Category Archives: Uncategorized
It was very interesting to learn about HTML. It is worth to mention that I am not very good with technology at all, so HTML was something completely new to me. And… I actually loved this lab! I hope we will do more on HTML in our class.
I know that HTML exists for a long time, but I discovered it for myself just recently. It is always exciting to learn something new. I like learning new languages, so HTML was like a new language to me. The process of learning was actually very similar: you learn different characters, their definitions and how to use these characters. It is possible that not everything will work out from the first moment. But you know that understanding this language is a necessity in our time. You can use this language to describe important concepts. People back home say that without knowing English you will not have a good future; I can say that without basic understanding HTML (the language of web) at least, it will be very difficult in the future as well. I want to be able to read and understand the «schema» immediately, as I see it. We have to learn to identify different types of content within the «schema» (images, text). As in any process of learning language, we should develop our vocabulary and skills.
During this week I had a chance to learn more about the development of the writing, printing, encoding and observe the changes made to process of writing. I think, there should be no doubts, that HTML is a cultural artifact.
Since so many changes are already made to the process of writing, I had the question after the class about HTML: how long we will continue to use HTML?
Being someone with a direct interest in engineering, I found Tuesday’s discussion to be particularly interesting. The process of how printing came to be the most efficient process for producing textual documents is extremely similar to how project designers would proceed in the design of any modern invention. Starting with moveable type and eventually progressing to the steam press that automatically printed documents instead of pressing a few letters, rearranging the letters, and then pressing again. Inventions like these always catch my eye because of their influence on society. As discussed in class, the steam press fueled the modern mass media explosion.
Another example of this would be the invention and use of face-to-face web chatting. Monday’s crash course in HTML was a perfect example. A director of digital humanities at one of the biggest schools in the United States gave our class her infamous lesson via skype while sitting in a Los Angeles Starbucks. Despite the espresso machine and slow jazz in the background, the ability to talk in real time and share her screen allowed her to effectively teach us the basics of an instrumental tool in digitizing information. Even if the actual lesson didn’t make us masters of the HTML world, it definitely showcased bright ideas in the field of digital humanities. We may have previously seen skype and a means of communication in the past but now we are aware of its ability to share information and pass on knowledge. Advances like this are what continue to make digital humanities an exciting field.
On the other side, many of our new social media advances are seen as deterring our new generation from pure knowledge and learning skills. Daniel Cohen’s article “The Maddening Crowd” in The Chronicle Review highlights much of the controversy with today’s popular communication. (http://chronicle.com/article/The-Maddening-Crowd/124132/) “Just as the global expansion of fast food begat the slow-food movement, the next decade will see a “slow information” counterrevolution focused on restoring individual thought and creativity. The neo-Nietzscheans will advocate turning off (your computer) and dropping out (of Facebook).” It expresses how the romanticism of people compiling short and clever sentences (twitter) is over shadowing the skill of expanded thought and reasoning. People’s desire to indulge and expand on extended material is fading fast because our brains are being reinforced with the idea that we can get away with an attention span of five minutes at a time. Controversies such as this one will be highly debated in the upcoming years because their role in the advancement of digital humanities is crucial on every level.
Learning about the printing press is something absolutely fascinating to me as a person who loves words. I am drawn to the complexity of the process and the dedication of those who created the printing press. I could not help but flash back during my readings and during class to a field trip I took to the Cincinnati Museum Center.
I was probably a sophomore in high school and we were given free rein to wander some of the exhibits. So a friend and I wandered down to the set of an old-fashioned town, complete with docks, a river, a river boat, cobblestone road, and…you guessed it!… a print shop! We were not sure exactly if we were supposed to go in, but we opened the door anyways because we were just too curious! A few minutes later, a man dressed in period clothing came in and instead of kicking us out like he should have because turns out we actually were not supposed to be there, he stood with us for a good 15-20 minutes showing us all of the gadgets, the ink, the individual letters, etc. We were honestly enthralled by all of the huge equipment and the hundreds of letters and symbols! As if that wasn’t enough, he even let us design our own pages and printed one for each of us! It was so fun to experience printing hands-on, making sure everything is on backwards and right side up, all clamped down in the right place, and that the ink is the right consistency.
