Constructing New Research Archives

February 4, 2009

We are employing the OKAPI Theme Package for Omeka to develop two multimedia research archives over the Spring ’09 semester:

Tracing Tambo Colorado
We are helping UC Berkeley Architecture professor Jean-Pierre Protzen publish a decade of photographs, illustrations, site plans, and field notes documenting the design and construction of an Inca administrative center located in present-day Peru. The project will make use of the Omeka collection management system and our newly crafted OKAPI theme package. Lizzy, Huey and Gabriel will be organizing his research archive into four themed collections and implementing a Google maps mashup to assist with geospatial navigation.


Chang’an 26 BCE
We are working with UC Berkeley History professor Michael Nylan to develop a multimedia research archive focused on ancient Chang’an, capital of the Western Han dynasty from 206 BCE  until 8 CE. Roughly contemporary with ancient Rome and equivalent in size of territory and number of inhabitants, Chang’an typically receive little attention in Western schoolbooks and history classes. Professor Nylan aims to redress this imbalance by providing a wealth of information about one of the greatest cities in human history.


Remixing Catalhoyuk Day

November 6, 2007

Remixing Catalhoyuk Day (watch the movie of the event)
9AM to 6PM Pacific Standard Time (5PM to 2AM GMT or Universal Time)
November 28, 2007
Location: Okapi Island
(You must have the free Second Life browser)

Join us for Remixing Catalhoyuk Day, a public program sponsored by OKAPI and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk. Visit OKAPI Island in the 3-D virtual environment of Second Life (see Getting Started below) and explore the past and present of Catalhoyuk, a 9000-year-old village located in present-day Turkey. OKAPI Island features virtual reconstructions of the excavation site and multimedia exhibits of research data. The Island was constructed by a team of undegraduate research apprentices during the Spring and Fall 2007 semester. The Remixing Catalhoyuk program includes lectures, guided tours, games, and much more. Mark your calendars!

Okapi Island

Remixing Çatalhöyük Day Activities

(10-10:30 AM)
Guided Tour of OKAPI Island. Tours will be conducted by Ruth Tringham (Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, and Principal Investigator of Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük) and the Remixing Çatalhöyük team.

(1 – 2 PM PST)
Lecture: “Cultural Heritage Interpretive Videowalks: Moving Through Present Past Places Physically and Virtually” Presented by Ruth Tringham to the UC Berkeley Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Colloquium and simulcast in Second Life.

(2 – 4 PM PST)
Turkish Music Mix. Visit OKAPI Island, learn about Çatalhöyük and build your own remixes in the OKAPI Island Sandbox while listening to DJ (and UCB Anthro grad) Burcu’s eclectic mix of classical and contemporary Turkish music.

(3-3:30 PM PST)
Guided Tour of OKAPI Island. Tours will be conducted by Ruth Tringham (Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, and Principal Investigator of Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük) and the Remixing Çatalhöyük team.

(4-5 PM PST)
Remixing Çatalhöyük Video Festival. Nine video producers will share videos about Çatalhöyük. The Video Festival will be hosted by VJ (and UCB Anthro grad) Colleen Morgan.

(5 – 5:30 PM PST)
Remix Competition. The public is invited to use the OKAPI Island Sandbox or Graffiti Cube to build and share reconstructions of Catalhoyuk or “remixes” of archaeological research data. At 5pm PST, the Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk team will review and select top entries for virtual awards and exhibition on OKAPI Island.

Remixing Catalhoyuk Data

What is Second Life?

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world created entirely by its residents. Okapi Island is owned and build by the OKAPI team (that’s us below!) and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk.

Getting Started
To visit Okapi Island, you will need to create a user account and download the client software–both free.

To create an account, visit, click on Join (in the upper right corner) and follow the instructions. Note: You do not need a premium account to use Second Life or visit Okapi Island.

Next, download and install the Second Life client for your computer:

Launch the Second Life client and enter your password. You will likely begin in Orientation Island. To visit Okapi Island, click Map, enter “Okapi” in search field and click Search. Alternatively, you can click on the following slurl (second life url) in your browser, and you will be transported there:

See you there!Okapi Second Life Team

Remixing Çatalhöyük Launches

October 5, 2007

Remixing Çatalhöyük

The OKAPI team is pleased to announce the launch of Remixing Çatalhöyük, a multimedia exhibition and research archive featuring the investigations and discoveries of the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük and their colleagues. Located in central Turkey, Çatalhöyük (“cha-tal-hu-yuk”) is the site of a Neolithic farming community that flourished from 9,400 until 7,700 years ago. We invite the public to explore themed collections, create original projects, and contribute their own “remixes” of Çatalhöyük.

Remixing Çatalhöyük was constructed during the Spring 2007 semester by a team of UC Berkeley students, staff, and faculty, working in close collaboration with the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük (BACH). Remixing Çatalhöyük highlights and supports a multi-vocal approach to history, where the global, online community is invited to participate in the dialogue alongside the physical, local community. The OKAPI and BACH teams hope that this project will inspire other researchers to openly share their research data and engage broad public audiences.

