This spring, I’m super excited to be part of the ChiPy mentorship program. I’ll be working with my mentor, Ulas Keles, on a project that’s having me dive into the language and to put out a finished product at the end.
My project will explore the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Online Catalog API, which offers a huge repository of historical imagery. I’m particularly intrigued by images where the location is a best guess — those with the word “probably” in the title. I want to make make a web app that allows the user to input a location (likely one they know well), and then receive an image that’s “probably” that place.
Where I’m coming from:
Two things I’ve learned these first few weeks:
Make it analog. I read once that you retain only 10 percent of what you read and see and way more of what you hear or write down. Those numbers are probably bogus, but I know my learning style requires me to take it off the keyboard. Ulas and I drew a (very simplified) map of how the internet works on a whiteboard, and as I’ve been learning Python syntax, I’ve been scribbling a notebook full. That’s been hugely helpful.
Start simple. My mentor suggested starting with the simplest task in this project: pull a search for “probably Chicago” from the LoC API, and filter through it. When you begin any project, you never know what you don’t know. But as a beginner, I’m finding that every time I run some code, my concept of what’s possible is expanded. And that makes everything a little less daunting, a whole lot more exciting.