Creating a Video for the Project Letters 1916

Part 4-9

While exploring the module AFF 606B Digital Scholarly Editing, which I attended this last semester as a part of the MA in Digital Humanities in the National University of Ireland Maynooth,  we asked to participate in an outreach activity. For this activity, each student, in conjunction with the module coordinator (Prof Susan Schreibman) and the Letters 1916 team, would undertake the design of an outreach activity to support the project of Letters 1916. Outreach could take the form of a twitter campaign, podcast, video, or other activity designed with Letters 1916 staff. I found it a very good and interesting idea! This would be a special opportunity for all of us to show our best creative side. So it happened! But let’s take things from the beginning.

At the beginning, I thought about creating a podcast, believing that it could be quite direct and more people will have the opportunity to reach it.  But, in the aftermath, a conversation with my professor and the team of the project changed my mind. I realized that a video would be more appropriate for this purpose. So, I started to think about the script and what would be my focus point. It would be something which underlined more the historical part, the public participation or something else? After all, I decided to create a video narrating part of the irish history in the year of 1916 and also the importance of mass participation for the Letters 1916 and feel that this is not just a volunteer work, but an active involvement with their history. This sense of personal involvement played a very important role in the final creation of the video and it was in the centre stage.

Speaking more specifically for the video’s story, the main idea was to inspire people to participate in the project. To do this, I thought that the video should contain some pieces of the history of that period; so, the audience have the opportunity to remember the events through black and white photographs and have a small taste of the 1916s. Photos from camps and foxholes are there to transfer a little bit of the conditions then prevailing.  After that, a small story starts to unfold, with a young soldier who writes a letter, sitting in his camp, and sends it to his family. This is a very common picture in the camps of that time period. The soldiers and their families or friends exchanged letters very frequently. We should not forget that there was not any other way to communicate with each other (you can see the numbers of letters in the website of Letters 1916 images3http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/learn/index.php/outreach/progress-update/).  This way, with the depiction of a familiar situation, I wanted to point that all these people who came from this period are not some distant ancestors or just people from the past generally, but people who have lived just a few years before, having the same need for communication.

In the next part, we move on the present and the modern post offices. The letter which the young soldier wrote “travels” to nowadays; it reaches to our homes and to our hands. All the letters of the year 1916 have the potential through the research of the team of Letters 1916, to reread from us. Moreover, not only there is a chance to read, but also to process them by editing, publishing or transcribing. And like this, we go to the next part of the video, where the public is encouraged to participate and to offer their help in the project with one of the above ways. In the last part, I chose to be given away some information on the work already done within the three years of operation of the project. Part 4-6Because the main purpose is to attract as many people as possible, willing to offer their help, the elements chosen to highlight in this video were those referring to existing volunteers, the letters that have been published in institutions and organizations that work with the Letters 1916 and with the collections, private or not, by which gained all this valuable material. Of course, in the end, it could not miss the reference to the project site and the exhortation of individuals to join.

At the individual level, what I gained through my involvement in the creation of this video, are plenty and important. Firstly, I saw how complex could be something like that. Many of us think that you can just put images side by side, a music in the background and that is all. A video needs a scenario, a good initial design is the most important part. The ideas someone has could be many, but the beneficial thing is to know which ones are really good and original and which serve the purpose of the video. After the clarification of the final concept follows the formation of the final script. So, in this part, I did clear my mind what I was exactly to say through the video and what I want viewers like to receive seen it. I started to select the pictures and tried to find out the proper music. At this point, I would like to thank the team of the project for the provision of the material and the latest statistics related to the project. Then, I gathered the material and chose the order in which they will cite the images, I had to browse to the video maker software and learn how to use it. With the online tutorials and forums, it is quite easy to find the answer to any question. After some days and a lot of trial videos, I came to the end result.

To sum up, I am grateful to my professor and to the team of Letters  1916 because they give me the opportunity to present one more artistic part of me and to learn a totally new skill. It was something different than the other assignments we had to do and I am very happy for my participation on that.  Learning new things never cease to be a new challenge!

