In doing this project, I learned that there is quite a bit open data out there, but it sometimes takes a lot of digging, searching, and trial and error to get something that works for your project. I also learned that, when doing mapping specifically, you need to have an incredibly precise data set, because you are either working with coordinate points or geocoding, and you cannot have a lot of variaton or estimates.
One of the biggest challenges I faced was working with the Carto interface and changing my data to an easy-to-read format. Doing the project was essentially days of work learning how to speak Carto’s langauge, if that makes sense. Sorting my data was also quite complicated, because I started with an enormous corpus that had quite a few gaps.
During this course in general, I have gained a new perspective on data and technology. My comfort level has increased exponentially, and I feel like I have a solid foundation for any sort of humanities data visualization, which is definitley a good thing. I also learned that technology has a very specific language, and the biggest hurdle to overcome is learning how to manipulate the way you process data so that you can communicate with different pieces of technology and software.
If given the chance, I probably would have chosen a smaller orginal dataset, because I had to spend so much time narrowing it down. Other than that, I was very pleased with how my project turned out and my research question.
My biggest achievement in doing this course was probably figuring out how to use UCINET, because that interface is not user friendly at all. It was so difficult to learn what format UCINET needed my data to be in, and I had to reconfigure how I thought about my own data in order to create any sort of visualization with that software.
This class has given me a lot more confidence in working with computers and large datasets, which is incredibly useful in other fields. It also increased my interest drastically in working with DH projects in the future.