The “True” Corpus of American English

In an analysis of the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA) and Google Books, Professor Mark Davies of Brigham Young University studies the effectiveness of both engines and their ability to properly read the English language. Both are corpuses of the American English language, but Google Books has 500 billion words compared to COHA’s 400 million. Davies argues that although COHA has a significantly smaller database, the trending patterns still mirror those of Google Books. Because of this, Davies argues that COHA is actually the more effective corpus—a smaller database means far fewer data to sift through and that means quicker search results and faster information.

COHA’s “toys” are what make it a more useful database in Davies’s eyes. While Google provides the same basic function (showing the frequency of word usage throughout the decades), COHA is able to track concepts, related words, and changes in meaning. Whereas Google tends to have a one-track mind, just like it’s general search engine, COHA manages to “think” about relations for the words being placed into the search. Looking for things such as relation, form, root words, or even cultural shifts, the searches are much more comprehensive.

Design is a huge issue for some researchers, and with this in mind, Google definitely has the upper hand. True, as Davies puts it, COHA is able to effectively portray the same statistics, but I had a genuinely hard time navigating the site. Bar graphs are nice for portraying how many dark-haired, blue-eyed people are in a class, but for a corpus of American English, I found them rather ineffective. Google Books had a much more pleasing site, nicer to the eye, and easier to follow the pattern of the language. Yes, COHA’s tables are nice for their alternative searches, but as I said, traversing the site is actually rather difficult. Google provides a much more streamlined site, and provides actions that are easy to follow

Unfortunately for Google, I think the amount of words in the database have made it impossible to create proper analyses for the grammar, word meanings, and word foundations that COHA is successfully able to analyze. If Google Books created an efficient way to sift through all of that information quickly enough, then it would immediately become the preferred site. However, because of its inability to process the large amounts of data (largely its own fault) has rendered it ineffective to be a “true” corpus of the American English language.


Digital Photography; A Perspective

I was being given a tour of the catwalk of the Verizon Center, the home of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and the Mystics by DC’s official photographer, Mitchell Layton when I realized what I wanted my digital project to be. Tying in themes from my written project proposal, I wanted to venture into the realm of sports photography and further explore the transition between film and digital photography and its significance in changing the archiving method of the photos.

I would like to use a website like Omeka, or venture into the world of Adobe’s Dreamweaver in an attempt to design my own website to try to document the change over the past couple decades towards the use of digital cameras instead of film, which had been the staple for nearly a century of sports photography. I would also like to continue exploring the idea of the future leaning more towards high-resolution digital video rather than continuing to use photography.

Newseum has a travelling exhibit: “Athlete: The Sports Illustrated Photography of Walter Iooss” that I would like to view that might help me further understand what exactly it is that I want to do. I’ve heard that the work of art is rather moving, but there’s no online version of the exhibit. I would love to be able to use an exhibit in the mind of this display in order to allow those who don’t know much about digital sports photography to learn about the transition from film to digital storage. I would like to use photos from several different photographers, though that might be difficult to acquire. From there, I would use my idea of creating interviews from my print project and turn it into an interactive podcast for the viewers. These podcasts would be interviews with the professional photographers that I know, in an attempt for my viewers to better understand the transition. These podcasts would be a series of interviews coming from different photographers that would focus on the ease (or struggles) of the transition. I will try to explore the effectiveness of archiving the photos, selling the photos, and submitting them to newspapers or magazines and getting them published.

With this in mind, I’m not sure if I should focus on the struggles of photographers from around the country or just in the immediate D.C. area. Input on this would be helpful, but I’m starting to lean towards focusing on just the D.C. and Maryland area. Finally, I want to explore what consequences this has had on the ability of photographers to find and keep jobs. Having talked to Mitchell Layton, I know that there are interesting stories about SI dropping photographers, so I think that would be really interesting to explore.

Design-wise, I would love to be able to make a digital exhibit, where a viewer can come and explore at their own pace, taking their time and listening to a full podcast, or moving on to another topic of digital photography. Using Communicating Design will be rather helpful in developing this website, but I think my graphic design class will help me too, especially in making the design more appealing to the consumer. From this perspective, my target audience will be history buffs and those that are looking to get into the business of digital photography. I want to provide an accurate history and an interesting perspective on what may happen in the realm of digital sports photography. Besides, I’m an amateur photographer myself, and I would find a site like this extremely intriguing. Hopefully other people like me would find it interesting too.

Trading Card Value Print Project Proposal

As a beginner sports photographer myself, I have an increased interest in the values of the business and its overall productivity in today’s society. Taking the development of digital photography into perspective, I would like to further explore the decline of professional photographers and the value of their pictures, especially in regards to trading cards. Over the course of the past decade or so, history has seen a large decline in both the demand and value of trading cards as a collectible commodity, as seen in Mint Condition. As a direct result of this decline, professional photographers have struggled to continue making a profit off the pictures they take.

