Introduction to Digital Humanities

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

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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.

Digital Humanities: Experimenting with Google Fusion Tables

In our Digital Humanities class, we worked with a comma separated values file of The Cushman Collection from Indiana University using Google Fusion Tables, the product of what I played with can be found here.

Google Fusion Tables

This is my network map comparing the “Genre 1” and “Location” subjects within the Cushman Collection.

I also played around with various other visual tools within Google Fusion Tables, including network maps of categories that don’t correlate to each other, like my map of “Description from Notebook” compared to “Topical Subject Heading”.

Something else I would like to play around with in Google Fusion Tables would be to see how I can interpret information using the “Cards” feature.

Google Fusion Charts!

I think after throwing this Cushman Collection of photos into Google Fusion Tables, I have sufficiently learned that I should not have the power of data displays in my hands. I have way too much fun playing around with them. Particularly this one here:


Network graphs though. They’re like jellyfish turned into graphs. And I even figured out how to embed it so everyone can play with it. In the case of this little graph, I was comparing the “Genre 1” and “Genre 2” categories of the Cushman photographs. I must confess, I’m not entirely sure how network graphs work, but I think what can be gleaned from this is that the bigger “nodes” are the genres that show up more often, and the lines between different nodes show genres that’re connected to each other. This is a pretty handy and fun way to figure out which genres the makers of this collection use the most, and what correlations there are between the genres.

I also decided to make a couple pie graphs about the genres, complete with Comic Sans font because I’m that obnoxious:



The first pie chart is for Genre 1, and the second is for Genre 2. I knocked the Genre 2 chart down from twenty slices to ten, because there weren’t enough categories in Genre 2 to have that many slices. These pie charts are a little different from the network graph, because although they have prettier colors, they don’t show the connections between these photographs’ different genres. It does make it much easier to see which genres are used the most often, and compare their frequencies to each other, but Genre 1 and 2 remain very distinct categories with the pie charts. Clearly, the way you choose to display data is significant, because different kinds of graphs and charts can reveal very different things about data.

Google Fusion Charts!

I think after throwing this Cushman Collection of photos into Google Fusion Tables, I have sufficiently learned that I should not have the power of data displays in my hands. I have way too much fun playing around with them. Particularly this one here:


Network graphs though. They’re like jellyfish turned into graphs. And I even figured out how to embed it so everyone can play with it. In the case of this little graph, I was comparing the “Genre 1” and “Genre 2” categories of the Cushman photographs. I must confess, I’m not entirely sure how network graphs work, but I think what can be gleaned from this is that the bigger “nodes” are the genres that show up more often, and the lines between different nodes show genres that’re connected to each other. This is a pretty handy and fun way to figure out which genres the makers of this collection use the most, and what correlations there are between the genres.

I also decided to make a couple pie graphs about the genres, complete with Comic Sans font because I’m that obnoxious:



The first pie chart is for Genre 1, and the second is for Genre 2. I knocked the Genre 2 chart down from twenty slices to ten, because there weren’t enough categories in Genre 2 to have that many slices. These pie charts are a little different from the network graph, because although they have prettier colors, they don’t show the connections between these photographs’ different genres. It does make it much easier to see which genres are used the most often, and compare their frequencies to each other, but Genre 1 and 2 remain very distinct categories with the pie charts. Clearly, the way you choose to display data is significant, because different kinds of graphs and charts can reveal very different things about data.

Cushman collection pie


in class we used fusion tables and looked at the data in different ways. and we looked at a map first then we made a chart. and made to a pie. so we played around with it a lot.

DH: Cushman exhibit

Digital Humanities, Cushman Graph

This chart displays the amount of pictures from different cities and states by a percentage of pictures uploaded. This is taking into account some are omitted as the data range of states is limited to 100 locations, while there exist many more outside of these parameters. As such the information was sorted by descending amount of photos.

All data can be found on the Charles Cushman Photography collection

Anointed Storyteller 2015-10-22 21:43:47

cushman-collection (Date / City and State)

You might be wondering what that mess of interlinking dots are, well, I’ll tell you. That right there is a visual representation of how locations from a set of images relate to the dates of the images. For my Digital Humanities class I had to create a visual representation – a chart – of a set of data. Using Google Fusion Tables, I inputted the data and just messed around with it and made a bunch of different charts without any clear objective. I decided that my data should be put to use so I decided to show how the locations of images relate to the dates of the images, and I decided to do it in a way that could be fun for any user. I will say that it is a little bit confusing, since it is a lot of information, but I think it does get the job done in representing a relationship of data.

Cushman-Collection Graph

Graph of City and States

I chose a pie chart as my graph. The individual slices represent the percentages of cities and states used in the Cushman-Collection. The city used the most is Agua Prieta, Sonora and the lowest is Alberton, Montana. Nevertheless, the graph doesn’t represent the whole as there are not enough pie slices.  The names are listed in alphabetical order, so the graph only graphs the first ten cities.  As a result, the city used the most may not necessarily be Agua Prieta.

Cushman Collection Marine Photographs

This chart represents the connection of Marine Photographs in the Cushman Collection and the location that the photograph was taken. It is easy to see by this chart that, understandably,  the majority of the photographs of marine life are taken near the ocean. The limitations of this chart is the limit of 100 fields, as that eliminates all of the data from being presented as there are more than 100 locations.

Cushman Collection

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.35.49 PMThis graph was created used using Google Fusion Tables. We imputed the information from the Cushman Archives from Indiana University. I created a new chart and selected a pie graph to show the percentage of items from a particular city and state. The graph only shows 100 of the top locations where the items are.

Cushman Collection Experimentation


Today in class we used Google Fusion Tables to visualize the Cushman Collection. After customizing the appearance and looking through different categories (dates, city and state, etc.), I settled on the one called “Description from Notebook.” Everything ended up being the same (not surprising because there’s one description per image), but it still ended up looking pretty cool. I think today’s work gives everyone a broader perspective on what can happen with Digital Humanities and data.

Google Fusion Tables: Cushman Collection

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.29.31 PM

Using the Cushman Collection and Google Fusion Tables (for the first time), I made a pie chart with the category “Genre 1.” With this graphic, I limited the maximum amount of slices to 5; Google chose the five most reoccurring genre titles to display.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.33.11 PMThen, I changed the maximum amount of slices to 15, but it seems as though the maximum it could produce was 13.

These piecharts are helpful to visualize how many pictures are being taken in that specific genre. For example, most of the photos are “identification photographs.”

Comparing these two pie charts also reveals how data publishers could conceal information by limiting what they reveal (the maximum amount of slices in this case).

Charts from google fusion

Genre of Photographs Chart

The link is made public !


-Jillian S.




Google Fusion Tables in class today

Top Secret Vs Secret

For past few months I have been doing some (lazy) research into the, “Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program”. Pretty much a declassified document that was made publicly available last year including details of the treatment and conditions detainees were put in under the CIA’s custody. It is a 712 page document that you can download to PDF by google-ing the title above and personally I think it is a great read. Sadly it is only 712 pages of a 6700~ document, the rest being still classified. The link at the bottom will take you to a blog, “EVERYTHING ON PAPER WILL BE USED AGAINST ME” on Quantifying Kissinger. In the video it uses a text analysis program to look over classified documents like the one I am researching. Being foolish I used AntConc to look through the text in the PDF document and it almost ruined the entire thing for me. Searching terms like inhumane or cooperative brought me to discovering the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” and even other terms too disgusting to post about when tagging my course. This document is full of things like torture, interrogation discussions, and a lot of black bars which makes me curious. In the text analysis of the classified documents in the video on Quantifying Kissinger, what did they search for? Were there language barriers in documents that were not English? How did they get around those barriers? What did they find similar about the documents researched? Personally, reading through my first declassified document is cool enough but I would find it extremely difficult translating all of the information if the program was not able to itself.


Quantifying Kissinger


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.

Response to Johanna Drucker’s “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display”

Johanna Drucker’s “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display” notes of how digital humanists adopted visualization tools to their work. Trucker’s article touches upon a previous reading in which the title of the article says it all: “The Digital Humanities is Not About Building, It’s About Sharing.” This concept is seen through the close relationship capta and data share in order to through the borrowed methods of other disciplinary fields: natural and social science.

