Happy Thanksgiving

Was just browsing to remind myself to do the homework and thought I would drop a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Enjoy your Thankgiving

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cool crowdsource & an exam possibility…

Crowdsource: English Language and Usage & this new DH site may offer a final exam alternative

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Holiday HW Reminders

1. Blog post

2. Read and, after doing so, create three quiz questions (any format) to assess/evaluate comprehension of the reading assignment. Please post the three quiz questions as a reply here.

Have an excellent break!

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Growing Up Wired & Teachers’ Views on Technology in the Classroom — two worthwhile reports published this weekend in the NYT.

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Since the project we are working on is so large and detailed and everyone seems to be investing so much in it what do you think about this suggestion:

instead of a final make this our final

a couple of my other classes are doing this too…They are giving large projects in exchange for the final

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save the words & DH in the NYT

An Oxford Dictionaries Project worth checking out & (though it’s hardly news to you…) Humanities Scholars Embrace Digital Technology

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Visualizations are used for a very simple purpose: to visually represent sets of data in a way that aims to be clear, simple, and easily understood.  Executed well, visualizations can help us understand single sets of data as well as multiple sets and how they relate to each other.

My other groups members have mentioned the visualization that we intend to use in our project.  It would be a sort of geographic-centered representation of the Beat network.  The majority of the Beats relied on each other for many things: inspiration, peer editing, getting a fix, making love, and publishing.  The main drive of our visualization would be to show this network.  How, exactly?  I’m not sure yet, but in a study of the Beats, I see this information as absolutely necessary to understanding how their influence spread.

As for visualization itself…I can’t think of anything else substantial to say about it.

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First of all, I really enjoyed all of the visuals presented in class on Wednesday. I thought they all showed interesting research in unique ways. To sum up how and why visualizations are important to any form of research, I am going to begin with a definition from class. On the visualization PowerPoint, visualization was defined as a way to enhance, refine, and re-define our understanding through visual representation.

Enhancement. That is what I believe visualizations provide to research, presentations, documents, etc. I think visualizations should help us gain a better understanding of the subject matter, by presenting, or re-defining, the information in a new, interesting way. I think this is the purpose of visualizations. We already have the subject matter, so now we must present it in a way that makes sense, and enhances what we are trying to prove. I think visualizations are being used in this way, since all of the ones shown in class simply present data by means of different graphs, tables, visuals, animations, etc. The visualizations shown could definitely enhance a project dealing with the appropriate subject matter, because they will engage viewers and spark their interest. The visualizations could also provide viewers with a better understanding of the subject matter. If a visual does either one of those, I think it is worth viewing.

Most of the visualizations shown in class on Wednesday were very informative and interesting. My three personal favorites were the Peak Break-Up Times, the Twitter Chatter during the Superbowl, and the Open Heat Map. The main factor I liked in each one of these was simplicity. They were interesting, but easy to follow and understand. I felt like these visualizations acknowledged the idea of enhancement, because they didn’t try to show too much information at once. I also enjoyed the Mood Inferred from Twitter visualization because of the color. I think color is an excellent way to present information in an eye-catching, fascinating way.

For my project, we are comparing texts of Little Women in a user-friendly, tabbed screen. We are comparing the original document with scripts, different editions of the book, and musical adaptations. To do this, our project already requires a tremendous amount of visualization. Visualization is going to be used to convey the main purpose of our project, which is the comparisons. The comparison screen needs to be visually appealing, easy to understand, and professional. We plan to have boxes for readers to select choices, tabbed screens, different windows, and more. Since we have so many elements to our comparison screen, visualization will allow us to present the tool in a coherent, simple way. I think the visuals shown in class simply reinforce the notion that our project is going to require a high degree of visualization.

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Visualization can be an extremely powerful tool to convey information. While words and text can be bland on a page, picures and graphs pop out and catch the eye. When looking at typical data in text form, you will see numbers and descriptions in a boring font, colored black, and on a white background. While the text can be manipulated in a variety of ways, it can rarely be as captivating as a visualization.

