Workshop: Data visualisation as a gateway to programming

I was invited to run a workshop at THATCamp Feminisms West at Scripps College in Claremont, California, and thought ‘Data visualisations as gateway to programming’ would be a good way to provide a gentle introduction to ‘computational thinking’ by working through the effects different data structures have on potential visualisations in ManyEyes, the online visualisation tool. I also prepared some material on basic concepts in programming and put together a page of ‘Inspiring women through history’ mapped across time and space that contained heavily commented code that suggested various things to try to get a sense of how code (in this case, JavaScript, HTML, CSS) works. My slides are below, you can play with content prepared for ManyEyes, or ‘view source’ at the ‘inspiring women’ link above, save the file to your hard drive and have a play.


Conference paper: New Challenges in Digital History: Sharing Women’s History on Wikipedia

I’ll be presenting ‘New Challenges in Digital History: Sharing Women’s History on Wikipedia’ in the ‘Developments in Digital Women’s History’ strand of the Women’s History in the Digital World conference at The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education at Bryn Mawr on March 23, 2013.


In 1908 Ina von Grumbkow undertook an expedition to Iceland. She later made significant contributions to the field of natural history and wrote several books but other than passing references online and a mention on her husband’s Wikipedia page, her story is only available to those with access to sources like the ‘Earth Sciences History’ journal.

Cumulative centuries of archival and theoretical work have been spent recovering women’s histories, yet much of this inspiring scholarship is invisible outside academia. Inspired by research into the use and creation of digital resources and the wider impact of these resources on historians and their scholarship, this paper is a deliberate provocation: if we believe the subjects of our research are important, then we should ensure they are represented on freely available encyclopaedic sites like Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is the fifth most visited website in the world and the first port of call for most students and the public, yet women’s history is poorly represented. This paper discusses how the difficulties of adding women’s histories to Wikipedia exemplify some of the new challenges and opportunities of digital history and the ways in which it blurs the line between public history and purely academic research.

Update: I’ve posted my talk notes at New challenges in digital history: sharing women’s history on Wikipedia – my draft talk notes.

Paper: Where next for open cultural data in museums?

My latest article for Museum Identity magazine, Where next for open cultural data in museums?, is now live online and in the current print issue of Museum-iD 13.

Site abstract: “Museums have increasingly been joining the global movement for open data by opening up their databases, sharing their images and releasing their knowledge. Mia Ridge presents a brief history of open cultural data projects, explores some reasons why some data is relatively under-used and looks to the future of open cultural data”.