Category Archives: Uncategorized
For the collaborative project, my partner (Erin) and I decided on On the Origin of Species: The Preservation of Favoured Traces, a work that displays Darwin’s 6-edition text, The Origin Of Man, in a new and innovative way. The project itself is done with software called “Processing”. This software allows the viewer to ‘watch’ as changes and revisions among all 6 editions file into their correct place. Without giving too much of our collaborative project away, I decided to blog not about the Processing technology or even the project, but instead about just how truly flexible and versatile digital humanities is in its entirety. Erin comes from a Biology and Science background, while I come from a Business and Design background. These subjects are extremely different from each other, yet we are both excited and interested in our chosen subject. Digital Humanities is the backbone of our chosen project, but the tools and elements of digital humanities can aid in nearly any subject from any background. This particular project combines science, literature, history, and graphic design all into one condensed interface that is available for anyone to access. It combines countless pages of Darwinisms into one, quick, interactive image that many different people can use for many different purposes. The tools we have found and used in class can aid any researcher from any field in nearly any discovery, and I find it incredible how flexible (and time saving!) these tools are. Who would have thought I would actually kind of enjoy looking at Darwin’s 6 editions?
I recently came across a very passionate blog post by Tanya Clement that should be brought to everyone’s attention. I follow Tanya and I have come to notice that she doesn’t Tweet or blog very often, but when she does, it is definitely something you should look at. The recent post I am referring to is titled I am a woman and I am a mother and I do DH. (Here is the link: http://tanyaclement.org/2012/03/27/i-am-a-woman-and-i-am-a-mother-and-i-do-dh/ ). From her title alone you may be able to tell that she has faced prejudices in her career. She gives a brief background about herself and her school years while growing up. She was ridiculed in school for being the smart girl who took advanced classes and for being accepted to Harvard. If you think this judgment stopped after high school you are wrong. In her professional career she has faced many snarky comments and judgments from men, and even women, about her being in DH and having three children. She has been told not to go on the tenure track because she has young children at home. She was also told that a job she was applying for was not the kind of job where you can go home at night and kiss your kids to sleep. It is comments such as theses that make mothers with careers feel like second rate citizens.
I feel for Tanya and I am glad she has pushed through and overcome the speed bumps in her career because she is a woman and is a mother. I know I may face similar situations in my future because of my career choice and I know other girls will too. I am a female attempting to get my degree in a predominantly male field, physics. Here at St. Norbert I don’t feel ridiculed or less important, but that may also be because there is only one other physics major in my graduating class. Other places in my future may not be as welcoming and may be more judgmental, but I am already aware of this. I may not have faced as much judgment as Tanya has, but I definitely can relate to some of the things she has felt. I have a part time job waitressing and when customers ask me what I am going to school for, I frequently recieve shocked looks when I tell them I am a physics major. I get reactions from “Gross, why would you ever do that!?” to “Seriously?” I know that a lot of the shocked reactions come from the fact that physics is not a first choice for many people, but I can’t help to think that some of their shock comes from the fact that I am a girl.
This blog may not relate much to our discussions in class but I still thought it was important enough to bring to everyone’s attention. I think digital humanities, along with many other fields, have a different perception of men and women in that field. I enjoyed the fact that Tanya spoke her mind and shared her story. I think many female students will face gender biases as well as other judgments if they plan on being a working mother one day.
What distant reading is about? How it can help us? Is it helpful actually?….
I have never used tools like Wordle, Voyant or Ngram before. I found each tool very helpful, all of them pointed out some important moments of the text. I think this textual analysis might be compared to the summary/annotation of the book that we read on the back of a book; both summary/annotation and analysis prepare you for the reading. I had a lot of questions after I had my novel analysis, I felt that after doing it I am much more prepared for the reading because there are specific questions that interested me.
I like the fact that I can apply the knowledge of the distant reading tools in my other classes. Recently, in my senior Human Resource Management class we had to analyze the trends in the HR. Using Ngram, I could identify when specific terms were used, when new terms came up, etc. In HR class, I could see how helpful Voyant and Ngram can be for identifying common trends, especially when you have a lot of material to compare.
I definitely agree with Moretti, when he says that we need “distant reading”, because close reading cannot uncover all important points and trends. Yes, he mixes numbers and words and yes, he says that close reading might be not necessary sometimes. However, regarding distant reading we can learn more about literature by applying statistical skills across may texts. Distant reading helps us to identify the corpora, the historical trends and political changes. ”Comparing it to the dismal science (economics), Moretti’s approach is to close reading what macroeconomics is to microeconomics.” It is nice that due to a distant reading we can have a bigger perspective on literature- a macro level, whereas close reading provides us a micro-approach.
