Introduction to Digital Humanities

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

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Fantasmic Disney Fanatics

Hey there!

This is our final project for this class. Ours is called Fantastic Disney Fanatics. Basically, what we hoped to do with the project was analyze how Disney female characters have changed throughout films over time through reviews from the audience. We cherry picked several movies, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), Cinderella (1950), Sleeping Beauty (1959), The Little Mermaid (1989), Mulan (1998), and Frozen (2013). Afterwards, we analyzed the reviews using Antconc and Voyant. A timeline was created to augment the conclusion. There was a lot of hair-pulling and stress to make the end project turn out the way it did, but I feel as though it is a success. In any case, I hope you all enjoy visiting the site. Leave comments if you wish~

Brubeck 1958

The Team- Brandon Raidoo & Jamie Martinez

The Project- Brubeck’s Jazz Tour

The Project that Jamie and I undertook was to exam the travels of Dave Brubeck on his famous 1958 Jazz tour. We endeavoured to answer some research questions. Through a combined effort of sorting through the Holt-Atherton Special Collections at the University of the Pacific we were able to look at all the information. One of our biggest questions was how was Brubeck perceived where he went. Through the use voyant we were able to look at the key words used to describe Brubeck and his Band. The second major questions was where was he travelling in the countries he visited along with what countries did he visit. To answer this question we created a google map through google fusion tables after painstakingly entering about 100 data points to be analysed. To find out what were the key words were that described Brubeck, to read some wonderful transcriptions of what was written about him, or to take the journey that Brubeck did on his jazz tour go on ahead to the site cited above.

Jillian’s HTML website test

There isn’t a link on canvas yet so I am putting this here :)

Palladio and working with mapping

These past couple weeks we have been working with an application called Palladio. To be honest I don’t really like it and its been very hard for me to navigate and has given me troubles; however, I did find it helpful how Professor Schroeder gave us the walk through sheet for how to use Palladio to creating graphs and maps and without that I’d probably have no idea of how to do it.  I didn’t get far enough to create a map because I got stuck at the inserting the data stage.  I was able to insert the first attribute data set but when I tried to put the second one in to create the map, Palladio wouldn’t let me for some reason, which was very frustrating. I was following all the steps and it still wouldn’t work.

Network Uh-nal-uh-sys

Network Analysis… What does that mean to you? According to the internet, network analysis is defnied as, “the mathematical analysis of complex working procedures in terms of a network of related activities.” Now, this may seem like a daunting definition, but to put it in simpler words, its the connection between “types” of data.

Previously, we worked with a website named “Palladio,” which allowed us to take the data from the Cushman collection (photos) and place them throughout a map that we created, based on where the photos were actually taken. This was one of the basic functions of Palladio. As I worked with the website more, I began to understand more and more of the things you could do with it; not just maps.

Maps, however, were pretty intriguing. I was able to figure out how to place pictures on the map, and even make points BIGGER, dependent upon how many pictures were taken in that area.

Now, I wasn’t able to be in class on Thursday due to an incident that occurred, but I tried to keep up with the readings, and in-class work. I went through and read all the blogs about network analysis, and since I wasn’t able to do the in-class work with it, I am using the visualizations that “” had posted.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.42.16 PM

This first image appears to be un-linked, and by that, I mean that the points are plotted on the map, but aren’t connected or interacting with one another. Basically showing that the points have no relation to one another.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.42.00 PM

For this second mapping, I can see the relations and interactions between the points, and what is being represented. I can also see that Neuman(s) is receiving help from others.

Palladio and Google Fusion Tables Mapping

Palladio Mapping Relationships


GFT Mapping Relationships

Google Fusion Tables

Palladio is an interesting tool to use and is a bit  more complicated than advertised. While other mapping programs were guessable in that the steps used to generate a map could be done by clicking buttons randomly (please take this with a grain of salt – I’m joking for the most part), Palladio would almost certainly require a guide. Additionally, there are glitches in the program when occasionally, the program would freeze. In the tutorial, I tried out both Palladio (the first picture) and Google Fusion Tables (the second picture) for mapping. While Google Fusion Tables also works for a similar result, its functions are nowhere as in depth as Palladio. It is, however, easier to use. As seen in the picture, both have a function that depicts what type of relationship people have to each other. Google Fusion Tables does utilize color and directional arrows, and Palladio does offer a function that allows a person to switch off between two data sets. The advantages of Palladio and Google Fusion Tables are clear. For me, I’d prefer using Google Fusion Tables for the ease of use and when I wanted to make something more visually appealing. However, Palladio would be the main choice if I were to seriously map out relationships for the purpose of studying them.

This time around, I focused mainly on Palladio. The uses of Palladio consist mostly of mapping out relationships between two or more things, represented by nodes and edges, as explained by Scott Weingart in his article, “Demystifying Networks.” It is useful not only for mapping out relationships but also seeing how people connect with each other. As Kieran Healy demonstrates in her article, “Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere,“ she is able to utilize several matrices and mapping tools to not only show who has a relationship with each other but which of their parties connect the most. In the present-day setting, something like this would be extremely useful for ferreting out hostile groups. And even if not for that, it would still prove to be useful in gathering data, allowing a person to more accurately aim their advances towards the right group (i.e. attempting to research a certain topic and going around talking to related individuals.

Palladio Mapping Relationships

Palladio with sized nodes to depict the prevalence of person

Palladio Mapping Relationships 2

Palladio timeline

In the example I used, the data set was of primarily the relationships of Ralph Neumann to others. The relationship network demonstrates who was a giver and who was a recipient of help (if not both) during the time of the Holocaust. Ralph Neumann was hiding underground along with several other people to escape prosecution. Here, as opposed to the first picture of Palladio, I used sized nodes show the people who were connected with each other the most and those who received the most help. As this is a data set on Neumann, naturally, he had the biggest node of all. There was also a timeline function that allowed a person to edit the time of help, which can be seen in the second picture.

Palladio and Digital Mapping.

Palladio has been stressful and confusing for me at first but I really liked how Dr. S gave us such detailed instructions! Detailed instructions like this would have been so helpful with past applications. Anyhow, I followed the directions and ended up mapping out dates of birthdays and death dates. All these randoms dates came up and I thought it was pretty cool. I am starting to get a better idea of how we can actually use maps to learn. I never thought of learning through a map besides maybe with math. When creating the map of birthdays and deaths, I had to access the website and figure out what to do. If it was not for the detailed instructions I would have never known that I had to go to sample with data and figure out what options I had. The graph was showing the dates of those of have passed  and we could tell that many people died around the same time and a lot were around the same age ranges. Now that I understand more about mapping and learning, I feel like maybe I was biased before because the readings we had convinced me that mapping is some how distorting information.  In this case I do not feel like any information was distorted and it was actually more interesting seeing it this way. This way I got a visual of the dates which I feel helped a lot more.

The only problem I had with Palladio was my datasets has some type of problem that I could not figure out. Palladio kept saying that there was something wrong with my dataset on line 8. I could not figure out what was wrong so it was really frustrating.

Visualizations as method of misrepresentation

To begin, I will say contrary to the title of this post I do personally really enjoy using and seeing the use of visual mapping tools. I personally feel being able to see things through a mapping format has a much greater impact, rather than just reading it through standard text. That being said, as Weingart points out expressly there as some innate disadvantages of using visual mapping. The most pivotal being the lack of all meta data, this is reinforced in the reading on Paul Revere (also funny since paul revere didn’t complete the fabled ride). In class we looked at data relating to WW2 Jews who were recipients of help from people, seeing how a plethora of connections existed. Now going to Palladio and entering the data appropriately, first by entering the people and assigned attributes, then relating them to one another through there relations, something really interesting happens, you get to see a map recipients and the givers that helped them through the use of a data map   You can see in the map that it is the Neumans receiving help from several people.Sorted Data

Now this is a testament to the usefulness of data network mapping. That being said, when the data is looked at from how the givers were related to their fellow givers, this is what shows up. This would indicate that they don’t know each other in anyway other than through the recipients. However, in all reality this probably due to a lack of meta data as mentioned before, leading to a misrepresentation of the population by not showing all the connections due to a lack of information.Unrelated Data Giver

Network Visualization

Untitled work in progess

Palladio Tutorial

Cushman Collection Palladio Graph


The Cushman Collection Palladio Graph shows the amount of photographs taken throughout the years. The photographs document the United States and various other countries. In this graph, it shows that the most photographs were taken in 1952. On the other hand, 1942 seemed to be a year with very few photographs taken.  Charles W. Cushman appears to be quite fond of Identification photographs, seeing as most of the pictures depicted on the graph are of that type (I highlighted the key in the graph such that the light blue would show Identification photos).

Palladio Featuring Cushman

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.36.20 PM

With this particular map, the points indicate Genre 1 of the Cushman photographs, and the size is related to whether or not the photo is untitled. It has a satellite tile background, and no specific timeline, so it shows the entirety of the Cushman Collection photographs that we downloaded previously.

Palladio Visualization Map

My map in Palladio, using the Cushman Collection data, was being very slow and glitchy, and so what I was able to get out of the exercise was basically what Dr. S got through as well before the program wouldn’t let me move or zoom the map any more. Palladio Map

My work with Palladio

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.37.28 PM

Here is my work with Palladio. I edited the Geocoordinates, the streets, and the terrain. It was interesting to see the different options for each layer.

Palladio Example

This is a visual representation of the Cushman Collection of photographs and the locations of their source material. The map was created using the software Palladio.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.38.47 PM

Palladio Map from Class 10/29

map 2

So my screenshot is super low-quality, but I played with the size point thingy on my map for the Cushman Collection photos, and made it so the points displayed the city and state of the photos when you hovered over them. And I tried to make the background and the points as colorful as possible, because I do like my pretty colors.

Cushman Collection Visual Map

Moving away from a Flat Earth

The digitization of maps is an incredibly important part of human progress in a way. Digitization of maps allow for several important things to happen globally. First and foremost it allows for people globally to look critically at maps for size, topography, and perhaps most importantly geopolitical borders. This leads to open debates globally which does not exist in the two dimensional standard of current map making. Notice the fact that print maps are two dimensional is very important. The two dimensional map standard is very important in print maps as it leaves much to be desired in terms of expressing all that a map can. Although at this point it would make a lot of sense to look at current maps and how digital maps are different than print maps. However, it is important to note that this type of comparison would result in two static images being spoken about as I could not show the working and benefit of digitization through static images as it’s benefits are that it is interactive. Instead I think it more important to show howModern Map maps can be useful in expressing ideas but can be limited when in print to accuracy. The map to the right is a map that shows slave trade from 1650 to 1860. It goes over how people were moved around the new world from Africa along with how some were brought to Europe. However, if one was to look at a map from the time period, we’ll use a maMap ancientp from 1600 in this case, located on the left. It is clear that the information available at that time was limited severally which would have lowered accuracy when speaking about it at that time.

Digitial Maps, Helpful or Hurtful?

Our reading this week seems to, at least in a small way, bring us back to our readings and discussions a few weeks ago about whether or not cultural heritage should be digitized or not, and the potential problems with doing so. While that discussion was mainly taking into account the importance of the items and heritage to groups of people, and how it should or should not be shared, the readings by Patricia Seed suggest that digitizing other forms content, specifically maps, can also have significant drawbacks that in some cases outweigh the benefits.

The practice of digitizing maps, according to Seed, has many important benefits for those who want to have access to them without needing the original copy or a large print reproduction. The reality of accessing maps prior digital scans and photographs of the original physical copy did not allow for easy viewing and comparisons to the original maps to be made. Now, rather than taking a large book or a cut out page to a location of an original map to compare the two, everything can be stored on a flash drive that can be plugged into any computer.

civil_war_mapHowever, Seed argues that there are potential serious drawbacks if great care is not taken to preserve the original integrity of the work. In the reading, Seed recalled when she requested to view a scanned copy of an original map at a museum, and noticed that it differed greatly from the copy that was for sale in the gift shop. She explained that the employee at the museum stated that the scanned document was edited to make it more visually appealing for sale. This editing of the map ruined the integrity of the map, as locations were now inaccurate on the edited map, and any scholarly use for the edited piece was no longer possible (Seed).

Unlike the preservation needs for cultural heritage as we previously discussed, digitizing maps presents issues that are not issues of who should be able to access the material, rather the issue is how accurate it the material. The fact that digital reproductions of maps can fall victim to Photoshop editing and the inherent limitations of the scanning process means that the viewer should never take what they see when viewing maps accurate without any doubt. How accurately a digital map is depicting the source material can be very accurate or very inaccurate, and other sources should be considered before making a determination on the accuracy of a particular piece.

Now, to turn your attention to the map posted above, it is clear that this is the type of map that you would have to use other sources to interpret to determine the accuracy of the digital copy. Without viewing the original work, you may say that this map looks accurate, the colors look vibrant and there does not appear to be any distortion on any of the ample lines on the map. However, we have no way of knowing that this reproduction of the original map is completely faithful to the source map. For example, some of the many rivers and borders on the map may have been retouched in editing post scan if there were damaged or faded on the original. If this were the case, depending on how much care was put into retouching the lines, the accuracy of the map may be compromised.

Kyle C.



Image Source:

Seed, Patricia. “A Map is not a Picture: How the digitial World Threatens the Validity or Printed Maps”.

The accuracy of maps…. or not ?

imageA map is not a picture!!  This reading had me thinking more deeply about how accurate the maps that we use today really are compared to how accurate we think they are… In the reading, i like how the author compared photographed maps to magazine covers which i thought was a really good example of showing how maps do not show exactly what we think we are viewing which is kind of like an illusion in a sense because most of the stuff we see on covers of magazines for advertisment look nothing like they do in reality. Things are edited and changed to look more appealing, which could potentially be biased because the information can be different from the original and can be inaccurate. When the original maps are remade, many details may be altered and changed to be more convenient and that’s why we can’t say that a map is esentially a picture because a picture shows something as it is whereas maps arent always as exact as they may appear. The same thing can be done with maps. We dont carry actual maps we can just use our cell phones or some other type of technology. I have had many incidents where i have tried using the google maps gps naviagation on my phone or ipad and it got me lost.  From the picture, It “looked” like it was the way to go but it wasn’t and it ended up rerouting me.

This picture here is just a  map of our world and its basically just to show that litle things on this map could be slightly off for all we know because things are constantly changing which is another reason why we cant rely on maps 100%

A map is not a picture!!!!

This reading really got me thinking. How efficient are the maps that we use? The ones on our phones gps systems, are they at all accurate? I like how the author compares photographed maps to magazine covers. As most of us know, celebs that are on the covers of magazines look nothing like they do in real life. Things are edited and changed to look more appealing to the audience. The same thing is clearly done with maps! First of all, like the author said, the world is round but we have to turn it into a flat form in order to use it. I do think that this is more convenient for people who need to use a map. We do not want to carry around a big old map to get to our destination it is obviously easier to just have a portion of the map that is needed like on our cell phones. Only problem is that a map is not simply just a picture! A real map becomes biased when we do this because the information can be different from the original and inaccurate. When the original maps are remade many details may change. When doing this, the original map loses its original direction and meaning that it started with. This is why I have noticed many times myself and have witnessed others getting lost while using a navigation / gps. Many times it will reroute us or just have us going in circles!


The image of the map that I added has  many inaccuracies. The coast lines seem exaggerated, and it seems as thought at the time they believed that you could get to Asia through the atlantic. The geography of the map is also distorted. Even minor little altercation can mess up the entire map.

Digital Technology and the Improvement of Maps

According to Seed, digital technology has played a very important role in pointing out the differences between original maps and their reprints. First of all, digitizing maps has improved the portability of maps, making it easier to carry a digital image of the original map rather than the maps themselves, which were often printed in large, heavy books on thick, coated paper. Scanners also allowed the better reproduction of images in a higher quality, making maps more accurate. The increase in digitization of maps and the better access resulted in the discovery that many printed maps are inaccurate to the original, despite beliefs to the contrary.

Seed says that the printed reproduction of maps can be highly misleading to researchers. Publishers or printers often “touch up” or “improve” the original maps so that they are more aesthetically pleasing, but it alters the spatial history of a map. Imaging departments generally treat maps as pictures and attempt to correct the color or contrast, straighten crooked lines, and eliminate bumps or wrinkles before putting it in a book. According to Seed, a map is not a picture or an illustration. It is not meant for aesthetic, it is meant to convey a specific meaning. While these alterations made by reproduction companies are done with good intentions, they completely change the meaning that the original map was trying to convey. Original maps are intended to have a meaning behind the specific color it uses, the lines are indicative of the spatial relationships, and changing any of these results in a completely different meaning than what was originally intended.

Seed says that when creating or digitizing maps, curators/librarians should be brought into the process of evaluating the digital image of a map rather than being excluded, which can prevent the previously mentioned alterations from happening in the first place. Seed also states that, when a map is altered for publicity purposes, a copyright notice should be placed on the altered image to acknowledge the changes made. This can prevent any mistakes made when researchers use those reproductions as they would the original.


This historical map of Sicily (found on Google Images), when evaluated with Seed’s methods, probably isn’t accurate to the original. Both the color and contrast is very bright and stands out. The lines are all straight, and thus most likely do not convey the actual spatial relationships on the island of Sicily.

“That’s a Map; not a Picture”…

When you think of a map, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A paper with a 2D image of the earth? To me, that shouldn’t be what you think of. If we were in an earlier age, lets say the early 1900’s, then sure, that would be considered a map, but in today’s age, the word “map” has a different meaning. Today, we have so many advancements in technology, and one of them includes the invention of 3D (three dimensional) imaged. For example, the 3D map. Let’s take Google Maps for example; their maps give you a full global view of the world. Our technological aspects have improved by far; we are now able to view the entire world from a screen, pick a state, a city, a street, and then an establishment, and literally see the main entrance to a building from our computer screen. Through google maps and google earth, we have a ridiculous amount of insight.

I truly believe that digital technologies have improved maps, due to all the points listed in the above paragraph, but also because we now have instant access to a map of anything, at anytime, and at any place. According to Seed, there are a hefty amount of drawbacks to doing so. For example, she talks about how digitizing maps can cause discrepancies from the original paper map. That may be a huge issue to the people who use maps for the historical context of them, but for the people who use maps to go places, maybe not so much.


