Showing posts from 2012

DH Incubator Pitch

Today I pitch my research idea for the DH Incubator. The University of Maryland Libraries have held a series of workshops on getting started in the Digital Humanities this last semester. The last workshop (today's) is the pitch for attendees DH projects. My project is the independent study that I am planning to do for the spring semester. I don't anticipate my project being chosen for the DH Incubator, but am hoping that by presenting it I can get the support of University of Maryland Libraries' faculty and staff. Which will help me complete my independent study and hopefully complete the beginnings of a publishable article by the end of the semester. The slides for my proposal explain that I would like to examine "the information seeking behaviors of humanities instructors for digital resources" in librarian speak. Or "what makes DH useful for instruction" for everyone else. Then I have to decide if I want to submit my proposal as a topic for D

Developing Internet Applications Final

Last week my group presented our perl based internet application. We used a perl module from CPAN called Twitter::Badge . In this module a user enters a twitter handle and the program returns that twitter user's most recent tweet. We adapted the program to display a twitter user's 5 most recent tweets. We allowed a program user to enter up to 6 twitter handles which were processed as an array. The Twitter::Badge would then retrieve the tweet and send it to a sub-array for each user. It was necessary to create a document for each individual user to hold the tweets. The interface was set on an automatic refresh every 3 minutes because that was the maximum number of requests will allow by the program per computer. We had problems setting up our program because Twitter updated their API while we were working on the project. This meant that we had several weeks when we were unable to work on implementing our project as our module's author worked to get the modu

Final Perl Programming Projects

Last week we presented our Perl projects to the class in INFM 743. These are examples of my classmates projects. Project 1 - Indian Cricket League website to aggregate information about cricket teams, players, and matches which is built using MySQL, Perl, and Javascript. Project 2 - Weather website which compares weather underground and geo weather websites. Project 3 - Another website which tells the user what weather specific item might be necessary. Project 4 - Smart email program in which the program reads words written in an email and then searches flickr for an image with the same tag. The image selected by flickr will appear with the email. Project 5 - Where am I? game program is a guessing game in which an image from flickr is uploaded to a website and then the user is given 4 cities to guess where the picture was taken. Each game runs 20 pictures. Project 6 - Another weather website "Simple Weather Stylist" provides clothing suggestions (and an ima

Done Already: LBSC 751's Final

Most of my peers who already have or are currently working towards graduate degrees in a humanities field decided to take one of the many of the information access courses other than LBSC 751: Information Access in the Humanities this past semester. They gave sound explanations that had to do with diversifying their courses to increase their employability. Their logic gave me pause about pursing this course. However, after reflecting on my purpose for earning an MLS I decided that LBSC 751 would be a good fit for me this semester. I blogged about my reasons for earning an MLS in my post DH is a Service . I appreciated starting the semester off with an introduction to Digital Humanities since this is such a significant way of accessing humanities information. In the future DH projects have the potential to be some of the best cultural heritage resources for humanities information seekers. Though I will admit to being dismayed and confounded by classmates who had no clue what DH is an

Publishing in the Digital Age

*This week I've edited and republished several previous posts as part of my LBSC 751 Final. Previously I wrote about DH being a public service and the difficulty that humanities scholars have created for themselves by only viewing other scholars as their primary audience. This week’s readings for LBSC 751 follow right along that thread by examining humanities publication in this digital age. I heartily agree with Shawn Graham, Guy Massie, and Nadine Feuerherm’s chapter “ The HeritageCrowd Project: A case study in crowdsourcing public history ” in Writing history in the digital age: A born-digital, open-review volume , when they stated that “the need to reach out to the public has never been greater.” In these times of limited resources, humanities scholars need to stop talking to each other about how significant and relevant they are as interpreters of cultural heritage and prove it to the public through their actions! As Leslie Madsen-Brooks (2012) points out in “ ‘I neve

Digital Humanities is (are?) a Service!

