As I look back at my progression through the course, I realize how far I have come. When I began this course, my digital experience was limited to downloading music and using social media. Naturally, I found this course and its content extremely overwhelming at first. However, from the beginning of the course, Dr. Graham was there to provide guidance and assistance whenever I had a problem. And through Slack, I was also able to communicate with other classmates and our TA to work through any issues and solve them.
Does Font Type Matter?
The purpose of this exercise is to help me understand the importance of text font in visual communication. Text, as well as the appearance of its words, both convey a message to the reader. Text font creates a mood and atmosphere, and gives the reader clues about how to understand the text. Fonts like
Roman communicate strength, authority, and legitimacy in its bold and strong appearance. With that in mind, a font like this should not be used by a writer who is trying to convey a fun and informal message in their text. Understanding the role text font plays in visual communication helps the writer choose effective text styles for their documents and projects.
Why Visualize Data? It can be very useful for seeing holes in research, and also for analyzing data further to understand how a dataset is interconnected. This article by S. Graham, I. Milligan and S. Weingart explains the role of visualization in research. There are many different tools to approach visualizing data, here I will be using Voyant. This tool can read either
txt files. If uploading a folder of ordered text files, Voyant will visualize the data in chronological order. This allows you to see the changes in word frequency and use over time.
Name Entity Recognition
Stanford Name Entity Recognizer (or Stanford NER) looks at patterns in metadata, and identifies and tags/labels words in a text which are the names of places, people, organizations, time, date, etc. The results can be extracted and visualized.
Dr. Graham recommended a very useful tutorial by Michelle Moravec on how to use Stanford NER and then extract results on a Mac. The tutorial also shows you how to organize the results into a categorized list ex: list by Location. At first I had an issue with running Stanford NER, the command line was telling me there was an issue with Java:
Wget is a Tool for Downloading Internet Sources
The purpose of this Programming Historian Exercise was to help me get a sense of how to use wget to download a specific set of files, and how to download internet sources by creating a mirror of an entire website. For this exercise I decided to complete the section: “Step Two: Learning about the Structure of Wget – Downloading a Specific Set of Files.” In this exercise I ran wget through the command line to download the papers located in the active history website under the “features” tab. I was introduced to a series of useful commands for wget:
Following the instructions, I successfully forked the
who-we-are repository, cloned it to my desktop, made the appropriate changes to the template file. I included a link to my Twitter page,
Open-Notebook- and blog, then made a pull request so that my information could be included in the original repository. I did not have any difficulty with this exercise, I find Github easier to use and make sense of since completing the Git-It tutorial. Practicing forking and making pull requests in the Git-It tutorial was extremely helpful for completing this exercise. This exercise was good practice for writing with Markdown, and for navigating and contributing to Github. For my melissanelson.md file, which was added to the repository, I also included an Adventure Time GIF that I really like. I wonder if there is a way to post GIFs and videos to stream directly on your Github page.
So for this exercise, I created an “open-notebook-” repository on my online GitHub, but I needed to sync it to my GitHub desktop. I ran into a problem while trying to do this. My GitHub desktop was stuck on “tutorial” mode and would let me add branches and would save that work, but would not let me exit tutorial and show me my files even though I was logged in. I had completed the tutorial, and turned to Google for help to see if anyone else had this issue but I couldn’t find a solution for it. So I asked Dr. Graham for help. He helped me clone my “open-notebook-” file to my GitHub desktop and told me that I can still work on the system without getting rid of the tutorial repository. We tested it out by creating test.md file with the commit message “working with Dr. Graham,” synced the file and saw that it went to my online GitHub so the Local and Remote repositories are connected.
When I started this exercise, I had never heard of Dillinger or Markdown syntax, so this was the first time I have ever created a markdown file to format plain text. I used the guidelines from Sarah Simpkin The Programming Historian. I had issues because I found the examples on the Programming Historian page did not specify where spaces should and should not go when entering URL in markdown to get reference style links and in text images. Which made a difference when trying to get links and images to show on dillinger properly. So I had to play around with it a bit to get the links to turn out how I needed them to. As for the images, I was entering the URL in the correct format but the dillinger page was not showing my images, instead it showed a box with the name I had given my images.
Why Is “Openness” Useful?
Historians are not accustomed to sharing research notes and data with the public. Traditionally, research publications are shared for the education of the public, while the research process is left outside of the public’s view. More recently however, historians have began to create “openness” in research through producing open notebooks, and providing open access to research data. Creating an open notebook is the process of releasing free research notes to the public online. With the rise of digital technology, blogging platforms and code hosting sites, such as GitHub, allow historians to easily share their research notes with other researchers and document the progress of their projects. This allows other researchers to learn from the methods, failures, and results which moved a research project forward. Likewise, providing the public with open access to one’s research data grants other researchers access to information which otherwise would have been more difficult, or time consuming, to access.