Informatics helps illuminate Arizona history

July 2, 2010

Two popular nationally broadcast television shows are benefiting from expertise found at Arizona State University in the growing field of informatics.

Producers of the PBS programs “History Detectives” and “Antiques Roadshow” recently called on the skills of Jeremy Rowe, a researcher and learning resources specialist in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Download Full Image

Rowe’s work in informatics has included three-dimensional modeling and visualization and data mining, as well as his work with historical authentication and analysis of photographs and other visual records.

An episode of “History Detectives” scheduled to debut July 19 (locally on KAET-Channel 8) will include a story revolving around a sketchbook from Rowe’s own collection of historic photographs and images. The book dates from the early 1850s and provides one of the earliest visual documentations of Arizona.

The sketchbook was used by artist Henry Cheever Pratt during his work with historian and writer John Russell Bartlett on the 1851-1852 U.S. Boundary Survey that established the southern border of the United States after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and before the Gadsden Purchase established the current border in 1853.

The book includes a number of Pratt’s original sketches of landscapes and settlements in the Yuma, Gila River and Picacho Peak areas, as well as drawings of Pima Indian villages that were later incorporated into Pratt’s paintings of the Southwest.

The history detective for the story is associate professor Eduardo Pagan, a Southwest history expert and the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History in the College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU’s West campus. 

Rowe had been assisting producers of the “History Detectives” series with background research for potential stories for future shows. In the course of that work, a brief discussion about the sketchbook led to it being selected as a topic for a new episode.

Rowe’s extensive research on visual history has also led to a role as an appraiser of photographic collectibles for an episode of “Antiques Roadshow” taped recently in San Diego. It is expected to air during the show’s 2011 season.

He also has worked for the PBS documentary show “American Experience,” assisting with research for episodes on famous Old West Arizona lawman Wyatt Earp and Chiricahua Apache leader Geronimo.

Rowe has been applying his expertise and informatics knowledge to developing collections of historic photographs and images for almost three decades.

He has developed skills in the use of methods and technologies for information discovery, development, organization, and managing collections, including digitizing collections of photographs and visual materials.

These techniques have been employed in research of photographic history and in fields such as visual ethnography – a branch of anthropology involving the identification and scientific description of distinct cultures.

He has been the Arizona coordinator for the Library of Congress American Memory project and worked on collections for the Smithsonian Institution and the renowned Huntington Library in California.

Rowe is a humanities scholar for the Arizona Humanities Council and has written two books and numerous articles about the photographic history of Arizona. He regularly works as a consultant for regional museums, including the Phoenix Art Museum, Sharlot Hall Museum, Desert Caballeros Museum, Mesa Southwest Museum, and Sky Harbor International Airport cultural exhibitions.

He has twice been co-chair for the National Stereoscopic Association national conferences, and has served on the board of the national Visual Literacy Association.

Rowe is a member of the board of directors of the Daguerreian Society, which focuses on visual history and the cultural impact of photography in the decades just after its invention in 1839.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Athletics places 22nd in Learfield Sports Directors' Cup

July 2, 2010

With six teams scoring among the Top 10 nationally this year, including a pair of Top 4 finishes in the spring, Arizona State University has accumulated 792.25 points in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup to finish the 2009-10 academic year 22nd among the nation’s NCAA Division I institutions, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced Thursday. Fifteen Sun Devil squads contributed points toward the overall total in the Cup standings, which is presented annually to the top all-around athletic department in the nation.

The overall winner was Stanford, who scored 1,508.50 points with the remaining teams in the Top 5 consisting of Florida (1,310.25), Virginia (1,253.25), UCLA (1,124.00) and Florida State (1,087.50). The Pac-10 Conference had 8-of-10 institutions in the Top 30 and all 10 in the Top 79 on a list of 278 NCAA Division I schools that scored this year. The five Conference teams ahead of ASU all placed in the Top 15, including No. 1 Stanford, No. 4 UCLA, No. 9 California (1,013.50), No. 13 USC (906.50) and No. 14 Oregon (878.50). Download Full Image

Two Sun Devil squads concluded their seasons in the Top 5 nationally with Melissa Luellen’s women’s golf team and Greg Kraft’s men’s outdoor track & field team both placing fourth at their respective championship events to earn 80 points for the department. Baseball, under the direction of first-year head coach and 2010 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Tim">">Tim Esmay, scored 73 points with their seventh-place finish while Kraft’s men’s indoor track & field squad also finished seventh to earn 72 points. The final two teams in the Top 10 both finished ninth overall, including Randy Lein’s men’s golf team and Clint Myers’ softball squad, who collected 68.25 and 64 points, respectively.