Web Site Design
Remixing Çatalhöyük features a tripartite design, including a research archive, themed collections and an interactive web exhibition.

Research ArchiveThe Research Archive includes more than 65,000 photos, videos, articles and other multimedia research materials–all freely available under Creative Commons NonCommercial Attribution licensing.

Life Histories Themed CollectionThe Remixing team curated and adapted research materials into four Themed Collections designed to engage public in the process of archaeology and support a wide range of “k to grey” teaching and learning scenarios:
Life Histories of People, Places and Things
Senses of Place
Archaeology at Different Scales
The Public Face of Archaeology
The themed collections feature intro articles, intro videos, K-12 activities, and 200 carefully selected and annotated multimedia resources from the research archive.

Site PlanThe Web Exhibition was designed to spark interest and provide context for numerous research materials. The interactive Site Plan (at right) allows users to zoom in and roll-over excavation site features. The Timeline (at right), Map and People gallery orient visitoTimeliners and highlight the project’s multi-vocal, multi-scalar approach to archaeology.

K-12 ActivityK-12 Activity
In this unique activity co-developed by a team of archaeologists, teachers, and curriculum developers, students use archaeological evidence and their own imaginations to reconstruct life in a Neolithic household, more than 9,000 years ago. The activity is designed for middle school students and can easily be adapted for other ages. This activity complies with Section 6.1 of the California History-Social Science Content Standards for sixth grade students, which requires that “Students describe what is known through archaeological studies of the early physical and cultural development of humankind from the Paleolithic era to the agricultural revolution.”

Ruth's RemixOn Remixing
Remixing Çatalhöyük is designed to advance the discovery of new ideas by facilitating the reuse of resources and ideas developed by the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük. The site features student projects, faculty presentations, multimedia websites, and other “remixes” of Çatalhöyük research data. We hope these examples inspire others to remix and reuse research data from this and other projects.


Visitors are encouraged to download, remix materials, and share their remixes using Archaeoblender. Archaeoblender was developed by the OKAPI team using ccHost, an open-source application developed by the Creative Commons for sharing and remixing multimedia content.

Second LifeOKAPI Island
Virtual Residents of Second Life –a multi-user online environment—can visit Okapi Island to explore 3D representations of Catalhoyuk as it exists today and as it may have looked in the past. During the Fall 2007 semester, a dozen students, faculty and staff will be completing construction of Okapi Island and preparing for a public program.

Okapi Island, location of Çatalhöyük in Second Life. Come Visit!

Okapi Island Project Wiki (Join Us!)

We provided a text version of the site to improve accessibility for users with low speed connections, screen readers, iPhones or other special needs.

The entire site (with the exception of the research database) was translated into Turkish by UC Berkeley Anthropology graduate student Burcu Tung and proofed by Stanford Anthropology graduate student Elif Babul. Tesekkür.

To maximize visibility and reuse, we have (or will soon) republished materials from Remixing Catalhoyuk in multiple locations, including Flickr, YouTube, Apple Learning Interchange, Connexions, Internet Archive, Wikiversity, WikiEducator, and CyArk. A future report will document the quantity and nature of traffic we receive from each site.

On Building Themed Collections
The design of our themed collections was greatly influenced by the process, products and findings of the Calisphere Themed Collections project as documented in “Handful of Things” article by Mankita et al in May 2006 issue of D-Lib Magazine.

Tips, Tools, and Templates
We paid special attention to documenting our process so that others could reuse our tools and techniques. This information is available in the Tips, Tools, and Templates section of the site.

Project Sponsors:
Paul Grey, Principal Investigator, Scholar’s Box; Professor of Engineering, UC Berkeley
David Greenbaum, Project Director, Scholar’s Box; Director of Data Services, UC BerkeleyRuth Tringham, Principal Investigator, Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk
Michael Ashley, Manager, New Programs, Office of the CIO, UC Berkeley

“Remixing” Team:
Noah Wittman, Project Director, Remixing Çatalhöyük
Ruth Tringham, Content Direction, Pilot Instructor; Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley; Principal Investigator, Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük (BACH) Project
Burcu Tung, Content Developer and Turkish Translations, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Elizabeth Ha, Media Manager, Video Production
Adrian Van Allen, Web & Interaction Designer
Ruth Tepper Brown, EditorOna Johnson, Curriculum Developer
Denise Phelps, Digital Media Specialist
Michael Ashley, Information Architect
Marc Moglen, Second Life Audio Producer
Daniel Wei, Second Life Scripting and Modeling
Elif Babul, Turkish Proofing
Joseph Coburn, Interactive Designer, Demonstration Tool
Rockman et al, Evaluators

Special thanks to the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük and colleagues for sharing their content and expertise.

This project was made possible with funding from the US Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE Grant #P116B040739). Additional support was provided by the Gilbert Fund, UC Berkeley’s Office of the CIO, Open Knowledge and the Public Interest, Multimedia Authoring Center for Teaching Anthropology, and the Archaeological Research Facility.

