Introduction to Digital Humanities

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

Author: Danielle

Graphing through Palladio

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.31.05 PMLast week, we have learned a bit more about Palladio through how it graphs its given data.  It became an interesting experience as it presents itself as another way to help people understand information through visualizations.  This is similar to mapping data from analyzing what we visually see and then be able to relate to it.  According to the Demystifying Networks reading, it explained how representing the information through networks implies in comprehending whatever is going on.  I was able to see how networks analyze data from the dataset during the tutorial in class.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 2.18.38 PMFirst, I loaded in the dataset that provided the people and relations that they had.  The data that I used was about the people who offered to help others who were facing some trouble during WWII.  Then, I set up the settings that provided an outline between the givers and receivers.  Finally, I narrowed down both the facet and timespan filters, which quickly reduced the number of people and relations.  In comparing these two visualizations, I noticed some differences when playing around with the timespan.  The timespan in the second picture expands “between 0011-12-22 and 0013-12-29” in which it shows the each of the relations between the contributors and receivers.  The larger relation from both of these pictures show that they kept the same relationship as time passed by.  However, there were some differences between the smaller relationships as they expanded a bit throughout time.

In conclusion, analyzing data through networks is useful in providing an understanding of the information and offering an explanation to what it represents.

Differences in Mapping

Sometimes it is difficult in analyzing a map, but for this assignment it seemed like it was easy to understand through a few simple processes in Palladio and Google Fusion.  For these visualizations, I wanted to see specifically where most of the photographs from the Cushman Collections were taken in California.  The red dots are the geocoordinates of where the pictures were taken.  In comparing the two maps from these different programs, they have some interesting qualities that makes them unique.

When I developed these visualizations, I simply loaded the Cushman edited spreadsheet into the sites, applied the geocoordinates and made them visible to view, and outlined the California borders in order for the viewer to see the coordinates within the state.  The Palladio map shows the same geocoordinates as the Google Fusion map, but they are different from the layers that I offered for Palladio.  However, Google Fusion map does not offer a lot of choices in changing the map’s background, unlike what Palladio did.

From looking over at these maps, they helped me understand how these pictures correlate with each other.  In the spatial history reading from Zephyr Frank, he explains that spatial history teaches us the importance of space in offering us a historical outlook through visual analysis.  Both visualizations show the spaces in between of where the photographs took place in; when analyzing them, they were mostly taken around the coastal, central, and southern areas of California.

Overall, they were quick and easy maps to create and they provided interesting information to me visually about the Cushman photographs in California.

 

Palladio Mapping

We have learned how to use Palladio today and it was interesting in making the maps.  This map is based off of the Cushman Collections on where the photographs were taking place.  Most of them seem to be around the United States, mainly in places like San Francisco and Chicago.

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.

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.

Using Omeka on Martyrdom

Last week, my Digital Humanities class has been busy with creating a public website about martyrdom through Omeka.  We worked on this website in order to help us analyze martyrdom and develop some connections with other historical artifacts or pictures that relate to it.  Apparently the whole process in developing a resourceful website for others to see and use seems a bit more difficult than it looks, but I guess it takes some time to get used to it and learn more about what it can do.
Roman_Gladiator_by_Guillaume_(Willem)_Geefs,_1881_-_De_Young_Museum,_Golden_Gate_Park_-_DSC00269

Omeka has enabled me to consider a little bit more about the items that we set up online and add them to the collections.  In comparing Omeka with WordPress, the site was careful in asking many questions about what the item was, where it originated from, and if we had the right to use it.  This relates to Leopold’s, Articulating Culturally Sensitive Knowledge Online: A Cherokee Case Study in that it talked about how sensitive some items of a culture can be when it becomes public.  When searching for items to include in the collections, it seemed a bit difficult to understand what the site was asking for from the various questions it provided to us, but it became a simple process in the end.  Establishing the exhibits became interesting in thinking deeply about exhibit’s topic and utilizing different items for supporting our theme on martyrdom.  These exhibits required a lot of research on the items chosen since they had to relate to martyrdom in any way from the time it took place to how it was portrayed in other works.  Metadata takes uploading items seriously as it required information that not a lot of people would look at for any website.

Overall, the site has been useful in setting up a site that would be helpful for others in understanding history and culture.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

Digital Humanities & Our Interpretations

When first studying digital humanities, we ask ourselves “what is digital humanities” and “why is it so important to us.”  From my perspective, it is a new medium that tries to help people understand the changing world through some digital programs.  However, it also distracts us from acquiring a better comprehension of today’s society as a whole because most programs are making us become less common with others.  The first few weeks of class were very interesting as I gained some insight on how digital humanities is relevant to the world around us.  Some of the readings were a bit difficult to comprehend, but it later made sense as I thought about it has recently affected modern society.

According to the two readings about defining digital humanities, both authors explained their interpretations on how it has impacted our lives through positive and negative aspects.  The first reading illustrated how the digital media is reshaping knowledge that expands a bit more than from printed resources.  It analyzed the way the public needs to share their knowledge to the public instead of dividing ourselves with programmed software.  In Lisa Spiro’s document, she talked about how digital humanities should challenge people into figuring out different ideas that would help their community be more open and collaborative towards the public.  This emphasized that as a community expands their knowledge, they have to consider the possibilities in also extending their relations to others who share those same views.

In conclusion, I believe that digital humanities can be both useful and distracting depending upon a person’s interests and opinions.  There is no right or wrong answer to how people define digital humanities, as long as they are able to express their ideas that can possibly change the world and it’s future.

~ Danielle Lee

Voyant’s Analysis on Lincoln

When first using Voyant, I thought that it had an interesting and unique way in analyzing a variety of texts that helps readers understand more about specific readings.  In trying to get used to this new software, I selected one of the downloads from Tuesday’s class, which was a sermon about Abraham Lincoln’s death by Warren Hathaway, to experiment with on Voyant.  Before I started using this document, I assumed that it would mainly be about the life and time of Abraham Lincoln.  In order to figure out the concept of the text, I decided to look up key words like “nation,” “god,” and “death” that would relate to Abraham Lincoln and his life.

As seen from the chart above, the word, “nation,” (blue line) had the most frequencies with “god” (green line) coming in at second place.  It seemed like “death” (pink line) was not as common as the previous two, even though the main idea of this document was about Lincoln’s death, it did not mean that it was going to talk about it the whole time.  In the reading, it referred to Lincoln as an inspiring leader who was taken away so soon and how they will never forget the grateful deeds that he has done for the country.

In conclusion, Voyant has been helpful in interpreting texts that are unfamiliar to the reader.  If someone ever gets confused about a specific reading, they can use this digital network to assist them in understanding its context.

 

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