More digital archives to explore via Slate

Slate’s The Vault, as promised,  links five more digital projects for us to explore!! Follow the link to enjoy.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2014/12/30/historical_documents_online_five_digital_archives_we_loved_in_2014.html

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SLATE’s The Vault: Five of 2014’s Most Compelling Digital History Exhibits and Archives

From Slate‘s history blog, The Vault, Rebecca Onion features five digital collections and/or historical websites:

2014 brought us a wealth of new digital archives and document-rich historical websites to peruse. Here, in no particular order, are five of the best such sites I saw this year.”

Follow the link to enjoy. She promises a link to five more sites tomorrow.

Historical documents online: Five best digital archives from 2014.

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Darwin Manuscripts Project – The American Museum of Natural History

http://www.amnh.org/our-research/darwin-manuscripts-project

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Death Becomes Her: slideshow of exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I wish I could go to New York to see this collection of Victorian mourning attire.  But at least we can see slideshows: another benefit of the digital age!

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2014/death-becomes-her/gallery-views

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Death Becomes Her Gallery Views | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Death Becomes Her Gallery Views | The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I wish I could go to New York to see this exhibition. But this is one more advantage of the digital age: slideshows!

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Phillip K. Dick in the OC

I just attended a terrific panel on “Teaching with the Internet and Technology” at the PAMLA Conference in Riverside, CA. One of the presenters, Dr. David Sandner from CSU Fullerton, described a class project he incorporated into a more traditional literary analysis class: he had his students research and create a website,   called Phillip K. Dick in the OC. This is an excellent example of digital literacy practices in the classroom, and demonstrates the participatory learning ethos of the digital humanities. It is created in Google Sites, utilizing freely available free tools: choices made in order to demonstrate to other faculty, students, and administrators what can be done without a knowledge of coding. The site incorporates some original research as well as collecting materials and resources scattered across the web.

Some of the discussion at the panel revolved around the problem of student motivation. While students in Dr. Sandner’s class were graded upon their contributions to this website, they worked in groups according to interests and abilities. Some of the students have continued to work on the site since the class ended. One of the points the panel participants made was that students are willing to work, if the assignments have real world impact. Students often perceive papers and assignments read only by their professors as “busywork.” In my next post, I will write about an initiative at Northern Arizona University that also demonstrates the extent to which students can be motivated to work hard–in this case, to produce a professional academic symposium about video gaming without any extra credit.


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Distant reading and the blurry edges of genre.

This is a really fascinating discussion of the kinds of insight distant reading practices can bring to problematic literary boundaries such as the fuzzy concept of “genre.” I have been puzzling myself over how to model the idea of “literary influence.”

The Stone and the Shell

There are basically two different ways to build collections for distant reading. You can build up collections of specific genres, selecting volumes that you know belong to them. Or you can take an entire digital library as your base collection, and subdivide it by genre.

Most people do it the first way, and having just spent two years learning to do it the second way, I’d like to admit that they’re right. There’s a lot of overhead involved in mining a library. The problem becomes too big for your desktop; you have to schedule batch jobs; you have to learn to interpret MARC records. All this may be necessary eventually, but it’s not the ideal place to start.

But some of the problems I’ve encountered have been interesting. In particular, the problem of “dividing a library by genre” has made me realize that literary studies is constituted by exclusions that…

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