I felt that Wordle and Voyant were very good text analysis tools. The Wordle tool is very useful when you want to see an illustration of how repeatedly words are used. I feel having the ability to see the most common words as the largest words and the less common words as smaller words, really gives the user a perspective of what words are used the most and what words are not used very much. I really like how you can randomize the words and change the colors, shapes, order, and look of how the text is displayed. When changing how the text is laid out, it allows the user to see words that they otherwise may not have come across if not for this tool. The tool is very useful for people who want to concentrate solely on the words used in the text and not anything too in-depth.
The Voyant tool I felt was even more interesting. Rather than just focusing on an illustration of the words, you have the ability to see the frequency of all of the words and even see a graph of any word you decide to look into. The words graphed can give the user some key background on what happens in the text. A word is typically used in great depth at certain parts of text and less in other parts. The points where the word is used most, typically give insight into something that happens in the text. The Voyant site also gives the user the ability to see a very similar illustration from the Wordle tool, without the ability to customize the look of the words. Overall I really enjoyed using both tools and I would like to incorporate them into my future research and assignments.
As I work to really get a substantial move on my final project, I find myself in conflict with which forum to use. I completely understand HTML and know that I could do so much with it creatively and there are websites to help with those things I haven’t learned yet. However, as Dr. Cordell has pointed out, HTML does not translate to new media very well and therefore could become irrelevant as would my project. I don’t understand CSS or TEI very well and I find that Omeka is more of a copy and paste forum and lacks a real mode for expression of creativity. In a project, I would like my own expression to be able to show through in the design and layout instead of just using a template that someone else created and choosing left or right. I feel that when taking a work of art or literature and transferring it into digital form, there has to be an understanding of the text as art and creativity, a sort of connection between original author and new “author.” It is important to me that the design of the project emulates the work itself so it is not only my creativity, but my interpretation of the creativity of the work itself. I am looking at either archiving certain works of art or translating a few pages of one of the older books. Does anyone have any suggestions with how I could reach a happy medium? Thanks!
First of all, HAPPY DAY OF DH! I was unaware such a day existed until signing on to twitter this morning. Although some are more excited than others, there is definitely buzz surrounding this day of digital humanities. “My brain is not cooperating today” tweeted George online as he hash tagged “dayofdh” and “urgh.” Clearly not having his best day but as I searched the word trend of #dayofdh, I found many others tweeting about how excited they were for digital humanities to get recognition. Many took the opportunity to showcase their respective disciplines and others to reflect on how far the field has come such as University of Michigan’s Digital Culture Books who posted an article titled “Day of DH: digitalculturebooks Authors Reflect on Growth and Growing Pains.”
My favorite day of dh post was, by far, from Dan Cohen who posted two definitions for the “day of dh.”
First, the “uncharitable” definition:
“24 hours of navel-gazing and obsessive self-recording by members of a relatively young, slightly insecure field that already spends too much time defining itself or arguing over the definition of digital humanities, even though they basically agree.”
Second, a “charitable” definition:
“A group version of Reddit’s IAmA, which gives people unexpected insights into what day-to-day work looks like in a field, and which could be usefully extended to other fields so that outsiders or those interested in joining can understand better what disciplines actually entail.”
The uncharitable definition reminds me a lot of what I spoke about in my first reflection paper on how the posts I’ve been following have influenced my views of digital humanities. In my paper I spoke in some detail about how it is very apparent that the field has a lot of ironing out to do in terms of defining itself. This uncharitable definition is exactly what I was talking about. Although, it is only an opinion of one DHer, the mental image created cracks me up. Lastly, the charitable definition showcases what Cohen feels the day should really be about: opening the door for others to gain knowledge of the various fields and disciplines within digital humanities. I’ll let you decided which definition you choose to associate yourself with as you either celebrate or grumble at the day of dh.
Breaking my normal routine of using a tweet from Adeline Koh, I am using a link from Matt Gold this week. This interesting blog post talks about something we hear little about when discussing digital humanities: failure. So far in my exposure to digital humanities I have heard nothing except successes about projects and all the wonderful things they do but Katherine D. Harris reminds us that like any other field of study, digital humanities can fail. At the upcoming City University of New York digital humanities conference (put together by Matt Gold), she plans on discussing the failure of the Beard stair project, which was a student driven project that failed ultimately due to the fact that no one would be getting credit for it and that the whole class would have to do a independent study (which would be impractical.) Referring back to the beginning of our semester, I know we discussed the means of proper creditation in digital humanities so the fact that it failed partiually due to the fact of lack creditation is exemplary.
