Intoduction- Shelby Fields

My name is Shelby Fields. I am a junior double major here at TU in music (cello) and anthropology. I speak several languages and I love to travel and learn about culture. I am looking to go to grad school for international law or immigration law at some point, but I’m a pretty open-minded person and I like to take advantage of the opportunities at hand and nothing in my life has ever gone exactly as planned, so I’m up to whatever life hits me with for the most part. I am driven by experience and learning.

Music was never something I planned to do in university but it has been wonderful. I was accepted into a college preparatory conservatory at age 11 where I took part in a heavy curriculum based off of Juliard’s pre conservatory program that had extensive lessons, ensembles, studio classes, music theory and music history twice a week. The saying “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is an utterly worthless saying. I can tell you that I lived and breathed cello until about 10th grade when I went through some serious health issues that played a role in changing my feelings towards my studies. I would get up every morning to practice a couple hours before school, I would skip lunch and practice, practice until I got picked up from school, and practice for four or more hours whenever I got home. I was consumed in the process of getting better, especially since I started relarively late. It was not unusual for me to practice about 10 hours a day, not including my lessons and classes. I don’t do that anymore. People get burned out no matter how much you love something. Not to mention, it’s pretty impractical with TU’s curriculum. Anyway, this program led to a lot of musical success for me in our little town of Tulsa. I have been blessed to meet some of the most famous classical musicians in the world just because of the connections I have made here, and it has landed me a job that I love.

I work as an assistant administrator, and instructor at the bART Conservatory for Music (formerly the Barthelmes Conservatory of Music). Teaching has greatly improved my musicianship and completely changed my perspective in many areas of my life. I also get to organize and take part in fundraisers, concerts, gigs, and outreach. I couldn’t be happier with a job at this point in my development, but don’t worry, it has not been 100% peachy for me- I’ve done plenty of minimum wage retail/food jobs as well.

TL;DR

I am a cellist and anthropologist who wants to do law someday.

Thanks for your time!

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Final Project: Archaeology and the Age of Technology

Hello Reader,

The following post is part of my final project assessment in my Digital Humanities course; it explains my reasoning for creating this blog in the first place.

For my final project in Intro to Digital Humanities I created a blog through WordPress dedicated to my major, archaeology. I chose to create a blog because I thought it would be interesting to discover whether blogging could be found beneficial within my field. Also my field has the reputation for being conventional, mostly consisting of book work, boring, and out dated. My ambition with this project is to dispute those claims and increase interest into archaeology again. As human beings I think it is essential that we are aware of our heritage and strive to preserve the achievements humanity has accomplished, not only to remember where we have been, but to learn from ourselves and better humanity in the future.

“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.”
-Aristotle

In my blog I focused mainly on incorporating the use of technology, various forms of digital media, and several other topics discussed in class. Furthermore I wrote about my current research, archaeological topics that interested me, excavations and archaeological surveys I am involved in, and several other projects I am working on. To my surprise I found blogging to be beneficial. Before hand I did not regard blogging in an academic sense.

However I found the most innovative features that blogging possessed were receiving/sending feedback and gaining mass exposure. It was flattering to receive feedback and “likes” from fellow archaeologists, professors, researchers, and other individuals from across the globe. Not only was it flattering, but the mass scale of exposure was astonishing. To further increase my blog exposure I posted links and attention grabbing prompts within the Archaeology Page on FaceBook. It was intriguing to witness how instantaneously I received responses. Even more surprisingly once I really got into blogging I had accumulated 93 homepage views in a single day, a current amount of 14 Word Press subscribers, 1,625 FaceBook subscribers, and an unexpected total of 737 total homepage views within only two months. After viewing these statistics it was clear to me blogging can most definitely be used academically and benefit any individual in any major.

I found the responses to be additionally useful and encouraging. I was offered guidance, given encouragement, suggested solutions to my questions, provided other people’s opinions and I found it rather entertaining to tee off controversial debates. Blogging made it possible to further expose my mind to new thoughts and ideas that I otherwise wouldn’t have come across. I think it is important that individuals in all fields of study take advantage of technology and what it can offer. Technology such as blogging encourages interaction and compels an individual to acquire knowledge through additional means and further expand one’s thought process.