One idea that I had of a visualization for my project was a timeline. Since Amanda and I are doing a website on Bach and his works, I thought an interactive timeline would be an interesting concept. The timeline would compare milestones and important events in his life with the time he colored each of his pieces. There would also be a broader timeline showcasing important historical events in his lifetime and how they compare. The timeline would be fully accessible, with links on each composition to take the user the our section on the website featuring that piece. This tool could be interesting and informative by comparing the events in his life and history to the work he was creating, and allows the reader to decide if there are connections between his work and life.

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[let’s see]

Visualizations are being used because, for some people, it’s easier to grasp information and/or concepts (see Jordan’s post on visual learners). And let’s face it, sometimes they’re prettier to look at than words. haha Anyway, for all of us who have ADD/ADHD and can’t read forever, they break up the monotony. They can be powerful and really convey a point well, but, I’m with Tufte – I’ve always had beef with powerpoint presentations and people who don’t know how to use them. But, that’s not a fault of the program itself; the blame lies on the user.

Visualizations in my project? Yep. Katrina and I are doing Bach’s music – and anyone who’s seen tutorials on YouTube of people playing instruments will have a slight idea of what I’m talking about. We’re going to use videos of performance and playing because, well sometimes, you can read a piece of music and all but, if you don’t know how to, you can learn ‘how to play’ music by watching someone else and just ‘mimicking’ what they do. very simple. very direct. very possible with visualizations  :)

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Laptops replace notebooks

This is just a side note but…

This weekend while I was home my mom recieved my brother’s registration letter for school. Contained in the letter was a note that said that this class of incoming freshmen (in high school) would be paperless. They are all required to buy a certain laptop and all of their tests, notes, papers ect. will be done on these laptops. They will not be using paper.


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The Benefits fo Visualization

Visualizations or images are becoming a popular way to convey information.  One possibility for why this is occurring is because a large amount of information can be put in a small amount of space.  Another reason why visualizations are becoming more popular is that we are a visual culture.  Advertisements, TV, video games, movies, etc.  play a large part in our lives and we have become very good at interpreting what images mean.

The visualization examples in class were interesting because they incorporated a multitude of different techniques to display information.  Two of the things that each of these examples had were color and graphics.  As individuals of a digital age we need color and graphics to keep our attention.  Other features like search boxes, interactive videos, etc also allow us to see the information in a the way we want to, which in turn maintains our interest for a longer period of time.

As Erik said we would incorporate a map of where the beat poets traveled.  There are multiple ways in which to do this, but I was considering having a search box that would show where individual beat poets traveled as well as an overall map.  I think it would also be interesting to search by time in order to see when and where the beat poets met.  I know Erik was also thinking about including a map of where the different works were created.  Another interesting visualization component that we were considering was a timeline.  The timeline would also be interactive and could be in multiple forms.  A traditional timeline could be shown but I think it would also be interesting to have the timeline set up as a slide show that incorporates pictures and short explanations in chronological order.  Overall visualization opens a large window of opportunities to display information and capture peoples attention.

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From my experience, you can tell me about something until you are blue in the face. You can explain it a million different ways and I still will not understand it until I see a visual or an example. What can I say…I’m a very visual person! I absoutly loved the visuals that we saw on wednesday. Some of the concepts in the visuals I most likley would not have understood or believed without the visual aid. Take the Africa visual. I never knew that Africa was that huge. I mean I knew it was big but not that big. If someone were to try to explain to me how all of the top countries could fit into Africa I would have been very confused. This visual made it easier for me to understand.

Personally I think that this is the point of visualization, to give a visual to explain concepts that are difficult to explain in words. They make it easier to see difficult concepts. They also make it easier to see the way that data plots out like the Facebook breakup and the Grocery map. Visualization tools help you and your users see data in a new light and to learn from this new data. This is what makes Visualization DH. It presents the information in a new way so that people can learn from it and make their own research questions. Visualization fits in very nicely with what we are learning and what we know about digital humanities.

