Friday, April 25, 2008

So far, the Digital Humanities Project is going fairly well. I am working with Julianna doing the poems “A Night Scene” by Mary Shelley and also “The Death Song” by Lititia Elizabeth Landon. We struggled at first with just trying to work the Wiki and make everything appear as we would like. We have the poems posted, as well as the images and a link to their bibliographies on Wikipedia. We are still lacking the themes, introductions, and about the authors.

Our DHP is almost complete. We are only lacking the theme and introduction for the Mary Shelley poem. We also need to do a little more research outside of Wikipedia for information about the authors and their lives. Other than that, we are almost finished with our DHP. I have learned quite a lot from the making of the webpage, as far as the codes and things, but also more about how to analyze pieces of literature. I think that the Web of Mind is a very interesting site and a good site for learning more about different works.

Our DHP is finally finished! I think that this is a really great assignment because you learn so much about technology and also the topic/author that you are researching. The stories in the Keepsake are things that you wouldn't normally get a chance to read unless they were online like this, so I think that it is a great idea and way to preserve these stories by posting them on the wiki. While I struggled in the beginning as far as figuring out the technology portion of this assignment, I came out with a greater knowledge and understanding not only of the wiki, but of my literature as well.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The road was long and difficult but thankfully it has come to an end. Despite how insane this project made me at times, it was a really fun and innovative way to do research. I think it would be fun to explore this type of research in other classes. It is beneficial to know how to work with that sort of technology. It was a great challenge, I have become quite adept at writing research papers, and this threw me for a loop. It was more engaging then a typical reasearch project and really gave me a sense of accomplishment in the end. It is something that I can take friends, parents, etc. to actually see. The idea of being a published on the web is quite exciting. I would really like to continue researching and updating my project. It is nice to have the option to go back and add to it. Once you turn in a term paper, it is over, this leaves the door open for you. I wish that I had not waited so long to get into it, because once I did I really enjoyed the process. I alowed the two things that really impeded my progress to weigh me down and influence the way I handled the project, mainly avoiding it. The only tedious aspects of the project for me were as follows: A) I had such a hard time with the scans, in fact I am still not sure where they are or how to get them to be where I want them to be & B) My author was really obscure and painfully hard to research. I am so impressed with other student's projects, everyone seems to have done a really great job and put a lot of time and energy into it. I'm very proud to have been part of the Web of Mind. However, for now, I'm excited to be finished! Happy Graduation to all you seniors!
The overall project was a success I thought.  It was very frustrating at times but turned out to be very nice.  I could have used a whole other class on web design  to be able and figure everything out.  All in all the amount of information that was posted about each story for everyone's project was really awesome considering the amount of information given by the keepsake book.  Being that there was no authors for most of the stories turned out to make for a difficult research project but it was doable.  It was a pretty cool project.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Whoa...this whole code thing has really gotten me frustrated.  It's taken me a while to get the hang of what I need to do to make something bold or indented or whatever.  I was more happy with editing stuff than I was trying to put it in the project.  The first time I tried to type up the text from the book it came out a mile long which was not cool at all.  It's a good thing I have a level headed partner who understands this stuff a lot better than I do. Overall, the whole thing has turned out really nice.  I think it's cool to see what everyone else has done along the way.  I've learned alot about research and editing a web page through this DHP project. -Brett-
I am finally done with my project!

Honestly the entire process was interesting as well as helpful. I’ve always liked messing around with html and codes, I mean who doesn’t? We live in the age of MySpace and Facebook. Not to say that this process will help me improve my MySpace, but it has definitely helped me improve my understanding of html. It has also helped with understanding how Wikipedia works. I think prior to this project I thought there was some head honcho who made sure everything was legitimate. Now I kind of see that it’s not exactly the number one source for information because anyone can post on it, even me. Especially since I now understand how to do it!

I am especially excited about sharing my work tomorrow. Well only really the biography portion in relation to her story. I think it’s pretty neat that even in a three page story I could trace the characters in it back to her life. That’s my favorite part of literature. I like to piece together the lives of the author into their stories. Every one of their stories, short or small I believe is a piece of their life, a piece of a greater understand of something that they wanted to pass on. Maybe they don’t scream it to you but the under lying messages are always there. Even with a less well known author like mine I was still able to find similarities.

It’s so interesting to know that we are making history, documenting the authors of the past. I think at first going into the project I thought it was going to be a huge work load but the fact that we had to keep updating on where we were kept me going strong, and with great rewards.

I know I am posting late, but honestly I was having the hardest time figuring out what my blogger info was. My apologies.

- Anastazia
Wow! This was a huge undertaking. It is the last week of class and I'm still not finished. I think my partner and I will be proud when it's done, but it just seems like a lot of work. I like the concept and I'm glad that I was forced to do this, just maybe not during the one semester of my student career that I'm carrying 18 credits. Bad timing? Maybe?