Let’s look at the above map of the Middle East. A long time ago, Pakistan and India were ONE country. That is how previous maps showed the two; as one country. Now, Pakistan and India are two separate countries, but previous maps don’t show that.

Spatial History on History

Spatial history has been useful in telling stories throughout history because it lets people get an in-depth look at a specific topic from their sites.  It is different in comparison to reading about history from the way online users can interact with the different topics that are on these websites.  They can narrow down their findings to a specific subject that relates to any kind of research that they are planning for their projects.  A disadvantage might be from how they could become bored or tired at looking at various projects that could be useful for their research.

Richard Pryor’s Peoria exemplifies the idea of spatial history from the way it lets their visitors on the website become associated with anything related to their topic.  It offers insightful information about the many different themes that relate to the one broader topic that brings these ideas together.  The site has images, maps, and texts that help the viewers of the website understand the content a bit more as they click on various subjects within the site.

The arguments that they are making relate to how people being involved in the sites can understand more visually than mentally.  One of the readings for this week explains that spatial history is able to create arguments from they way a person can define their work that is involved in developing the projects.  Sometimes people can learn more from visualizations that help them remember clearly and better than what words can do.

If I could do a spatial history, it would probably be about the many different relationships and collaborations that people in the film industry have with each other.  People like directors, actors, and screenwriters have often worked together on a variety of movies throughout their film career.  I somehow find it interesting in learning about the close work and connections these folks have in common.  The spatial history would be an interactive map that outlines the many relationships that these people share from the film work.

my spatial history

If I could do my own spatial history it would be on my learning in my  first college math class. I have never done so well in a math class before. It was crazy to me that I was actually learning the material. Its an all online math course which at first freaked me out a little bit but once I started doing the work then I realized I was really learning. It was a great feeling to finally understand something that I struggled with all throughout high school. Once I figured out that I could finish this class early it put a fire in me and a determination I never really had for math before. I would want to look at how I learned so much better in that setting than in all my traditional teacher in front of me teaching and explaining the math? I would want to know was it my determination or was it that I could see the teacher truly caring and trying his best to help us succeed? I would want to see sense we never had any group work and it was tailored to the individual did that change the learning environment? Or was it that we could do make up work and extra credit to make up for things because some teachers don’t even offer that. Was it the support we felt by him and each other that motivated us? It also helped that the online program itself was easy to navigate and track your progress in the class. But if I could look at any spatial history it would be on this and answering all those questions.

Spatial History v. History

Spatial history is different from reading about history through passages in several ways. While a history attempts to chronologize a certain time, offering a linear glimpse of the past, spatial history offers a more comprehensive understanding of the past, overlaying various mediums to visualize and explore the relationships of objects (i.e. people, locations, etc.). In Frank’s words, the advantages of using spatial history are as follows: “1.) the possibility of creating multiple interlinked narratives; 2.) the possible integration of images, maps, commentary, and primary sources in the same field of vision; and 3). the ability to curate and shape the reader/viewer’s experience, with nudges as well as explicit direction, allowing for a hybrid experience in which exploration of the material is conducted with the aid of an unobtrusive but effective guide.” The disadvantages are as follows: “1). the danger of getting lost, of missing major aspects of the larger argument owing to the lack of a single unifying narrative line, and 2). the risk of simple cognitive overload or dissipation of energy in clicking through various strings of linked material on the site.”

Richard Pryor’s Peoria can be considered spatial history as it is not merely a history of Peoria, although the creator of the website has added the typical historical aspects. Scott Saul also augments the history with “alternative media–namely,…interactive websites filled with links to primary documents and short filmed sequences designed to provide a visually rich narrative pathway into the material for novice users.”  Through the website, users of the website can interact with various aspects of Peroria and formulate their own opinions rather than just merely believe in a single written history. In that way, the illustrations also become the basis of arguments rather than mere documents that are taken at face value.

Richard Pryor's Peoria

If I could do a spatial history, I would do it on the life of classical musicians. It’s interesting to note where the musicians came from and what influenced their music. Not only does location play a part in that, but their interactions with other musicians and acquaintances do, too. If I created a website, I’d add a list of composers who worked with each other and a history of their interactions with possible influences. Their personalities and life history would be something I’d research as well, allowing others to understand why a composer may have written a certain piece. As an additional resource, musical terms would help teach a person how to read a piece, giving in depth knowledge of the emotions that go into writing it.

Spatial History and Digital Humanities

How did space impact history? and how do digital technologies help scholars answer that question?

Today, scholars use technologies (similar to Google maps) in order to look at how geography relates to the people in a specific region. Using those digital technologies, scholars can look at how space changed overtime and how the society changed within the space. Jenna Hammerich ‘s article on GIS (Geographic Information System) technology provides a few examples of how studying spatial history answers questions like “Why did African American families settle almost exclusively on the near north side of St. Louis in the 1940s?” By looking at the northern area of St. Louis and other neighboring areas, scholars can see how the northern area could have been more convenient to African American families in the 1940’s.

I’m an English major, but I have always loved history, so I thought that this idea of using technology to answer questions relating to history. At least, at first…I started to think of the digital humanities really had a place in answering these questions. Couldn’t scholars answer these kinds of questions without digital technology? Well, Professor Colin Gordon, quoted in Hammerich’s article, answered my question, by saying that answering such questions and making discoveries would be possible without GIS technology, but “It would have taken longer.”

I think that is a reoccurring “theme” within the digital humanities. Scholars can answer questions about history and the humanities without digital technology. But the technology is time and cost effective (and probably fun to use).

Infinite Knowledge Through Spacial History

This weeks readings were about the concept “Spacial History.” Most of you guys have probably used google maps to search a location and maybe have even used the neat street-view tool to explore the surroundings. Google maps is essentially a less developed form of “Spacial History” that Jenna  Hammerich and Zephyr Frank are explaining in the readings. With “Spacial History” technology, one would be able to look at a map and not only see just locations, but an immense amount of data that you would never even think of. Jenna Hammerich gives an example that a “Spacial History” map could answer the question,  “Would Robert E. Lee have been able to see Union forces on the far side of the battlefield when he ordered the notorious Pickett’s Charge?”

This is a link to the Stanford History Project website where a group of collaborators contribute their own projects of GIS for the world to see and other researchers to learn from. This link in particular will take you to a map titled “Salmon Flu Transmission in Salmon Aquaculture”. This map is an easy-to-understand  example of Spacial History. It shows not only a map, but many different graphs and statistics of the flu transmission between Chile and Norway.

This image below has pinpoints of where a certain community theater performed a particular play in Baltimore in 1980.



Overall, I believe Spacial History will is a powerful tool and we become an even more powerful tool in the future. There are so many endless possibilities and I am excited to see what people will continue to do with it. One thing that Jenna Hammerich touched on was that researchers can now create maps for past historical events and study them even more closely possibly coming up with new findings that we have never even thought of!

The Many Wonders of Spacial History

To sum up what I gleaned from our latest readings, spatial history in and of itself is a pretty nifty concept. What spatial history essentially boils down to is presenting history through a means of visualization, of tangible spaces that can be traced through passing time. Instead of simply learning about historical events through a written resource, spatial history allows for an in-depth exploration of significant spaces.

A lot of this historical exploring comes through digital maps. The article by Jenna Hammerich talks about a few different spatial history projects, one by Colin Gordon that uses a layered digital map to track the development of St. Louis throughout the 20th century, and another called “The Dutch in the World”, in which Julie Hochstrasser is working on creating a visual catalog of 17th century Dutch trade sites. Hammerich talks about both these projects through terms of GIS, or geographical information systems. In using these systems to construct spatial visualizations, both Gordon and Hochstrasser are providing a means of delving deeper into the histories they are researching. Without digital maps and other visuals, the scale of St. Louis’ growth or the trade influence of the 17th century Dutch would just be a few statistics or remarks on paper. Having something visual to explore history through, particularly if it’s an interactive visual, gives historians a greater understanding of and connection to whatever they’re studying.

Both readings touched on one of the biggest differences between conventional history study and spatial history: collaboration. The chapter by Zephyr Frank talks a lot about this from the introduction on. He constructs spatial history research in the context of a lab, full of scholars from different backgrounds who have to work together to create something visual and instructional. Looking at history through a spatial context brings all kinds of people into the same realm of study, both in the case of select groups of historians, and communities interested in the things a historical visualization might display. Frank states that spatial history is essentially based on movement, meaning that space and time can be looked at through a lens of history’s progression through geographical space. This is also where the collaborative aspect of spatial history comes in, as many people are needed in order to construct something with digital technologies that requires varied areas of expertise.

Another aspect of spatial history that I found interesting was the lack of hierarchical thinking that goes into it. Generally speaking, traditional historical studies tend to follow a timeline of events, going from oldest to most recent. Spatial history allows researchers to break away from that rigid mold, and instead provides a web of connections that can be made between historical events, spaces, etc. Frank cited Scott Saul’s website called Richard Pryor’s Peoria as an example of “horizontal thinking”, aka looking at all kinds of historical aspects in tandem with one another. I took a peek at Saul’s website myself, and the whole thing is stuffed with visuals, including digital maps of places that were significant to Richard Pryor. This sheds light on Pryor’s life from several different directions, rather than the one that would come from, say, a biography of him. In using spatial history like this, Saul gives us a richer idea of Pryor’s life, and all the various influences that made up the whole. History is divided into many different slices, and spatial history allows us to look at all of the slices in relation to one another, rather than just on their own, or looking at them as one solid whole.

A map of North Washington Street, taken from Scott Saul’s website, Richard Pryor’s Peoria.

Cushman Collection Findings

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.37.16 PMFor today’s class, we learned about how to utilize Google Fusions with the Cushman Collections.  This was an interesting experience as I made this bar chart that relates to counting how many photographs were taken by date.  It seems like it depended on some of the years when most pictures were taken at the time.  The highest numbers are seen at different years from whenever the photographers had a good location that gave them the opportunity to take as many photographs as they liked.  There were also a few times when there could have been a couple of years when there was a break in taking pictures for the collection.  Overall, playing around with Google Fusions was intriguing from developing the gathered data and creating it into something that would capture the viewer’s attention.

Cushman Collection Charts

Who knew charts could actually be fun. With the Cushman Collection, it was pretty cool to upload it to the google fusion tables and have it lay out pie charts with pretty colors. I think, however, my favorite one was this:

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.34.24 PM

It’s super pretty, and looks a bit like a dandelion, not to mention that you can move it around and it looks kind of derpy whenever you drag it. This chart, however, seems to be trying to convey exactly what kind of slide condition occurred on what date the photograph was taken. Since there are far more dates than there are slide conditions, there are many more nodes (the orange ones) that connect back to the slide conditions (the blue).  This charted relationship can be important for the photographer or the photographic community because it reveals the commonality of a specific slide condition. All-in-all, it’s pretty interesting what a chart can reveal, even if you don’t have a precise intention when creating it.


Telcons ‘Textplot’ Memcons – Stacked Bar Graph

This week’s readings were fairly difficult, but as with all the other readings, they expanded our knowledge about Digital Humanities.

In “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display,” Johanna Drucker compares “data” with “capta,” as touched on by several other blog posts. She says that data can be seen as a “given” while capta is “taken and constructed.” It seems that capta is used to create the visuals, though you first need data.

Kaufman’s piece was actually my favorite. On the “Quantifying Kissinger” page, she describes the proejct in which the researchers analyze historical records of the Kissinger collection in the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA). I loved the visualizations page, which pieced together “1300 most frequent words in each corpus.” Their work reminded me of what we did in class with Voyant, where we also found words that appeared often and used a visual to further understand them.

Digital Humanities is still a confusing concept but I felt like the readings this week explained more about its potential and what you can do with it.

My thoughts on the Drucker and Kaufman readings.

Oh my goodness! That Drucker reading did not make any sense to me at first I felt it was all a foreign language. Since I was having such a difficult time with the reading I decided to read it “out loud” a few times and underline some important ideas and points. After trying my best analyzing and re reading over and over again I got a few things from her paper. So the whole “capta vs data” thing is still a little fuzzy but I kind of get what she is saying. Capta is “taken” actively while data is assumed to be a “given” that is able to be recorded and observed. When Drucker states that we must pay attention to the representation I think she means that any representation of knowledge is crucial to its cultural force and to its production. Drucker goes into graphs and charts and how sometimes they do and do not represent knowledge. I believe charts and graphs do represent knowledge but only to a certain extent. On the surface, it is basically given knowledge on topics and circumstances, but some info and knowledge from graphs and charts can be extremely bias in some ways. Drucker addresses important question that graphs do not exactly look into when it comes to the graph shown  such as ” what counts as a nation”? and “what kind of time span”? We must also keep in mind that graphs do change over the course of time as well.

Now onto the Kaufman reading! I thought it was really cool how all the info was visual. I really liked how their was a moving time line on the bottom of the visual. I learned some things about the Vietnam war and how Kissenger tried to negotiate peace meetings. Both readings were somewhat hard for me to understand mainly because I had no prior knowledge of visual texts like this.

Data and Capta

data3In Johanna Drucker’s article titled “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display”, Drucker offers her view on the shortfalls of data visualization and how they can act against the viewer of the data. She states that visual displays act as a sort of “intellectual Trojan horse” (Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display) where assumptions can hide behind the outward appearance of the data in question. One way that she offers the ability to fix this inherent issue is to re-conceive all data as capta. Data, she describes, is a “given” where capta is “taken” or captured (Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display). My interpretation of her description of the difference between the two is that data must be something that can be observed without effectively looking for it, and, in contrast, capta is information that is, to borrow her description, effectively “taken” from a source and then used to create these tables and

To use an example to further clarify my interpretation of her distinction between data and capta, I will now turn your attention to a data collection project I did in the past for a company looking to analyze their website visitors and Facebook page likes. For the project I collected unique user data for the company’s website using Google analytics and collected data regarding the age and gender demographics of their Facebook page users. Using Drucker’s classification, the data I collected would effectively fall into the category of capta, because I did not record and observe the data in question without looking for it, rather I actively sought it out using their analytic tracking software. Had I, for example, went to their on-the-ground store and viewed the customer’s demographics, without effectively searching it out, under my interpretation of her description of the difference between the two that would qualify as data.

As a final point regarding Drucker’s article, she mentioned a representation of knowledge and how it effects how we perceive information contained in these graphs, which is important because graphs are almost always created to convey some form of information. How this relates to the chart being knowledge or a representation of knowledge is an interesting question. I think that it is both, as long as the chart is one that easily conveys its meaning. A chart in its most basic for cannot exist without some basic form of knowledge to be displayed in the chart. Thus, the cart must be both knowledge, as it has a base of knowledge to draw from as its source, and a representation of knowledge because it conveys that knowledge.


Kyle C.


Drucker, Johanna. “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display”. Digital 2011. retrieved from

Image Sources:

Why all data has to be capta

In the article by Drucker, she expresses how in the humanities all data gathered is capta. Or rather as she puts it data that is construed and sort out for a purpose. That by seeking answers using data in the humanities, one automatically construes the information to essentially fit the model. She goes on to express how this needs to be clearly identified to show “ambiguity and complexity”. This is where I find an issue with the argument. Although I would submit that there is often a potential for more exogenous factors that effect data sets in the humanities than in other disciplines, all data intrinsically has the same basic problem of being sought rather than gathered. This is in contrast to the authors belief, but in reality, in order for data to be gathered, it needs to be wanted. A great example of this can be found when looking at social media companies gathering data on its users. All free to use social media companies, gather specific information from their clients in order to sell to third parties in order to gain revenue. In that they are separating the population, much in the same way humanitarians do, in order to market and sell the most pertinent information that they can. However, the same problems arise in this sorting as exist in humanitarian work, thus I see defining capta as a separate entity unneeded artificial separation of disciplines. To add one closing thought, earlier in the semester, this class spoke about a software that was used by a company to distinguish faces, and it did not recognise black people, this was not the fault of the software, rather it was the way in which it was programmed. The same issues that exist in data gathering are uniform.

Drucker and Digital Visualizations


So, not only is Drucker’s article about the different important aspects of digital visualizations and such, but the author seems to like to use big words to make it seem more difficult than it probably is. Either way, this article was very difficult to grasp, so, as a tip, don’t read it when you’re already tired.

After reading through all of Drucker’s pretentious vocabulary, I tried to get to the core of this whole data vs. capta thing. Drucker seems to say that it is important for data to be reconfigured into capta so that it can by expressed in a graphic display. Now, what is the difference between the two you ask? Drucker says that capta is “taken actively,” whereas data is assumed to be known and so can be observed and recorded. Essentially, data is a given, and to reconfigure it into capta, it has to be reproduced using a humanities-driven thought process , thus making it “taken and constructed”.

Drucker not only makes a point about reconstructing data into capta, but she also emphasizes that the representation of knowledge must be acknowledged. Drucker declares that the history of knowledge itself is basically the constantly changing forms of knowledge that we, as humans, have had throughout time. Knowledge has only ever been changed or transformed in the different cultures and times, and so has not been explicitly new, making the representation of knowledge important to what it actually means.

Knowledge representation is key to visualization, mainly because it enables one to see the relationships and patterns between different pieces of information. Knowledge, Drucker says, must be carefully scrutinized and contain theoretical insight in order for it to be used in a graphic display.

Following Drucker’s obscure reasoning and incorporating what Yau said in the chapter of his book, charts and other graphic displays are both knowledge and the representation of knowledge. A graphic display uses set information to exhibit knowledge, but it also shows the relationships and patterns that may emerge upon comparing them. Thus, visualizations of data can reveal new information through the knowledge it already possesses and presents, and also allows for new interpretation to be gleaned from what it is showing.

“Data” vs. “Capta”

Data and Capta; what are they? Are they similar? or are they different? How so?

