B. Melissa E. Santiago
Most projects in digital humanities begin as a digital archive, creating a collection of documents that are digitized. In “What We Think We Will Build and What We Build in Digital Humanities” by William G. Thomas we learn that the work we make “is not the achievement of one’s desire: it is the shadow of that desire.” according to McGann. In that article we can see how someone else work is used to help understand a problem or even solve it. Look at how William G. borrowed a phrase from Herman Melville and Moby Dick. Two statements that stood out to me were “McGann’s premise might be restated: if you have produced what you thought you would, perhaps you’ve not created anything really; if a digital project becomes what was specified it might not be a digital humanities work.” and “What we think we will build and what we build are not the same, but we can and should celebrate and inquire into the difference.”
From the readings and the video we had to study for week three, I learned that digital humanities projects don’t only show some form of information, but they also bring people of all ethnicities together as one. According to William G. digital humanities projects are often characterized as collaborative. In digital humanities, groups are made, and they make the projects.
Digital humanities projects have brought about great relationships among Caribbean people, this can be seen in “Review of The Caribbean Memory Project “by Peter Hudson. According to Peter Hudson On the homepage of CMP, you can find, the “Tell Your Story” tab links to two pages: “Pass it On!” and “Tell Me, Nah!” The former invites written testimony on events and themes in Caribbean life and history. (a drop-down menu offers options for everything from the 1983 Grenada Revolution to “Embarrassing Moments”), while the latter leads to an audio archive, allowing visitors to the site to anonymously record ninety-second reminiscences, songs, poems, jokes, and anecdotes about the region (longer recordings produced elsewhere can also be uploaded to the site). This project not only helps share one’s history but to learn from others about their own and owns as well. Like Martin Luther King said We are not makers of history, we are made by history.” In this project history from various Caribbean islands were shared and studied by numerous individuals who came together for the love of history and digital humanities (to protect their history).
From my reading of William G Thomas’ article the difference between intent and actuality became very apparent.
According to Thomas, when presenting a digital humanities scholarly article based on someone else’s work, we do not capture the original author’s idea in its entirety. He mentions the phrase “bird’s-eye view” often in this article. This goes to show the limited insight a reviewer, of someone, else’s work has.
I chose to reflect on this specific area of the article due to its prevalence to students studying digital humanities.
As digital humanities deals with the preservation and digitisation of information one must make it their duty to maintain the authenticity and original idea of the author of the information all while analysing and reviewing their work.
This message should resonate with any person reflecting or reviewing an article or document that was not originally theirs. In this day and age it is important to make a contribution to the information available to others. This contribution does not necessarily have to be some entirely new or unheard of thought. Your contribution can simply be an addition to someone else’s thought. It is completely possible for someone to provide a new perspective on an already existing article or documents without discrediting the original data source.
Digital humanities (DH) is an area of scholarly activity that combines computing or digital technologies and the disciplines of the humanities. It includes the systematic use of digital resources in the humanities, as well as the reflection on their application.
This is why I believe that the field of digital humanities is useful and necessary. It allows for the preservation of History as well as the opportunity to add a new perspective to a seemingly black or white situation. Thomas addresses this in his article but he also cationns that we must be mindful of our intentions and what actually comes of our reflection or analysis of a piece of literature or history.
By Serena Maxwell
Throughout the ages, as man’s intellect has developed , so too has the technology become more sophisticated. The development of the internet has created more opportunities than ever before with the creation of databases , websites as well as other features.
It has now become possible to document historical data which can be keep in online archives , ready and available to be accessed by anyone at any time. It has now been made possible for the individuals from the Caribbean to document and share our history on the online databases. One such project is ‘The Caribbean Memory Project ‘(CMP) which was founded in 2014 by Kevin Adonis Browne, a writer and scholar of Caribbean rhetoric based at Syracuse University. The goal of this project was to preserve Caribbean history and cultural as well as sharing it with individuals from various backgrounds.
The article described the website as being easy to navigate and clean, a feature which is of paramount importance for the users of any website. Individuals using any website should be able to easily navigate the site in order to encourage them to continue using the site. The homepage of this website also serves as the portal to additional sub platforms. This site also allows individuals to contribute their own documents, videos, audio and mementos to the site for a fee. The website also provides a free service for those who wish to contribute to the site as well. The site contains information about relevant historical events such as the Grenadian revolution among others. This website is providing an incredible service to the people of the Caribbean by allowing us to learn and contribute towards our cultural history. It is important that we learn about our past , as after all, the past has shaped our present and today will shape our future.
The article listed the many research projects which can be accessed by individuals visiting this site. Digital humanities is especially important to us in our world today, particularly as Caribbean people. Through the use of websites and databases we can gain information as well as share it with others. It is also important that we truly understand it and recognize just how powerful of a tool that the internet is. In this way we will be able to use it efficiently and productively.