When it comes to capta versus data, Drucker seems to explain the two terms as separate concepts even though the two share some form of discipline. Data is reconstructed into capta and helps to represent the reconfiguration that the former goes through in order to evolve into the latter. Capta is taken as an active object while data is is assumed to be an object given and capable of being reordered and observed. I believe that Drucker is focusing on the transformation data is able to go through when he touches upon data versus capta.

When Drucker says we must focus on the representation of knowledge, we must focus on the ever-changing forms of knowledge we experience overtime. Take, for example, education in the late 1800s and today – we have experience changes not only in the educational system but also in equality and the implementation of technology. While women was restricted from an equal education, steps have been taken for them to become more involved in schools and be provided a fair education. Technology has also been updated to provide extension courses and the use of websites for class.

However, getting back on topic, digital visualization (history and knowledge) is constantly changing forms and we need to find a way how to adapt to it.

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.

Have you heard of Omeka?

Sorry for the absence recently, I was planning on posting a lot more but my apartment is having electrical issues after it rained. I think a mouse decided to bite one of my power lines because only my refrigerator is running at the moment. An electrician is suppose to be coming Thursday but he said it may be a few visits but because of the inconvenience I have moved my schedule around to have a minimum of 3 hours at the library everyday for some post class studying/blog post. I’ll be honest its hard to live without the internet and the schedule change was also influenced by the lack of Netflix.

Similar to my previous post on Archives, I am going to talk about my experience with Omeka. This past week I researched in a lot into the religion and artifacts relating to the story of Perpetua and Felicitas for the Digital Humanities course I previously posted about. I wont go into too much detail about their story but feel free to look it up! There is actually a short animated show about it if you are like me and prefer watching instead of reading, #Dyslexia. Long story short, Perpetua and Felicitas were martyrs that had a very intense and romantic tale by refusing to give up their faith. Typical religious story inspiring people to stand up for what they believe in. The class built an online exhibit that I will link at the bottom of the post with Omeka that gave us a semi user friendly format to collect the metadata and organize an online exhibit. This exercise gave me a great insight on website/exhibit design, legal online sharing, and the in depth research on religion and historical traditions. Omeka was a little difficult to use at first but after a few entries it became more familiar. The website and exhibit layout was made a lot more simple with the help of Omeka.

The experience in creating the online exhibit reminded me of many different readings but mostly got me thinking about sharing on the internet. All of the material in the exhibit was found on the internet and doing researching the copyrights on sharing or reusing that material was enlightening into how copyrights work but I think we made a great site. Between the “Setting the Stage” reading by Anne Gilliland on metadata and an earlier one on internet sharing I think back to my experience being a private investigator in training. My father was my mentor and taught me the business I want to take over in the future. With the things my dad taught me in finding people, I was able to find some pretty interesting things for the exhibit. My favorite item being the animated film and comic book about Perpetua and Felicitas. Collecting metadata to include in the exhibit personally was the hardest part because I felt as if somehow I was going to mess things up or get emailed about copyright infringement.

Along with the research I was doing for the exhibit I was doing my own research on a site I regularly visit. The title “World’s most expensive hard disk made of sapphire will last 1 million years” caught my eye and got me thinking of how it could be used for archiving purposes. The 20cm industrial sapphire disks cost about $30,000 and can hold around 40,000 miniaturized pages. Two of these disks are then molecularly fused together and all you will need to view these pages is a microscope! The concept of this is incredible that we can bury this CD somewhere and a million or even thousands of years from now people could see whatever is documented on it. One of the problems with archiving is that computing and technologies are forever evolving eventually leaving behind the programs used to read that code. This simple disk takes that one problem and throws it out the window… But it is much more expensive and only holds 40,000 pages which isn’t much in my opinion.


Link to Omeka Exhibit: Exhibit

Link to Sapphire CD article: Article

Heres a young deer discovering a ball! Video


“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.



Websites referenced today

Here are the websites we looked at today:

Digital Humanities: Thoughts on Omeka

Through the use of Omeka, and the building up of an online exhibit, I learned several things. Foremost, that the building of websites and the galleries that can be displayed on them is exponentially easier with the use of web building tools. As someone who does programming without the use of tools usually this was quite different and quite a lot easier to do. Overall I thought the user interface as a whole was also extremely user friendly and left little to be desired as a base operations programme. In all I found the use of Omeka incredibly easy and would definitely use it again for other projects that I need to.

Omeka Exhibit

After studying a text about Perpetua and Felicitas, our Digital Humanities class came up with questions and themes related to the reading. We formed groups and created an online exhibit to showcase our research and further develop our knowledge.

My group focused on martyrdom. The exhibit itself was simple to make, but it was interesting as well. It was the first time I had done something like this. Easier to use than Blogspot and WordPress (through probably not as neat and definitely not as customizable), Omeka provided simple tools for students to use to create items, collections, and exhibits. To create them, we had to find photos from online sources such as museum websites, Wikimedia, and Flickr. We had to know what data to search for, so we had to look up certain tags and scan a variety of sources to find good examples. During and after that, metadata was vital for this portion. When looking for items to add to my exhibit, I searched under tags such as “martyr” and “martyrdom.” These helped me find the photos I needed because people tagged them under those.

Lastly, this exhibit shed more light on what we learn in class. For instance, we read Mark Sample’s “The Digital Humanities is not about Building, it’s about Sharing.” After we completed the exhibit, I realized that Sample’s words were true. We were not necessarily “building” something new, but we called upon our knowledge and performed research to further understand the concept that we were trying to grasp. Afterwards, we all shared the information with each other.

This project contributed to our understanding of this course, and as time goes on, we will all expand our knowledge about Digital Humanities.

."Allegorical Figure of Faith" by Giovanni Battista Gaulli

Digital pedagogy and student knowledge production

The past two weeks in my Introduction to Digital Humanities course, students have been using the open-source content management system Omeka to create online exhibits related to the early Christian text, the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas.

I was astounded by their accomplishments.  The students raised thoughtful questions about the text, found items online related to Perpetua and Felicitas to use/curate/re-mix, and then created thoughtful exhibits on different topics in groups.

None of them know much if anything about early Christianity. (I think one student has taken a class with me before).  None of them had used Omeka before.  Few of them would consider themselves proficient in digital technology before taking the class.

Here’s what they created.  In two weeks. And I’m super proud of them.

Here’s what we did:

  • We read and discussed the text together.
  • They all registered on our joint Omeka site, and we created a list of questions and themes that would drive our work.
  • Each student then went home and found three items online related to Perpetua and Felicitas or any of the themes and questions we brainstormed. (They watched out for the licensing of items to be sure they could reuse and republish them.)
  • In class each person added one item to the Omeka site — we talked about metadata, licensing, classfication
  • We revised revised revised; in groups, each student added two more items
  • We grouped the Items into Collections (which required discussion about *how* to group Items)
  • Then in small groups, students created Exhibits based on key themes we had been discussing.  Each group created an Exhibit; each student a page within the exhibit.

What made it work?

  • Before even starting with Omeka, we read about cultural heritage issues and digitization, licensing, metadata, and classification — all issues they had to apply when doing their work
  • Lots and lots of in class time for students to work
  • Collaboration!  Students all contributed items to Omeka, and then they each could use any other students’ items to create their exhibits; we had a much more diverse pool of resources by collaborating in this way
  • Peer evaluating: students reviewed each others work
  • The great attitude and generosity of the students — they completely submersed themselves into it.
  • The Omeka CMS forced students to think about licensing, sourcing, classification, etc., as they were adding and creating content.

The writing and documentation in these exhibits exceeded my expectations, and also exceeded what I usually see in student papers and projects.  Some of this is due to the fact that I have quite a few English majors, who are really good at writing, interpreting, documenting.   I also was pleasantly surprised by the level of insight from students who were not formally trained in early Christian history.  They connected items about suicide and noble death, as well as myths about the sacrifice of virgins; they found WWII photos of Carthage.

Are there some claims in these exhibits that I would hope someone more steeped in early Christian history would modify, nuance, frame differently?  Sure.  And not all items are as well sourced or documented as others.  We also did not as a class do a good job of conforming all of our metadata to set standards (date standards, consistent subjects according to Dublin Core or Library of Congress subject categories, etc.).  We tried, but it was a lot of data wrangling for an introductory class.  And honestly, I was satisfied that they wrestled with these issues and were as consistent as we were.

