The Key to this is Diversity: Digital Humanities

Today was the first day of a new quarter at DePaul for me. I’m taking two electives, both centered on digital humanities, one in theory (pray for me) and one in practice. I’ll post a lot about it for at least the next 10 weeks [fair warning].

I didn’t even know what digital humanities was when I registered for these courses, but I have used my time at DePaul to try to gain as many new skills as possible. See my design struggles. My interest in libraries and library science and other social sciences in general lead me to digital humanities.

I’ve since done some reading and learned that digital humanities is the study of the integration of digital tools into the humanities [I think]. How humanities professional use digital tools in order to research, collaborate, and publish. All I could think was… so COOL! I knew I was attracted to this course for a reason.

In a way, digital humanities is sort of subcategory to new media studies, which is just the study of the integration of digital tools into society as a whole. Not a far throw from the stuff I study regularly, so after a lot of initial trepidation, I’m ready to jump in head first.

The other thing I love about digital humanities is its interdisciplinary nature. I hate working and studying in homogeneous groups. That is boring! I expect that these classes will allow me to meet and share scholarship with students from all around the humanities. That makes for great discussions and debates and that is the key to this.

More Devices, Kindle Paperwhite

My Christmas was awesome! I hope everyone else’s was as well. This will be my last post of 2014, so Happy New Year too!

I got a Kindle Paperwhite. I was completely floored. I had been throwing the idea around, but I had no intention of anyone hearing it and thinking to buy it for Christmas. After reading an entire book on the device, I came up with a pretty rudimentary pro/con schematic.

Kindle Paperwhite 6 inch with built in light. Image and device belong to Dilane Mitchell.

The home screen of my Kindle Paperwhite.

On the pro side, the Paperwhite is very very light. I noticed while reading how much lighter it is than my iPad Mini. The backlight is genius and the link to the Amazon Store makes impulse buying a breeze. At the bottom of the Home screen Amazon shows you books you might want to buy based on your Goodreads shelf or your reading patterns.

It’s also extremely user friendly. The entire set up took about 7 minutes and was complicated because the Kindle tried to register to my mom’s account because she purchased it. It was easily fixed and then I was on my way.

On the con side, the screen is black and white. Maybe I should have realized that, but I didn’t. I was a little freaked out when I couldn’t see the covers of my books in color. The Goodreads integration needs work. There’s very limited visibility. I always start trying to do something and then have to switch to another device. That’s a little frustrating.

Kindle Paperwhite 6 inch with built in light. Image and device belong to Dilane Mitchell.

I sat and read on my Kindle all day for the last two days. I will admit I am quite pleased. I was hesitant to jump the reader bandwagon.

It’s a device that’s built for reading and on that front, it’s fantastic. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more about it.

Inequality within an Information Ecology

Ain’t gone be no conflict. I’m the only one who bought the iPads so I’m the only one who gets to make the plan.

This is what my mother said when I asked her what conflicts she foresaw arising from her regulation of my brother and sister’s iPads. I was interviewing her because I was analyzing my family using an information ecology metaphor, as constructed by Bonnie Nardi and Vick O’Day in Information Ecologies. “In information ecologies, the spotlight is not on technology, but on human activities that are served by technology.” (Nardi & O’Day, 1999, 49) The authors use the ecology metaphor because it allows for the most complete analysis of the relationship between humans and technology. Using this analysis, Nardi and O’Day argue that all members of the ecology should be included in the conversation when planning to introduce a new technology into an information ecology. That being said, what I think the authors are missing from their analysis is role of power.

What happens to an ecology where open discussion just isn’t possible? 

In the case of my information ecology, my mother was expressing an unwillingness to even include my siblings in the conversation. When I went to write my paper, I noticed that Nardi and O’Day do not address this in their book. They do give an example of an ecology where all parties were not included in the plan for the ecology but they do not provide suggestions of how to help get all parties involved and balance the scales, how to get the conversation started. The example in the book led to mistrust and strained relationships between the people within the ecology. I don’t want that to happen in my family.

Nardi and O’Day say, “just talk — has the power to change things…” (75) That’s only if you can get a health conversation started.