MDST 3703 F10 Seminar 5
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MDST 3703 F10 Seminar 5 MDST 3703 F10 Seminar 5 Presentation Transcript

  • Seminar 5 Ayers and the Promise of Digital History
    Introduction to the Digital Liberal Arts
    MDST 3703 / 7703Fall 2010
  • Business
    Comments need to be in by 5 on Mondays!
    Project meetings need to be completed by end of next week – let us know if you haven’t met
    Quiz 1can be found on the Collab site in the Resource tree. It will be visible after class.
  • Review
    The World Wide Web was the result of (at least) three histories – networks, hypertext, and community
    Other histories: personal computing (PCs and Macs), document management (SGML and XML), and rise of information-driven bureaucracies
    These subplots are opposites of the ones discussed
    Non-linear: WWW did not fulfill vision and expectations of hypertext theorists
  • Overview
    Today we move from the history of digital media to digital history . . .
    We are concerned with four broad questions:
    What is history and how best to describe it?
    What media forms can we use to narrate history?
    How can we describe and assess these forms?
    What are some of the themes that cross-cut the above?
  • Narrating History
  • The Promise of the New South
    Ed Ayers, 1993
  • Open vs. Fixed Narrative
    What is open narrative?
    Why does Ayers propose it?
    What did critics say of TPOTNS?
    How does Ayers defend himself?
    Does the book have a thesis?
    Is Ayers’ task similar to that of the historian of the web?
    Are the periods connected?
  • Open Narrative
    Open narrative is not about being unsure of the facts
    On the contrary, it results from the control an excess of facts—”hyperempiricism”
    It’s purpose is to expose the complexity and irony of history, not the absence of historical truth
  • Away from Narrative :The Valley of the Shadow
  • What media form does Ayers develop after Promise?
  • Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,         I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
    (from Psalm 23)
  • “If hypertext sites were countries in a war, the Valley of the Shadow would be fighting with fighter jets and the Victorian Web would have slingshots”
  • Backstory: IATH
    Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
    Established in 1992
    Funded by IBM
    VOS one of two founding projects
    A demonstration project for IBM; pitched as "as a research library in a box, enabling students at places without a large archive to do the same kind of research as a professional historian."
  • How would you characterize this project as a work of new media? Is it a book?
  • The Library/Archive Metaphor
  • What does the site contain?
  • What’s in the Archive
    Thousands of primary sources
    Newpapers, letters, diaries, maps, images, gov docs
    Space: Augusta Co, VA and Frankln Co, PA
    Time: 1859 to 1870
    “Value-added” Interfaces
    Search and browse
    Resouces for using the site
  • How hypertextual is the site?
    How is “associative indexing” handled?
  • Site Structure
    Organized hierarchically
    Terminal nodes (lexia) not connected laterally
    No cross-site searching
    Minimal narrative
  • Does the site fulfill the goals of open narrative?
  • Criticism
    Worst of both worlds
    Neither random access nor rich narrative
    Exploits neither the potentials of a real library or a digital library
    Subject matter remains buried in the documents
    It’s strength is in the integrity of the materials
    But criticized for being difficult to use
    Is it scholarship?
  • From Database to Narrative:The Differences Slavery Made
  • What problems was TDSM trying to solve?
  • Problems with VOS
    VOS has no argument; not scholarship per se
    Unclear how to use it, other than as a simple library
  • How were these problems addressed by Differences?
  • Narrative overlay
    References as links to lexia (Historiography and Evidence)
    Conventions of making citations
  • Site Content
    Summary of argument
    Points of analysis
    Secondary sources
    Annotated bibliographic references
    Primary sources
    Tables (data)
  • Site Structure
    Hierarchy with links
    Menu A: Introduction, Summary, Points, Methods
    Menu B: Evidence, Historiography, Tools
    Each menu item has sub-menus
    How does Differences connect to Valley?
  • Darnton’s Pyramid
  • Core TDSM “Prismatic” Structure
  • Interface Design
    How is context established?
    Can you see items in-line?
    Can you compare items?
  • How hypertextual is the site?
    How is “associative indexing” handled?
  • Categories used to organize content in both
    Election of 1860
    Political activtivists
    Social structure
    Education (“school”)
    Urbanization (“Town Development”)
    Information and communications
    Replace with tags?
  • Criticisms
    Nothing inherently hypertextual about the site
    Thesis is not that complicated
    Modernity and slavery not opposites
    Why not put exhibits inline?
    Why not show points of comparison in context?
    Need for transclusion
    Why explain relationship in historiography? Why not create links or use tags?
  • Themes
    Exposing process
    From narrative to database to narrative
    Library vs. Book
    Could you do TDSM in WordPress?
  • Return to Afghan COINS PowerPoint . . .