You can watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/199312574

Please feel free to leave your comment!

Ecclesiology3D

The first post of this year refers to a completed project late last year … The project called Ecclesiology3D and has been part of the course AFF622: Digital Heritage: Theories, Methods and Challenges as part of the MA in Digital Humanities in the National University of Ireland Maynooth. The course coordinator was Dr Konstantinos Papadopoulos. The goal of this project was to select, capture, design and carry out an effective workflow cvsxfn7wgaeys5zfor 3D recording cultural heritage projects including the capturing, processing, online publishing, 3D printing and finally writing a report. The museum with which we cooperated was the National Science and Ecclesiology Museum, St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth. Αt this point,   I would like to thank, on behalf of all the team, the curator Dr Niall McKeith for his help.

The captured objects are the following:

  • Altar Stone
  • Egyptian Ushabti
  • St Cecilia Statuette
  • The Empress of Austria Vestments
  • The “Power” Ciborium
  • Votive Offering One
  • Votive Offering Two
  • Votive Offering Three
  • Wooden Cross

cwqwbfvxuaa7gbyWe used the method of photogrammetry and 3d laser scanning. For the former were used cameras, tripods, light boxes and lighting; for the latter were used the NextEngine 3D Laser Scanner. The equipment was transported and set up on the morning of the objects capturing.

About the photogrammetry workflow, the quality of images was assessed prior to undertaking digital reconstruction to ensure best data was used during this phase. Those that were not suitable for inclusion in the project were omitted, such as blurry images, overexposed images and poor overlapping. Some photographs had to be processed in Adobe Photoshop to improve the colour of objects that were not properly captured due to poor lighting in the museum.

cwq92apwqaadzltAbout the 3d scanning workflow, only two items recording with the 3d laser scanner. The first was the Ivory Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It scanned from the both of the sides, front and back, and also from the top and the bottom, but because of the many folds of the item, it could be possible to capture correctly. The cwq92asxcaebw3zOld Altar Stone was the second item and also more successfully. It scanned in position 360o and during the capturing procedure there was not a specific problem.

For more information, you can follow the project in Twitter @Ecclesiology3D

and see the final results in Sketchfab https://sketchfab.com/NUIM_CallanMuseum/models

Hope you like and enjoy the Ecclesiology3D project.

We are waiting for your opinion or questions.

 

Lost in Realities

The reason for this post was the lecture by Dr Angeliki Chrysanthi as a guest lecturer of the module Digital Humanities: Theory and Practice (AFF 601). Her lecture was one of the most interesting lectures that took place in the context of this module and, really, thank her very much for that. The title of her presentation was Analogue to Digital: Transforming Spaces and from the first time I saw it in the course program, intrigued me. Having a different background, terms such as “transformation of spaces” or “augmenting spaces” sound to me both distant and familiar at the same time. Thus, that gave me the impetus to involve with this topic and had some thoughts to this, which are presented below.

augmented-reality

Initially, it would be worth quoting a definition of augmented or mixed reality and the importance of augmented space. According to Manovich, one of the most important figures in the field of new media theory, as augmented reality obtained “the laying of dynamic and context-specific information over the visual field of a user” and as augmented space the physical space overlaid with dynamically changing information. This information is likely to be in multimedia form and it is often localised for each user such as images, sounds, videos, graphics and GPS data. Both of them could be summarised as contributing a presence simulation to the audience as an interface metaphor to a assemble world. Indeed, there is a growing community of researchers, scholars and industries which interested in them. The imagesmotivations for such a research are the evolutionary perspective and the revolutionary perspective. About the former, augmented reality is seen as a way to defeat the limitations of standard interfaces between human and computer; as the latter, the technology which used for its construction, allows the entrance to new types of applications that exploit the different possibilities of presence simulation (Gobbetti, Scateni).

images-2In addition, there is the virtual reality which is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the individuals in such a way that they suspend belief and accept it as a real environment. Augmented and virtual realities technologies are usually used for cultural heritage purposes which focus on learning the process, education and entertainment through interactive experiences. So, there is an another virtual term the virtual heritage, defined as “…the use of computer-based interactive technologies to record, preserve, or recreate artifacts, sites, and actors of historic, artistic, religious, and cultural significance…”(Stone). Virtual heritage’s application can enhance and stimulate the understanding of public about imagevirtualmuseum3mtheir cultural heritage, as through all those achieved the reconstruction of their past.

