[krpano krpano="http://mrthebutler.net/krpano/funston_20110726-krpano.swf" xml="http://mrthebutler.net/krpano/funston_20110726-krpano.xml" width="580"]
(Students and CoDA staff are captured here in front of historic houses on Funston Avenue using GigaPan panorama photography equipment and software technology from krpano. Use the motion controls on the image to make it interactive. Shots taken by Michael Ashley.)
CSS, HTTP, URI…Oh my! Needless to say, we had an action-packed week! The lesson plans involved getting familiar with more of the technical sides to digital preservation and archiving that for some, woke them out of their 9AM-class-time drowsiness and peaked their interest, while for others it struck fears into their very hearts. I have a hypothesis about this. Left-brained people often seem to gravitate towards the linear-thinking tools of cultural heritage preservation like metadata collection or the esoteric, coding language of HTML and PHP. Right-brainers commonly are more circular in their lines of thought and therefore are attracted to blogging and scouring old documents and adding aesthetic value with photography. For me, a person more inclined to be right-brained, I can sympathize with certain students in the course this week who felt a little marginalized when class lectures turned techy. On the other hand, I routinely nudge myself to be somewhere in the middle between the two hemispheres of the brain and look for the connections between them that ultimately, will make all the synapses function better as a team. So by looking past all the tech jargon, it becomes clear that what everything has in common is the written word (or number) and the conversion of one media (or mindset) to another. Whether it be reading a book (in paper or digital format) on new ways to organize your digital photographs for posterity, or using high-tech machines to scan a 250-year old map written in Spanish, then translating its words and imagery into an accessible Online database, or building a blogging platform from scratch using highly specialized computer protocols; writing unites them all. Well, I obviously like to write, so this realization is digitized music to my ears! As part of my Anthro 136E Recap, I will look into this more.
Student Cyrena Giordano explains it well here: Class has been a little overwhelming lately…but now that I seem to have my skill even more honed I feel a lot better. There is so much research to be done! I am excited for my project though. I think corn will have a lot of information. I have ideas for how to divide my micro histories that I am excited about—now I just need to actually implement them and get them done. I really enjoy our classes that I have attended thus far. I feel like I am learning useful skills. I have never felt like our class time has been wasted (though it can seem long). I especially loved learning about blogging today because that it is something I want to get more into. It has always intrigued me, and it’s nice to have someone actually explain the process. I also enjoy having a tangible person I can go to and asks questions about it. It’s so much easier to get started that way. There are still some things that we are learning in class that go over my head, like all the details about meta data or intricate details about cameras. But overall I am impressed with the variety of activities and lessons that we have learned in class. I think learning more about creative commons was valuable too. I didn’t fully understand everything our second speaker taught us today. I got the word press information, but the embedding and other things weren’t so clear. Hopefully we can go over some of that stuff again. I really enjoy the variety of teachers as well- and think they all have so much valuable information to add.
Another “eureka” moment that I hope some of the students had this week is to see that in the realm of Archaeology, there are many neighborhoods. They may paint their houses different colors or have differing ideas of what constitutes lawn furniture, but they all come together for a block party regardless. This symbiotic relationship in Archaeology can yield some amazing results! Our class is focusing on the digital preservation side of things. That means that we get to use fun toys that show off our artistic side, and new-fangled techniques for safeguarding all of the data that our brethren literally digging in the ground, has produced. An example of this is gigapixel photographic technology (as demonstrated in the image at the top). The students this week were introduced to its documenting capabilities and as a result, decided to utilize it in their final group project that will assemble among other things historical information, excavation findings, immerse sound recordings, and video into an interactive tool for visitors to El Presidio (more details on that still to come). To hear what the students themselves said about their project and their overall feelings of the week’s undertakings, read what they have to say:
Francesca Favila — As part of my research, I have been delving into the life of Juana Briones; she was the local healer or “curandera to El Presidio de San Francisco during the early to mid-19th century. While she lived at El Polin Springs –a natural water source about a quarter of a mile from the main quadrangle– she gained recognition and acclaim from wounded sailors, the local Native Americans, and other settlers. One story I came across piqued my interest. After Juana petitioned and was granted a divorce from her alcoholic and abusive husband, she also attempted to keep the land they lived on. However, because she was a woman and unable to go before the court, she had local white men that she had treated argue on her behalf. In the end, she had won but it was due to her healing prowess and prominence throughout San Francisco that she was able to win.
Adam Grab — The music of the past has been on my mind constantly. Maybe I’ve been listening to too many of these California folk music albums, but I think it’s just the chance to transport myself out of my modern surroundings. Imagining El Presidio without rapid transit and companies, and instead an open quad with natural and live music playing at any given time is refreshing. I feel that with every avenue I research in regards to music, it leads to another route with potential for unique additives to the sound of El Presidio. I’m sure this is the same with any research process, but I’m even less surprised with the permeation of music throughout culture.
Chris Fussell – Organizing multiple angles of history via interactive multimedia feels a bit daunting and exciting. Using Google Earth to generate a tour of the Presidio with images, text stories, movies all while placing all of this information spatially with the ability to travel vast distances will allow one to virtually travel to the past. There is so little of the original Presidio left at the site in San Francisco. Most of it is sealed under a parking lot or a part of the WWI era officers club. I think what we are doing is allowing as much accesses to the past as possible at this time and perhaps more. A historic place or artifact cannot simply speak for itself; it needs a touch of humanity, a story, something that makes it relevant to today, a connection that unites current residents of San Francisco and visitors from around the world. People generate history through events, through action. We are often left with the result but not the need, the idea, the planning, the consequences, the effort and use of what was made in the past. How do we bring this out in our project for the Presidio? I guess that is what I will be finding out through my and my teamates efforts and actions.
The final exciting activity for the week was our participation in the 2011 Day of Archaeology, which followed the lives of 400 archaeologists from all over the world, for one day, as they demonstrate (through blogging) what they do in their discipline. CoDA was invited to participate and since Thursday, July 28 fell on a regularly scheduled class day, we recorded our activities throughout the day and compiled it into a blog with links that can now independently be found on CoDA’s website, as well as our own page on the Day of Archaeology site.
Readings for the week:
- Ashley, M. 2008. Deep Thinking In Shallow Time: Sharing Humanity’s History In The Petabyte Age.
- Ashley, M. 2010. Digital Preservation Workflows for Museum Imaging. In Principles and Practices of Robust, Photography-based Digital Imaging Techniques for Museums. edited by M. Mudge and C. Schroer. 11th VAST conference, Malta.section 7.
- Krogh, P. 2009. The DAM Book: the Digital Asset Management Book for Photographers. 2nd ed. O’Reilly Media.
- Perlingieri, C. 2011. The Presidio Digital Archaeology Archive: Handbook for Digitization.