Category Archives: Masters

The End of the Year & DHSITE 2017

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 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 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¬† Follow if you dare…

Mastering My Craft In 2017

Seeing as I have not posted in quite some time, I thought the last day of the year was a fitting time for some reflection…

2016 has been an interesting year for me academically. As it began I was entering my second semester of graduate classes as a Special Student at Carleton, not yet in the MA program in History. Thankfully, I was able to end that semester very successfully despite a major illness in March.

My summer was then spent travelling to rest up for a very busy academic year. In May, I had the chance to travel back to my home province of Alberta and visit my relatives for the first time in over seventeen years in their homes. It was invigorating to see them and take in the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Later on in the summer I then travelled to New York City, my favourite place in the world, with my father who I had not seen all year. Both of these trips were absolutely crucial to allow me to recharge my batteries so that I would be both physically and mentally prepared for the most challenging academic year of my career.

Not only was I facing a great deal of challenging academic work of my own, but in addition I would have the responsibility of being a TA for the first time. I knew that in order to successfully maintain the grades that I had in mind, I would have to manage my energy very carefully. Thankfully the History Department was very accommodating to this reality and helped me arrange my schedule to do so.

For years I have been waiting with great eagerness to try my hand at being a TA. The experience did not disappoint. While I didn’t get as much of a chance to interact with students as I had hoped, I did get a chance to build some great friendships with fellow graduate students as well as professors.

As I look on to 2017 I feel a great deal of excitement. This next semester is going to be a busy one with two major class projects due, as well as more TA responsibilities. However, I know that if I keep track of my energy, I can keep my stress level down and reduce any risks to my health. If I do this I will be able to complete these two major assignments to the best of my abilities. Once this is accomplished I can begin the most exciting part of my 2017, my Masters thesis.

Summer and Fall

This is amazing to me. Here I am at my on computer on a Thursday afternoon in August about to begin my Masters. My goal for my summer was to have a pleasant mix of adventure and relaxation to prepare me for the task that lay ahead in the fall. My plan worked.

Summer for me began with, as my last entry pointed to, with an absolutely amazing trip to Calgary. I then went to Philadelphia with my powerhockey team for our annual tournament, which was filled with fantastic competition and even a little historic site seeing. Finally I am about to embark upon a final weekend holiday to my favourite place in the world, New York City. In between all of these unbelievable trips I have enjoyed my relaxation time by listening to audiobooks by the river, and driving along the canal. What a summer it has been!

I am writing this blog entry today though because I have just registered for (what I have now learned thanks to my credits from last year) what are my two remaining classes before beginning my MRE or Thesis to complete my degree. What is amazing about this is that I was expecting to be working on this degree for what was to be the foreseeable future. Now though I am beginning with the extra motivation of being able to see the finish line.

This news was given to me yesterday from Dr Lipsett-Rivera. As she told me I was honestly so shocked I did not stop smiling for what seemed like a couple hours. Having the ability to finish up my classes and have the opportunity to experience being a TA all in two years blew my mind!

The History and Digital Humanities faculties at Carleton have been so accommodating and supportive of me that I cannot thank them enough. They have helped me navigate the program to best suit my needs, as well as answer any questions or concerns that I have. Learning how to arrange things so that I can experience being a TA despite the limits placed on to me by my disability.

I cannot wait to dive in to the deep end of the adventure that is before me. It may be much shorter than I was expecting it to be, but that simply means that I will savour every moment.