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Make New Media, but Keep the Old

Make New Media, but Keep the Old: Replacing Media’s “Old” vs “New” Dichotomy While universities devote whole departments to the study of New Media, focusing on “newness” overlooks the crucial charaterstics of media. Obviously, some media have come later than others. The book came before film and the television came before the computer. However, all media are constantly changing. Though the basic construction of a medium may go long periods of time without drastic change, a book has almost always consisted of a paper bound to a front and back cover with the text moving in a linear fashion, no… Read Make New Media, but Keep the Old

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The App Project

For the Digital Humanities Seminar that I am taking, the instructor, William G. Thomas (who has blogged about the class), assigned us a project in which we, as a class, were to build an iPad/iPhone App during the first month of class. From the beginning the project was intimidating, exciting, and occasionally terrifying. Two Thursdays ago (September 29th), we presented our unfinished App. The fact that our App was unfinished really highlights the true beauty of this assignment: Failure was explicitly allowed and encouraged. I am not even sure if building an App in a month from scratch (no one… Read The App Project

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SpecLab and Great Design

[In place of a reflection, this week for the Digital Humanities Seminar we were instructed to pick out three examples of great design after reading Johanna Drucker’s SpecLab] What Middletown Read: A project I found a few month’s back, I really enjoy this project from a theoretical and practical stand point. From a design perspective, I find its simple design to be sneaky good. While its earth tones and simple search interface may seem plain, its plainness is its beauty. The project explores the “plainness” of everyday life, taking something many people do everyday, check out library books, to analyze… Read SpecLab and Great Design

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Spatial History

[This post is a reading reflection written for UNL’s Digital Humanities Seminar. This week’s readings were Richard White, “What is Spatial History?, David Staley’s “Historical Visualizations,” and Phil Ethington’s Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge] Of all the the subfields of history, spatial history benefits most from the emergence of digital tools. As Richard White humbly points out, the spatial turn in history is a turn and not a discovery. Historians, he mentions William Cronon and Fernand Braudel in particular, have used spatial analysis in works before long before the emergence of the digital humanities. In fact,… Read Spatial History


The Social Life of Information

[This post is a reading reflection written for UNL’s Digital Humanities Seminar. This week’s readings were John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid’s The Social Life of Information, Jean-Baptiste Michel et al.’s “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” and Roy Rosenzweig’s “Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era.”] John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid attempt to inject realism into the often idealized study of new technology. Particularly striking is their assertion new technology can “learn from the old” (3). Too frequently we get swept up by the possibilities of new technology rather than thinking about… Read The Social Life of Information

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Radiant Textuality

[This post is a reading reflection written for UNL’s Digital Humanities Seminar. This week’s readings were Jerome McGann’s Radiant Textuality, Geoffery Rockwell’s “What is Text Analysis, Really?”, Steve Ramsay’s “Algorithmic Criticism“, and Matthew Kirschenbaum’s piece in the Companion to the Digital Humanities.] Perhaps tension is the wrong word, but there is an peculiar rhetorical tension between one of the driving questions behind Jerome McGann’s book and his answer. McGann, correctly, points out that “the general field of humanities education and scholarship will not take the use of digital technology seriously until…they expand our interpretational procedures” (xii). However, in order to… Read Radiant Textuality


The Medium is the Massage

[This post is a reading reflection written for UNL’s Digital Humanities Seminar. This week the reading was The Medium is the Massage] The pictures, unusual layouts, and other visual irregularities of The Medium is the Massage seek to shock the reader. In a book focused on examining the importance of new media, adhering to the traditions of old media, print, would have been irresponsible. Though occasionally employing what occasionally seem to be over the top measures, the book upsets the normal print media to drive home the point that the medium is the vital to the content. However, for all… Read The Medium is the Massage

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The Humanities, the Laboratory and “Culturomics”

[This post is the first of many reading reflections written for UNL’s Digital Humanities Seminar. I will be posting my reflections each week. Jason Heppler and William Thomas will also be blogging about the class. This week the readings were Reinventing Knowledge and “As We May Think.”] Predicting the future is, unsurprisingly, difficult. Writing in the mid-twentieth century, Vannevar Bush describes a future machine, the “memex,” which congregates, organizes, and dispenses information that bears remarkable similarities to the current technology. Writing over sixty years later, Ian McNeely looks backwards more so than forwards, though he seems comfortable projecting the laboratory’s… Read The Humanities, the Laboratory and “Culturomics”

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Return of the Blog

After nearly two blog post-less months, I have finally gotten my act together. The MA graduation celebration is finally ending and it’s a return to the normal rhythm of the semester. This semester, that rhythm includes blog posts on Friday (and Thursday, but more on that further down). To keep the blog fresh, I have decided to alter the way I write my weekly posts. Instead of writing simply what I feel like every week (though I certainly reserve the right to ramble), I have chosen to have four different types of full length blog posts each month. The first… Read Return of the Blog

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