Week 8

I think digital storytelling is a great asset and way for museums to implement their digital presence. When I see any digital media, I’d personally expect it to be easy to understand, use, and follow. I also expect it to be interesting. I cannot stress enough the issue of the digital divide in society today. It’s important to be able to reach out to all audiences, as this is becoming a type of alternative information. It’s important to be considerate to everyone of all technical skills and experience. With digital storytelling and other digital components, there is also the issue of losing the face to face and live interaction. I think it’s important to add an interactive component or at least make it somewhat engaging to ensure that users get as much as they can out of the digital.

I have personally taken online classes before, but I have never gotten as much out them as I would like to. Especially coming from someone in the social sciences, a lot of the dialogue that comes from in class discussions is where I retain a lot of the material. It helps expand ideas through critical thinking and sharing thoughts. When online, this interaction is missed. A class I’d possibly take online and get a lot out of is a computer class. Personally, I am a fast learner in the technical aspect. With numerous tutorial videos we have used in DH classes and the many application tutorials I have watched online for work, I have learned as much as I can in a short amount of time, probably of equal quality as if someone were to sit down next to me and teach me. With technology, a lot of the questions I have can be answered through trial and error, whereas a academic subject question cannot be solved this way.

 

A lot of digital storytelling pieces are of personal stories, and I explored a few on a website called Story Center. One I found interesting is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AaJDKkM8zs&feature=youtu.be

This particular storytelling video is a very personal one, and talks about her personal experience. In a digital humanities class, we collect stories and both qualitative and quantitative data. This site is a collection of stories and does just that.

Week 7

The NY Times article, “Tuning Out Digital Buzz, for an Intimate Communion With Art,” by Holland Cotter is a piece that I, along with many others in this generation can resonate with. This piece reminded me of the many articles published by pop culture websites and video showing “what we miss because of technology.” We are so invested in documenting our milestones and everyday activities instead of experiencing the moment itself. The video (now widely seen) showing what we miss is very powerful, especially to those of our generation, as many do not realize what happens.

However, there are arguments that this obsession with technology/social media/and “materialism” is somewhat of a fad. There are claims by millenials ourselves opposing to this culture. Since time has passed after the boom of social media, we are at the peak of utilization, yet more and more people are spending less time habitually browsing social media now. The way we use social media and technology is shifting as well, as more corporate companies and businesses use it as a tool to reach out to people. The very fact that people are calling our overuse of technology shows that this “problem” as some may call is being recognized in society. I believe this is the same for museums as well.

Growing up, I didn’t go to museums much simply because there weren’t many museums where I lived. However, the ones I did go to were very small, and the typical old fashioned museum. Little to no technological pieces were incorporated into the exhibits. With my museum visits, I noticed differences in the two museums I visited. One was very interactive and technology heavy, whereas the other was more of a classic stationary museum. I think it’s very important that we have both types, and think that this shift is going to continue no matter what, but, the old fashioned museum will always be around as well. The museums will shift to keep the value of the old fashioned type, while still incorporating new advancements.

Like Cotter, I believe there is a point to which we lose retention and the value of the museum visit due to too much technology, or too much “other stuff” incorporated when showing the objects. We remember the technology or the “cool” added tool to the object rather than the object itself. It’s overwhelming and it brings up other concerns, like generation gaps with technology. However, just like how the technological age that we live in now may be just a fad which is growing, yet changing, I believe this will translate to museums as well.

Week 4

I surprisingly enjoyed reading Baca’s piece this week. I thought it was very interesting actually reading through somewhat of a “manual” type piece and learn how to properly catalog cultural objects and the items to take into consideration when doing so. There is a specific set of criteria that one should include to make an effective catalog. Throughout the reading, I couldn’t help but to think that there are lots of things that closely resemble a catalog we use on an everyday basis.

