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After class today, I was following random DH tweets and some how stumbled upon a blog by Stanley Fish at nytimes.com. I found it cute that he admitted to blogging because he seemed to be offended by the mere word “blog”. I decided to park on this article because I had noticed a lot of banter on twitter about this Fish guy and was curious to why everyone in the DH community was so defensive when discussing his views. I found that first, I really like his style of writing. It is articulate and even though he was not supportive of digital humanities, he did it with reasons, actual issues that I’ve thought about. Whether or not you like Fish, the issues he brought up in his blog post were relatable to a skeptical student who is still trying to understand the field. Regarding “text in progress”, Fish said something that made me think of the Machine is Using Us video, “Meaning everywhere and nowhere, produced not by anyone but by everyone in concert, meaning not waiting for us at the end of a linear chain of authored thought in the form of a sentence or an essay or a book, but immediately and multiply present in a cornucopia of ever-expanding significances.” This quote reflects my struggle for understanding because I really feel like I’m trying to hit a moving target. Some of the topics in this blog post were concerns about permanence, authorship, ownership and observations about tendencies of DH. Fish even said some positive things about DH such as how open access to scholarship may win over the public’s support because of the open invitation where in past decades, the humanities were exclusive to academics. Another way Fish thinks DH may be useful is that it can teach students skills that future employers will value. Here’s the link if any of you want to take a peek.
On another note, class discussions are going really well. I was thinking about the presentation on ancient writing and couldn’t help but think of psychology. When we are infants, we have the capacity to learn all the phonemes in the world. By a few months of age we already drop or collapse phonemes if the distinctions they make aren’t important to our first language. Language is a technology that informs writing which informs culture and this relationship is circular so I find it difficult to distinguish what started what or which technologies developed the others. When we were listening about writing as a technology, I was thinking language itself is a technology. It’s a tool we use to make our lives easier, more efficient, and productive. I thought that it was interesting that even in ancient Egyptian writings they thought it was important to use colophons, which I thought sounded like our discussion on data and metadata. So even back then, organization was important and it still is. That is why the Machine is Us/ing Us video scared me a little. The part where it inquired to who will organize all this data frightened me because it seems like such a daunting and enormous task. I think when I learn more it might not be so bad but for now, I’m still scared… but just a little.
Who knew video games could be the answer to a more streamlined and productive firm? There is a new concept that has been floating around since its inception in the not too distant past; that term is “gamification”. Wikipedia’s definition of gamification is the “use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences”. Companies now add video game features to their company culture in order to create a larger bottom line.
There are several ways to incorporate video game design and structure into a company. The one that I thought made the most sense was the incentive system. I own an Xbox 360 and as you complete in-game achievements you get what are called “gamer points” that accumulate and are displayed to everyone in the Xbox Live community. The same incentive method could be used in a company workplace. As an example, a weekly report can get turned in to a supervisor and the supervisor increases that employee’s name on a leader board. This system can break down long term goals into more manageable and reward-driven tasks. Employees may become more active in the company network and this can fuel productivity and cooperation. The incentive system can also lead to healthy competition around the office.
Another reason for the use of gamification is that almost everyone in America has played a video game at some point in their life. Whether it is the new Call of Duty game or a classic like Super Mario Bros, Americans are familiar with a public leader board system. This would allow for an easy transition into the workplace if employers implements gamification.
Finally, the blog summarized the “three F’s” that will make gamification successful for a company. These F’s include feedback, friends, and fun. Feedback encompasses the incentive system; friends refer to the team bonding and collaboration that may occur. Finally, fun is the hardest to achieve. Every employee may not have the same definition of fun, so it is an objective measure. Gamification can create a strong company culture of engagement and reliability.
The blog articles I read to create this post are from Gamification.
Thanks for reading!
I found the video, The Machine is Us/ing Us as very interesting. It really got me thinking about how far the world has come with technology, the internet, digital text, and how we share information. In today’s society the Internet allows us to stay connected in such a way that was not possible before its time. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become such a big part of how we communicate and stay in touch with others. With these forms of social media we are able to find people that we may have never otherwise been able to locate. Through these websites we can communicate with others with ease, share and tag pictures, chat with others, notify others of what is going on in our lives, etc. Facebook also allows us to make groups that pertain to our lives. For example, it is common for people to create a group on Facebook for the people of a graduating year of high school or college or other forms of school or work. Twitter allows us to follow our favorite athletes, celebrities, and people across the world. It allows us to post our daily thoughts and ideas for others to read and comment on. These sites have given us so many ways to follow our friends, family, and role models that we can now stay informed of just about anyone or anything we find important.