I would use visualization in many ways in my project. First Emily and I are planning to have the facsimiles of the works on our site for our users to view. This will allow them to see how she wrote and edited her work. We are also planning to have a link to watch the movie version and dramatical version of “Little Women.” This will allow for the users to see how the play is different from the film and how they are both different from the original  book. Another way that we could possibly use visualization is to take how each character is described in the book, movie and play. Then have a sketch from each of these and put them side by side by side to allow the users to see how each medium has changed the appearance of the March children.  These visualization tools will hopefully provide our users with new insight into the material and will inspire them to formulate their own research questions, one of the meanings of a digital humanities site.

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Visions of the Future

Today’s generation is the most stimulated generation ever. Some even press to say that we are “overstimulated”. This often explains why traditional methods of learning often times fail to convey the information needs. Enter modern day visualization. Graphs and charts have been around for about as long as information has been shared. In the new digital age however, things take to a new level. It is so easy to create a visualized illustration of info. We can understand statistics a lot more easily and quickly if presented in some form of visualization.

That is not to say that visualized date is perfect. Many of these projections can show us a lot, but they are not always specific enough to demonstrate everything that numbers can. They may be a more effective way of showing words, but they are not always the complete picture. A good example of this would be the Super Bowl Twitter chatter. Sure it shows us the most used word, emoticon, etc. during that time, but it does not tell us how many times it was used. Essentially numbers are already a visualized representation of info, in their own right.

With this understanding, the idea for a visualization in our group project has actually been discussed. We thought of an idea of a map that shows the travels and interactions of the each beat writer as a part of our site. The most effective method of doing this would be to present a picture of the United States, when a beat writer is selected his route will be displayed on the map with a description of each stop and other beat writers the interacted with. I have seen an example of something similar to this once before. The NFL illustrates the route each team has to travel for their away games in an interactive map on their site.

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Visualization: The Future of Data Presentation

I loved the visualizations that we were exposed to in class on Friday.  I, personally, get very bored with large amounts of data that are presented in black and white, uninteresting lists.  When I read a list of facts, even if there is supposed to be a distinguishing characteristic, it will not jump out at me.  Given a random assortment of data, I sometimes fail to see the “point” of the data.

However, when presented with, say, the Africa visualization we saw in class, I got the point very easily, with some minor exploration of the supporting notes on the image.  This really showed me what the creator was trying to express—he was showing us the true scale of the continent of Africa, something that I will admit I didn’t really have an idea of.

The examples we saw showed me that the move toward digital visualizations is to make something that is more user friendly. Some of what we looked at seemed to be a bit frivolous, such as the twitter during the Super Bowl, but all of these presented us with data in an actually interesting way.  Today’s visualizations, which are not the standard charts that we are used to, give us useful information in a more modern, eye catching and interactive way.

An idea of how visualization can be used in our Anne Frank project is the formation of a digital map.  This map could show important places that were involved in the diary and places them as points on this map.  Instead of just listing places that were pertinent to the story of Anne or have readers just read about them in the Diary, we could actually show the places that are read about to the observer in a whole way.  The locations, such as the place where the house stands or Bergen Belsen, the concentration camp where Anne and Margot died, would be plotted on the map, which could be interactive and give more information when clicked.

The visualizations I have seen have shown me that the future of data presentation is visual, and there are limitless possibilities for the future of visualization and all it can teach us.

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Text vs Pictures

The visualizations we looked at in class are being used to convey information to us in more interesting and understandable ways. Some of the information presented would not be useful to us had it just been typed into lists and columns. These visualizations keep our attention better and make conveying the information much easier. For example, simply telling someone that Africa is really large isn’t that interesting or informative. However, showing a student that even whole continents combined don’t equal the size of Africa by making a scaled representation is a lot more useful. Basically, people like pictures. Just a few minutes ago my friend sat flipping through my Mass Comm text book, analyzing all of the pictures and ignoring much of the words. Overall, people are more likely to pay attention to visualizations than immense paragraphs of information.

