Visual Media Workshop

The VMW is
a lab/
workspace/
creative zone/
vertext/
forum/
platform/
initiative/
experiment

that

sits at the intersection between/
falls between established disciplines of/
crosses the fields of

art history and information studies/
humanistic inquiry and technology/
established humanistic and new data-driven approaches

(Alex Oliver, April 2014)

VMW

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    A Working Title

    In lab last Friday, we had a tour stop meeting.  At the meeting, we discussed the issues we were having when making tour stops, and how best to fix those issues.  After mulling over the conversation for a few days, I am still left with the impression that we could not figure out the answers to the majority of our issues. For awhile, I was pretty confused as to why all of these questions were left unanswered.  Then, I realized that we were working on these tourstop issues kind of how I approach cleaning my room. I take everything out of its place, make a huge mess, and then I start putting everything back in its place.  This is exactly what we were doing.  We discussed the problems, and possible solutions, but tourstops are nowhere near dealt with.  Its kind of like how I tell my mom my mess is a "working mess," and everything is always a work in progress.

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Memo

    In today's meeting we discussed what work flow would be the most productive and efficient. For next week we will be attmpting to impliment the work flow that we discussed:taking the first pass at the french correspondences and entering them straight into itinera. We will see how much we get done and create a possible amount of work we could possibly finish by the end of the semester. The second thing we discussed were the details of the input methods and what is inputted into itinera. There was a big confusion with how to categorize "tours" (which we might possibly change to "life"), agent life roles, agent to agent relationships, source entry and related tour stops. Having discussed this with seven other people, we are getting closer to understanding the most efficient way to input and to portray the data. 

     

    Drew and I had a conversation to help me understand how to efficiently go through the first pass mentioned in the previous article. Many of the names that are VERY important are italicizded in the letters. He will also bring in his index of all the volumes so that we can cross reference the names we feel might be important and the amount of times they were mentioned in the whole series of books. With these two tools it will be possible to gert more work done in a timely fashion while inputting only the most relevant data into itinera. 

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Trevor Owens on Digital Preservation in the Digital Humanities

    For those of you who couldn't attend the talk Trevor Owens gave at the iSchool yesterday, check out his slides and rough notes on trevorowens.org. Naturally, the discussion of digital preservation and its place in the future of the digital humanities raised several important and intriguing questions among students, staff and faculty in attendance. Although there may be no definitive solution to digital preservation, the talk ended on an optimistic note, with Trevor's statement that:

    The future of digital preservation is less about defining a hegemonic set of best practices, than it is about scholars, curators, conservators and archivists working together to define what it is that they value about some kind of digital content and to then go out and collect it and make it available for use to their constituencies. It is about setting definitions that are often at odds with each other but that are coherent toward their own ends.

     

    Categories: 
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
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    Upcoming Talk: Digital Preservation's Place in the Future of the Digital Humanities

    Ensuring long term access to digital information sounds like a technical problem. It seems like digital preservation should be a computer science problem. Far from it. In this lecture Trevor Owens, a digital archivist at the Library of Congress argues that digital preservation is in fact a core problem and issue at the heart of the future of the digital humanities. Bringing together perspectives from the history of technology, new media studies, public history, and archival theory, he suggests the critical role that humanities scholars and practitioners should play in framing and shaping the collection, organization, description, and modes of access to the historically contingent digital material records of contemporary society.

    Trevor Owens, Digital Archivist, Library of Congress
    Tuesday, March 18
    11:00 a.m.
    Information Sciences Building | Third Floor
    135 N. Bellefield Avenue

    Trevor Owens is a Digital Archivist with the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) in the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Library of Congress. At the Library of Congress, he works on the open source Viewshare cultural heritage collection visualization tool, as a member of the communications team, and as the co-chair for the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Infrastructure working group. Before joining the Library of Congress he worked for the Center for History and New Media and before that managed outreach for the Games, Learning, and Society Conference. He has a BA in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin, an MA in American History from George Mason University and is currently finishing his doctorate in Research Methods in George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development. http://trevorowens.org

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Temporalities
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
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    Correspondance Problems