Three teams opened the scoring with points in the fall championships, including both cross country teams and the women’s soccer team. Louie Quintana’s harriers collected 62 total points as his men placed 19th (36 points) and his women finished 24th (26 points) while Kevin Boyd’s soccer team was 33rd overall to add 25 points. Following the fall, the Sun Devils ranked 64th overall with 87.0 points.

ASU climbed to 40th overall by the end of the fall with 351.0 points scored as five other teams added to the point total. Along with the men’s indoor track & field team, points were earned by gymnastics, both swimming & diving teams and the wrestling team. First-year swimming head coach Dorsey"> Tierney-Walker, along with 12th-year head diving coach Mark">">Mark Bradshaw, led the women’s team to a 22nd-place finish (51.5 points) while the men were 24th (50 points) following the NCAA swimming and diving competitions. Another first year coach, Shawn">">S... Charles, led the wrestlers to a 30th-place finish to add 44 points while John">">John Spini, who recently completed his 29th year with the gymnastics program, saw his women finish 25th overall for 46.50 points earned.

As is the case each year, the spring sports is where the Sun Devils scored much of their points as seven of the eight eligible teams advanced to postseason action and scored in the Cup standings. Along with both golf teams, men’s outdoor track & field, baseball and softball, the Sun Devils added points from women’s tennis and women’s outdoor track & field. Sheila McInerney‘s tennis team finished 17th overall (50 points) as her squad competed in the NCAA event for the 23rd year in a row in her 25 years at ASU while Kraft’s women finished tied for 46th in the nation to collect 26 points.

ASU has finished between fourth and 22nd in each of the past five years with finishes of 22nd (2009-10), 12th (2008-09), fourth (2007-08), 10th (2006-07) and 13th (2005-06).

The Cup, which has carried the names of several different sponsors, was started in the early 1970’s by the Knoxville Journal with the newspaper awarding points based upon finishes in the national meets and tallying three standings: men, women and combined. Under that format, ASU climbed its way into the Top 5 on several occasions as a combined program, finishing second in 1981 after placing third in 1976, 1977 and 1978. When USA Today took over compiling the numbers in the late 1980’s, the Sun Devils finished in the Top 10 on several occasions as a combined program with their highest finish coming in 1990 when they finished fourth after the men were fourth and women fifth in their separate divisions.

Arizona State in the Directors’ Cup Final Standings
2009-10 - 22nd
2008-09 - 12th
2007-08 - 4th
2006-07 - 10th
2005-06 - 13th
2004-05 - 11th
2003-04 - 17th
2002-03 - 10th
2001-02 - 15th
2000-01 - 9th
1999-00 - 11th
1998-99 - 12th
1997-98 - 12th
1996-97 - 13th
1995-96 - 21st
1994-95 - 12th
1993-94 - 10th

2009-10 Directors’ Cup Top 5 & Pac-10 Finishes
1. Stanford (1,508.50)
2. Florida (1,310.25)
3. Virginia (1,253.25)
4. UCLA (1,124.00)
5. Florida State (1,087.50)
9. California (1,013.50)
13. USC (906.50)
14. Oregon (878.50)
22. Arizona State (792.25)
24. Washington (770.75)
30. Arizona (683.05)
68. Oregon State (284.50)
79. Washington State (217.50)

Sun Devil Teams Scoring in the 2009-10 Directors’ Cup
80.00 - Golf (W) - 4th place
80.00 - Track & Field (M/Out) - 4th
73.00 - Baseball - 7th
72.00 - Track & Field (M/In) - 7th
68.25 - Golf (M) - 9th
64.00 - Softball - 9th
51.50 - Swimming & Diving (W) - 22nd
50.00 - Swimming & Diving (M) - 24th
50.00 - Tennis - 17th
46.50 - Gymnastics - 25th
44.00 - Wrestling - 30th
36.00 - Cross Country (M) - 19th
26.00 - Cross Country (W) - 24th
26.00 - Track & Field (W/Out) - 46th
25.00 - Soccer - 33rd