In conclusion, the research in the field of virtual reality should have as a starting point that people are well equipped to interact with the world they live in and also should make great efforts to make users interact with virtual worlds, in the same way, they interact with real worlds. Hence, the interaction steps will be more natural and will reduce people’s special training. It is not easy for everyone to adjust and to operate in such environments, but it is not impossible. We should find a way to help in balancing between multiple realities with which people come into contact today.

Readings:

Gobbetti, En., Scateni, R., Virtual Reality: Past, Present, and Future, http://www.crs4.it/vic/data/papers/vr-report98.pdf, Web, Accessed on 18/12/2016

Manovich, Lev, The poetics of augmented space,http://manovich.net/index.php/projects/the-poetics-of-augmented-space, Web, Accessed on 18/12/2016

Stone, R., Ojika, T., Virtual Heritage: What Next?, http://www.goddardetc.com/fortmass_extra/Stone_2000_virtual_heritage.pdf, Web, Accessed on 18/12/2016

Zakiah Noh, Mohd Shahrizal Sunar, and Zhigeng Pan, A Review on Augmented Reality for Virtual Heritage System, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221247704_A_Review_on_Augmented_Reality_for_Virtual_Heritage_System, Web, Accessed on 18/12/2016

Reviewing archaeology reading and writing through a digital perspective

The reason behind this post is a discussion group, which I had last week in class with my colleagues, about the paper “A Manifesto for an Introspective Digital Archaeology” of Jeremy Huggett. I dare to say that it was one of the texts that puzzle us very much. The ensuing discussion was quite constructive. Personally, I picked out the piece refers to how to read and how is written archaeology in recent “digital” years.

The digital reading and writing through the internet have changed the way with people read and write their personal or working messages. The same happened with the academic community and the way that they publish their researches and their results. Most of them published in digital form and a limited number of printed copies. The same happened in the archaeology field, which was, already, familiar with the use of digital tools, of course. However, it is different to make use of some specific devices and software helping archaeologists during the excavation process rather than to change the way of data and findings recording and the presentation modes of results. Most of them published in digital form and a limited number of printed copies. The same happened in the archaeology field, which was, img_0119already, familiar with the use of digital tools, of course. However, it is different to make use of some specific devices and software helping archaeologists during the excavation process rather than to change the way of data and findings recording and the presentation modes of results. In this case, the internet is acting as a new medium of publication. This is something that concerns many archaeologists as for the future of the field.

The web, as one of the most popular means of information and communication today, could give a new impetus to the relationship between the archaeological science and individuals. Designing effective online public archaeology, it should be involved some considerations of how historical reasoning is best taught and how to form the information structure which will have this application, regardless of medium. Hypertext, which is used on the internet, allows the readers to build their own associations between the pieces of information. This information could be data collection sheets, datasets, images, videos, color GIS maps, 3d laser scans or some of the supplementary texts.digital-archaeology-collage As a result, the readers who participate more meaningfully in the process of interpretation become empowered. There is a real potential for public participation and “boundaries erosion” between the specialists and the people. Moreover, through the internet, there is access to specialised data that are able to provide well-educated and centre of knowledge of their own which complete with completely archaeological sources. This could be described as the networked structure of archaeological knowledge. 

It is clear that while the field of archaeology has embraced the digital, there is still room for improvement. The contact with digital tools could help archaeologists to further improve their work methods and their communication with the public.  In order to achieve this, a new path could be taken which could improve and modernise the way that archaeologists work and think. The result could be that people are brought closer to their past.

