Shirky says “It is even true of the weblog world in general- dozens of webblogs have an audience of a million or more and millions have an audience of a dozen or less’ It’s easy to see this as a kind of failure. Who would want to be a publisher with only a dozen reader?” This quote struck me as interesting. Though on a slightly larger scale, perhaps 100 to 300 readers, academic press run books do not touch or influence a large number of readers, yet they are not considered a failure of publishing. And most readers of these academic run books are people who don’t seek them out on their own but are forced (perhaps required is a better word) to do so in a university situation. But of course print publishing (while small in scale in this case) comes with other advantages such as future citations in other scholarly works and peer review in scholarly journals. If a blog of small scale can create dense connections as Shirky writes because of its smallness, is it not creating a community of knowledge where people can interact and further discussion and thought about a particular topic, and isn’t this community more productive and beneficial than the communities created by readers of the same monograph?
In reading this week’s articles, I have begun to wonder what I will do with this site. In some ways I guess I thought originally that it would only be viewed by fellow classmates and maybe some friends (if I maybe posted the link to fb) but now that it is all coming together and the exhibits are being written and the design is being tweaked something I like, I wonder what should be next? After I am happy with the intellectual content, would it be presumptuous of me to see if the cemetery wanted to link to it on their own page? are there other institutions or organizations where I can find an audience?
In regard to the “Search engine optimization guide” when they are speaking about clear and useful URLs, omeka is allowing us to do that already right? like in the exhibits with the slugs?
If I want to change the URL of the main page to something more descriptive (in the hopes that it is more easily searched for) like brigidharmon.com/lutheran_cemetery, do I just rename the file ‘project’ to ‘lutheran_cemetery’ on the server side of filezilla?
Though I can recognize the recent ubiquity of electronic records and communication, I guess I was still a little amazed at some of the statistics discussed in the preservation chapter of Digital History. They say, “ink-on-paper content represented an incredibly miniscule 0.01 percent of the world’s information produced in 2003, with digital resources taking up over 90 percent of the nonprinted majority.” They use this statistic as a foible to the NYT creating an analogue feature of the millennium capsule. But this statistic got me thinking too, not of the needs for digital preservation, but of the effects on analogue. In the archives class we had been discussing the symbolic importance of items in an archives, and someone suggested that in the recent electronic age, items that are hand written may take on new symbolic meaning (because face it, actually writing a christmas card, or birthday card does seem to mean more than posting ‘happy birthday’ on someone’s facebook wall). I wonder if the small amount of records actually produced pen on paper will take on a new symbolic significance, and perhaps be preserved with more fervor because of its scarcity?
Also in regard to our own archives, what steps should we be taking, in these weeks of creation, to try and ensure any small amount of preservation for the future?
This archive documents items related to the Lutheran Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens. The photos, articles, etc focus on the history and presentation of the cemetery as a part of the rural cemetery movement of the mid 19th century as well as its place in the history of the General Slocum Steamboat disaster of 1904
As the semester goes on and we all start uploading items to Omeka in earnest I am beginning to wonder about the other features on the site we have yet to encounter, namely Collections. I believe this is merely a away to group certain items together, since as we discussed in class last week unless items are carefully uploaded so they follow a chronological order, they are generally upload in a more haphazard ordering (not like any physical “archive” I know of, but certainly how my archive is progressing) So what should be the criteria for the collection groupings? By time period- 19th century and 20th century? By geography- items dealing with a specific place linked to each other? By theme/subject- items having to do with, say the General Slocum disaster, together in a collection? By format- all historic photos in one, all newspaper articles in another. Since items can be in more than one collection, the possibilities seem endless, I was just wondering how other people were planning on using the Collection feature.
My technical questions have to do with writing metadata for some of my items. A large portion of my archive will most likely be photos that I have taken myself. I know that when writing the metadata for photographs of, for example, vistas in the cemetery, I will be the author/creator of item. What happens though when the item is a document that I have photographed (which in a utopian world would have been scanned directly to digital using a high res scanner)? I am the author of the digital photo but certainly not the author of the document captured in the digital image. What are the standards for description of this type of digital item?
