Muckle Ado – the blog

Screenshot of's home page on May 19, 2012Robbie Burns knew about having a lot to do - which is what the Boat Song is all about. To have “muckle ado” is to have “much to do” and this makes it a fitting title for a blog. Muckle Ado starts with writings from 2005 when I started blogging for school assignments, carries through to my undergraduate graduation from Women’s Studies, shifts into writings about History for my Masters program, and in between, all around, and since are tech reviews, thoughts on family, life, the universe and everything.

Virtual Museum Canada

cover image from Mennonite Memories of Pelee Island online exhibit
When the Essex-Kent Mennonite Historical Association received a grant to create a virtual museum exhibit about the history of Mennonites on Pelee Island, Ontario, from 1925-1950, they hired me because I offered a combination of technical expertise and a background in Pelee Island’s social history.

Volunteers collected photos from families near and far, and two local teens recorded interviews with community members as they browsed the photos.

My job was organizing and editing the masses of visual, textual, and audio data and using software from the Virtual Museum of Canada at the Canadian Heritage Information Network to create the exhibit. I worked with am currently working with a team of subject experts to review the exhibit content and the site is scheduled to launch sometime in late April 2012 and the site is now live!

Visit Mennonite Memories of Pelee Island, Ontario, 1925-1950.

ProfHacker OpenSearch Plugin

Firefox search options in a drop down menu

Photo credit: Brian Croxall

I’ve been a regular reader of ProfHacker since its launch (i.e. before it moved to the Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs). The tips and tutorials are helpful – and usually timely. I found the site so useful that I was constantly sharing links with colleagues, but I’d accumulated so many bookmarks that sometimes finding the right article was a challenge. What I really needed was an easy way to search the site.

I took this as an opportunity to create a Firefox search plugin using OpenSearch. Then, when I needed to find something on ProfHacker, I could use the browser search bar (using Ctrl+k / Cmd+k) to choose ProfHacker from the list of available search engines.

Once ProfHacker moved over to the Chronicle of Higher Ed, the site specific search plugin broke, but the tool was great while it lasted.

Hacking Wearables

In 2010, I went to the Great Lakes THATCamp and was able to attend a “Hacking Wearables” workshop with Bethany Nowviskie and Bill Turkel and I made a bracelet. It’s hand-sewn out of felt, with various crisscrossing bits of fabric and French knots. A circuit sewn with conductive thread connects the battery with a small LED:


a felt bracelet with a circuit sewn with conductive thread which lights a small LED bulb

Mapping the City of Windsor’s Open Data

This map uses open data from the City of Windsor Open Data Catalogue. If you’re interested in the process used to make this map I’ve included step-by-steps at the bottom of the page. Drag and zoom to explore.

Key to icons:

red dot Large red = Community Centres
purple dot Large purple = Libraries
blue dot Large blue = Arenas
green-circle Small green = Heritage Sites (listed & designated)



This is how I made this map, but not exactly what I’d do next time. See note below.

  1. download csv files from the City of Windsor Site
  2. refine data using Excel* (see note below): columns were in different order on different spreadsheets, not all included all columns, added data type and icon type.
  3. import all spreadsheets into Google Fusion Tables
  4. modify data to recognize lat & long coordinates as Location
  5. Visualize map to view the data points on GoogleMaps.
  6. Embed map in blog.
  7. Share!

*Next time I plan to use Google Refine to clean the data. Working across multiple spreadsheets was a pain.

Total time to make the map: 30 mins.