Websites like YouTube have changed the way we communicate. YouTube’s website composed of videos on just about anything and everything are constantly viewed by so many people in today’s society. The website has essentially given us endless opportunities to learn and teach one another through the video’s we watch and post. YouTube has brought forth a different way students can study and learn material for school, it has presented a new way to convey ideas and messages, it has given people a much easier way to display their talents, etc. YouTube has even made people famous that might not have otherwise been noticed.
The video, The Machine is Us/ing Us reminded me of how the internet is evolving with how we use it. When we type things into a search engine like Google we are telling the machine what we find interesting and what we are interested in. We are teaching it what is important to us and our society and what we would like it to provide more of. The websites that our society visits the most is what the people of the internet want to provide more of. We feed the machine by going on our favorite websites and the machine in turn makes more websites similar to our favorites and adds even more onto the one’s we visit most.
Technology will never stop moving. The internet has given us a simple yet incredible way to share information with one another. Our world today, somewhat revolves around the internet. I myself am very happy we have internet and I am sure many others are too. I cannot even imagine what new technologies the future holds for us and what advancements will be made with the internet.
One subtle theme I’ve noticed from this classes this week has been the theme of paper- or lack there of. It’s not exactly the “intended” theme or issue that we’ve been talking about or that I was initially going to blog about, but celery paper got me thinking and reflecting on the issue.
One obvious thing we’ve been losing with the progression of technology and text is the ability to tangibly hold all of the awesome documents we share. Just the other day, I was trying to mail something to someone abroad, but they said that the postal service is quite neglected in the past several years to the point that they wouldn’t get the letter for about a month. My friend suggested that I take a picture of my letter (that I had already spent the 20 more minutes writing, rather than typing) and send it via facebook or email. That’s just no fun!
Dr. Bolin mentioned today how much a font or the details portrayed in the font also give important meaning to the text. We miss that, or are limited with certain fonts and styles when we are typing things on a computer and not writing it out by hand. My group in the lab exercise on Monday noticed that it would be really hard to capture the fonts, colors, decorations, and styles from the old Norbertine diary and “translate” it to a computerized word document. I also really liked Jaclyn’s point in her blog, pointing out the fact that it really affects our handwriting skills today. It also can potentially affect the time and effort and thought that we put into what we write. I can’t imagine learning keyboard skills before handwriting skills, but who knows? Handwriting things may just become a luxury just like reading an actual book or letter is a treat/luxury.
A quick disclaimer- I’m open to the advantages that our technology advances bring: saving paper, saving time, saving space, and creating more connections worldwide (the list goes on…). We just have to remember and maybe be aware of some of the qualities that we are missing by using computers over papyrus or celery paper.
Today in class Dr. Bolin came in to teach us about “Writing Technology in the Ancient Near East”. He taught us about the earliest forms of writing, where they came from, how they were developed/used, and why people were able to start writing. Writing first came from permanent settlements that had plenty of resources. This abundance of resources allowed them to pursue “fun” things, because they didn’t have to worry so much about surviving. I had never really thought of this perspective, but it makes sense. Why would you take the time to develop a new “extra” technology if you needed to find food and shelter first? If it had been several days since I had a good meal, I would be contemplating how to get more food, not how to write down my thoughts.
The earliest writing was pictographic. These “pictures” were eventually rotated 90 degrees, and after that became symbols/signs that were representations of the earlier pictures. My question is, why did they rotate the pictures 90 degrees? Why didn’t they go from the straight pictures to symbols/signs?
Dr. Bolin provided many picture examples of the text technologies from Mesopotamia. I liked how the clay tablets could fit in the palm of your hand, and was amazed at others that were extremely small and detailed. I realized when looking at the “palm-sized” tablets that the physical size of this technology has stayed fairly consistent. The clay tablet is the same size as a memo pad, PDA, and Ipod Touch. It’s all based around the size of the human hand. You’d want the technology to be convenient and comfortable to use, otherwise it would be a hassle. (images courtesy of Google Images)
It was amusing to see that ancient people had to practice handwriting, too. At least they didn’t have eraser residue everywhere; they could just wet their clay tablet or paint over their board. Our society is becoming used to using keyboard or touch-pads to “write”. As we become more electronics-based, less emphasis is placed on neat handwriting. Will handwriting in contemporary society eventually become obsolete? I guess we’ll find out in the future.
I’m looking forward to discussing our semester projects!