As far as the process, I guess it is a good process. I like that I had the entire semester to work on this. Deadlines for this are kind of unrealistic, so it's good that I had four months to work in little chunks.

The finishing touches are coming along. I hope it turns out well. There was so much work going into this that I hope I can be proud of this. It'll be over in a few hours.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

'Ello Web of Mind readers. Professional blogger Karen here. Yesh all I ever seem to do these days is blog, though blogger is not my drug of choice. Sorry!

It appears I have finished with my DHP, which is both a relief and a little disappointing. It was a fanastically fun job, and I really think all English scholars should be required to do something like this at some point. I worked solo, but I think it could be a great teambuilding exercise, The project also gives students experience working with HTML, which is a tricky medium indeed. And the opportunity to work with such an old book was a real finger-tingler too. (I just made that up but I'm rather fond of that phrase. I think I will use that when I refer to good books or exciting moments. Finger-tinglers.)

But more importantly, this is what English is all about, isn't it? Research, documentation, writing, and showing off your work. It is so awesome to think we've contributed to this big archival project that could really take off. I wish I had done more of this in my years here at RU (as short as they were) or that I had an opportunity to do this in the future. Just think! Maybe students will be using WoM for their own research and giving us credit! Very nifty indeed. I don't know about you guys, but my goal in life is always to have my work widely read, even if it's academic work. It's so cool to imagine people going over something you worked hard on and using it simply because it is, well, useful!

Getting used to the HTML and forcing Wiki to do as I command was frustrating and took a lot of time; I'm glad I did the bulk of it in the beginning of the semester when I wasn't as busy and had time to learn by trail and error. Maybe in the future we could have a class day or two working collectively on the project and asking questions and benefiting from what others had done before us. I think we did do that once, way back in the semester, but I think it would have been more useful if we did it when the project was first introduced.

One thing in particular you asked us to reflect on was the question, "Is anything lost--or gained--by putting books into a digital media?" This is something I've considered long and hard. Frankly, I love books. I love the way they look. I love the weight in my hands. I love curling up in bed with one, or sitting in a tree, or lounging on the dock, or smuggling one under the table during a particularly heinous family dinner. I love the way the paper feels, and the gloss of the cover, and hell, the smell, yes they smell and they smell wonderful, like story and dust and memory, and those are all good things.

As a student, though, I like electronic media, mainly because I can use the search function to find words, phrases, or chapters easily. (I confess, my electronic copy of "Heart of Darkness" was quite useful for this, as I could find all mentions of voice and language at the touch of a few buttons, instead of flipping pages.) I can also access the texts from any computer lab, usually for free (I confess, there are often books I don't want to spend money on in college, particularly large anthologies, so e-texts are friends for the penny-pincher). But I don't think electronic books should ever replace tangible books. Libraries are too beautiful. I want a book, dammit, a real book to cradle and dog ear and set on my desk. I want to watch the pages yellow and curl, and I want to reread old favorites and laugh until tears roll down my face. I don't want an electronic book. I just want a book.

So that's my take on that, because I do feel rather passionately on it, and a few pretty sentences came out of the whole mess. I feel quixotic today, as you may be able to tell. Overall, it was a cool project, and I'm glad I got the opportunity. I really hope you use this for other classes, or that other teachers use it as well, because this is really an important part of being an English student.

Good luck to everyone for their end of the year projects, and hurrah for those of us finally graduating!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

So Jena and I finally finished our project! What a relief! Though some of the technical aspects of it were tricky for me along the way, I had Jena to help me figure things out and was able to work through any major issues I had. The tale we've chosen is pretty neat, not to mention easy to work with. It's kind of inspiring to know that people will use our project for projects or study of their own at some point. I feel as if we've helped to preserve something that could otherwise have been lost. As our author was anonymous preserving his/her tale Two Brothers, A Tale seems a tribute to a man or woman who left behind no other legacy, not even a name. In today's technological world I suppose preserving old literary works within various databases is necessary but I would be lying if I said I didnt feel as though something gets lost in the moving of the text. Holding such an old book helps the reader to adapt to the time period of the tale. It seems to increase the connection one has with the characters. Though I'm happy works will live on through technology, perhaps vastly elongating their life-span, it saddens me that books cannot be as indestructible. There is something so satisfying about holding an old book. Its like holding a piece of history. I really like the way Jena and I presented our tale. It think we did a good job at helping the reader connect with and understand the plot as well as the characters. It was frustrating, tedious and time consuming but at the conclusion of it all I'll have to admit I feel accomplished and am proud of the work we've done.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Yay! I think I'm about done. I have like one more thing to add to our page. Starting out this entire project was so difficult. Being a technologically challenged person I found it very difficult but thanks to the advise of my peers and by looking to their pages as guidance it actually came together pretty well. This page is something I think my partner and I can be very proud of. By working together and with our classmates we were able to make a page of scholarly information for the anyone with Internet access to view. How cool is that. As much as I dreaded this throughout the semester it really just took some diving in, exploring, and trying different things to get done. I think it looks really good too, very official. It was neat also to see what others did and just to be able to see the contents of Keepsakes. Such an old piece of literature, I think it is important to restore and publicize it in any way possible considering it is such a quiet piece of literary history. I have enjoyed this project, now that I actually know how to use the program and it is almost completely done. I look forward to showing it off to the class and others.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