When I first read through the Drucker text, I was completely confused. So, I read it once more, and by that time, it started to be clearer to me. So addressing the question of what “capta” and “data” are,  data is supposed to be a sort of “given.” For example, somebody runs a mile and you time them with a stop-watch, and once they finish, you measured their time as 4 minutes and 14 seconds, that data is given to you. On the otherhand, capta is “taken” actively.  To me, I would classify “capta” as what is used in the process of creating a visual representation of such thing, using data to aid in the creation.


Also, in the Drucker text, she talks about why we must pay attention to the representation of knowledge, and why it is important for the visualization. Now, I say that this is important for visualization because  all graphs contain knowledge and data, so the information being conveyed by the graph or table, must be accurate and well-representative of the actual point. Another reason I believe this to be true is because knowledge and information is changing day-in and day-out. If we don’t find a way to quickly adapt to the changing of knowledge, we won’t be successful or intelligent to the matter.



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.



Perpetua, Felicitas, & Oregon

This article is different than anything we have ever read in class; this is the first time that the religion aspect is prevalent. I know that this article has been planned for us to read beforehand, but it correlates with the recent tragedy of the Oregon shooting at a community college. At the shooting in Oregon, the killer specifically sought out Christians; the students potentially had a chance to lie about their religion or, like Perpetua and Felicitas,become martyrs in the name of their beliefs.  In Perpetua and Felicitas case, they both refused to lie about their religion and chose to die sticking by their beliefs. While I commend their bravery and think they were very courageous to do this, there is sort of a blurred line whether this is the ‘best’ decision or not.  For example, one of the women left behind  a baby. Now, this baby will grow up without a mother and be left behind in the world that she is escaping. Is this considered selfish? Is this moral? It’s hard to say. The reason these women opted for death was because they would rather die than deny their allegiance to God. I’m not so religious myself anymore, but I did go to church and Bible school for most of my childhood and if I took away anything, it would be that God forgives, understands, and wants what is best for you. In my opinion, if God exists, He would understand the predicament of the situation, forgive you for ‘lying’ and would want you safe.  I guess I can’t really speak for them since I do not have a strong devotion to a particular faith, but I know if a gun was pointed at me I would say and do anything to get ouf of the situation. Is it really necessary to be a martyr over this?


Perpetua and Felicitas: Is Martyrdom Worth It?

The story of Perpetua and Felicitas is a tale of Christians preferring martyrdom over recanting their faith. They find strength in their friendship and companionship with the remainder of those captured, particularly as they are thrown to beasts. A particularly moving example of faith is exemplified by Perpetua who chooses to become a martyr despite all of her family’s attempts at persuading her, voluntarily dying for her faith. She is not even a full Christian yet, merely a catechumen, a young convert or initiate. In the end, all of those who choose to die rather than recant their faith eventually go out peacefully with the knowledge that they have performed their duty.

Martyrdom is an interesting concept. It makes a person wonder what is worth dying for. Some people would say nothing, as a life is one’s own and he or she only has that one life to live for. Others will say it is worth it to save the life/lives of another – equivalent exchange in other words. And perhaps the strangest reason for me is for the sake of a religion or belief. I am not a religious person nor do I hold any belief strong enough such that I would die for it, which is perhaps why dying for religion or belief is something alien to me. For that, I can only say that a life is not worth an idea.

Theoretically, martyrdom is performed as an expression of the deepest faith. It appears to make sense; to galvanize and encourage the remainder of those who hold the same beliefs, show them it’s worth dying for. As the reading explained, Jesus, the focus of Christianity, was one who became a martyr. As martyrdom is something rare, anyone who commits to it is seen as incredible, a person worthy of admiration. However, you then have to question if beliefs are worth the price of  a life or lives. Many will be encouraged by the moving action, but when faced with a similar persecution, will they also do the same? The reading from PBS appears to suggest that they won’t. Additionally, as an individual, it is not worth it. Disregarding the idea of equivalent exchange, an individual’s death impacts those who are closest to him or her. Dying for one’s faith, despite encouraging the remainder of the believers, will yet cause pain an anguish to family members and friends, perhaps those who a person should truly be living for.

Perpetua’s case particularly baffles me, as she voluntarily throws herself at the governor, asking to become a martyr. She is not captured nor is she actively pursued. And yet, she chooses to die, very much throwing away her life when she has no need to do so. It is one thing to become a martyr when captured. It is a completely separate matter to do so intentionally without reason save for belief. Should all others commit to the same action, there would be no one left of the belief to follow it and teach it to others (of course, that is highly unlikely, but it still stands). There are better uses for a life aside from voluntary suicide, for that is what it is.

Perpetua and Felicitas: Faith and Devotion

Most of the readings from this class have been more analytical in that they examine some of the findings of certain people who did specific research.  However, this week’s article was particularly interesting as it tells the tale of these two Christian martyrs, Perpetua and Felicitas.  This is a departure from the studies that this class has been going over since it portrays their faith and devotion to what they truly believed in.

Perpetua and Felicitas were brave women who stood up for their faiths and accepted death as martyrs until the end.  When I read their stories, I was completely shocked at how they were willing to sacrifice their lives for their faiths in Christianity.  For me, it sounded a bit like their devotion to their Christian faith was very strong in their sense.  They refused to lie to Roman authorities or pay tribute to their pagan gods because they thought that it went against God’s Will, which was at the heart of their beliefs.  To be able to give up your life for what you believed in is often difficult because such dedication at that final moment can be frightening to think about.

What seemed also shocking were the sacrifices they took for their children who were recently born.  They wanted to make sure that their babies were taken care of since they could not do so when they were very close to their death sentence.  It is always hard to give away your child when you have barely known them and you know that you will never see them again.  This was true sacrifice in giving up their loved ones in order for them to be truly happy in their own life and then not being able to be a part of their lives.

Overall, this article was very intriguing from the faiths and devotions that these women displayed for others to see.  Their deaths symbolized the sacrifices they had made for their children and their beliefs.  It really touches the heart of the readers as they read this tragic story of these courageous women.

Perpetua and Felicitas: Counter-Culture in the 3rd Century (October 5th, 2015)

This article from PBS about early Christian martyrs is an interesting one. Within, Professor Wayne A. Meeks describes what is happening with Christianity is a sort of counter-cultural movement. Now as someone who attended Catholic school for eight years, counter-culture was pretty much explained to me as that which goes against the teachings of the church. And that interested me, the perspective shift from Christianity being the counter-culture of its day, to defining counter-culture to me as that which was not them. This is likely some weird thing from my early Catholic school days, but it has always stuck with me. And I found counter-culture to be an intensely interesting subject. Maybe the martyrs did too. I do not know the specific context for this story other than what I read in the article and what I have learned from school, and I always have been bad with historical context, but I think that a lot of these martyr stories are hard to relate to our own personal context. Here in the United States we at least try to have a separation of church and state, the Roman government had no such distinction and thus had rituals embedded into their culture as something that the community does as a whole. I think a big part of historical context that escapes me, and may escape others is that the further back you go in time, individuals and small groups just become numbers that we don’t relate to. Or generalizations of a story. But this story, that of Perpetua and Felicitas (though as a child I was always told it was Felicity), focuses on two individuals and helps to reign that back in for me. It was individuals who were persecuted. Individuals who offered themselves to God by the edge of the sword. Small groups of society being persecuted interacting with other small groups of society that wanted to persecute. I think, that since the Roman government at large did not have a strict policy on the persecution of Christians that it was the small minority that banded together as a group to execute those of another faith, or at least those who did not participate in a same social manner. I think that the outliers on both sides of the story were those well documented because it wasn’t the mundanity of regular culture. Why document the regular everyday happenings of real life if everybody already knows it? The stories of the Christian martyrs, as far as I know, are documented better than the early growth and expansion of Christianity (as well as being part of that growth), and the stories continue to contribute to Christian faith to this day. The importance of their martyrdom, in my eyes, was the counter-culture idea that people believed so strongly in their faith that they would die for it. Again, I do not know the context of the time, but from what it seems like, the Roman community practicing sacrifice could just as easily have taken the same steps that some Christians did and faked their way through the offerings. They could have been weaker in their faith to their gods than the Christian martyrs had in their God. And I believe this is why Christianity drew upon martyrdom as a source of power and not tragedy, it proved their place in the pantheon of religions that existed at the time, and established them as a real participant in humanity’s dialogue with the concept of higher being(s). -Luke Bolle


This image of Perpetua and Felicitas also shows something that wasn’t brought up in the reading: they were also women of color.

Image Source

Perpetua, Felicitas, and the “Hollywood Version” Christian

I genuinely enjoyed this last article. No, I didn’t hate the other articles or texts, but I thought that this article was really interesting to read and not difficult to understand. I just wanted to mention that…

Before I talk about how much I love Perpetua and Felicitas, I want to talk about how the aricle first addressed this idea of the “Hollywood version” of Christians during that era of Ancient Rome and religious persecution.  I’m sure many people believe this “Hollywood version” – Christians hiding in dark alleys and roaming from place to place via secret tunnels. The article ensures readers that it was not like that at all. There was religious persecution but persecution was small and more of a concern for local communities. There was a fear of Christians, not because of radical actions against the state, but because Christians did not take part in major pagan rituals and events, which could be interpretted as radical and offensive to the state at the time.

The two martyrs that the article talks about (and who I will never forget) are Perpetua and Felicitas. These were two Christian women who chose to die rather than participate in pagan practices of worship. Perpetua especially was ready to die for her faith even though she had not been baptized as a Christian. She could have easily gotten out of her execution but Perpetua stuck to her beliefs and God and died a martyr. Felicitas was a mother, to die would mean to leave her child without their mother, but Felicitas stuck to her faith and also dies the death of a martyr.

Some might ask why these women chose to die rather than lie about their religion and get off scot-free. These women were devoted and if you look at the Biblical verse, Matthew 10:32-33, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” To hold onto their faith, the lives of Felicitas and Perpetua would be put on the line, but to deny their faith would put their souls at risk. At least, that is likely how Felicitas and Perpetua might have saw it. Only they know their reasons.



Perpetua and Felicitas: Incredible, and Maybe a Little Foolish

I must admit, I have mixed feelings about these ladies. On the one hand, I think they’re incredibly badass. They give off that self-sacrificial action heroine vibe that you can’t help but be excited about. I mean, how often do two women come around who would willingly throw themselves into a den of vicious beasts, knowing they were going to die, simply because they believed that strongly in their ideals? Not that I’m saying everyone should start following their example, mind you, but it’s an incredible feat of bravery and loyalty. What makes it even more astounding is something discussed in the PBS reading we had, about how Paganism was essentially tied up with the Roman state. By refusing to follow Paganism, Perpetua and Felicitas were basically denouncing their ties to Rome, and shunning all of its civil practices. That takes serious guts.

I wouldn’t call myself a religious person, but generally when I think of Christian martyrs, a lot of men come to mind. That makes Perpetua and Felicitas seem even more important to me, because we have so few stories that recount how women sacrificed for the sake of their religion. Perpetua literally asked for a gladiator to slit her throat, and Felicitas waltzed into that arena right after giving birth. Both of them had to pass off their children to other people to raise because they knew they wouldn’t survive. And what have you all been doing with your Sundays?

Just to add some intensity to the tale, I typed their names into a Google image search, and found this piece of artwork (taken from here), portraying Perpetua’s final moments:

Not the easiest sight to swallow, is it?

Now for the reasons I have muddled feelings about this story. I have already said I’m not religious, and perhaps by default that makes me a skeptic. I’ve always found the idea of martyrdom a bit over the top. Not to say that it isn’t important, because obviously it is, and it’s held very close to the heart of religion. I can respect that. And I can respect being so devoted to something that you would literally die for it. But for me, religion isn’t one of those things I would die for. So as much as I admire Perpetua and Felicitas for being so courageous, I also can’t say I understand why they chose that route. In the reading on the PBS website, it said that being Christian technically wasn’t against the law in the Roman Empire. You were supposed to follow the Pagan rituals, true, but Christianity could still be practiced as well. And it sounded like people faked going along with those crazy Pagan sacrifices all the time. If it were me, I would have taken a safer option and kept myself alive, rather than throwing myself down in an arena full of angry animals. But of course, I’m not Perpetua or Felicitas (and quite frankly I’m glad for that). They clearly inspired uncountable Christians, and that’s not something that should be ignored.

I think the takeaway from this is that we all have the capability to fight for something we believe in. These two mothers died for their beliefs. Now please, friends, don’t go that far, because living is important. But we don’t have to sacrifice ourselves to stand up for something. Cling to your ideals. You never know what kind of impact you can make with them.

What’s your textuality?

The Radiant Textuality piece that explained the convergence from physical text based analysis to online based analysis in an effort to provide transparency in all research and historic files to anyone that may want to access them around the world for free online. It was through the perspective of a researcher so the opinion to provide all text based research and information online may be biased.

I do find effectiveness in having the information available the way the writer put it as expanding the worlds knowledge and understanding of the given subject and hopefully will add to the research or use the research for their research. It is about providing information to people in order to assist them in their research starting by making all research public that the same research is not conducted twice.

I also agree with the text in that as the digital footprint for information and research grows it also encourages other scholarly people to be a part of the online revolution and also publish their works digitally. I would also agree with the text that people need to stop ignoring the digital revolution amongst us and we must upload and archive important physical papers that have yet to be published. It would facilitate the research work for many scholars that still find themselves searching for data in library textbooks.


The Return of the Library.

I thought it was pretty obvious that libraries are very important and play a critical role in humanities. Since we use humanities to understand and document our world it is clear that we need libraries in order to do so.  In Jermon’s paper he talks about how it would be difficult to have to digitalize all archives in libraries. I think it is crazy how we are starting to digitalize everything now a days. Even books now have an electronic version. The next thing you know everything will be digital. Good old fashioned libraries are no longer the same because even library data and archives are becoming electronically digitalized. I guess it does have its benefits but I myself like to keep things simple. The author talks about how it is not always helpful and beneficial because it ends up benefiting “minor” writers instead of the real writers and scholars which I can definitely see. He talks about how endless educational possibilities will emerge and soon be exploited by electronically needed things such as email. I am pretty sure almost every university uses email for instructional reasons for students and professors.

The other author of our other reading Amy was more in favor of the technological changes and advances. She mentioned how it made things so much easier for her as a professor and how she was able to share important text and readings with her students without all the extra complications. She even argued that the information was way better in quality than actual paper hard copies can be sometimes. Honestly I find using the good old fashioned library just as efficient.

Going Digitial

We are currently in the midst of a technical revolution where we are experiencing everything from new software innovation, to hardware getting smaller while still gaining leaps and bounds in terms of performance. The new iPhone 6s and 6s+, with their processor performance rivaling that of processors that were in laptops and desktops just 6 years ago, comes to mind as an example of this. However, even considering all of this, we are, indigital-book my opinion, just scratching the surface of what will be possible in the coming years. It is clear that digital is where the world is going, and, to illustrate that point with an example, think about the last time you used a source for a paper or a project that was not a digital source. How long has it been? A few months, maybe a few years? I, personally, cannot remember the last time one of my sources was a physical book or publication that was not the textbook that I had for the class. That is largely because of the digitizing of texts and the widespread availability of information on the internet. However, that is not to say you can find anything online, and that is one of the main points that Jerome McGann touches on in his article titled Radiant Textuality.

In McGann’s article, he states that “we stand at the beginning of a great scholarly revolution”, that revolution, he summarizes, is to make the resources that are housed in libraries, museums, and archives available to everyone no matter if they have the ability to physically go see these institutions for themselves. He states that to make this happen, this content must be digitized, and it is easy to see why this is the case. To truly make these resources available to everyone who wants to access them, or wants to use them for a scholarly purpose, the easiest way to do this is to make it available online, which will theoretically allow access to these resources with the device that the vast majority of us have in our pocket right now.Ebook

Now, to go back to my original point about using digital sources, how much would it help to not only have access to what we already have access to on the internet, but also have access to publications and books that are housed in libraries that many of us will not see, and therefore, will not use? I would wager to say a lot, especially for more detailed papers with the need for scholarly articles and sources. Now it is true that there is a cost factor, and McGann states in similar projects corners were cut, such as the removal of the front and back covers of books, to save money, however, I think the cost will be worth it when you consider how these materials can be used. Also it is important to mention that this article was written in 1996. The costs that were involved with a project like this in 1996 are likely much higher than they would be now, due to innovation and progress with digital technologies. In addition, the information should be even more accessible now than it would have been at that time. Overall I think that this is something that not only should happen, but will happen eventually, as the draw of moving towards digital is just too great.

Kyle C.


Image Sources:×298.jpg?v=1367526457

Work Cited:

McGann, Jerome. Radiant Textuality. Victorian Studies, Vol. 39, No. 3 (Spring, 1996), pp. 379-390

Going down the Rabbit hole

The readings provided for this week provide views on the usefulness and limitations of online sources, as reprints of the original source material. Amy Earhart speaks about the importance of race and gender in the humanities, and how the digitization allows for a wider access of their information hypothetically. So long as the programming does not exclude the minority groups it can serve to preserve and share different cultures.

TheAhmed Baba Institute archive from the Ahmed Baba institute is evidence of this preservation of cultural history. An interesting note about the institute which has a South African backing(hence my liking it), it preserves and goes over some Islamic texts. Other than translating and uploading some texts for people to see, it is especially interesting to me personally, as a historian, most Greek writing and what we know about ancient Greeks and Romans comes from the writings of Islamic Scholars. Which is an example of how humanities serves to preserve different cultures, in this case even more than just the intended group.

McGann, writes about the importance of understanding the limitations of digital archives. As a student currently doing my senior capstone here at pacific I can speak first hand to the limitations to using only online digital collections. These collections in reality are just the first step for a researcher. It shows them if the archive will have sources they may potentially want to udavid_socratesse. The best example of this I think can be seen in a museum example. The image here is the “Death of Socrates” a famous painting in the MET. It is by far one of my favourite pieces of art but the digital image of it is nothing in comparison to being in front of it. So as the title of this post goes, the digital archives serve really as the Rabbit hole. It is an opening into expanding ones field of view so that a  person can focus in on that which interests them and speaks to them. As such is works as a tool, to aid in the spread of ideas and knowledge for society as a whole. Well society that has open internet access and is able to access files, but that is a different topic.