So far I have been able to locate various items I wish to use including historical articles on the NYT website, as well as photographs in the digital collection at NYPL. My question is about editing/adjusting these items. The Times articles are whole pages of the newspaper. The article I wish to use is on the page, but so are a few other non-related articles? Also the photographs from NYPL seem to be scanned attached to a larger piece of paper with a few works written on the edges. ( for an example Should I leave it as it is, or should I edit it as to only have the pertinent article/ photograph visible? and if I am to edit it, what would be the best program to do this? Also, we spoke about this briefly during the copyright week, but if an article was published prior to 1923, can I remove the mark on the bottom of the document that says “NY times copyrighted”?
While reading Steve Krug’s book it is hard not to come away with the matra, simpler is best, mindless navigation is key. And while I completely understand this and give it credence (being a web user looking for instant and easy gratification myself), I am having trouble reconciling it with the practice of history. We have been taught all our academic careers that history is complex and nuanced and SHOULD require thought and consideration. And while the site we are building is, at its most basic, an archive which is straightforward enough in merely presenting primary documents, the thought of creating an exhibition to go along with the archives has me questioning. How are we to achieve what Krug speaks of without dumbing down the way the history is presented? We want the site to be easy to use but I don’t want to make it seem superficial or juvenile in its presentation.
In the section of the “Exploring the Web” chapter called Discussion and Organizational Sites the authors say,
At the same time the web has also given birth to a set of sites that aspire to provide everything or almost everything on a particular topic—primary sources, interpretive commentary, teaching materials, and discussion. Such a topical approach does not have obvious counterparts in the analog world where historical work is more clearly defined by relatively discrete audiences—researchers, scholars, students, or museum-goers, for example.
Hypertext is obviously an amazing and efficient tool particularly within subjects such as history where nothing stands alone; any person, event, place or historical theory is related to a host of other ideas. My question is can there be too much of this? Even while reading that chapter, anytime I came to an interesting project, I would look at it, and inevitably while on that site I would link to something else that looked interesting. Before you know it, it was 10 minutes later, I had 5 tabs open and I had totally forgotten what was originally being discussed in the chapter. We all do it, the always fun and wonderful waster of time, the wikipedia spiral, when you start on one page about Lincoln and end up reading about small island nations in the south Pacific.
While analogue presentations like history monographs certainly lack the dynamic and interactive qualities of web presentations, I wonder though, if we maybe get a more focused and longer lasting knowledge from books? Are there ways to keep the focus of your audience at a history website, when new information is only one click away. Perhaps separating the pages with links from the pages with focused content? or when writing interpretation, having the links/ footnotes or outside related sites at the end of the written section, so as not to distract during reading? But perhaps old habits die hard for me and the new generations of history students can focus and retain even with the hundreds of options presented to them simultaneously.
There is a mash up artist named Gregg Gillis, who goes by the stage name of Girl Talk. His albums consist of songs that are in fact samples of other song mashed together and overlaid on top of one another. The album I own called Feed the Animal, probably contains over 100 different songs, none of which he wrote and none of which he has asked permission for or paid for in any way. In reading articles about him, he states that his use of these songs are covered under fair use. And while I agree with him, I am also somewhat amazed at his boldness in this matter. Though he sells very small amounts of records in comparison to the artists’ whose work he is sampling, in this day and age of thick copyright law, it is not beyond the realm of possibilities that a better known and certainly more wealthy artist could make a big legal deal out of this sampling. In Copyrights and Copywrongs, the author says that, ” Fear of infringing can be as effective a censor as an injunction.” It makes me wonder what kind of awesome and innovative music, art, and scholarship has not been produced because of fear of consequences. My question than is what can we do to foster this type of boldness amongst creators? Is it merely an individual trait, to be resistant (defiant?) in the face of possible censorship, or can organizations of artists, scholars, writers etc work together to foster this type of boldness and help enact measures to assist these creators went their defiance turns into legal trouble?