 

Readings:

Costopoulos, An., Digital Archaeology is here, http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fdigh.2016.00004/full,  Web, Accessed on 4/12/2016

Denning, K., ‘The Storm of Progress’ and Archaeology for an Online Public, http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.15.1, Web, Accessed on 4/12/2016

Hodder, I., Archaeology and global information systems, Internet Archaeology, http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.6.1, Web, Accessed on 4/12/2016

Holtorf, C., The future of electronic scholarship, Internet Archaeology, http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.15.11, Web, Accessed on 4/12/2016

Huggett, J., A Manifesto for an Introspective Digital Archaeology, https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/opar.2014.1.issue-1/opar-2015-0002/opar-2015-0002.xml,  Web, Accessed on 4/12/2016

Huggett, J., Let’s talk about digital archaeology, https://introspectivedigitalarchaeology.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/lets-talk-about-digital-archaeology/, Web, Accessed on 4/12/2016

Conference Virtual Heritage Network 2016

 

http://www.vhnireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/cropped-VHN_Website_003_logo-Slol-751x1024.png

The conference will take place at the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, (CACSSS) University College Cork from Thursday 8th – Saturday 10th December 2016.

The MA Digital Humanities and MA Spacial Humanities students from the Maynooth University will be there. Let me make a special reference to the session below:

Costas Papadopoulos, S. Schreibman, C. Brennan, B. Hughes, N. Rooney & F. Mac Caba-An Foras Feasa, Maynooth University: ‘Mixed Realities for Enhancing History Teaching and Learning: The Battle of Mount Street Bridge’

You can visit the website of the conference for more infirmation: http://www.vhnireland.org/

 

The Value of Community Co-production in Visualization

Access to works of art, archaeological sites and discoveries, whether in a digital or in a physical form, are too easy today. Admission fees to many museums and archaeological sites are extremely low or even free in some. As for the digital copies (e.g. 3D representations), access is free after a simple internet connection which is enough to “open the doors” to some of the most famous exhibits of the world. Such easy accessibility has interested many people, experts or not, as to how it can work for the benefit of objects themselves. At this point, another reflection arises. What if, rather than being mere passive spectators, some people have a more active role, such as that of a re-creator or a preserver? It sounds a little bit tricky, right?

Initially, it is important to highlight that this may relate only to digital copies, not natural once, therefore in this case specialists would be needed (e.g. restorers). Generally, in the digital world things are simpler. Anyone can create a digital copy of any object, as was discussed in the previous post. Software, online manuals and explanatory videos are available on the internet, offering guidance for beginners and the advanced. So why do all those interested people care about something doing wrong in collaboration with other stakeholders or experts and provide the results for the community? The cooperation of specialists with ordinary people to transform the physical form of domain cultural artifacts into the digital one is a unique opportunity for everyone to come closer to them and to feel the “aura” that they exude. Not just to observe them behind glass halls but also to have a meaningful contact with them; to have the ability to transform them into another format, digital, and give them a new impetus. Through this process benefits, not only us as individuals but also the community as a whole. Of course, the guidance of specialists and compliance therewith by everyone has to be taken for granted and indispensable.

So, such democratization of the digital reproduction of domain cultural heritage has a significant impact on society. The involvement of citizens in such participatory projects can “build a bridge” between the past and the present that, up to now, has eluded us the tactics that followed have not been accomplished. The contact of people with the items, during the digitization process, will have a major impact on the way they perceive their general relationship with the past; the glass wall between them will break.  It is important for people to know their past and to come into contact with it, not to keep their distance as if it is something that does not concern them anymore. Their active participation in the digital reproduction may regenerate the past, give it a new lease of life and turn it into eternity. All this might have a positive impact on new digital objects to be created, as we will know the process is required. Still, it will be worth the effort, since the reward will be increased familiarity between people and their past. What today is a major challenge for the world of digital humanities, namely the development of a relationship between digital objects with the public, might eventually be done through such universal participation of people.

leocaillard4

Readings:

Jeffrey, St., Challenging Heritage Visualisation: Beauty, Aura and Democratisation, https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/opar.2014.1.issue-1/opar-2015-0008/opar-2015-0008.xml, Web, Accessed on 28/10/2016