I think the variety of ways you can use illustrations are what make them more helpful in learning. All text looks the same when on a page in a textbook; black, size twelve, Times New Roman. When a student is scanning a book, they aren’t likely to catch important written information easily. A picture, on the other hand, stands out from what one is reading and draws them in.

One visualization Ali and I are planning for our Magna Carta project was a timeline of different versions of the document and the history surrounding it. This information would be dull and dry reading from a textbook. However, if it were visualized on a timeline and readers could see the information much more easily, I believe students would be more inclined to take in the facts and learn from them. The timeline would be one of the most prominent points of our site, and even though there is a written version of the history, I think people would be more inclined to check out the timeline than the lengthy paragraphs of history.

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Visual Learner Anyone??

So, how many people are visual learners? I MOST DEFINITELY AM! In class on Friday I was so intrigued by how all of the information was displayed on each visualization website. I liked the different graphs, designs, charts, and flowing lines. I wrote in my last blog about the Intimate Relationships page, which was so easy to follow and grasp information from. There was color, flowing lines, definitions, circles- it was all so easy and much more interesting than a paragraph…

For visual learners like myself, we retain information by seeing it all layed out somehow. Whether it be in colors, pictures or representations. Something that would take a whole page to describe in paragraph form could be said in one colorful graph. Why is this done? To make things much clearer! There is no reading between the lines when it comes to a visual. It is just black and white (well, really it is sometimes extremely colorful) and it is just layed out. All the information- numbers, facts, data- is right in front of your face and all you have to do is look at it. Visualizations are much more fun, too. I mean, who wants to read little 10 point words on a page when they can see it all in color, brightening up the page?

Through visualization we can understand data better. Why? Because we can see it so much clearer! For example- let’s say a company wants to track its sales of a certain object over a year’s time. They could do it in a graph and BAM!- its seen perfectly, the fluctation of the line and the ups and downs of sales. We can better understand the important facts. Visualizations are going to display the most important information, right? So, instead of reading something and trying to weed out the important information- it is already done for us.

For our project- The Diary of Anne Frank Online- we can have many visualizations. First, there is the timeline which takes you through Anne’s life as well as the important events happening in history so the viewer can see them side by side. The most important facts are displayed easily and it is in chronological order so the viewer can see everything as it happened. There are also photos that give the viewer a sense of what it was like to be a Jew during World War II. There are captions explaining the photos and people, so the viewer can put a face to a name. Then, the most important visualization aspect of our project is the diary itself. We have Anne’s diary layed out- facsimiles side-by-side with the translated version. The viewer can see her handwriting and feel the emotion that Anne had when she was writing. Now, this part doesn’t exactly display information like a data graph would, however; it does show the original piece which is much better than just someone’s translated version.

Visualization is very important when displaying information- when it is done correctly it is very effective and useful to the world.

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Icons, Images, and Illustrations

            Visualizations are being used to represent information that cannot be portrayed otherwise or is better organized in a visual form.  Images express a certain idea that the creator is trying to convey.  It catches the attention of people in a way that plain text just would not do.  They are used in advertisements, business proposals, school and team logos, and in commercials.  We have evolved to become people that like to SEE something in order to learn, or like to be read to while we look at its representation.  It is easier, quicker, and keeps up with the fast-paced society that we live in. 

            A message is represented in a small icon or picture, and if the reader correctly links the icon to the message or idea behind it, it works.  For example, the Windows logo and Nike check mark are each associated with the companies that they symbolize.  As long as people recognize them, the corporations are making a profit.  It is easier to get your business advertized if you use a symbol rather than a paragraph because it is better remembered.

            We can understand the information a lot better through visualization.  It helps to see the process of doing something or have it shown to us.  We are a lot more likely to pick up on the action faster than we would have if directions were read.  It is like when we all learned fractions, I know I did not understand just through speaking and writing.  I had to use objects like pizza to represent the halves, thirds, fourths, and eighths of a whole.

