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Jennifer Bengtson

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July 29, 2011

Some Thoughts on Community

July 29, 2011 | By | No Comments

I am an anthropologist. More specifically, I am an archaeologist. And even more specifically than that, I am interested in communities. Sounds simple and boring, but the concept of community is so complex and integral to being human. What is a community? Who decides who is “in” and who is “out”? What does community membership mean to individuals and what role do subcommunities play in relationship to other subcommunites?
When I entered into the Digital Humanities world earlier this year, it did not occur to me that this particular sliver of my anthropological interests would end up being in the forefront of my mind. But in my interactions with other DH scholars at conferences over the last couple of months, the thing I was perhaps most surprised and impressed with was the sense of community that is involved in creating, recreating, and using open-source content management systems and other digital tools. It’s Read More

Katy Meyers

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July 21, 2011

Revealing Londinium Under London: New AR App

July 21, 2011 | By | One Comment

Augmented Reality allows for users to interact with the world through their mobile phone in an informative and playful manner. Through the screen they see reality from a different perspective. One of the most effective of these mobile applications was the Museum of London’s Streetmuseum. This application uses your GPS to locate you in space and shows you what used to be there through old paintings and photographs. This “window through time” also contains a wealth of information about the location and allows you to create trails and trips using a map. The application has received great reviews, and is totally free to download for either Andriod or iOS. However, the application only begins at the 1660’s with the Great Fire, and it relies solely on paintings and photographs. While the application is fascinating, it has less appeal to those of us (myself included) who prefer a more archaeological and material Read More

Katy Meyers

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June 16, 2011

Using Gowalla to Create a Historical Narrative

June 16, 2011 | By | One Comment

Gowalla is a mobile application that allows you to check-in to locations that you are currently located within. You can use it to interact with friends, collect stickers, or go on tours of specific areas. For the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative Fieldschool, our challenge last week was to create a Gowalla trip based on the concept of campus as museum. We worked with the Campus Archaeology Fieldschool students to create a concept, and the next day with implemented this.

The problem with a lot of digital or mobile based tours is that they simply mimic real tours. Most students have taken the general tour of campus, and information about the buildings is freely available in other applications like Foursquare. What we did was to introduce a playful element into the tour to make it more of a narrative. This type of tour is becoming increasingly popular, with museums using augmented reality to Read More

Katy Meyers

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June 5, 2011

Adventures in CMS & Learning by Doing

June 5, 2011 | By | No Comments

Prior to this year I didn’t know what CMS meant, and FTP through Filezilla was simply a program that I knew about and thought was way over my head. Over the past semester I have installed Omeka, WordPress, and Mediawiki onto a development server, and uploading through Filezilla has become second nature. While the motto of CHI fellowship is learning by doing, I didn’t understand the power of this technique until recently.

A CMS is a content management system which is used to manage data within an environment online. The system aids in the creation, management, distribution and publication of data. They are the primary way that data is uploaded, integrated and used online. The CMS is installed on a server through an FTP client (File Transfer Protocol), such as Filezilla. Basically, its a method of creating dynamic websites that are based on specific models. Three CMSes that I have worked with Read More

Ethan Watrall

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May 20, 2011

Call for (Virtual) CHI Fieldschool Presenters

May 20, 2011 | By | No Comments

The start of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool (http://chi.anthropology.msu.edu/fieldschool/) is rapidly approaching (May 31st), and we are currently seeking interested individuals (scholars, industry, etc.) who would be interested in giving a virtual talk (via Skype) on a topic relating to this fieldschool’s primary focus: mobile and locative media for (and in) cultural heritage. The range of presentations we are interested in is very wide: tech intros, project case studies, best practice discussions, etc, etc, etc. Want to do a talk introducing students to jQuery Mobile? That would be great. Want to discuss a an ongoing cultural heritage mobile or locative project? Awesome. We are also interested in presentations on more general topics relevant to digital humanities and cultural heritage informatics (user centered design, project management, etc.) The idea is to introduce students to as broad a range of topics, platforms, perspectives, practitioners (scholars, grad students, developers, Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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May 13, 2011

Digital Duds and Collaboration Wins – Part 2

May 13, 2011 | By | One Comment

Historypin, timetoast, and the Brooklyn Museum website have embraced the idea that if you let the public have a shot at contributing to the development of a project, you’re going to end up with something really fantastic. After the success of collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Youtube, these newest projects continue to build upon the success of online collaboration. And of course, they’re free and open to the public.