We both went home with a special souvenir that night but even more a great memory! It was like stepping back in time to a completely different world devoid of text messages, keyboards, or even type writers! I truly gained a new appreciation for the words I use in all my writing and for all of the technological advances that make it so easy for me to quickly express myself…this post being a prime example!
In the past week we have jumped around quite a bit, but I found the different topics intriguing. Having a lecture via Skype was a first for me. I’ve never taken online classes with online lectures or followed any live streams of someone giving a talk, but I think it’s a good idea. Having guest speakers in the class room by way of the internet allows us to experience different teaching styles from all over, rather than just local guests or professors. No one has to spend time traveling; it is a more convenient way of introducing new people into the classroom. I enjoyed learning the basics of HTML and I am excited to learn more. The programming aspect of internet websites interests me because it gives you incite as to what happens in the background. I’m interested to see how our other online guest lectures will be and what we will be learning.
I also took a look at the video about the Gutenberg printing press. This new technology had sped up the process of producing a book, but it still took a long time. Watching the video of the press in action really puts perspective on how long it would actually take to create a copy of a book. The machine itself is very large and all it does is print one page at a time. The movable type made things a great deal easier when it came to making up the template for that one page. There would be two people working at all times and you would need a very strong person to pull the handle to work the press. All that effort goes into just one page. Once they were done making prints of one page, they would have to arrange the letters for the template of the next page. They showed one of Gutenberg’s printed bibles, and it is an extremely large book with many, many pages. I wonder how long it took them to make just one bible. I also think about how Gutenberg would react to our technology that we have in our time. When we want to print off a page, we just hit the print button on the computer screen and the information is sent to the printer. Within a few seconds, our printed sheet of paper is ready for us. There is no physical labor, no arranging letters and essentially no effort. Just a click of a button and it’s done. Thinking about where we started in society to where we are now shows just how far we’ve come.
Friday’s experience in the Center for Norbertine Studies really helped me brainstorm about ideas for my project. Physically being in the room where I would most likely be getting my sources helped me narrow down my ideas to either a OMEKA collection of Abbot Penning’s life using the images found along with the meta data included on the Center for Norbertine Studies web page or to create a digital archive of Father Keys fana collection located in JMS. The fauna collection is something that really interested me due to the fact that it relates to my major. I must admit that I am not really interested in politics or religion but I am interested about Biology; as Dr. Cordell said the project will most likely be a higher quality if we are actually interested in our project topic. I think I will be enjoying my project:)
Also this week, we read something about Blake and his poetry as well. Honestly, it was slightly confusing that we went from hands on html exercises and going to the Center for Norbertine Studies to learning history. Yet, all and all I would say that our discussion on Blake was interesting and enlightening. Our discussion of Blake and his illuminated printing brought up many questions for me. For example, did Blake think his illuminated printing was going to be influential down the road of developing technology? Was he unknowingly initiating Digital Humanities? I have not yet answered my own questions due to the fact that I find the text and his poems to have meaning beyond the mere words and text present in the works. I hope that further discussion on Blake will help me fill in the balnks and gain a better understanding of what events leading to today’s Digital Humanities.
Click here to view the tweet that Keri Thomas wrote on twitter which was a reposted quote from the original website source: emto. Keri Thomas is a Digital Humanities PHD student of Aberystwyth University.
In the first sentence it states, “We need collaboration, not lectures (emto, 2012).” I agree with this comment and I believe this is highly relevant in our class. Our Technology of Text class in my eyes is more about collaboration than about lectures. Many classes in college are strictly lecture based and have limited collaboration. Contrarily, our class has a lot of collaboration and discussion. The class gives us the freedom to say how we feel about different forms of text or ideas and learn from one another. I feel this format is very effective and really makes learning intuitive and easier to understand concepts. The blogs we do every week are a form of collaboration when read and reflect on the writings that our classmates post.