This is my second blog for the Web of Mind project. I started working on this project again and came into a few concerns. I am not sure with the five links we are suppose to have, how I should incorporate outside sources into it. I feel that there is nothing in particular within the text, except for characters and where the story takes place, is relevant in anyway. This is a huge problem that I am facing. I was thinking about doing a link on love, but how do I incorporate an outside source? This project has just gone way past easy into confusing.

If someone just so happens to read this blog and decides to check out "The Two Brothers" site, PLEASE let me know if you see something in the text that I could use as a link. This is the last part of this project that Kira and I have left to do and we only have two sources. I will be so happy when this project is done for good and I am sitting in Jamaica with a drink in my

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Web of Mind project started out to be very confusing because I wasn't sure how to do all of the codes. I had to look at other peoples projects and go into their edit page and figure out how to do everything. I am pretty confident in my technological skills because I figured out how to do everything after playing around with it for a few hours. It took some practice and some mistakes in order to form the page according to our guidelines.

My partner for this project is Kira and we have been working really well together. She and I have put a lot of time into this project. We choose the story out of The Keepsake called "The Two Brothers." It is a great story that is full of family drama and has a lot of foreshadowing. One problem with the story we choose is that the author is unknown. This causes a problem because we can't provide any information on the author. There is no way that we can connect anything from the author's life to the stories overall meaning.

We started out are web page by scanning all of the pages. This was a pain in the neck for us because the reference guy at the library told us to convert it to a pdf file because it would take up less space, well unfortunately, he had no idea what are project was. Kira and I ended up scanning the pages 3-4 times. It took forever and we didn't get much accomplished. This left us with the feeling that this was going to be a lot of work then we orignally thought.

However after getting all of the pages scanned and learning how to do all the codes, it was a smooth process from their on out. We are almost done with our project, except for a few links, introduction information, and the bibliography. We are over half way done and are going to hopefull have it done soon.

This project is useful because it brings together both literature and technology. The technology has helped incorportate several different elements into our project. Overall, working with Kira has made this project a lot more fun then it would have. We have worked really well together and created something that will be of use to anyone reading from The Keepsake.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The technical part of this project has been pretty easy thus far. I haven’t had much trouble with putting my research up on the internet, especially with some of the models students have already made.

The only issue I am having thus far with the project is finding information on the author. I became intrigued with doing this after reading some biographical background on Lady Blessington on Wikipedia. I tried to match up all Wikipedia’s sources so that I could use direct sources when relaying information to the Wiki. The problem was a lot of it seems to be hidden in Project Gutenburg.

I found a lot of similarities within her life with the story “Remorse” that I want to cross check and make sure they are true. One in particular that I found interesting was that she married Charles John Gardiner, 1st Earl of Blessington, a man whose wife had left him with four children. This directly parallels her story of the woman who returns to see her life ten years later and the children have a new mother, being Lady Blessington.

The problem is although she was the editor of The Keepsake for numerous years there is not all that much information on her. I recommend to everyone in class to at least look at Project Gutenburg, it helped me find a lot of information on an author I thought was going to be hopeless.
After taking a break from the project for a while, I have now returned and successfully completed the transcription process. I was surprised, it didn't take me as long as I thought it would. Much to my disappointment, I think that the easy part is now behind me. I have a feeling it is going to get more complicated from here on out. I am now starting to research. I have found C19 very helpful. There is a ton of info on there about my author which is lucky for me. Now I just have to wade through it. I was waiting to start uploading information on the Web of Mind until I had thoroughly researched and knew what I was going to link. I am hoping to get a lot of work done over break and really get a handle on this project and others. Happy Break everyone!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