Timetoast, launched in 2008, is a timeline web application that allows users to create their own timelines and upload corresponding media for them.

Timetoast also allows users to insert a photo or link into each event entered, providing viewers with a possible multi-media view of created timelines. The timelines have a neat appearance – events quickly appear as you scroll across over the timeline, and you can click on events to reveal more details about them. When your timeline is ready Read More

Micalee Sullivan

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May 13, 2011

Digital Duds and Collaboration Wins – Part 1

May 13, 2011 | By | No Comments

Sixteen Tons was derived as a way to share research to other scholars, teachers, and the public based upon the many hours I spent working in archives around the world. Coming from a field where research tends to be highly guarded and secretive until your work is published, my work with the CHI initiative has provided me with the understanding that it is, not only okay to share my research, but it could provide a useful alternative to the bulky dissertation that tends to mostly collect dust on a library shelf. By simply adding media and a web address to my dissertation research, I’m going to be able to reach far more people.

Most of the inspiration behind my project came from another online project, Like a Family. It is a website component to the book of the same title – one that I had read during my Read More

Katy Meyers

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May 13, 2011

Changing Directions: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the F-Word

May 13, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

This post was supposed to be an update on my mediawiki project, the Bone Collective, a collborative wiki for bioarchaeological information. At the AAPA and PPA conferences I was going to get collaborators, and from them I would be able to get content for the site. Instead of working towards the alpha launch of the project I’m learning to embrace the F-word: Failure.

I didn’t fail in a technical sense. The beast of mediawiki has already been reigned in and is under my control. However, what I failed to realize was that the project itself was not something that the bioarchaeological world would help with or even really wanted. Sadly my vision for a communal space for bioarchaeological knowledge cannot be operationalized. The overwhelming responses to the project was that that while they may want to help with the project they didn’t see the overall benefit. Responses from graduate students were primarily Read More

Jennifer Sano-Franchini

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May 6, 2011

Digital Rhetorics at CCCC 2011

In early April, I took a trip down to Atlanta, Georgia, for this year’s Conference on College Composition and Communication (more commonly known as CCCC, Cs, or 4Cs). CCCC is the largest professional conference for the field of Rhetoric and Composition. For this post, I’d like to give a picture of the current state of digital rhetoric in the field of Rhetoric and Composition by discussing how people were talking and thinking about digital technologies at CCCC 2011.

To begin, this year’s theme, “All Our Relations: Contested Space, Contested Knowledge,” was a clear call for more listening across disciplinary subjectivities, between “digital rhetorician and second-language writing instructor, historian and 2-year college teacher, theorist and workplace studies scholar, methodologist and tech writing teacher, administrator and graduate student.” Program Chair/CCCC Associate Chair Malea Powell’s call for proposals encouraged better inclusivity as it did the work of staking space for those whose work might not Read More

Jennifer Bengtson

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May 6, 2011

My Project-Finding Adventure

May 6, 2011 | By | No Comments

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed that I was the last of the fellows to come up with a project. When I first applied to this program, I had an idea in mind that I thought was a “sure thing.” There was seriously no way that anyone could have a problem letting me create a digital repository to organize, store, and preserve all of the information they had been collecting over an entire career, right? I thought that this was the kind of thing that everyone wants to do, but just doesn’t have time for. So who was going be the lucky recipient of all the hard work I was about to invest in learning about and creating a digital repository? I was about to become someone’s digital hero. I just knew it.

Well, it took me two rejections to learn that, in reality, there are several reasons that Read More