Limitations of Digital Archives


This week we’ve been talking about digital archives of cultural objects and how they get published online, as well as the reactions they can cause in the cultural groups themselves and other audiences. Digital archives are intended to allow easy access to research materials, but by delving deeper, we can see that there are limitations to what is published online, as well as the issue of what, exactly, gets published, and what it can say about the whole archive.

In Amy Earhart’s article, she talks a lot about how what is included or excluded from an archive can reveal a lot about what the archive is about- intentional or not. She gives the example of MONK (Metadata Offer New Knowledge), which combined the contents of several other archives to form an archive that could provide a visual analysis of the literature and documents that came from the American 19th century. However, in doing this, they overlooked the fact that the majority of the documents were not written by people of color, and thus only provided one general perspective of the time period: the predominant view of white culture. Other archives that attempted to address the issue of not having content written by people of color found that many of the texts have been lost. There are several excuses for this, mainly that the digital world was viewed by many of its authors/contributors to be free from the classifications of race, gender, or class, and thus would not address such things. However, this also highlights issues within the digital humanities field, particularly that of selection (of what goes online) and historical structure. Thus, scholars of the digital humanities are attempting to address these issues by, as Smith says, “construct[ing] a digital canon that will weigh content and technological choices equally.”

In Jerome McGann’s article, he also talks about the limitations of online archives, as well as how essential they are. He describes online archives as being enormously helpful to scholars all across the globe, who can access things digitally and thus conduct research more easily. But he also states that there are limitations to these archives, mainly because of its scholarly design of the texts. There are many texts that haven’t been published online because they are hard to attain, are too costly, or are lost.

The Real Face of Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 6.14.56 PMWhite Australia is an online archive that is intended to show the overlooked immigrants in Australia, and how the majority of the people are not white at all, but of a different race. However, while the archive is intended to show this, it does not have very much information beyond the fact that it is depicting all the overlooked members of “White Australia.” Clicking on the pictures doesn’t yield very much information, so getting to the point of why this specific person was included in the archive is difficult.



Do we really still need libraries?

In today’s day and age, everything is being pushed more and more towards the digital. Generations before us had this thing called library, where they would go when they needed a question answered. That is not the case anymore. Now, anytime we have questions, we go right for our smart phone or computer and ask google. In the Jerome article, he states that it would be increasingly difficult to digitize all the documents and texts inside of the library. Although this may be true, we are constantly forced to adapt to the changing world around us. The digital humanities are leading us to a new way of overcoming obstacles. I believe that as a student, having this new sense of the digital humanities, is actually aiding us in our everyday lives. This also ties into the Amy Earhart article.

In the article, Earhart addresses the change in the digital. As a professor, she finds that this new turn towards a more digital life, is actually for the better. She states, “Lost or excluded texts began to be published on the net, some developed by scholars, others by fans, and still others by libraries and museums. I remember the possibilities that these materials offered for the literary scholar. I could create a website for students that linked the recovered e-text of Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig, period images of slaves, and the variety of African American cultural and historical documents found on the then-fledgling Schomburg Research Center website.” Now, looking at this quote, we can see the power of the digital. A professor is able to show their students texts and documents that they normally would not have access to.

The digital is becoming more and more dominant, and it is being shown everywhere, including on our campus. Take this class for example, I believe each and every one of our assignments have been done digitally. (That explains the class name Digital Humanities) Previously, students would come to class prepared with a notebook and pen, but now all we really need is our laptops and a full battery.


“Stealing” and Re-purposing online pictures

I found Melissa Terras’s blog post interesting because it touched on what we talked about in class on taking other people’s pictures online. It is also a very common thing that happens today and it is unclear of when it is acceptable or not or if you are breaking any copyright laws. She mentioned the website Etsy and I think that that is a great example for this issue. The way Etsy works is any person can have their own “boutique” so-to-speak where they can craft their own merchandise and sell it to any buyers usually through pay pal.

tangled disney iPhone case, iPod case, Samsung case, HTC case & Xperia Case available plastic and rubber case

Vintage Disney Posters Alice In Wonderland iPhone case, iPod case, Samsung case, HTC case & Xperia Case available plastic and rubber case

Iphone 5 iphone 4/4s  5S 5C  Breakfast Club VIntage  Movie Posters  mobile cell phone cover snap case

These are pictures of a few phone cases that I found off of sellers on Etsy. All I had to do was search “Disney phone cases” and “movie poster phone case” and these appeared. These are actual phone cases that I can purchase from a random seller on etsy and the accessibility is what makes it a controversy. Obviously, these images do not belong to the seller and these are images that one can google. Most likely, the seller of the phone case obtained these images somewhere online and then printed it on to a phone case and called it their own creation. While they did make the phone case, they do not own the image. The question rises, is it okay for one to reproduce these images on a phone case and they sell it for profit. Well these images are very public and can be found almost anywhere…but does that mean it is okay to take it? Like the author mentions, there are many copyright laws attached to pictures that people don’t even read or even understand so every artifact is different.

The author proposes : “Put out of copyright material in the public domain to encourage reuse. Go on! what are you scared of?” which I have mixed feelings about. While I do feel that such popular images such as “The Breakfast Club” movie poster above are very easy to find and it’s sort of impossible to stop all reuse of the photo, I think if I personally took a photo, I would be mad if other people re purposed that photo and made money off of my work.

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.


Is Remixing an Art Form in Itself? (September 28th, 2015)

This blog post is brought to you by PacificNet; PacificNet: Where you’re never sure if the internet is working when you open your laptop.

Focusing mainly on the musings of Melissa Terras’ blog post about re-using digitized content due to my phone not being able to access the pdf of Robert Leopold’s article, I will be looking at the remix and where it stands in the context of art. She talks a lot about the how archival material and how it is presented online for others to use.She also makes many of what seem to be contradictory statements during her post, wanting this and criticizing that. Really I feel like she wants the world and she wants it now.

The first point she addresses is how poor the user interfaces of the platforms they upload their media to are. Flickr is brought up as an example, and I do remember a time when Flickr had a much more user friendly interface, but that was many years ago, and I believe the changes were brought to the website to better monetize the advertisements on the website. This brings up the question, at least to me, where if you are externally hosting your content on another companies domain, then what control do they have over you in how your information is presented when they change their layout to be more or less user friendly? Would you move your entire database somewhere else? Would you make your own? Would you partner up with similar institutions to make a universally searchable database?

In her second point she talks about how the aesthetic of what is available isn’t pleasing to her. So what? I ask. If absolutely nothing except for what was still under copyright was desirable to me, then do I have a right to ask the curators to go out of their way to make it more accessible to me? I think it should be clearer on how to get licensing rights, but so they cherry picked 10 (which is a very buzzfeedy attention grabbing number, along with her titles “10 fabulous 1950s illustrations which we have arranged for you to use under a creative commons license” but I digress) just for you but you didn’t want those ones you wanted the specific ones that you wanted to use. It would all be much simpler if they offered a better way to tackle this problem.

Her third point is on how monetizing product works. She says anything you’re not monetizing, let other people use it. For free or for pay, yet there are plenty of examples of artistic works that don’t do this. This is why out of print books and movies demand such high prices. Scarcity through denial of product. Sure, we have some companies like The Warner Archive Collection which prints VOD disks for anyone who wishes to order them, but companies practicing this are few and far between. And I don’t think that the vast majority of people are losing sleep over not being able to make a proper coffee mug. And to answer this question: “What “access” do you think you are actually providing, if its only of the “look but don’t touch” variety?” A museum. Museum access. Museums are look don’t touch. Its a digital museum collection.

Regarding image quality in her fourth point, maybe the same people who don’t know how to get images online in the first place don’t know how to properly put them online either. Go figure. I don’t think that there are that many super computer savvy museum custodians whose main priority is to make sure that they don’t get paid for their work making it available for free then letting others profit over the remixing of it.

Her last point is on maker privilege, and how much time it takes to remix something into something else that they want. To that I say, why don’t they put that time and long arduous effort into creating their own work or better learning how to cut down production time?

A lot of what she said I found very interesting and intriguing, but I feel as though she presented it in a “me me me” sort of way. A sort of “why aren’t they doing this for me” sort of deal. Many museums have their own staffed talent making remixes of work found in museums that can be purchased online or in their gift shops. A lot of what I observed on etsy were very similar to what I’d see in a gift shop, such as prints:

Fuji Etsy

This is from Etsy

Fuji Museum

This is from the British Museum online gift shop.












This demand for ease of access to remixers as opposed to a demand of quality for all researchers is an interesting one. It seems to be very focused on personal needs like I want that one, as opposed to a open collective sharing. Plus, if all they do is sell the rights to ten different items, then all we’re gonna end up with are remixes over and over of the same ten things, right?

-Luke Bolle

Institutions and Their Databases


I will be emphatically refuting many things from Terra’s blog post. It is probably best not to comment on this post or even read it unless you don’t mind me ranting. Also, I don’t have a lot of experience with using online databases to digitally render new materials, so what I say may potentially be very biased and uninformed. And for that, I apologize.

The maker’s revolution does allow for new material to arise, but unlike what Melissa Terra states in her blog, not all information should be made available, as there are certain sensitive bits of information out there, as Leopold states in our other reading. Not all individuals wants their information (cultural or otherwise) easily accessible by everyone else. We have to take peoples’ personal ideals into account. Additionally, if some people do want their information in the air but does not want it to be reused, that is also their right. Institutions do not get to choose. The original authors do. If not them, the law does. And institutions have to obey the law. This has nothing to do with cowardice, as Terra puts it. In fact, you could make the argument that if she weren’t such a coward, she’d use the copyrighted material herself. (She does say other people will use the copyright material regardless, but that carries less weight than for an actual institution to allow it.)

Terra explains of how difficult it is to search for material using existing institutional databases, desiring for them to use a better platform. What Melissa Terra is asking is for institutions to create a system to help galvanize the maker’s revolution when they have no interest in doing so. I say she is asking for them to create a new platform, as she stresses that existing platforms are unwieldy to use. She also does not give out an alternative platform to use. In any case, I was curious to see if using the databases were as difficult as she claimed, so I decided to try one for myself using “Europeana”, one of the websites she provides. As I stated earlier, I do not have a lot of experience with creating items or using databases to search for cultural materials to use in projects, so perhaps my view does not coincide with that of a participant of the maker’s revolution. I found searching for information to be fairly easy, filtering out objects with key words. I did not need a set cherry-picked files to easily choose images from, which is something she also advocates for (I also feel that cherry-picked files make it such that creativity is lost – everyone would be using those files so they would no longer be creative).

TL:DR: Institutions exist to categorize and put forth information. They do not have the responsibility of galvanizing the maker’s revolution.

Cultures in the Digital World

People usually depend on the digital media, but it is often difficult to express some parts of culture depending on the artifact or the ethnic group.  The readings from this week have helped people understand the issues that are presented when taking a cultural object and setting up for the digital world

In Melissa Terras’s blog, she explained the issues about how difficult it was to take a cultural artifact and change it into something personal for oneself.  She offered some useful advice for people who are able to utilize their chosen antiques and modify parts of it for their own use.  There were some things to consider when taking an important relic because when folks try to download it, they want to make sure that others are able to use it whenever needed.

Leopold talked about the medical practices that the Cherokee natives used at the time and how it would be interesting to show their culture.  However, some of the Cherokee elders told them that they should not put any of those practices into public view because it could lead to consequences for anyone who is not a licensed Cherokee medic.  They explained that some of these methods could lead to disaster if they did not know what they were doing; in this case, they only appointed people who were trained and interested in this study to be able to utilize such techniques.

In conclusion, there are some cultures that are sometimes not ready to trust the digital media just yet because of how the public might think of their cultures.

Culture made Digital

After reading the blog post by Melissa Terras about the reuse of cultural-related contnent and Robert Leopold’s study about the Cherokee case study, it seems that the question being asked is not “Should content relating to culture be made digital and public?’  but “How does content relating to culture made digital and public?”

Leopold demonstartes how cultural related data, if made public, should protect individual identities that might be negatively impacted by the data. Leopold brought to light ways in which information and data about cultures can be made available to researchers while still maintaining certain identities confidential.

Terras’s blog post seemed to be more about making cultural resourses not just available for researchers and students, but also about making it convenient to access.

I think that both texts brought important information to light. Information about Cultures should be easily made available to researchers and students while at the same time protecting individuals who might be hurt by the data.

[Note: The computer that I am using is not letting me access the Leopold pdf. So, I apologize if my recollection on the text is off.]

Should Culture be Digitized?

It’s a tough call to make, really. On the one hand, we could look at it in the light that Melissa Terras shines for us – as an avenue for creativity, even if the avenue is rather full of potholes and road blocks. On the other hand, there’s the more serious pros and cons that Robert Leopold presents – an issue of exploiting parts of certain cultures when they should be kept secret, versus helping to share knowledge of those cultures with the public. No matter which way you slice it, digitizing aspects of culture is a pretty complicated pie to bake. It has benefits for some, consequences for others, and ultimately just leaves everyone rather frustrated.

For Terras, it seems that frustration comes from how inaccessible cultural works are on the Internet. Her blog post focuses on the “creative reuse of digitised cultural heritage content,” which is basically a fancy way of saying “using cultural artwork and turning it into something new.” Mostly, she rants about how difficult it is to find any cultural content to use in creative projects, no matter what the project might be. While there are some institutions that actually have online archives of artwork and whatnot, like The British Library, it’s still incredibly lacking in content. Terras pins a lot of the blame for this on “the shackles of copyright”, since most works are protected under copyright laws, and thus can’t be put online for public use unless they’re from before the 1920’s or so. And I have to agree with her on that one. Though copyright is obviously important, it’s incredibly difficult to do anything creative with cultural content when the only sources available are a century old, at least. Hence, we have constant battles with sites like Youtube that take down posts and videos with content still under copyright. Huge buzzkill to the artists of the online world.

Apart from the copyright obstacle, Terras also complains about cultural archives’ confusing interfaces, poor image quality, and lack of acknowledgement for how much effort goes into reusing cultural content. She uses examples like couch cushions and corsets that have old artwork on them, and all the resources and time an artist has to pour into those things in order to make them. Obviously those artists deserve some credit for their work, regardless of whether it was made using art that wasn’t originally theirs. Out of curiosity, I went on Etsy (an online store Terras mentioned and I’ve purchased from before) and perused a bit of the works on there. Below are some of the things I found.

the creation of adam - sistine chapel - 12" x 24" velveteen pillow case - michelangelo,1512

“the creation of adam – sistine chapel – 12″ x 24″ velveteen pillow case – michelangelo,1512” (Posted on the treder shop)

Leonardo da  Vinci - Magnetic Coasters Including Wooden Stand Set, Romantic Coaster Set, Art Coaster, Renaissance, FREE   SHIPPING

“Leonardo da Vinci – Magnetic Coasters Including Wooden Stand Set, Romantic Coaster Set, Art Coaster, Renaissance” (Posted on the elcomdesign shop)

Starry Night art earrings van Gogh small glass earrings

“Starry Night art earrings van Gogh small glass earrings” (Posted on the BohemianCraftsody shop)


Now, these were just a few things among thousands and thousands of works on Etsy, but they all exemplify the possibilities that can come from having access to cultural artwork and content online. And that’s the point that Terras tries to make. By being able to use cultural images, artists can reuse them and create something at once new and the same, giving new life to old works. And to be honest, I think that’s pretty incredible. Particularly when a work is already outside copyright laws, I think reusing these kinds of things should be encouraged. Let the artists flourish with these cultural mediums.

Of course, there is a downside to making cultural content readily available, as there is with everything. Robert Leopold’s article discusses a conflict that arose over the Smithsonian and the National Anthropological Archives (NAA) trying to add Cherokee manuscripts to their public archives, ones that detailed medicine man practices that were supposed to be kept a secret among Cherokee medicine men. A large portion of the Cherokee people involved in the conflict were against sharing these manuscripts, as it went against their traditions for other people to know these secrets, even among their own tribe. These “sacred formulas” weren’t meant to become cultural content for everyone to see, despite insistence by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian that they were an important part of history and should be available to read. Though some Cherokee people actually supported sharing the manuscripts, since it allowed their language to be studied and spread beyond the few groups that still understand it, most were adamantly against it. Archiving this kind of private cultural content has the potential to violate the same culture being promoted. Some things are meant to be kept within the walls of the culture itself, and not tossed around where anyone can see them.

That, I think, is reason enough to compromise when it comes to making cultural content accessible in a digital realm. With things like artwork, particularly done by artists long gone, sharing with other communities is pretty acceptable. Doing so would allow for new creations to be made, and for the artwork or other content to be appreciated in fresh ways. When it comes to more internalized aspects of cultures, however, like the Cherokee manuscripts, they should come with a word of caution. It may benefit some people to have that content available online, but it could also hurt the people and culture where the content originated from. And so, we seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to digitizing culture. There’s no fine line where benefits can be separated from consequences; they’re interspersed. Perhaps we’ll figure out what should and should not be shared with digitized culture someday, but for now, it’s still a bit of a head-scratcher.

Metadata and the Internet

After doing this week’s reading I soon realized how marketers used metadata to target consumers for their products and increase sales. Metadata is described simply as “data about data” and is also a “system of track keeping.” I am actually surprised that I did not know about this earlier since I encounter it online all the time. For example, many times while I was listening to Pandora internet radio I would  hear advertisements for student loans and cheap text book rentals. I always found it so ironic because during that time I was actually looking for student loans an cheap text book rentals. I immediately thought it was weird because the Pandora app did not have much of my personal information. This shows me exactly how metadata can show a persons identity without much information on the user to begin with. Marketers can now access user data and metadata in order to advertise to the audience in which they appeal to the most. Although I do think it is a smart marketing strategy, as an internet user I do have some concerns about it in some aspects. The only thing that is a little alarming to me is the lack of privacy we get on the internet. The fact that marketers can access any information about us in the first place is a little weird. To some people it differs from social media because the data is accessed by marketers and not friends and family. Just knowing we have no privacy online is a little weird but not too alarming unless you have something to hide.

