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  • SN-0073 Rugs of War - collating and analysing images, building research networks

This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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Rugs of War - collating and analysing images, building research networks

Collection Date: 27 March 2009
Scholar #1 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Nigel Lendon
  • Email: nigel.lendon@anu.edu.au
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Institution/Organization: School of Art & Research School of Humanities, Australian National University
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: visual arts, visual culture

Scholar #2 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Zoe Bowman
  • Email:
  • Title: Ms
  • Institution/Organization: Research School of Humanities, Australian National University
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: web development, cultural studies, law

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name: Katie Hayne
  • Email: katie.hayne@anu.edu.au
  • Title: Ms
  • Institution/Organization: Research School of Humanities, Australian National University

Notes on Methodology:

interview 

Scope

The scope section is provided by the collector, with input from the scholar(s), and attempts to estimate the scope of the group that performs the processes described: How broadly do the practices described in this narrative apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?

This story applies to any scholar that is seeking to use the internet to:

  • collate visual research
  • raise the profile of their research 
  • create research networks and
  • seek contribution to their research outside the research community.

The intended audience is the research community and rug/art collectors.

The researcher also conducts fieldwork, literary research, and so on.   

This project is now nearing completion but shared services that may have been of help:

  • an installation of Wordpress MU or something similar within the university.
  • web hosting provided by the university with a tool such as C-Panel often available with commercial web hosting.

Shared services would only be practical if flexible - a 'one solution fits all' model may not work.

Keywords

Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories.

1. Was this story collected for a particular Bamboo working group?  If so, please include, as keywords, the appropriate group(s).

  • Scholarly Narratives

2. Suggested keywords: Does this narrative contain elements that could be mapped to these keywords?  If so, please indicate which ones and briefly describe the mapping.  Add any additional keywords in #3. (These are global keywords from this page keywords)

3. Please list additional keywords here:

  • network
  • outreach

Narrative

What:
Rugs of War is a project which investigates the history, iconography, production and distribution of 'the war rug'. At the time of starting the research little information about 'war rugs' was in the public domain and it was a topic with no institutional presence. Field research was going to be difficult because of the dangerous locations in which the rugs are produced. Information needed to be sought from private collectors all over the world - collectors who often purchase and sell items on e-bay. The internet became the perfect research tool for this project. (URL: http://wordpress.rugsofwar.com)

How:
With a small seed grant a blog was set up as a trial to see if this would be a productive research method. The seed funding was incredibly important. At the time a blog was not considered a serious research tool and it was difficult to get assistance from university IT areas to do this simple task. The early success of the blog became a major factor in the project subsequently gaining four years government funding.
Processes:
- Images of rugs are found on auction sites, sent to the project via email by people who come across the blog, or photographs of the rugs are taken in-situ.
- The rugs are documented on a record sheet and coded according to information about the motifs they contain and/or the collector. The images are then renamed with the coded typology.
- Selected rugs are posted on the blog either to generate interest, to find out more about them or to get help in translating unknown forms.
- a wiki is currently being set up as an image and research database to collate and better categorise all the rugs and the information on the blog. Again the rugs are coded using the typology. The wiki is being used as the source of information and writing tool for a book of the project.

Helps
A wordpress blog and media-wiki have been used. The project was initially hosted on a university server but due to lack of support and no access to the server for security updates the project was moved to a free externally hosted wordpress (http://wordpress.org/) site. It is also now hosted on an external web-hosting provider for more flexibility. People with appropriate skills were essential to this project and were difficult to find. A casual research assistant with blogging skills was eventually funded from the grant. The blog has been archived by the Pandora project at the National Library of Australia.

Needs
This project is now nearing completion but the project's needs are broadly applicable. Web development expertise was the biggest need of this project - essentially this meant a person. If the system stops working and you are paying research staff to work on it, you need a reliable contact or liaison to get it up and running as soon as possible.

The services provided by an external web hosting company are often good. Tools such as C-Panel (http://www.cpanel.net/) allow users to setup databases and Fantastico can install selected open-source software in minutes. A file manager usually allows users to set their own permissions on directories and files. Some technical expertise is required but very little programming is necessary to get a database driven site up and running.

An installation of Wordpress MU (http://mu.wordpress.org/) managed at the institutional level may have been a good solution.

This project may benefit from the knowledge of appropriate metadata standards for documenting works of art so that the project can be more interoperable with data repositories in the future.

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