While exploring this decline in value, I would like to explore several different options, the first of which would be the amateur’s accessibility to affordable, well-designed cameras. This being in perspective, the development of amateur photography has skyrocketed in recent years, as well as the accessibility of the amateur photographs. Not only have the amateurs become more competitive with their cameras themselves, but they now have accessibility to open forum websites that allow for users to post pictures up for free in a sharing-platform concept. Using sites such as Photobucket, Flickr, and Picasa, amateur photographers have memory space to post tons of pictures of their famous athletes. Because of the open platform that these sites are based upon, other users can easily search “tagged” items and look up their favorite athletes. I would argue that this in and of itself is a driving cause towards the decline in trading card value.

For my project, I would like to continue to explore the concept of these websites and their effect upon those who take pictures as a profession. I have a particular photographer in mind, Mitchell Layton, whom I have recently been in contact with, who I think would be wonderful to interview in order to gain a first-hand perspective on the decline of the business and problems that photographers now face. I am curious to find out just how much a photographer makes per photograph now, as compared to years ago during the business boom.

Ikon Photography and Getty Images and companies such as this run on the same concept—a large company contracting several “smaller” workers. Because of the access online of “copyrighted” material, I wonder what the photographers can do to make sure that their work cannot be stolen from a website, to ensure maximum profit. Additionally, I think an exploration into downtown collectible shops would be advisable for my paper. Because I come from a journalistic background, I find that creating a written “story” off of interviews would be in my best interest. At the same time, I would like to admit that I’m having trouble finding scholarly sources about collectibles and their worth over the years, but a re-searching of the university’s databases might improve my confidence in that area. Because of a suggestion of reading Mint Condition, I will explore my reading options with that book, but I would like to gain some background knowledge via books on collecting that I know will be accessible to me.

With all of this in mind, I would also like to contribute the advancement of video resources to a portion of my paper. On several occasions, I have been warned to get a solid background in film knowledge, as well as my knowledge in photography so that I can be more marketable to companies outside of college. Taking their advice, I enrolled in the Film and Media Studies program in the School of Communications, but I would like to talk to a few of the professors in the film department, especially in the area of sports, who might be able to help me pinpoint exactly why the business is turning in the direction it is. Using this interview, I would like to compare and contrast the mindset of the photographers and the mindset of the videographers when it comes to sports and the recording of the events.

While my total goal of the paper is to explore why the accessibility of amateur digital photos has led to a decline in value of trading cards, I think an exploration of the difficulties of the photographers and companies and creating profit from a struggling business will lead to an overall satisfaction of my curiosity on the subject.

[Insert Clever Flickr Title Here]

An interactive tool for the amateur photographer, Flikcr creates a whole new playground for both beginners and experts on digital photo storage.

Flickr, created by Yahoo presents a home for photographers of all skill levels to post their photos in a community forum. Flickr is based off of the idea of sharing, and allowing others to access photos. While privacy settings allow some posters to restrict access to their photos, Flick “recommends” allowing anyone to access your photos.

The photo site runs off of a series of “tags,” which run on the same concept of “tagging” for any other site and allow users to quickly sift through several thousands of photos in a matter of seconds. By searching for tags on the site, only relevant or “tagged” photos show up on your searches, including people and places.

A global map allows users to put tags on places within feet of their photos, allowing users to search photos by city and region as well. For archiving purposes, this allows a unique way of storing and filing photos, separating them into various sorts of categories. Sure, it’s convenient for some users, but it also raises the question: what if things are tagged wrong? It might not be a national crisis, but still, users make mistakes, right?

Besides the basic download and search functions, Flickr has extended the option of editing photos in Picnik, a free alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop and also allows users to “group” the profiles that they view the most often. In this way, users can easily keep track of friends or other photographers who may have similar styles. With this comes the option of having a contact list, allowing the users to direct message each other about their photos or related things and could be used to contact

I spent some quality time on Flickr over the course of the week, and explored all of its different functions. While setting up an account is a little confusing, the general idea of the site is genius. True, I would like a little more space for my photos (you’re restricted to just 200 MB on your individual photos), but creating multiple accounts can circumvent that. Although previously restricting Flickr access to solely Yahoo users, Google and Facebook users have now been invited access to Flickr, competing with Google’s Picasa.
After playing around with the site, I’ve really got to compliment Flickr for making the site as easy to use as possible. As a newspaper photographer, I have an opportunity to label my photos with titles, add captions, and tag them as many times as I want. Using photos from my archives, I grabbed a bunch of photos from my old high school’s sports and plotted the events at the different locations as well. Now, when users are exploring Manchester, my photos will be included.

This presents interesting opportunities for historians and digital archivists. Because the photos are on a free platform with the ability to be tagged several times, historians have the ability to load photos to the site of important historical happenings—its an easy way to keep track of as many important free-domain photos as possible and a site I would definitely recommend going to check out, whether you’re an amateur or expert photographer.