This site gives information on Caribbean architecture, the biographies of revolutionary figures in Caribbean politics and in various other aspects. Without the internet it would not be possible to access the great wealth of information that we currently have. As I continue with this digital humanities course I hope to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the advanced technology that I have access to in this era and to learn to utilize it to its maximum potential.
“By diligence and patience, the mouse bit in two the cable. “ -A proverb which so aptly applies here today. The vision that many people have for their digital humanities projects are far too unrealistic. People envisage that within two weeks of creating a digital humanities project, it will become a hit and immediately contribute to the international crowd. What people don’t envisage, however, is the hard work involved with maintaining a digital humanities project.
Take for example an archive. William Thomas, a primary contributor and historian at railroad.unl.edu (an American history archive) claims to have worked on the project for a total of 5 years before he really started to see the fruits of his labor. Obviously, being digitally benevolent means expecting nothing in return for your time and effort. However, the mere thought of people using the products of your hard work to better their own lives is a reward and it is sought after.
Uploading information in an organized format is time-consuming. Not only that, a digital humanist will have to manage the information and make sure it is available to an international crowd. If he/she doesn’t do this, the digital humanities project will be obsolete. Imagine having to update thousands of records manually. What a task!
In response to this common conundrum, digital humanists often assemble a team to help them do their jobs. For example, the Caribbean Memory Project (CMP) is a “clean, uncluttered and easy to navigate website. “ (Peter Hudson, 2017) This website is the result of several dedicated persons’ hard work. According to William Thomas, “Digital humanities projects are often characterized as collaborative. In many respects this is the most obvious change in scholarly practice – we work with librarians, programmers, and colleagues in other disciplines.” This extract further fortifies my expostulation that a successful digital humanities project would involve several people with varying occupations and areas of specialization.
By Rhesa Lawrence
Only if everything could go as planned; life would be simple. As much as we plan, brainstorm and create work webs, in a DH project what we think we build and what we build are usually different. This occurs because as a researcher we go into a project with a set outcome in mind, but other information beside what we are expecting will always reveal; therefore, no project will end up how the researcher expects it since in Digital Humanities all of our projects is a compilation of information is a way that makes sense.
Even through I have not begun my research for Carisealand; this article has showed me that the outcome of my research may not come out how I expect it to. However, I will gain information that will allow me to fully portray and explain how issues came about. I believe that this a good thing since th project will have more of a bird’s eye feel to it.
There are many points if view of historical events. This is where the compilation of information in Digital Humanities are very helpful; it is also why projects never really display the original idea of the researcher’s dream. This has led me to agree with Jerome Mc Gann when he said “In digital Humanities, what we think we build and what we build are often quite different.
by Kieron Clunes
Digital Humanity projects is in itself a collective effort. According to an article by William G. Thomas called What We Think We Will Build and What We Build in Digital Humanities, digital humanists are sometimes required to work with librarians, programmers and colleagues from many other disciplines.
Data and information is everywhere, it is worldwide and it is governed by people of different ethnicity, background and walks of life. We as digital humanists are given the task of finding this information, and more importantly, communicating with the individual who governs it. These individuals could be librarians, the elderly, powerful leaders and even escaped convicts. The possibilities are endless. It is this aspect of digital humanities which I find very intriguing. The aspect of meeting different people all with different stories to share is something I find fascinating. The history of the people should be treated the same way we treated fictional stories when we were children. This time, our heroes are real, our villains are real, and we are living out the sequel.
Upon gathering our information, we
are going to need ways in which we store, analyze and distribute it. This in
itself opens us up for even more interaction as we now have to communicate with
data analysts, data scientists, programmers, designers (depending on the
project) and then we must communicate this well put together work of scholarship
to the public, opening it up for criticism and acknowledgement.
This just goes to show that the
whole process of developing a digital humanist project requires one to
communicate, share, and relate to other individuals. This is the beauty of
digital humanities and this is what I look forward to.
By Shalian Shaw
‘What We Think We Will Build and What We Build in Digital Humanities’ by William G. Thomas specifically was an interesting piece to read. It was highlighted how in Digital humanities, when working on projects, the desired outcome of your project may be totally different than initially expected. In other words, what you are looking for to complete your work and pull it all together for example may not be what you find. You may find something greater than what you first expected which improves the quality and impact of your project. According to Jerome McGann the end product is only a shadow of the desired object. Also, the ‘ workin’ on the railroad ’ link at the beginning of the article was of particular interest to me. Using different mediums the story of the social effects of the railroad and the transformation of the United States was told. It also showcased ‘Brother Artists: Civil War Photographers and Sketch Artists in 1862’ which displayed pictures and drawing from the year 1862 which were documentations of the building of the railroads.
‘What you find is not always what you are looking for and what you are looking for is not always what you find’. This quote in ‘Review of The Caribbean Memory Project’ by Peter Hudson stood out to me. It reminded me of what was read earlier on, that what you think you will produce and what you actually produce are two different In further thinking I realized that this quote is also applicable to life and perhaps not always in a good way. For instance, you may be searching for happiness in a certain place, person or object and what you find there is completely the opposite. What I have personally taken away from this quote is that I should keep an open mind.
