Project Reflection

My Ghost Data project is able to be accessed through the blog australianghostdata.blogspot.com.au. It contains an interactive narrative that incorporates historical newspapers and provides a link to the original source, a Google Maps interactive map, that shows the location of the recorded site of ghost and other cryptic encounters across Australia and the world published in Australia, and a few charts made with the data gathered. My Project is aimed at allowing people to stumble upon tales they may not otherwise find. Another aim is as an area often overlooked by social historians and as such it would be good to bring some of these old tales to light as I feel they do have potential to be informative.

I had no difficulty finding articles on the Trove website, however, due to the broad range of content I was searching for, and the specific nature of requirements, I had to sift through many articles and duplicate stories until I could find enough that would work with my project plan. The use of Google Maps was amazing, I feel that it really has helped my project visualise data in a way that it wouldn’t have done otherwise. It even allowed me to then download a data sheet of the points I had listed and with the use of a quick conversion tool provided me with a CSV file. The kind of data I wanted was a bit precise which made it a very manual undertaking and this did cause things to slow down. I really wanted to include graphs in my Twine game but I was so impressed with Google Maps and the fact that it allowed people to stumble upon things as per my original aim that I decided I would not include graphs in the twine document as I feel that although they present information that do not portray it as well as I would have liked. During the project I sought feedback from fellow students, family members and teachers which I feel really went well and aided in the development of the project.

Looking back at my original aims I feel my project has generally been successful and meets my original aims as outlined in my project plan;

“My online project aims to show the history of ghosts in Australia through published articles on ghost sightings and other paranormal sightings. I want the data on the subject to be useful in what it reveals, but also to have an interactive element that makes it enjoyable to use. I realise it may be difficult to achieve all of this so somewhere in the development I may have to further refine and prioritize what I hope it to accomplish. I am aiming to include all relevant Australian newspaper stories referring to ghosts, spirits, bunyips and Min Min lights that then speak of them in a factual or questioning news style and not as a short fictional story.”

I feel that the project does help to portray the history of ghosts and other cryptids in a context of published newspaper articles and that I was able to limit my intake of stories to those that spoke of the encounters in a factual or questioning news style. However I did have to limit my intake of stories to a sample size due to time constraints as such I was unable to comprehensively include every recorded encounter. I feel that the sample I took was a good representative sample and that it still raises interesting questions.

My original aims have been assisted by the addition of an interactive map as per suggestion. The map can be used by people to look at what ghost stories are nearby to them or place they are interested in then with a click they are taken to the article that directly relates to that place. The spread of locations clearly visible on the map draws interest as there are clear patterns such as the large prevalence for ghost stories from the U.K and Western Europe published by Australian newspapers as well as the clear areas bunyips were said to lurk. It really has accomplished my aims in a way that would not have been met by my original Project plan alone.

To extend the project I would have liked to have used a larger data set, it was unfortunate I was not able to do this. I would have also liked to have made the story a little more cohesive perhaps with an aim so as to make it more like a game. Unfortunately it is something that would take a decent amount of time to fit together and in doing so may subtract from the purpose. However, it is still something that I feel would have been beneficial to pursue. Through the creation of the project I built up a comprehensive CSV document and it would be good to use this to further assist the aims of the project as the data in it could be very interesting to those who want to explore the topic. However, I feel that although it does provide information I again would prefer it be extended so that it contained data that presented a more accurate and complete picture of ghosts in Australia.

The project has been most enjoyable and has really brought together personal skills and interests. It has been a learning experience particularly when going through all the possibilities for tools and programs to use and which suit my aims the best. I have really taken away an increased appreciation and interest in digital heritage and would like to learn more and further pursue this field of study.

Week 12 Reflection

I found the information presented in ‘Unremembering the forgotten’ Very interesting the fact with just a few lines of code the gender ratio of the scientists involved could be found shows just how easy it can be to find interesting things. The nature of the talk and how it addresses the unpopular side of Australian history, stories that are outside discourse and what digital heritage can possibly do for this kind of history, I found particular interesting the fact that access can never simply be given and that it must be taken to a certain extent. There is much to find on the surface but there is much more beneath, a sort of web based archaeology I guess, it really is exciting. It really can lead to all sorts of things bubbling forth, challenging, intriguing and creepy things, I agree that it really has a potential to make a difference.

For example 80-90percent of the population of the Americas died from smallpox or other factors of european settlement. This figure is absolutely horrific but it does not connect with people. As you have stated faces really do something to people they prompt such a large amount of emotion, therefore it would be interesting and confronting to bring a face to the estimated  2-100 million native americans that died. Perhaps faces that are in turn made of faces and those faces are composed of faces etc, like those montages that create a face out of other images except it just goes deeper and deeper. There are many possibilites perhaps using maps, graphs or other forms of data visualisation.

It really does make you think of the power that digital tools have to make a difference to the way we see each other, the past and ourselves.

Week 10 Reflection

I really enjoyed the subject matter for this week. I do think that 3D imaging has a lot to offer museums in terms of accessibility as museums only have so much room to actually display things. Making the extended collections available online is much more helpful for those doing research interstate or internationally. It isn’t the same emotionally as seeing the item in person but I believe it offers a lot. It is also a good insurance as if the item happens to be damaged or the whole museum is lost you have a record that has been conserved and can be 3D printed such as the arch of triumph from Palmyra. I think this is important moving forward as humanity has already lost far too much of its past.