*This week I've edited and republished several previous posts as part of my LBSC 751 Final. I decided to earn an MLS because I want to work on Digital Humanities projects. As a high school humanities teacher I frequently searched the web for primary sources to make history and literature more engaging for my students. I knew there should be tons of resources online but I just couldn’t find them! I decided to go to back to school to learn the technology skills necessary to increase the number and findability of quality primary sources on the web. Basic digital collections are useful for instruction but DH projects are more suited to educational ends. I left teaching to find a place for myself merging educational technology and digital collections in order to better the teaching of others. I enjoyed Trevor Mu&ntildeoz's blog post about DH and was excited to hear what he would have to say in class. Listening to students ask questions and the answers Mu&ntildeoz provide

A Sample Search for Primary Sources

QUESTION 2. Faculty, English I'm teaching an English honors seminar this spring, and I'm hoping to include a component of primary research. There was widespread discussion in the Victorian popular periodical press of matters related to the concerns of this course -- physiological psychology, mesmerism, evolution, phrenology, vivisection, and so on. But I'm unsure what the best ways of helping students enter into the research might be, and what kind of access is available to original texts (presumably, principally online or in microforms). ANSWER So my first response to this request would be to ask for the catalog description and the syllabus if available so I could get a better grasp of the exact content and original format desired (only popular publications or scientific publications from the period as well? ), along the same lines of Alana’s request . In addition to Alana's description of databases sources available, I just wanted to point out that one of Research Por

Practicing Perl in Latin?!?

A couple weeks ago I came across a webpage that demonstrated how to install and use a CPAN module which would allow programmer to write Perl code in Latin ! I geeked out a little bit. I was/am amazed and amused that someone would want to write Perl in Latin. I can only read and write in Latin with the help of a dictionary. I am finally beginning to read Perl. The idea of combining the two blew my mind. My INFM 743 has taught me read through simple Perl code so that I'm now able to follow the code well enough to hypothesize about the outcome. Coding is no longer a mess of letters and symbols but it's starting to make sense. Yay! Though how literate I actually am will be shown by today's midterm. For now I need to practice my Perl basics, but someday I just might be able to practice Perl and Latin all at the same time. And wouldn't that be cool? Fine, it would be geeky, but I think geeky is cool! ;) Have a great day and keep smiling! :)

Encouragement: Professional Blogging Pays Off!

Melissa Terras’ blog post “The verdict: is blogging or tweeting about research papers worth it?” provides graphic evidence that when academics actively tweet and blog about their research that research is more likely to be downloaded. SO? Article downloads are important for tenure. Articles in institutional repositories are accessible to a wider audience than articles only available in subscription databases. Twitter and Blogs can be effectively used to increase awareness of articles that have been published and provide links to those articles. Applications! Keep blogging! Blog posts that are intended for more than a personal audience should be tweeted (maybe I should use my twitter account for more than cyber stalking DHers, huh?). Consider adding a page to the blog dedicated to past publications and current research (in my case only the latter applies). Have a great day and keep smiling! :)

LBSC 751: Subject Discipline Analyses

The last two weeks were a flurry of group projects, presentations, and Super Storm Sandy. Amongst them were the subject area presentations in LBSC 751. The groups presented about reference resources available for Art History, Folklore (my group), English, History, Film Studies, Psychology, and Theater. Art History gave an interesting presentation which focused primarily on how their discipline has been incredibly slow to embrace digital research and scholarship. While they are late adopters, this means that the digital tools available to Art Historians are state of the art. Samples of digital resources available to Art Historians included: The Medici Archive Project , seriously so cool! ARTstor Google Art Project Oxford Art Online Folklore was actually an early adapter to digital resources and scholarship. Some of the first educational websites were dedicated to folklore content (Library of Congress’s American Memory Project). However this means that many of their web resource

PBS Video on CSS

I found this video on PBS. It perfectly expresses why I want to learn code. Watch Is CSS and Website Design a Fashion Statement? on PBS. See more from Idea Channel. Have a great day and keep smiling! :)

