Last semester for Local and Community History we read “Here Comes Everybody” and discussed the ways in which the internet and web sites either foster or actually create community. I am curious to see in this class, especially after creating our own web sites, whether or not we see our sites as community or as facilitating in community. Not to regurgitate what we discussed last semester, but I still feel the same way, Shirky’s book is to me what my experience is every time I go to the ITP floor at Tisch: you walk in and you are amazed and you think to yourself “this is sooo cool!” You see a wooden mirror that “reflects” when you walk in front of it and a projected image of a sleeping guy that is meant to be a “virtual boyfriend.” But, as you continue to wander around you realize that the majority of this stuff is completely worthless and not at all democratized. Just as not everybody can get into or afford ITP, not everybody has access to the internet and to computers. Having access to technology gives you an ability that others, most often of a lower socieo-economic strata, don’t have, as we saw in the case of the stolen cell phone.
In reading Cohen and Rosenzweig’s chapter on audience I have some questions about how we as graduate students can best peer-review each others work. The chapter discusses how the Journal of American History reviews websites, but I highly doubt they are going to review a grad student’s site…so I am wondering how we can do this. It would be good if we could set forth criteria of what is needed in the archive/exhibits that we are creating as well.
Also can we go over how to embed a google map and/or a youtube video? I have been trying and have had NO luck – is this something anybody else is doing?
Also also, since a lot of my documents are private on my archive, if anybody wants to see them let me know and I will give you “researcher” status which allows you access.
Also also also, I changed my url: http://www.nicolederise.com/tawanabrawleyarchive/
I am wondering if there is a way when using Omeka to allow only certain people access to the archive? Because I was not able to gain permission for many of my documents I cannot make them public, is there away to give people access but not have documents public?
Also, regarding content of the archive, I am wondering what is applicable and what isn’t? I have done interviews in the past with community members and their experience with the Tawana Brawley case, would these interview be appropriate to add to an archive?
Thanks to Amanda, I actually do not have too many technical questions! (thanks again Amanda!)
The one quick question I do have is how to change the URL name of our Omeka site? Currently my site is: http://www.nicolederise.com/omeka-1.1/ which is not the best name…Do I just change my folder name from Omeka -1.1 to what I want it to be?
I do have a comment/opinion/question to share regarding this week’s reading, specifically related to the article by Elings and Waibel and partly to a discussion that came up in a previous class. I am finding as I read more and more about how to use and propagate the digital humanities the focus is constantly on making everything more “efficient,” “economic,” and “centralized.” Why is it so important to integrate and aggregate? What I see from this article is almost a corporatization (if that is a word) of information (which we discussed briefly). It reminds me of when I worked for a corporate company and hours upon hours and meetings upon meetings were dedicated to “streamlining” and “efficiency evaluations” of processes. What is so wrong with having a de-centralized framework of information, one in which items must be searched for? And by centralizing, how does that impact how people do research and could it possibly be harmful?
Here are a few of technical questions:
1. Can you access your omeka archive from any computer once everything has been set up? I am trying to upload documents from my work computer but every time I try to access my admin page it says error 404, NOT FOUND.
2. I had installed Omeka before the upgrade was released and am having some trouble upgrading, could we go over as there will possibly be more upgrades in the future.
3. Is there a size limit for omeke? I was trying to upload a fairly large file, a pdf that is about 12mb, and it kept on “timing out” on my computer.
4. New question – ok now I am getting this error when I try and upload my audio file: disallowed MIME type (audio/x-m4a) – i have searched for this in the forum, and don’t see anything about it…
Seven of my items in my archive will be radio broadcasts, sound clips ranging from two to six minutes each, should these all be transcribed? And, I am having some trouble figuring out the best way to upload the clips to my archive, I can’t figure out if I have a choice to make them downloadable or just have them streaming…can we go over the difference and how to set in Omeka?
I really liked Steve Krug’s book. The criteria he sets forth of what makes a good web site is incredibly useful at this stage in my web-archive development. For purposes of this class, I don’t think everything he says is applicable as the intention of our websites should be, ultimately, to make the audience think. But regarding design and processes, his recommendations are spot on.