So in sum, for undergraduate work, I was pleased with the results, and am happy to share them with you.

Digital Humanities: Omeka

For our Digital Humanities class at the University of the Pacific we worked with an online management site called Omeka. With Omeka we were able to categorize the images we found revolving around Rome, Martyrs, and the tale of Perpetua and Felicity. Stemming from  these broad categories we were able to refine our categories into more specific sub-categories using metadata. We categorized the images into sub-topics and then made exhibits about some of them. The exhibits were about Roman Culture and Christian Martyrdom. Omeka showed me how important metadata is as well as gave me incite on what goes into online archiving.



Perpetua and Felicitas, Omeka

Using Omeka as the site for our class Perpetua and Felicitas exhibits was simple. The information that needed to be provided per post, whether it was source information or usage rights for content, had its own category for each individual metadata that needed to be added along with the post. In comparison to our Word Press sites Omeka seems like the simpler version of website or exhibit creating softwares. With Word Press there is less guidance to the user making things a little more complicated to appear where you want them to. With Omeka it was a lot simpler in my opinion as far as posting content to a page and it coming out as Perpetua and Felicitasyou anticipated it to.

I was really surprised how much content of Perpetua and Felicitas we were able to find and then analyze with descriptions. We created the entire exhibit in a class period with a lot of really unbiased informative content about the martyrdom that would happen in Rome at the time. The story of Perpetua and Felicitas was interesting due to the devotion that they had for their religion. At the time, martyrdom was for criminals and them refusing to renounce their Christianity and practice Catholicism was one of the biggest crimes of all. They were brutally killed and made examples of to the people of the community to not follow in their disobedience or that will also be their fate.

“[Omeka] is Not about Building, It’s about Sharing”

Omeka InformationSearching for items to add to Omeka seemed like a daunting task. There were some material that looked great. However, those materials could not be used because the copyright information seemed ambiguous or other classmates were using the same information. Nevertheless, after finding the material needed – with the proper copyright material – this is where the fun seemed to start. I will admit the next steps were a hard and strenuous process but it proves beneficial for future projects.

Omeka InformationFirst, we had to upload our material and fill out the basic information (title, subject, description, copyright information, etc) before uploading it to a collection. To be honest, the first time doing this assignment I was excited because I was able to find an artwork that needed its own collection – “Medieval and Byzantine Art.”

After creating a new collection for the artwork, we worked with our groups to build an exhibit. This goes to Sample’s article, “The Digital Humanities is Not About Building, It’s About Sharing.” We “shared” or used the works that was uploaded by our peers in order to create the exhibits. This not only saved time but helped us to create a a total of eight exhibits that was based on a collaborative work.

What I learned from putting together an exhibit is that the materials we used are a share resource. While we are using other peoples work – whether it is on Omeka or another online tool – it is vital to check the copyright information. Some resources provides material content to be used for educational purposes. However, those material contents cannot be altered in any way, shape, or form.

Also, the classification of metadata helped me to lay the foundation for my next project for another class. If Omeka is a free resource, I would love to use it for my Cross Cultural Training class. Being able to do research on my country through online resources like this is beneficial. Comparing Omeka to WordPress, having a website that helps guide you to put all of the information together is very helpful.

My Omeka Experience

For lack of a better word, using Omeka is an interesting experience. At worst, Omeka is not that useful for people unless they want to become a historian or other such figure that documents information (there are many useless things in the world, nonetheless, and this is not the most useless at the very least). Data classification and inputting metadata is a tedious task, but something quite necessary in order to assemble items efficiently. I particularly realized this when I wasn’t able to find certain images except by going through them one by one due to inaccurate tags.

Inaccurate metadata and tags lead to challenging identification.
Inaccurate metadata and tags lead to challenging identification.

While I did think creating a collection was rather mind-numbing, what I did think was interesting was putting together a webpage, which is something I may continue to do in the future via blog posts. Omeka was useful, here, and had an efficient interface. Adding pictures using the site was easier than doing so with WordPress and already had references attached to them. While formatting left nothing to imagination, it was quite easy to use and would be sufficient for those who merely want to put forth information.

Finishing this project prompted me to think about some of the past readings. As I refuted before, I have to refute again, using our recent project as an example. Although Mark Sample states that “The Digital Humanities is Not about Building, It’s about Sharing,” he is inaccurate in that there would be no Digital Humanities without building, for without it, the Digital humanities would merely be a database and nothing more, like Omeka’s catalog of items. While sharing is an integral part of learning, it is more fundamental to build. Only then can there be improvements made to a field. Omeka’s catalog would only be a database, but our exhibitions were built on that database, thus allowing us to share it in addition to new information. It was through our creation that we were able to impart to others what we learned. Kathleen Fitzpatrick summarizes this, opposing Sample, quite nicely in her article, “The Humanities Done Digitally,” stating “The particular contribution of the digital humanities, however, lies in its exploration of the difference that the digital can make to the kinds of work that we do as well as to the ways that we communicate with one another.” In other words, building and then sharing.

Omeka and the Sharing of Digital Content

We’ve been using Omeka for a long while, mainly to explore all the different aspects associated with the biblical story of the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas. Omeka not only allowed us to put these items together, but it allowed us to see just how complex the context of one story can possibly be. We found a massive variety of items that not only pertain to the story and historical context of Felicitas and Perpetua, and thus increase our own understanding of the history of their time, but it also allows us to see the influence their story of martyrdom has on artists from different time periods, as well as the influence on modern day culture. Putting exhibits together allowed us to see how each of the items might fit together in a category, and how that category effects Perpetua’s and Felicitas’s story. Omeka altogether showed that items can be categorized in many ways, and thus provides a means of a different way of understanding the same story or idea.

Omeka was easy to use in the fact that, not only did it provide a means for showing metadata, but it allowed us as a class to pool together our data/items and thus share our opinions and ideas without having to wade through a bunch of pages (like on WordPress). I found Omeka extremely easy to use, but the only downside was having to find all the information about an item so that I could post the metadata and see if I was legally able to reproduce it on a different website. This wasn’t exactly difficult, but it was extremely time-consuming.

Omeka is an extremely useful tool in terms of the field of digital humanities. Omeka enables the sharing of not only contributors to the online exhibit, but any scholar who wishes to use items in the online exhibit. This ability contributes to the digital humanities because, as Mark Sample said in his article “The Digital Humanities is Not Building, It’s about Sharing,” the new field of study is primarily about sharing knowledge to contribute to the further reshaping or reforming of that knowledge to develop a better understanding.

All in all, Omeka contributed to the better comprehension of the vast topic of Christian martyrdom in a time when the Pagans were in authoritative positions through the historical context of the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas.


(This image taken from Omeka, all rights displayed)


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.

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.

The Omeka Experience

I really enjoyed using Omeka a lot. It was really interesting and something i’ve never worked with before but i must say it was a fun experience and I actually say that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I learned how to search for images/items to add into my collection.  I also learned how to include appropriate images, ones in which I felt connected well with my exhibit and to what I was talking about and not just including random items. Putting my exhibit together with my group and hearing all of the different Perpetua and Felicity representations from the other groups was a very benifitial activity personally because it taught me a lot more about the story of Perpetua and Felicity, their history, and their backround. I felt like I left with a much better understanding of this story that I didn’t get out of reading the story alone. I feel like now that I know more about the story, I would actually be able to take this information i learned by completing our exhibits, and tell it to others. In this experience with Omeka, I also learned about the importance of item classification and metadata and how correct or incorrect classification of items and/or metadata can either make it easier or harder for others to find your items. Lastly, I found that Omeka was actually a lot easier to use than WordPress. My experience with wordpress wasn’t that good. It seemed too complex whereas Omeka was the complete opposite.  Everything on Omeka was simple and easy to find and i had no problems using it at all.  To conclude this blog post, I want to reference one of the readings we had previously called “Re-use of Digitised Content” by Terra’s. Now the reason why I referenced this reading in particular is because it connects with the exhibits we did.  For example, one of the really important things that we learned was to check the licensing to make sure it was ok to use stuff, wich is basically what the whole reading was about. The point was that although there is a lot of content online, it is still incredibly difficult to source good material to reuse.