Brown Bag Presentation: Building Digital Collections for Campus Scholarship and K-12 Education

July 16, 2007

TITLE: Building Digital Collections for Campus Scholarship and K-12 Education
SPEAKER: Noah Wittman
DATE: 12 pm Wednesday, July 18
LOCATION: Room 101A, 2195 Hearst St.

KEYWORDS: Digitization, Digital Asset Management, Licensing, Metadata, Creative Commons, OAI-PMH, Dublin Core, Second Life, Remixing, Çatalhöyük, Curiosity Box, OKAPI, Themed Collections, Exhibitions, Extensis Portfolio, ccHost, Scholar’s Box, FIPSE, Calisphere, Anthropology, Translation/Localization, K-12, Web 2.0, Open Source

DESCRIPTION: Noah Wittman will share progress on the US Department of Education Scholar’s Box project, describing diverse technologies, practices, and models for building digital collections. In particular, Noah will discuss recent efforts to (1) pilot digital asset management tools and services for the UC Berkeley Anthropology Department and (2) develop teaching collections and an online exhibition featuring archaeological research materials—more than 75,000 photos, videos, and articles–describing Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement located in modern-day Turkey.

Learn more about the Scholar’s Box project:

Presentation_Slides(PDF) 2MB

Presentation Slides (PDF) 20 MB  (Better Quality Images)

Final Class of the CyArk Visualization Internship

May 2, 2007

final_class-copy.jpgThe final class of the CyArk Visualization Internship will take place this Friday, May 4th. All interested parties are invited to attend as students show off the work they have completed during the course of the semester and talk about their experiences within the internship program. The students have spent the last 18 weeks learning how to process and create content from High Definition Documentation data. The students also learned field collection techniques which they were able to practice in two real documentation projects, Cheney House on the Berkeley campus and Fort Winfield Scott in San Francisco’s Presidio. The internship participants also learned how to disseminate their content via the CyArk web portal. This Friday marks the culmination of a semester worth of hard work from the students and a chance for them to show off their final products. The presentations will begin at 11:00 in Room 12 of 2224 Piedmont Ave. Please email Liz Lee ( with any questions.

Interns Begin to Upload Content

April 10, 2007

cyark_screenshot.jpgLast week in the CyArk Visualization Internship, the interns learned how to upload content to the CyArk web portal. The Interns will be using the suite of CyArk Site Manager tools to upload, annotate and disseminate content from their field projects earlier in the semester. The students will work alone and in groups to create and upload content for the sites of Cheney House and Fort Scott. To check on their progress go to:

Constructing Knowledge & Virtual Places

April 7, 2007

Following are updates from two UC Berkeley undergraduate research apprentices who are recreating an archaeological excavation site in Second Life as part of the Remixing Catalhoyuk project. Curious? Come visit Okapi Island in Second Life.

Daniel Wei describes below how he used a 2d contour map to create a 3d model of the excavation site, which will take up the entire surface of OKAPI island.

Video of Okapi Island in 3d.


To generate a 3D terrain file for Second Life from a 2D contour map, I used a open source program called Backhoe. Backhoe is a small, easy-to-use program specifically used to edit Second Life terrain files, but it only works on Mac OS. For a windows program, I would suggest using Bailiwick which is also open source. On a side note, one can also use the built-iokapi_islandn SL terrain editing tools, but using third party programs is easier. If one only wants to read these .raw files without installing extra programs, one can use Photoshop. First of all, I found a 2D contour map of the Eastern mound of the Catalhoyuk site. The one I used does not have all the measurements, so rough estimates were used to generate the 3D image. This is a reeast_moundasonable estimate since the land is interpolated anyway once imported into Second Life. Backhoe includes a sample .raw file, which includes all 13 channels needed to define a Second Life terrain file. I first flattened the land to create a new slate to draw the mound. I then used the different tools: raising, lowering, smoothing, roughen, etc. to approximate the heights of the mound. It was also beneficial to make the contour map the same size as the editing window to get precise dimensions. It is easiest to start at the highest point of the image and work ones way down the terrain by raising the land in contours around the highest point. Once this is done, I use the smoothing tool to get a smooth surface, critical to get a good rendering of the terrain in Second Life. At the end, I raised the water level so that the island will have water on all sides. This file can then be exported as a .raw file ready for import into Second Life.

Audio producer Marc E. Moglen describes below how he created his piece entitled Çatalhöyük Invocation. Listen.

Upon entering the Second Life Okapi Island one hears (or may hear) a music piece entitled Çatalhöyük Invocation. The piece combines elements of the old and new, remixed into a cohesive sound experience.

Drums and other simple percussive instruments throughout reflect some possible instrumental sounds of the ancient civilization, and with added digital delay (echo) and reverberence resemble the sounds of working with tools and hands. Actual audio from scholars conversing at the dig site is chopped up, and with delay added becomes just the musicality of vocal inflection, as the phrases are incomprehensible.

A modern Turkish instrument, the saz, is introduced late in the piece along with changing percussive elements.

The sounds of birds (a midi file triggered by a midi keyboard, with added amplitude envelopes and reverberence) give a sense of some of the fauna on at the site. The piece ends with just the birds, as a transitional ending to the piece.