Week 5 Reflection

Due to a timetabling clash, I had to leave this week’s class early so I could attend a different unit’s class which wasn’t going to be recorded and contained important information. But the parts I was present for, were definitely interesting.

I particularly found Google’s Ngram Viewer interesting. I find it intriguing to compare 3  classic authors – Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Frances Burney – and extend the search parameters to 1500-2000 and seeing that a few results appear long before the authors were born.

QueryPic can also produce interesting results which can only properly explained when the data source of the results is examined, which can provide clues into the social history of the data’s era.

What I have seen of Word-Counter and Voyant Tools shows good potential.

 

Week 4 Reflection

I found this week to be technical enough for me to follow along with in class, but slightly too technical and complicated to do all by myself

I had heard of a couple of the things covered in class – like APIs and Trove Harvester – though I don’t claim to have been very knowledgeable about them. So learning about them again was beneficial for me and my digital knowledge.

I like the concept of WTFCSV, because the only thing I would be able to think about doing with a CSV file would be the ‘CSV Import’ plug-in in Omeka. So a tool like WTFCSV will be helpful when I encounter CSV files in future and give me ideas on what to do with the data within it.

The concepts of scrapping and cleaning data were somewhat foreign to me, but this week’s lesson explained them pretty well, which means I feel a bit more confident with the processes.

Week 3 Reflection

I learned several things in this week’s class. One of these things has confirmed something I have suspected for a while about the internet – personalised searches and advertisements. I had often thought that the degree of relevancy of ads and suggestions I see on sites like Google and Facebook couldn’t be a coincidence, and now it has been confirmed.

It’s also interesting to learn that Google’s search algorithm apparently mirrors conversations about the subject of the search enquiry.

The thing I learnt that I found the most interesting was about copyright and Trove. I had no idea just how complicated copyright can be when digitally publishing newspapers. Nor did I know that unpublished manuscripts have perpetual copyright.

The ‘GIF It Up’ competition, run by the Digital Library of America and DigitalNZ, sounds really interesting. But even looking at the provided tutorial material, it is still a bit too confusing for me, so I might not enter – especially since I’m a full-time student and I unit assessments are more of a priority than competitions.

Week 9 Reflection

The ASIO Redaction art was really fascinating. I find it interesting that some of the redactions are perfect rectangles, others are simply the appearance of highlighting text. And then there’s the art, my gosh, it is brilliant. I can only imagine the circumstances which would lead to people turning the necessary redactions into drawings. Whoever first thought of doing it, was a truly great human being.

I enjoyed learning and playing with the Twitter bot FaceDepot and how its programming recognises what it believes are faces and then randomly picks another face from Trove photos and swaps them. I had lots of fun experimenting with the bot. I sent it several photos  – some of them to challenge its programming to see what it would come up with, which produced some interesting and funny results.

In terms of privacy concerns with facial detection software, I do sometimes worry about my face being used for something without my knowledge or permission. However, my worries are no where near bad enough to warrant any of the strange hairstyles shown in class.

Week 2 Reflection

Something fun this week was the traffic light post-it notes. I think they’re such a great idea and I think they’re fun to use.

I didn’t realise how many Twitter bots were out there, so I definitely enjoyed learning about them, how they worked and what they produced.

The crowd-sourcing section was definitely interesting. I liked that the ‘Zooniverse’ website had a wide variety of projects people can contribute to, and that they are sorted into categories. I checked out a few different ones to see what they were about and what you had to do. I think some were easier than others. For instance, I personally prefer ones where you transcribe text as opposed to ones where you have to identify if there are animals present in a picture, and if so what they are. I find the animal one difficult because I am by no means an animal expert and I found myself searching Google Images for the different species options that were available to figure out what they looked like and what differentiates them from other animals.

Week 10 Reflection

This class is always good fun, but this week was so much more fun than your stereotypical university class.

Before this lesson, I do not believe that I had ever experienced Virtual Reality, so to do so as part of a unit was awesome. I went into the lesson with virtually no prior knowledge about VR, how it works, or its accessibility. By the end of the afternoon I had learned that anyone with a smartphone can access VR thanks to Google’s affordable ‘Cardboard’ VR goggles – and how disconcerting it can be when you take the goggles off.

