Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Author: Hank

Jack the Ripper Project

Jack the Ripper is one of the most interesting projects because we used various digital methods in illustrating the story of Jack the Ripper. We were able to use neatlines to create exhibits that show the detailed information about Jack the Ripper on Omeka. We enjoyed learning to create websites because personal domains are quite useful in sharing knowledge on the Internet. Our group members are Hank Wang, Andrew Rocha and Danielle Lee.

Jack the Ripper website –

Network Visualization

Untitled work in progess

Web Mapping

We are exploring three types of mapping tools in building the visualization of Cushman Collection data this week. These mapping toolsets are Google Fusion, Palladio and CartoDB. Each enables scholars to learn research projects more efficiently. I believe Google Fusion offers some of the best user interfaces because it gives an organized view of data. People will be able to click dots on maps to see the detailed descriptions of photographs. This feature results in more fun and interactive learning experiences. Google Fusion 3   Google Fusion 2 Zephyr Frank’s “Spatial History as Scholarly Practice” talks about learning histories by examining movements in spatial history. His idea means that scholars will be able to formulate more in-depth research topics by browsing on interactive learning websites such as the Valley of Shadow, Richard Pryor’s Peoria and Shaping the West. I think mappings give people an opportunity to develop unique knowledges because the process of seeing various resources and information at once helps store valuable information in the brains. I was able to picture where each photograph was taken by mapping on Google Fusion, Palladio and CartoDB. This scenario is similar to Frank’s concept that mappings make arguments rather than illustrations. Although Google Fusion provides excellent layouts, I think Palladio and CartoDB construct a more aesthetic map visually.   Palladio CartoDB1   Both Palladio and CartoDB share similar table charts that illustrate the dates and locations where photographs were taken. Palladio has customize features that allow scholars to select different information.   Palladio 2 CartoDB2   Google Fusion, Palladio and CartoDB all have interesting features that help scholars create visualization of data. However, I still need to learn the methods of using the excel data on CartoDB.    

The Use of Palladio in Researches

We learned to use the mapping software Palladio to create the visualizations of Cushman Collection data this week. I used streets and satellites as layers to show places where each photograph was gathered. I enjoyed learning these skills because it is quite important to show research data by using different types of graphs. Scholars will benefit from using both Palladio and Google Fusion because graphical charts help scholars’ research results become clear and concise. People will be able to learn the gist of research presentations by looking at graphical displays of Palladio maps and Google Fusion charts. Palladio

Spatial History Project

We are learning about the spatial history this week which is a concept of developing understandings of histories by using the geographic information system (GIS). I find it an innovative idea because mapping research data gives us a novel way of learning from the visualization of data. The geographic information system is a software that establishes outlook of places on maps. It uses geographical data to map the numerous amounts of details about places. Google Maps is a type of geographic information system because it presents views of streets. I believe the spatial history projects will create stimulating and interactive learning experiences because using the geographic information system to map significant places lead to a memorable learning process. The main advantages of spatial history are that the geographic information system maps the views of venues that people hope to study. It enables scholars to analyze the social and environmental factors of places. A lot of researchers use the geographic information system to create an interactive website that allows people to explore key factors in data. I think the spatial history gives people valuable learning experiences because people are able to set and test data. This idea means that people will be able to explore patterns by adjusting data on the geographic information system. However, the spatial histories may take scholars a significant amount of time to create. People will need to learn programmings, data managements and mapping skills first to establish the visualizations of data on the Internet.

Cushman Photograph Collection

The Use of Content Management Systems on the Internet

Omeka is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) that allows people to manage photos, videos and articles on the Internet. Omeka has the similar user interfaces as WordPress which is known to be the most used content management system in the world. When I was a child, I remember buying programming books that introduce concepts of Hypertext Markup Languages (HTMLs). However, I could not understand them due to lack of programming-related knowledge.

