Final Course Reflection

Hello class Ricky here, I would like to begin this course reflection by giving a big thanks to all of you for providing the class with great discussions throughout the semester and keeping us all engaged in the new material that we learned about every week. I enjoyed learning more about digital platforms that are available nowadays to present information and engage with the public. I learned many new things from the readings and I found myself interested in digital analysis tools like Google n-gram that allow us to understand the past in such a convenient manner that makes it fun. I learned what a digital archive actually was and I had no idea how much they had changed the way research is conducted nowadays. I knew Audacity before taking this course but I still found it interesting that we talked about it. I enjoyed using Story maps and I think I’ll use more of it in the future as well.

I had an absolute blast writing blog posts for the course because I believe it creates an atmosphere of communication in which we can all talk to each other about the progress we have made in our projects and comment on what we like and what we would like to see. I would like to give a big thanks to professor T. Owens as well because he has done a terrific job with managing the class, and he is a great guy with a good understanding of how to properly run an online course. By no means did I find the course work easy I must say. I found the course to be pretty challenging but just challenging enough for me to persevere as a competent student. I feel like the knowledge I have learned throughout this semester has truly upgraded my capabilities in terms of how I do research and how I go about planning projects. It has been an honor and I am truly proud of the work I have done.

It is hard to believe the semester has come to an end. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors as students, teachers, and academics. I hope you all enjoy the project I have to offer and farewell.

Digital History Project and Project Poster

Hi everyone it’s Ricky here, and I am very proud to present the class with my work. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been researching and finding information about our climate change, our natural world as it is today and I cannot believe the semester is coming to an end. I initially created a blog post with a print project proposal about the Netflix documentary: A Life on Our Planet. Initially, I thought I would end up writing a paper but further down the line, I realized my idea would make for a great visual presentation. My project features the details about the Chernobyl disaster because the documentary begins with David Attenborough walking through the abandoned wasteland that used to be a populated city. I developed an interest in this event as I asked myself questions about what went wrong on April 26, 1986. Although this became a big part of my project, I didn’t forget to focus on the greater picture of what the documentary is truly about.

In David Attenborough’s own words, he says that this documentary is his witness statement not only for what occurred in Chernobyl but for what has been occurring on our planet since humans have dramatically changed the circumstances of the wildlife on our planet. Since the first time I ever watched this documentary, I have been enthralled with the idea of working towards a better future for our planet. As I conducted my research, I realized that the efforts of a single person to change the world will lead to no progress. I ultimately learned that if you want something like global warming to be stopped, we must work together as a species to create real results in the form of a positive change for our planet.

This project is more than just a digital history learning experience and digital media representation. This project is a call to all humans to raise awareness about the real problems our world is facing today. I hope this project serves as an incentive for people to watch the documentary and sympathize with the information David Attenborough is sharing. As we can see in the documentary, David Attenborough is over 90 years old and he cares very much about the future of our world. This man was lucky enough to visit natural habitats all over the world and view the world from the perspective of a natural historian. This project is certainly about digital history, but it is also about raising the standards for our human society to act with a conscience for a better future. My project is pretty straightforward in terms of what I studied and the information that I displayed. One of my goals in creating this project was to stay on topic and to elaborate as much as I thought was necessary in order to convey my message to the audience.

I used ArcGIS for the first time to create this project and I found it to be quite interesting. I do not consider myself technologically gifted in terms of how I operate on the computer but I found myself able to navigate through the website and make use of the basic features that it has to offer. I found myself entertained because I love the subject I picked for my project. I think I made a good choice and I hope my classmates and professor enjoy what I am sharing. This has been a truly magnificent learning experience and project creation experience that will help me with my future projects. I believe my technological skills have also gotten better since the start of this course and I’ve learned that I love learning about the natural world. Without further ado, here is my poster and my project link.

My Story Project:

My Poster:

This is my project poster.

Digital Exhibition and Digital Audio (Readings 3-7)

Digital Exhibition and Digital Audio has been the focus for this week and for this post. In this post, we will look at readings 3-7 and give some information about the readings that make them unique in the ways they correlate with ideas of Digital Exhibition and Digital Audio.

