Katherine Riedling presents her research on “Flusser 2.0” at 21st Annual Frontiers Undergraduate Research Fair

Frontiers in Undergraduate Research is the annual poster exhibition of student research, scholarship, and creative projects. Frontiers is a chance for students to share their work with the UConn community and with visitors to campus.

Katherine, a EUROTECH student and the recipient of a 2017 SHARE grant for a project collaboration with Prof. Anke Finger and PhD candidate Britta Meredith, worked on the multimodal “Flusser 2.0” project, subtitled “Remediating Images, Reimagining Texts.” Here is how Katherine describes her contribution:

One focal point of Flusser 2.0 was structuring the contributions in a way that is both navigable for readers and favorable to nonlinearity. An agreement had already been reached about the content structure, though the means was still in question. A catalyst to the project was D3.js, a dynamic JavaScript programming library designed for visualizing data. The Scalar platform already uses it for its default visualizations, which are beautiful but did not quite fit the desired structure. The idea was to create landing pages for authors and add a main visualization to connect all the authors together. Inspired by projects like Find the Conversation and D3 chord diagrams, we wanted to create a “circle of tags” surrounding contributor links. This concept built upon partitioning the works from their “connectors” – which will be highlighted when selected.

One challenge to representing works in a multimodal setting is coordinating between different authors. Because they focus on different aspects of Flusser’s work, certain subtleties must be acknowledged. For instance, diction in philosophy is highly nuanced, and slight aberrations have a large effect on semantics. Therefore, finding umbrella terms to group works involves a higher degree of thoughtfulness than one might guess. In addition, the main visualization should compartmentalize the authors with their contributions separately from the tags. The result is user-friendly, however. Scalar by default includes a page of contents in the form of a menu on the left-hand side of each page. Ultimately, readers can use both the main visualization and the left-hand menu to navigate to any given contributor’s landing page. From there, the readers can investigate the abstract, the biography, the media, and the author’s work, titled “Main” to indicate its importance to the page. This is where the authors exhibit their originality: by structuring their main work as they choose.

Congratulations, Katherine, on your excellent work!

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