Both Omeka and WordPress are pleasant to use because of straightforward and user-friendly instructions. I believe learning WordPress and Omeka is one of the most valuable investments because personalized domains will become quite useful in the business world. An organization might earn significant more amounts of revenues when it builds websites that showcase its expertise. WordPress is a wonderful management system in creating themes that establish excellent images and reputations. However, it does not offer an option of displaying large collections and metadata. Omeka is perfect for allowing enterprises to manage products. An organization will be able to store its artworks of conceptual products and designs. Omeka also gives museums and scholars abilities to archive significant documents and texts for individuals to view. I enjoyed learning both WordPress and Omeka a lot because they fulfilled goals of creating personalized domains.

The Sacrifices of Perpetua and Felicitas

Perpetua’s diaries are one of the most important documents that demonstrate the amounts of bravery individuals need to support their religious beliefs in the third century. Perpetua believes that self-sacrifices will improve the rights of Christians and lead to more Christian activities than before. Although Perpetua’s father asks her to change her minds, Perpetua insists in sacrificing in the arena. Perpetua also has some visions that she will overcome the challenges before the tribunal starts. I think Perpetua’s commitments to Christianity are the main reason that gives her strengths to face the dangers.

Perpetua’s diaries also talk about Felicitas who has the similar characteristics as Perpetua. Felicitas is also a courageous individual who wants to sacrifice herself to improve the Chrisitans’ rights. She is willing to join Perpetua when she gives birth to a child. When they enter arena, Perpetua and Felicitas do not consider using armors. Their inner strengths allow them to stay calm despite the dangers from the beasts in the surroundings. Although they manage to survive by cooperating with one another, Perpetua is determined to sacrifice her life. I support Perpetua’s action because I think religions tend to enable individuals develop benevolent personalities and embrace peace. However, I do not think that I will be able to sacrifice my life because I cannot leave family members behind. Perpetua knows that her sacrifice might lead to more rights for Christians in the Roman Empire because she succeeds to show the importance of religions in helping people achieve more happiness in life.



The Uses of Images on the Internet

I enjoyed this week’s readings a lot because I learned how online sharing could be improved in enabling creative uses of images and treating important cultural collections with cares. The reuse of digitalized content article is quite interesting because it talks about how institutions could help digital artists license their images on the image-sharing websites. When institutions help establish licensing programs, digital artists will have the motivation to add different novel features to images on the websites. A lot of people will also want to share high-definition images to help other digital artists create art collections. These art creations mean that the digital artists will be able to use images to produce unique mousepads, wallpapers and mugs. However, digital artists often find it hard to sort through desired photos on the image-sharing websites. For example, Flickr is a useful image-sharing website that allows individuals to share photos. The interface can be a little tricky to use because it may take a numerous amount of time to find photos. I think Flickr should implement a category tab to help individuals find their photos quickly. This change might benefit digital artists because it helps them locate images that they want.



I also learned a lot of important knowledge about challenges archivist might face in collecting knowledge from the Cherokee individuals. The Cherokee case study article discusses the significance of protecting some culturally sensitive data from being recorded for public uses. A Cherokee elder might not want to share some of his or her journals because it will make certain part of cultural traditions worthless. I agree that archivists should select certain fieldnotes, manuscripts and journals with care because these documents may serve as an important foundation for maintaining social orders in the Cherokee societies. When archivists collect documents that contain important cultural knowledge, the Cherokee societies cannot function peacefully. A Cherokee person will be able to access documents that only some Cherokee can understand. I think it might help if archivists develop a decent amount of understandings about cultures they hope to archive beforehand. This idea will ensure that archivists establish a long-lasting relationship with individuals they hope to work with.


Privacy Laws on the Internet

The Digital Citizenship and Crowdforcing articles are both quite interesting because they reveal the potential drawbacks of sharing on the Internet. The Digital Citizenship article discusses some rules about when and how to share others’ creations and ideas. This reading teaches me the significance of informing participants about the works we share. I found this article important because it shows the adverse effects of sharing works without giving credits to participants who create them. I could see how sharing without citing sources might lead to the decreasing amount of music and film productions. When people share others’ works without having their informed consents, it may deter them from producing quality works.

I think the article makes some excellent points about publication guidelines on the Internet. A lot of social websites should inform people about these rules and ensure digital piracy does not happen. They could provide some information about publication and sharing on registration pages. Each person will need to agree to the specific terms about sharing and publishing. When they share others’ publication of videos and images, people will also agree to the terms about sharing by clicking a checkbox next to the post button. I think this change will benefit people who share interesting productions on the social websites.