Beginning with reading number 3 titled Collecting the present: digital code and collections authors Sebastian Chan and Aaron Cope initiate their article by resenting the reader with an abstract that contains a deconstruction of how they were able to acquire the code and ‘living software’ for the permanent collection of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Chan and Cope have been using an iPad app called Planetary to facilitate working on updating the museums collection to include born-digital examples of design. Sebastian Chan is Chief Experience Officer & Director of collections at the Australian Center for the Moving Image in Melbourne. He is responsible for holistic experience design and overseas teams responsible for experience & digital, ICT, as well as the museum’s collections, digitization & digital preservation programs. Prior, Chan led the digital renewal and transformation of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York (2011-2015). He also led experiments in the acquisition of digital design including the first app to enter the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. He drove the powerhouse Museum’s pioneering work in open access, mass collaboration and digital experience during the 2000’s. According to his profile description, he has also worked as a museum consultant with institutions across North America, Europe, and Asia and won awards for his work. Aaron Cope is currently Head of Internet Typing at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Museum. Previously, he was Editor at Large at creator of the Who’s On First project at Mapzen. Between 2012 and 2015 he was Head of Engineering at the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. Before that, he was Senior Engineer at Flickr focusing on all things Geo-machine-tag-related between 2004 and 2009. From 2009 to 2011, he was Design Technologist and Director of Inappropriate Project Names at Stamen Design, where he created the pretty maps project. As I read through the source, I am intrigued by the paragraph that talks about discussing MOMA’s acquisition of the ‘@’ symbol. It is interesting how the acquisition of ‘@’ takes one more step. According to the article “It relies on the assumption that physical possession of an object as a requirement for an acquisition is no longer necessary, and therefore setting curators free to tag the world and acknowledge things that “cannot be bad”. Moving on, the reading focuses on Planetary. Planetary was the first product of company called Bloom. Between 2011 and 2012 the company worked on building a series of bite size applications that bring the richness of game interactions and the design values of motion graphics, social network tools, and streaming media services. Throughout the reading, the authors go over exactly what planetary is, what the process of using Planetary is like, and some of the archival approaches using Planetary to create context and create a curatorial file for The Australian National Film & Sound Archive for example.

Moving on to reading number 4 for this week, the title of the reading is Oral History and the Digital Revolution: Toward a Post Documentary Sensibility. The first section of this reading begins by communicating to the reader that putting the oral back in oral history is something important to be considering. In the reading, author Michael Frisch assumes that we all know that in most uses of oral history the shift from voice to text is extensive and controlling. He makes an interesting point that could not be simpler. Michael Frisch’s point is that there are worlds of meaning beyond words, and that nobody pretends that the transcript is in any real sense a better representation of reality than the voice itself. When referring to the transcript, Frisch is talking about the expensive and cumbersome transcription into text that oral history source materials have been approached, used, and represented through. He writes about the core assumption that oral and film or video documents are almost impossible to work with especially when they involve extensive collections and groups of imagined users who might be interested in the material. He explores the topic of digitization and the digital revolution. He argues that in digital form, there is no difference between text, photographs, drawings, models, music, speech, and visual information. Michael Frisch moves into approaches to mapping or indexing audio- visual documents. He continues the essay by speaking broadly about the challenges in searching and exploring audio-visual digital materials that are less technical than they are intellectual or even philosophical which I thought was a substantial point in the essay. He goes on through the middle section of the reading and we learn information on oral history and more or less sophisticated ways one can approach oral history and he talks about some of the limitations. He finally narrows it down to one final dimension that is useful to appreciate when considering how to approach working with video and audio documentation and the evolution of working with such technology. For the two final parts of the reading, Frisch looks at Beyond Raw and Cooked: Documentary and Oral History in the Digital Age. He dives into talking about his knowledge on the central assumption in a documentary and things like editorial intervention that takes into account things like meditating oral history through text. The final part of the essay is about a post documentary sensibility and he explores the question of what a contrasting approach to a documentary could be like. I think approaching sensibility was a good way to end the reading because it allowed for questions to be explored near the end of the reading that I thought added value to his stance on video and oral history documentation.

Reading 5 is also about oral history but it is distinct from reading 4 and provides the reader with more profound questions that anyone considering creating an oral history project can think about to produce better results through preparation. Doug Boyd presents to the reader some initial questions that anyone designing an oral history project could benefit from. I found this reading to be refreshingly easy to understand and well written. Some examples of questions Doug Boyd poses for the reader include questions like what is your level of technical expertise? Do you have enough digital storage? What are the legal and ethical questions you should be considering? What recording equipment will you use? And what is your desired outcome for this project? These are not all of the questions but these are some of the ones I found to be introspective in creating a better oral history project. For each question that he talks about in the reading, he provides links to essays that expand on the subject matter and go more in depth into the question. I like the way Doug Boyd planned the reading and found it to be an informative source for learning about creativity surrounding initiating a project having to do with oral history.

Finally, this paragraph will belong to reading 6 and 7 which I think are distinct in their own way. Beginning with reading 6 by Jonathan Stern we get an in depth reading about the meaning of a format and basically learn how MP3 became a distribution phenomenon in audio digital history. MP3 is the most common form in which recorded sound is available today. Ideas in this book have been work shopped in dozens of talks, and author Jonathan Stern is grateful to his hosts and interlocutors and friends he made in the process of writing the book as well as some cherished old friends, teachers and colleagues that he spent time with during his travels. I think the point Jonathan Stern is making is a valid one when considering the success of the MP3. Jonathan Stern shows us that there should be a place for digital technologies in our broader universe while weighing the sacrifices it would take to propel digital technological advancements to the next level. I like the way he goes way back into talking about the 1920’s and technological developments that were going on in that time including television evolution and telephonic transmission. There is so much to cover in this reading that it really makes the abundance in information about format theory an interesting topic to cover. Reading 7 by Wendy F. HSU explores the question of how digital technologies deepen ethnographic practices. This is interesting and a unique reading from the rest in the sense that this one brings in the question of culture into how digital technologies and ethnographic practices play a role in everyday rituals, transactions, events, and other daily commodities of daily life. Notably, the reading includes a detailed and descriptive view of the meaning of scalability, inter modality, and multi modality defining them as tasks requiring computational means that allow us to rethink how we sample culture, shift between a number of information contexts, and detect the juxtaposition of two or more modes of scrutiny that could enable the relational exploration across previously unrelated datasets. Then, the reading splits up into three long different parts in which I am not going into much detail but Ill say what they were. Part 1 of the reading is about the software methods used for data gathering in ethnography. Part 2 covers mapping as a mode of data discovery, and finally part 3 covers the magnification of physical materialist culture.

