Tool Reviews, continued

Key Ideas from Monday
  • public domain, fair use, The Commons

Reading Review

  • Reconstruct the project
    • technologies used: the archive, WordPress, Wikipedia, YouTube, the network, Reddit
    • Ethical implications of the project
  • Was this a prank or a hoax?
  • 2008 v 20012

Prep for Next Week

  • Beginning discussion of contours of projects
  • DS106.US


This is just some data mining from the reading: ”THE the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit”

There are always bad guys and thus vandalism happens everywhere.. esp on the web because its where it is most likely to be seen

Vandalism is done to influence people so a great place for that would be the WWW.

That’s why Wikipedia is hard to rely on because its edited by whomever desires too and among us people, unfortently there are bad guys, all you have to do is hope they either disappear (unlikely to happen) or won’t come

Read (and follow the links within these pieces):


If you’ve not begun to explore the tools we reviewed in class on Monday, DO SO!


  • Wikipedia assignment
  • Some preliminary thoughts about collaboration

Intellectual Property and Ethics

  • Cohen and Rosenzweig, “Owning the Past
    • Focused Freewrite: what is the relationship between fair use and digital history?
    • Define keywords:

Illustrative Quotes:

Though it is dangerous and unethical to play fast and loose with fair use, it is equally a mistake to proceed too cautiously. As historian David Stowe points out in a perceptive article, those who unquestionably agree to every demand from rights holders “simply institutionalize a property right that doesn’t exist.” And their unquestioning compliance undercuts the ability of others to claim fair use rights. “Without being exercised,” Stowe argues, “the right to fair use will simply atrophy.” Even the more cautious Chicago Manual warns against seeking permission where there is on the slightest doubt because “the right of fair use is valuable to scholarship, and it should not be allowed to decay because scholars fail to employ it boldly.


Okeh Records, which pioneered the “race” record market with the first recordings by African American blues singers in the early 1920s, was later taken over by the Columbia Phonograph Company, which was, in turn, taken over by the American Record Corporation, and then the Columbia Broadcasting System, and most recently, Sony. Thus, if you want to make use of now obscure blues songs from the 1920s originally released by Okeh, you will find yourself negotiating with Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and sending your payments to a multinational conglomerate, not the heirs of the original bluesmen.


Tool Review

  • Update your profile on Blogs@Baruch
    • login, then rollover the “Welcome, your name” link on the top right
    • click “Edit”
    • Fill in as much as you can, including a profile picture
  • Using the Wikipedia Doc in our course group on Blogs@Baruch, make an index of our class edits to Wikipedia. Each student must make at least one edit to an entry on a topic somehow related to the 2012 Presidential election. You can contribute to an article about Obama’s speech Thursday evening, other speeches given this week at the DNC, update an article that references last week’s RNC, or anything else you’d like within this realm. You then must list and link to your edits in our group document. Please let us know if you have any questions.
  • Read Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History, “Owning the Past?”
  • Note on reading and assignments: DO THEM.
  • Citation and plagiarism
  • Notes on formatting blog posts

THE BLOCK QUOTE: Banksy in polaroid est pour-over letterpress. Put a bird on it blog vegan reprehenderit. Fanny pack marfa leggings locavore next level +1. Craft beer typewriter twee messenger bag duis. Mixtape odd future ex farm-to-table pork belly, sriracha nostrud lomo flexitarian 3 wolf moon american apparel. Direct trade labore lo-fi fingerstache, umami sartorial vinyl fap chambray tempor pop-up master cleanse aute placeat cred. Qui high life mlkshk odd future cupidatat, artisan kogi seitan typewriter magna jean shorts.

    • Titles!
    • Review of edits to the document, historicize these ideas
    • Assess process of joining group, creating lexicon doc
  • Tools review
    • Logistical questions?
    • Twitter: look at #baruchdh
    • Delicious: look at #baruchdh
    • Reader: discuss?

I decided that the best way for me to contribute was adding to a definition with the least written about it. “Passivity” had only one sentence in its definition so adding more information would be most beneficial to the class.

I started by re-reading everything I could find about Passivity in the articles assigned to us. The authors Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig of Digital History, 2005,Introduction,”  and “Exploring the History Web,” presented Passivity as a danger to digital history, but their tone and arguments didn’t convince me of the danger. In fact, I didn’t know whether they truly believed it was dangerous.

