Introduction to Digital Humanities

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

Author: s_nuuhiwa

Fantasmic Disney Fanatics Final Project

Fantasmic Disney Fanatics analyzes female Disney characters that either increasingly or decreasingly portrayed stereotypes during the times they were created. This is done through six films that were hand selected to reflect the timespan Disney films were created, reviews of the movie, and programs such as Voyant, AntConc, and WordPress. To find out more information regarding Fantasmic Disney Fanatics research project, visit the website.

Work Team: Ashley Yum and Shane-Justin Nu’uhiwa

Personal Liberties, Government Intervention, and Facebook

Robert Hotz’s Wall Street Journal article entitled “Metadata Can Expose Person’s Identity Even Without Name,” raises concerns about security risk in an age where a person’s identity can be found online. Through a simple Google search one person can do a background search on anyone. Information is published online, which is picked up by others and eventually shared in the cyber world. Take, for instance, data brokers. Data brokers buy and share large quantity of personal information. If I had a unique buying trend on Amazon, this information will be shared with a company (like Facebook) so other companies are able to advertise to me.

This trend also brings to mind bulk collection of personal data from government spy agencies. Government has the ability to act like data brokers in the sense that information is collected on an individual and potentially shared. Should the government be able to collect this information and share it? Honestly, in a post-9/11 age this questions seems difficult to answer. We are in a time and age where we want safety and security – but are we willing to give up our personal liberties?

Yes, the two comparisons are polar opposites but it does bring to mind the information we put on the web is out there for everyone’s use. Perhaps individuals like to receive Facebook ads on products they want to buy. On the other hand an individual may not mind his/her/ze personal liberties being taken away for the safety and security provided by their nation.

As for the “data about data” made available on the internet, author Anne Gilliland provides information on the content, context, and structure of an “object” – however, no set definition is given. An example she gives through her article (one that I can closely relate to) is libraries. I am currently on the Dean of the University Library Search Committee and one thing to take into consideration is the day and age we are in. Should we expand our libraries online presents with ebooks? How should we maintain the current structure of the library; meaning should we uphold the traditional library.

We are currently in a day and age in which we are defining metadata and the liabilities included with it. Information that is stored online through data brokers is open for everyone’s use. In addition, the new generation of libraries and what metadata can actually do remains a mystery since we are still defining its purpose.

The Ever Changing Field of Technology

Reiterating what I mentioned on the first day of class, “it’s a working relationships.” I am not the most tech-savvy you will find. But I know enough to get by. For example, I recently learned how to make Excel charts for my job at ASuop Student Activities Center. Prior to this, I would always instruct the front desk receptionist to have the Excel chart on my desk by the next business day. As simple as this may sound – it’s all I can do. I am not advanced enough to be able to start my own website or even online business. A connection that I made while interning in Vladivostok, Russia helped to create an online portfolio for me, which I can easily update with content. I do not know how to connect my mobile device with my laptop and anytime I have technology problems, I would call Eduardo from Student Life Tech to assist me.

What George Williams notes in his article, “Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities,” is that scholars focus on creating standard so information in the digital world can be created, organized, and preserved for future generations. Going further into this, Williams notes how people’s first impression of a universal design is an exclusive environment. Meaning, a universal design only targets a certain group of people versus the population as a whole. For example, the reading notes, “We classify some software and hardware tools as ‘assistive technology’—sometimes the term ‘adaptive technology’ is used instead—because they have been designed specifically to assist those people with ‘special needs.'” What we must remember is that all technology is assisting everyone – to an extent.

What the NPR podcast highlighted is men dominating the computer science field. However, what the article notes – and what I surprisingly found out – is that women pioneered the field. This does not mean all women were successful with computer technology. Patricia Ordóñez, for example, received a C in a computer class, which forced her to change majors. Ordóñez symbolizes a problem that I face with technology. That is, the field is ever changing and we must be ready for it. Rewind history several decades and you will be witnessing the rollout of home computers. Between then and now technology significantly increased to the point that you have a computer on your phone, in your watch, on the go, and for your desk. I feel as if I identify with Ordóñez, meaning that I have a troubling relationship with technology. However, we must be ready for whatever technology produces next and encourage involvement of women in the field.