Digital Humanities: Experimenting with Omeka

At my university, in my Digital Humanities class, we played around with the website Omeka and made an exhibit revolving around Perpetua and Felicitas, both their story and themes relating to their martyrdom. The experience can be found here:

Researching items for this exhibit, as was creating a page of Dublin Core metadata for each item we found. It truly gave me an appreciation for metadata, as it offers more information than works cited or bibliography pages, and is in my opinion, more accessible and informational.

In Robert Leopold’s article, Articulating Culturally Sensitive Knowledge Online: A Cherokee Case Study, he makes the case for withholding information, knowledge, and content on the basis of culturally sensitive material. While I see and understand the reasoning for why this is, I also believe that transparency, as well as the appreciation of culture, is very important in making the world a better place. Archives allow the work and information to be accounted for, retrievable in the event of the loss of the original or physical work, preserved like fossils for future generations.

I do not believe that what we did with Omeka would be possible without the sharing of information and culture, and the exhibits we presented through the site are just a flash of what this kind of archival methods can be used for. The experience we had working on this experiment was very cool, and I really like the Dublin Core standard for metadata. Being able to see how the original creator of the image below tagged their data was also rather cool to me.

Dublin Core information that I inputted can be found here:

Dublin Core information that I inputted can be found here:

Working with Omeka in Digital Humanities

So we are officially done with the 8th week of school and it has not been too bad so far. This week we were introduced to “Omeka” in my Digital Humanities class. It was actually pretty cool because I ended up learning a lot of new stuff from it. Basically Omeka is an online management system for online digital collections. After using it to upload images I learned so much about stuff I had no idea about before. Mainly I became more familiar with “metadata” which I was very confused about before. I found out that metadata is info such as descriptions, licensing, dates, sources, etc. While using omeka the class learned how to create collections, add meta datas, and how to create exhibits. Some parts to Omeka are still a bit fuzzy to me but I kind of get the gist of it. This class has been very interesting since we have been introduced to so many online systems and applications that I had no prior knowledge of.. It’s exciting but terrifying at the same time since I am not so tech savy. I’m sure we will be using even more online systems like this as the weeks go on in the the class.

Observing the Inner Workings of Omeka

Well, if there’s one thing you don’t realize about the Internet before you actually do it yourself, it’s that making a website is a lot more challenging than it looks. And it already looks pretty challenging to start with. Working through Omeka to create our Digital Humanities class site eased the process a little, but it was still quite an uphill climb to get to our finished exhibits.

For starters, searching for the right information to include in an exhibit like ours is hard. I’d imagine ease of access would vary by exhibit topic, but for a website about Perpetua and Felicitas, I found it a lot more difficult than I thought it would be to scrounge up items for display. It seemed that every time I found an object that I wanted to use, someone else had put it up already, or it was under a license that kept it from being shared. There was one painting in particular that was being very stubborn, because it kept cropping up everywhere on Google, but I couldn’t find an original source for it, and so I couldn’t add it to the exhibit, even though I really liked it.
 The mosaic at the left here was something I eventually did find and could use, but that was after sifting through mountains of other pictures and items. And then, even once I had some good content to share, there was so much information that had to come with it. I hadn’t anticipated how much detail would go into the metadata of our items. Half of the the info boxes we filled out for each item were things that wouldn’t have even crossed my mind otherwise, much less have been put in the metadata if Omeka hadn’t pointed them out to me. In the scheme of things, our exhibits probably aren’t as extensive as a lot of other similar websites might be, but the work we put into them was still way more involved than I would’ve imagined. Sorting and classifying all those items and bits of metadata was pretty tricky. But it also made our items a lot easier to navigate in the end. So despite how much effort goes into making collections and figuring out how things should be grouped, classification adds a lot more coherency to jumbles of information.

And I feel like that’s something Omeka does really well as a tool. It provides a smorgasbord of ways to organize whatever data you want to throw at it. The structure of items, collections, and exhibits gives it a unique hierarchy, too, with each rung of the ladder allowing you to do different things with information. One Omeka website can show you a hundred ways to read the same images. You can zero in on a single item, or explore a broader topic with a full exhibit. The sky’s the limit, really, and that’s an advantage Omeka has over a tool like WordPress. This post I’m writing now is pretty much the epitome of what WordPress can do. It lets you blog. You can organize things by tags or categories, if you want, but it doesn’t give you the same complex kind of organizing that Omeka does.

Of course, that can be a place where Omeka falls short, too. I’ve already rambled a bit about how complicated using Omeka can be, especially if you’ve never done it before. So while it does give you the chance to expand upon and organize your information pretty much however you want, it has a much more complicated interface than WordPress. There’s a lot more that goes into an Omeka exhibit than a WordPress blog, and I think which one you used would depend on whatever intentions you have for your own website.

On a slightly different tangent, throughout the process of our class building the Perpetua and Felicitas exhibits, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the blog post we read by Melissa Terras. I feel like I can sympathize with her on a deeper level than I could before. Her whole post was about how difficult it can be to find cultural information that’s available for sharing, and now that I’ve gone through that first-hand, her arguments seem a bit more justified. Though I’m still not quite on-board with the idea of making everything accessible to share and reuse, I feel like Terras was right in calling out online museums and other sites on their lack of helpful resources. Their interfaces, while not extremely challenging, can be a bit frustrating to work with, especially if you don’t know exactly what you want from them. And it seems that so little is actually available on websites like that of the Metropolitan Museum. Many items in the online museum archives didn’t even have images attached to them, and some were guarded under licenses from being shared or reused. I agree with Terras when she says that the rights to use or not use something need to be clearer, and more accessible, because navigating those museums for things related to Perpetua and Felicitas was a huge pain in the butt. If we’re going to go to the effort to share some cultural content online (emphasis on some, because again, not all of it should be shared), then the least the providers could do is make it easy to access.

Overall, I feel like the takeaway from our experience with Omeka is that being able to share, organize, classify, and analyze online content is an invaluable pursuit. Though I can’t say I would personally use Omeka again unless it was required, since it gave me a headache at some points, once we had everything pieced together, it was pretty cool being able to look at all the information we’d scrounged up. If you’ve got the patience and ambition to work with it, then Omeka has the potential to make some really awesome online exhibitions.

Working with Omeka

The use of digital tools and internet technologies is not a foreign concept to me. As I have stated in the past, technology is one of my biggest hobbies. However, the recent project for our class using Omeka has been an experience that I must say was very interesting and thought provoking in regards to what I could do with this program, or a program like it in the future. While creating our collection, which can be found at, I was surprised how much work went into even a small-scale project like this one. Searching for relevant items that not only related to our topic, but also enhanced it, was a challenge, especially when you consider that the item must be from a source that can verify its authenticity, meaning no uncredited Google Image search photos that are so common on the internet today.

omeka-logoTo speak for a moment about Omeka as a tool before I go into detail about our project, I think that it allows you to do more in considerably less time in contrast to building a similar webpage from scratch using HTML and CSS. You could accomplish virtually the same thing by writing a basic clone of it, but having a bit of experience writing HTML and CSS myself, I can say it would be a significant amount of work, especially if you wanted the same functionality that Omeka provides out of the box. That is not to say it would be impossible build something like the exhibit pages fairly quickly using HTML and CSS, as they could be built using a framework such as bootstrap to layout the page fairly easily. That being said, I think if I were given the option I would use Omeka, as it would be up and running faster, with more functionality. In addition to this, another reason I would choose to use Omeka is the fact that it is open source software. This means that it would be possible to make changes to your Omeka site if you wanted to add functionality or edit the design, providing the user had an existing knowledge of HTML, CSS, and another language such as JavaScript.

