Archive for October, 2013

Network Detroit and Great Lakes THATCamp

Posted on October 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

This time last week I was in Detroit (Michigan) where I attended Network Detroit and the Great Lakes THATCamp. This is the briefest of postings describing my experiences.

Network Detroit brought together experienced and fledgling digital humanists from around the region. There were presentations by local libraries, archives, and museums. There were also presentations by scholars and researchers. People were creating websites, doing bits of text mining, and trying to figure out how to improve upon the scholarly communications process. A few useful quotes included:

  • Design is a communication of knowledge. —Rebecca Tegtmeyer
  • Stop calling it DH… Show how DH supports the liberal arts… Build a support model… Integrate DH into the curriculum. —William Pannapacker
  • Analytic brillance is no longer the only game in town. —Lior Shamir
  • Provenance verification, knowledge representation, and staffing are the particular challenges when it come to making archival material accessible. —Arjun Sabharwal
  • Commenting should be a part of any museum’s website. —Adrienne Aluzzo

Day #2 consisted of participation in the Great Lakes THATCamp. I spend the time doing three things. First, I spent time thinking about a program I’m writing called PDF2TXT or maybe “Distant Reader”. The original purpose of the program is/was to simply extract the text from a PDF document. Since then it has succumbed to creeping featuritis to include the reporting of things like: readability scores, rudimentary word clouds of uni- and bi-grams, an extraction of the most frequent verb lemmings and the listing of sentences where they are found, a concordance, and the beginnings of network diagram illustrating what words are used “in the same breath” as other words. The purpose of the program is two-fold: to allow the reader to get more out of their text(s), and 2) to advertise some of the services of the Libraries’s fledgling Center For Digital Scholarship. I presented a “geek short” on the application.

The second and third ways I spent my time were in group sessions. One was on the intersection of digital humanities and the scholarly communications process. The second was on getting digital humanities projects off the ground. In both cases folks discussed ways to promote library services, and it felt as if we were all looking for new ways to be relevant compared to fifty years ago when the great libraries were defined by the sizes of their collections.

I’m glad I attended the meetings. The venue — Lawrence Technical University — is a small but growing institution. Detroit is a city of big road and big cars. The Detroit Art Institute was well-worth the $8 admission fee, even if you do get a $30 parking ticket.

Data Information Literacy @ Purdue

Posted on October 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

By this time last week I had come and gone to the Data Information Literacy (DIL) Symposium at Purdue University. It was a very well-organized event, and I learned a number of things.

First of all, I believe the twelve DIL Competencies were well-founded and articulated:

  • conversion & interoperability
  • cultures of practice
  • curation & re-use
  • databases & formats
  • discovery & acquisition
  • ethics & attribution
  • management & organization
  • metadata & description
  • preservation
  • processing & analytics
  • quality & documentation
  • visualization & representation

For more detail of what these competencies mean and how they were originally articulated, see: Carlson, Jake R.; Fosmire, Michael; Miller, Chris; and Sapp Nelson, Megan, “Determining Data Information Literacy Needs: A Study of Students and Research Faculty” (2011). Libraries Faculty and Staff Scholarship and Research. Paper 23.

I also learned about Bloom’s Taxonomy, a classification of learning objectives. At the bottom of this hierarchy/classification is remembering. The next level up is understanding. The third level is application. At the top of the hierarchy/classification is analysis, evaluation, and creation. According to the model, a person needs to move from remembering through to analysis, evaluation, and creation in order to really say they have learned something.

Some of my additional take-aways included: spend time teaching graduate students about data information literacy, and it is almost necessary to be imbedded or directly involved in the data collection process in order to have a real effect — get into the lab.

About 100 people attended the event. It was two days long. Time was not wasted. There were plenty of opportunities for discussion & interaction. Hat’s off to Purdue. From my point of view, y’all did a good job. “Thank you.”

3-D printing in the Center For Digital Scholarship

Posted on October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

"my" library

“my” library

This is the tiniest of blog postings outlining my experiences with 3-D printing.

The Libraries purchased a 3-D printer — a MakerBot Replicator 2X — and it arrived here in the Center For Digital Scholarship late last week. It can print things to sizes just smaller than a bread box — not very big. To make it go one feeds it a special file which moves — drives — a horizontal platform as well as a movable nozzle dispensing melted plastic. The “special file” is something only MakerBot understands, I think. But the process is more generalized than that. Ideally one would:

  1. use a CAD program to model a 3-D object
  2. convert the resulting CAD file to a MakerBot file
  3. print

Alternatively, a person can:

  1. visit Thingiverse
  2. download one of their thousands of files
  3. convert the file to a MakerBot file
  4. print

Another choice is to:

  1. visit TinkerCAD
  2. use their online software to design a model
  3. download the resulting file
  4. convert the file to a MakerBot file
  5. print

Yet another choice is to:

  1. obtain 123D Catch for your iPhone
  2. use it to take many photographs of an object
  3. edit and clean-up the resulting 3-D image with 123D Catch online
  4. download the resulting file
  5. convert the file to a MakerBot file
  6. print

The other day I downloaded a modeling program — 3-D Sculpt — for my iPad. Import a generic model. Use the tools to modify it. Save. Convert. Print.

To date I’ve only printed a bust of Michelangelo’s David and a model of a “library”. I’ve tried to print other sculptures but with little success.

How can this be used in a library, or more specifically, in our Center For Digital Scholarship? Frankly, I don’t know, yet, but I will think of something. For example, maybe I could print 3-D statistics. Or I could create a 3-D model representing the use of words in a book. Hmmm… Do you have any ideas?