            In addition, images and visualization can be used for artistic purposes.  An artist expresses a certain emotion through their work and leaves it up to his fans to interpret it as they want.  In this way, text would ruin their objective.  Also, comic books are primarily visual text, they provide pictures and the reader can follow the story by the actions of the characters through images and minimal text that they speak.

            It is useful that we can understand complex ideas and concepts through simple images.  For visual stimulation, we have created a website with tasteful images and colors in our project.  It is appealing to see pictures because it breaks up the text.  Sometimes it works out that by displaying a picture, it describes an idea better than words could attempt.  We incorporated many pictures so that our readers can not only follow along with the story of the Magna Carta, but visualize the plot in their heads.  The text can be better understood if we picture and imagine it through our own interpretations and therefore relate it to everyday life.  Our project can be best displayed if we have a comic book style way of showing the events.  We could have King John angering the barons, King John signing the Magna Carta, and then England after document is established.  This way, novices can actually see what the story of the Magna Carta consists of without having to bore themselves with lengthy texts.

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The Art of Visualization

Visualizations, today, can be used in remarkable, innovative, and thought-provoking ways, yet could potentially confuse us too.

Data that could be overwhelming and hard to interpret can be simplified using visuals. Visualizations can take hundreds of tables of numbers and put them into a single graphic or series of graphics. The mood throughout the day according to twitter is an excellent example. Viewers can understand a complex idea and compare numerous questions at a single glance.

Visuals present illuminating data that one may not recognized solely from tables of numbers. The Africa site, for instance, takes a country’s area and puts it into a perspective that everyone can relate to. A series of numbers is not as illuminating as seeing all the countries that can fit into one.

Through visualizations we can better understand relationships, correlations, and significant points. Sometimes just words do not express the point we are trying to make. Sometimes they do not offer the impact we are looking for. At times words or numbers are simply not enough to capture an audience, to illuminate a point, to find connections. Visualizations ultimately allow people to easily recognize the significance of data, to illuminate/emphasize important facts, and to make connections.

With the transition to a more digital society, more and more people think in terms of graphics. They learn through pictures, displays, and interconnected images. Visualizations appeal to this learner who gains information through seeing things. Visualizations can make a profound impact in a short amount of time. With society becoming faster paced, visualizations will be important to making an argument, to discovering new connections.

For our group’s project, a visualization could be very useful under the history tab. A timeline with interactive features and pictures would greatly simplify the vast amount of information about that time period. Instead of pages of information, the visual timeline would especially appeal to the younger learner. The viewer would not need to spend a lot of time intensely reading the history. The visual would instead allow the reader to understand complex situations in an easy way. The images would even allow viewers to easily recognize the significant moments in her life. With society becoming a more visual society, perhaps viewers would be able to remember the information better.

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Visuals have the potential to be a great asset to us and at the same time they can confuse us in an instant. They are used to show us data or statistics without using many words. Visuals can be graphs, maps, flowcharts, or a picture. They can be a changing image to go along to music. An example of this is the images that are shown when you listen to music on windows media player. Many times they have text associated with them and the visual complements the text and enhances it. The best ones (in my opinion at least) are the visuals with the least text in the actual visual. The more text that is added the more cramped and “busy” the visual becomes.

Visuals help us to build on our understanding of a text so that we can have a picture to go along with the words. A map can show geographic information like how big Africa is compared to many nations around the world. This helps to show in perspective how large Africa is. Graphs can show us the timing of certain events or the times when certain events happen the most (an example is the peak times of break-ups on facebook). The best way I can describe visuals is they show us something text cannot tell us by itself.

In my research project we can use visuals to show the travels of the Beat poets. I have to give Erik credit for coming up with this one but it would make a very nice visual. We would show a map of the U.S. and on this map would be lines showing where the poets moved all around the country and information on who they met with and what they might have written there. This would help to show us where the poets were and help us to understand what inspired them to write some of their works.

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