I made a note of that in my definition because most of the class used the authors’ words as a primary source for their contributions. That makes Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s positions on each of the qualities, that make digital media better/worse, very important.

I didn’t find BudyPress difficult to use, perhaps because I edited the document later than everybody else.

This is the first time that I have actually collaborated on an assignment with my classmates. I have heard of people using drop boxes and Cloud storage to edit files but I have never worked with it firsthand.

For my contribution to the assignment, I defined the word passivity in relations to Digital History. Before I started, I looked up the definition of passivity on Merriam-Webster but I realized that the definition would not suffice for the purpose of Digital History. I re-read the prior assignments and even though it mentioned passivity very briefly, I was able to infer the author’s definition of passivity. I did further research and found another definition of the word from North Carolina State University’s Wiki page and I incorporated their definition with my own.

For what it’s worth, this assignment frustrated me a great deal. I tried to edit the doc file but it was being edited by the same person for over 40 minutes. As a suggestion to anyone who reads this blog entry, if we end up doing another collaboration assignment, please, please have your contribution written out before you decide to edit the document. Once you have everything written out, just copy and paste everything in. Save it and let another person contribute.

In the  BuddyPress.doc “Digital History Lexicon” document, we were asked by the professors to define terms associate with digital history. This was a new experience for me because this is the first time I was ever assign with a task to edit a document with my peers.

When I first visited the BuddyPress doc page, I saw a lot of the words has been fill out except for hypertextuality/ nonlinearity, so I decide define it, by rereading  Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History, 2005,Introduction,”. Next, I gave an example of hypertextuality by creating a link from that page to Following that I decide to add to inaccessibility because I felt like there’s could be said on that word.

I believe that using this tool for collaborative work has both negative and positive.  The positive is that the different view people bring to the table. The diversity of people can bring a new perspective on an idea and issues or in this case, a definition of a word and the concept the author uses it in. The negative of this tool is that only one person is able to edit it at a time.  It’s a negative because if everyone log on at the same time to edit the document, it would create long wait. Like traffic, no one likes to wait.

Overall, I find that editing the document with my fellow peers is an interesting and new experience.

When delving into the group edit assignment; I began to think about the credentials one needed to post an edit in the classes assignment. We have to log into a Baruch blogs account and be added to the sites user list. Now imagine if everyone on the Internet had access to our document. We would ideally like to think that these users interested in our assignment would provide us with helpful definitions and direction to our goal, but it’s naive to think that many people would not simply try to sabotage our assignment for a quick laugh at our expense.

A website like wikipedia requires less credentials than our Baruch blog to begin making changes on the site. All that is needed is an accessible email account; that’s it. The reason why a site like this can become and remain a source of quality and consistent information, is the utopian idea of a group working together for a common goal. Wikipedia has a large userbase that is committed to providing the Internet with a reliable open source enclyopedia. So in order to be successful in working on something that can be touched and accessed by so many people without checking credentials; is to have both a moderating staff and a dedicated group of users who are all working toward a similar goal.

In this case our class is looking to provide concise and correct definitions for our assignment. That is our common goal that we are working towards. Without a framework being provided for our assignment, I’m not sure how concise or correct we would be able to make a list of important key terms based on our reading.

Edited out some information and included pieces to Readability and Passivity.

The BuddyPress Doc lacks the ability to allow access and edits denying real-time interactivity and sharing of information.

However many basic functions are available to provide users with a tool with potential to create and grow upon itself.

In the document, I edited the terms Diversity and Manipulability. Using the text, I reread the reading to find where Cohen and Rosenzweig mentioned the terms. After reading, I wrote my own definition in the space, using the reading as a guideline.

For Manipulability, however, I decided to take it a step further by embedding the photo Cohen and Rosenzweig used in the reading as an example. By doing so, I feel like it brought the document to another level and the example could better illustrate my definition.

It was difficult to use the HMTL tool, however, as I had to find the image’s url by opening it up in another window on my browser and figuring out how to edit the caption, center the image where I wanted it in the document (it had originally be thrown to the top) and make sure it came up when I was done editing.

