the creation of a new ad-hoc online repository, I went to my GitBash, or the terminal, and attempted to add the newly created origin, subsequently checking my git status –  I had done this before so I expected to encounter virtually no difficulties in the process. Bizarrely, I noticed that the files listed as ‘ready for staging’ were numerous and certainly not in the dedicated dh praxis prject folder; in this sense, it appeared that git was showing me the files which were living on my desktop. To begin with, I did not think too much of it, and chose to add the newly created online origin once more. And then, the fatal error: the decision to attempt to add all files for staging under the wrong assumption that this could be an easy test to better understand the problem (command: git add -A). All the files on my desktops magically disappeared, other than 3 folders which had already been pushed to my personal repository.  The worst part had yet to come – when trying to restore those files, the stuff in the dx praxis folder also suddenly disappeared. Below the fatal command and the routes tried to restore the lost files.

407  git remote add origin  408  git status (mmm something is wrong here)   410  git add -A (maybe this will help)   412  git status (shite, all my personal files are gone)   413  git restore (double shite nothing is working)   414  git restore -A   416  git restore   417  git reset –hard (triple shite! Directhers files are also gone)    418  git status   423  cd desktop   424  history   425  cd desktop   426  cd dh_praxis   427  git reflog    428  cd desktop   431  git reflog   433  cd dh_praxis   434  git reflog   435  git reset –hard   436  git status   438  cd desktop   439  git reset –hard   440  git reflog   443  cd desktop   444  git reset   445  git checkout deletedfile   446  cd desktop   447  cd dh_praxis   448  git checkout deletedFile   449  git switch master   450  git switch main   451  git switch master   452  git restore   453  git restore –hard   454  git restore–staged  456  git rm –cached

It gradually became clear that nothing would work, especially after realising that reverting staged items is one of the most difficult things to do (based on the various forums on this topic).  Nevertheless, I made further attempts, also with the help of Filipa and Zico.

Finally, we identified the origin of the issue, which was that I had made (evidently by mistake and certainly due to my inexperience) my .git folder on the desktop the origin (not sure whether this makes sense, but it is the only way in which I can explain this), which meant that .git was tracking all the files on my desktop.

I managed to find a folder called lost-and-found in the .git folder and, with the help of Zico, understood that the files contained in it were blobs (binary large objects collecting binary data stored as a single entities). These files presented themselves without an extension and seemed very difficult to decipher (snippet below). I used the below commands to try and isolate some letters in the titles that would help me to match string with relative extension.

grep -e html -r ./  OR grep -e PDF-r ./Blobs

At present, I am still in the process of recovering my files. On the bright side, I found 3 of the files that belonged to the original DirectHers folder and I am hoping to find more in the next few hours.

Clearly, the .git folder is destined to oblivion and I no longer wanna see it sitting on my desktop threatening my poor files!

What a week!! I really felt sorry for all those times where I made fun of my mum claiming to have lost her data while typing in Word!Come on mum, not possible !! You know what, it is possible, and it can happen! Note to future self: never (ever) make jokes of older family members claiming to have suddenly lost their files! Ah, last but not least: back up your files!

WEEK 14_Ob&Up, Ob&Up, Ob&Up-ward?

This week we faced a couple of unforeseeable stumbling blocks. Nuraly has been working on the Bingo game, and just as he had been getting ready to test it, he wasn’t able to actually plug it into the site. For inexplicable reasons, the professional plan for our WordPress site had lapsed. So Ruby had to figure out why the plan had been terminated and then remedy the situation. Then she had to coordinate with Nuraly again, so he could finally test the plug-in. Now, this would not be a tragedy if we had more flexibility in our schedules. But the people in our group do not. So even a small snag like this can potentially cost days. [Can you tell the project manager is writing this post? The project manager periodically has nightmares about snags causing avalanche-sized delays.]

Finally, during class yesterday, we were able to look at the bingo plugin, and while the confetti and the general layout of the game are splendid, we haven’t been able to figure out how to reset the game or how to play it directly on the site (it currently shifts over to a separate window).  Nuraly had an emergency and couldn’t make it to class yesterday, so we weren’t able to address the snag in class (with others like Filipa around, we could have asked for help). We’ll solve it with delay.

Overall though, being in person again really helped us get on the same page. Teddy has begun to move deeper into text analysis, and we could talk through what we consider stop words and what conclusions we’re drawing. Maria is preparing to package our findings into a cohesive narrative, and Teddy will continue the analysis for a little longer. Maria will try to expand the narrative to incorporate additional findings until the last possible moment. Teddy and Maria be in contact via Slack over the next few days to query any urgent last-minute questions. Teddy will also make sure that the data is available on GitHub. Meanwhile, Maria will also finish preparing the presentation slides and coordinate with Ruby to accomplish implementing site content. 

While sitting together and casually talking about our findings and the pitfalls of our corpora, Ruby had the idea for what we ultimately termed a “judgment barometer.” It will be a visual that shows the spectrum of expressions on an axis from very negative -> negative -> neutral -> positive -> superlative. We’re planning on creating it. It begins with Maria passing a list of judgment expressions to Ruby. Let’s see if we can get it done! On & up-ward!!

^ the triple VERY would be on the superlative end of the barometer.

