DH Dev. Report #5

Comparative analysis of tools for visualization & narrative creation

The three tool sets used for this Dev report are StoryMap, a combination of GeoJSON and Github, and lastly hand drawing with pencil and paper. StoryMap is the easiest website to use but limited in implementation, GeoJSON allows users to see coding but is not very user friendly, and traditional drawing methods are simple to use but needs more to it if it is considered a digital project.

StoryMap allows the user to create a tour using a map to showcase images and text. In my opinion, StoryMap is the tool that I had the easiest time working with. It is simple to create a title page, add in slides of other areas, and be able to freely move between them when showcasing the map. It is straightforward and works somewhat like PowerPoint but using map locations. However, StoryMap can be very limited, which stifles creativity. The user has a set marker they use for pointing the locations but cannot freely outline a wide area like they could do with GeoJSON.

GeoJSON I personally found to be the most annoying out of the tools to use. Using the software, the user is able to see the coding the map is based around. While it is nice to be able to freely draw the points out on the map and have the creativity to embed more than what the stock design of StoryMap has, it is not very user friendly to use. Embedding images requires using Flickr instead of directly uploading. People that can easily understand code could put this website to good use, but for the casual viewer who might not know about coding, it could be very confusing.

The last technique is hand drawing the visualizations on paper. As Graham states in the reading, “the practice of creating visual representations of data is ancient,” which is why we are working with traditional media as a tool. I decided to draw a picture of part of the UNL campus and marked down a few key areas I took pictures of:

The drawing that was used for this report.

Unlike StoryMap and GeoJSON, much of what you can do with a physical drawing can be done without limitations. All of the options are freely available for the person to draw. While it is easy and simple to do by hand, it is a lot harder to design it around a digital project. Considering much of our projects are digitally based, it would take a lot more effort to creatively make a main map that popped out as much as the digital ones did. In my opinion, using the pencil and paper method only works as a portion of digital projects and cannot stand alone. It requires either StoryMap or GeoJSON to be put to good use as part of the whole.

DH Dev. Report #2

Comparative analysis of tools & text and image.

In this essay, I will be discussing my initial impressions, and the advantages and disadvantages to using Blogger, WordPress, Flickr, and Omeka as tools for Digital Humanities projects. This essay concludes by stating that, in my opinion, Omeka and WordPress are probably the tools I would prefer to use depending on whether I want to display information like a museum or chronologically.

The four websites tested for this comparative analysis are Blogger, WordPress, Flickr, and Omeka. Blogger and WordPress have very similar functionality, but WordPress appears to be targeting a professional audience compared to Blogger’s simpler design. They both are designed to present information in a blog-style written daily by entry. Blogger and WordPress are great at showcasing daily entries in a website. Blogger showcases a Microsoft Word style form when writing information, while WordPress allows for more style. However, both Blogger and WordPress feel simplified in terms of providing good metadata and presentation to images and videos unlike with Flickr and Omeka. Flickr is a website designed to showcase images and videos in a gallery collection. It acts basically as a storage system. Flickr allows for excellent metadata tags on its photos and videos which showcases the recorded information of where they were taken, with what they were taken with, and other small pieces of data reflected on the picture or video’s page. However, Flickr feels primarily like a storage system for storytelling through images and does not allow a greater context to the images on an entire website unlike the others in this essay. Omeka serves as a professional style website that can provide users with collections and displays sections of the website based on different criteria the user puts in. It does not necessarily have to be by date but can be by topic or by however the user wishes to tell information through storytelling. Omeka would probably be the best website for illustrating metadata on a variety of types of media that includes not only images and video, but also maps, soundclips, music, people, GIFs, and any other digital information. Using collections, Omeka can serve as a digital museum for showcasing information on a topic. Although it is versatile, Omeka can be confusing for people unfamiliar with it because setting up the site to work can be a bit of a pain when it does not register correctly. Even while working through collections and providing information to individual pieces, such as images, Omeka can feel overwhelming in the amount of information that people are able to provide.

Graphics & Logos | WordPress.org
This website uses WordPress to present information

In terms of which ones I prefer to use, it would depend on the situation. I am already very familiar with how Omeka and WordPress work from previous classes taken. Omeka would be the best for websites in which I would like to discuss a few topics in depth and display images related to that topic. It would be great for a museum system. WordPress would be great for displaying observations that occur daily, somewhat like a diary system. While Blogger and Flickr are not bad per se, they would be less fit for a large project than Omeka and WordPress. As I am currently using WordPress for this Digital Humanities publication, this website is working fine enough for organizing these blog posts based on the order in which I had done them. Flickr is hosting the images for the Digital Humanities Dev Report 3 which is perfectly suitable for the purpose of this assignment. Considering Blogger is a more simplified version of WordPress, I probably would not use it for any of the projects and rather would use it for personal note taking.