I also discovered the glorious online PC game, Second Life, which I promptly downloaded but unfortunately doesn’t work very well with my currently sluggish laptop 🙁

The part where a 3D image was created of an object right there in the classroom, was slightly mind-blowing. I wasn’t previously aware of the app technology that made such a thing possible without expensive hardware. Only problem is that I do not believe that I would be able to have stable enough hands to create a good 3D image – I can’t keep completely still when filming something with my hands and arms resting flat on something. C’est la vie!

Week 13 Reflection

I found Week 13 to be a very useful and helpful week. I liked being able to work on my project with Tim nearby if I had problems or questions.

One of my aims to going to the drop-in session was to see if my laptop would work properly with the UC-Student Wi-Fi as opposed to its severe lack of speed with my own internet at Cooper Lodge. Unfortunately, this was not the case. It turned out to be just as slow and as fond of ‘Not Responding’. So it still took annoying lengths of time to get anything done.

In the classroom I attempted to embed a video off Youtube – something I hadn’t done for about a year. I thought I knew what I was doing, but turns out forgot you have to select the HTML box in order for it to embed the video and not just display the embedding link.

I then encountered problems with embedding a map I created with Google onto the same page as an embedded Youtube video. If I hadn’t gone into the drop-in session, I never would have known how to fix it, nor would I have known the best way to link articles from Trove.

Week 7 Reflection

The content of this week was definitely useful for my project idea and methods and tools which can be used to create elements of my project which are needed to fulfil its aims and hopes.

I liked that Google MyMaps was covered as I had forgotten how most of it worked since Semester 2 last year. I especially liked discovering that you can change the colour of the location/point of interest markers.

Unfortunately, just under an hour in to this week’s class, I had to leave to go to a compulsory practical exam for a Forensic Science class.

After the practical finished and I got home, I tried to do follow along with the rest of the lesson notes, but I found some of it harder to do by myself outside of the classroom with Tim.

So I’m going to stick with what I feel comfortable with, and use Google MyMaps to create the maps for my project.

Project Reflection

  • A brief summary of your project and its aims

My project is titled “Life During War”. The idea behind the project is based on the realisation that we are fortunate enough to have people who lived through wars in the 20th Century, and that we will soon lose everyone that was alive during World War 2. This means that kids that are currently in their early years of primary school are highly unlikely to have the opportunity to have a WW2 survivor stand in front of them and tell them their story – which I was lucky enough to experience.

  • A discussion of what you learned through the project. What went well? What difficulties did you have?

There were several issues and difficulties along the way with both creating the data set and in its presentation.

Firstly, it took me a few weeks to come up with an idea that was viable. The weeks I lost trying to find an idea meant that I felt stressed and concerned that I had already fallen behind. However, I did eventually come up with an idea and finished it as best as I could in the time given.

To create the data set I would use in my project, I had to edit the video footage of the interview – something I had absolutely no experience with. There were a lot of moments where I thought I had completely stuffed things up, accidentally deleted things for good, or second-guessed my editing decisions.

It was during the editing process that I discovered that in the middle of John saying something, the camera loses focus and then refocuses – all of this is audible on the video. This is unfortunate, but it is in the middle of a story and I didn’t want to cut the whole story out. Thus, it has been left in.

Due to time constraints, I had to use Omeka for my project. Since I had only used it once before and that was a year ago, I had to re-acquaint myself with it. This took a lot of trial and error and also asking for help. With Omeka, I didn’t have the freedom to create the visual layout that I had imagined, so I had to stop and think through how I could achieve the type of layout I wanted using the tools available to me on Omeka. The layout journey led me into multiple formatting issues, which I have solved as best as I can.

I went in to this with the thought that with Australia being part of the Commonwealth, the National Library’s Trove site would have a lot of newspaper articles for me to choose from. Instead I discovered that Trove has a lot of entries about rationing in Michigan, Detroit, and the occasional British entry. I also discovered that Australia’s online newspaper archive is better than Britain’s, especially since you don’t need to use credits to open an article in Trove.

