Why Digital History?

I am taking this class because I would like to increase my proficiency with digital tools and learn about the methodology behind digital history projects. I believe that digital history is an important tool for making history more accessible and engaging for a variety of audiences. Additionally, digital history projects can further the preservation and increase the accessibility of historic resources ranging from documents and objects to entire buildings and landscapes. One of my interests is using Autodesk products combined with technologies like 3D laser scanning and infrared photography to document and monitor the deterioration of historic structures, as well as to create interactive catalogs to record the history and treatments for each architectural component.

The Digital Divide

Last week for discussion, we as a class discussed the effects of there being a digital divide present amongst different societies. The distinct difference in information accessibility between different countries has created a barrier between societies when it comes to information knowledge. A question that was posed by one of the discussion leaders was, does the U.S.A. for example have a duty to aid other countries in the development of information accessibility? Most of the class was in agreement that it was not the U.S.A.’s duty to help, but that there were benefits to helping other countries. The process of helping some society develop is an expensive one, but with that amount of resources comes influence. Other countries are going to be more willing to allow foreign countries to influence their daily actions if that country is significantly impacting the inner workings of their society. Another question was posed about how would we be able to detect what certain countries were spending their time looking up if there was no digital divide. One of the ways I proposed was looking at the infrastructure of the society. For example, if the country of Sudan has an advanced sanitation system one would be able to infer that that is what they spent a majority of their time looking up and developing. Another topic brought up in class was how women are at a massive disadvantage in foreign societies when it comes to access to information, and even societies as a whole when under certain governmental regimes. This gender, and these people living under these regimes are given either little or no access to certain information that may be detrimental to gender roles or how society is set up.

A Reflection on ITCC 327

Being a double major in historic preservation, I like to examine how people use the built environment. Since both the ITCC and the History of the Information Age are new, I wanted to reflect on how our class functioned in our classroom space. I don’t think the format of our class was best suited for the space and vice versa. The classroom was too large for a discussion-based seminar. The spread apart tables frequently made people look inward instead of facing outward into the conversation. I think the discussions would have flowed better if we sat around a large table or pulled our chairs into a circle. However, the space was well-suited for our warm-up activities.  The large center space  was perfect for playing trainwreck and using the white boards. Similarly, the computers at each table were wonderful for activities requiring us to explore our own technology and information usage. If the History of the Information Age is taught in ITCC 327 again, perhaps the focus should be on group work more than discussion. If so, maybe some of the readings and parts of the syllabus need to be reworked so the groups can digitally explore topics such as early communication during class. Otherwise, maybe the class should consider having one seating arrangement for group work and another for discussions.

Propaganda Campaign

This week (10-28/10-30) we were asked to make a propaganda campaign. Originally Jack, Jess, and I were going to make a dictatorship that ruled over the entire world, but Jess and I thought it would be a whole lot more fun if we divided it up Guys vs Girls. Naturally Jess and I told Jack what countries we wanted to have power over and he caved, giving us exactly what we wanted once again. So Jess and I took most of the northern countries including all of Europe, Russia, North America, Australia, and we wanted the middle east for its oil. We left Jack with Africa, Antarctica, and some bits of South America.

We created propaganda campaigns with this background story:

Jack, Jess and I use to rule over the world in harmony, until one day things went wrong. As the three leaders we were having trouble agreeing on some key issues (mostly gender related) and this caused many countries to start fighting one another. The solution: to divide up the world into Northern and Southern hemispheres. The female leaders ruling the Northern countries and Jack ruling the Southern ones. This solution worked for a little while until some of the countries broke out in war because they wanted to defect to the opposing hemisphere. The new solution: Have one day a year that the countries can vote to defect to the other side. Leading up to voting day these propaganda campaign would be shown on TV trying to convince each of the countries to either stay in their hemisphere or defect to ours.

I would say these turned out to be quite entertaining! The most fun part was watching Jack struggle to say sexist things without going overboard. He kept looking at Jess and I for approval. He would write a line into our google docs script then look up from his computer at the two of us with this expression on his face like “too far?”

These were exciting to make and not particularly hard to do either! Enjoy!

 

Picture & Sound Citations:

Bolton, Humphrey. “Wentworth Castle, Stainborough.” Photograph. September 13, 2009. Geograph.org.uk, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wentworth_Castle,_Stainborough_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1501819.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Chang, A. “Korean War Fallen Soldier.” Photograph. August 28, 1950. Wikimedia.org, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KoreanWarFallenSoldier1.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Crumb, Graham. “Dandan.” Photograph. December 22, 2009. Wikimedia.org, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dandan_(Imagicity_294).jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Flood, Kyle. “Waaah!” Photograph. February 20, 2007. Wikimedia.org, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Waaah!.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

