A few thoughts about big data/ small data and how data is interpreted and presented within a cultural heritage context.
As Posner and Sherratt point out, it’s messy – the data used in digital cultural heritage is most often ‘mined’ from a variety of sources and often lacks threads of connection and any meaningful engagement and interpretation – flat, lifeless, unwieldy, incomprehensible, nor relatable.
I can see how engaging with the available digital data sets and collection repositories, would help me to navigate this impervious data world, understand its breadth and complexity and exploit its potential to fathom and discern areas of interest or, buried treasure!
The tools presented to us, which are freely available to help us engage and experiment with data (after investing time and working through the guided tutorials), including mapping and graphing with plot.ly, screen scraping with import.io and cleaning data with OpenRefine, all provide a way in.
Still haven’t engaged with or tried GIF tutorial and only just starting to come up with idea(s) for a project – mapping and visualising public and private cultural (artefact based) collections in Australia; but where will I get the data ?? do I start with google…yikes! nooooooooooooooo?
The richly described and evocative concepts introduced and discussed in last weeks readings, further uncovered the possibilities of digital heritage mapping and visualisation.
I liked how Whitelaw saw seamfulness [as]…’an ethical and political stance’: a commitment to exposing interpretive distance. The discussions about transparency, in Sherratt, Sadler and Boug and Whitelaw, and the creation of alternate recourses and experimental platforms, than say, relying on google (yeah, now I can see how limited it is!) also influenced me. The parallels drawn by Sadler and Boug between feminist principles and creating an ethic for digital heritage culture were pointed and realistically grounded, especially how they challenge the notion of the ‘dispassionate’ researcher/archivist.
I’ve come across and greatly admired Ben Ennis Butler’s (and Mitchell Whitelaw) work on the Australian Print Collection ( link through NGA website) – it’s contemporary, local and relevant (for me )and it helped contextualise how collections can be accessed and presented in an inspiring and generous way.
The animated GIF’s were great and I’ll give it a go over the coming days,
The week 2 workshop continued to unpack, for me, the terrain of the digital world and how it can be harnessed in various ways to signify, signpost, highlight and interact with our cultural heritage.
Afew of the central thematic and conceptual tenets of our workshop and discussions include how history can be wielded by everyday people in digital heritage, primarily motivated by their specific interests and passions, allowing for other enthusiasts to explore, learn and fathom the depths and outposts of their chosen interest. In the digital terrain, ethical and critical thinking issues naturally come to the fore, due to newness and novelty inherent in this forum. I really liked the Zooniverse platform and how crowd sourcing initiatives can be instigated to propagate and build heritage archiving projects.
Oh,and I got over my reservations with Twitter – I signed up and have since really enjoyed seeing how bots work to highlight concepts and conversations in the general domain and how these can be creatively exploited and highlighted.
The possibilities for a project are expanding exponentially, however, I want to focus on and decide on an personal area of interest, over the next week, before I can explore my options for enacting this project.
I’m a student participating in the bachelor of heritage, museums and conservation program at uc. I begrudgingly enrolled in this unit – little confidence in using computational tools and barely turned on by digital interfaces – however, Tim’s work and facilitation has enthralled me and I’m looking forward to proposing a project based on my interests: our world, the landscape, humanity, ideas, art, culture, conscience, instinct, identity, crafting, collecting…..
My background is in making (functional) ceramics & art education, I mostly work in an art gallery, with conservators, curators, archivists, librarians registrars and installers, I like going for walks, cycling and seeing films and practicing yoga.
Wishing you all well.