My project is essentially a genealogy and family history tool for people who are descended from the Davis family in Yass to use and read new information on their ancestors. The project is presented on OMEKA which is an excellent tool for displaying their category. In this case I used the database Trove to find a number of newspaper articles from throughout the history of Yass. These articles all relate to family names which are mentioned in the Davis family book From A Little Acorn, such as Davis, Garland, and Buckmaster. The articles cover a series of three separate subjects and these are the collections that the project consists of Deaths and Marriages. Each given item within these collections has the newspaper article typed out as well an image or multiple images of the newspaper article as well as a link to Trove for further reading and investigation for those curious to learn more. The aim for the project is that people who are descended from the family and people who are interested in the history of Yass and Heritage New South Wales can utilise this resource that brings together large amounts of data and information on this historical family without having to explore numerous different sites to find out information. As well as this members of the family can use it to find out interesting information and stories about their ancestors they would not be able to find from a family tree book. The general aim can be stated as to educate and increase the knowledge of people about their family history and with this potentially give them a better understanding of who they are and where they fit into the historical town of Yass’s history as well as the level of influence their family had upon that.
There is always a lot to learn when you are doing a project like this which is planned to display information and that is due purely to the fact that you are reading so many facts and newspaper articles full of information. As someone who is descended from this particular family in Yass I personally learnt large amounts of information about my own family. For instance, one of the featured newspaper articles discusses a murderer who is a member of the Davis family, something that I have never heard mentioned or been told about during family events or when reading about family history. As well as this I have learnt a great deal about Trove itself and about how at times when you are searching for a very specific thing there can be a large number of completely irrelevant pieces of information which surface themselves during the process. That was definitely one of the key difficulties I found when searching for newspaper articles, there were several instances where I would search for a last name and Yass and would get in return an article which would be discussing the two things but they would be relating to two separate topics. Another problem I found was that sometimes technology can be very unreliable and isn’t always available when you need it. On one of the days I had free from University I went to use Trove and found that it was not working that day due to technical difficulties which meant I was behind on where I wanted to be on my project that day. As well as this there seems to be some issues between the transfer of the image of the newspaper article to being written out next to it, this is why I have included images as well as some sources just don’t make any sense in the way they are written on Trove. Apart from those factors there were definitely aspects that went well OMEKA turned out to be a wonderful platform for my project and it displayed the collections and the data in a way no other site could have done and it also allowed me to enter in any relevant information so that if need be people could do further research on their own.
From my own assessment, I think that my project is more successful at meeting my aims than I had originally thought it would be. It really displays everything that I need displayed and allows me to show not only the written information but the visual information of the item. As well as this I can put a priority on the items that I think the people using this tool will find most fascinating. I was unsure as to whether I would really be able to find enough newspaper articles that would be interesting and engaging for an audience but once I began searching amongst the whole history of all the family names I could find huge amounts that will be really useful to everyone. I think overall though it really does meet those original aims which were to essential give members of the Davis family a reference tool to discover more information about their family and particular stories about their ancestors. As well as this my two collections were able to come to fruition thanks to the wide variety of articles found on Trove. Considering the main aim was really to give people a greater understanding of their family history I think this project definitely exceeds any expectations that I truly had for it overall. There are of course some things that I wish I could have been able to add in and some aspects that would have really enhanced this project for the user. It would have been excellent to be able to go through the family tree book and try and find every individual mentioned throughout but logistically that was not a feasible option so I instead had to choose a number of really prominent surnames from throughout the book and find the relevant sources. As well as doing that it would be an interesting future project to see if it were possible to use other aspects of Trove such as the photography and other categories to see if I could potentially find images of the ancestors and create a collection piece for this, however, it is hard to find the time to incorporate all these other aspects. There are certainly a number of avenues this project could be taken down but this particular version is definitely an excellent starting point if someone so wished to work furth
This week we looked partly at virtual reality during class and looked at a number of different ways which we can create a virtual reality. One of the things we looked at was 3d scanning which didn’t really work successfully because the back of the Tardis didn’t appear only the front, sides and top. Another piece of technology that we looked at, however, was google cardboard. Which is sort of similar to the oculus rift which I’ve seen around before but it is a far simpler and cheaper version. I can see how this form of virtual reality simulator could be really useful when working in museums especially from a curatorial point of view. This is a really efficient way that you could experience an exhibit without actually attending it. Meaning that if you were in another country and there was an exhibit else where you wanted to attend you could perhaps do so through this technology.