Professional Organizations, Joiner v Loner

So it's my one year anniversary in Library school and as a librarian. Which means for the last month or so the professional organizations that I joined last year at a low student rate are hounding me to renew my memberships. Last year I took advantage of the student price and joined ALA (American Library Association) along with two sub-groups ( RUSA - Reference and User Services Association and ACRL - Association of College and Research Libraries), SLA (Special Library Association), and re-joined AHA (American Historical Association). I like joining professional organizations because it makes me feel connected. However, last year I spent well over $100 on my memberships and before I renewed I wanted to make sure that I'm getting my money's worth out of these organizations. ;) Renewing my ALA membership was a no brainier. But did I want to maintain my subgroup memberships? While I'm interested in reference librarianship, I didn't really feel connected to RUSA

Can You Feel the Love?

I haven't gotten a single post up this week :( My weekend was devoted to completing the second programming assignment. That activity kept me up past midnight Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And I couldn't even finish one of the problems as required because I couldn't figure out the mathematical expression at its core. (Thanks Nelson for helping out with that part.) The rest of my week was devoted to preparing for group meetings. That's right, I'm in the midst of midterms just now. Pray for me please. Since I was working on these projects I didn't adequately prepare for my classes this week and couldn't turn my homework into blog posts for my patient readers. Anyways, my projects should provide fodder for a slew of posts next week. Additionally, today I'm attending 'A Preservation Odyssey: Paths to the Future' National Archives Annual Preservation Conference. Paid for by my work! Have I stated recently how much I love my work and how grateful I

DH Twitter List Educates About Corporate DH

Sorry for the late post, I spent the morning compressing high resolution tif files of William Morris material scans to email to Wired magazine (at their request)! Typically I find twitter annoying. Too many people just seem to be shouting out and its feels like no one really wants to engage in conversation. I’ve tried following various cultural heritage institutions but frequently they start dominating the stream and drowning out any other information, individuals do this much more often. But I have found myself enjoying checking in on Dan Cohen’s Digital Humanities list more than I anticipated. For example today, Jane Fleming tweeted an article about the Google Cultural Institute’s 42 digital exhibits that are now live. I wasn’t even aware that Google had a Cultural Institute so I clicked through to checkout their work. The exhibits were definitely interesting and the format resembled an idea I had been playing with for a DH project. As I went back to twitter, I noticed that

What is a library?

For the last few weeks we have been defining what a library is in my library management class. The purpose of defining a library is to help us understand the mission / vision statements of libraries. We began by determining that a library is a service organization. Libraries are in the business of entertaining and educating their community. A library is also likely to be a cultural heritage institution (which means that they serve as record keepers for the community). An interesting question that was brought up at this time was, "does the web necessitate more resource sharing and community building on the part of libraries?" Ultimately, we decided that a library is: a collection of resources learning + entertaining culture + community physical + virtual What do you think a library is? Have a great day and keep smiling! :)

Collecting Rare Books

Today's class was all about collecting rare books for special collections. There was in interesting article drawn from an interview with Thomas Staley, the director of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas. The article addresses Staley’s success as the director of the Ransom center which comes from Staley’s focused acquisition policy. Staley aggressively seeks out and purchases the manuscript archives of modern authors. According to Staley, he wants to create THE humanities archive for ‘modern’ authors. The idea that with one stop, everything a researcher needs will be available to them, the specific collection, and all relevant collections, in one single location, a special collection Walmart if you will. This is part of a Texan mindset of bigger, better, best. However, Staley doesn’t address the issue that if collections were digitized then all collections would be available to any researcher from a single location, the internet! Staley doesn’t even beg

Mea Culpa! ... or is it perl's?