I was drawn to this blog because I thought it was strange to see the word “failure” in many blog titles, probably due to the fact failure is such a negative word. Even though failure has a negative connotation, Harris uses failure, as many educators do, as a learning experience. Harris says, “I want to focus on working with students outside the institutional boundaries and the different types of risk & failure for all of us. They’re working on a traditional scholarly editing project, but it will eventually live in a digital world. There are lots of problems to solve, some I don’t have answers to.” To conclude, I liked this blog because it aided me in realizing how real digital humanities is and how every field has its own ways of failing.
I know you have a countdown for Earth Day. This year it’s on a Sunday (it’s always April 22nd). Anyways, you may be wondering why I’m discussing it on our Technologies of Texts blog. Well, although the digital world coincides with some green motives (saving paper, etc.), I actually came across Thoreau’s history when I was researching some things about Earth Day.
When we Skyped Jeffrey S. Cramer a while back, I thought of asking, “What do all of you do there? I mean, it’s only one man. How much is there to study, publish, and research?” But I figured I could look into it myself, which is what I did. I was interested in what the people at Walden Woods Project and the Thoreau Institute actually did with their time. Other than giving tours and utilizing their ability to talk and think (like good Thoreau students do) about Thoreau all day, what kinds of things do they actually produce or do that would motivate people to fund this institute?
As Cramer discussed, they publish and break down new editions of Thoreau’s works, journals… pretty much everything. Needless to say, that takes up a lot of time and effort. Not only do they acknowledge Thoreau’s skill and work as an author, they admire Thoreau’s naturalist side by protecting nearly 80 percent of Walden Woods today with the help of other conservation organizations. There’s a cool map that describes the work that they do with the Massachusetts DOC preserving the land that Thoreau was also passionate about.
A cool group that I thought was connected, (but turns out is not directly connected) is the Thoreau Center for Sustainability. They have a twitter with some cool green tips if you’re interested in following as well.
Well, Thoreau lived long before the first Earth Day in 1970, but I just thought I’d share some of my findings as I thought it was cool to connect what we learned about Thoreau to some of my passions. I know that many people enjoy Thoreau’s works, but I thought that his impact that he still makes on people, creating jobs for them, inspiring them to improve and preserve the land, live their lives completely differently is even more amazing than any piece of writing.
4Humanities has an interesting tweet today, he says “when we can we start calling the digital humanities just ‘the humanities?’ click here,” which links to an article titled “The Prison-House of Data”. In the article, we learned there are more than 100 digital humanities centers spread across the globe, and dedicated digital humanities funding groups within the National Endowment for the Humanities and Microsoft Research. Obviously, digital humanities is becoming more and more important in academic areas as well as in people‘s everyday life. However, the scholars, in fact, are paying more attention to computer scientists and digital artists because many people think the digital humanity is just talking about data mining and data visualization. The digital humanity of course is more than that definition. We know the humanity is not only about the knowledge we learned, but also includes the methods we used to study the data. Same thing to the digital humanities, it should also refer to the methods rather than just the data itself. For making the digital humanities more close to the humanities, the scholars should build a better understanding to the definition of the digital humanities first, and then they would find a lot of interesting ideas within this topic. I think the digital humanities would become one of the hottest topics in the near future.
I have found this video on TED
two researchers, Jean-Baptiste Michel (Google/Harvard) and Erez Lieberman Aiden, a fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows explain how they have conceved the idea of n-grams, touch a little bit on the Google digital books project and show some profound and some funny examples of n-grams use.
What I would like to stress, is that n-grams in themselves are a tiny interface that feeds of enormous power of Google search and indexing engine. Every time you make an n-gram, millions of books are read from cover to cover in fraction of the second by robots, and they bake a result for you in the blink of an eye. It is not only the vastness of the data, nor it is the presentation that makes this so astonishing. It is the speed of aggregation. As both researchers point out, they just could read the books. Yeah, it is meant to be a joke, they never could, but robots can. What robots luck of course is the ability to interpret the data, yet. …sometimes I wake up in the cold sweat, thinking, “what if it becomes self-aware? As much as it knows about us, as much as it controls us, will it have mercy?…” If there are fans of “Ghost in the Shell”, “the network is vast”…