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Annotated Bibliography by Dana Solomon

Page history last edited by Dana Solomon 10 years, 4 months ago

Annotated Bibliography Assignment


By Dana Solomon, Twitter Visualization Project


 1. *Auvil, Loretta. The Software Environment for the Advancement of Scholarly Research [SEASR] URL http://www.seasr.org


"The Software Environment for the Advancement of Scholarly Research (SEASR), funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, provides a research and development environment capable of powering leading-edge digital humanities initiatives." SEASR is essentially a research environment designed for digital humanities scholars with varying levels of technical knowledge.  Available for free download from http://www.seasr.org, the goal of this software environment is to ease "scholars' access to digital research materials and enhances scholars' use of them through analytics that can uncover hidden information and connections." Due to the fact that much of the code behind SEASR is open source, it is fairly easy for scholars with application development skills to create and share useful research applications and tools, something that encourages and fosters collaborative work.  The website archives a set of videos that aim to document some of these newly created applications.  Further, one bonus of the SEASR research environment is its development team.  Throughout the year, Loretta Auvil and other developers provide training seminars and tutorial sessions at several popular digital humanities institutes, including the University of Victoria's Digital Humanities Summer Institute and other summer programs sponsored by organizations like HASTAC.


2. Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.


The Arcades Project, Benjamin's unfinished collection of writings on the arcades, storefronts, and other street-level phenomena, of early-twentieth-century Paris is an essential text for any discussion focusing on affect as it relates to urban space.  Begun in 1927 (and left incomplete at the time of his death in 1940), The Arcades Project contains hundreds of pages of Benjamin's thoughts on the construction of urban space, street culture, and the position of the individual in such a space-culture.  One of the most significant discussions to emerge from the text is Benjamin's investigation of the "flaneur," the wandering urban observer.  Not only did Benjamin interrogate the concept, using it as a framework or instrument of critique, but he actually adopted the practice of wandering through the streets himself, taking note of his thoughts, feelings, observations, etc.  The fragmented nature of the work mirrors the flaneur's own fleeting interactions with urban ephemera, his or her "anamnestic intoxication [that] ... feeds on the sensory data taking shape before [the] eyes but often possesses itself of abstract knowledge--indeed, of dead facts--as something experienced and lived through" (417).  Apart from the actual content of The Arcades Project, the publication history of the text itself, including the debate over various editions and revisions, further characterizes Benjamin's final project as emblematic of the space he set out to engage with: built, demolished and rebuilt, etc.


3. The Mobile City. "Locative & Mobile Media/Culture/Identity." URL http://www.themobilecity.nl/ Site Opened: 2008


From the website: "The Mobile City is an initiative that focuses on locative and mobile media, urban culture and identity. We aim to bring professionals from different disciplines (academics, urban professionals, media designers, artists, telecom operators, etc) together to address the question: what happens to urban culture when physical and digital spaces merge?"  Initially, "The Mobile City" began as a 2008 joint collaboration between Martijn de Waal, Michiel de Lange , and the Netherlands Architecture Institute.  The questions behind the initiative, including:  [1.) how locative media might blur the distance between digital and urban space, 2.) how locative media might impact urban culture, identities, and citizenships , and 3.) what impact locative media will have on urban professionals], were eventually used as the basis for a 2008 conference on the subject.  A more detailed mission statement and conference text is available on the website, which continues to be a useful resource for individuals interested in answering the above questions, as well as those researchers focused on formulating new ones. Of particular relevance to many contemporary debates, is the initiative's well-articulated interpretation of locative media, borrowed from Julian Bleecker: "Locative media that is of most immediate concerns is that made by those who create experiences that take into account the geographic locale of interest, typically by elevating that geographic locale beyond its instrumentalized status as a ‘latitude longitude coordinated point on earth’ to the level of existential, inhabited, experienced and lived place."


4. Twitter Blog/API. "Think Globally, Tweet Locally" Posted: 11/19/2009



Twitter, an online social-networking and micro-blogging platform, maintains both a general blog and a development-themed wiki.  Recently, Twitter's development staff released the Twitter Geotagging API, an Application Programming Interface that allows developers or researchers to mine geotag-enabled mobile tweets for location-based data, including everything from general city name to exact GPS coordinates.  The Twitter blog explains the goals behind this particular API: "The added information provides valuable context when reading your friends tweets and allows you to better focus in on local conversations. Now you can find out what live music is playing right now in your neighborhood or what people visiting Checkpoint Charlie are saying today about the anniversary of the Berlin Wall. These are only the beginning and we are really looking forward to seeing the creative uses emerge from the developer community."  Beyond knowing where your friends are eating lunch, the Twitter API offers academics and other researchers the opportunity to mine mobile user "tweets" for location-based information that can be used for a variety of reasons, from tracking the frequency of tweets in a specific region (Los Angeles) to tracking the diffusion of conversation on a given topic, for instance "#Haiti."  The Twitter API is fairly flexible and can be manipulated by developers interested in executing searches within specific parameters (including keywords, hashtag topics, search radius, total results etc.). The API is free and easily accessible via the following URL: (http://apiwiki.twitter.com/).  One note: tweet geotagging is disabled by default so the amount of geotagged tweets is only a small percentage of total user updates. 




5. Web Designer Depot.com "50 Great Examples of Data Visualization." http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/about/ Posted: 06/01/2009




Web Designer Depot is an online platform "designed to explore different web and graphic design techniques, great examples and best practices."  The website posts daily entries relating to a variety of design issues, from general aesthetics to interface concerns.  In June of 2009, the blog, "a joint effort and collaboration between leading designers around the world which contribute a wealth of expertise on all fields of design, such as coding, typography, Photoshop tutorials and more," posted an entry on data visualization.  This particular post catalogs fifty different examples of well-executed attempts at creatively (or alternatively) visualizing data.  The post explains that working with, representing, and drawing significant conclusions from large data sets can be complicated and often dull.  The website argues that "data visualizations can make all of that much easier, allowing you to see the concepts that you’re learning about in a more interesting, and often more useful manner."  This emphasis on balancing utility with aesthetic interest is what makes this blog post, with its ample array of examples, a useful resource for digital humanities scholars attempting to work with and represent data in new ways.  The examples range from interactive scatter plots and graphs, to wholly abstract, dynamic, and visually captivating experiments in design and data expression.



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