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The last few weeks have been irritatingly busy for me. It wasn’t until Monday morning when I woke up at 5:30 am (for no apparent reason) that I remembered to read the remaining chapters of Walden. Sitting on the back porch of my house, overlooking the inter-mural field and smoking my pipe, I came across this passage:
“At length the sun’s rays have attained the right angle, …cheered by the music of a thousand tinkling rolls and rivulets whose veins are filled with the blood of winter which they are bearing off.” – Walden. 294.
It was at this moment that the sun rose and the birds started chirping more energetically. Sometimes life is funny like that. Thoreau’s experiment into the woods has striking similarities to being the first person up on a Monday morning.
- Silence is a wonderful thing
- Nature should be marveled.
- You can get more done when nobody’s around.
… Okay, maybe he didn’t say this things explicitly, but they’re most certainly implied. Thoreau finds the perfect words to describe his surroundings and that is a gift. The knowledge that both he and the Jeffrey S. Cramer (editor) must have on Thoreau’s world is awe-inspiring with a hint of jealousy on my end.
It’s generally a cliché to talk about the weather in a personal conversation, tweet, or blog. So may the cliché gods enact their revenge on me if they must, but the weather this week has been fantastic. Finishing Walden this week could not have worked out any better with the snow thawing out as we reached 60°F today. As I write this now (on my back porch once again) the rain is starting to fall. It brings to mind Thoreau’s passage in “Solitude”. “Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain storms in the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon as well as the forenoon, soothed by their careless roar and pelting when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves.” – Walden pg. 128.
Thoreau’s favorite season is the Spring. He writes and extensible amount on the particular season. I was wondering why he enjoyed this season in particular. Then during Tuesday’s lecture, Marissa brought forth a very interesting point: “Walden ends in the Spring simply because Spring is a new experience, a new season, and maybe a new life.”
That was my “EUREKA!” moment. I realized everything that Thoreau was trying to convey. I quite possibly might speak for myself in this class when I say that I enjoy camping. Not necessarily camping in a tent like the Boy Scouts (though I did have my fair share at a younger age), or building a cabin by myself in the middle of the woods (The Wisconsin Division of Forestry would not approve), but rather the simple ability to leave society. If I can work it into my budget or work schedule, I rent out a cabin with some of my closest buddies and we go “off the grid” for a weekend. And it occurred to me why we schedule it in the Spring: We are officially out of the darkness and life begins again. Like Marissa said, Spring is a new experience, a new season, and maybe a new life. Maybe the old one wasn’t necessarily bad, but there’s always an opportunity to start over.
As a kid I always got a story before bed and it was also a classic fairy tale such as the Three Little Pigs or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. There has always been a long list of fairy tales that everyone knows of and has heard at one point or another. I do not recall ever hearing about new fairy tales coming about until I stumbled across a link in a post by Bethany Nowviskie.
500 fairy tales, myths, and legends have been released by a historian from an archive in Regensburg Germany. The fairy tales where gathered by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth from 1810-1886 in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz. Von Schönwerth traveled to different areas talking to all sorts of people taking down notes about habits, traditions, customs, and history. He later recorded them all in a book called Aus der Oberpfalz. The book was released to the public but never became popular and was soon forgotten.
While looking through some of Von Schönwerth’s work curator of the Oberpfalz cultural archive Erika Eichenseer found the 500 fairy tales and released them in a book. The collection of fairy tales includes versions of classic fairy tales as well as new fairy tales never heard of. The fairy tales are not all for children or younger people. Some of the fairy tales are more of a guide for people to follow.
The fairy tales will be translated into English so we may start to see some of them make their way into our storybooks. I was happy to see a collection of stories like these shared with the public so we can all enjoy them. It would be great if more archives shared their collections in this way.
If Henry David Thoreau was born in modern times, his final thoughts in “Walden” would classify him as a digital humanist. This is a broad statement, but after class discussion I believe that the final chapters are at the heart of what digital humanities is all about. Perhaps Professor Cordell brought out these aspects of “Walden for a reason, or perhaps I took something and stretched it. Whichever it is, I connected a few things about the definition of digital humanities and Thoreau’s thoughts while living at Walden Pond.
From our discussion in class I took away that Thoreau meant to end the novel in spring rather than any other season in order to show the renewal of life. Digital humanists use the same concept by renewing the life of historical texts, pictures, and artifacts. One of the digital humanities main objectives is to take old texts and bring them into the internet age. This process can be seen as a renewal for the archaic texts. The same is done with old pictures and artifacts which are photographed and then posted to the internet with a set of meta data.
Another similarity between Thoreau and digital humanists came up while I was listening to class discussion, the ship metaphor. Thoreau uses the metaphor of “living before the mast” or choosing to work his way through life rather than live off of his wages. My image of digital humanists is that they work hard on advancing the total amount of digitized human knowledge in order to allow future generations to access the knowledge even if the original copies are destroyed.
