Building Duke Becomes Bass Connections Project Team

January 17, 2018

Interested in joining the team? Stop by the Bass Connections Projects Fair on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 between 2:30-5:30PM, attend the Bass Connections Information Session on February 9th, and submit an application by February 16th, 2018, at 5:00PM.

Members of the Wired! Lab, in collaboration with Duke Libraries, have received a Bass Connections Project Grant for “Building Duke: The Architectural History of Duke Campus from 1924 to the Present.” The project, set to begin in the 2018-19 academic year, is part of a new three-year initiative that will explore the conception, design, and construction of the Duke University campus as well as its changes and expansions.

The Bass Connections project will combine historical research with digital technologies to develop a chronology of Duke’s buildings, landscape, and infrastructure from conception to land acquisition, design, and construction. The project will also produce a series of thematic narratives that explore patronage and financing, materials and labor, architectural and landscape design techniques, and issues of identity, gender, class, and race.

The 2018-19 team will focus on the identification, collection, organization, and digitization of textual and visual material from the University Archives. This data will be structured in a relational database that will serve as the project’s core and support the following two years of data analysis and output.

Building Duke will intersect with Digital Durham, adopting the model of some of the digital tools developed by Digital Durham and will expand upon the Statues Speak project to incorporate a broader range of sculpted works across campus.

Four graduate students and six undergraduates will be chosen from a variety of fields across the university to conduct primary source research, contribute to publications, and develop written and digital skills including database design, website design, content management, and 3D modeling. Graduate students will have the opportunity to serve as project manager, graduate assistants, or instructional assistants.


Building Duke


Building Duke

Mapping the Journey of Marble: MA Student Stephanie Manning’s Digital Thesis Project

January 16, 2018
Stephanie Manning

M.A. in Digital Art History student Stephanie Manning conducted her thesis on the applications of GIS on the logistics of material transportation in Ancient Rome. She focused on a site-specific case study – the Baths of Caracalla (the largest surviving bathing complex in Rome), and mapped the marble quarries supplying the baths using ArcGIS Pro.

UPDATE: In 2018, Stephanie joined Apple via Apex Systems as a GIS Technician.

The Baths of Caracalla

Screenshot from Manning’s StoryMap presentation. Blue points denote locations of ancient marble quarries.

The goal of this project was to measure the difficulty of transportation (accounting for slope and means of transport) and to determine through cost distance analysis the least-cost path that would have most likely been taken to reach Rome from the various marble quarries.

Screenshot from Manning’s StoryMap presentation; the Process section describes her methodology.

Stephanie spent her summer researching the process of designing her own Agent-Based Model and using it to perform cost distance analysis. She also travelled to Italy to visit the site of the Baths of Caracalla in Rome to get an accurate understanding of the scale of the complex, as well as to take several images of any marble fragments remnant in the structure. She visited other monumental bathing complexes in Italy, including the Baths of Diocletian and the Stabian Baths in Pompeii for comparison and use of materials.

Screenshot of Manning’s StoryMap presentation; showing the least cost paths that workers may have used to transport marble from quarries across the Roman Empire to the Baths of Caracalla.

The Baths of Diocletian. Rome, Italy.

Through this GIS model, Stephanie tells the story of the difficulty of transporting marble across the Roman Empire for a monumental construction project. Despite the limited technology of the time, the Romans had devised a highly efficient system involving a vast network of roads and sea routes to transfer materials from supply to site. She brings the map to life through the digital and interactive ESRI Story Map online, and provides open-source data to future scholars interested in historical GIS applications.  | Link to Story Map:

Screenshot of Manning’s cost distance analysis.

Professor Sheila Dillon advised Manning’s thesis with Dr. Edward Triplett providing GIS advising.


Historical GIS

Proseminar 1

Proseminar 2

Jaskot to speak at Research Computing Symposium

January 22, 2018
Penn Pavilion, Duke West Campus

Wired! Lab director Paul Jaskot will be one of two keynote speakers at Duke’s annual Research Computing Symposium on January 22, 2018. He’ll be speaking on how data, and especially GIS, have shaped his research. The symposium will also feature a report on Research Computing’s past year and plans for the future, a competitive poster session, and a tabling session.

The symposium will be held in Penn Pavilion on Duke’s West Campus. All are welcome. If you plan to attend, please register.

Image Credits: Duke Research Computing

Back to School: Brush Up On Your Digital Methods

August 24, 2018
Hannah L. Jacobs

Whether you’re a student, staff or faculty member, there are many opportunities to brush up your digital skill set this fall at Duke. Topics range from Microsoft Office to command line to HTML to 3D printing to data visualization and everywhere in between. Here are some workshop series you’ll want to check out:

Data & Visualization Services

Digital Scholarship Services

Events at The Edge

Innovation Co-Lab roots/ Series

Social Science Research Institute

OIT Training Seminars