Hannah Jacobs is a Multimedia analyst at the Duke Wired! Lab who aims to change learning the humanities from A to B, much to the excitement of students and faculty packed into the Visualization Friday Forum on Oct. 16. Using visualization as a tool to show connections between space, time, and culture, she hopes to augment the humanities classroom by supplementing lecture with interactive maps and timelines.





The virtual maps created for Professor Caroline Bruzelius’ Art History 101 course were built using Omeka’s plugin Neatline, a “geotemporal exhibit builder that allows [the user] to create beautiful, a complex, maps, image annotations, and narrative sequences” such as the Satellite view below.


Demo Neatline visualization


Using the simple interface, Jacobs created a syllabus with an outline of units and individual lectures, each course point connected to written information, point(s) on the map, and period or span on timeline.


Syllabus using Neatline interface


Jacobs also implemented clickable points on the map to display supplementary information, such as specific trade routes used of certain raw materials, video clips, and even links to recent pertinent articles. With such an interface, students are better able to understand how the different lectures move backward and forward in time and make connections with previously learned topics.


Supplementary video clips


For the Art History 101 class,Professor Bruzelius assigned her students a project in which they use Neatline to map the movement of people and materials for a specific culture. One student graphed the Athenian use and acquisition of timber accompanied by an essay with hyperlinks to highlight various parts of the map; another visualized the development of Greek coinage with mapped points of mining locations.


Visualization accompanied by essay

Displaying development of Greek coinage


The students were excited to use the interactive software and found that they learned history more thoroughly than by completing purely paper assignments. Their impressive projects can be viewed on the Art History website.

As we continue to create interactive visualizations for learning, students in the future may study space, time, and culture using a touchscreen display like the one below.


Interactive learning of the future

Interactive learning of the future





Hannah joined the Wired! Lab in September 2014 after studying Digital Humanities at King’s College London. Previously, she obtained a BA in English/Theatre from Warren Wilson College, and she worked at Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute from 2011-2013 before departing for London.




Post written by Anika Radiya-Dixit