February miscellania

Another snow day. I am hopeful that the power will not go out again (I don’t count this morning’s two minute outage; we get those all the time, and they barely register–unlike the ice storm related outage last week, which had us huddling under wool blankets and retreating to the warmth and connectivity of the Y). And perhaps The Daughter will burn off some energy racing around the yard with the dogs, otherwise I will soon be covered with all the My Little Pony stickers.

The weather, with assists from health and jury duty, have wreaked havoc with my ability to finish digitizing things at the APS. On the one hand, if it’s gone undigitized since the 1950s, another couple weeks doesn’t matter. On the other hand, I would very much like to finish digitizing this manuscript.

Earlier this month, I went to my first hackathon. I’m very glad I went, because this is the sort of thing that I want to start doing on a semi-regular basis, and I hope that next time I’m able to contribute more. This time was personally useful for getting a sense of something I should learn more about. I was flirting with the idea of talking about the project at greater length (tweets don’t really count, though #glamhackphilly has some fun links) but Alex Brey, who drove the initial question posed to the British Museum’s open linked data, has already done a very nice job of writing up the weekend.

Architecture and the senses

Interesting discussion of design decisions intended to help a new Gallaudet dorm meet the needs of deaf residents. I’d like to see student responses, too. But the continuing references to visibility were illuminating. Sightlines are obviously a priority if you’re using ASL, but I am also used to thinking of a general cultural emphasis on vision, with it trumping (though not excluding) the importance of other senses in many scenarios. The ways in which common design decisions interrupt vision speaks not only to ableism but a less absolute hierarchy of sensual interaction with the environment.

(Via @JMarkOckerbloom)

Stuff in Boston

There’s a post up at History@Work about the Boston Marathon bombing memorial. It’s written by Matthew Barlow, who’s very interested in space, which IMHO is a good perspective from which to approach such a subject. Memorial Mania came to mind, not simply because this memorial is exactly the sort of thing Doss would’ve included, but because observations about the intensely digital and personalized mediation of events arise in the case of this memorial.* The impact of, say, TV broadcasts has been hashed over for a few decades now; everybody recording, texting, and tweeting is a comparatively fresh phenomenon, and there is a real difference (albeit not a sea change) between 2010 and 2013.

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State of the me

Just wanted to fill in the gaps in a semester-long silence, mainly to be anal.

Last fall, I found out I was pregnant, which came as something of a surprise. The Son was born about a month early, has been happy and healthy (barring some things that require follow up but not panic) and loved. He’s sort of eaten my life (much as his older sister did, and continues to do). While I’ve thought about writing about kids in relation to academic stuff (e.g. reading Blue Jeans while contemplating maternity clothes or an article on the prosthetic qualities of genes while contemplating a fetus’s chromosomes), I mostly haven’t because of the life eating aspects.

I took my thesis colloquium last semester, and though it became clear early on that a May graduation was going to be overly aggressive, I did find it useful and do want to talk about it at some point. Similarly, I do want to talk about my topic (an unholy union of archives, public history, and 3D printing), but some of that may happen via Making History. (I’ve been meaning to play around with Drupal for a while, and this seemed like a good excuse.)

I’ve also checked out some fun digital humanities stuff (some of which I’ve mentioned, more of which I hope to mention) and will be doing a bit of digitization work in the near future. And writing the thesis.

MySpace and urban renewal

Apparently MySpace deleted everything and hopes to rise from the ashes, newly branded and relevent.* This of course horrifies me, from the perspective of an archivist, historian, and user of cloud services. But, when juxtaposed with the web as architecture metaphor and digital self-segregation it feels like a social justice issue. Did a minority neighborhood just get bulldozed?

* I haven’t looked into it too deeply yet, so my initial reaction may be off base. I suppose I technically still have a MySpace account, but I only used it to display a feed from a site that’s been down for years; not exactly deep or current familiarity with MySpace from a user’s perspective. So while I have a philosophical dog in the fight, it’s not personal.