MTS Update – Week 14

We’re almost there! It’s hard to believe. Seeing pieces of the project come together with visuals, text, and even some interactivity has been powerful. Estefany’s social media posts (more on that in a second!) and Majel’s new site copy have given us a way of seeing what the project will look like from the outside – valuable insight and encouragement as we power through what’s left.


Outreach comes first this week because it’s exciting – Estefany launched our social accounts today! You can find us at more_than_surviving on Instagram or morethansurviving on Facebook. In preparation for the launch, Estefany and Majel created a beautiful set of story posts to explain the project and its focus. You can see a few of the slides below; I encourage everyone to check out the whole story on Instagram!

Estefany is continuing to create social content, and Elizabeth and Majel are revisiting their research to pull quotes that can be used in future posts.


We have some key tasks to complete before we can wrap up the tech side of our project, but we’re still on track to finish by our deadline. The focus this week is on front-end development and implementation. Elizabeth has finished building and styling the timeline, so she’ll be able to help Zelda implement the site styles. We’ve also created a tracker for our QA process, so as soon as a version of the site is live, we can start checking the navigation and functionality.


The site copy has been drafted and is in final review with our cultural collaborators. We updated the format of our event data this week, lengthening the short description that will display on the timeline, and embarked on our “nice to have, but not necessary” research task – writing up short descriptions of state and national events to provide context for our Wampanoag events.

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 13—MTS personal update

It’s been a great week. There are all the loose ends to sort of tie together, but they are being tied. We had a great meeting on Saturday and settled on key dates to wrap things up and start testing, and it all feels doable. Knowing me, I’ll throw in some extra tasks (still more activists who could be written up and added to this iteration!!), but I’ll try not to be unreasonable. 

Last Saturday, Estefany and I attended the 11th Annual Columbia University Pow wow. Estefany met my kids, and I got to share a little pan-Indian culture with her. We put in a valiant effort to win the potato dance along side my sons, and we danced a twisty-turny two-step. Although there was nothing specific to the Wampanoag on display, going to pow wows always bring strong feelings of taking in strong medicine. The drumbeat always heals me and centers me, and I enjoy the flashbacks of spending summers on the pow wow circuit with my mother.  

Before the break I was able to correspond with Professor George Price a bit, and I’m looking forward to getting more of his input on the work as a whole. We started an interesting discussion about the threat of kidnapping faced by Wampanoag of mixed heritage who didn’t live within native communities. He also pointed me to a passage in his book, The Eastons: Five Generations of Human Rights Activism, 1748-1935 (about a prominent and exceptional mixed family of Wampanoag heritage from whom he depends), in which Hosea Easton considers the different attitudes that whites had towards Indians and Afro-Americans. In it H. Easton offers that whites had gotten what they wanted from the native community: land, and so they no longer considered them as a threat or even really existing, despite evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, it was their very bodies and labor of Afro-Americans that whites wanted and that was a perpetual location for exploitation holding a continued emotional/political/economic charge. This has me thinking about how the Wampanoag, mixed and otherwise, denied this role as innocuous or irrelevant subdued wards, and made their presence and intentions known through, among other things, their activism. 

GS: Journal Entry (9/12), 19th April

Dear Journal,

First and foremost, I hope everyone had a fantastic break! Our team managed to get some ‘breathing space’ as everyone had the chance to either travel or see their beloved ones – or both! Nevertheless, we all kept working with alacrity on the project.

The research team provided additional directors’ bios and further contents to upload to our website, and compiled more XML files which are in the process of being reviewed for the search engine functionality. Personally, I have connected with almost everyone during the break to chat about how to manage online contents and what to display in our final webpage.

The list of tags has grown exponentially, which was somehow expected considering how difficult it is to map one’s life (especially someone we do not personally know) based on what is available online.  Work is in progress to consolidate the list we currently have and related definitions.

It is noticeable how the project has shifted from a relatively niche subset of filmmakers to a much broader pool of artists – I believe the more we explore the more we find unrecognized talents (particularly women) across a vast range of regions. In this sense, we are attempting to find an easy way to present our efforts during the final presentation as we are in agreement on how difficult it might be for someone outside our project to get a clear grasp of the purpose of our ‘datification’ mission.


MTS Week 13—Rounding the Bend

It feels like the course end is suddenly closing in fast. We’ve done so much in the past weeks, and most of the team even anticipated trucking along through the break—but, surprise, people needed an actual break. The amount that has been done so far is so impressive and we have so much to be proud of—at this point we just need to tie it all up into a shareable experience so people can really see and feel that effort. 

“Just” I say— but, yet it is a “just.” Just be honest with ourselves about what is doable, where we are, and where we can get. I feel positive about what we can still accomplish, but I am looking forward to sharing space with the team so we can get aligned and feel each others energy as we start to bring the project to shareable life. Everyone has been asked to take a look at their own work streams and consider places they can simplify and consolidate so we can discuss what places to streamline while getting us as close to our vision as we can. 

As for me personally, before the break, in the days just before the break I closed out the research portion of the project and briefly shifted my focus to my other classes to make sure everything was in a good position for my return (I was on a family trip that made it impossible to work). Now that we are back, I am devoting as much time as I can to writing the remaining front end copy (finished the glossary today!—anticipate the front end copy done this week), and supporting on outreach (specifically social content). These are all within my wheelhouse, so I currently feel good about getting myself in the position to finetune our presentation materials in a timely manner—family and other courses-permitting.