    My eyes were opened up today.  I never really understood what it was like compliling enough information to fill a text book, especially if someone was organizing this data for the first time.  Working with the source with which Drew provided us was very overwhelming, but not in a bad sense.  There is so much information.  The source contains letters from the director of the Academy of France in Rome, and as you can imagine, there were a lot of letters.  For Itinera, we are hopefully trying to track these records to make a heirarchial types of social relationships.  However, for this one person, I only have his or her last name and the date on which they were mentioned.  The end goal is to figure out more, or provide a means for someone else to, or at least that is my understanding.  Going about doing this, however, is a pretty big issue.  Itinera was not built for this type of data, and inputting and organizing all of this data appears to be a lot of work.  Personally, I have no idea who any of these people are, but I can read French, and it is still hard to pick out names, places, life roles, and relationships among other topics because I have no idea how to orient myself in this data. Hopefully, as I continue to work with it, it becomes much easier.  To me, it seems similar to how people practice problems before the exam so the problems on the exams are easier.  However, this is the exam and there is no practice.  The saving quality is that if something goes awry, it is completely fixable.  On another note, I thought this data was really cool because I felt like I was sitting in on a conversation, even if I didn't know who all the players were.

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Looking for hay in a hay stack.

    Today was about understanding the scope of data in humanities research. With science research, unless you are on the front edge of new and uncharted scientific ingenuity, there are specific data sets that have been made so small that you can see the entire scope easily. Humanities research is instead, a scope that includes human origins and every single act of humans since then. Because no human is an island, our interactions effect the entire world; life in general is one huge butterfly effect. All the data we extract from sources must be equally researched in order to fidn the level or hierarchy of their importance to itinera. This presents the problem that we could go on indefinitely searching, even within the scope of 17th and 18th century Europe. The solution: there's nothing much we can do about that. We still have to take into account all the information and sort it out. We essentially are looking for hay in a hay stack. It's all there, and we must organize them in a way that brings out their optimal relevance. 

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Francis Dashwood

    Today I learned a rake was an 18th century playboy, while researching Francis Dashwood the 11th Baron le Despence. Look at that picture: He seems to have so much fun, unlike all the other 18th century men, who look all too serious. I also am continuing to ameliorate my data formatting and inputting skills. I am getting better and quicker at it, because I am a lot more used to it. 

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Lab Report Spring 2014: Undergrads in the lab

    The Lab hosts several work-study students each year. Last term, Karen worked on data entry for Itinera (and helpfully logged bugs as she went); this semester Dan returns (third year running) to help with Drupal, building Collective Access features, and is assisting Natalie build a database in Filemaker. Piero, who is planning on studying business but recently has found himself increasingly intrigued by Mexican modernism, has been scanning and cataloguing the images to support teaching, including for Jennifer Josten and all the pictures from Terry Smith’s textbook, Contemporary Art: World Currents. He’s also been tapped to handle all our social media (more below). Two “First Experiences in Research” (FE-R) students were also sent over from the Office of Undergraduate Research, to do, well, undergraduate research. Alex has been supervising their introduction to research resources, the Grand Tour, Itinera, close reading, and data entry. Everyone laughs a lot and I have discovered that working through heavy interpretation problems collaboratively helps solve the problems faster. Sara and Rose slip in and out too, working on an e-book that will function as a tour guide for art on campus.

    Read the full report here.

     

    Categories: 
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
    Tags: 
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    Lab Report Spring 2014: Grads in the lab

    This semester, Aisling and I are collaborating on all aspects of lab work, including the DH (digital humanities) initiatives, cataloguing, supervising undergrads, reviewing tech tools, and consulting as needed. Aisling has been working extensively on the new Drupal Constellations site (that is, this site), incorporating and updating new features as needs and interests arise. In addition, Aisling is supervising Vivian, an undergraduate researcher, in cataloging and describing slide collections in the VMW. Aisling is also often consulted about various smaller-scale projects at the cross section of art history and information sciences, including the HAA2400 Configuring Disciplines course.

    I have been working more intensely on Itinera, translating books into data, doing “QA” (quality assurance, like editing), and initiating Piero in the use of social media tools, which is essential for anyone who wants to survive in digital marketing. Plus, supervising two FE-R (First Experiences in Research) undergrad researchers, introducing them to DH methods and ideas. Twice a week we're also joined by Jocelyn, another grad student from the School of Information Science, who is collaborating with Alison on developing a DH course.

    Read the full report here.

    Categories: 
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW
    Tags: 
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    Lab Report Spring 2014

    Hot off the presses - the Visual Media Workshop newsletter[1]. If you're wondering about what's been cooking lately in FFA 116, check it out. As you can see from our weekly staff schedule, it's action-packed.

    In this issue:

    [1] No heat, no preses, just Adobe Acrobat. Click below to download the full version (PDF).

     

    Categories: 
    • VMW
    Tags: 

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