Platform salad

Each platform offers possibilities for different aspects of my project:

1. I want to be able to have annotations that appear if you roll over tags; in these annotations I want to be able to include text, images, maps, links to other pages etc. ThingLink was wonderful for this, especially because it is embeddable. It is so great when these platforms can “talk to each other” and work together, which doesn’t always seem to be the case.

2. I didn’t get a chance to explore Scalar, but from the demo it looks very appealing as one way of presenting my project as a text rich with media, annotations, and dynamic features. I am not sure that I could build my whole project there. Right now I see it as a way to make a “book version” of my project, so to speak–with a sustained analysis, argument etc etc but not with all the interactive features of the map-based idea. I don’t mind thinking of this as a companion platform that could be linked to the map site.

3. I like OHMS for a different research project where one of my sources is a video on Youtube made by a Berlin collective, which is an oral/video history of that community. I’ve been annotating it manually by writing down the minutes and seconds of important passages and transcribing them, but OHMS would make the work so much easier.

4. Animoto was super fun, but I probably would only use it to make vignettes for teaching. I like the ease of adding content, but perhaps this ease is precisely what makes Animoto limited for me: I can’t control the timing of each shot, the templates are very formulaic and rigid (and most of them a bit campy!), and I can achieve similar results when I record a slideshow on Powerpoint–except that I can easily add my voice-over, control timings etc. Powerpoint is admittedly much slower and clunkier, and the final file is gigantic and not easy to share, so I suppose Animoto could be best in some situations.

5. Omeka 2.0 looks promising! I tested Omeka yesterday and liked it as a teaching tool, for building my course website and for having students work on their own. Omeka 2.0 seems more flexible, visually appealing (not just on the dashboard side but also on the “user view” side), and easier to work with.

I am not sure what is available at my home institution because I’m joining them in the Fall. It’s a big university and I suspect there might already be resources, people, platforms etc. available. I also think they would be open to new projects and suggestions.

Source: Platform salad

Day 4: Drinking from the Firehose?

Confession: There was a moment today when I felt like I was drinking from the firehose. While the embedded video below doesn’t entirely capture the feeling, it does allow me to showcase my newfound abilities:

I left today’s institute meeting feeling like a giddy child, one who has boxes of chocolates and sugary candies and who doesn’t even know where to begin delighting in the sugary sweetness. After learning about Scalar, Omeka, and Drupal Gardens yesterday, I woke this morning hoping we’d have time to explore them further. The day turned out so much better than I imagined, as we discovered numerous tools to annotate images and videos. Thinglink became my new favorite tool (scroll over the images here). I enjoy annotating images, especially those that are unfamiliar to students (e.g., the Aztec “Calendar Stone”).

Operation_Crossroads_Baker_EditI’ve always done it in Photoshop or some other image editing software, where I draw arrows and include text, but it is always somewhat messy. Thinglink allowed me to annotate with not only text, but also links and videos. And it was easy to use. Come Fall semester, I will use this in my classes and ask students to annotate images. It will be a wonderful way to encourage close looking at images, even if it is a different type of close looking than we might normally expect. I know that I will also employ this tool for my project on Mexican deathways for the same reason that I will use it with students. I can embed these annotated images into my websites as well. For all these reasons, Thinglink ranks as my number one tool of the day.

We also explored Animoto. I must confess that I am normally dismissive of videos made from powerpoints or the like–I find them distracting. Yet Animoto has potential for both my teaching and project on Mexican deathways, particularly because it limits text, focuses on the visual, and displays a clean finished product.

Learning to annotate in Youtube was also wonderful. I feel sheepish that I didn’t know how to to this before today. And what wonderful possibilities it has. I can also download (for free) my Animoto videos and then upload them to my Youtube channel.

Surprisingly, by 4 PM I felt energized and ready to keep exploring all these new tools. They were all simple enough to guide students and colleagues who might want to use digital tools for their own projects or research.

A final note about today’s learning: the new Omeka 2.2 platform that we installed is much better than the earlier version I used yesterday. With a few changes to the hex color codes and a header image, I had a decent looking website in a couple of minutes vs. the earlier version. I plan to use this new version for the deathways project. In particular, it will work well to create exhibitions of objects.

Resources at Brooklyn College and CUNY


There are a few helpful resources at Brooklyn College beyond Artstor, WorldCat, etc. I found some excellent resources on fair use, as well as some individuals who might be willing to help me get clearances. Within the CUNY system, I imagine the CUNY Commons will use useful for making connections with people interested in digital humanities and digital art history, finding different platforms (or at least others who use them), and experimenting with other platforms and tools. I also discovered that Brooklyn College has a list of OERs that could aid my project. I didn’t find anything about specific CMS platforms, but it is possible that this information is not well represented online. I’ve no doubt that CUNY Graduate Center has amazing resources for those interested in digital humanities. Now I just need to find and access them.

Source: Day 4: Drinking from the Firehose?