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Teaching Viewshare for Academic Work: An Interview with Moya Bailey

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This is a guest post from Camille Salas, an intern with the Library of Congress. She interviews Moya Bailey from Emory University.  

Moya Bailey is a graduate fellow in the Digital Scholarship Commons at Emory University where she explores critical race, feminist, and disability studies. Her current work focuses on constructs of health and normativity within a US context. She is interested in how race, gender, and sexuality are represented in media and medicine. She is a blogger and digital alchemist for the Crunk Feminist Collective.

Moya Bailey

CS: Since we last wrote about the great work that Dr. Stephanie Y. Evans and you did on the view for the SWAG Diplomacy project, you led two workshops at Emory University’s DiSC on how to use Viewshare. Please share what prompted you to offer the workshops. (Editor’s note: the Viewshare program was retired in 2018.)

MB: At DiSC, we like to give people in the Emory community access to the digital tools we learn about in other spaces. After learning about Viewshare at THATCamp 2012, I wanted to show people how easy it is to use. I taught Dr. Evans and her assistant how to use it very quickly, which further illustrated its utility to me. As a graduate fellow in DiSC, one of my responsibilities is giving workshops so Viewshare seemed like a logical choice.

ViewShare Class Announcement
Viewshare Class Announcement

CS: Please tell us a bit about your audience and why you felt the tool would be useful for them. How did you describe the value of Viewshare to the workshop attendees?

MB: We advertise our workshops throughout the Emory University System. I was surprised to see such a diverse group including members of the Emory community from the Public Health and Business Schools. There were technology specialists, an ethnobotanist, as well as faculty from the humanities. There were even a few people from outside of Emory who were interested in learning more. Over 60 people registered for the workshops.

CS: How did you approach teaching people how to use Viewshare? Was there a specific perspective you had in mind?

MB: I started with the short video on the Viewshare site. I then guided people through the whole process of creating a view by using the sample data also provided on the website. I also followed Trevor Owens’ lead and encouraged folks to bring their own data. We looked at the sample spreadsheet for the 22 postcards before we tried uploading it to Viewshare. I made the mistake of having everyone try to upload their data at the same time which crashed the uploader. However, this unexpected downtime actually allowed me to show people the SWAG Diplomacy view and to field questions about that project.

SWAG Diplomacy View
SWAG Diplomacy View

CS: Did the attendees have any questions that might be useful for Viewshare users? What kinds of uses did they have in mind for their views?

MB: Yes! I was excited about the different types of projects people envisioned working with Viewshare. One person will be using Viewshare to map all of Emory’s community partners and organizations that accept student interns. Another project involves creating a list and gallery for scholars attending an upcoming conference. People asked questions after the session about using Viewshare for a variety of projects that weren’t historical or humanities-based. The tool is an excellent platform for visualizing lots of projects.

CS: Did the process of planning and facilitating the workshop change the way you think about the tool? Did it also prompt any ideas for things that you would like to see Viewshare do in the future?

MB: It did! I see this tool being used in sectors beyond the humanities and public history. I think expanding the imagined audience for the tool will allow for a lot of innovative views and projects. Sharing the tool within various departmental home spaces of the university could yield very interesting results. For example, graduate students in religion learning to use Viewshare together might generate ideas for the tool that wouldn’t come up in a session like mine. I think people saw Viewshare’s potential application across a variety of fields but needed a bit more prompting as to what those possibilities could be. I’d love to see some charts comparing the functionality of programs like Viewshare, Scalar, and Omeka regarding which ones work best for what types of projects.

CS: Thank you, Moya! The Viewshare website also has a brief description about using Viewshare in Omeka for those who might be interested.

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