Blog Post

DH@Stockton.... what I've learned so far.

This week I have spent a lot of time discovering how HASTAC can be a tool for my project.  First and foremost, HASTAC has provided an avenue for finding information.  Also, I am working on my time management, since I have devoted 20 minutes a day to searching HASTAC for information.  I went to a technology conference once, and the speaker called it the "technology ten."  Rather, I do the technology twenty- where I dedicate 20 minutes to searching the forums, groups and blogs for information about museums and digital tools.  I then print out the articles and spend time reading both the article and the conversation thread that follows it.  My project is still very much in the research phase, and HASTAC has directed me towards many voices to help my project, such as Nina Simon, the director of the Santa Cruz Museum, Gwyneira Isaac, writer of "Technology Becomes the Object:  The Use of Electronic Media at the National Museum of the American Indian," Anne Fahy, writer of "New Technologies for Museum Communication," and the historians at the Penn Museum.  As I read, I am exploring the conversation of the advantages and challenges of digitising museum collections, of the issue of whether viewing an object online makes it lose its affective power, or whether viewing it online inspires a visit to the museum to see the object in person.  The topic of accessiblity and privelege and silencing is at the forefront of the conversation- what items get digitized, how do people get access to those objects, what is the cost of digitising and accessing, who benefits from the access, whose story gets told?  There is a philosophical debate about digitsing:  does it have a democratizing effect or does it continue "cultural colonialism" (as discussed in one forum thread).  As far as using digitizing from a pedagogical standpoint, how does it transform the study of history?  How can it help teachers and their students?  In the Chicago Public Library they have created learning labs that "help young people move beyond consuming content to making it and creating it."  Digitized collections allow students access to  materials they may never have had due to the financial and time restrictions of their districts.  Digitized collections allow people access beyond the roped off exhibitions and allow people to manipulate the angle of viewing and virtual experiences could allow for multiple layers of experiences.  From reading the threads on HASTAC, I have also found journals for museums and digital media.  One site that I discovered is the Google Art Project, which is a "collaboration between Google and 151 acclaimed art partners from across 40 countries" creating a "unique online art experience" that includes virtual tours, building their own art collections and visiting works from over 150 collections.  Since the goal of my project is to connect teachers to these kinds of resources, the more resources I find, the more exciting and worthwhile my project will be.  I have also learned this week how to write reviews for books and articles, since I see that as a part of my research project.  I examined and outlined a review that Prof Koh sent, so that I can review on my HASTAC blog.  This week I will be reviewing Ed Folsom's "Database as Genre:  The Epic Transformation of Archives" and the first three chapters of Jesse James Garrett's "The Elements of Users Experience."  Tomorrow my plan is to search the articles I mentioned earlier in this post, as well as about a half dozen more, print and read them, as well as their threads, in order to deepend my understanding and participation in the discussion of digitised museum collections, as well as the educator resources of museums.  I have one reading to do from my syllabus this week, and I will spend the week exploring and learning about Omeka.  Based on my syllabus timeline, I won't make a decision about which tool to use for my project until the week of the 27th, so the next two weeks will be focused on looking at a variety of tools.  I do, however, have to have enough information and concrete ideas to submit for my poster that I will be presenting at the conference in November.  So the crunch is on.  (and on a side note- can anyone tell me how to make paragraphs?  thanks!)


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