Tech of Texts Norbertine Study challenges:
metadata: Gartner Diaries, Vol 1. Gartner, Maximilian John, 1846-1858, written by the Austrian Norbertine priest while traveling, arrived in Wisconsin until called back to the Witn Abbey in 1858. Diary Written in German
- numbered lists
- font and size changes
- page numbers
- underlining and bold formatting
- capital letters
- color for title pages
- roman numerals vs numbers
- note the water damage
- on page 19, images of clock drawings, compass
- paragraph alignment, formatting (ex: centering, left side)
- greek lettering/symbols
- note that the pages were thin, you can see the print on the other side
- front cover has a broken clasp
- leather binding with gold paint
- cross with design on binding
- calendar with declaration of intention could be turned into a digital calendar
- differentiate the language differences
- note the corrections: ex “West” crossed out and changed to “North”
- underlining with red
- numbering lists with 3rd smaller font
- some dates written in with different colors and different means, ex not pen
- written in black ink
By: Kelly Levenhagen, Tori Chenault, Laura Alderson, Maria Dzurik
Before we actually start marking up texts, we need to spend some time thinking about what features of physical texts matter most when creating a digital text. For today’s lab, then, look at the Wisconsin diaries of Fr. Maximilian Gartner, O.Praem. According to the Center for Norbertine Studies,
Fr. Gaertner arrived in Wisconsin in 1846, and remained in Wisconsin until recalled to Wilten Abbey in 1858. He worked primarily with another Norbertine of Wilten abbey, Father Adlabert Inama. Fr. Gaertenr’s diaries are an invaluable record of his travels and work in Wisconsin during these years.
Fr. Gartner’s diaries are mostly in German, which actually makes this diary useful for thinking about textuality without getting distracted by by its content.
For today’s lab, you’ll be working in assigned groups to identify the features of Fr. Gartner’s diaries that would be important to encode were you creating a digital edition of the text. As you work, consider:
- Features of the text itself, such as:
- The organization of the words on the page. Are there paragraphs, tables, lists, etc.? What kinds of textual organization would you need to be prepared to replicate?
- Stylistic features within the text. Might you need headlines, specific font faces (bold, italics, etc.), different sized lettering, etc.?
- Important images within the text. Are there photographs, drawings, or other images that you would need to represent in the digital text?
- The physical book. Are there features of the physical object that readers of the online text might find interesting?
- The text’s metadata. What might scholars and students want to know about this text? What metadata would enhance searching and archival grouping of this text? Don’t think only about what interests you about this text: think about posterity. What would someone 100 years from know want to know?
Compile your group’s results in a blog post and post it on the blog before class ends. You should include a list of the people in the group in the post and tag the post “lab.”
From the very beginning, from the moment I saw the name of the course, I became interested in “Technologies of Text” course. I was curious how the professor will be teaching this course, what exactly we will be doing during the course. I was looking forward for the first class. The format of the class, its assignments-everything was new to me! The digital project assignment certainly got my attention. Even though I’m not very good with technologies I’m looking forward to learn something new. I believe that we live by learning every day something new. One of the Russian philosopher’s said that at the day we don’t ask questions and don’t learn anything, we can consider ourselves dead.
I have never before discussed the concept of Digital Humanities. Of course, I have discussed terms “digital” and “humanities”, but not “Digital Humanities”. On Tuesday, we have discussed “What is Digital Humanities and What’s Doing in English Departments.” We were asked to give a definition of Digital Humanities. It was quite difficult. The reason is that digital humanities is a new study, which is still developing; it is an intersection of different sciences. We do not know the exact definition of Digital Humanities. However, we are very lucky, because we are witnessing the great changes happening in our world today. It is “like being part of a political movement and not yet knowing where the next critical thing may come from. (“Giving Literature Virtual Life”)
I see digital humanities as a new media. It is a new media, because it provides great opportunities for everyone; it is free and worldwide publicly accessible. However, people have to be aware of it and learn how to use digital humanities, so it will become truly accessible for everyone. Yes, some people argue that while data is simply provided, people will stop to analyze the information. I think it is not true. I think smart using of digital humanities requires much more analysis and intelligence.
I by myself want to learn as much as possible about digital humanities and analyze, and think about its future.
This week was to say the least, an enlightening experience. I must admit that I was not completely sure the material we would be covering and how we would be learning in Technologies of Text; I received my answer on the very first day, by doing!! I believe that the integration of twitter, this blog, and our digital project will greatly enhance my understanding of digital humanities. Continue reading
When I signed up for this class I had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was that it sounded a little bit interesting, and something that I would be able to benefit from in the future. After a couple days in class I am starting to understand the premise of what the DH’s really are. What helped me to start to figure it out were the news articles that we read. All of them gave me a little more insight on what DH’s are, where it is at today and where the scholars in the field would like them to be in the future. Continue reading