The second comment states, “We need to learn concepts, not singular facts (emto, 2012).” I believe this statement is also definitely true. Concepts give us ideas and meaning to information. Facts are simply statements of something that happened or something said to be true. I believe learning concepts helps us understand things better than when we just know facts. Concepts enable us to know more than just simply when or how something happened. They allow us to understand why something is important. Facts for the most part, only tell us when or how something happened they do not always give us the meaning and reason for why something is important or why something happened. In many classes at St. Norbert, the professors teach why it is important to know concepts, not just how to get the right answer. This to me makes a lot of sense. For example, if you can plug numbers into a calculator and get the right answer on a math question, but you do not know what the number means or what you are doing, the number is meaningless. In short, people may know certain facts but not know what the facts mean which essentially makes the facts insignificant. Concepts enable us to fully understand material and the facts then come second to them. If you can understand a concept, it is much easier to understand the facts. For example, if you know the marketing concepts of being market oriented and sales oriented you will almost always remember facts that go along with the concept. You will then more than likely remember that Netflix is a market oriented business.
The third comment is, “We need networking and socialization, not isolation (emto, 2012).” This too makes sense. When we network and socialize we communicate our beliefs and listen to others. This allows us to learn from others and keeps us in touch with others. When we are in isolation, we do not have the ability to express our ideas and learn others ideas. We are social creatures and it is in the nature of human beings to communicate with others and be in contact with others.
The fourth comment is, “We need interactive learning, not to sit back and listen (emto, 2012).” Interactive learning promotes much improved learning than just sitting back and listening. When we sit back and listen, we do not get the same level of learning, because we are not actively engaged. In interactive learning we do our part in learning and we do not just simply listen to what someone is saying. It is a give and take process where we communicate our thoughts and ideas and our questions and concerns and in turn we listen to what the responses to our questions are. When we lay out our ideas and thoughts we are able to get feedback from others and find out whether they agree or disagree with us. After getting feedback from others, we can then feel very confident and assure in our position or feel like we need to rethink the way we feel on the topic or idea.
The fifth and final comment is, “We need new outcome objectives, not standardized tests (emto, 2012).” Standardized tests tend to make students look at very specific information and sometimes just memorize information rather than learn it. Outcome objectives allows students to become familiar with the central theme of topics and learn what to take out of different material. I feel standardized tests tend to check our memory on specific information that we tend to forget very quickly after we no longer have to remember it. Outcome objectives I believe help internalize information and help us to retain it, because through readings, collaboration, or lectures we ultimately remember the central objectives and main points of what we did and this information tends to stay with us.
In conclusion, I thought it was a good idea of Keri to tweet this quote that was originally posted on the emo website. I felt it was right on the money with how school should be setup and what students need to do to learn effectively. I myself have questioned whether school was setup to best equip us to learn what we would like to learn in a particular field and if it ultimately helps us in our careers. The different ideas the emo website came up with, sum up many of the ideas that I one time or another questioned. I believe that schools need to question whether the way they are teaching is the best way possible for the students and look at what is being taught to ensure it is what will ultimately teach students of things that will help them in the future.
“4Humanities | Bloomsburg U. Undergraduate “Manifesto” on Digital Humanities.” Early Modern Thought Online: The Blog. EMTO, 30 Jan. 2012. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://emto.tumblr.com/post/16724331907/4humanities-bloomsburg-u-undergraduate-manifesto>.
I found these terms to instantly spark my curiosity. I feel that I encompass both technophilia and technophobia at different times during this course and much like a good tennis game, these opponents are keeping me guessing. At this point I’m unsure of which will be the “winner”. Learning about how text has evolved in history is exciting to me. There is so much innovation and creativity that we can witness from the inventions and the rebellion to use them in Blake’s case. On the other hand, there is considerable concern that our technological advancements are eating up our time and creating a dependency. The reason I say “eating” up our time is because from the psych literature I’ve perused casually there is an underlying theme of urgency associated with modern technologies (smartphones, twitter, facebook). This, in my opinion, is due to the expectation of instant access. For example, someone calls and you run to the phone or a professor emails you at 9am and your class starts at 10am and they expect that you receive their email. This sociological trend of instant accessibility is disagreeable to me. I even find blogging to be discerning because once I post this you can all read it and I typically like to keep my opinions and such to myself.
