Young Adult Cloud

I am so bad at creating things. Beyond my love for writing, I hate having to create anything. I am the epitome of a Pinterest fail. So, with that in mind, it’s probably pretty obvious that this assignment has been the most difficult for me this semester. When considering the purpose of Digital Humanities and what type of DH project I would create if I were given a grant, I kept thinking about what would be useful for me as a teacher and for my students. As I’ve alluded to in other posts throughout the semester, I do not have a traditional pedagogy for literacy skills in my English 12 classes. I do not teach whole-class novels and I do not teach the classics. Instead, I teach reading skills and students apply them and are assessed on them by reading books independently at a pace that’s appropriate for them individually and of books of interest to them. These books are mainly Young Adult and I use book talks as a way to generate excitement for titles and my extensive knowledge of the Young Adult genre to match books to students. Having seniors, I’ve often wondered about how students will select their own books next year in “the real world” without my book talks and guidance. I’ve created such independent readers and thinkers, but how easily will they be able to identify what interests them in the vast seas of a bookstore or a library? These questions are the driving force for my Digital Humanities project. Continue reading “Young Adult Cloud”

Preserving Fandom as a Cultural Heritage

I’m pretty sure my idea will be the roughest out of everyone’s. The first week “off” we had from assignments in order to work on the proposal, I kept spinning my wheels and hitting walls. I had a hard time coming up with something that hadn’t been done before, or done in a way that I could improve upon or repurpose. I was feeling decidedly unimaginative and un-smart in terms of Digital Humanities.

As I was working with Mukurtu for the CMS evaluation, I got inspired by thoughts of culture and heritage. As one of my research interests is fandom studies, it occurred to me that fandom is a culture (which contains many subcultures, depending on the specific fandom or ways people choose to participate), and fans thus have a heritage. Fandom has changed quite a bit since the Internet, and as many older fans are passing away, many of the older stories are lost, as are some of the artifacts. For the purposes of this project, the fandom community I will focus on are members of MediaWest*Con (, a fan-run convention whose history dates back to 1978.

Ultimately, the final product I imagine is a website on which a CMS (Mukurtu repruposed, or something like it) for use by scholars and the fandom community alike in order to archive fandom artifacts (digitized photos, fanzines, correspondence, fan art, news articles, etc.), which would be available and searchable for scholarly research. Members of the fandom community could contribute artifacts themselves, but one of the best features of Mukurtu is the ability for community members to add metadata in the form of a “cultural narrative.” For example, imagine that a collection of photos from a particular convention costume contest was archived. If a community member knows something about the photos – information about how a costume was made, a story about a situation that was occurring during the contest, etc. – the user can add that as a cultural narrative through a text editor, thus giving researchers (and other fans) more rich detail about the artifact, which would ordinarily be lost when all one has is the artifact.

To begin, I will have to assemble a team of coders and scholars to adapt Mukurtu to the purpose. I am uncertain if I will need software developers or not – I’m assuming not, if I am going with repurposing Mukurtu, but I could be wrong about this. I would also likely need to recruit some fan community members for the development and beta testing phases – likely someone among the convention organizers or committee members who would have access to artifacts to be added to the site and/or be knowledgable enough to add to what is already there.

I would also need to determine if I am to assume that my institution will provide me with server space and a database to populate, as well as IT support, or if my fictional team and I are completely on our own in that regard. (I guess that’s a question for Dr. Schocket.)

This is about as far as I’ve gotten, seeing as this particular idea was just born Sunday night. I welcome any and all suggestions and feedback, and QUESTIONS!!! Anything would be greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, I plan to hit this pretty hard tomorrow and develop it some more.

The Anti-Canon

I will be honest: at this point, my digital start-up project is rough around the edges. Ideas came to me easily, but deciding how these ideas could be truly innovative, or innovative at all, was a whole different story. Over the past few weeks, this has caused me a great deal of brain-ache. Basically, I have found myself gripping my lunch tray in the academic cafeteria, staring longingly at the DHers table. When it comes to even pretending to be in the Digital Humanities, I don’t fit in. I am still trying, though, and I will share with you what I am working on.

My plan for my project is to create an Anti-Canon. It will be a continually updated database of alternative texts to those that comprise what we traditionally call the literary canon. The goal of this database will be to not only provide alternative texts to students and teachers of literature, but also to question the very idea of a solid, permanent canon. Read more about my plans…

Creating Relationships in Education

My digital humanities project is related to the field of education, teacher improvement, resource preservation, technology integration and student success. More specifically I am working on creating an interface that allows educators to “find their match”. It will mimic an online dating website, but with educational professionals.  The goal of this project is to connect teachers to other professionals who use technology in their classrooms. After they make the connection, the experts will act as a mentor to the teacher. In turn the resources that are shared will allow both to benefit from this connection.  Continue reading “Creating Relationships in Education”

CMS evaluation assignment

Hi, everyone.

I have to say, the CMS evaluation has been one of my favorite assignments so far. The platform I chose was Mukurtu, which is geared toward archival and cultural preservation work. I found it very interesting and I encourage you all to take a look at it if you have a chance.

The best part: while I was exploring Mukurtu for the assignment, I got inspiration and ideas for my digital start-up proposal. I’d been struggling to come up with a worthwhile idea for that project, and in the process of doing this evaluation, it made me consider things like how “culture” and “heritage” may be defined, and the different communities we all belong to. I now have fresh ideas and renewed energy, and am excited to dig back in to the proposal.

Scalar downtime, and how to know between downtime and disappearance

David graciously posted for all of us last night, notifying us of troubles accessing Scalar, which seemed at the time to have disappeared.  When you’re looking for a needed tool, especially under deadline, and it appears to have vanished or changed or its functionality is impaired, what to do? My answer: there are steps you can take to see the nature of the problem. Continue reading “Scalar downtime, and how to know between downtime and disappearance”

Scalar is no longer available

Hi everyone I wanted to alert you to a problem with one of our Content Management Systems.  Scalar is no longer working and redirects to a dead website. If you haven’t started the assignment yet or were like me and wrote half the paper earlier in the week you might be out of luck.  If anyone finds a way to access the website or if it goes back up let me know.