Is it honestly the end of May already?!? I feel as though I just finished posting in January as I was looking forward to finishing the end of the term. I suppose it makes sense as to why I have not been able to post for so long as I have been occupied writing for class. While admittedly, this was a challenging task this year, it was perhaps one of the most rewarding to date.
First of all in Issues In Digital Humanities I had the chance to learn more about things like visualization and digital cartography using tools such as Google Earth. What was really fun though was doing a sort of rough draft as a final project for the class. In the end this was so great because it allowed me to see what what it was that I was truly passionate about. In addition it allowed me to demonstrate the strategy that I plan to demonstrate my my thesis in. My thesis proposal shall be that much stronger because of it.
As for my other course Historical Theory & Method, admittedly, I was expecting to not enjoy it as I have generally struggled in the past with theory (it was why I switched to History from Political Science for example). However, this year’s course was centred around Michel Foucault and his theories related to discipline, punishment, security, territory and population. Amazingly and unexpectedly though I was able to base my final project for that class on some ideas which I believe will prove to be helpful for my thesis as well. Essentially my project was all about deciphering the difference, if there is one, between an impairment and a disability. Therefore, the discussion of accessibility naturally fit into this.
More recently, I had the opportunity to go to DHSITE (Digital Humanities Summer Institute and Technologies East) 2017 last week and had an amazing time! I had first heard about it from Dr Greenspan in class. He told us how Carleton and Ottawa U were combining forces to make a similar conference to that which I have attended so many times at the University of Victoria (DHSI). Being the DH nerd that I am I immediately signed up for two workshops, Social Network Analysis, which sounded interesting even though I did not really know entirely what it was, and Twitter Bots, because come on… it’s Twitter Bots!
So first off was Social Network Analysis at the University of Ottawa last Wednesday and Thursday. In it I learned so much! In it we took a website called netlytic.org. Netlytic is a tool which allows you to search and analyze undiscovered social networks on different different social media sites. So for instance you can do what I did and search for how many people utilize the term #accessibility over three days and for the next three days Netlytic will check Twitter every 15 minutes a check for a tweet that contains #accessibility. On top of this it will search through Twitter’s history before you made the request. From this search Netlytic will create a graphic that visualizes a network of connections that reveals all kinds of things, like new people that you did not know are discussing the subject, new ways that the subject is being discussed, and what I found most useful, new hashtags that are being tweeted along with it. Here is an example:
From this image we can see nodes and connections. the thicker nodes signify individuals who have mentioned this topic most frequently and the lines are their connections to others. When reading these tweets what I found most amazing was the ability to discover a new hashtag that is going to help my thesis! It is #academicableism and I was surprised how many people had discussed this hashtag when first researching #accessibility.
Now Twitter Bots was another story. For the most part I knew what they were but did not know how much use they can serve. Admittedly though, I am still discovering the ins and outs of how to best work them so I thought it would be best to make one that just quotes Seinfeld every so often. At first this was a bit difficult as I was trying to figure out how to make the proper algorithm for doing this. So I took the random character name, random word random line approach and failed miserably. BUT then I figured out that I could just quote random lines in a list on www.cheapbotsdonequick.com. The secret to this is how at the beginning of each quote, you have to not only write “Hello… Newman.” But “#Hello… Newman.” Once I did so my bot worked! So you can now follow him by following this link https://twitter.com/holliseinfeld?lang=en. Follow if you dare…