Defining the Digital Humanities

The question of whether or not there is an actual definition, which defines the digital humanities, seems daunting. As mentioned in Mark Sample’s article, the divide of those who build and those who study the digital humanities is a contributing factor as to why there is no set definition. Personally, if I was to create a definition for this term, it would be along the lines of “a new era in technology in which a human dependency is placed on technology.” This definition is supported by our class conversations on algorithms. For example, in The Matrix we saw the main character instantly download an algorithm code so he would be able to practice karate against his mentor. In a more practical setting, we live in an algorithmic culture in which we place blind trust in. A simple example of this is Netflix. The billion dollar company has its own system which provides movie and television suggestions based on the shows you watch. I am a fan of the NBC television show, Frasier. After watching the entire series, Netflix suggested I watch CheersThe Dick Van Dyke Show, and Everybody Loves Raymond. Originally following through on these suggestions I discovered that I am more of a fan of Everybody Loves Raymond than Cheers and The Dick Van Dyke Show. However, I placed blind trust in Netflix’s algorithm and “suffered” through several shows in order to come to the decision that maybe I shouldn’t be watching these television shows.

However, the digital humanities was defined by Mark Sample as something worth sharing – not building. Sample’s article started with comparing and contrasting the two points of views (which were previously mentioned). Afterwards, it went more into depth about how this field is produced and reproduced. Typically a person expands on the work of one person in order to further develop the algorithm and the field. As for Lisa Spiro article, “‘This is Why We Fight’: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities,” it is the job of scholars within the field of digital humanities to initiate critical dialogue on the sharing of ideas within the field of digital humanities. Ultimately this answers the questions “Why the Digital Humanities?”. If we do not take the ideas of other influential people and expand on them we will never be able to improve on the algorithmic culture we live in. As a result we will be stuck in situations where we are faced with boring Netflix reflections. But more importantly, we will not be able to improve on society as a whole.

Shane-Justin Nu’uhiwa

Technology, Voyant, and Digital Humanities: Frankly, It’s a Working Relationship

The dataset provided in Figure 1 is provided from the Test Corpus 2 files.

The dataset provided in Figure 1 is provided from the Test Corpus 2 files.

Uploading the Test Corpus 2 dataset provided to us onto Voyant, I feel as if the word cloud tells a story of its own. For instance, words like Godcommand, and martyrdom (as seen in Figure 1) provides biblical references to the Old Testament. Imagery of God fearing people are painted in mind – this is reinforced with words like judgetortures, and sacrifice.

However, focusing on the summary component on Voyant, I realize locations like Palestine plays an influential role with the text. Also, in Maccabees, for example, one can conclude the story focuses on a tyrant with strict laws who is harsh towards women and children. This is because tyrant is used at least 44 times, law 38, women 34, and children 31.

Figure 2

The dataset provided in Figure 2 is provided from the Test Corpus 2 files.

Upon clicking on tyrant in the summary component, I am shown the frequency for the aforementioned word. In segment five of the document, the word was used the most – segment seven was when the word was used the least.

After using this assignment to get familiarized with the program, I stand by what I said the first day of class – for me, “it’s a working relationship” when it comes to technology. I admit I am not the most “tech savvy” person and I had difficulties using this software. I have a feeling that Digital Humanities may be a difficult course because of my incompetencies with technology; however, I will also admit that the program was beneficial. Voyant made me realize the power of words and how we are able to distinguish certain writers. I honestly cannot wait to fully comprehend this program (and learn how to successfully manage a blog) throughout the course of the semester.

Blog Post 1 – Test Post

This is a test post for full credit if given.