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MDST 3703 F10 Seminar 5


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MDST 3703 F10 Seminar 5

  1. 1. Seminar 5 Ayers and the Promise of Digital History<br />Introduction to the Digital Liberal Arts<br />MDST 3703 / 7703Fall 2010<br />
  2. 2. Business<br />Comments need to be in by 5 on Mondays!<br />Project meetings need to be completed by end of next week – let us know if you haven’t met<br />Quiz 1can be found on the Collab site in the Resource tree. It will be visible after class.<br />
  3. 3. Review<br />The World Wide Web was the result of (at least) three histories – networks, hypertext, and community<br />Other histories: personal computing (PCs and Macs), document management (SGML and XML), and rise of information-driven bureaucracies<br />These subplots are opposites of the ones discussed<br />Non-linear: WWW did not fulfill vision and expectations of hypertext theorists<br />
  4. 4. Overview<br />Today we move from the history of digital media to digital history . . .<br />We are concerned with four broad questions:<br />What is history and how best to describe it?<br />What media forms can we use to narrate history?<br />How can we describe and assess these forms?<br />What are some of the themes that cross-cut the above?<br />
  5. 5. Narrating History<br />
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  9. 9. The Promise of the New South<br />Ed Ayers, 1993<br />
  10. 10. Open vs. Fixed Narrative<br />What is open narrative?<br />Why does Ayers propose it?<br />What did critics say of TPOTNS?<br />How does Ayers defend himself?<br />Does the book have a thesis?<br />Is Ayers’ task similar to that of the historian of the web?<br />Are the periods connected?<br />
  11. 11. Open Narrative<br />Open narrative is not about being unsure of the facts<br />On the contrary, it results from the control an excess of facts—”hyperempiricism”<br />It’s purpose is to expose the complexity and irony of history, not the absence of historical truth<br />
  12. 12. Away from Narrative :The Valley of the Shadow<br />
  13. 13. What media form does Ayers develop after Promise?<br />
  14. 14. 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.<br /> (from Psalm 23)<br />
  15. 15. “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”<br />Ouch.<br />
  16. 16. Backstory: IATH<br />Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities<br /><br />Established in 1992 <br />Funded by IBM<br />VOS one of two founding projects <br />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."<br />
  17. 17. How would you characterize this project as a work of new media? Is it a book?<br />
  18. 18. The Library/Archive Metaphor<br />
  19. 19. What does the site contain?<br />
  20. 20. What’s in the Archive<br />Content<br />Thousands of primary sources<br />Newpapers, letters, diaries, maps, images, gov docs<br />Coverage<br />Space: Augusta Co, VA and Frankln Co, PA<br />Time: 1859 to 1870<br />“Value-added” Interfaces<br />Search and browse<br />Timelines<br />Animations<br /><br />Resouces for using the site<br />
  21. 21. How hypertextual is the site? <br />How is “associative indexing” handled?<br />
  22. 22. Site Structure<br />Organized hierarchically<br />Terminal nodes (lexia) not connected laterally<br />No cross-site searching<br />Minimal narrative<br />
  23. 23. Does the site fulfill the goals of open narrative?<br />
  24. 24. Criticism<br />Worst of both worlds<br />Neither random access nor rich narrative<br />Exploits neither the potentials of a real library or a digital library<br />Document-centric<br />Subject matter remains buried in the documents<br />It’s strength is in the integrity of the materials<br />But criticized for being difficult to use<br />Is it scholarship?<br />
  25. 25. From Database to Narrative:The Differences Slavery Made<br />
  26. 26. What problems was TDSM trying to solve?<br />
  27. 27. Problems with VOS<br />VOS has no argument; not scholarship per se<br />Unclear how to use it, other than as a simple library<br />
  28. 28. How were these problems addressed by Differences?<br />
  29. 29. Narrative overlay<br />References as links to lexia (Historiography and Evidence)<br />Conventions of making citations<br />
  30. 30. Site Content<br />Narrative<br />Summary of argument<br />Points of analysis<br />Historiography<br />Secondary sources<br />Annotated bibliographic references<br />Evidence<br />Primary sources<br />Documents<br />Tables (data)<br />Maps<br />
  31. 31. Site Structure<br />Hierarchy with links<br />Menu A: Introduction, Summary, Points, Methods<br />Menu B: Evidence, Historiography, Tools<br />Each menu item has sub-menus <br />How does Differences connect to Valley?<br />
  32. 32. Darnton’s Pyramid<br />
  33. 33. Core TDSM “Prismatic” Structure<br />VOS<br />
  34. 34. Interface Design<br />How is context established?<br />Can you see items in-line? <br />Can you compare items? <br />
  35. 35. How hypertextual is the site? <br />How is “associative indexing” handled?<br />
  36. 36. Categories used to organize content in both <br />Geography<br />Politics<br />Election of 1860<br />Political activtivists<br />Economics<br />Commerce<br />Crops<br />Labor<br />Property<br />Social structure<br />Race<br />Culture<br />Religion<br />Education (“school”)<br />Urbanization (“Town Development”)<br />Information and communications<br />Replace with tags?<br />
  37. 37. Criticisms<br />Nothing inherently hypertextual about the site<br />Thesis is not that complicated<br />Modernity and slavery not opposites<br />Why not put exhibits inline?<br />Why not show points of comparison in context?<br />Need for transclusion<br />Why explain relationship in historiography? Why not create links or use tags?<br />
  38. 38. Themes<br />Exposing process<br />From narrative to database to narrative<br />Library vs. Book<br />Could you do TDSM in WordPress?<br />
  39. 39. Return to Afghan COINS PowerPoint . . .<br />