Reilly, P., Additive Archaeology: An Alternative Framework for Recontextualising Archaeological Entities, https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/opar.2014.1.issue-1/opar-2015-0013/opar-2015-0013.xml, Web, Accessed on 28/10/2016

Sinclair, M., Should Museums Be Recreating the Past, https://www.creativereview.co.uk/should-museums-be-recreating-the-past/, Web, Accessed on 28/10/2016

 

Familiarizing with 3D Recording

This was a very interesting week for all students of MDH. We had the opportunity to go to the laboratory and attempt different methods of 3D recording, like 3D Scanning and Photogrammetry. After many hours of practice…we made it!

Below you can see our today attempt at Photogrammetry

20161021_1754401

20161021_1754291

The “adventure” in the laboratory just started for us! Good luck to all!

All Rights Reserved!

Two years ago, more or less, I attended a specialization course on digital literature. In one of the first lectures, the lecturer asked us to communicate our opinion regarding the copyright of digital literature and computer art, in general. I confess that this was an issue which did not concern me deform and, as I noted then, my classmates did not have a clear answer to give. The subject seemed quite complicate to me at the time; but this was also a great chance for us to start thinking and articulating our thoughts on the subject. My first impression, after our conversation, was that we were not sufficiently informed about the connection between copyright and computer art. We spent a lot of time connected to the internet, usually ignoring the efforts that have been made by other people to upload the stuff that we are reading.

The technological conquests of computer science increase day by day. Today it is easy for someone to create a copy of any kind of cultural artefact. There is free software which can be downloaded and used in an easy way and without special computer knowledge. Manuals are free too. Computer software can extract specific data even from a simple photograph and create an accurate copy of an artefact. So, every one of us has the opportunity to create their own copy, or copies, and do with them anything they like. The copy is subject to property of its creator. Once digitized, something is immediately available without temporal and spatial restrictions. The same technology that makes access to information easier, contributes also to the easy copying, legal or illegal. In consequence many of the intellectual property rules which are applied to physical objects are not applied with the same effectiveness to the digital reality.

But let us look into the copies of cultural artefacts. The original artefacts are protected from the copyright law; they belong to museums, institutes, private collectors or governments. The copies are considered as a whole a new item and they are subject to new copyright law. They are under their owner’s protective umbrella. The owners have the right to make use of the copies any way they see fit. What about digital copies? Who is their owner? Sometimes more than one specialist is required to create them. Who is the rightful owner? Unfortunately, governments have not adopted adequate legislation for the protection of digital artwork. Everyone has access to them; the data are millions and are not protected by anyone. So, it is not very difficult for people, without special computer knowledge to create their own copy. From a simple photograph one could create an accurate copy. There is free software on the internet that collects the proper data for instance from a photograph, and that is all. However, what is the meaning of the easiness of creation and the deficiency of protection. Could we all become potential occupants of well made copies of work arts and artefacts?

In conclusion, considering that there is a gap in the protection of copyright in the digital world, we should know that we are a kind of “illegal readers” of some of the most important works of literature and “illegal visitors” of the biggest art exhibitions in the world. How does this sound to you?

Readings:

Beck, A., Open Access to Heritage Resources – Risk, Opportunity, or Paradigm Shift?, https://www.academia.edu/2375241/Opening_access_to_heritage_resources_risk_opportunity_or_paradigm_shift, Web, Accessed on 16/10/2016

Cronin, Ch., Possession is 99% of the Law: 3D Printing, Public Domain Cultural Artifacts and Copyright, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2731935, Web, Accessed on 16/10/2016

Weinberg, M., 3D Scanning: A World without Copyright,   http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/25599-new-whitepaper-on-3d-scanning-and-the-lack-of-copyright.html, Web, Accessed on 16/10/2016.

Weinberg, M., What’s the Deal with Copyright and 3D Printing, https://www.linkedin.com/in/weinbergmichael, Web, Accessed on 16/10/2016.

About copyright law in EE: http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/