However, this concept of advancing the total human knowledge is challenged by Thoreau as saying modern persons are not as intellectually apt as the ancients, who had to remember all the knowledge. I beg to differ. I believe that human knowledge is ever increasing because we know how to access all of this information. The human population would not be as advanced if it were not for the ability to access other people’s work.
Maybe human brains have decreased in the amount of terabytes we can hold in our brains. But the sheer amount of the internet sources that we have access to only needs for humans to have the ability to index those sources in order to access them when need be. In this way human kind has advanced further than ever thought possible. If I had to remember everything I ever learned without a storage medium, be it paper or hard disk, schooling would take forever and I would likely have less to offer society.
For those of you who wonder how much data the internet can process; I found a neat link on what happens in one day of the internet. It proves that humans would be at a significant disadvantage if someone had not invented computers and the internet:
I found my posting inspiration from the article, “The Meta-Story: How Wired Published Its GitHub Story on GitHub,” tweeted by Jason Heppler. Most of the reason I persued this article because of the site it was published on, Wired.The subjected that was focused on in this article was GitHub, a website dedicated to helping software creators collaborate and share their most recent versions of software. GitHub had been deemed a useful technology so of course other fields, i.e. text editing, decided to try and utilize this new technology.Wired themselves ran an experiment by posting a story on GitHub, as a creative commons, to see what would happen. The result was, best worded by one of the text editors from Wired, that it became “a collaborative hell.” Multiple people were editing the same problem at once, there was a formatting problem and other little problems. to quote Moreover, “the experience was the strangest mixture of excitement and tedium.”
I find the new creation of GitHub to be a good contribution to digital humanities. Once a text editing version is created, GitHub will be super useful to everyone who has a need or reason to to share documents and updated versions of those documents. I know you can do a similar thing with documents on Google but I think the creators and site managers of GitHub will improve GitHub past Google Documents. From this example of GitHub having similar, yet better collaboration capabilities than Google Documents, we can see first hand how technology evolves. I believe this is neat because we have talked about early technologies of text such as the printing press and how it evolved and now we see a slightly smaller scale technology of text evolution it happening right in front of us. And lastly, to tie back into lecture, GitHub is a good example of the digital humanities priorities:
- collaboration with community
- helps accomplish time consuming tasks quickly
- public scholarship
- wider availability of resources
- Discovery/new perspectives/experimentation
- Developing new methodologies
- Looking more closely at the technology available to us/education
- Copyright, copyleft, creative commons, intellectual property, and scholarship
- Analyzing changes in language; understanding the future of communication
So I decided to do something a little different with this week’s blog post. Instead of talking about something we discussed in class or read/watched out of class, I decided I needed some help and where better to get some than on here! So, with that being said, I need your feedback. For my final digital project I originally asked Bill Van Ess for help and he immediately give me Father DePeaux name and number. Father DePeaux graduated in 1948 from St. Norbert and has been actively involved in a wide variety of campus activities ever since (For example, he was Bill Van Ess’ college and fraternity advisor). So I called him for an interview and he is excited to meet.
Here is where I need your help. Professor Cordell gave me an excellent idea for the interview: to talk about what St. Norbert College was like during World War II. Because he graduated in 1948, he would have been a freshman/sophomore when the War ended. I think this is a great idea however, I do not know what kind of questions to ask him. I have never interviewed anybody about war times because I know it can be sensitive depending on the person. I thought of some questions like “Were there any special classes to prep students for War at that time?” and “In general, what was it like to be a student of that time?” but I obviously need more. So as a class, what would you guys be interested in hearing about? Are there any main questions I should address to him?
Again, any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
You may be wondering why I quoted the movie, Tommy Boy… but I think you’ll understand once you read this post.
Dr. Cordell tweeted a link to a very interesting article that talks about wandering aimless on the Internet.
This article explains why people decide it is worthwhile clicking on, more or less, random websites when they really need to get things done during the day. I think I’ve seen a few of these people in the Mulva Library before. It turns out that the reason behind this unproductive trend is due to a lack of sleep.
A study showed that undergraduate students who did not sleep as long the previous night could not pay as much attention to a virtual lecture on a computer compared to students who got more sleep. This research actually showed a direct correlation between the amount of sleep someone got the night before and the amount of aimless surfing they did during the lecture.
“As predicted, the less students had slept the night before, the more they were likely to wander off from their assigned task. Conversely, every minute of sleep meant .05 fewer minutes surfing.” (Jones, 2012).
Christopher Shea, would conducted the study, said that a lot of overwhelmed people (almost everyone) try to catch up on work by going to bed later or getting up earlier, but he explains that might be worse for you because the less sleep you get, the less productive you could be the next day.
I think this is a common problem for many college students who feel overwhelmed with school and work and athletics and clubs, etc… Time management is something that students learn, but in the learning process comes many long nights and early mornings. My philosophy is that the more sleep I get, the better I feel and the more attentive I am the next day… and for those days when I don’t get enough sleep, I take a nap. But every now and then, one can catch me surfing the web without any purpose.