Links

Homepage
About Author
Site, Ayn Abu Nukhaylah: TU Page
Digital Humanities Course
Archaeology FaceBook Page

Blog Posts (beginning from oldest to most recent)

Hello World
Multimedia and Archaeology
Archaeology Podcast
What’s Your Archive?
Mapping & Social Network Analysis in Archaeology
Archaeological Humor
New Manners of Thinking
Digitalization of Text
Reading & Textuality in Archaeology
Archaeological Survey in Hominy, Oklahoma
Archaeological Time Machine?? Think POSSIBLE

Thanks for reading and THANK YOU to all of my followers and those of you who responded to my posts! You all made this a very positive experience and I look forward to bettering my blogging potentiality. 🙂

Ashley Brown

Reading & Textuality

What is hypertext and hypermedia?

According to Ted Nelson who coined both the terms in the 1960’s:

“Hypertext” has become generally accepted for branching and responding text, but the corresponding word “hypermedia”, meaning complexes of branching and responding graphics, movies and sound – as well as text – is much less used.— Nelson, Literary Machines, 1992

How can hypertext and hypermedia be incorporated into my discipline of anthropology and archaeology?

Subject matter in the field of anthropology is profoundly vast. Therefore any sort of technology that simplifies the effort of research would be most appreciated by those who are researching. Rather than lugging around a profuse amount of publications, hypertext and hypermedia enable a researcher access to even more information at their convenience and at their immediate demand. Not only does this benefit researchers of anthropology, but any field for that matter.

My focus in anthropology is in prehistory, near/middle-eastern archaeology. All of the cultures during prehistory did not possess a writing system; therefore there is no written record that exists to inform one on the culture’s way of life. Archaeologists have to act as if they were detectives at a crime scene and piece together the information to reconstruct what took place in the past. Hypertext and hypermedia could be very useful in my study. They allow me to search through an almost infinite amount of information as well as save time that it would have taken to find the same information in a library. This saved time can now be used to further work on my research and speed up the date in which the results are to be published. Also by using hypertext and hypermedia I can interact with others who are working on similar subjects. I can receive instant feedback, opinions, and advice from other researchers. This is something a physical book cannot provide, well at least to this extent and speed.

There are contradictions however. According to the article, Ancient History, Archaeology and Hypertext Publishing:

The first problem is one which you may well have already overcome. Reading papers on the internet is a very bad idea, unless you actively seek out a migraine. A slightly more spurious argument against internet publishing is that you cannot read electronic papers in the bath. This is both wrong (if you own a PDA) and irrelevant. The costs of printed journals are astronomical…The cynic will point out that any web page can be printed. The best argument for not doing so from the browser is that it often looks awful.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Additionally problems exist in the accuracy of the hypertext and hypermedia. Often times on accident, information is inaccurately recorded and this can severely hinder the intended interpretation and meaning of the information. Another problem with inaccuracy is that anyone can instantly publish information onto the internet and a researcher may come across the information believing the claims are true. This can be easily exemplified within the website of Wikipedia.

In conclusion:

Despite the contradictions I have mentioned I think hypertext and hypermedia can help those in my field and virtually any other. But when using these technologies one should be aware of these contradictions and take them into account when researching.

Ashley Brown

Digital Text Copies: Pros and Cons

Digital text is the process of copying the original, physical text of a work of literature and digitizing it. Currently, Google is attempting to digitize every book on the planet and making them UNIVERSALLY available and FREE. They are doing it, but also they are breaking copyright laws and not conducting the process as accurately as they should. This all sounds great in theory, but everything has a downside.

PROS:
-Consumers no longer have to pay for books
-Publications are available worldwide
-The physical texts which will eventually deteriorate, survive in digital form
-The reader no longer has to carry heavy books; they can be read on any electronic device

CONS:
-Authors lose money that they would’ve earned selling the books
-Violation of copyright laws
-Damaging of the physical literature due to the copying process
-Reader loses the physical context that touching the literature provides
-Editing texts into a digital form may take away from aspects the author may want to express with the physicality of the literature

Despite the downsides of digitizing text I think this is a method of preserving humanity. For example, many texts that are thousands of years old or even decades old are deteriorating at a fast pace. Once they are gone, they are gone FOREVER. However by digitizing these works of literature we are able to preserve the text. Although the physicality, originality, and other aspects will be forever lost, partial preservation better than none at all. In my field of archaeology, many of the written artifacts, arts, etc. are usually discovered in an already severe state of decomposition. Due to their fragility the process of digitalization can be very damaging, even if done properly and with extreme care. However it is more important in my opinion that they are digitized so that they can surpass their natural decomposition and become available for many years afterward. This digitalization would be beneficial to the future of humanity.

