Fall 2019 Dash
In October 2019, we selected three fantastic Scholar Sprints projects from a record number of applicants. Our selected scholars were: Sara Hughes (Assistant Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability), Megan Rim (PhD Candidate in American Culture) and Hanah Stiverson (PhD Candidate in American Culture). Over a day and a half, Sara, Megan, and Hanah partnered with U-M librarians and specialists from the College of Literature Arts & Sciences to move forward in their projects.
During her research career, Sara has collected a large amount of data on drinking water in various U.S. cities. She wanted to use the data to inform “a more national perspective on urban drinking water policy and politics”; but the data was complex and dispersed. Sara’s team helped her build the basis of a data management system. Catherine Morse helped her access and wrangle government data. Matt Carruthers, who specializes in metadata, helped her find the structure that worked best for her existing files and her team of grad students. Lori Tschirhart provided a current research perspective on the environment and sustainability field. Joe Bauer, a Digital Scholarship Research Consultant from LSA Technology Services, assisted in guiding the project variables, research questions, project workflow, and data management plan. Justin Joque suggested avenues for visualizing data, working with Sara as well as with Megan (see below).
Megan’s Sprints project was part of her dissertation, which examines the impact of face recognition technologies on communities of color. She wanted to use digital mapping software to investigate a connection between historical redlining maps, which have segregated Detroit by race, and the current Project Green Light, which facilitates police surveillance of the city using cameras. LSA Technology Services specialists Abbey Roelofs and Caitlin Dickinson helped teach Megan how to use digital tools to interpret geographic data, using ArcGIS to map camera locations. Megan worked with Nicole Scholtz to find and use historical census data, and learned how to overlay different views to compare data from different periods.
Hanah works with sensitive data as part of her research. Her aim during Sprints was to create a database or guide for scholars to help them understand how to keep themselves safe while researching on the dark web, especially within communities that have a history of doxxing (revealing the personal details of researchers in order to threaten or endanger them). In her proposal, she pointed out that this kind of technical knowledge “will never remain static and will need to be constantly updated by those engaged with this topic.” Breanna Hamm and Samuel Hansen worked together to give Hanah and the rest of her team a broad picture of current security options, drawing a detailed diagram on the whiteboard wall that the team added to and reconfigured over the Sprint. John Gallias brought in an IT perspective, while Shevon Desai and Anne Cong-Huyen provided important research and shared resources including FemTechNet. Together, the team built up an impressive array of security resources, which Hanah hopes to build into a narrative to share publicly.
All three teams showed a commitment to serving the community with their public-facing projects. We want to thank all our team members for their effort, thoughtfulness, and creativity. We hope that Sprints will continue to serve as a model of collaboration that can address complex problems quickly and intensively. To that end, we’re planning our next round for Spring 2020.