After reading the article written by Cohen and Rosenzweig, I decided to expand on the definition of the durability of the digital media. In particular, I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to the real problem that is developing in our modern society. At the same time as we are celebrating our technological achievements and the shift towards digital media across all specters of life, we as civilized society moving ever deeper into dangerous territory. And this danger lies in the fact that potentially some or all digital content including digital history could be lost instantaneously if measures are not taken to preserve it!

 I am really glad that for this class we have such a useful tool as this blog where many users can contribute their ideas to the same project. I think, it is great that we can collaborate with each other. It will help us to get inspirations and allow us to expand our horizons on this subject. And, at the same time, our blog can create debates and express new ideas and opinions. There are famous words that come to mind: ’’The society is shaped by the ideas that are generated by the individual members of this society’’.

Upon using this tool I find it helpful that we can work as a group and collaborate to come up with precise decisions and examples regarding the words assigned. I defined the word quality and used an example of a falsified picture from the article we read.  I am looking forward to being able to collaborate with classmates to come up with new ideas and ways to look at digital history.

My contribution to the group document was providing the intial definition for flexibility which came from the text written by Rosenzweig and Dan Cohen. I first included a word for word definition as provided by the text, and then gave my own summary of how the two authors see the word, flexibility, relative to digital history. While doing this assignments I thought that having this be a group work allows me and others to view other people’s work, so that we can see how they formatted their contribution and use it to help us.

By September 3:

1) Join Digital History Group on Blogs@Baruch

2) Group edit BuddyPress doc: “Digital History Lexicon”
  • From Digital History group page, choose “docs” tab and open “Digital History Lexicon
  • If you see a warning that someone else is editing the document, leave a comment with the phrase “insert as definition for…” and then come back and clean it up (or we will).
  • Edit the document, either contributing, modifying, polishing, or illustrating with an exemplary link the key phrases listed in bold, or commenting on the doc using the comments interface below it.

3) Write a blog post of 250 or fewer words detailing the contributions/changes you made to the BuddyPress doc, and reflect on the constraints or possibilities for using this tool for collaborative work.

By September 5:

4) Create accounts, if you don’t already have them, on Twitter, Delicious, and Google (reader).

  • Send a tweet with the hashtag #baruchdh, and save at least one digital history site to your Delicious account with the tag #baruchdh

5) Complete readings:

1. Housekeeping:

  • Attendance
  • Reminder that no class on Monday
  • Expect a post like this one for every class, as well as another post that lays out the assignment for the next class
  • Reminder to please use online syllabus since it is an evolving document

2. Blogs@Baruch / BuddyPress docs tutorial

3. Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History (2005), “Introduction

  • benefits: capacity, accessibility, flexibility, diversity, manipulability, interactivity, hypertextuality/nonlinearity
  • dangers: quality, durability, readability, passivity, and inaccessibility.

4. Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History (2005) Exploring the History Web

  • Historicizing the trajectory of digital history
  • Five main genres of history websites: archives (containing primary sources); exhibits, films, scholarship, and essays; teaching; discussion; and organizational.

5. Jonathan Shaw, “The Humanities, Digitized: Reconceiving the Study of Culture,” Harvard Magazine, May-June 2012.

  • How have things changed between 2005 and 2012? (archive construction, crowdsourcing, geospatial analysis, simulations, text-mining and visualizations, deep and/or broad collaboration)
  • Examples: Show and tell, e.g.
  • Are we in the  middle of a revolution?  On the cusp of one?

6. RSS in Plain English:

7. Google Reader, Delicious, Twitter.

8. For new version of assignments due September 3 and 5, see this post.

This space houses the work of HIS 3460: Digital History, a course co-taught by Thomas Harbison and Luke Waltzer at Baruch College during the Fall 2012 semester.

Here’s a description of the course:

This course will explore current methods in the field, and also imagine future possibilities. You will study a range of theories of new media and employ them as you collect, analyze, and produce historical scholarship. Throughout the course we will assess how and why the creation, archiving, and interpretation of historical data are changing in the face of new forms of digital communication. We will also examine how these tools impact the primary goal of the historian: producing narratives that explain historical change. You will learn about and work with emerging tools in the areas of data mining, graphic information systems, image and audio production, and social media. With classmates, you will produce a digital project using data and artifacts that historicize the 2012 presidential election.

Much of this course will be open to the public, and outside commenting is welcome and encouraged.

See our syllabus for additional detail.

Looking forward to a great semester!