Crowdforcing article also shows some issues about sharing on the Internet. It talks about how some companies might share personal information with others when they gather data from people. One example is FitBit which is a calorie-tracker company that uses people’s lifestyle information to monitor their health. When FitBit gives personal information to insurance companies, it allows insurance companies to increase their sales by analyzing dataset. The insurance companies will create personalized plans and sell individualized products to people in which they have personal information. I believe that companies have the obligation to inform people about the personal information they might share. Although most companies understand the importance of privacy laws, they could still share personal information. I think companies should create an effective system to ensure their data does not go to other companies. I enjoyed this reading because it offers important insights about how companies might share personal data.


My Experiences with Computers and Technology (Sep 9)

My experiences with computers and technology were amazing. I received my first computer when I was eight. I remember that I used to play games such as the Minesweeper, Tetris and card games. I also recall that I was quite excited when I tried to use the Internet browsers to search music, movies and articles for the first time. It was a quite memorable experience because the personal computers created a possibility of sharing knowledge on the Internet. Despite the heavy usage of computers, I think I lack unique skills or knowledge about personal computers. When I took computer science classes, I realized that computer programming requires a lot of practices to excel. My experience differs from William’s article and podcast statement in which that I do not think the early computer exposure helps foster computer expertise.

I think the issues that Williams and the podcast mention are quite significant. In William’s article, he talks about how the Digital Humanities allow people to share knowledge on the Internet. He uses the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project’s data to show how “eighty-one percent of all adults report using the Internet, but only fifty-five percent of disabled adults do”. This research shows that a substantial number of disabled adults does not benefit from learning on the Internet. I agree with William’s ideas that technology should be created in which every individual has the chance to use it. This principle is called the universal design which makes technology affordable and accessible. William’s article also mentions a new software innovation called Scripto which will enable people who have visual disabilities to read on the Internet by using screen readers.



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Digital Humanities in Our Lives (Sep 8)

Both articles focus on the uses of digital humanities in people’s lives. Although both authors discuss about the benefits that digital humanities offer, they do not think there is an agreed definition about digital humanities. For example, Lisa Spiro’s article mentions that we should “develop a flexible statement of values that help identify the digital humanities”.

Both articles discuss a substantial amount of positive changes that digital humanities will bring. In Mark Sample’s article, Sample mentions that digital humanities can “reshape the representation, sharing, and discussion of knowledge”. Lisa Spiro’s article also talks about how the digital humanities will help promote “scholar innovation and democratization of knowledge”.

I believe the digital humanities will be useful in terms of gathering information as our academic resources. When the Internet became widespread, most people look for scholar resources on the Internet nowadays. We conduct research and find data on useful websites such as Google. The digital humanities also give us a different option of showing up to job interviews. People will be able to use digital tools such as Skype to conduct an interview. I was also able to use digital tools such as laptops in class for class activities. I think that the digital humanities might be able to create a new and exciting learning environment for us. The digital humanities will also benefit our societies because they make everything more convenient and easier to do than before.

Although the digital humanities may benefit the societies, Spiro’s article mentions that the digital humanities “will need to demonstrate how it can advance humanities research, provide support for teachers who want to use digital tools”. I agree with her ideas that the digital humanities might have certain drawbacks. For example, the digital humanities may increase our reliance on digital tools.





Shakespeare’s Works on Voyant

Voyant is an interesting website that enables scholars to analyze themes of novels. It is a caring software that helps people to save a significant amount of time in understanding the main ideas of digital texts. I remember that we used to have to read and annotate to comprehend books. Voyant helps highlight the most important concepts for readers in books. I tested Shakespeare’s novels on Voyant to experience several features. The most frequent word is shall which appears over two thousand times. I also selected few words to see whether they have correlation in Shakespeare’s novels. The words lord, death and world all have a high correlation in Hamlet which enables scholars to compare the themes of Shakespeare’s novels all at once.


The feature that I found most interesting on Voyant is the word cloud. I think it helps a lot to know many of key words in novels that I am interested to read.


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