The Cartography of American Colonization Database (CACD)
The big question: How do I take notes on a map? How do I link it to other maps? How do I store this information and join it so I can use it in scholarly research?
What is he hoping to have? A system that can:
- link to high-res images, extensive text alongside
- search feature
- put them all on a timeline for historic context
- georeference the maps, displaying them on an internet 3D mapping platform (MS Mapcruncher)
Why do this? What's the value?
- tracking toponym shifts
- getting the information available/usable for scholars and teachers
- you can learn more with the maps together than you can with them singularly
Comment: I love Google Maps. Street view is insane. I'm moving to Seattle for the summer and have virtually "walked" around the neighborhood I'll be living in a number of times. You can find all the coffee shops within a whatever-mile radius from any point you've clicked on. What could be better?
The big question: How do you combine a an interactive video game and a narrative into interactive fiction. . .and how do you make money off of it? Why do we care?
What he's envisioning/coding/currently rocking out on:
- goes beyond Cave environments.
- a limited simulation of a "microworld"
- multiple realities for multiple characters (IF Actual World Model)
How do we get what we like about narratives into this format?
- It's a function of the Expression vs. Content divide: interesting expression can make boring content entertaining.
- We can vary tense, mood, and voice.
How do we change the old format into this vision?
Most important factors in the program flow:
- world models,
- a plan for narrating
Wanna see it for yourself? http://curveship.com
Comment: Does anyone else remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? Hot. And, okay, as someone who was obsessed with Zork as a child, this is a delight.
W. Michelle Harris
Tangible Experience Design: An education bridge between Industrial Design and Computing
Big question: How do you combine the Information Technology and Industrial Design? Can we get HCI out of the software-only view? How can we make something tangible, that interacts with people and all their five senses?
To work on answering this, Harris created a Tangible Experience Design course. The idea? She has her students:
- Study people in a particular context.
- Decide how they want to change the experience for those people in that context.
- Design something that can do that.
- Build a prototype, test it, refine it, and so on.
She's still working to get the right balance: how much electronics, programming, which theories, how deep to go into each of these?
Comments: She spoke about two challenges she's given her classes, the second being "The Forest Challenge," or how to bring an environment to people. Supercool. Reminds me of a lot of the telemersion stuff that's going on here done in a more physical manner.
eBlack Studies and the African Diaspora: A revolution in the revolution
Q: What can we do about the divide (community, spacial, racial, class) that's being created/furthered by digitization? How can we use digitization to decrease inequalities?
He's come up with the D7 Model on Digitization:
D1: define the problem
D2: data collection
D3: digitization (now we can de-spacialize, can collaborate in real-time)
D5: design of the results
D6: dissemination (who's your audience?)
D7: difference (evaluating results)
The big challenge? We need to create the "citizen scientist." We need to get the data to the public.
Network Aesthetics: American Fictions in the Era of Interconnections
Q: How are networks changing the world? When did this all start?
A: He's focusing on post-WWII as the time of the largest push. Some of the main ideas:
- "Global village" and "globalization" was used as far back as the late 1960s to early 1970s.
- Networks are everywhere, and are responsible for our global linkage, but carry no worthy affects.
- Network aesthetics have been seen in postmodern fiction, experimental fiction, movies (Syriana, The Matrix), tv shows (24, The Wire), comics, interactive fiction.
What do we need? We need a trans-disciplinary approach to study networks, their effects and meaning.
Marking up Stone: TEI, GIS, and Medieval Runology
Q: How do we use these technologies to traverse digital boundaries in the same way analog boundaries have been traversed?
A: Peter presented two main functions here:
- Take the GIS location to map the content of the rune against its location. We can then place them in the context of the religious migration, teaching ust more about the migration and giving us more information about the runes themselves.
- We can use XSL to mark up corrections in carving errors and put modern date formats in place of the runic ones, without losing the original information.
Comment: Peter said that most people in the room were far more familiar with TEI than with runes and what they were. Invert that statement and you have me. Runes rock.
Computer Fictions as Cognitive Models
Q: What do we see in current computer fictions?
A: These works are everywhere and have some common threads:
- no unifying agency
- characters are closed systems
- themes of hostile digital takeover of a character's life
- entanglement: singular events can no longer happen, because everything is part of a network
- no event is meaningless or random: it all fits somewhere
Uncomfortable, but Not Paralyzed
Question: How do we teach digital history to undergraduates?
Answer: The following are necessary:
- Digital literacy/fluency must be central to our methods
- Emphasize creativity
- Get rid of the term paper, as it's not relevant to post-school jobs.
- The idea of "digital natives" isn't useful: many people are "natives" to digital technology, but aren't at all fluent with it.
- Start engaging undergrads instead of avoiding/ignoring them.
Uncomfortable, but not paralyzed: fear and the pushing of boundaries is good and necessary within education, but we don't want people to freeze and turn off totally.
Comments: I'll echo something here that he stated: this is also important outside of a school setting. I had a manager (well, I've had many, but this one was a good one) who said that he wanted employees who failed, because it meant they were actually taking risks in their work. Obviously it's important to learn from one's mistakes, but you get the idea.