After the lab on HTML I looked up Miriam Posner’s blog and found some comfort in that she asserted technology’s usefullness yet advised to search with caution. In Miriam Posner’s newest blog post she gives a fresh perspective on how digital archives will certainly never be perfect. This blog post was what prompted me to think about whether I’m afraid or excited about the digital project coming up. She explains her discontent with technological utopianism which is basically a belief that technological advancement (academic or otherwise) will bring about perfect societies. She refreshingly warns us to remember that people organize archives and so there will be some omissions or biases but that doesn’t detract from that the archives are inherently useful tools. So as I continue juggling my personal technophilia and technophobia, I am feeling much better about my position on the DH because people that are active in DH and people that abhor it profess the same (if by a different degree) balancing act that I do.
This week we learned basic HTML. In order to practice this form of writing/code more, this post is entirely written in HTML. Although I’ve used Skype several times, I’ve never used it in a classroom setting. It really is amazing that you can have an almost “real time” class lecture with someone who is across the nation.
Today we talked about Blake, the printing press, and the various progressions of text technology. I had never really thought about the transition from scrolls to codex form. I wonder what the response was when codex form was first introduced? Did people think it was weird, and that it would never become more than a novelty? Or, were they amazed by the new technology and its convenience? The days when scrolls and codex form books were both around and used were probably pretty interesting. How would they have stored the mixed forms together? As they transitioned to all codex, would they have had to change storage structures?
I watched this video a few years ago, and just rediscovered it because it is related to this topic. Although it’s not exactly historically accurate, it is a funny interpretation of the transition from scroll to codex.
When we were discussing Blake’s printing process of using acid, it sounded familiar. But, I had never associated it with printing books. Some of my friends used a similar process to make art prints. Were the movable letters that Blake used also made in this way, or were they carved? Did he or others ever want to fix imperfections in the text? I could imagine them doing this by painting over imperfections, similar to using whiteout. Does anyone in today’s society still print books like Blake? It would be interesting to compare their work with Blake’s work.
Before class today, I watched the video on how early printing presses worked. I always imagined a huge press that took up an entire warehouse, not the press that was in the video. Before this class I had always thought of the printing press as technology, but not the finished book. That got me thinking, do I believe the machine that makes the kindle or the nook as technology but not the actual product? Certainly not. To think of a book as technology is only foreign to me because it has been around all my life.
The printing press brought about mass media, but William Blake put his own spin on printing. Most printing presses had images that were formed with acid being poured onto the mold and allowing it to eat away where the picture should be. Blake used an acid-resistant ink that he could use and then pour acid on in order to eat away the negative space. Blake could then add color dust to create splendid images. In class today I learned that each press used much different technology, rather than the same mass produced press.
Blake’s press made me wonder how technology will continue to evolve. Will we stick to the quickest mass production techniques that have made capitalism so successful? I hope the world does not skip over more expensive technology that may be more beautiful or more useful than the cheaper, more marketable technologies.
Life moves faster today than it did in the fast so maybe certain technologies have been lost to the past already. Is Blu-ray really the king of video? Are MP3’s that highest quality music we can create? In a few hundred years scholars may be searching for “old” technologies that were just a blip on the radar of today’s society.
I never realized how much work and attention can go into making one page of printed press until I read the article called: “Illuminated Printing”. I always knew that it took a while and could be a huge pain but after looking at some of the poems by Blake, I am amazed! His pages are a combination between beautiful poetry and outstanding works of art. You can stay on one page for what seems like an eternity just looking at all the detail that goes into it. Speaking of detail, in the article it states exactly what he did (“…the design’s outline was traced with a needle through an acid-resistant “ground” covering the copper plate and then etched with acid. The engraver went over these slightly incised lines with burins and engraved the plate’s entire surface, uniting all parts in a web of crosshatched lines.”), it dumbfounded me. It’s not hard to see why it could take up to six months to make a book.
When you can only produce such a little volume of books they almost become more of a collectors item, which is exactly what seemed to happen with Blake’s works even though there was not a huge demand for them. This got me thinking about modern day printing. Obviously we can print more efficiently than back then, but how much? To give myself some insight on this question I looked up how many Harry Potter books have sold since it was first published in 1997. The answer: 450 million copies! That’s 30,000,000 copies a year or roughly 82,000 copies a day!
I would have never of guessed in a million years those numbers. To me, the best part about this class is comparing the past with the present and then wondering what’s to come in the future. In a couple hundred years from now will 30,000,000 books a year look like 3 books in six months?