So far this project has been tricky for me to figure out. The actual research behind it is interesting and the tale my partner and I chose (The Two Brothers, a Tale) was a fun and easy read but I am not strong as far as my technical skills go and trying to figure out, use and understand the website has been tricky! Simply figuring out how to post this blog was confusing. I'm not a computer savvy girl. I like the idea behind it all, researching texts that may otherwise have been discarded and forgotten is a valuable thing. No literary work, from any era should be lost over time. I feel modern day writers grow off of works previously published. However, the project itself would be miserable for me did I not have a partner more apt at computer programs than I. I feel like I have to ask for her help every step of the way and although I'm finding the facts and putting in a significant amount of work I feel left out of the creative element of it by not being able to play with the website more. I feel more class time spent on it would be valuable. It would give me a chance to ask the professor any questions I had and to be able to work the website with her around should any technical problems arise. The project is neat but incredibly frustrating.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I agree with others that this project has me sweating. It is extremely frustrating for me as well. I am not technologically advanced and I find this entire project difficult due to the fact that it is all technology! I do however really like the story we chose and am grateful we were able to use the Keepsakes, I would much rather be doing this project on something I have more choice in than the Perkin Warbeck. Although as I have seen with others we are as well having a difficult time finding any research on our author or historical information on our story. We have scanned in our images and they are now on page. Our page is basically set up and as we add more analysis or more information we just edit a spot for that information. As for translating the scanned images we have been able to transcribe the story in word but we are not yet able to figure out to put it on the site without it looking funny. So that is still a struggle. I have to say looking at others pages give me ideas on what we should do with our page as I hope people think the same. Hopefully everything will end up alright and I'll be more equipped to handle this type of project once complete, I just hope we can get through this one first and do a good job with it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

This whole web-of-mind thing has me sweating!! I can't find anything I want to talk about to fill the spaces in my page. I know how to talk about poetry, I just don't know what to say about my poems. I hope I can find something, and perhaps my partner will help. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I just re-read over one of my poems after having done research on the author. The poem is "The Death Song" by L.E. Landon. The poem is about a young woman who's sister has just died and she is describing what her sister said on her death-bed. The creepy thing is that not long after writing this poem the author died from an accidental overdoes of some kind of poison while in a troubled and abusive marriage. Creepy! I am enjoying this project a lot more than I thought I would. I had some extra time to myself this morning and what did I do? I sat down at a computer to edit my wikipage. Does that make me nerdy? I hope so.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I have completed the first step of the digital humanities project. I have successfully scanned my story, "A Story of Modern Honour" with the help of a very nice woman at the library. It wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated it to be. However, I am having a hard time getting my story from my H-drive to my computer. I can open it anywhere on campus, but have no idea how to get it on my personal computer. Due to this, I have been spending much of my time in the library starting to transcribe it into a word document; a very tedious project. So that is I have accomplished for now. I am anxious about beginning to use the wiki, it will be a first for me, as will actually constructing anything on the web. I am a bit of a lud, so it could be a bumpy road ahead. However, I look forward to the challenge! Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Well, I think I finally got this thing figured out, so let's see if this posts successfully.

Looks like I am the first of this semester's crop, which is fine. I'm such a trailblazer. Actually I'm just swamped with work this semester, as it's my final one and I have a number of projects going on, so I just want to get a jumpstart on everything I can before things pile up on me. I always manage to get a lot more done when I'm swamped with work, but it takes a toll on me mentally and emotionally, and I'd like to stave that off as long as possible. It's hard to believe we've already had nearly five weeks of class, and I wonder, what have I accomplished? At least this Web of Mind work is fairly tangible, and that's reassuring.

Well, um, to try to stay on topic, here is what I have done as of today:
  • Scanned all pages and plates of Shelley's "Transformation"
  • Transcribed all pages into a word document (took about five hours, scattered over two days)
  • Set up my page on the Web Of Mind with a brief introduction, plot summary, character list, and links to scans.
  • Adjusted all sizes of said scans so they fit on the Web of Mind (thank you, Photoshop), and uploaded a few of them as thumbnails
I'm still playing with the formatting of Web of Mind, which I'm basically doing in a trial and error sort of fashion. Make a change, check the page to see what happened, go back in and either redo the change or make more of them. The page is not done and things keep getting changed whenever I get a moment to play with the look and feel of the page.

Basically, I just need to start doing research, making my edits, and creating a bibliography. I have lots of edits in mind, many more than five, but how many I actually do will just depend on what kind of time I have to devote to it. To me, that's kind of the hard stuff--what I've done so far has been time consuming but required little thought, for the most part (is that a horrible thing to say? But it's true; mindless transcribing is kind of nice for the head, if not for the wrist. Owies). Now the hard stuff begins with the research on Shelley, the genre, and so forth. But I'm feeling pretty good about where I am in the project.

This weekend I aim to do the response log (on "Transformation") and finish uploading all the thumbnails (among other non-Victorian lit things, particularly for my Conrad independent study). Also sometime this week, probably Thursday, if I feel better from this dreadful head cold, I am going to spend some time in the library researching both this and my presentation, wherein I am studying penny dreadfuls. Because they have a cool name. Seriously. And Neil Gaiman likes them.

And now to do my Kipling reading and log.