Goodbye, Privacy…I think.

When Twitter announced that you could now display your birthday on your profile page, people were excited about the balloons that would go across your page. However, it’s just marketing, really. Twitter uses it to provide relevant advertisements for you…and also know you more about your identity.

The two articles introduced the idea of “metadata” (data about data) and noted that privacy is pretty much impossible to achieve. As Gilliland’s article mentioned, your purchases and Facebook likes can all be tracked. Some might find this horrifying, and I admit that it can be a bit unsettling how much can be tracked. But the thing is, things like Facebook likes don’t have to happen. If you’re that concerned about privacy, you don’t have to post that much about yourself on social media. You can just share the bare minimum…but of course, hardly anyone does that.

We briefly mentioned reposting in class last week, and some people said that anything posted on social media is bound to be stolen. I agree, although I’m not too happy about that. It can be an invasion of privacy when you repost (in my definition, posting someone’s work with a source and/or permission) something. One of my followers on a social media site told me that an online store called Syndrome was using one of my personal photos in the shop banner. I messaged the store about it and eventually the owner took the photo down, but I definitely felt an invasion of privacy. They hadn’t asked me for permission, after all. Although I don’t think it was right for them to use the photo, I know that there will always be reposters out there and that’a an unfortunate aspect of social media that we have to deal with.

You could say that I don’t have to post up any photos as well, and I agree. I don’t have to share anything at all. But social media can help people get their name out; for example, I want to be a a part-time travel blogger and sharing my photos – despite the risk of reposting – can lead to that. I know the risk, but I guess I’ll partake in it anyway and share the information that I’m willing to share.

But hey, maybe I just want balloons to float across my Twitter when the time comes, too.

Are you scared of the internet?

Online privacy has become a big issue and caused a lot of problems to certain people in our modern society. The word privacy is really interesting to me because I don’t believe in it. My father is a private investigator and ever since I was six years old I knew how to tail a car and where to stay doing surveillance. One of the scariest things I learned is how easy it is to find people online. I have been training to be a private investigator for about a year now but I cannot order official background checks like a licensed PI. On the other hand basic background checks are easily accessible for everyone. Try searching yourself through Everyone has heard that everything they put on social media stays there forever. Sadly, it’s true. I use that site to find addresses, phone numbers, and social media accounts for investigations. I can still find my myspace account that I only had for a couple weeks my freshman year of high school. The information is very easily accessed online making privacy difficult. Metadata is very similar in the fact a person could collect your information easily without you knowing. Personally, I don’t care if someone knows my purchase history or even my location because I don’t believe i’m important enough to warrant that much work. On the other hand celebrities constantly get their information and personal photos stolen. Both readings bring very good points on what metadata is and how it is used but I only find it silly because I am not going to use the internet any differently. As students is anyone afraid of being tracked on the internet or getting information or photos stolen? I find it hard to believe anyone will use the internet more cautiously from reading about the abilities of metadata.

Life and Data

Metadata is not a new field by any stretch of the imagination. A standard history or economic paper will include a historiography which includes past writing on your topic of research. Most times a researcher will include an analysis of these former texts thus creating metadata.

In the current day the ability to create metadata is incredibly easy via tools available due to the digital age. This includes the making of algorithms to sort data or the use of programmes such as excel to simply sort data.

The importance of metadata is important for two key reasons. One it allows researchers to sort data and allows for empirical studies on data. The second and more addressed in the readings use, is a company being able to decipher preferences of its consumers. Although some may see this as an encroachment into ones personal life, the fact of the matter is that it allows for a more personalized consumer experience. This allows for a more efficient use of a consumers time, while also increasing the profit margins of any company making a customized experience through the use of metadata.

Social Media’s Privacy

I enjoyed the article, Robert Hotz’s Wall Street Journal and found it interesting how it talked about, “Metadata Can Expose Person’s Identity Even Without Name.” And it begins to make me think about all the privacy terms and conditions that everyone ignores and are too lazy to read all the pages. It also raises issues for me about how safe and trusting the internet really is, because most people update their social medias to tell their friends about what is happening in their lives. But, not knowingly they are giving the entire world access to their lives and gives the world a possibility to track their location and in a way stalk them.

Also, it kinda scares me knowing that with a little data like my social media, and purchasing information, and algorithm has the possibility to figure out who I am and track my location. This reminds me about the post-9/11 age and the scare of terrorism and how we rather sacrifice our privacy in exchange for security. How the NSA was so much power to track our locations and determine who is a “threat” to society. Which at the time was understandable but today when there are not as many threats, what can stop the NSA to begin picking targets and finding simple misdemeanor a “threat” to society.

My main question would have to be, How can privacy be protected in today’s age of technology?

Metadata, Marketers, and Social Media

        It should be no secret to any of us that companies want to get as much information about us as possible. Usually the data that they are after is thought of as our traditional idea of what data is, including our name, location, gender, and age. With the widespread use of the internet, this conventional idea of data has expanded to include, for example, our online purchasing habits, as well as our search habits, by way of internet cookies and other technologies. Marketers use this data to better target the people who are most likely to purchase the product or service. However, data like this is not the only form of data that a company can use to expose who you are. Metadata, which effectively is “data about data” (Setting the Stage), as described by Anne Gilliland, is increasingly being used to take anonymous information that many companies keep about their customers and cross-reference it with other data sources, such as social media posts, to determine exactly who each piece of anonymous data belongs to.

        The use of metadata was not originally conceived with marketing purposes in mind. Rather, it was used in libraries, to create indexes and abstracts, and museums. Another application of metadata, resource discovery, can be closely related to what marketers use metadata for today. The way marketers use metadata to determine who the nameless profile is in a database is similar to how libraries used metadata to create groups of work based on content and metadata relating to the work. In the article by Robert Lee Hotz, this process is better described. After starting with said nameless profile in a database, this activity can be cross referenced with data from social networking sites. This data from social networking sites contains metadata of its own, time stamps, locations, and people tagged in the photo or status, that can be then compared to the anonymous data to create a match.

        The question is, however, does this use of data to gauge everything from buying habits, to who you are with, and where, invade the buyers privacy? For better or worst we live in a world of transparent personal data, in part because of our widespread adoption of the internet, and particularly social media. To touch on an interesting part of this concern for privacy, I have found that people are often concerned with marketers having this data, but never think twice about the people seeing the same posts on these social media sites.

        So to address the privacy concern, I want to pose a question. Is there a difference between your 250+ friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, having this information about you, and the marketers who want to push products to you? What about when you consider that some of your “friends” or followers on these sites you may not actually know personally? My opinion on the subject is that if a person is concerned about marketers having this data, perhaps they should examine exactly what they are posting on these social media sites in the first place, and determine if they are posting too much.

Kyle C.

Gilliland, Anne. “Setting the Stage”. Introduction to Metadata. retrieved from

Hotz, Robert Lee. “Metadata Can Expose Person’s Identity Even Without Name”. The Wall Street Journal. January 29, 2015. retrieved from

What is Privacy?

Are you concerned with privacy? What does it mean to you? To me, it really is a big deal. I’ve always wanted to be able to say that my life was “private,” but when in reality, that’ll never happen. It doesn’t matter how many protectors you use, how many proxies you use, or “VPN’s” you use, your information will always be accessible. Doesn’t matter what you delete from your computer, it will always still be accessible as well. Back to my statement, I wished my life could be “private.” I’ve been wanting this for yours, but it never happened yet, nor do I think it will.

Anything that has been put on the internet, can be found again. Period. This is ridiculous in it’s entirety; it really bothers me that everything is so vastly available. You can literally find addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, etc. Metadata falls into the same theory of finding information about someone so easily.

The article, Robert Hotz’s Wall Street Journal, was a great tool to learn more about metadata. What I found super interesting was the topic on social media sites. Everybody is perfectly fine with entering their information to sign-up for social media site, but they never know what the sites are doing with the data. They actually sell your information to anybody that is willing to pay for it. Then those companies take your information, and direct certain ads and commercials towards you. Weird, huh? Now you know why when you open up the internet, you get pop-ups from girls saying their “3 miles away from Stockton, Ca,” and want to “hang-out” with you? All because your location has been sold.

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.



So… Metadata. Anne Gilliland explains that metadata is, “data about data”, and thus is all the available information about information objects. That probably doesn’t really help explain anything at all. The thing is, though, that metadata doesn’t seem to quite have a set definition, as there are so many different components, types, and aspects of it. But Gilliland breaks metadata down and explains it as having three components: the content, context, and structure of the information object in question.

A prominent example of metadata in today’s culture include libraries, museums, and archives that use metadata to provide access to their materials, as well as the context those materials are in to provide a value to their information. Libraries, museums, and archives thus use metadata as a means of cataloguing their information objects so that other people can use it to their own knowledgeable purposes. More specifically, metadata can provide a means of description and resource discovery, not only in libraries, museums, and archives, but in just about anything.

As I said before, there are several different kinds of metadata, in which they are categorized by their purpose and function. However, all of the different kids of metadata are unified under a certain set of aspirations and thus functions, that Gilliland states as being: “creation, multiversioning, reuse, and recontextualization of information objects; organization and description; validation; searching and retrieval; utilization and preservation; and disposition,” of all information. Metadata is meant to attain and accumulate knowledge over time, thus expanding our information about all things informative.

However, metadata can be used for more than just contextual and descriptive information. It can be used to identify individual patterns through the information provided, thus supplying a means of infringing on privacy. In Robert Lee Hotz’s Wall Street Journal article, he states that metadata can look at a variety of patterns and identify them with individuals, based on their unique patterns. He gives the example of looking at shoppers’ patterns and how data analysts were able to identify who the shoppers were based on what they bought and looked at, as well as how much time they spent shopping.

So I guess the real question that is elicited from the concept of metadata is, how much information is too much, when it provides the means for invading our privacy?


Data about data

Metadata literally means “data about data.” That can be quite confusing and vague, so what is metadata really?

In “Introduction to Metadata,” Anne Gilliland sets the stage by providing the audience with multiple definitions and views of metadata. The 1990’s was quite accurate, defining it as the internal and external documentation of data contained in an information system. More specifically, metadata is about an information object. An information object embodies content, context, and structure. Thus, metadata does not have to be digital; it can be recorded in card catalogs, vertical files, and more. Though metadata is a broad term, there are specific types. For example, library metadata includes indexes, abstracts, and bibliographic records. As technology advances, it has expanded the market of metadata in creating automated means such as “metadata mining, metadata harvesting, and Web crawling.” Evidently, computer capabilities are becoming increasingly powerful and sophisticated. Paul Conway, though, takes a positive spin on metadata and says that the digital world maintains objects’ intellectual integrity.

However, does metadata cross the (privacy) line? An article by the Wall Street Journal titled “Metadata Can Expose Person’s Identity Even Without Name” speaks for itself. MIT’s research proves that, despite anonymity, this analytic formula can readily identify a person’s unique purchasing pattern almost 100% of the time; and with a little bit more research into public profiles (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, “check-in” applications), they could place names to the numbers. It is not so alarming though, because this new technique is purposed for firms, advertisers, and retailers for better advertising.

Bottom line, I believe the digital world relies on metadata. It functions to create, recontextualize, validate, organize, and preserve and there are clear benefits. Out of those, I find its role in effective researching most significant. I think Wall Street Journal says it best, “metabase is not as important as content but remarkably revelatory.”

What happened to privacy?

“Can you send me that picture?” It’s something we’re asked after coming home from a family trip or a vacation at Disney World. As social creatures, we are always sharing photos via the internet of us having really awesome adventures. However, most of the time, we are not alone in those pictures. We take photos with our friends, family, and some old person that just wandered into the background. It wouldn’t be a problem if we just kept the photos for ourselves and occasionally showed them to visiting friends and family. But in today’s digital age, our photographed memories are plastered all over social media for the entire world to see. I might sound really dramatic, but why is that a problem?

I’ll tell you. Maybe someone doesn’t want their photo on the internet, exposing them to be judged by some strangers on the internet who can then pass it on to their friends, and their friends, and on, and on, and on. And what about when those photos are used for advertisements or other forms of promotions. Some people might not really be comfortable with having their face used to sell the latest fancy product, especially if they weren’t asked for permission.

I have a professor who asks that their lectures not be recorded, out of fear that they will be taken out of context, and end up on Fox News. That’s a big problem, especially if people have to fear that their actions, that in context might be innocent, will be placed before a public audience to scrutinize. With all of this digital technology making it harder to live private lives (Google Glass, for one example) we should remember to be decent humans and give our fellow people the respect and privacy that they deserve.

Ethical Privacy or Share What is Yours, Not What Belongs to Others (September 17th, 2015)

Within David Golumbia’s Crowdforcing article, he goes over many examples and in my opinion, tries overly hard to examine what ‘sharing’ truly is. I found it difficult to make my way through this article because he was unclear, such as when he talked about a “sharing economy” and the effects of Uber and Lyft on the world around them and “parts of the social world that are impacted by their services”. My only idea on what he could mean by that is their effects on companies that offer similar services to them such as taxi cab companies, something I know is a big issue for them right now, but this was never explicitly or clearly stated in the article. He also tried much to hard to use nice big vocabulary words and did not hesitate to invent his own (something else that confused me was that he said he thought an apt name for crowdforcing was as such, but he never explains why. Why is it an apt name? How? It doesn’t force a crowd to do something and it isn’t an individual forcing a crowd?) and even past this he tries to be clever and call people who use and defend Google Glass for xyz “Glassholes” which was just ridiculous to see in an article like this. The attributions of reasons to fit what he is arguing in the Google Glass portion rubbed me the wrong way too, stating that Google Glass failed because we reject the ideals of a corporation when really, there isn’t even correlation and I think a stronger argument can be made that the high cost to purchase the technology was what ultimately killed it, lack of profitability and consumers willing to pay into technology, especially a new one is what has led to the demise of many expensive home gaming consoles, not because the public had any quarrels with what the tech could possibly be used for. A lot of the article focused solely on what if a company (usually for monetary gain) uses your information. So much was discussed about how sharing is related and tied to money, that the other readings for today, from Emory University, offered a breath of fresh air on the subject of sharing and privacy.

The Emory readings were very in depth and knew what they wanted to communicate in a very understandable manner. The presentations of ideas swaying the audience to be a responsible digital citizen. I myself have very little knowledge on copyright laws, something that as an artist will very likely become very important very quickly. The articles and presentations clearly inform as to what is acceptable and offers tools and resources to make it easier on the audience to educate themselves on the subject. I think the issue with ideals like “the nine elements of digital citizenship” is that physical citizenship (as in the physical, not digital world) is so loosely defined, with unset boundaries of morals, rights, and responsibilities, that applying any of the elements digitally first requires application in the real world. I do see people with the physical understanding of these principles who abandon them once they slip into the perceived anonymity of an online persona, but more often than not, I see people who do not posses the qualities of an ethical citizen carrying those traits over into the digital space, at least from my anecdotal perspective.

With both of these writings, I think that something that needs to be examined is the defensive privilege that companies receive: its the self we are trying to keep private but companies are buying and selling our information like packs of trading cards. It is a company like Uber or Lyft that is taking jobs away from cab drivers. It is companies doing wrong by the people. But people are the ones behind the company. The facade that exists that it is a company directly harming others is ridiculous. Someone out there is selling your information and another someone out there is buying it, and a team of someones are using that data to then effect you. A Uber driver or a Lyft driver is just trying to earn money same way a taxi driver is, just in different flavors with slightly different rules. Everyone is just trying to live, get by with a little bit of money however they can earn it (for the most part, most people do have to worry about money and cannot just forget about it) and leaves the morality to the wayside because they need to live. I think that morality has a tipping point in our society where people discard their morals to achieve a selfish (in the sense that the word selfish is the opposite of selfless, and if sharing doesn’t necessarily mean good, then selfish doesn’t have to be a negative word) goal such as paying for food and shelter or their kids education. People do what is in their best interests, or in the best interests of their company because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be paid. Not to be preachy with ‘money is the root of all evil’, but I do think that if there was a better way we collectively as a global society decided that nobody had to work to survive, that everyone can afford food, shelter, and education, maybe we would see a decline in blind obedience to those who sign our paychecks and we wouldn’t have to have this discussion on why sharing or crowdforcing is bad.

Now on the other hand, with privacy and sharing, I think the number one rule is permission. Ask first, always source, don’t leave people in the dark. If you’re using something of the creators, they shouldn’t be unaware of where their content is being spread. If your audience likes something that isn’t yours, they should know exactly where to find more of the creator so they can offer praise or criticism or consume and support their other work. Journalism has been really bad with this lately in a lot of digital spaces, because there seems to be an almost limitless amount of people getting paid to say the same thing. Some are great. Some blatantly steal content then see the consequences of this in real time, such as if they embed a photo without permission, then the original creator finds out, and changes the photo to do harm to the website that stole from them. There have been countless articles I’ve come across that show people compiling lists of comments without citing the original author or even the forum space that they plucked the quote from.

Permission is an interesting beast, because sharing is so built into social media that the thought to ask for permission before sharing something that isn’t yours is a concept that doesn’t even cross the minds of the average citizen. I have friends in other universities where it is taught to them in introductory courses (what would be PACS for us) to ask permission before sharing a colleagues social media posts on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Most of the time the answer to your request will be yes, but for those few times you get a no, it is very good that you asked the permission.

Privacy and the companies ability to share your information is very interesting to me. The average citizen waives permissions more often than they might think, such as when you click “I’ve read the terms and conditions” or “Yes I allow this app to access ABC on my phone”. By doing these things, the user then loses rights to things without knowing that they were, and companies have the freedom to do what they will with what you allowed them. A scam that has been happening on the android phone market is the use of simple flashlight apps asking for various permissions on your phone that a flashlight wouldn’t need access to. Why would a flashlight need to know your contact information or your step counter? The company that put that app up for free is now selling your data that they collected and you gave permission for to third parties.