We began this week by looking at a particularly interesting case of the ASIO File redaction’s. The tools used in this case are really interesting it shows how technology and the digital aspect of our world can be used to retrieve information that we couldn’t previously see. However, sometimes it can pull up things that we perhaps don’t need to see or necessarily want in our records and files. In this case it was that the person creating the redaction’s in the ASIO files seems to have also just drawn random little drawings throughout the files of things like shoes and boats. This means that as well as getting the actual redaction’s you are getting a lot of false redaction’s which means you have to look further through the files to find those legitimate redaction’s. This is really similar to those problem we found with search engines pulling up irrelevant things.
A particular part of this weeks class on data presentation which I found to be particular interesting was the tool which showed the evolution of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species and the change between each of his editions written through his lifetime. As someone who has a particular passion regarding the study of evolution I was very aware of the changes which Darwin made to his original thesis. However, the way they demonstrated the changes and data were particularly engaging. It is fascinating the way the change is displayed and for those who know little about Darwin and his writings it is an excellent example of the quick progress and change that was made in science then and even today. It is a truly engaging way to display data that doesn’t need to involve numbers and reader but rather the human eye, it is far more likely to be noticed than a simple blurb explaining the changes made by Darwin.
In this weeks class we looked at different ways in which data can be presented from a search engine sort of format. A lot of it really focused around a comparison between one piece of information to another. An example of this and a part of the class I found to be really engaging, entertaining and interactive was looking at and using googles ngram. With this tool you can look through different distances of time for the frequency of terms and words used in different books. An interesting example of how ngram can teach you different things is like in class when Tim demonstrated the difference between the letters f and s throughout history, this also demonstrates however that the search aspect of things can really muddle things up as its only looking for key words and not an actual context like what is really required when doing proper research and displaying of data.
This week we focused on looking at ways which we can retrieve data from online for our projects. Looking at a number of different sites and ways that we can create graphs using that data also. It was really interesting to see number of different ways to display the data so it was easier to read for the viewer and also for yourself so you could find out little pieces of information from within that and use it in researching. It was also good to learn a number of ways that data can be retrieved it would be very useful to know that for my project, I also found it interesting that it was so simple to retrieve the data from a website like we did with the house of representatives during class, especially knowing that you can not only get the information but an image which will then link up to that persons page, certainly something that would be useful.
I found getting to look at the way that search engines work was really interesting considering I probably use one every single day but have never put very much thought in to it. I also think that the fact that my location and history can have an effect on what results I get from my searches is fascinating, if you are using that in a heritage context it could really help to narrow things down so you don’t get so many wide ranges of results that aren’t really relevant to what you are looking for. I also found the culture collage to be a particularly interesting part of this weeks activities and quite specifically the on this day part. I found it really cool to just be able to click on that and found hundreds of years of history from today alone, however, it did start to grow smaller the further back the years went, but that might be due to a lack of records rather than an inefficiency of the tool itself. Still a really cool idea that would make a fascinating project.
The content of week two was really fascinating as it really demonstrated to me how you can use these tools to make heritage or museums interactive and fun and use that to benefit the cultural community as well. To me the element of the lesson which stood out the most was getting to visit the zooniverse website and gain a glimpse of how the public can interact with the crowdsourced products on the website. This website I have definitely found extremely useful in starting to think up an idea for my project proposal the use people to count out the amount of penguins in images or to identify what type of animal is located in an image take in the Serengeti gave me a lot of inspiration and I think it could be targeted really well towards museums and their daily intake of visitors, this is still a developing idea though.
My name is Maddy I’m 20 and I have a keen interest in heritage and conservation studies and specifically art and the Renaissance era. I’m taking this unit because I think that in the future a knowledge of these matters will come in handy with things like categorising and organising collections within museums. I also find the way that we can preserve things digitally very intriguing.