I have to apologize for not writing as frequently as I should this week. All my time has been spent working on my programming homework. This means that I didn't do any of my reading to prepare for my other classes, the bulk of what I discuss in this blog. So I haven't had anything for you all to read about in the realm of education, librarianship, and history for a while. I'm not trying to make excuses or place blame I just wanted you to be aware of the situation. I really enjoy my programming class. It's just hard. For the last assignment I went through the problems one by one and each took me many hours because I'm just plugging in bits of code to see if what I hope will happen happens. Eventually I was able to finish all of them, but only about an hour before the deadline. This time I'm attempting to work on all three at the same time because I felt like I kept going back to the same places in my search for understanding (and successful coding) and I though

The Guild Season 6 Began Yesterday!

Just in case you missed it, season 6 of The Guild began yesterday. If you are not familiar with the awesomeness of The Guild it is a web series written by Felicia Day ( Buffy & Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog ) about her love of gaming (video not gambling!). Don’t worry about not being caught up on what’s going on, all previous seasons are available here (and an entire season isn’t more than an hour long - so you have time to watch at least one season). Now that you’ve warmed up to videogame culture you might be ready for some more serious content. Did you notice that last week’s reading of Writing History in the Digital Age was published by the University of Michigan’s Digital Culture Books ? And if you had gone into the Digital Culture Books list of offerings you would have seen the following FREE digital books: My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of the World of Warcraft Myst and Riven: The World of the D’ni I repeatedly tried to play Myst bu

What is Special Collections?

Special Collections, or Spec Coll., refers to a group of resources within a library which are ‘special.’ Special Collections frequently include Rare Books, archives, and manuscripts. They can be valuable, but most frequently are rare/unique and fragile. The purpose of special collections is to care for such materials while still keeping them accessible to researchers. Special Collections have slowly developed in Academic Libraries over the last hundred years but have only been viewed as significant research resources worthy of significant development within Universities for the last fifty years or so. ALA has a full list of competencies for Special Collections librarians which can be found here . Special Collections in general and archives in particular face a variety of issues. The first is how to describe their usefulness. They are important research centers. Special Collections may serve as repositories for manuscript and professional collections on a variety of personal and pub

How Should Scholars Publish in a Digital Age?

Last week I wrote about DH being a public service and the difficulty that humanities scholars have created for themselves by only viewing other scholars as their primary audience. This week’s readings for LBSC 751 follow right along that thread by examining humanities publication in this digital age. I heartily agree with Shawn Graham, Guy Massie, and Nadine Feuerherm’s chapter “ The HeritageCrowd Project: A case study in crowdsourcing public history ” in Writing history in the digital age: A born-digital, open-review volume , when they stated that “the need to reach out to the public has never been greater.” In these times of limited resources, humanities scholars need to stop talking to each other about how significant and relevant they are as interpreters of cultural heritage and prove it to the public through their actions! As Leslie Madsen-Brooks (2012) points out in “ ‘I nevertheless am a historian’: Digital historical practice and malpractice around black confederate sold

Perl Programming Assignment 1

I finally finished my Perl programming assignment! I thought that the first two problems for the assignment were really straightforward. They only took me a few hours each and I felt like I was really starting to better understand Perl as I worked on them. However, the last problem stymied me for the previous 4 days. Seriously, FOUR DAYS!!! I knew how I wanted to solve the problem but I was struggling to figure out how to write the final expression and crafting an expression that would work with the appropriate loop was giving me a headache. Eventually I talked to enough people that I was able to work through the problem and come up with a satisfactory solution. Unfortunately none of my other homework got done this weekend, and so I will spend the rest of the week playing catch up :( And I really need to get started on my field study applications for the spring. The first one is due October 1st. Yikes!!! In an effort to try to improve my understanding of programming I signed up for

Microsoft does Digital Humanities?

MITH Digital Dialogue Tin Cupping for Plutonium: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mothership Donald Brinkman, Microsoft Research 2012 September 10, 12:30-1:45pm So a while ago there was this really interesting DH speaker, Donald Brinkman from Microsoft Research, who was presenting his work on this AIDS Quilt Project at a MITH Digital Dialogue. The first interesting topic that he brought up was the Ribbon Hero add-in / game for Microsoft Office products. It is intended to help individuals improve their Microsoft Office Skills. Sounds fun and kinda nerdy-cool. I’ve downloaded it to my work computer and am interested in seeing how it can help me improve my Office skills. (This was off topic from the main point of the discussion). Microsoft Research took on the AIDS Quilt project because they were asking themselves “What’s the big deal with big data?” Brinkman argued that big data doesn’t necessarily mean deep data. Big Data can’t define love, grief, disease, etc… He

DH is a Service!

