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.

Screenshot-2014-08-27-07-2.55.05-300x189

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.

 

yes

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.

 

 

 

 

Archives: Physical and Digital

Looking at the new Sample Projects site, all of the featured projects have been separated and grouped based on what kind of data was collected, and form of digital media the raw data was translated into.  Categories such as Mapping, Visualization, and Network Analysis contain projects that are very visual-based, while others, such as the ones in the Archives section, deal with and create mostly text-based artifacts.  I looked in-depth at the Old Weather project in the Archives section.

 

Old Weather - Transcribe

The process of transcribing original documents into raw text data.

The aim of this project is to transcribe old ship’s logs from the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  The data contained in those logs are useful for researchers in many different fields, from naval historians to climate specialists.  One powerful benefit of choosing to digitize the archives is that all of these interested researchers are now able to access the data without trouble.

 

Old Weather - Our Weather's Past, the Climate's Future

An overview of the scale and progress of the Old Weather project.

It is important to note the scale of this project.  There are well over 100,000 pages of data from dozens of voyages to be transcribed.  A team of researchers with the original documents would never be able to get through everything in a reasonable amount of time, so the team behind the Old Weather project rely on another major benefit of their digital archives: crowd sourcing.  Just like the previous idea how anyone can access the final data, thousands of people can also help to interpret the raw data.

 

For all the virtues of digital archiving, however, it does have its flaws.  When transferring documents over into a digital format, you can only transfer what you think to look for.  Some information can be lost unless someone in the future wants, for some reason, to take another look at the originals.  Crowd sourcing also has some flaws.  While it is nice to have extra hands doing the work, unskilled hands can possibly do more harm than good, and create more work for the research team.

 

The most difficult part of our project will probably be interpreting the various documents we will come across.  This hurdle will just have to be overcome as we gain experience.

New DH Sample Projects

“Featured DH Project”

The new format of the sample DH projects webpage is now very easy to navigate and is user-friendly. Upon visiting the site, I noticed several categories listed at the top of the webpage. They included: archive, visualization, mapping, digital edition, network analysis, textual analysis, and audio analysis. Users can click on the each individual category to find sample digital humanities projects that fall under the selected category. It is now much easier to explore the webpage due to its recent re-organization that is beneficial to all users. On the sidebar of the sample DH projects webpage, there is a section called a “Featured Project.” As of this blog post, the featured project was “The Great Parchment Book.”

 

blog post #2 pic 2

Logbook of ship trapped in ice

 

One specific category is “archive.” Projects under this category are “Old Weather”, “Lincoln at 200”, and “Database of Indigenous Peoples in North America.” These contain artifacts that were scanned and put into a digital format. For example, in “Old Weather” this is a logbook for a ship that became trapped in ice.
While the average student may not have access to the original copy of the logbook, it is now more easily accessible through the use of digital humanities. Damage by human use is less likely to happen due to the fact that less and less people are physically touching the artifacts. The use of digital humanities is also beneficial in that it allows the researcher to be more organized through digital means. Copies of the artifacts create the opportunity to go back to the source multiple times to get most of the information that the artifact provides.

Digital humanities has a lot to offer in terms of advantages to the humanists; yet, there are some drawbacks when it comes to the use of technology. First of all, scanning the artifacts has a lot of room for error. That is something I will need to take into consideration and try to limit when I am using this process. Also, with transcribing the artifacts digitally, it leaves a lot of room for human error and subjectivity. Again, with my best efforts, I will try to not let this happen. Despite some sources of error with the use of digital humanities, it is very beneficial to students and researchers.

Digital Archives

The new website for the Sample DH projects is very well set up. All of the projects are split in to different approaches which makes it easier to find something that works well with you. The categories are archive, visualization, mapping, digital edition, network analysis, textual analysis, and finally audio analysis. Depending on what works well for you, the website is set up to find a project that matches your taste. Because i am a very visual person, i spent some time exploring the the mapping and visualization sections and thought all of the projects were very interesting. The project that i found the most interesting in these areas was Map of Early Modern London, which we had talked about in class and I continued to look at.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 1.17.52 AM

I will mostly be talking about the archive section. The summaries that are listed on this page make it incredibly easy to figure out which project interests you so you can have an idea about what it is before you go to their website.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 1.11.54 AM

Old Weather

My favorite project stood out to me was Old Weather. Old Weather is a project that works to transcribe old ship’s logs in order to gain information about prior environmental conditions. My attention was drawn to this in the first place because i consider myself a boat person and love to spend time on the water and learning about early boats is something that interests me. Their website is incredible, it allows people to pick the boat that they want to look at the documents for, and then people can help with the transcriptions. They have currently finished 39% of the logs.

Creating a digital artifact from archival documents allows information to be studied that may not have been able to be earlier. Also, it makes it more accessible to the common person, which means that more people can access the information that the documents hold. I think the hardest part for me is going to be the transcriptions and i hope that i can make it through it.