One example is IMDb, the website that we refer to for movie ratings, celebrities, and other television and film entertainment information. Though people are not objects, it has the same structure. If we type in a celebrity name, it lists all of the movies they have starred in, what role, with whom, any awards they have received, and associated record labels. For more popular celebrities, it will have their birthday, ethnicity, place of birth, their family, height information. The larger the celebrity, the more information they will have. In turn, some actors who have only taken on small roles have very bare pages, if even a page at all.

This setup of a site like IMDb also fosters the hierarchal relationship described in Baca’s piece. On IMDb’s homepage, it will highlight pages on more relevant celebrities, movies, and things that are new.Those of more “importance” or in this example, “popularity” or “relevance,” will take precedence over smaller stars. When we look at a movie, the actors are listed from main to smaller roles. Even within smaller roles, those who are more popular will be listed first. There are different classifications within works- whether it be an independent movie, straight to DVD work, and producer, actor, or songwriter to name a few.

All of these relationships are linked together so we can see it as a network, much like connections between artistic or cultural works in a catalog, as Baca describes. Of course, this is not a catalog, as it is created through user contribution., however, there are some characteristics that resemble the factors described in the reading, as many may not realize.

Week 3

Mia Ridge’s article “Where next for open cultural data in museums?” talks about the movement and history of museums’  utilization of open cultural data. Through proper licensing, this has become more prominent, expanding availability of content to the public. This is great for a number of reasons- it’s a cost friendly way to see the objects and material for those who may not have access to museums, for research purposes, and, when archived in one place, there is much that can be done (hence our DH101 project). Ridge also brings up some of the downsides, including under usage due to incompatible licenses, poor quality, and ambiguity in the collections.

I read an article a while ago called “7 Reasons Not To Use Open Source Software.” (http://www.cio.com/article/2378859/open-source-tools/7-reasons-not-to-use-open-source-software.html) Open source software, though in a different realm than cultural objects, aims to provide the same thing- alternative options to paid commercial software, where it is usually in development. The article outlines a lot of the same downsides including lack of support and discrepancies in comparison to big name software on the market. It is important to consider that the open source software are alternatives and different options, but do not replace big name software on the market.

Per our brief class discussion last week on accessibility, and digitization of museum content, I like how Mia Ridge brought up these issues, despite the great advantages open cultural data may bring to society, because it’s a lot of things many people don’t think about. I am all for open data, being a college student in social sciences, and can benefit greatly from it, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that because these archives are massive in size, they are not perfect, and there are reasons why they are underutilized. Like open source software, is important to keep in mind that these archives do not replace a museum or the museum experience.

Week 2

James Boon’s “Why Museums Make me Sad,” elaborates on some discussion held in class last week about the exhibition of objects in museums, and how they are portrayed the public. This reminded me of something I saw a few days ago. While doing my daily browsing on my social media, a fellow acquaintance (and huge social activist) posted this article with some very opinionated comments.

To summarize, Boglarka Balough, a Hungarian journalist, released an article called “I Morphed Myself Into Tribal Women To Raise Awareness Of Their Secluded Cultures,” in which she photoshops herself to represent different styles and standards of beauty for women in African tribes. There were lots of problems with this project, as what Balough did was a form of blackface and cultural misappropriation. However, her intentions were just to share with the world a culture that she found to be fascinating.

We walk a fine line when exhibiting objects in museums. It is the museum’s purpose to preserve history and to educate and share with the public. However, some of these objects are not always acquired through righteous methods, like pillaging. By exhibiting things in a museum, curators “glamorize” these objects, when its origins are ethically questionable. With the application of modern technology, this is something curators must consider even more heavily. Balough physically did not dress or perform blackface- she did so through photoshop, by meshing her face onto the faces of other existing women. Though not to this extent, what we call “fun” museum sites, like the Wig making website, can easily go wrong and offend many people if not done properly.

A lot things are open to interpretation, and thus creates a large spectrum of reaction from the viewers. Though we cannot always “please everyone,” it is crucial to be considerate of all audiences and be mindful of the sensitivity that exists when displaying objects, no matter what they are.