Overall, I enjoyed using Omeka and making my contribution to the class exhibit, however, despite of my enjoyment using the program I would not say that there were not any challenges creating it. One of these challenges that I think surprised me the most was the collection and the classification of the metadata for each item. When you think about metadata in its most basic form, simply putting it as “data about data”, as described by Anne Gilliland in her article titled Setting the Stage, it sounds simple enough. Bull and MartyrHowever, when you consider that all of the metadata must follow the same format, site wide, if you want your collection to be searchable using keywords or dates, and also give the correct credit to all creators and clearly communicate the copyright status, it is clear to see that it is not as simple as entering the date and title of the work into a blank field.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part for me in the whole process was creating the exhibit. It was very interesting to see how we could take a unified theme about a particular story, and create so many exhibits that gave ample background information to not only the story itself, but also to how the story and the details related to the time it happened, providing context of how martyrdom was viewed in Roman society. I think that is the big draw of using this program. It is not just a simple collection of images and text that relates to a bigger picture, rather, the ability to tell these stories about the collection by using these exhibits effectively paints the picture for the viewer.

Kyle C.



Gilliland, Anne J. “Setting the Stage,” from Murtha Baca, ed., Introduction to Metadata (Los Angeles: Getty, 2008)

Image Sources:

Anonymous , “Foxe’s Christian martyrs of the world ,” Perpetua and Felicitas Exhibit, accessed October 20, 2015,

Omeka, Roman Martyrs, and Exhibits

Hi everyone, it’s me! Andrew, the anointed storyteller! Today, I’m going to tell you all about my experience with Omeko and creating online exhibits.

To start, let me say that Omeko is a very interesting tool for creating organizing data and digital objects for exhibition. If you have to do a project on the history of the US constitution, and you have a bunch of photographs of documents written by founding fathers, documents that influenced the US constitution, and paintings of the founding fathers, Omeko can help! With Omeko, you can organize those objects into seperate collections, then you can organize those collections into exhibits, and then you have all your data available and easy to use for anyone doing research on the US constitution or on History in general.

I was in a group that was given the task of finding digital objects that is some way related to Perpetua and Felicitas, Christian Martyrs, and Ancient Rome. We collected painting of martyrs, photos of ancient ruins, coins used in ancient Rome, and so many more different objects over the internet. That wasn’t as difficult as it sounds, it just takes time.

The more difficult part of using Omeko and creating collections was inputting all of the metadata for each object and figuring out how it relates to different objects and putting them all into exhibits that make sense and are easy to navigate for users. However, it still wasn’t that difficult. It also just took time, since Omeko was fairly easy to use. I think that it is harder if you don’t really have an interest in the project. The topic of Christian martyrs and Ancient Rome interested me, so it wasn’t always seen as a chore.

Overall, it was an interesting project and I would use Omeko again and recommend it to any friends interested in creating online exhibits for research. That’s all I can think to say for now, I plan to write more on this site in the future, so expect something…

Learning Experience with Omeka

Omeka… What is it? We have been using this website as a tool to view/share items pertaining to history, mostly about Perpetua and Felicitas. Omeka really opened my eyes to the history of this world: martrydom, gladiators, Ancient Rome, etc. I was able to see what life was like in another day and time; its fascinating to me. When searching for items about Perpetua and Felicitas, I found things of such nature, but also images, paintings, and engravings of other sorts of things. When putting the exhibit together with my group, I learned that we had plenty of different categories of items to work with, for example: Martrydom, Interpretations of Roman Culture, and Devotion to Others.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 1.49.53 PM

The above picture is from my group’s Perpetua and Felicitas exhibit, which was the Interpretation of Roman Culture. It is particularly the page I made about the Roman Arenas and Ruins.


When looking at Omeka compared to HTML computer language, I seen many differences. One of the differences I had seen between the two was that HTML is an actual coding language, where as Omeka is a simple user interface website which comes pre-made with layouts, and you just fill in the blanks. To be really honest, I feel like Omeka was actually MUCH easier to work with, rather than HTML, because HTML has a unique coding language that must be memorized. To me, that is more challenging that working with a template.

When thinking about how to relate one of our previous class texts to this Omeka assignment, I was stumped. After a little more thinking, I figured the best one would be the by Mark Sample reading, “The Digital Humanities is Not about Building, It’s about Sharing.” The reason I choose this one is because it literally goes hand in hand with Omeka. Omeka is all about sharing; getting items and figures online for people to see, so that other people can gain knowledge from one another. That is what its about, and so is the reading by Sample.


This picture below pretty much sums up my idea on sharing. These are items of different categories, and they are all being shared in one website. Sharing; it fits this website perfectly.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 1.57.29 PM


Link to our class Omeka site:

The Use of Content Management Systems on the Internet

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

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

A Learning Process with Omeka: Advantages and Disadvantages

Omeka is clearly designed to display collections, meaning that it would only be effective if you have objects (images, photographs, media, videos, audio, etc.) to present in an organized fashion. I would explain Omeka as the iPhones of websites; in the sense that, iPhones are user-convenient with standard designs, compared to androids that require more prior knowledge to customize. Omeka is not your site if you want complete control over how it looks, though this is restrictive, it is very user-friendly because the layouts and fields are provided for you without having to learn something like HTML.

Searching for items to upload was definitely frustrating when I hit a copyright wall. For example, Triumph of Faith from Bridgeman Images is under a license, and it would have been a good addition to the 19th-21st Century Popular Culture Collection. Like Terras, I agree that it is difficult to reuse/remix digitized content because of copyright or unclear right. The solution she proposes insists on is to declutter the vast amount of images and comprise a good amount of quality content (in resolution and material) under public domain, because it’s all about sharing, right, Mark Sample?

Tags can be helpful when searching for key terms, but the search engine provides a broader search
Tags can be helpful when searching for key terms, but the search engine provides a broader search

Metadata is extremely essential when it comes to searching. When metadata looks like this (not to call anyone out), it is certainly incomplete and ineffective. Omeka is extra helpful, because it outlines what metadata to fill in, but only is effective when complete. Moreover, the data must be uniform to comply with search engines.

Creating these collections and exhibits for Perpetua and Felicitas, in my perspective, embraces both sides of the practice-theory divide that Fitzpatrick proposes. We are using digital technology (Omeka) to study traditional humanities objects (digitized artwork), and we are asking contemporary humanities questions (in response to Perpetua and Felicitas) to decipher digital objects (digitized artwork). Though we were building collections and exhibits by compiling and classifying information, in essence, we are sharing information to further our understanding of Perpetua and Felicitas, and that is the true spirit of Digital Humanities (according to Sample).

Website live at:

A Martyr Is a Witness


Sinclair, Stéfan and Geoffrey Rockwell. “Voyant Tools: Reveal Your Texts.” Voyant. 31 Aug. 2015 <>

In my Introduction to Digital Humanities course, my students are conducting very basic text analysis using Voyant and AntConc.  One of the datasets we are using is a set of martyr texts taken from the now public domain Ante-Nicene Fathers series (available at

I’m a little bit of a skeptic regarding wordclouds; I generally regard them as useful insofar as they are aesthetically pleasing and in that they may spark a deeper interest in a text or set of texts.

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to see the results of the wordcloud in Voyant.  A martyr is a witness, quite literally in Greek.  And lo and behold: the most prominent word (after accounting for a standard English stop word list) is “said.”  Speaking.  Witnessing?

We also put the martyr texts through AntConc, and we tested the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas against the rest of the dataset to check for key words: just which words were distinctive to Perpetua and Felicitas?  Once again I was pleasantly surprised.

AntConc: Keywords in Perpetua and Felicitas measured against other martyr texts in English translation

AntConc: Keywords in Perpetua and Felicitas measured against other martyr texts in English translation

Note the prominence of “I” and “my” and “me.”  The “keyness” of the first person pronouns reflect the presence of a section of the martyr text often called Perpetua’s “prison diary”; according to tradition, the diary was written by Perpetua herself.  The keyness of “she” and “her” of course reflect the text’s women protagonists.


Creating Omeka Exhibits

Here are some detailed instructions with screenshots in case you need more guidance on creating your Exhibits.

Each group has ONE Exhibit.

Each person in the group is responsible for a subtopic in his/her/their Exhibit. (One Page per person/subtopic is fine, though if you want to create more than one page per person, I won’t stop you.)

The details for the assignment are on the 15-omeka3-handout (sections 5-6).  I promise the tech issues are easy — if you can write a post in WordPress, you can do this. 