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
-James Arthur

Ashley Brown

Mapping & Social Network Analysis

In my field of Archaeology mapping and social network analysis can be very beneficial.

Mapping various forms of database narrows down the results of a search to a more specific and useful form of information. Mapping looks at a broad view of something and breaks it into new subjects which are common themes throughout the subject. It also links different subjects to one another like a web and allows the researcher to further their knowledge with a more rounded assertion.

Social network analysis can also be beneficial in presenting a thesis or database to an audience in another way. For example one could use social network analysis to analyze aspects of a culture’s social organization. This is a powerful tool for untangling the web of relationships amongst those social organizations. This also allows for a further insight into the subject and it may even reveal something that was not noticed before. Social network analysis allows for a deeper and more enlightened understanding of a subject and I suggest that those in my field should take advantage of this technology.

Also refer to:
http://electricarchaeologist.wordpress.com/category/gis/

Ashley Brown

What’s Your Archive?

I looked at the archives The Rosetti Archive and The Ecclesiastical Proust Archive. When looking at these archives and various others I noticed some common features. Some are more focused on information that would be more useful to a user that is already familiar with a certain subject or discipline. It expects its’ user to already have the education that would most benefit their use of the archive. However if someone were using this same archive without the necessary background education they might not find the archive user friendly or even useful. On the other hand I also saw archives that focused on more of a broad user audience and not towards users of just one specific discipline. These archives were more user friendly, but when trying to find something specific the archive threw out an abundance of unnecessary information which its’ user would not find useful.

In conclusion I think archives can be very useful, you just have to find the one that works the best for you.

Ashley Brown

Multimedia and Archaeology

In my field of Anthropology (Archaeology) I see multimedia being used quite a bit. Many writings in archaeology are based on a thesis or a hypothesis. Therefore their use of rhetoric is essential. According to Geoffrey Rockwell and Andrew Mactavish, whose article we read stated that, “A multimedia work is one designed to convince, delight, or instruct in the classical sense of rhetoric.”

Today many archaeologists publish their findings and ideas in magazines, in books, on websites, in public blogs, and even in T.V. shows (ex: Chasing Mummies). This increases the size of their audience as well as the chance they may receive feedback. Feedback is very important in the interaction of archaeology due to the detective-like approaches that are used on its subjects. Many times archaeologist are making educated guesses on what took place in these distant cultures. An archaeological site is much like a crime scene. One would create a much more accurate hypothesis by taking into account other’s ideas. Multimedia enables archaeologists to interact with one another from all over the world and instantly.

I also have recently seen archaeology shown more often on T.V. in shows like: Chasing Mummies, The Naked Archaeologist, and Time Team. I found the reality T.V. show, Chasing Mummies, quite interesting. It is focused on the legendary Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass and his fellows (interns). The shows goal is to let viewers share in the thrills, discoveries, and hardships facing the team and crew as they toil to reveal what lies beneath the sand. However I found this program to be somewhat a disappointment. It seems, like many reality T.V. shows that they focused too much on the drama aspect and not the actual educational aspects. I thought the program also made a mockery of archaeology and presented the way in which we work in a very dysfunctional and uneducated matter. Moreover I am happy to see people making the effort of sparking more of an interest in the field of archaeology.

Multimedia is an excellent tool and I predict it will continue to be used in my field more and more as time passes on.

Ashley Brown

Works Cited:

Geoffrey Rockwell and Andrew Mactavish: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companion/view?docId=blackwell/9781405103213/9781405103213.xml&chunk.id=ss1-2-10&toc.depth=1&toc.id=ss1-2-10&brand=9781405103213_brand

Chasing Mummies: http://www.history.com/shows/chasing-mummies