So the next time you see someone in the Mulva just wandering aimlessly on the Internet, you should suggest for them to go take a nap. Or when your mom comes into your room and says “GET UP!”, your response can be “Go away.. Need sleepy!” and your excuse will now be valid.
In today’s modern day, we have an abundance of information. With online advances, publication has become very easier. Anyone with access to the Internet can publish his or her work. This is a theme that has been in the back of my mind during our discussion over the Internet and whether it has created information overload and its implication. It is also why a certain tweet caught my eye. This tweet involved orphan works.
New In Custodia Legis post on Copyright: Orphan Works and FairUse in a Digital Age blogs.loc.gov/law/2012/02/
The problem associated with Orphan works is that the owner is often unaware of ownership or they have died. I became more interested at the causes behind it and did some research. I found through an excerpt of Neil Weinstock Netanel’s book, Copyright’s Paradox, it is mostly due to the fact that copyright terms are confusing and they are automatically renewed.
This has created a bigger problem for society. There are many instances when an owner cannot be found and their work is used anyways. Later, if the owner is identified, they can sue for copyright infringement. This has often hurts the availability of resources – an important objective for DH. I found this relevant to social media and the use of images. In the same article, they explained that around 80% of images online are unauthorized.
Many people have begun lobbying congress for them to solve this issue with legislation. They want congress to define the appropriate steps someone should take when they cannot find the copyright owner. They also want to congress to set reasonable fees that need to be paid if the copyright holder is later found.
There is a similar debate to this involving digitization and the fair use doctrine. The fair use doctrine allows various works to be used with acquiring permission. This has also been an issue that the law librarians of congress were studying in terms of how to balance the importance of digitization to the rights of owners. Google has been sued by many various book publishers.
There is an interesting study from the US Copyright Office:
It is fairly lengthy, but he executive summary raises some interesting questions:
1) How are the exclusive rights of copyright owners implicated?
2) What exceptions or limitations may apply, to whom, and in what circumstances? 3) To the extent there are public policy goals at issue, what could Congress do to facilitate or control the boundaries of mass digitization projects?
4) Are efficient and cost effective licensing options available?
5) Could Congress encourage or even require new licensing schemes for mass digitization?
6) Could it provide direction and oversight to authors, publishers, libraries, and technology companies as they explore solutions?
We’ve all heard about and, as women and men, have dealt with it…the notion that some fields are dominated more by one gender than the other. After taking a Women and Gender Studies course here at St. Norbert I have become even more interested in gender. I conveniently came across a tweet today by our Omeka guest speaker, George. He posted a link to an article about how to get more women in the field of programming. Here is the link in case you are interested in reading the entire article:
The article discusses that there usually are far more men in science and math fields and more women in the more “feminine” fields such as nursing and teaching, for example. The author discusses the “pipeline syndrome” in which middle school girls decide they aren’t good at math, and therefore don’t like it. Then in high school they don’t sign up for calculus, and in college feel as if they can’t take “intro to programming” because they feel like they are inferior and drop out. In order to encourage and get more women into the field of programming the author suggests a 2nd pipeline in which we look to other groups in related fields that would be deemed a good fit for programming. Some of these suggested are librarians, technical support and administrative assistants.
After reading, it really got me thinking about the ratio of genders of those in the digital humanities field that I follow on Twitter, those that have been guest speakers via Skype in our classroom and even how many men and how many women we have in this class. It seems to me to be a fairly even ratio of men and women. It actually surprised me when following people on Twitter how many women were involved in the field.
As I alluded to earlier, this article was really interesting for me as it looked at the relationship between the field of programming and gender. What would certain fields look like if they had more or less of one gender? This potentially could have a big impact on the field. We, in fact, are learning about just this in one of my Psychology courses. How would psychology be different today if they had not eventually allowed women to make some of the same contributions men were in the late 1800s, or how would the field be different if it remained that women were not to be granted Ph.D.s in psychology? The same can be said about the field of digital humanities and programming.
When checking up on Twitter, I saw that Brian Croxall had tweeted, “Great discussion on a great post. RT
@sramsay: Just wrote a long response to @miriamkp‘s piece on women and coding. miriamposner.com/blog/?p=1135&c…“. I read through the article and through Stephen Ramsay’s post…wow. I’m not even sure what to think about it. I find it sad that women who are talented and enjoy coding hit a dead end when they finally try to join the coding community. They are repulsed by the “culture” that resides there. While the men of coding are welcoming, they are almost too much so. I highly recommend reading the article and Ramsay’s post to see more in depth what was discussed.
How can this problem be fixed? I’m not sure. Maybe women could come together to form their own coding community first, and then join up with men? It should be able to be fixed by mutual respect, but it looks like that probably would take a while to learn.
Also, why should Digital Humanists be highly recommended to learn coding? Is it so they have more control over how they present and perform research, or something else?