From his book, I took away a few of key points:
1. The site needs to have a clear visual hierarchy
2. Web pages need to be broken up in clear defined areas
3. Make obvious what is clickable and what is not
4. Brevity is next to godliness
5. Don’t design for designing sake
I think what needs to be thought out a bit more and perhaps discussed more in class is who our intended audience is and who we would aim for it to be. Krug’s book is so useful because he discusses the importance of making a site one in which you are gaining trust with the viewer, so that they are more likely to return again and/or tell somebody else about it. I think we need to think about that concept regarding our web sites. How can we market our archives and how can we get people, initially not interested, interested. The eternal question in public history… Also, depending on what I end up archiving (newspaper articles, magazine articles, court documents, etc) I am unsure as to how best organize my site’s information architecture/hierarchy (thematically vs. chronologically). I think a lot of those questions will be answered once I get better acquainted with Omeka, but I am still think about the different approaches I should take and I would be interested to hear about what others are doing with their sites.
The reading Interchange: The Promise of Digital History had scholars answering questions put forth by the Journal of American History over the course of several months. I am curious as to what the platform of the exchange was, were these questions emailed and then distributed? Was this done on some sort of message board? This bothered me through the whole reading and I realized this is what bothers me about digital history often, where and how does this stuff come about and how much disclosure should be given to the public that is partaking in it? But I digress…what I was most interested in while reading the exchange/interchange was what Michael Frisch had to say regarding oral histories. Where does digital history come into play when discussing oral history and related methodologies. Frisch made a great point “…the modal plane of engagement has been textual, probably as a result of a wholly unexamined assumption that you can’t do much, directly, to explore, search, work with audio or video..” I completely agree. How can we create technologies that will allow greater use of oral histories? Also, to take it one step farther, how can we use digital history to make oral histories? Does instant messaging count? If so, we could have access to billions of people at a moments notice. What about Facebook? Status updates are basically a running diary of everyday people’s lives (often boring I must say), why aren’t we utilizing it? Does it count as viable information?
Also a quick note about the youtube video of the conference at Case Western with Dan Cohen. I really liked it. And I think that he made a really valuable point: he used a Woody Allen joke about learning to speed-read and reading War and Peace in two days – “It was about Russia” – Cohen termed it “Russia Problem.” This clearly described to me one of the biggest issues that I have with digital history – what is the point? At times it seems like we do something digitally merely because it is digital, not because the digital-ness necessarily enhances anything. For example, my annotated bibliography took hours to produce and another two hours to figure out how to put it into a shared space that will then have a link that everybody can use to see it. I could have cute and pasted it into the text box and had the same outcome in a shorter time.
*In order to see the annotated version, click to Full View in the “Switch To” drop down menu bar.
While I thought all the readings were thought-provoking I am more interested in how everybody in class is dealing with copyrights. For my project, I need to gain permissions from various newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television stations to use their articles and media in my archive, and this has been increasingly difficult. Thus far I have reached out to four different media outlets to ask for permission and only one person has gotten back to me. How is everybody else dealing with this? Also – I want to incorprate postings from blogs as part of my archive – but again, do I need to ask their permission?
I think collaboration is amazing. Working with others is inspiring, helpful and creates the potential for better more engaging scholarship. Spiro’s articles’ thoughtfully explain the issues that exist around collaboration in the humanities and how digital space is a foundation on which to build. She goes on to cite different projects that were done collaboratively like the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank and the role of wikis as a conduit to creating online communities, as in the Pynchon wiki. She explains in her April 21st why the humanities are seemingly hesitant to work together:“Whereas collaborative authorship is common (even expected) in the science, in the humanities many tenure and promotion committees have not yet developed mechanisms for evaluating and crediting collaborative work.” I would go on to argue, after reading these articles, that there is an institutionalization of forced independent work within the humanities. With the advent of “digital humanities” and internet/web-based work, those in the humanities are now able to better reflect on just how removed they are. However, I don’t think that the issue of collaboration will be solved within the digital sphere, but that is where collaboration will be best realized. The issue will have to be figured out within the academy. It will have to mean a change to the structure of administrative roles of faculty (i.e. tenure track and publishing) but more importantly it will have to mean a change in ideology. Like students in the sciences, students in the humanities should be required to work with faculty and be part of publishing prospects and editing endeavors. Undergraduates and graduate students should work on group projects (and dare I say interdisciplinary group projects?) at some point within their academic career. In order for collaboration to truly be understood, utilized and proliferate, we need to change the status quo and make changes from the bottom up.
Also – I was a bit confused about finding a professional or expert in the field in which we are researching. I guess for me there is no Tawana Brawley expert…so I could then look towards somebody that is an expert in race relations and/or media studies? But I think were I to do that, I would just email the person, so I am not sure how helpful it would be to contact somebody via Facebook versus just emailing him or her?