Week 6: Updated project proposal

Hello all! Thank you for joining me again. This week will be dedicated to updated project proposal that will hopefully paint a more coherent picture of what I’m trying to do and what I think I’ll be able to accomplish. Also, for the sake of citing my sources, I straight up stole the general outline of this post from my buddy John Vsetecka (who has a pretty dope blog that you should all check out), so full credit to him. Anyways, let’s get started.

Scope

As I’ve said in previous posts, my initial goal was to map the war memorials in a particular province in Japan, like Aichi or Gunma. However, after giving it some thought, I decided to actually expand the scope of my project to encompass the entirety of the country and try to map all of the war memorials in Japan. Ambitious, yes, but not impossible.

However, I am leveraging my current abilities against the time left in the semester, which makes achieving this goal a bit daunting. However, for this class, my first and primary focus is constructing a plan of attack for this mapping, of which this proposal is the first step. My initial idea is that it may in fact be easier to focus on one particular kind of memorial at a time, working my way down from the more nationally prestigious to the more unknown and local. My hope is that an emphasis on national memorials first will offer me a general sense of the general mnemonic landscape in Japan that will hopefully allow me to make much greater sense of the smaller, local memorials.

Aims/Goals

As stated earlier, the goal of this project is to (eventually) map all of the war memorials in Japan, or at least all of those about which I can obtain information. Ideally, this would entail employing scraping technology to acquire geographic and pictorial data that would form the core of my project. Given this focus, I am eagerly anticipating week 7, where Ethan Watrall will be speaking to us about mapping technologies and techniques. Hopefully then I’ll be able to get my greedy little hands on some programs around which I can orient my data collection/presentation as well as some much-needed advice from an expert on mapping.

Method/Plan of Action

This is the part of my project that I find myself a bit conceptually stymied. I only have to wait another week for our class presentation on mapping, but hopefully I will be able to set up a meeting with one of the data librarians to get starting with these technologies beforehand. My initial plan had been to get into contact with the Asianist librarian in order to gain a better grasp of the content/source material so that I could at least begin looking at the material, which is still my primary goal. However, I have had some trouble getting into contact with said librarian, so I will seek some advice from my instructors and hopefully finally get in touch with the content area librarian, so I can advance with my project. Once that is taken care of (hopefully by the end of the week), I feel as though I will be in a good position to make full use of the mapping tools that will be presented in the coming week. The last thing that I want to do is be complacent and find myself behind and racing to complete my project before the semester ends, so I fully intend to make this week proactive and decisive.

Presentation of Findings/Materials

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my project will present the war memorials in Japan in a map, highlighting the geographic location of each. However, in addition and insofar as possible, I also plan on incorporating photographic data that makes my map more than just a series of dots. Additionally, as far as possible, I plan on including textual information that presents the type of narrative offered at each memorial, as well as the kinds of material/exhibits that comprises each memorial (and possibly a link to each memorial’s actual website if one exists). At a later stage and certainly beyond the scope of this class, I hope to add links to outside webpages containing information on the events memorialized at each site (within reason, although even I don’t know quite what I mean by that). This project will initially be a tool for my own research, and as such will be posted on my blog where I will have access to my project and be able to edit, maintain, and add to it in the coming years.

Overview of Project Steps

” Get into contact with the Asian content area librarian and schedule a meeting, which will hopefully give me a window into more sources than I have been able to find on my own and give me a relatively deep pool of data to draw from.
” Arrange for a meeting with a data librarian for late next week (hopefully in the day or two after the mapping technologies presentation in class on Wednesday) to make sure that I both have access to and understand how to use mapping tools.
” Establish a set routine for working on my project so that I am consistently developing/refining content. I know my own tendency to procrastinate, so it is essential for me to set aside specific times on specific days to do nothing but work on my project.
” As I’m doing the above, continue to look at different mapping projects on the web and glean as much from them as I can so that I can jump right in and won’t have to waste time trying to orient myself once I get all of my technological ducks in a row.
” Begin the data scraping/mining and compilation, posting my incremental progress on my blog so that my friends, classmates, and instructors can hold me accountable and make sure that I’m actively developing a quality DH project.

And that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m sorry that this isn’t a more thorough explanation of my project and that it is still a bit ungrounded, but hopefully by next week all will be well. As always, thanks for reading!

– Adam

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