Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Digital Humanities Saved My Academic Life

A "word cloud" of the text of Frank Spearman's novel Whispering Smith.
The graduate humanities students of Dr. Jennifer Smith have learned
to use the software WordSmith and the digital tool WordCloud.
Students learned how to manipulate text while operating the programs.
Archivist's note: We have been privileged to be participating in a brand-new initiative at the Mount, a Weekend Format course in Digital Humanities. These master's degree candidates have been working with the Frank H. Spearman Collection in the College Archives under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Tran Smith. This is the second guest blog by Breanna Bello, the team's social media manager. 
THROUGH THE USE of digital humanities, my academic career has improved. You know that moment, when everything becomes inexplicably clear. That is exactly how I have been feeling this summer.  There are not enough words to express how the last seven years of my collegiate life have been under a rock.

Every day, we use our smart phones, iPads, tablets, computers, etc.  Everything seems to be at the touch of a screen so take a moment and ask yourself, are you taking advantage of all the digital mediums out there?  Before I enrolled in HUM 249E, Digital Humanities: Finding, Manipulating and Creating Electronic Texts, a graduate course led by Dr. Jennifer Smith in the Humanities program, I considered myself a digital illiterate.  I’m not ashamed to admit my lack of technological savvy because I enjoy the process of learning a new skill set that will assist my education.

What I have learned is that the digital world provides tools, software and websites that can help produce documents, improve organization, and create remarkable presentations.  While studying the subject matter of the digital humanities I learned about  Adobe Pro, Gephi, Google Docs, Dropbox, MeoGraph, Prezi, and Scrivener.  Each of these applications function differently such as providing aid for research, digital storage, and presentation software.

I challenge all of you to take the time to explore the digital media out there.  Next paper, project, or presentation use a new digital program.  Don’t be a digital Luddite, get out there and explore.  Take it from me, you won’t regret it!

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