My takeaway from today’s readings are that permission is always an important step in sharing, and to read all the documents that can potentially take away your privacy. Now the drawback to this is that if you don’t agree to their terms, you don’t get to argue your contract and you simply cannot use their service. Relating back to Golumbia’s point of “if you don’t like it don’t use it” being a poor way to run a system, sometimes the system isn’t moral enough to do anything better than to exclude those who don’t want to relinquish their rights.

-Luke Bolle

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.


Privacy vs. Sharing

This week’s readings are referred to the guidelines and concerns that people have to think about when they begin posting any personal or private information online.  Privacy is an important factor to examine closely because anything that is placed on the Web can affect others in a way that could have a contradictory effect.  These sites have been helpful in explaining some of the consequences and challenges that digital users might face when thinking about what they want or can put up online.

The “Domain of One’s Own” website provided specific facts and ways on how people should consider when setting up something that might become public.  These guidelines were beneficial to people who are getting started in adding information through the Internet as they explained what ways are considered “fair use” in utilizing copyrighted sources and indicated the issues that might arise if they expose content incorrectly.  When sharing ideas and support online, it is important that people need to either cite the original author or ask for their permission to add the support.  This is crucial because if the author is mentioned in the writing, then they will be given some credit in the new work.

In Golumbia’s reading about crowdforcing, it demonstrated how sharing data can be difficult to think about what people want to show to the public.  Usually it is fair to share information to the public, but there are some materials that might not have that same permission since the public might have a different opinion on the subjects involved in the writing.  The idea of crowdforcing emphasizes on the digital user’s decision on how their actions could impact others in either a positive or negative way.  It is always important to respect other people’s privacy in how they want to be depicted in society and to be aware of the issues that folks online would confront.

Overall, always remember to think about the people in the works first before doing anything else.

Be careful what you post!

In David Golumbia’s informational reading on privacy and digital citizenship, it was reinforced  multiple times that copyright infringement and plagiarism are real things that we need to be aware of. While many things in this article I felt were self explanatory, such as not simply taking an authors work without giving them credit, there are few pieces of information that I was not previously aware of before that interested me.

First, I did not know that there were ways to “override” a copyright. Golumbia talked about how if a copyrighted source is not published under a licence, it many times has a “fair use” exemption. That being said, if a copyrighted material is being used for educational or non-profit purposes, it most likely can be used. There are also three other exemptions: Nature (Whether the work is factual or creative) , how much you are going to take from the source, and if it is going to deprive the copyright owner of profit. These logistics were new to me but I deem them as pretty helpful!  I always assumed that if something was copyrighted that there was no wiggle room in using copyrighted material unless you asked permission by whoever owned the copy right. With these exemptions written out, it gives me, and I’m assuming a lot of other students at my level, more insight on what you can do.

Keep in mind that Golumbia also includes important logistics of what NOT to do that we don’t normally think about. For example, citing your sources is great, but not good enough to avoid copyright infringement. I feel that it is a common misconception to think this way and I’m glad  Golumbia included this and didn’t assume that the audience would already know this.


Bottom line, check, check, and triple check before using someone else’s work!

So is Sharing Really Caring?

According to our readings this week, no. At least that was the impression I got from the “Crowdforcing” article. Sharing sounds more like an abomination than anything, when it’s shown in the light David Golumbia provides. (And no, sir, I do not believe you’ve “suggest[ed] the shape of a problem” so much as attacked the idea of digital sharing with a blunt force object, but that’s beside the point.) Though I found Golumbia’s wordiness and excessive efforts to sound intelligent rather exhausting, he made some valid points that should be taken into consideration when it comes to online “sharing.”

The whole idea of “crowdforcing” is frankly unnerving, especially when it comes to personal information. The Facebook example he used stood out in particular to me, because I’ve heard of people taking pictures from Facebook and posting them to their own profiles. Not only is the tagging system for photos basically in every user’s hands, but since we only have real control over our own profiles, it’d be hard to stop someone from sharing photos or other information we wouldn’t want shared otherwise. I remember a news story once that kind of goes in tandem with this issue; some creepy dude got caught taking pictures of someone else’s young daughter off the mother’s Facebook, and he pretended the little girl was his, reposting the pictures and adding comments as if he was her father. That might be a bit beyond Golumbia’s idea of “crowdforcing”, but it still exemplifies what sharing things online makes possible for strangers to do to personal data.

The fact that “crowdforcing” can cause gain for some and harm for others ties into the reading about copyright issues as well. Having a kind of “crowdforcing” mentality creates a false assumption that if, say, an artist were to post a drawing on their personal blog, someone else could pluck up that drawing and repost it without the artist’s permission. I’ve seen that kind of thing happen all the time, and what makes it sad is that the reposters tend to get popularity for simply posting the work that isn’t theirs, while the original artist doesn’t get the credit they deserve. Though online artists don’t always have “official” copyright on their work, it’s still violating them to steal their art and use it as if its creator didn’t matter. I know the “fair use” policy crops up in a lot of places online, particularly Youtube, and while I think it’s fair enough to use art or other media if the intent isn’t to make a profit, getting permission from the creator is still important. I can only imagine how big of a punch in the gut it would be to see your own artwork on someone else’s website, getting five times as much attention as the original should have.

So in the long and the short of it, I suppose sharing is caring so long as whoever’s stuff you’re sharing knows about it. And agrees to it. In as explicit phrasing as possible. It’s the same concept as “borrowing” something when you’re actually just stealing it because you thought it was pretty and never wanted to give it back in the first place. Sharing ideas and media online can help spread enthusiasm, get discussions going, and just improve communities in general. But don’t slap the creator of that video or show or album in the face by erasing them from existence. Give credit where credit is due.

On Privacy and Computers

When it comes to technology, privacy is a difficult thing. Due to the nature of the internet, once information is released, it is difficult to take back down. Even if ID Protection is purchased, as our reading explained, that information is still hackable or may not actually be hidden by the website administrators. The Ashley Madison case is an example of that. Truly, if there is a way to hide information, it would be to not give it out through the internet. This also ties back to the other reading as well. Once information is out, “crowdforcing,” as the author puts it, may occur. “Crowdforcing” is when information is shared without the consent of the owner. This is not unique only to information on the internet. Any information that relies on technology is susceptible to it, for example, smartphones. While certain information may not be harmful, nowadays, information like genetics have surfaced, which may lead to discrimination. As technology advances, so too, must the norms and ethics behind it.

I’ve learned about fair use and copyright only slightly. Especially with the internet these days, it becomes incredibly difficult to maintain ownership (or rather, keep its use private). Media is something that has been impacted in particular. Music is freely downloaded and pictures are used liberally without the permission of the owner. Perhaps some websites will take down copyrighted material, but there will always be more cropping up if not on that website, then on another. Many people don’t even know they are infringing copyright as they post information without realizing it. In these days, technology does enhance the difficulty of maintaining the law.

Regarding ethics, it is difficult to do no harm,especially in the realm of nonfiction. Perhaps for research, it is easier as facts are nigh immutable. However, for nonfiction, words are spoken to the discretion of the speaker which may be interpreted differently depending on the individual. At the end of the day, it is difficult to do no harm to whoever you represent as a seemingly innocuous bit of information may yet prove to be inciting to that person or to the public. However, it is correct to say that you should do your best not to do harm.


Technology: Me, Myself, and i[Phone] (September 10th, 2015)

A long time ago, once upon a time even, I was a small child who had grown up with technology at his fingertips in the way that our parents grew up with libraries and books. I grew up alongside technology and I never once, not until I had grown much older, even questioned if it was something other people used as frequently as I did. I saw people reading books, playing sports, making art, and watching film. It had to be the same with technology, computers, and video games… right? The relative history of my parents and their siblings showed me that it really was that new. Books older than the existence of our country. Sports with team histories that broke barriers. Art in museums filled with the bones of things that no longer walked this earth. But why did I know the same as the adults? Shouldn’t they have learned to use these better than I can as they grew up? They were learning with me and I didn’t even know it. They could solve harder math problems than me, run faster, but they still could only operate a computer at the same level as me. We were on equal ground.

My mother went into programming during my time in elementary school and would be up late hours writing code and spend that time with me teaching me little fragments of code and how to find and debug errors in her programs. Suddenly I’m in a world where I can do more with a computer if I learn how to. I could tinker with the software, because unlike taking apart a radio and then putting it back together, there was nothing physical for me to break. I found my own shortcuts and key commands to make my time on the computer more efficient. I looked at everything as if it had existed in ancient tomes and had people out there with encyclopedic knowledge of what to do. If something new came on the market, I wouldn’t even consider it as something groundbreaking. Just the newest car model improving on what had been there before.

When YouTube launched in 2005, I treated it as if it were as in the public eye as significant as the bible. Everyone knew about it but I didn’t know it existed until now, so surely someone can help me navigate. What I didn’t know was that I used something daily that only a few months prior only the team of developers and testers had experience with. I had to learn on my own, no one to help me. When Google acquired YouTube in late 2006, I felt as though the platform itself had a long history of its own, and looking back now I can see how the styles of videos have changed and improved as film making and editing have become more common for the layperson to use.

Bringing us up to speed to the present day I feel as though I have a synergistic relationship with technology. I use technology on a daily basis, for almost every aspect of my life I can think of. Except showers. Well, waterproof speakers actually so that’s out. Computers help me with various projects, or my projects are directly based through digital media such as the Theatre Department’s Twitter Improv Troupe Where’s Willie? in conjunction with the transmedia project Condemned (my character can be found here). I’ve grown up too though. I’ve been learning with the technology as it and I both grow older as I felt the adults in my life would. But something interesting happened. Because I could help them find what they were looking for, or fix a computer’s hardware after learning to tinker with physical objects, they no longer felt the need to learn. Their growth stagnated after they realized that someone else was learning and could do it for them. I am, like many of our classmates, the family IT person, even though it was my mother that taught me pieces of code so long ago. Unhappy with the idea of letting myself be distanced from technology as many are, a product of some odd drive to keep on the high ground of technology or plainly to ensure that my family would always have someone to answer their call to help, I continue to learn more, apart from my official academic field (a wise decision on my part as the Department of Theatre Arts moves towards a technology infused Transmedia Department) in the hopes that I can use these resources available to me to accomplish what I want to create in the subjectively best way possible.

As I explore these new different technologies, I ended up here, in this class for Digital Humanities because it offered another dimension to what I myself am trying to explore, as well as having the safety of a more guided and focused academic setting to explore with someone who does know what they’re doing, or at least willing to continue learning with us, the class. I’m even taking a formal programming course that draws me to one programming language to deepen my understanding of trained professionals in the field of software engineering.

With all that said, I turn my focus to our reading and podcast, and to answer the last question of ‘why do the things mentioned in them matter’? For the disability question, I believe that the fact that there are people who need the assistance to do something that someone without their disability can do without that assistance means that the people who have the abilities to create the tools to make technology more inclusive should see the benefits beyond what is monetary and see that their work can increase a subset of humanities quality of living immensely. I’ve even seen the technology we currently have, screen readers and magnifiers and voice commands be a necessity for some people I’ve worked with who have poorer eyesight and it worked wonders for them. Even the document readers were very basic though, as there were some very popular file formats that I tried sending to them that the document reader couldn’t process. If we want to move towards an inclusive society where everyone has the opportunity to be happy and can do and learn as they please for the betterment of themselves and others, the opportunities need to be equally available to do so, and the creation of assistance for disabilities can help to close the gap and make society better as a whole.Where would we be in physics if Stephen Hawking no longer had the ability to share his knowledge with us?

Even the notion that the keyboard and mouse is necessary to operate a computer is just what we have been trained to do, I learned a from a teacher I had when I was very young that the mouse just makes things easier, and you can fully operate a computer without one. Touchscreens offer another different way to interact with your computer, and they are many other keyboards that aren’t in the standard ‘qwerty’ layout.

Women in programming is an interesting question to approach as well, because early in my life, my mother and computer teachers were all women in the field who could use the technology better than the men in my life. This too for a long time was something I had just accepted as well as a child, I just thought women were more inclined to computers. Today, I really don’t see why there is such definition between any gender. Historically, masculine and feminine qualities changed and shifted, and nothing really seemed to stick as “this makes you an xyz”. I think that really, anyone can use what they wish, and marketing’s slowly, very slowly realizing this and moving towards more inclusive campaigns where they don’t exclude potential demographics with their message. For example, I saw earlier this week two commercials: one for Nintendo and one for Star Wars, both of which felt very gender neutral, showing children and adults, women and men, all with a range of ethnicity all enjoying the product. And it truly more representative to the personal experiences I have. Star Wars and video games were never just for boys. Hopefully these changes take hold, but it takes time for these seeds that we’re planting in our young to grow. But that doesn’t mean that we have to give up on ourselves or the generations that didn’t grow up with technology.  We all can still learn and strive for self improvement, and we would reap those benefits now, as we take further root in our lives we would have the tools now to accomplish things that we thought we couldn’t, break through paper barriers we once thought walls.

To conclude, here is some information about some women in programming that I learned of through various research, classes, and academically interested friends.

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer on the Apollo project that took humanity to the moon, standing next to her handwritten code.

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper, programmer who found the first computer bug (an actual bug), and innovated computer technology with the compiler and early programming languages.

 -Luke Bolle

My experience technology.

My experience with computers and technology was been interesting, my first experience with technology was with my Super Nintendo Entertainment System and it just prospered after that. I began to be interested in how technology worked, my Super Nintendo was having some issues so I put matters into my own hands. As I got older my interest grew, when I got my first computer I began researching on how the computers worked. I taught myself on how to use software and taught myself all the different shortcuts.

My experience with technology has not been all good, during the summer tutor children in math, and when ever I would ask them a question like, “what is the formula to find the area of a triangle.” So the children immediately took out their phones and googled the answer, even though their textbook with the answer was in their hands. Just after that i began to realize just how reliant are we to technology, and just how much do we expect to google the answer instead of using the good old textbook. It is not a big problem it is just a pet peeve knowing that the next generation is so dependent and trusting on what the internet says.

My relationship with technology

I have a really good relationship with technology when it is working. I am always on my phone and I always have it next me. I always play games, check social media, and rely on my phone. Except when it becomes faulty, I feel like I want to throw my phone across the room and at the wall.

When my technology is working I spend a lot of time on it playing games, chatting friends, and organizing my busy life of course, but I am also preparing my self for my upcoming classes, researching, and learning about miscellaneous topics. A lot of the time I will look ahead on the class schedule to research materials that will help me become prepared for the next class. In “When Women Stopped Coding” they explain to us that Ordonez thought that her classmate was some sort of genius because they knew how to do everything that was being taught. Ordonez said “I tracked him down. He’s now a tech consultant in Seattle. Lee remembers that time, and he says Patty was wrong. He wasn’t some kind of genius. He had something Patty didn’t – a home computer.” Having the accessibility and readiness of a computer allowed him to become successful. To me this story conveys the message that computers and technology can teach us so much. Even if individuals, like me, have a complicated relationship with technology we should get past it and appreciate what technology has to offer. The ability of having computers is a privilege and we can’t take them and technology for granted especially if they can help us become successful.

A More Accessible World

The following refers to George H. Williams’ “Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities” and Planet Money’s “When Women Stopped Coding.” 

When I read the assigned text of Chapter 12 for today’s reading, on the topic of disability and “universal design,” I could have wept with joy for the unexpected address of a subject that is very close to heart for me.

My name is Chain, and though you might not think it to look at me, I am a disabled student. My struggles are not always identical to the ones that Williams’ specifically described or referenced in this chapter; I am not visually impaired or deaf, nor do I lack in physical mobility. However, I do suffer from a number of conditions that affect my ability to interact with the world – including OCD, ADHD, and a processing difficulty that, while still seeking assessment, resembles and may turn out to be CAPD (central auditory processing disorder). Because of this, the way I interact with digital tools is constantly informed by my personal needs and experiences.

Like those with more severe or total hearing loss (which I do also experience to a lesser degree), I find it difficult or impossible to follow video or auditory recordings without closed captioning or transcripts. Like those with epilepsy or sensory processing disorder, I am subject to hypersensitivity to resources that rely on flashy, overbright, or otherwise hyperstimulating displays. Like those with dyslexia or verbal processing hardships, disorganized, dense, or blocky text can require extra headaches and devotion to slog through. So, I feel very personally aligned with the experiences and accessibility gaps described by Williams in his discussion of disability and “universal design” concepts.

I also found that my understanding of the tools and formatting choices described by Williams was benefited from my experience in the workplace. Right now, I work for the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities on campus as an alternate formatting assistant. That means my job description is exactly what you all have read about: involving the difficulty of sparse and individually-powered efforts to reformat resources for the access of disabled students.

Since we are specifically addressing the digital humanities as a field, let me give an example. Say a class at the College of the Pacific relies on textbooks, articles, websites, or resources that can be accessed online. Say, then, a visually impaired, blind, or otherwise disabled student takes this course, and finds that the materials are inaccessible to them. They then submit a request to the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, or SSD for short. SSD receives the request. If not previously arranged, the resource must be requested from the publisher or otherwise reformatted into PDF form. Then, someone like myself must go through each page of the document individually, separating it into the appropriate sections and saving each as a unique document. The documents are uploaded, one by one, into an expensive program with screen-reading capabilities. Then they are gone through individually with a tool called the “zone editor,” with which we must tell the program what parts of the text – break lines, for example; images, figures, page numbers, or footnotes – not to read. After the entire document is zone edited, the text itself must be scanned for any point at which words are broken up by line. (For example, the end of the line may say “[…] Christ-” and the start of the next line may say “mas […]”, if the word “Christmas” had to be broken up.) The underlying text is then altered so that the program reads the full word instead of two separate syllables that will not make sense to a listener. Once this process is gone through for every page in each section, the sections are re-saved, then uploaded to a server for the student’s access. All of this has to be done by the time they need to consult the text according to their class syllabus, and does not include the more difficult outsourcing process if a text or resource relies heavily on visual figures, charts, or images, which must be given a verbal description.

Now, consider: how much easier would it be for that student, and indeed anyone else who might experience inconvenience or difficulty, if a standard of “universal design” had been adhered to, and all resources were created to be accessible and reformattable from the beginning?