When I thought about putting the elements of my project together, I had thought that embedding would come back to me just like that. I was very wrong. The only thing I didn’t have any issues with was finding the embedding inks for Youtube videos and Google My Maps.

Though many things didn’t quite go to plan or were difficult, there were some good things about it.

I believe that my project lives up to its aim and I look forward to a student learning from it, or at least finding it interesting.

I am thankful that my finding people to interview was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I was lucky that my mother’s old boss and his wife – who are close family friends – were children in England during World War 2, which fitted very nicely with my project idea. A bonus was that they are very interesting people and were happy for me to interview and film them.

  • Your assessment of how successful the project is in meeting your original aims.

Because I ended up using Omeka, I didn’t have as much freedom with the layout as I originally hoped to have in order to create what I had pictured in my mind. As such, the project hasn’t been 100% successful in meeting my original design and layout aims.

However, I feel that the aim in doing this project in the first place has been met – I have recorded and told the experiences of two people who grew up during World War 2. I believe that I have succeeded in this, and now when my nieces and nephews are old enough to learn about the war, I will be able to show them the stories of real people who were there so that they can hear first-hand accounts, like I have, and see the lifelong effects of war so that they will grow up with empathy in their hearts and a dislike of war – what more could an Aunt ask for.

I aimed for this project to be used by high school students. And although the design isn’t ideal, I believe it serves its purpose and has a user-friendly interface which should allow any student to use it.

 

  • Some thoughts on how the project might be extended. Did you have ideas you weren’t able to pursue?

The current premise of the project is to document the experiences of growing up during war. This could be extended to cover anyone alive during that war, such as asking someone what it was like being sitting at home watching a horrific war take place that could have devastating effects on the entire world knowing there was not much that they could do about it.

The name of the project, “Life During War”, is specifically named not to specify one particular war, and is instead more general. The vague nature of the name allows it to be used for any war. If I had the opportunity, I would like to extend the project to cover the major wars that followed World War Two. I would ideally cover the wars in chronological order, starting with the Korean War and then the Vietnam War. With the Vietnam War, I could potentially interview my Dad about what it was like to see your best mate go off to fight in a war because of conscription.

Hello World

 

‘Hello World’, what a phrase! Both a slightly odd greeting, and the catchy theme song to an iconic Australian children’s program from the 2000s – The Saddle Club. Much of the lyrics in this song are easily identifiable with me and how I try to live – sometimes I AM insecure, and life is often easier when you’re smiling, and it definitely should be fun! After all, I believe that we only get one life and so we should make the most of it. And most importantly, we should embrace who we are – unless of course who you really are is something along the lines of a serial killer or psychopath, then maybe not embrace that….

Now you may be asking yourself, who is this person who likes The Saddle Club? The “simple” answer is this… I am a born and raised Sydney girl. My initials are ABC and my first name is Amber – and yes, I have the answer, but do YOU have the right question… My mother’s side is Ukrainian and I take pride in that heritage. I am the youngest of 6 girls – the 4 eldest being from my dad’s previous marriage – and as of today I have 3 nephews and 3 nieces – half of whom I love dearly and am more and more proud of every day.

I consider myself to be a somewhat quirky person, I make bad jokes all the time, and I love Disney, Jane Austen (Mr Darcy forever <3), history, sheep and reading!! I think of myself as someone who is loyal to my friends and family, but if you damage that friendship by treating badly repeatedly without remorse or just reveal your true colours and turn out to be a not-so-great person in general, then you should consider yourself dead to me and all contact between us will be stopped – if possible.

I moved to Canberra to study and follow my passion for history and its preservation and conservation. My studies have been fascinating and exciting – to me, at least. I’ve learned about different kinds of materials, how to make boxes with acid-free cardboard, and now I am learning about ways with which cultural and heritage data ca be used digitally to provide new perspectives on different subjects.

This blog account was created due to a Uni class – Exploring Digital Heritage. From this class I am hoping to get some ideas and inspiration for ways that I can display at least a portion of the family history research I have found.

Bye for now,

ABC

That’s all she wrote, folks.