Category Archives: Digital Arts and Humanities

What I Wish I Knew Before I Started: Reflections on DPC Conference on Digital Preservation

I was delighted to win the DRI / DAH PhD Scholarship to attend the Digital Preservation Coalition conference in London on 22 January 2016- What I Wish I Knew Before I Started.   See my reflections on the conference in my guest blog on the DRI site and on the DAH PhD site.  Click here to read the blog.   Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.10.38

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Omeka vs WordPress

There is no doubt that the enormous technological developments of recent decades have fundamentally changed how we ‘do history’. In particular they have created a plethora of new possibilities for the preservation and presentation of historical and archival materials.   While this is primarily positive, enabling the preservation and display of historical documentation that may otherwise be lost forever, it is not without challenges. Foremost amongst these for historians is assessing what digital tool or tools to use for capturing, analysing, presenting and sharing this material.

Cohen and RosenzweigIn Digital History Cohen and Rosenzweig explore how “new media and new technologies have challenged historians to rethink the ways that they research, write, present and teach about the past.” The book is designed essentially to be a practical handbook on how to create digital history. In the introduction they stress that “we need to critically and soberly assess where computers, networks, and digital media are and aren’t useful for historians…..in what ways can digital media and digital networks allow us to do our work as historians better?”

If one agrees that, on balance, it is worth doing history digitally, then how does one go about it? How do we choose from the plethora of tools available? For my work I am particularly interested in the development of digital archives and in digital tools that enable the storage, display and sharing of digitised materials.   However, there seems to be some confusion and disagreement about what a digital archive is  not to mention what are the best digital tools to use to create one.   There are many tools, both open source and commercial, to choose from. As Carolyn Li-Madeo states: “Digital Archives are easier to create than ever before, utilizing content management systems such as Omeka, Drupal, Collective Access or even WordPress, libraries and institutions can share and organize their collections through the web.” Continue reading

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The Work Continues

Handing in MastersIt has been some time since I have updated my blog.  Just the minor distraction of finishing my MA in Digital Arts and Humanities!  I handed it in yesterday, accompanied by the wonderful Jacob Egan-Morley.

This is not the end of the journey however.  I am working on the development of a Cork LGBT Digital Archive.  This is a long-term project which will take years to develop and maintain.  Rather than working in isolation I have decided to continue on and do a PhD in Digital Arts and Humanities.  This provides me with the on-going support of a community of scholars and lecturers interested in developing digital humanities projects.

For my MA I developed a website corklgbthistory.com to showcase some of the data which will form the basis of the digital database I am developing.  I would hope that this website would stimulate interest in the project and encourage others to comment or contribute.  This is very much a work in progress.  Now that the MA Thesis is submitted I can get back to the work of updating and developing this website. Rainbow flag city hall

As I emerged from the post-MA haze, I read an interesting post on The Thesis Whisperer on the joys and challenges of being a PhD-Mum.  I guess that’s what I am now!  The term PhD-Mum foregrounds the fact that as parents we juggle and attempt to balance often conflicting demands on our time and attention. It is a far cry from the traditional image of the PhD student with nothing to do apart from spending years engaged in deep-thinking about their subject of choice. As parent-students we try to slot moments of study and reflection into very busy schedules, where we strive to produce stimulating innovative work while also managing to shop, cook, clean, wash clothes, do the homework and be there for our children. In my case this is even more challenging than the situation described by Rebecca Turvill as, on a day-to-day basis, I am a single parent.  Continue reading

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