To create your Page, do the following:

  • Go to and login.  (You now have administrator privileges, so you can see and edit Exhibits and Pages.  Please don’t delete other people’s content! Thanks!)
  • Click on Exhibits on the left menu
  • Find your group’s  Exhibit and click Edit underneath (see below)
Edit exhibit

Edit exhibit

  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Exhibit page and click on Add Page
Add a page to your Exhibit

Add a page to your Exhibit

  • In the new window, you’ll see places to add a Title and a slug (the slug is what gets added to the URL so pick one word or maybe two separated by a hyphen, no spaces) (see below)
Type title, slug, and select layout for your page

Type title, slug, and select layout for your page

  • You’ll also select a layout for content.  (above) You probably want either the Gallery or the File with Text.  (File with Text allows you to include more than one Item file — no worries).  You CAN have more than one content block, so you can choose Gallery first, then File with Text next, or vice versa.  If you are confused, just choose File with Text.
  • Click “Add new content block” after you’ve selected the layout.
  • Then you’ll see a window to add Items and type in text below.  You can add more than one Item (just keep clicking Add Item).  Give your item a good caption!  For the narrative text: SEE THE HANDOUT on what to write.
Add content to your page

Add content to your page

  • Add a second content block if you want. (Say, for example, you want to have just one image + text and then a Gallery below.)
Add another content block (optional)

Add another content block (optional)

  • Don’t forget to save your changes! Often!

    Save your changes

    Don’t forget to save your changes!

  • To get back to this page:  login > Exhibits > Edit [your exhibit] > scroll down to see your page and click on it (see below)
To edit your page, go back to the page where you edit the Exhibit and scroll down.

To edit your page, go back to the page where you edit the Exhibit and scroll down.

Example Omeka Sites

The sites I showed in class on Thursday are: (created by undergraduate students)

There are other examples at’s Showcase and Wiki.

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.



Please Register for Omeka Site

You should have received an email asking you to register at email me if you didn’t get the email.)

This is the website where we will be creating an online exhibit related to the text you are reading for tomorrow.


  1. Click through the link to create a password for the site.  (Remember your password)
  2. Login to the site
  3. Click on your own name in the upper right (next to “Welcome”) and update your profile:  change your user name, public name, and/or email to whatever you want them to be.  NOTE: your public name is the name that will appear online associated with content you add to our exhibit.  If you don’t want your real name online, change your public name.

See you in class tomorrow!


What are Digital Humanities?

So I am taking a class on Digital Humanities and at first look I thought it was just going to be another tech course analyzing media outlets like Facebook or movies. I soon realized this is not what the course would be like. As a student I tend to banish a healthy diet, focus on studies rather than cleaning, and concentrate on the quality of my school work. This is the culture of a hardworking student attending a small university. Now how would you digitize something like culture? Preserving our culture and traditions in the digital form to some is very important. Internet archives are one way digital humanities preserves cultures and also the people from that age. In my studies I learned a lot of interesting things through Shelley-Godwin archives or the Invisible Australians archives. Through my minimal understanding of Australian culture or history I found incredible information from these websites (link at bottom) that really surprised me. I never knew that Asian Australian’s were oppressed in such a way and on the archive they have all kinds of records that I find very interesting. I am weirdly into really old photos and this archive has plenty of them. The Shelley-Godwin Archive holds the original workings of multiple english writers. To me it’s something most high school students might despise, the original notes of Frankenstein are stored on this archive. I would really enjoy creating my own archive of college work I have done and seen how my personality and culture changed over these four years. Including all my papers, grades, notes, and other creative works I may be able to identify what I felt at the time. Maybe find out something about my writing or my college identity that I did not know about myself. All in all I would find it easier to relate to the course if I comprise a digital humanity for myself

Invisible Austrialians

Shelley-Godwin Archive

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.

Digital Humanities with the Strategic Planning Committee and the University Library Dean Committee

Pacific is entering a new period in which technology is playing an influential role both in and out of the classroom. For instance, as a member on the Strategic Planning Committee, we recently revisited the Key Strategic Indicators (KSI) to determine student success. For each goal made by the committee and the Council of Deans, there are no more than three KSIs to support the goal. Existing measures are used when appropriate for the committee to analyze and reduce data to a manageable number.

What does this have to do with the reading? Action item “1.3 Embrace New Technologies, Innovative Learning Models” correlates – to a degree – with Jerome McGann’s scholarly review essay, “Radiant Textuality.”

Hypertext is repeatedly used throughout the essay as a new concept. Considering McGann’s article was published in 1996, the idea of linking text or materials to related information, graphics, or sites seemed daunting. However, fast forward 19 years into the future and it’s simple. Shortcuts were establish for any individual interested in creating a hypertext to do so. For example, if I wanted to “hypertext” McGann essay, “Radiant Textuality,” I would just need to highlight the selected area, click on the link icon, and then insert the link.

The article also relates the topic to libraries. Computerization in humanities has been mainly located and associated with libraries. As a member of the University Library Search Committee, the digital humanities and creating a library that caters to print text and the digital era were frequently discussed. The library is considered the church of learning, with the reference desk and its personnel viewed as the high priest by scholars. The article debates whether or not computerizing data is prudent or keeping printed copies of materials. Again, we are in the 21st century and with challenges such as Action Item 1.3 and Pacific 2020, encouraging us to pursue technology as an innovative learning model seems difficult; how much should we innovate and what types of texts or printed material should we keep in the library?

However, if the new library dean decides to digitalize most – if not all – of the library resources, a problem that would arise is access to materials. Amy Earhart’s article, “Can Information Be Unfettered? Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon,” notes of the push for free access to materials in a digitalizing world. In addition, Earhart notes that the digital humanities deemphasized theoretical appraisal of the digital utilizing cultural studies framework.

Does this mean digital humanities will be harming academia? Or, in other words, does the implementation of digital humanities restrict learning or producing work?

Referring to my committee work with the Strategic Planning Committee, Action Item 1.3 encourages hybrid teaching model/online programs and faculty and students presentation on work related to technology and learning model. However, using existing data the University have:

  • A definition such as hybrid does not exist – so along with the data; and
  • Data was not collected from faculty and students and no definition was established on what constitutes a conference versus training versus seminar.

Despite the lack of available data and information I provided, I still believe digital humanities encourages learning and producing work. The accessibility to data, information, and charts – as well as the use of hyperlinks – provides easy access to further information and supporting data.

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.


History of the Gender Binary

This post is currently under construction.

All About Intersex

This post is currently under construction.

Archives, Information, and Radiant Textuality (Sept 30)

Let’s talk about information – digitized information. When the World Wide Web emerged, it offered a plethora of information, “unpoliced and unregulated,” open to all, regardless of race or class. It was a possible channel for “those who had been silenced to have a voice.” You couldn’t prevent someone from accessing information on the web, and that was the great promise of the Internet; however, you could exclude diverse, cultural information from the web, and a trend has definitely shown. Earhart says that digital humanists are skewed toward traditional texts, thus excluding crucial work by women, people of color, and the GLBTQ community. Therefore, she poses the question (the title of the article) “Can Information [truly] be Unfettered?” (Unfettered meaning free from restraint) Interestingly, the National Endowment of Humanities awarded 141 D.H. grants in three years, with only 29 focused on diverse communities. Clearly, there has been an underwhelming spotlight on the preservation or recovery of diverse community texts. So, the solution is obvious, but it must be blatantly said – we must adopt a mind toward cultural constructions in technology, unless we will continue to exclude vital materials from digitization.

Earhart’s persuasive argument can be related to archives such as one created by the Invisible Australians project. This online archive was created to reveal the “real face of White Australia.” Australia defined itself as a white man’s country, but reality is different, and the archive proves just that – easily identifiable, one could click on any picture and see just one of the documents denying them their place in Australia. Without researchers, and even ourselves, being exposed to diversity, digging deeper into cultures, we would digitize an incomplete, false world.

This post mainly encompasses Earhart’s article and the archive, because frankly, after reading McGann’s number, I still don’t know what he is referring to in Radiant Textuality. However, I do understand that he acknowledges the capacity of accessibility and flexibility information has once it is computerized; but, he asks us to give “serious, collective thought” as to how we live and handle our lives and knowledge within these networks.

Mimi’s World

Welcome to my blog! I will be discussing various beauty tips and celebrity gossip as well as world news. Get a look at my many interests and insights on social media, news, fashion, relationships, and much more.