Mapping the Ancient Roman Empire: Digital Proposal

Hello everyone, I am planning on constructing a digital mapping project displaying the Ancient Roman Empire and highlighting multiple moments throughout my presentation in which I think makes sense since the Roman empire was active for so many years, and makes up an important part of human history. As for programs to use for this project I am thinking of using either Word Press, Google My Maps, or ArcGIS Story Maps. I think it would be a cool way to spend my time refreshing my knowledge on what I know about Roman history especially since I was fascinated with the history of civilizations since I was a teenager. I’m also thinking about pairing up the map with a piece of writing to go along with it that expresses the progressive evolution of the ancient empire, and I would like to provide more details about priorities for the empire in its efforts to sustain itself for how long it eventually did. I want to talk about the empires major success and failures, and maybe even include some memorable people that took over powerful roles in their life.

The Rich History - Map of the Roman Empire at it's Height | Roman empire, Roman  empire map, Byzantine empire
Roman Empire

I am thinking of presenting the class with images to present a picture or model of the span of the growth of the Roman Empire throughout the centuries and briefly touch on reasons why things change and why some things stay the same. I think some of the questions that I can ask myself with how to go about this project could possibly breed a creative side in my project development skills when coupled with a topic like this and for that, I would like to say that I enjoy this kind of proposal type blog because it gives us an opportunity to organize our thoughts on what ideas could work best for a digital history project. I also have developed a deep sense of comfort in deciphering the meaning of a map as I was taught early in my education to do so. I think it’s a valuable thing I could add for more value.

Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus)
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus

Finally, I can wrap up the most memorable parts of the history in the written add-on whilst creating the map to create a better visual representation of the memorable events and turning points in the Roman Empires’ existence. If anyone that likes my idea would like to work with me or give me suggestions or pointers on something I could include let me know in the comments I would greatly appreciate a comment with a suggestion. Fascinated with the topic and I’m confident I can do a good job as I organize my plans on execution through this proposal.

A Life on Our Planet: Print Proposal.

In September of the year 2020, Broadcaster, environmentalist, and naturalist David Attenborough released a documentary on Netflix that I found myself a big fan of and enlightened me to be a better person by taking into account the way we treat our natural world. The film takes into account the disaster that occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine in April 1986. A disaster was caused by a flawed reactor design that was operated by inadequately trained personnel. The result of this flaw and poor operation of the reactor resulted in a steam explosion and fires that released radiation into the environment. There were deaths as a result of exposure to radiation and an evacuation of approximately 350,000 people took place and as a result, Chernobyl was completely empty and abandoned. In this documentary, David Attenborough shares with us the natural development that occurred in Chernobyl years after the accident and dives into his witness statement to the world in the case of humans vs. the natural world.

Chernobyl disaster | Causes & Facts | Britannica
Chernobyl nuclear-station in Ukraine

For my print proposal, I would like to write an essay in which I cover my perspective on the unique tragic incident that makes for an interesting background information story in the documentary “A Life on Our Planet”. In the paper, I would consider the perspective of David Attenborough as he narrates through the film and focus on the things he says throughout the film that paints a bleak picture of the future of our world because I think he has shared valuable lessons with the world and I think he is a good role model. In the film, the narration is backed up by research and factual informative evidence that indicate that our world is headed in the wrong direction when taking into account the natural health of our planet on a wide scale including habitats for natural species, human life, and plants living on our planet. The information talked about in the narration can make for a good conversation in my essay about the film, the history of our biogeographical world, and possibly explore questions that may provide solutions to some of the shortcomings of the human race in its attempt to become more environmentally friendly. My vision and decision to write on this documentary stems from the sense of initiative that I got after watching the documentary to become a more environmentally friendly person.

Celebrate Sir David Attenborough's birthday: From 'Planet Earth' to 'The  Hunt', watch his best documentaries - The Hindu
David Attenborough spending time with a turtle resting by the sea-shore.

I am excited for this because I truly find this to be an incredible topic of research and a subject area in which I find myself intrigued to further develop a conversation in a well-written analytical paper. Also, I think this topic is interesting because it brings in a historical event that occurred to explain a natural phenomenon while also educating the viewers about the problems our world is facing. Let me know what you think in the comments!