Monthly Archives: January 2014

Creating Visual Layouts of THATCAMPAccess

This week’s task has been to take a couple of minutes from the recordings of THATCAMPAccess, and create a visual layout of the conversation using a workbook in Excel.  This task is tedious, however it is critical to reacquaint myself with the exciting conversations that took place in October of last year at Carleton University during THATCAMPAccess.

The first conversation that I took in was ‘The Role Played By Libraries In the Digital Humanities’.  Hearing this discussion again has reminded me of why I have chosen the path I have.  What I mean by this of course is that for me, the Digital Humanities have played a huge roll in making libraries, and therefore history more accessible.  For years I would stay as far away from libraries as possible in order to avoid having to go through the exhausting process of taking a very heavy book off the shelf and sift through endless pages to find what I need.

Nowadays, however, the library is filled with different technologies that are designed to help solve those problems.  The conversation that took place at THATCAMPAccess revolved around this very topic.  Libraries are so important, as Dr Graham explained during the conversation, as the study of Digital Humanities is twofold.  First, the study of how technology affects society, and second utilizing said technology for research (for example recreating historic situations and letting them play out virtually).  The library, as was discussed in this conversation, is the bridge between these two gaps.  One participant demonstrated how at this moment, there is a great deal of funding for projects like these with libraries as many individuals are receiving grants to create digital archives and databases for libraries around the world.

All of this information was taken in during the first ten minutes of discussion.  It is hard to imagine just how much else I will be reminded of as I take on the project of re-listening to this whole ‘unconference’.

Scalar

When applying for this project, I came to Dr Graham with the idea of somehow including the recordings of THATCAMPAccessibility that took place in October 2012.  This conference had been recorded in audio format with the intention of analyzing it afterwards.  Like most things that we all intend to get to, they have sat on my computer for a little more than a year as I had yet to figure out what to do with them.  This dilemma, however, came to an end this week.

To put a plan together, myself and Dr Graham met earlier in the week to discuss the possibilities.  I began by mentioning the possibility of transcribing them all to simplify the process of analyzing them.  This of course though would take hours and hours of work to do and at the end of it I would have done zero analysis of it.  Therefore, Dr Graham stepped in and presented me with an online tool that could help me called Scalar.  Then we came to the decision that perhaps it may be a more reasonable decision to listen to these audio files and then sort through them to pick out the files that were more useful for analysis using Scalar.

How exactly will Scalar help me?  That is exactly what I asked Dr Graham with a confused look on my face while sitting in his office.  In order to find the answer to this riddle Dr Graham sent me the link to their website and off I went to discover for myself.  What I found was an exciting (to this nerd) world of possibilities.  As soon as I quickly and easily registered I began reading.  On the Welcome page they say, “Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required” (http://scalar.usc.edu/works/guide/index).  I thought to myself, “wait a minute… this is exactly what I want to do!”

From there I continued to read into a page called ‘QuickStarts’ and was even more thrilled to see just how easy using this program will be.  For everything from creating a book to importing media from my hard drive, they list step by step instructions so that it is, as they state on their welcome page, easy for users with minimal expertise to utilize.

It shall be interesting in the coming weeks to see just what will unfold.  Stay tuned!