“Kids playing basketball in Farah.” Photograph. May 23, 2010. U.S. Embassy Kabul Afghanistan, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kids_playing_basketball _in_Farah.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Peterson, Aaron. “U.S. Navy team detonate expired ordnance in the Kuwaiti desert.” Photograph. July 12, 2002. United States Navy, http://commons.wikimedia.org/ wiki/File:US_Navy_020712-N-5471P 010_EOD_teams_detonate_expired_ordnance _in_the_Kuwaiti_desert.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

U.S. Navy. “Korean War Navy Gun Fire.” Photograph. December 26, 1950. U.S. Navy, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KoreanWarNavyGunfire.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Webb, Sarah R. “Afghan girls from Ghazni province.” Photograph. November 30, 2009. United States Air Force, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Afghan_girls_from_ Ghazni_province.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Radio Broadcast

Our assignment this week (9/30-10/2) was to create a radio broadcast. There was really no instruction to follow other than to produce one, so we decided to take a futuristic approach to the assignment. We thought that it would be fun to make a “live” radio broadcast of an alien invasion. We met in the ITCC to choose a room in which to record the script we created, and let me tell you, I never knew how important acoustics are until we began this project. Each room we tried out was either occupied or the “acoustics were all wrong” according to Jack. Once we found the perfect room in which to record, I literally could hear the difference between the recordings from different rooms. We chose to do our recordings in the ITCC Mezzanine.

Once we began recording it became apparent that Jess could not be anywhere near the mic, because of the abundant amounts of giggling that was coming out of her! To her defense it was quite entertaining listening to Bruce pretending to be the Alien Overlord.

Once we were done recording the script Jack edited it all together and uploaded it to soundcloud.

 

Sound citations (in alphabetical order) All sound effects are from FreeSound:

Afleetingspeck. “Sample Request: Fear.wav.” January 7th, 2012. FreeSound. http://www.freesound.org/people/afleetingspeck/sounds/140850/  (Accessed September 29, 2014).

Corinator. “Censor Bleep.” June 7th, 2013. FreeSound.http://www.freesound.org/people/Corinator/sounds/191019/ (Accessed September 29, 2014).

Cydon. “Spacebattle with laserwaepons001.wav.” September 9th, 2011. FreeSound.http://www.freesound.org/people/cydon/sounds/127706/ (Accessed September 29, 2014).

Harpoyume. “Explosion 3.aif.” December 19th, 2009. FreeSound.http://www.freesound.org/people/harpoyume/sounds/86026/ (Accessed September 29, 2014).

NoiseCollector. “sendtube.wav.”November 14th, 2008. FreeSound. http://www.freesound.org/people/NoiseCollector/sounds/63135/ (Accessed September 29, 2014).

Sironboy. “Woman Scream.”October 23rd, 2011. FreeSound. http://www.freesound.org/people/sironboy/sounds/132106/  (Accessed September 29, 2014).

Final Project: “Views Are My Own”

For our final project Jessica Reingold, Jack Hylan, and myself decided to make a documentary about digital identities. The term digital identity has just recently come into being, and our goal for this project was to get people discussing what this term means, and more specifically what it means for them personally. We interviewed UMW staff, UMW students, and even a guest speaker who made an appearance at UMW to talk about digital history topics. We interviewed twelve people total and our questions included:

  1. What is a digital identity?
  2. How many different digital identities do you have?

-if more than 1 continue to question 3.

-if only 1, go to question 5.

  1. Which digital identity is your least favorite?
  2. Which digital identity is your favorite?
  3. What is your digital identity (your favorite one) like? How would you describe it/them?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the same person to your real identity(personality) how similar is your digital identity to you?
  5. Why do you make your digital identity this way?
  6. Which do you prefer? Your digital identity or your in person identity?

Once we finished our interviews, we edited the footage using Final Cut Pro and iMovie. Lets just say this step took quite some time! I think we spent more time in the ITCC than in our own homes those few days! But, it was well worth the effort. I may be a bit biased, but I think the documentary turned out to be amazing. It ended up being around 16 minutes, which is a little long for a documentary project of this size, but everyone’s answers were so vital to understanding the concept we felt we had to include as much as we did.

The tools we used include:

iMovie

Final Cut Pro

QuickTime

YouTube

Google Drive-Google Doc, Google Spreadsheet

Doodle Poll

Canon (?) HD Camcorder

Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Camera

2 Tripods

Green Screen

3 LED Film Production Lights

Sennheiser Lapel Microphone

BenSound Royalty Free Music

Incompetech Royalty Free Music

 

Infographics

This week (11/25-11/27) we made our own infographics. For those of you who have never heard of or used an infographic before, OxfordDictionaries.com provides a good definition of what exactly they are. This websites defines an infographic as  “a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data.”

Our group decided to make an infographic about pumpkin pie. Since Thanksgiving was just two days away it seemed fitting! We wanted to provide a visual timeline about the history of pumpkin pie.

Here is a link to our infographic: pumpkin pie infographic

I had never made an infographic before, and honestly wouldn’t have even known where to start. Luckily, I had two computer wizes in my group who were able to show me what internet tools to use and how it should be properly created. Infographics are not only (hopefully) easily readable but intriguing ways to relay information.