Trevor Mu&ntildeoz was kind enough to come to our class last week to discuss Digital Humanities and the statements he made in his blog post. Listening to students ask questions and the answers Mu&ntildeoz provided I found myself having difficulty supporting DH as he articulated it. This was frustrating because I agreed with much of what he wrote on the blog post. When I hear DHers explain DH with an (over) emphasis on computational research, I find myself struggling with my desire to do DH. This might not seem significant to most of my classmates, but I came to library school to learn the skills necessary to participate in the DH community. As I was processing this, I started writing out the following questions in an effort to make sense of what I think DH is and should be: If DH is not a service, then how is it relevant? Is DH supposed to be useful to anyone other than the creators/researchers? If DH is only useful to its creators, then how can we justify the expenditure o

William Morris Exhibit

So last year I was hired to be the project manager for Special Collections @ University of Maryland Libraries 2012-2013 exhibit. I was very excited to get to work on the project because I would love to work on exhibits full time someday after completing my MLS. I also am strongly interested in creating digital exhibits / learning modules from primary source materials ( dream job ). I was thrilled to get to take part in the exhibit (I also really enjoyed the subject - William Morris). For me one of the best parts was learning that there would be a digital exhibit. The digital exhibit would be loaded into a template created by a previous graduate assistant, so I wouldn't need to design the whole thing from scratch, but I could modify as necessary. I was especially happy when the template creator got a full time job prior to the exhibit being completed which made authoring the digital exhibit my responsibility. I did have some help from student volunteers whose work I oversaw. Bu

Practicing with Perl

Another night of INFM 743 and more programming. Last week I was able to spend more time practicing Perl and I think I made strides with understanding the language. I am beginning to draw stronger correlations between Perl and other foreign languages I have studied. I think making flashcards of some of the basics of Perl might be helpful, especially in terms of preparing for the midterm. I was just about to start making flashcards when the first homework assignment arrived. ( I wasn't ready yet! ) Luckily it didn't look impossible. I was able to get the first problem done before class except for one little bug. It took me a while (and some help from friends) to figure out that my 'less than' and 'greater than' signs were backwards ( Am I too old to get an IEP for dyscalculia ? ). Anyways, I really enjoyed working on the homework. Unlike most of my other classes where the homework is pretty much just read (and occasionally write papers) writing a script/program

Digital Humanities + Librarians

For tonight's LBSC 751 I read Matt Kirschenbaum's " What is Digital Humanities and What's It Doing in English Departments ?" and two blog posts about the place of Digital Humanities in the (Academic) Library by Miriam Posner and Trevor Mu&ntildeoz. This is the second or third time I've been assigned the article by Kirschenbaum but the first time I've gotten around to reading all of it ( read it first this time ). The article was a pretty straightforward history and definition of Digital Humanities prior to a quick overview of the benefits of Digital Humanities for university English departments. I found the two blog posts and their accompanying comments incredibly engrossing. Posner's blog eliciting feedback on the challenges of doing Digital Humanities in libraries for an upcoming article listed several difficulties and I had issues with most of them. So I'll just go down the list addressing each: Insufficient Training Opportunities If

Introducing: Management History

So last night's LBSC 635 was much improved. I found out that I had been doing the required reading and all of the supplemental suggested readings (Ms. DTM struck again). So I have much less homework than I realized. Yipee! Also, I felt like I was starting to get a handle on the jargon used in the last class. And I really enjoyed the introduction to management theory that we had last night. Allow me to start by clearing up the jargon. The key terms for LBSC 635 this semester are: Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Leading, and Controlling. I'm still having a hard time differentiating these concepts in my mind. To me planning, organizing, leading, and controlling (to a lesser extent) really are all synonyms. But I guess over the course of this class I will learn how to differentiate between them. So we did a very brief overview of scientific management, human relations management, and systems management. Scientific management focuses on the work being done. The point of scienti

Confused by Digital Humanities?