Cells are the building blocks of life itself, the essence of every single human on this planet. Just as cells create us, DH projects are similar in that they have key blocks that are necessary to create a ‘life’. These blocks are called the front end and the back end, the front end is essentially the polished finished external view that is presented to the public eyes of the scholarly world. However, the back end is made up of servers, browsers, databases, search engines, processing programs and networks as well as the user experience; as I read on the article. “ Analysis of DH Projects.”
A, B and C, or as they are known globally, the ABCs of the alphabet. These letters come together to create words, words are essential to everyone involved in the world of digital humanity regardless of their expertise. Communication is important, words come together to create communication whether it be good, bad, explanations or directions, words create. At the beginning , middle and end of every project or task, Trevor Owens, in his article “Please Write it Down: Design and Research in Digital Humanities”; frequent mention is made to the importance of proper documentation of projects. Documentation serves as a guide for the next step, looking back on past steps taken and many more reasons. Without documentation, did we really do that thing? Did Mae Carol Jemison really become the first person of color to travel in space back in 1992? Words are a digital humanists most reliable tool and over the course of this class I hope to develop this tool of mine through reading and observation. Writing is an important part of any process.
Beginning this journey to becoming a digital humanist, my peers and I will be exposed to various tools to use, this includes various software such as Omeka. Omeka provides open-source web publishing platforms for sharing digital collections and creating media-rich online exhibits.
by Tracey Daway
By Alaina Mathew
When we visualize something, what we seek to create (our vision) is often very different from what is presented. This is because the forms and practices and procedures of creation in the digital medium remain profoundly unstable and speculative. Most projects in digital humanities begin as a digital archive, creating a collection of documents that are digitized.
One of these digital humanities projects is the Caribbean Memory Project (CMP). CMP is Described as “the Caribbean’s first crowd-sourced heritage research platform,”, with an aim “to activate and engage the memory of cultural heritage among a mixed audience and to aid in counteracting the effects of erasure and forgetting occurring in a growing number of contemporary Caribbean communities.”
This is a great platform and this project is a very great idea, as a way to educate individuals on Caribbean history. Like I stated in the opening sentence, normally our vision is often very different from the outcome. Is the aim of CMP fulfilled? The problem begins with the whole aspect of “crowd-sourced” information. Depending on the audience, specifically targeting the Caribbean audience to submit information is challenging. Not many people feel compelled to do so. I personally visited the site, and can say that the information there is limited, especially under the “tell your story” category where people record a memory and post it to the site. CMP website is like a social media app. Think of it in that way. It is a simple way to find information and is very easy to navigate. Under the countries, when you click on Dominica, the only thing you find there are old pictures of Dominica in the ‘80s and so on. However, under the educational resources, there you will find an array of information on the islands in the Caribbean. When you click on “Dominica: a road to independence” it will take you to a separate tab with Dominica’s history, which is where all the real information on the island is. This projected was a collaborative effort by Create Caribbean and the Division of Culture. It is because of their efforts that anyone can find any information and archives of our beautiful island.
CMP is not trying to just preserve the past or document history through a wikipedia-ized process, but they seek to “demonstrate the richness and complexity of the Caribbean past as the living referent and footnote of the present, to make a political argument about regional memory and local history for Caribbean citizens and nations.”
This Digital Humanities Project serves as an area with large scale information on the Caribbean and Caribbean culture, enabling anyone who visits the site to find history of the Caribbean and the islands that make up the region. It is very useful and relevant and I wish to see more projects like these, maybe even come up with my own.
By Jerelle O’Brien
From the beginning of this digital humanities course, what digital humanist do, and how to produce scholarly work are two subjects always being touched on.
When we produce a work of scholarship in whatever form, Jerome McGann reminds us that “to make anything is also to make a speculative foray into a concealed but wished for unknown.” The work that we make, McGann tells us, “is not the achievement of one’s desire: it is the shadow of that desire.”
In my readings, this was a text that really brought about thinking. What is stated here has sort of an underlying meaning. One cannot just watch and read it and completely understand what is trying to be said. From this text, it is taken and understood that, our work is a reflection of what we want to do. It is not simply a production, or a basic achievement. That work can be used to stimulate a mind, help another reach their potential desire. And when that desire is found, something can come from it.
We do work to accomplish something. Your work is something that was created because of your aspiration. Your work brings about the tangible part of what is wanted. That is why it is referred to as a shadow. A shadow is present because something is there. Therefore, your aspiration is the physical aspect and your work is the shadow- a reflection.
In life, it is important to separate the two, in order to obtain work that is not just thought of as an obligation, but sort of comes from a purpose.
These posts in my perspective always return to the principles of digital humanities. One must not look to their work as simply a production from a long process but as a process which yields scholarly work that helps others, and the producer’s perspective on their own piece.