Work in Progress

Hello all, this is a WordPress site that is currently a work in progress and does not necessarily reflect the final concept for the website.

Eng 039, DH 2015 2015-09-29 11:43:35

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom

Hello world!

Welcome to the site.

“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.


The History of AHOMM

This blog was initially created for a university class to use in a variety of ways to actively engage our presence online. As of writing this, we have yet to go in depth with our work on our websites, but soon we will have the tools to better interact digitally.

This domain will be used to host both a living history of my thoughts (what is running through my mind in a current context) and a preservation of my thoughts (things that I reminisce about and subsequently want recorded). Possibly functioning as a public journal of my thoughts, research, and sometimes just documentation on something that I fancy to document.

The title for this site came from a night of brainstorming ideas with a close friend of mine via text, and the name “A History of My Mind” was created and subsequently chosen by me to be the flagship of my digital presence at 7:10pm September 21st, 2015 after 37 minutes of idea pooling. Statistics such as this, (date, time, story) will hopefully be a common feature on this site, as specific details such as these are very valuable to me down the line, and they also tend to be the first thing that I forget, unless it is an event that has a long lasting impact on me, but even then the story gets muddled occasionally.

-AHOMM, September 28th, 2015 9:57PM

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.

Linden Vs. Sonora

Linden(2-0-1) will be facing against Sonora(1-1-1) at Sonora High School. Linden is coming off a great 3-0 win against Bret Harte and are feeling strong for tomorrows game. Sonora is coming off a terrible lost 4-1 against Summerville. Come watch them face off at Sonora as they finish off the 1st round.

cropped-lions_logo.gif VS.1414091408_sonora_wildcats

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.

About Me!

Hi! My name is Hunter, a student at the University of Learning Stuffs and this website is for me to share my beliefs and experiences about pretty much anything.  As I post new things you will soon realize that I am a pretty weird guy that has a interesting way of looking at things.  A few things to know about me are that I grew up near Santa Monica, California, I have a few learning disabilities like ADD and dyslexia, I am a realist, I can not wait for the zombie apocalypse, my spirit animal is Curious George, and during times of stress like midterms or finals my insomnia hits me like a freight train so I don’t sleep until I feel prepared or finish a project.  My posts may seem a bit different when I am a few days without sleep because I turn into a robot running on Windows 95.  In my free time (don’t have much) I like to exercise, rarely play video games when I’m feeling nostalgic, and I really enjoy researching things I’m interested in.  I usually pick something to research once or twice a month and I may post a bit about what I’m researching.  I will also end my posts with a link to a video or picture I find funny or whatever I’m feelin.

Thanks for visiting my website and I look forward to posting more! Heres a mischievous kitten!


The Gender Spectrum

This post is currently under construction. 

Biological Sex

This post is currently under construction.

One of the binaries most well-cemented in our contemporary society is that of the concept of “biological sex.” It seems relatively safe to suggest that most modern scholars are aware of the difference between sex and gender (the former referring to the body, and the latter to one’s self-identity). Nevertheless, though, while variations in gender are gaining broader representation – particularly in the form of transgender people, whose gender departs from their assigned sex – physical sex proves to continue to confound.

If you are like many others, you may take for granted various sets of universal binaries (binary here referring to a set of two). For example, dark / light, up / down, or male / female. These are considered to be polarized dichotomies; that is, they are viewed in a one-or-the-other framework. Something can be more towards pole A or more towards pole B, but it cannot have both qualities at once.

For some systems, this makes sense. Since darkness is the absence of light, for instance, it is logical that something dark cannot also be light. And since up is the opposite of down, one cannot go both directions at the same time. However, the relationship between male and female, both in the context of gender identity and biological sex, is what can be called a false binary or false dichotomy. An argument or statement using a false dichotomy presupposes a binary division or opposition between two things, when in actuality such a relationship does not exist.

Since we build our conceptualization of “male” and “female” from the foundation of biological sex, one must next logically question: in what ways is biological sex not binary?

To understand this, we should look closer at what biological sex actually is. As scientifically defined, the characteristic of “sex” refers to a physical type which usually has the function of a particular role in the reproductive process. [Insert anecdotes of other organisms’ sexes here.]

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.


Testing 1. 2.. 3…

Trans 101

What does it mean to be transgender?

There has been a lot of media attention buzzing around the concept of “transgender” lately. Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, and upcoming films About Ray and The Danish Girl are only a few examples of contemporary exposure of transgender individuals. However, it’s hard to understand something as complex as gender and trans identity from a few representations direct from Hollywood. The concept of transgenderism in general may be anywhere from superficially familiar to even a complete mystery – what’s certain is that a vast population of people alive today still is not quite sure what it means to be transgender.

Let’s look first at the word transgender and what it means. We all know what “gender” is… or we think we do. But what does it mean to be “trans”-gender? You’ve certainly heard the trans- prefix before. Transatlantic, transport, transfer. “Trans” seems to evoke a sense of distance, of travel, of communication from one place to another. In fact, the prefix “trans” comes from the Latin preposition trans, meaning “across; over; beyond.”

Those interested in molecular biology (which identifies factors or elements with the same prefixes) may also be aware that trans- has an opposite: cis-. “Cis,” also from Latin, means “on the same side.” This dichotomy features in science and in geography, wherein something might be described as trans or cis based on whether they were across or on the same side of, for example, a river. Because of the complementary nature of the terms, you could say that everyone is either transgender or cisgender.

So what is cis and what is trans when it comes to people? The “crossing” referred to by the trans- prefix in this case refers to a departure from one’s assigned gender at birth. That is, the gender (typically male or female) a doctor or other professional might designate upon you when you are infant. This is usually conflated with the concept of biological sex, which is looked at in more detail in this post. Since sex as a designation does not necessarily correlate to biological or hormonal reality, the term then “assigned gender (at birth),” rather than “sex,” is used to refer to the (usually binary) label given to infants to assign them “boy” or “girl.” The “trans,” therefore, happens when an individual departs from this assigned gender and identifies instead with a different, multiple, or no genders. This is a transgender individual. Someone who never departs from his, her, or their assigned gender, then, is cisgenderNote that this does not necessarily correlate with gender roles, presentation, or conformity. A person may depart from gender roles by presenting as a very butch lesbian, for example, but still be cisgender, because she was designated female at birth and continues to identify as female.

Here are some examples of transgender individuals:

Eli always knew she was a girl. Though she had been designated male, by the age of seven or eight, she had begun transition to allow her outside to better match how she felt inside. Now she is a happy adult woman in all respects, though she still keeps the name she was given by her parents.

Ian was designated as female at birth, but came out as transgender in his teens. It wasn’t until he was an adult that he was able to live under his preferred name, which he chose for himself. Sometimes Ian dresses feminine and often people think he is a girl, but those closest to Ian know that his curvy body doesn’t offset his identity.

Tom looks like most men. They were assigned male and grew up looking and acting like what most people would call a normal boy. Today Tom doesn’t care much to change their appearance or body, but knows they are agender, not male, and use they/them pronouns. 

A more exhaustive list would go on much longer, and include intersex individuals, people who may go through multiple stages or identities in their gender journeys, and a greater variety of genders, like bigender, two-spirit, or neogenders. However, due to the impossibility of universal inclusion, the above three examples will serve as a beginning basis for understanding. Though an individual may change or keep their name, use any set of pronouns, come out at any age or more than once, or present in a variety of ways, traditional or nontraditional, there is a common thread in all of these stories – transition.

In reference to the transgender experience, “transition” can refer to a number of things. The most basic transition a transgender individual may go through is that of gender identity. They are given an gender assignment at birth, but at some point in their life, their gender identity proves to part from that assignment. The feeling or identity of being a different gender than one is assigned is the only prerequisite for a person to be transgender. However, a transgender person may also, if they choose and are capable, go through a number of other transitions. Typically, one can put these in any of three categories: social, medical, and legal.

