blog #1

The projects on the Sample DH projects link are based on a variation of artifacts.  The categories are: visualization, mapping, digital edition, and network, textual and audio analysis. The categories are found on the top of the page, which makes it easy for the reader to choose the artifact they want to read about.

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I will mainly be talking about the archive section. The three articles in this section are: Old Weather, Lincoln 200, andDatabase of Indigenous Peoples in North America. On the main page there are summaries listed which makes it really easy for the reader to figure out which project they want to click on and read more about.

I found the old weather project extremely interesting to view. This website enables people to view the documents of the boat they picked and then people can help with the transcriptions. The historians used the people’s work to track past ship movements and tell the stories of the people on board.

 

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Some of the advantages to creating a digital artifact from archival documents would be that your not damaging the artifacts you are preserving them. There is easy access to the digital artifacts which is helpful to people who are unable to travel around the world for research because it is too expensive for them.  Lastly, by using a digital artifact you are able to do more complex research with the access. Some of the disadvantages of creating a digital artifact from archival documents would be that there are things you can catch with the physical object that you wouldn’t be able to with the digital. There are fewer distractions with physical archives because you know you only have a certain amount of time to look at it. The idea of community opposed to an online course is another disadvantage. With a community there is an emotional connection that you wouldn’t get when you’re sitting alone looking at a digital artifact on a laptop. A long with that people tend to work better when they are working off of one another’s work.

Some challenges I might face as I build my digital humanities project may  be making sure the website is easy to navigate and interesting for the viewers and making sure I’m careful while scanning the artifacts because they are very delicate and the time I have with them is precious.

 

 

 

 

Looking Into Archives

After visiting the new and improved Sample DH Projects phase, one can see that the level of organization for this page has gone way up. Especially under the “Archive” section where one is able to navigate a variety of archives including “Old Weather” and “Lincoln at 200.” The projects are categorized in the ways in which one would go about transcribing artifacts. For example, “audio analysis” and “mapping.”

Lincoln

Some advantages of creating a digital artifact from archival documents include accessibility and availability. By having an artifact online, one can access it from anywhere on the planet (with internet). If the artifact that you are trying to look up exists in Turkey but you’re in London, no problem. Just pull up the artifact digitally and it’s like you’re there. Why pay for a plane ticket when there’s no need to? From an access standpoint, a digital artifact provides all the availability one needs. Seeing very old and decrepit documents can be challenging for even the most prominent of historians. Many times the artifacts will be in such bad condition that they won’t want anyone touching them for risk of the artifact being destroyed. With a digital artifact, there’s no possible way to destroy the artifact.

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On the contrary, there are also some disadvantages to having a digital artifact. One disadvantage is the inability to put your hands on the document. By not being able to do this, one might miss something that they would only pick up on when in the same room with the artifact. A lot of times, things are translated digitally as perfect as they are in the real world. Small print may become blurry, and minute details that one could only catch with the naked eye might disappear. It’s for these reasons that one could argue looking over an artifact digitally is much less preferable than being there in person.

Some challenges I could face when building my own digital humanities project is the inability to be in the room with an artifact. It’s very tough for historians to get into rooms with prominent pieces, much less a freshman in college. To navigate this, I will have to settle with digital artifacts and do my best to be very careful when scanning over them.

Examination of Digital Archives

In this post I will be discussing digital archives. One specific digital archive that I will critique is the Sample DH Project. The new version of the Sample Digital Humanities Project is much more organized than the previous one we visited. On this website the projects are categorized by approach, which makes it very easy to navigate.

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As seen above, each approach has its own tab which is extremely useful. The users can now focus on analyzing whichever category they find easiest to interpret. For example, a visual person does not have to waste his or her time looking through documents, but can instead click straight to the visualization or mapping tab.

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The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo

Under the archive tab, the links are categorized very nicely. In addition to there being easy access to the link itself, there is a brief explanation provided as to what the website entails and why it is useful. This is a huge time saver, because now the user does not need to click into the link to search for this basic background information. The viewer can focus on researching and analyzing within seconds of opening the link. Additionally the information given is useful because based on the description the user can tell whether the website appeals to their interests. The database of Indigenous Peoples in North America is my favorite of the three. The website allows the user to limit the archives by content, document type, and language. This setup is very convenient, especially if the user knows exactly what kind of archive he or she would like to analyze. The Lincoln website is also very easy to navigate and breaks up its categories by topics and events. For example, if I want to learn more about the Mexican War I can click that tab and view specific documents related to this war, such as the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo featured to the left.

Creating a digital artifact from archival documents has both advantages and disadvantages, but in my opinion the pros definitely outweigh the cons. For starters, a digital archive gives the public access to artifacts that they otherwise might not be able to get their hands on. Most archives are extremely private and only grant access to specialists. Additionally, digital archives are fast and easy, all the user needs is connection to the internet! Digital archives also allow for more complex research and they give the public the opportunity to reconsider materials, make connections, and conduct an interdisciplinary analysis. Even more obviously, many artifacts are so old and fragile to the point where the documents are illegible. With technology, the artifacts are now able to be preserved, transcribed, and transformed into a digital form in which the public can view, read, and analyze.

However, unfortunately digital archives take away from the experience of viewing the documents for yourself. When looking at the documents firsthand, you are able to make your own observations without being influenced by others interpretations.

When building my own digital humanities project I will face many challenges. Besides the basic obstacles that come along with making a website for the first time, there are many things that must be considered in order to create a successful project. Most importantly, the website must be organized and easy to navigate, which is definitely easier said then done.