I love the idea of creating 3D worlds such as the recreation of life in Angkor I think that while it definitely has limits as to what is known and portrayed it is another way of making the past come to life. With time and increased immersion from VR perhaps they will allow people to connect with the past in ways which we are not yet capable of doing. Being able to walk around a WW1 trench and see what it was like or see how conditions on an old first fleet ship were are a couple of experiences I think would be quite powerful.

I recall footage of the game Rome Total War II being used in a documentary. I have seen it in multiple documentaries including one on Carthage being destroyed by Rome. It shows that there is a desire for these representations for use by historians. Since games generate revenue they tend to be able to have a high quality however this does bring up issues around profits and museums.

 

 

Week 9 Reflection

Finding out this week about just how far face detection has come and how much companies and governments are investing in the technology was a little creepy. The bad dystopian sci-fi names ( such as ‘the capacity’) for them aside it was really cool how some designers had come up with styles that allowed you to avoid facial recognition software. They looked equally as sci-fi as the technology sounds, it will be interesting to see if eventually the technology develops to see through these disguises. Although as humans see face in things that machines can’t see I guess it would be a very long process to get that far.

I found the idea of redaction art very interesting as it is something that has gone undiscovered only to be brought to light through detection software and the human eye.

I liked the idea of image classification and were it a completely free service would be interested in playing around with it. One idea I had was for its use with historical artworks such as representations by ancient cultures of the sun, I am not sure why but it seems like it would have the potential to find some interesting things.

I also laughed at the prospect that the positive and negative folders made me realise that everything in the world can be sorted into two categories, goldfish and not goldfish.

Reflection for week 7

I really enjoyed looking at the uses for maps in this week’s information. In particular, The True Size of… was really cool I liked seeing how big various countries wee compared to each other and just how big Australia is, I wish that it worked on states in Australia or the equivalent in other countries as well. I got excited when I thought it would work until I realised it was only American states.

I also really thought the process of georectifying historical maps was clever, it is something that I had never thought about before. To be able to use historical maps with modern geospatial systems by distorting and aligning them to be functional opens up many possibilities it would be interesting to this with some of the earlier historic maps located at the New York Public Library and then use them to be able to show data relevant to the map and the world at the time.

Reflection Week 6

I enjoyed this weeks class on data visualisation, I particularly liked comparing the different methods of showing data and the positives and negatives of each variant we assessed. Mapping Police Violence I found very powerful, the flashing lights representing deaths really showed data in a much more emotional and tangible way. For this reason, it was my favourite although the others were interesting I think that it and the Origin of species really communicated the data well and in the most powerful ways.

Of all the various chart type available to use I really enjoy the way the Reingold-Tilford tree shows hierarchies and I will definitely use it whenever practical in the future. Raw makes it so easy and fast to try various visualisations I really think it will be useful. I definitely prefer plot.ly. to charted though, I appreciate the greater freedom as well as tools you have at your disposal with plot.ly.

 

Week 5 Reflection

Querypic was lots of fun to search through the various Trove records and see it as tangible data, although the results can’t necessarily be proof of anything they are an extremely fast, easy to use and broad way to look for patterns in digital heritage that may be useful for further investigation and study.

Similarly, Googles Ngram viewer was great and even more helpful in looking for patterns to investigate with more detail. I found it very interesting for example that milk  and sugar results peaked during world war one then went back down to then peak again during world war two. I mean probably just wartime rationing but then egg is much more consistent, even if it ends up being something simple or not worth further investigation it is potential data I would have actually not known about without the use of Google Ngram viewer.

With a little research, it seems eggs were rationed as were available as opposed to milk and sugar, interesting!

 

Week 3 Reflection

Week 3:

The nature of filter bubbles was very interesting, I noticed a lot of results were referring to the experiment in the form of screenshots of the comparisons. I wonder what the results were like in the past and if it has shifted not just from what caused controversy recently but how the results would have shown up several years ago. It could be interesting to use google search results of the same phrase from different times as a sort of historical snapshot to then interpret.

Serendipity is pretty intriguing  I searched the only quote I can remember from Gladiator and it came up with several images of various nondescript scenes marked as Title not known, date unmarked there is no way I would logically come across these if I was searching for a certain title the words “are, you, not, entertained” are hardly words I would search in a database. Yet here are photos I would never have seen, it’s obviously hard to use this when researching something but using it to find something to research or just maybe lucking out and finding something relevant is very cool!

James,

Week 2 Reflection

Week 2 Reflection

The following are my thoughts on several things covered this week.

I found  Trove Traces very interesting. While not all that surprising, the thought of being able to see what all the information was being used for opened up interesting questions. This also creates possibilities to determine and then better provide the kind of information that the public finds useful.

I am very interested in the applications of crowdsourcing, Zooniverse and its use of crowdsourcing made many seem like interactive games yet they are productive. I don’t have any clear idea yet, but I am thinking of possibilities in this style for my project.

The use of bots for heritage was sort of interesting since I already knew the standard applications of bots I at first thought “well it retrieves a random link, its cool, but what is the point?”. After thinking on it for a while I could see the potential, especially with the @everythreeminutes bot. This bot I found incredibly powerful, bringing information like this into everyday life and the digital sphere in such a connective way is a genius move. I hope we see more similar and interesting uses for bots in the future, I am sure we will.

James.

Introduction

My name is James I am in my early 20’s and have broad interests in history and culture. I am doing this unit because I like heritage and conservation and I think that it is important for us to preserve the past and present today for the future tomorrow.

The use of digital tools and technology to adapt how we see, use and access heritage is interesting and I am eager to learn how this can be used to further the aims and uses of heritage.

Thanks,