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Comhrá, is the Irish word for conversation. I was trying to think up of a category name that I could file blog posts that include any thoughts or opinion pieces I write, but I couldn’t think of a suitable English word.

I am learning Gaeilge at the moment, and trying to use it everyday, in order to lose the eagla (fear) of speaking bad Irish, whilst living in a Gaeltacht area (Irish-speaking area). I like this term, comhrá. So I’ve decided to file any posts which contain discussions, research, thoughts, conversations with myself, or others, under the category Comhrá

How do we read? From Svennson to Hayles

image of a girl reading a book and a hand holding a kindle

[Source: flickr.com and pexels.com]

Reading Patrik Svennson’s ‘Envisioning the Digital Humanities’,¹ I found his article slow to read and heavy, but exciting in the end. His thoughts on collaboration, interdisciplinary work, the uniqueness of the situation that Humanities now finds itself in, with evolving digital technology. His discussion on the academic side, of its recognition by universities, the current graduate system, and also funding initiatives, seem to be the major fence, digital humanities must climb.

What I found most interesting is the uncertainty of Digital Humanities. Is it human or technologically pushed? In the future, will it be sponsored by philanthropy or by corporate businesses? Can it expand, to

“a well-designed and conceptually grounded space, whether mainly physical, digital or necessarily mixed, can help bring people together, instantiate technology, be clearly invitational, support collaborative and processional work practices, and allow ongoing, cross-sectional, and profound dialogue”?

Following on from this we were asked to think about how we ourselves read now, has anything changed because of technology?

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logo for pechakucha

For one of my modules, Conceptual Introduction to Digital Arts and Humanities, my Christmas assignment consists of a presentation using either the PechaKucha or Ignite format. Fast and fun presentation formats, apparently. I decided to go with PechaKucha because it began in Tokyo, and I am very influenced by all things Japanese. ( ペチャクチャ, means chit-chat).

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What is a Text?

image of written word text

At a recent lecture on ‘Editing Skills for Research‘, presented by Dr Donna Maria Alexander and Mr Paul O’Shea, in UCC, the discussion began with the question “What is a text?”.  The ensuing conversation produced a wide variety of answers, which made me realise, I couldn’t decide on a definitive answer, on what is a text.

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3D Mapping Project, Dingle

As a visual learner, I find it much easier to understand ideas and concepts if they are put into practice. I want to put my new skills and knowledge (with a whole lot of curiosity!) to some use, and physically see how Digital Culture can make an impact. I want to get my hands digitally dirty so to speak. I emailed our local Museum, Múseum Corca Dhuibhne, to see if there was any projects I could volunteer on. Either I had a skill that might be of some use, or I could upskill if necessary. I ended up meeting resident archaeologist and curator Isabel Bennett for a long chat about an exciting upcoming project, Ogham in 3D

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Review: Evaluation of Online Sources

Metzger, Flanagin, Lara Zwarun. College student Web use, perceptions of information credibility, and verification behavior. Journal: Computers & Education, Volume 41 Issue 3, November 2003, Oxford, UK. Pages 271 – 290

I love the irony of reviewing Metzger and researching the evaluation of online sources, online.

I think the fear of students either lazily using the first piece of information they come across, or even just misinterpreting a piece of information that turns out to be useless or not validated is actually an old one. College students can be divided into 3 groups, as I see it, those who thrive, those who survive and those who drop-out. In the old days, pre-Google, students (who didn’t drop out) went into their library and they either quoted the first book they came across (the survivors), or they did their research (the thrivers).

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Review: A Note on the Current State of Humanities Scholarship

Thoughts on Jerome McGann’s “A Note on the Current State of Humanities Scholarship”*

I found his article positive on the whole, exciting even. His thoughts on collaboration, interdisciplinary work, the uniqueness of the situation that Humanities now finds itself in. His discussion on the academic side, of its recognition by universities, the current graduate system, and also funding initiatives, seem to be the major fence digital humanities must climb.

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Infographics as a study tool

A new skill I’d like to learn for presenting information and ideas is infographics. Infographics are “a visual representation of information or data, e.g. as a chart or diagram” (Wiki). Studies show that recognition doubles for a picture compared with text. From the 1930’s, visual information began with the Isotype which was developed at the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Wien, Vienna. An isotype is a pictorial form, to help understand key elements. Isotypes are all around us, we have gotten so used to them, we don’t even think about them, their simplicity yet ability to convey important information, from road signs to toilet door signs.

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image of a spanner

We can learn more from each other when information is open. A free exchange of ideas is critical to creating an environment where people are allowed to learn and use existing information toward creating new ideas.

Participation and collaboration is a fundamental key to being about to live in a community orientated fair world. Open Source software applies these principles to the development and sharing of new kinds of alternative digital platforms.

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Open Source

One of the first aspects I am loving about the course so far, is the lecturers. It is so refreshing to be guided by people who really believe in the love of knowledge, and share it so openly. In fact, everything about the course is open; Open Source. Using tools and information that is open source, our own thoughts and research, through this blog, will be open source. But what does Open Source mean? According to the Open Source Initiative,

Open source software is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone.

Free alternatives to the Apples and Microsofts of this world, owning and copyrighting everything. Examples of open source software that I already use myself are WordPress, Mozilla Firefox, 7-Zip, Open Office, Notepad++. There are many more that I havn’t discovered yet, and when I do, I will be adding to my digital box of tools.

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