So this post about the LBSC 751 readings is late because I wanted to take time to read the essay which I did not get to before class ( and turned out to be the most interesting one in class discussion ). The article is Christine Borgman's (2009) "The Digital Future is Now: A Call to Action for the Humanities." While the article is intended to be a kick in the pants to humanities scholars to get on the digital bandwagon, I found it comforting. I have been drawn to the digital humanities by a desire to see more special collection / cultural heritage materials digitized in a way that will increase their access and use for educational purposes. However over the last year much of the most current talk about DH that I encountered seemed to emphasize DH scholarship for the purpose of narrow areas of study within the humanities and internet applications that didn't appear readily applicable to other projects. It seemed to me that the field was focusing on spending hundreds of

Looping Perls

Another night of INFM 743 has come and gone. Class was still good and I felt like I understood as much as could be expected (whoever decided on 3 hour long classes in computer programming needs some instructional design lessons). My brain felt full about 2/3 of the way through class. Prior to hitting the computers with the meat of the course for the evening there was the presentation of this great website 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web . Which is visually very attractive and accessibly informative ( think I just made up a phrase ). There was also a conversation about boss v. bossette to which my reply can be found on the right. I found the image on and before that it was on a tumblr blog which I didn't have access to so my citation will have to end here. Tonight's coursework was devoted to Perl loops and arrays. By the time we had finished going through the loops portion of the ppt I was feeling pretty comfortable with the basics of Perl syn

My First MOOC

So this summer, being a lifelong learner and all, I decided to jump on the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) bandwagon. In case you are unfamiliar with MOOCs they are online university level courses that are open to anyone with internet access. Leading MOOC organizations include Coursera , edX , and Udacity (among many others). Participants do the reading / exercises and either listen to or watch the lectures. They choose if they want to complete the assessments or not and at the end participants might receive a certificate of completion of some sort. My first MOOC was Google's Power Searching course in late July. It was only a three week course and a new unit with activities was posted everyday. After the first week there was a mid-term assessment which participants had several days to complete. The second half followed the same format. I honestly felt a little rushed. Every day I received a reminder email to access that day's lesson (considerate or nagging - depends

Management = Jargon :(

So last night was the first time LBSC 635: Management and Administration for the Information Professional met. The instructors seem expert and definitely have interesting professional backgrounds. (I much prefer a class taught by practitioners as opposed to theorists.) They had all the information for the course laid out (ad nauseum) but the reading list wasn't actually dated, so that was a little confusing. This was the only class where there was pre-work for the first night of class (which I was surprised to find really interesting) and so it was nice to show up to class and feel like were were going to dig right in. After the obligatory 1st day business (thanks for agreeing to partner with me Abby, Alana, and Kelly!) the instructor jumped into the lecture. Immediately my head started swimming and I felt completely lost. I don't understand what went wrong! I had done the reading prior to class (mostly) and had even gone through the powerpoint and created my own guided not

Computer Programming + Comedy!

Last night I had my first INFM 743: Developing Internet Applications class. I've been terrified of this class since I dropped INFM 718N: Web Enabled Databases during summer school. But I really wanted to take it because I think it will help me to better understand how Digital Humanities/Digital History works. I've also really enjoyed the web programming ( coding? which is it? ) that I've learned and want to learn more. Expectations and concerns aside, I'm looking forward to this class more now than I was yesterday morning. &iquestWhy do I have high hopes for this class? First of all, I appreciate the instructor's slow approach to delivering material and forcing people to ask questions (though this could become a problem for me - see below). I felt like I learned a lot and understood more about how programing languages work by the end of class. I really appreciated that because most CIS instructors seem to just insist "Do it because this is the way it wo