For some it might seem contrary for me to promote the sort of free and open access inclusive resources that would essentially eliminate the need for my job. I disagree. I am employed for want of money, yes, but my choice to work with SSD specifically is motivated from the desire to participate in what I see as an extremely important effort. And, indeed, this is where Planet Money’s podcast on gender marketing of technology comes in, too. Williams is right when he says that universal design benefits everyone, not just people with disabilities. Similarly, universal access must take into account the same: that “we should always keep the largest possible audience in mind” (Williams, “Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities). This includes people of all learning styles, of all levels of ability, of all economic situations, of all cultures, of all genders, and so forth. No person should be discouraged, kept, or barred from the science, technology, and resources that benefit our society as a whole – whether it be as a result of gender bias, inaccessibility, or privatization of resources.

To put my money where my mouth is, I’ll sign off from this post with a few resources that some of you may be interested in, too. Disabled or not, you may find them helpful.

  • Bee Line Reader – This extension/add-on colors text with a gradient from one line to another, allowing the mind to process it with less visual difficulty. If you have trouble reading large blocks of text quickly, this may benefit you.
  • Care Your Eyes – For anyone with sight or brightness sensitivity, this extension allows you to choose ‘night mode’ to protect your eyes from harsh or overintense color or text.
  • Readability – This app simplifies and eliminates visual clutter from any webpage, allowing you to focus directly on the text itself – which displays in a clean, easy-to-read format.

Good luck and happy browsing!

My experience with technology

My experience with computers and technology period has been a rocky one. I do appreciate technology and I think it benefits out way its negatives. When I was younger and even as I grew up I  have never really been that great with computers. But as smart phones and tablets came along I got a lot better but still my connection with computers was a distant one. My dad is really good at technology and fixing them so if I ever had a problem then I would just ask him to fix it for me. That may be a huge part of my problem right there and my be why its much harder for me because I never really had to deal with them myself. I find with my phone I can’t go without it and I do know exactly where it is at all times. When I was growing up though we did have an Xbox and a Wii so I was pretty good at using those and fixing them when they weren’t working right. Now I have a new laptop and I’m still learning how to use it and all the cool features it has. I didn’t even know that when you buy a new laptop Microsoft doesn’t come with it automatically you have to download it. No one told me so that’s how I thought it was. I am working really hard at changing my relationship and getting a much better one in the future. But to me I feel that Williams and I experiences are very different but that’s just how I see it.

A Beneficial Relationship

We have all heard about technology in today’s day and age, but do you remember what technology was like when you were growing up? Whether it be the invention of the “flip” phone, new windows operating systems, or the evolution of the television, technology was advancing faster than we knew it. For me, my first interactions with technology had to do with computers. My brother was a mastermind behind a keyboard, and he always intrigued me with all the things he was able to do. Each and every time I would come home from school, I would sit and watch my brother work his magic on the screen.

In today’s world, everybody has some sort of connection with technology; whether it be a computer, your cell phone, a home security system, or something as simple as a washer/dryer. Let’s take college for example. When you were in high-school, your school work was all done on paper, not the internet. Now, looking at UOP as an example, we see that more and more assignments and quizzes are being administered on online websites. Why, you may ask? I believe its because we are making a way towards a technology led world, where we use it (technology) to aid in our everyday lives; like an alternative and easier way to turn in homework to a professor. Is this really the best option for everyone? I don’t believe so, and I can relate this to the article/podcast by Williams, on the topic of disabilities and the digital humanities.

Through his research, Williams’ found that the disabled do not benefit as much from technology, as the completely able people do. I believe this is completely true, to a certain extent. Sure, technology like computers, television, and basically anything with a screen, are not really beneficial to blind people, but there are technologies out there, such as braille readers, that are super beneficial to these types of people. I completely agree with Williams’ idea that technology should be created in a way that everybody is able to use it. If we were able to give the disabled people the same type of technology that we use, but in a way that they were able to use it, there’s no telling what they would be able to accomplish.



social network, communication in the global computer networks


Digital Humanities through the eyes of an Economist

First and foremost, my experience with technology specifically computers has always been marvelous. I have been around them since I was a small boy in Africa, and to this day ever strive to gain a greater understanding of them as a tool for the workplace and leisurely activity. From a young age, I was on the computer playing games, such as the old toy story game, which was a great time in my youth. Fast forwarding to when I was a teen, I started building my own computers and learning basic coding. Really it was more out of boredom, but it gave me a greater understanding of what the different parts did and how they operated. This allowed me to make custom parts and keyboards, which relates back to the reading, in that I was able to make things that which assisted me in my endeavours as they were made for my explicit use. One such thing was a keyboard I made from old typewriter keys and an ergonomic polymer which allowed me to be able to type without extra strain.

The importance of that goes into the question accessibility and ease of use. One of the main arguments was for a universal system that is easier to use overall, and is cross platform compatible. This is the thinking that comes out from an academic position, however, it is an argument that realistically speaking is unachievable and not practical. Arguably, advancement happens based off incentive, it is the reason why patents last for 20 years, so that people will create things and be able to profit from them. Software operates off the same principle, there needs to be a monetary incentive for their to be a real advancement in the industry.

An example of this is, whatever operating system you happen to be using on the computer or device you are reading this on. The system that operates what you are using probably cost millions of dollars to make, using research and development and doing testing on the software’s capability. So in turn the company that made it, are going to release it in such a way that they are the only ones that benefit from it, and it may lead you to buy more of their products so things are compatible, as it is the economically sound thing for a company to do. Now as people we would prefer if everything worked together, much like how the rest of the world hopes the United States will go the metric system sometime, however, neither are realistic goals.

Technology Experience and Universal Design

I have been around computers all my life, receiving my first desktop around the age of seven. I don’t believe I even used the keyboard until I used computers in school. In school we had a class twice a week where we played with the program “Kid Pix” and also practiced typing. Eventually I found Role Playing Games and Real Time Strategy Games and that took over my life for a while. I eventually got so into games that I decided to build my own computer with the help of my dad. He used to fix computers as a side business and I would occasionally accompany him on his jobs. I guess it was my dad who really got me into technology, even now I believe that he knows more about computers than I do. I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, at least when it comes to Windows (not MAC or Linux) and I think that it is because I have been computers for so long. I have run into problems and either fixed them myself or observed my dad fix them in front of me. I rely heavily of technology because I believe it makes life more efficient as well as convenient.

The Williams article talks about “Universal Design” and what exactly that term means. Accessibility and Affordability are the two main points I got from the “Why Universal Design” section. Accessibility meaning that anyone can have access to technology. Everyone should have access to technology because it will contribute to the wealth of knowledge that we have been accumulating. People in other countries who don’t have access as well as people with disabilities whom technology does not cater to, and even people who just don’t know how to use the technology are all excluded from our database. Affordability goes to the people who do not have access, if technology is too expensive it will always be out of reach for some and they will not be an active part of our records. We may know things about them from what other people write but it would be much better to hear what they think straight from them. People with disabilities are slowly being catered to, with new programs and devices to help them get close to the same accessibility as people who do not have their disability. As for people who do not know how to use technology, I believe that if you have not used technology for an extended period of time, or do not have a profound interest in technology and have the motivation to learn will be left behind in some ways.

In conclusion I believe that Universal Design is necessary if we are going to have a “complete” database. Early introduction to technology is the most important but to have early introduction we need everyone to be able to access technology in the first place.

Technology and Our Fellow Users

As a person who does not have a major disability that makes it difficult to view information displayed on a technological apparatus, I have not paid much attention to the difficulties a person may face if he or she has one. However, from my limited experience, I do have to admit there are not a lot of resources to help. Perhaps, for those who are slightly visually impaired, they will have to rely on enlarging the website (using the zoom function). I have that problem (my eyesight is horrendous) and frequently find myself having to adjust the lighting and sizing of the page. But for those who are completely blind, they do not even have that luxury. They have to rely on a program that reads the information for them.

I agree with William in regard to the difficulties of navigating a page based on listening. Not only is not fast enough, it is also tedious to have to listen to things that are not relevant to what a person may be searching for. Although his program will help reduce extraneous information, there remains a plethora of text to filter through. It is also not fail-proof and will need to be customized to fit a person’s need depending on what degree of disability and what type of disability he or she faces. It is for that reason I cannot agree to an universal design, another point William makes on that matter.

Although having an universal design will suffice for the average person, regardless of extra cost or aesthetics, universal design cannot service everybody. It is correct to say sidewalk curb cuts allow people in wheelchairs easier accessibility to streets, but those individuals easily have more accommodations in their own private dwellings customized to them more so than what is seen outside. My point is that as technology functions as personal tools, there should be a certain degree of customization rather than just a single universal design. Yes, the cost may be greater, but if there is a market for it, surely, some will commit to undertaking extra measures in order to guarantee that extra customization.

There is also the matter of human compassion. In order to make the lives of our fellow inhabitants easier, rather than slot them in as an ordinary person, they should be afforded the extra details such that they are able to experience the full range of functions others are able to enjoy. Take note that I do not intend to insult or discriminate. Rather, should there be something that increases the comfort (or rather, the ease of use in this case) for a person, it should be done. In the end, I say all of this with good intentions, but it would be derelict of me to suppose what those with disabilities would desire. It would therefore be best to create a poll that would confirm or deny such thoughts. In that way, personal beliefs (and corporate ones, too) will not impede what would work best for those disabled.

My Relationship with Technology and the Importance of Accessibility

I consider computers and technology one of my biggest hobbies outside of school. I started interacting with computers on my parents’ Windows 98 machine back when I was about seven or eight years’ old, and ever since then I have embraced technology as the useful tool and source of seemingly endless entertainment that it can be. This relationship has led me to assume a sort of “IT support” role in my family, as usually I am the first one who is called if someone in my family has an issue with their computer, smartphone, or their WiFi network.binary-code

This great relationship with technology I have is one of the reasons that I am considering switching majors here at Pacific from business to computer science, as it is something that I have a great deal of interest in. The world of coding, and how what you code makes the computer work and think, is something that is endlessly fascinating to me. Currently, coding and learning new syntax is a sort of side project of mine that has taken a back seat now that we are in the midst of the semester, but I have coded for my good friend’s web and software development company in the past, with some of my work currently online, and I plan on doing much more in the future.

To address the podcast, what I find interesting is the connection with the smaller percentage of women involved with computer science and the advertising for technology that focuses mostly on men, as mentioned in the podcast. For some reason, technology still seems to be something that is targeted more towards men, or at least the specifications of the technology and the inner workings are targeted more towards men, with the entertainment value more often targeted towards women. While that targeted audience is slowly changing, I feel, from my experience there does seem to be a disproportionate amount of men involved and interested in technology. If this is a primary effect of advertising and perceptions or computer science as a field for men, then I believe marketers should promptly reassess who they are targeting, and make the change to target both genders. As it stands now, many women who are interested in technology are effectively shut out from the field because they may not have the exposure to it or may feel intimidated because it appears to be such a male-dominated field.

Moving on to the interesting point that the Williams article touched on, specifically the need for accessibility built into software and hardware, I think this is of great importance because technology is now being used by more and more people, with increasingly unique sets of needs. Rather than coding a program, or a website, two or even three times to prepare for the different accessibility needs, it makes much more financial sense to use a universal design when you are creating the website or program. I think that this is an important precedent to set for all programmers, as it will create hardware and software that can effectively be used by everybody, regardless of any needs they may have.

Kyle C.



Image source:

My relationship with technology

As far back as I can remember I have always been very intrigued by computers and basically technologies of all types. My uncle is an engineer and when I was 5 years old he got me my first computer desk top and showed me how to use it. From that moment on I started to learn more and more about technology like how to use a cell phone, iPod, etc. At first my relationship with technology was actually fairly good, I found it very interesting and wanted to learn how to use everything from how to make a power point to how to use a play station. As I got older it seemed like technology started to get harder and more difficult as technology started to develop more and become more complex. As of now, my relationship with technology has gotten worse and worse. I now find myself having a difficult time even paying things online or even doing traffic school online. Little glitches and so many options that lead to other pages have made it seem impossible to be navigated to where I need to be. In the article, Williams explains and goes into detail on how most technologies today do not accomidate everyone in the audience that uses technology. For example, he talks about those who are visibly impaired or have hearing issues. These are big issues that may prevent certain people from being able to utilize technology to the best ability. I honestly feel that it would be impossible to accomidate every disability that each individual has but we can continue to try and research more ways that every one would be able to utilize the benefits of technology in this day and age.

A Decent Relationship with Benefits

I don’t have the greatest relationship with technology, but I definitely try to use it to my advantage. Although I’m often on social media and use sites such as Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and more, I never really understood what technology could do for me until recently. And even with that, I will never truly grasp the potential it has.

With Tumblr, I was able to be sponsored by some small Internet stores; in exchange for an item or two, I would write a review and take photos. I took it for granted in the past, but looking back on it, technology really helped me with everything. Without it, I wouldn’t have the connections that I did with the stores. In addition, I am currently trying to promote my travel/photography blog on the platform Blogger (also known as Blogspot) so I can do something with photography in the future, and I needed a way to get more views. When I made a post about it on Twitter, I suddenly found multiple people reaching my blog through Twitter (people I didn’t know) and I realized how far technology can help me reach. A Google search on my name can bring individuals to that page as well, and it really surprised me how I could use technology to my advantage just by using something as simple as key words. Earlier in the day I tried an experiment on Twitter. I gave a link to my Blogspot again, but this time I made sure to use the words “travel,” “France,” “photography,” etc. in the post. Sure enough, it brought more viewers. This sounds so simple, but it’s really just a small example of what technology can do and how you can use it to your own benefit.

Of course, I am no expert. I have Photoshop but I can’t do much on it. I’m on the computer and my phone quite often, but I only know a little bit about coding.

And now to the articles. The issues in Williams’ piece are definitely major. People with disabilities can’t access certain aspects of technology. Although technology has been created to help people with disabilities, we need to see more. Henn’s article/podcast centered around women’s involvement with technology and how it decreased over time. The market targeted men and boys more (ex: personal computers) even though women were widely involved before. I think that’s changing more now, but some women are looked down upon in the work field.

Perhaps that can change…and maybe digital humanities can help with that.

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.



Image source:

Nerd Child to Confused Child, Relying on Men to fix technology, and Digital Devices for Disabled

From playing Disney trivia on my PC, endless tycoon games, online games on, I was OBSESSED with technology as a young child. My dad encouraged me and was the one to introduce me to childish games on schockwave such as my ultimate favorite, “Water Balloon Drop”. As I got slightly older, maybe ten or eleven, my dad bought me a Nintendo where I became obsessed with Mario games; and of course, like all the other girls, Nintendogs. I do credit my technology-based childhood on my dad; he would play street fighting on the Sega Console with me when I was just in elementary school and a lot of  my favorite childhood memories come from playing games with my father. I spent a lot of my childhood playing games on digital devices (of course I played outside too) but I remember being so proud that I was the only girl in my  class who could name all the characters in Mario.  I can’t really say when, but somewhere along the lines, all of that technology faded out of my life and I quickly became someone who was definitely not tech-savvy.  I wouldn’t say I’m incompetent when it comes to technology, but I do not know any of the latest games, I need help setting up my computer, and I often times ask my dad or boyfriend to set up the TV. I didn’t notice it before, but this reminds me of Henn’s podcast. I don’t have a solid reason as to why I stopped being involved with technology but could it be because computers are seen more as a “male’s tool”? As I woman, I notice that whenever technology isn’t working, we tend to always ask a male to fix it or take a look at it without even knowing if they can or not. It’s always assumed that males are computer programmers, males are technicians, and males can fix broken technology. This is an important thing that was brought up in the podcast because as a society, we need to start moving out of that mindset and normalize having a woman as a computer programmer!

As for William’s article, while I can not relate to having a disability and using technology, I think it is a very important issue to raise. When Apple produces a general iPhone for example,it is  specifically for those who do not have a disability. Blind people cannot use it, deaf people cannot use it, people with cerebral pasly potentially cannot use it, etc. There are many disabilities out there that we do not take into consideration when producing technology.  However, a quote in the passage states,  “approach every problem …with the ultimate goal of providing the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people possible”  and that quotes makes sense to me. It does not make sense to produce hundreds of phones with a braille keyboard if the majority of the consumers are not blind. However, it needs to be taken into consideration that there is a blind consumer out there who does need a phone. Perhaps there should be different options available for those with disabilities and they should be easily accessible to purchase. Right now, people with disabilities have to go through an extensive process in order to receive a customized version of simple technology that most of us have the luxury of purchasing right away and that is not fair.

-Jillian S.


photo from: Technology for the disabled – Google Search. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2015.

Why do people matter in the Digital Humanities?

When it comes to any study or innovation, I believe that people matter. All people, no matter their race, gender, social class, or disability. Especially in any branch of the Humanities, because the Humanities is about people and how things like art, philosophy, and history relate to people.
So, when it comes to the Digital Humanities and the creation of new technology (like computer programs) all people – of all backgrounds and various abilities – should be kept in mind. The podcast, talked about how personal computers were advertised to primarily male consumers. Thus, it is primarily men who grow up using computers, and when it comes to taking a class about computing, a man who has spent his life with a personal computer has an advantage in the classroom over a woman who understands the math behind algorithms and computing, but might not be used to using a computer. And if a teacher does not provide aid to those (primarily women) who are not used to a computer, than it is men who pass the class and women who have to struggle. In a classroom, a teacher should be ready to help everyone and should not assume that everyone is of the same level of experience.
That leads me to the Williams text, which talks about people with disabilities and other disadvantages when it comes to using technology and computer programs. I like how the text points out that computer are an assistive technology not just for people with special needs but all people. Computers make things easier for able-bodied people so the same should apply to those with disabilities. When technology is convenient for those with disabilities it is convenient for everyone. And like Williams points out, it is the right thing to do.

Computers: My History, Their Future

I am not sure how or when I became interested in using computers, but I guess it must have been a long time ago since nowadays I am constantly on anything that is electronic.  My relationship with computers and technology is a bit complicated because I am not as tech savvy as my mother who works on the computers at her computer company.  I do admit that it frustrates me with how the WiFi access keeps interrupting me constantly whenever I need to use the Internet, this is possibly from the way most people use the Internet almost every hour of the day.