Social transition refers to the way a person goes about their life and interactions with other people. A person who socially transitions may choose to: dress differently; wear different makeup; alter their style or countenance; train themselves to speak or walk differently; choose new names, pronouns, or forms of address; interact with people, platonically, romantically, and/or sexually, as a member of their true gender, etc. (“True” gender, when used here, will refer to a person’s gender identity, regardless of medical or other assignment. If a person identifies as female, then her “true” and only actual gender is female.) Social transition is not a linear process. A transgender individual who is “out” to some people may not be “out” to all; their presentation may change according to their company or the occasion. They may use one name with family and another with friends. One might be out and use a new name and pronouns, but not dress or act differently. To some people, gender identity is private and personal, and may not be shared or expressed with others. Other people may choose some aspects to change, or all. Overall, there is no wrong way to socially transition – even refraining from social transition altogether is a valid choice.

Similarly, medical transition is a choice which may be pursued partially, wholly, or not at all. Medical transition refers to the (usually permanent) physical alterations one may undergo in order to, as a transgender individual, feel more comfortable in their body and appearance. These procedures may involve hormone replacement therapy (HRT), gender affirmation surgery (which may restructure one’s genitals), the removal of or augmentation of breasts/breast tissue, facial restructuring or plastic surgery, vasectomies or hysterectomies, et cetera. Though many people choose to “fully” transition (which may mean to become physically indistinguishable from a person who was born with the assigned target gender), others may partially transition or not transition at all. Some of this is based off of personal choice, but, like social transition, it may also depend on the circumstances to which an individual is subject. Health concerns, inability to afford the recovery time, or lack of insurance coverage can all affect someone’s ability or ease of pursuing medical transition. The medical field can also range from exclusionary to outright hostile towards transgender patients, discouraging some from pursuing transition. Additionally, medical transition standards are often binary, meaning a person who does not identify with a strictly male or female gender may have difficulty conceptualizing what physical alterations would best suit their identity, much less be approved for said expenses or procedures. Though there are a wider and more accessible variety of options every day, there are also many obstacles.

Finally, there is legal transition. Legal transition is the reassignment of one’s legal, documented identity according to the gender which suits them best. This may include a revised birth certificate, a changed gender marker on one’s driver’s license or passport, and the court approval of an official change in gender that will be tied to all legal documentation regarding one’s person. Some countries allow nonbinary individuals (those who do not identify as strictly male or female) to have a separate gender marker. Others, including the U.S., remain binary, and individuals applying for a change must choose to be identified as either M or F. The processes for legal transition are largely dependent on location and local law. In my county in California, paperwork for a legal name change amounts to $435. Gender changes may also require proof of medical transition, a recommendation by a psychologist, and/or a published ad in a local newspaper prior to court approval. Depending on one’s unique situation, there are often many bureaucratic “hoops” to jump through in order to achieve legal gender transition. However, it can also be very powerful if acquired. Legal gender markers can affect one’s eligibility for marriage in some countries, will affect one’s title of address, and may be affirmed on every piece of legal documentation once fully successful. For those who choose to apply for legal recognition, a government-affirmed identity can be very fulfilling.

As discussed above, a transgender individual may go through any of the aforementioned forms of transition, or none at all. However, even for those who choose not to pursue it, the obstacles to transition and acceptance impact the entire transgender community. For many, mistreatment or refusal of recognition can harm a transgender person’s social well-being, mental health, and psychological stability. In fact, the judgment from outsiders or societal norms can be the biggest contributor to gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria replaced the inaccurate “Gender Identity Disorder” in the most recent publication of the Diagnostic Statisticians Manual, or the DSM-V. “Dysphoria,” the opposite of “euphoria,” is a word that refers to a sense of wrongness, dissatisfaction, and unpleasant feeling. To have gender dysphoria, then, is to feel a “wrongness” associated with your assigned gender, or a discomfort with how you are seen physically or socially. (Social dysphoria refers to feeling at odds with how your gender is viewed socially; physical dysphoria indicates a discomfort with one’s body as related to gender.)

Not every transgender person experiences dysphoria; some people may feel fine or comfortable in whatever body or presentation, but simply know themselves that another gender is best or most accurate to their true identity. Others may experience social dysphoria but not physical, or the other way around. Some experiences with dysphoria are ingrained in one’s own beliefs or the result of societal encoding. Other experiences with dysphoria may be a direct response to the reactions or judgments of an external populace. Dysphoria can be vague or distinct, and can waver or remain constant. For most, though, the treatment for gender dysphoria is gender transition. Many cisgender people may not understand why a transgender person feels the need to transition; it is likely because, without being allowed to fulfill the transformation that makes them feel most like their true self, a transgender person suffering from dysphoria may feel stuck in a “wrong” or improper sense of self until achieved. Cisgender people can help ease this feeling by respecting a person’s social transition: treating a transgender person as their true gender, using their preferred personal pronouns, and addressing them with their chosen names and identifying terms (to the extent and in the circumstances with which the transgender person is individually comfortable).

Now that you understand what it means to be transgender, and what a transgender person’s transition might look like, consider learning more about the gender spectrum.

About the Pronouns

To anyone familiar with the grammatical structure of standard English, you probably recognize what a pronoun is. Mostly, you may think of I, you, me, ours, they, him, her, us. It also includes things like it, this, those, and that. However, pronouns are not just a feature of language; they are also personal.

Personal pronouns is a concept denoting a pronoun set consistently used by an individual person. You likely use these and don’t know it. Maybe you are used to being referred to as he or him, or, if you identify as a girl, you might use she or her. You know that which pronouns you use depend on the person you’re talking about; Jane would be identified differently from Michael. You may even correct people when they call your cat, Mr. Whiskers, a ‘she‘ when you know he is a ‘he.’ This is an example of personal pronouns.

Though you may not think about it very much, a person’s personal pronouns are not always what you would expect them to be. Many people, whether they don’t conform to traditional gender presentation or perhaps do not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth, use pronouns you might not assume for their appearance, or even name. Sometimes, this includes gender-neutral pronouns.

If you are an English speaker, you already use one set of gender-neutral pronouns: they, them, and theirs is a pronoun set used to refer either to a plural group of people, or a singular person of indeterminate gender. You might tell your mother that the cashier asked for ID; she could respond, not knowing a gender, “Did you give it to them?” It is, in fact, often good policy to revert to this generic neutral set of pronouns for anyone whose personal pronouns you do not personally know.

However, sometimes a person may use one or more set of gender-neutral pronouns you do not recognize. Some examples of these are ey, em, and eirs; ze, hir, and hirs; or xe, xem, and xyrs, among others. The list is endless and constantly expanding, and can even feature a subset called neopronouns, in which one might use invented pronouns based on a concept or existing noun (fae, faer, and faers or kit, kit, and kits are examples of this). A list of popular third-person gender-neutral pronoun sets (and how they are used) can be found on Wiktionary, though it is by no means exhaustive.

Why do people use gender-neutral, invented, or neopronouns? There are a variety of personal reasons that may differ for each individual. Frequently, though, the motivation is related to gender. Transgender and nonbinary individuals can often find that their personal gender identity is best recognized through a nontraditional personal pronoun set. Though this may be introduced in queer or transgender communities as “preferred pronouns,” someone’s personal pronouns are not really a preference; they are a necessity. Like you wouldn’t call someone by a name that is not theirs, to call someone by pronouns they don’t use (or to refuse to use the pronouns they do) is an act of disrespect. However, one of the most frequent causes of misuse of pronouns is ignorance or misunderstanding, not malice. For that reason, I encourage you to check out my Trans 101 post for the benefit of better understanding.

If you were directed to this post from my About page, or if you are still confused on how a set of nontraditional gender-neutral pronouns might be used, I’ll explain my own personal use of pronouns. As a person who identifies as nongendered, I prefer the use of the pronouns xe, xem, and xyrs (though the standard they, them, and theirs is also okay). Here is a basic chart identifying what version of pronouns is used in what sentence function, with my pronouns (xe/xem) at the bottom:

Nominative (subject) | Accusative (object) | Possessive
ran. | Help me? | That’s mine!
came! | I like you. | Is that yours?
Is he tall? | Get him! | This is his.
are sweet. | Is that them? | It’s their turn!
is here! | I see xem. | Are you xyr friend?

So, if you were referring to this webpage’s author (that’s me), you might say: “Xe created this website. I can see xyr hard work, and I’m impressed by xem.

For more information about pronouns, check out my Resources page.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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?

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