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Caitlin Fisher

“A Digital Exploration of Multiraciality”

I entered this project to “map” content so that it made sense, in a “timeline” sort of manner, but also flowed intuitively to connect multiple ideas, resources, or concepts.  I wanted to find a site, or resource, that would link together the different websites, books, news articles, videos, and organizations available for for learning about people of mixed race.  I came up with this idea after encountering Prezi , which “uses a single canvas rather than multiple slides” to show a presentation, but much like PowerPoint, it is limited to text and images, and is not very intuitive to use.  After ditching Prezi, I moved onto the Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) an open-source application out of Tufts that “provides a flexible visual environment for structuring, presenting, and sharing digital information.”  It was appealing because it can integrate Zotero, RSS feeds, web links, CSV datasets, and other tools.  VUE was fun to use, but unfortunately turns out to not be great (yet?) for text-based projects, and for a timeline-like approach.  I finally settled on Pearl Trees, an entirely different application that is a form of social bookmarking.  PearlTrees “maps” bookmarks – and the person mapping them can comment on each link.  While PearlTrees is still not ideal (the entire name of the link doesn’t show up, for example; and you can’t link separate “Pearls” laterally), it was satisfactory for my needs: mapping different subjects (for example, “Mixed Race Organizations” “Mixed Race In the News,” and “History of Race Mixing”) separately.

Caitlin’s final paper:

View this document on Scribd


Leave a Comment
  1. Susan Smulyan / Jun 9 2010 7:31 am

    This compendium of web and other resources on multiracial people may have been the most talked about project after the in-class presentations. Caitlin was wonderfully thoughtful and interesting about the challenges she faced and how she considered which tools worked and didn’t work. I hoped the projects would allow student to explore in just this way and I learned a lot. Finding the right tool for a project is important and its also useful to remember that, despite the existence of so many possibilities, not all the tools we need already exist. I’m always amused by the Center for History and New Media’s “One Week One Tool” summer workshops that take on this problem in a collective way.

    Using Pearl Trees, the difficulty is organizing the material so it makes sense both to the person who built the tree and to other users, and this set of trees works well. Its also possible to imagine how the trees could grow and be really useful to students and everyone interested in the subject. The social networking nature of Pearl Trees makes it likely that others will find this project and find it useful. In many ways, this was the right tool for the job!

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