My first experience with a computer must have been when I was a little girl and I used to play these CD-ROM games made by Disney Interactive.  Throughout most of my childhood, the only activity that I usually did on a computer was playing online games since my idea of hearing the news and being entertained was watching the different channels on the TV.  So in this case, I was the type of person who liked staring at a screen, but from a different source.  As technologies started to upgrade, I began using computers mainly for writing papers for school.  Over the years I have used any electronic devices with a screen for watching videos on YouTube or checking in on recent events on Yahoo.  During my second year at UOP, I was able to get used to working with creative programs like iMovie and Adobe Photoshop.  Today, I have been using my laptop mainly for both school purposes and entertainment reasons like watching movies on Netflix.  I am even on my iPhone usually either playing Candy Crush or checking the times of the day.

This is somewhat similar to the two readings because I was not introduced to some of the very technical works with a computer and I have been depending on my electronic devices a lot for some time.  The issues that Williams and the podcast matter because they focus on not only the digital humanities community, but also society as a whole, whether they are women or people with disabilities.  I do agree with Williams on how teenagers are relying more on their mobile devices and that digital humanists should try to become more involved in developing ways that would include folks with disabilities to join in.  It would help in bringing people together as a united society with common ambitions.  This also connects to the podcast reading as it concludes that women do come back in being involved with computer studies, once they became determined to study it more closely.

Overall, I think technology is a bit confusing on how it works and what we can do with it, yet it should also be offered to others who would like to be involved with digital humanities.  It is also worth noting that the digital humanities community must consider the possibilities of expanding their works that would help support not only themselves in their studies, but also their society in bringing them together.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Technology


So… as whoever actually reads this has probably guessed, my relationship with technology is a very intense love/hate one. Meaning, I love it, but it hates me with a passion. That’s not for lack of trying, I’ll try very hard to understand technology, but it kind of just slams the door in my face and says, “Yeah. Good luck with that.” So rude. I can understand the basic functions of computers, like, ooh if I hit the “Pages” button on my computer I will be able to type stuff, or hey, if I want the internet I have the choice of Google Chrome or Safari. It makes me feel like I’m as dumb as a box of rocks, but that’s okay, because basic functions are the way to go.

I guess my experience relates to the experiences that Williams and the podcast describes because I didn’t have a lot of access to computers when I was younger. I had one desktop computer that was shared by the whole family, and hey, YOU try pushing your older brother off the computer when you want to use it. The point is, I didn’t have a whole lot of access to mess around with computers, or develop my relationship with them. The podcast and Williams talk about similar experiences in the fact that, a lot of disabled people (as Williams says) don’t have computer programs that address their disability and work around it, so that they can still use computers and share and learn new things. The podcast also talks about how a lot of women in the 80s didn’t have a lot of access to computers either, which is why there was a drop in female computer science engineers.

The issues that Williams and the podcast describe are important because, as Williams says, it’s just morally right for everyone to have equal access to computers. Also, it enables the flow of information to continue, unhindered, and for women people with disabilities to contribute whatever ideas they may have. So, as Williams says, they may contribute an idea that others would never have thought of (lie the blind woman who was able to hear and understand things that came out of her speakers at a really fast pace), thus broadening the variety of perspectives and areas of research.

Computers are Life, Computers are Love

Ah, computers. Where do I even begin with computers. We have a complicated relationship, computers and I. Sometimes we’re in love, and everything is unicorns and meadows full of daisies. Sometimes they allow me to enjoy my Internet browsing or my Sims games in peace, with a little assurance of, “Go ahead, do your thing, friend, I got your back.” And then there’s the times where we absolutely hate each other. These are the days when my laptop just gives me two big middle fingers, crashes all my programs, refuses to turn on, and does everything else in its power to infuriate me. I’m not sure it knows just how close it’s brushed with death on these days.

My history with computers goes pretty much as far back as I remember. My parents are fond of telling me stories about how they would find me in my room at three years old, sat at my clunky old desktop and learning my ABC’s. That being said, I’m no computer expert. I know how to use most basic programs – I’ve even been declared a Photoshop wizard on occasion – but if my computer throws a serious problem in my face, I would have no idea how to fix it. I have the basics of a tech savvy person, but I don’t really know what makes computers tick, or how to play around with their codes. In that case, I suppose I’m similar to Patty Ordóñez from the podcast we listened to this week – if I was sat down in a computer class like she was, I’m sure I’d get plenty of stares that just screamed, “Wow, how basic are you?”

That being said, I feel like I fall right into the category of young adults that Williams’ mentioned in his article, that percentage of us that are on our phones even in our sleep. The familiar set up of the Internet on a mobile device, or of a computer with a screen, keyboard, and mouse, is basically ingrained in me. I’ve never really thought how my access to a computer could be set up differently, which is exactly one of the points that Williams makes in the essay. He talks a lot about how people who are quote-on-quote “normal” don’t always think about what using technology might be like for disabled people, and that’s a serious issue that should be resolved. Because as he says, people who are blind or deaf interact a lot differently with the Internet and whatnot than most of us do. His whole idea of universal design is something that really should be implemented everywhere, because without it, there are a lot of people who can’t access the same things that “normal” people can, both in regards to the digital humanities and in general. It’s not fair to exclude disabled people from the digital humanities field just because they can’t use a regular computer like a sighted or hearing person can.

As far as the podcast about women and computer coding goes, the words “geek culture” just kept flashing in my mind over and over as I was reading/listening to it. It reminded me of all the dudebro gamer nerds that have an elitist attitude toward video games, computers, and technology in general, like it’s something exclusive for them and above women’s understanding. And based on what the podcast was saying, it would seem part of that is due to how computers were marketed toward boys once they started becoming available at home. Personally, I think that’s just sad. Like the data showed from the podcast, women were extremely tech-savvy until about 1984, when all of a sudden computers became a man’s profession. It’s unfair to exclude women from that technological world, just as it’s unfair to exclude disabled people. The digital humanities is all about sharing knowledge with everyone, and that should extend to all aspects of computers possible. The whole point of the Internet, DH, and computers is to bring people together, so I think it’s about time we start figuring out how to include everyone.

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.

Breaking the Barricades of Digital Humanities (Sept 9)

In my household, we have five computers – one for each person. Each person also owns a mobile device for themselves, and my mom, being extra special, gets an iPad as well. My personal relationship with technology can be basically summarized in one word – dependent. I also think that technology is beginning to govern our learning, being that there are online courses and the increasing use of advanced technology in the classroom, such as SmartBoards. There is no denying that we are in an Internet era. So clearly, our experiences today with computers and technology dramatically differ than those in Patricia Ordóñez’s time from the podcast. An issue posed in the podcast was what I believe should be considered a marketing problem with unforeseen effects – home computers were advertised as toys and targeted at boys. This almost directly led to the decrease in women computer science majors in 1984. Computers became an advantage and without women consumers and exposure, computers and technology became male-dominated. Today, we can clearly see that as an issue. Coding can be considered a universal language, so both men and women should participate equally.

On the other hand, Williams addresses the use of universal design in the field of Digital Humanities. The first error that many people make is describing universal design as a focus on those with special needs but it is directed toward all people. In pursuing universal design, digital humanities scholars will not being creating “barriers of access” and will ensure that those with disabilities will have the opportunity to participate in the digital humanities. In the long run, there are reciprocal benefits: the digital humanities community will benefit by working with disabled people and expand on how digital devices could and should work for the vast majority.

It is important that we recognize that although we are breaking ground with technology, there are still divisions, specifically the reduction of women pursuing computer science and the barriers of technology for the disabled. Ultimately, these issues are important in order to establish a fair and open virtual environment as our lives advance electronically.

What is Digital Humanities?

Digital Humanities is using technology like computers and phones to studying humanities. But, there are a lot of speculation on what exactly is focused in the study of digital humanities. Where most people think that digital humanities is about building, when actually digital humanities is about sharing. But, honestly I do not understand why we study digital humanities and the many opinions about digital humanities is making to understand digital humanities extremely difficult.

What is Digital Humanities?

When the question “What is Digital Humanities?” is asked we think it is the use of technology to explain humanities, but it is not as basic as that. This subject of digital humanities is still new and the discussions and debates to try to explain it is an on going occurrence. In “This is Why We Fight’: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities” in Debates in the Digital Humanities they explain to us that there is a “community that comes together around values such as openness and collaboration (pg.16, Spiro).” Through my experiences in class, I portray digital humanities as a way to understand things using media and digital techniques. I think there is a crossroad between the two words “digital” and “humanities” and there are debates and problems that could arise.  The digital humanities department at UCLA attempts to define digital humanities as the interpretation of “the cultural and social impact of new media and information technologies.” I agree with this and I think that digital humanities can offer insight and explanations to things that we want to find out more about.

In the article “The digital humanities is not about building, it’s about sharing,” by Mark Sample, explains to us that today there is debate “between those who build digital tools and media and those who study traditional humanities questions using digital tools and media (Sample).” I am in favor of try to build new technology to explain the humanities and to expand and explore not only the traditional humanities, but social sciences, arts, and natural sciences.

Digital Humanities- What and Why? (September 9th, 2015)

Both of our readings today centered on various aspects of what makes the Digital Humanities the Digital Humanities. Mark Sample’s “The Digital Humanities is not about Building, It’s about Sharing” focused in on the future of DH, talking of the MLA’s new “Office of Scholarly Communication” and how with its leadership under Kathleen Fitzpatrick he has high expectations. He rattles off a list of potential outcomes for this future and his desire to advance DH. “Now is not the time to base the future on the past” is brought up at the end of his article, which points out and ignores the questions of legitimacy and scope, showing his desire and wishes for DH to flourish. His last point is that as Digital Humanists, we should share, “Because we can”. He raises the notion that we should share, collaborate with each other whether we are creating or analyzing. And this point is supported by Lisa Spiro’s “‘This is Why We Fight’: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities”. She first uses her article to prime the reader on the necessity of having an overarching and more cohesive “Statement of Values” which would help to define the questions in this post: What are the Digital Humanities and Why are the Digital Humanities? Spiro’s proposed set of values include openness, collaboration, collegiality and connectedness, diversity, and experimentation. Collaboration goes back to what Sample talked about with Digital Humanists sharing and working together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. She proposes these values as a base for the rest of the DH community to expand upon, and with all of her listed values, I agree with them.

To answer the first question: What are the Digital Humanities?

I answer with: The Digital Humanities are a conglomeration of different, related though disjointed from their history with each other, set of thinkers and creators whose goal is to produce knowledge that furthers that which is already available to humanity through the use of new and emerging technologies and interaction opportunities.

The second question: Why are the Digital Humanities?

Can similarly be summed up as: The Digital Humanities exist as a critical eye to criticize, dissect, and produce that which we are now able to create and manage through the use of these new medias available to us, so we use and refine our definition of DH to suit what we are experimenting with in new ways to learn with this technology.

-Luke Bolle

Digital Humanities

To define digital humanities is essentially moving what we see as information, communication, and entertainment into a digital or non-physical form. A lot of the information we see as “legitimate” has converted from physical media to digital media. Documents such as Newspapers, Encyclopedias, Books, and Academic Journals usually have both a physical copy as well as a digital copy published, but I believe that digital humanities expands the concept of “legitimate” information. Why digital humanities is becoming such a relevant subject is because most people are on the internet and leave a “digital footprint”. If only a few people were on the internet speaking with each other digital humanities would not be very helpful unless someone in the future was researching those few people. Digital humanities will allow everyone who has left a digital footprint to be researched in the future.

From the first reading Twitter was brought up as a possible form of legitimate material. I believe this could be the case but I also believe that it can only be legitimate if both parties are experts on the topic of conversation. Reading the conversation between two Academic Journal Authors could be like summarizing both of their Journals. Rather than reading both their Journals which can be very dense and hard to understand here you have summaries of what each of them have researched and what they have concluded after doing that research. The second reading sort of agreed with the first in that we should be more receptive as well as open with information online. When events unfold in the real world yes they are documented but how the event affects people is not always mentioned. For example, look at the Chinese Economy. As a normal person we may hear that the United States believes that China’s economy has taken a hit and is not doing as well but what does that mean for the people here? How would a normal person with no knowledge of  world markets know how they will be affected by the change? One helpful tool could be “Reddit” and to be more specific the sub “ELI5 (explain it like I’m 5)”. Here people pose questions about things they have little to no knowledge in and people with more knowledge in the particular subject try to explain in a manner almost everyone can understand. People in the community who also have knowledge about the subject may also chime in but eventually a “top post” arises because other users agree that this is an accurate description and it is also conveyed in a way that most people can understand. This is an example of pulling knowledge from a bunch of people, maybe even experts and putting it in a form of digital media that may not be in the conventional “legitimate research material” of today.

I believe that in the future things like Reddit as well as Blogs, Twitter, and even Wikipedia could be some of the best research materials in the future. If more credible people used as well as identified themselves as credible (website runs a background check before) I believe that research material could be consolidated into just a handful of websites. Digital humanities is making information more readily available as well as accessible to the average person but also making it easier for scholars to research more thoroughly.

What is and Why use Digital Humanities

Digital humanities is the studying of humanities through the use of computers and other digital sources. This definition of what the digital humanities is what leads one to the understanding of why study digital humanities. Many major points are brought up through the readings provided for this week. With both having a focus on how digital humanities is community based. Although the reading by Sample shows a division between the digital community as those who build the software and those who use and study it. The idea that digital communities do exist is a notion that solidifies the practice of using computers to aid in research as a legitimate educational source. However, it does pose some problems to the definition I synthesised. For Samples argument really simply is saying that the computer programming side is not part of digital humanities while the definition I gave has to include them as they make the digital part of the digital humanities.

Spiro further acknowledges this idea by speaking about the creation of a community set of values. In this it would appear Spiro is addressing the community as a whole, rather than one sect of the population. Although Spiro goes into how a code of ethics for digital humanities is not broad enough for what digital humanities covers, the argument presented seems to go against the real use of why to use digital humanities. Spiro’s thinking is that a set of values including things such as openness and being collegial would serve as base guidelines for the operation of the digital humanities community. However, in operating under a set of values such as this, it leaves much room for interpretation by different members of the community. The purpose of using digital humanities rather than conventional methods can really be isolated as a few key things. The use of digital technology allows for a wider array of information, ideas, methods to sort and analyse information. If the term values are used for this process then, why use digital humanities when everyone in the world could interpret what things such as being collegial or open differently? A code of ethics would seem more useful as with things such as the Hippocratic Oath or the Engineers Hippocratic Oath, both are uniform throughout the world. They have the simple idea of do no harm, yet medicinal and engineering practices around the world are still different, but all under an established uniform understandable guideline. Which allows a diverse set of views and beliefs to be used and shared, without as much of a possibility of misunderstanding due to different interpretations.

Defining the Digital Humanities as Making, Interpreting or Both

The digital humanities, specifically what exactly encompasses the broad term, appears to be a topic that is of much debate between scholars. If we go back to our week two readings, there is an excerpt from our textbook titled, The Humanities, Done Digitally, where the author attempts to define what exactly the digital humanities are, or rather “what is the digital humanities” (Fitzpatrick), as she put it. What is interesting to me about this piece is the fact that our readings for week three both reference the work done by this author very early in each article, implying that she is a sort of expert on this debate.

The debate between what the digital humanities are seems to stem from what each individual considers to be the focus of the digital humanities, namely making, or if it should in fact expand to include interpreting as well. While some consider that the digital humanities should only include making, others, such as Mark Sample, believe that the digital humanities are not about producing, rather they are about reproducing (“The digital humanities is not about building, it’s about sharing”). In a similar attempt to define the digital humanities, Lisa Spiro attempted to create a statement of the core values of the digital humanities, including openness, collaboration, collegiality and connectedness, diversity, and experimentation (“This Is Why We Fight”: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities”). It appears by the values that Spiro selected, she includes both making and interpretation in her definition of the digital humanities.

From my point of view, I think that the digital humanities are both about making and interpreting. The humanities at their core are about interpreting, but I think when the digital element is added, making is just as large, if not a larger, piece of the puzzle. So far in class we have discussed ideology such as the idea of us becoming post human with the addition of technology in our everyday lives. This is interpretation on our part relating to the digital world we live in. As for the “making” side of the digital humanities, we will be doing that as well, as I understand, later in the semester. To use an example of a program that follows this idea that the digital humanities can be about both making and interpreting, Voyant was made with the ability to interpret in mind. Voyant, in my opinion, represents the digital humanities and both of its sides. The making of the program, Voyant, is obviously the creation of it, and it can then be used to interpret some form of data in a humanistic way.

Kyle C.

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. “The Humanities, Done Digitally”. Debates in the Digital Humanities. 2012. retrieved from

Sample, Mark. “The digital humanities is not about building, it’s about sharing”. 25 May, 2011. retrieved from

Spiro, Lisa. ““This Is Why We Fight”: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities”. Debates in the Digital Humanities. 2012. retrieved from

What is digital humanities and why do we care what it is?

For me these past 2 weeks of class have been confusing and frustrating. Even the readings have made me even more confused because everyone has a different opinion as to what digital humanities is. What I have gain from the readings and in class discussions is that digital items taking on human characteristics and humans taking on a robotic way of thinking or doing. Sounds like a very interesting topic, yes to some it might be but for others like me its hard for me to make a connection with what is being discussed so I care a lot less. However, I do like what Mark Sample said “The heart of digital humanities is not the production of knowledge; it’s the reproduction of knowledge”. This is a true statement and it speaks to how the field of digital humanities even came about. I also liked Lisa Spiro and how she talked about having a core set of values and then using that to achieve a bigger goal as a united community. I think with team work and determination you can do anything. Me, do I love this field so far no, but that doesn’t mean I wont learn to love it later on which is what I hope to do. From the looks of it those that do truly understand this field find it so intersecting that they can’t wait to find out more and do more research on this topic. I do realize that once I do have a full complete understanding of digital humanities then not only will I care but I will most likely want to learn more too.

Older posts