Tag-Archive for » tech «

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 | Author:

Immediacy is something the Reverend talks about as a benefit of the blog, social networking technologies, and the great digital experiment that is Looking for Whitman.  PresenceAccessibility.  These are words we use a lot.  So this week a question has been dogging me while I process Digital Whitman’s Saturday field trip to Washington City.  This pair of images sets it up:

WW notebook #94, Library of Congress

WW notebook #94, Library of Congress American Memory site

WW notebook, photo by MNS, Library of Congress

WW notebook, photo by MNS, Library of Congress

The one on top is from a link to the Library of Congress I gave the class a few weeks ago, urging them to use these digitized images to study what OMW recorded about the soldiers.  The bottom was taken on our field trip, and is surprisingly focused given that I, Brady Earnhart, and our students were nearly all literally in tears in that weird institutional room with lockers, blackened windows, and government-issue tables.  Unless we were crying with simple gratitude for the incredible time that Barbara Bair had given us (or because we were soaked to the bloody skin  and had been standing for 10 hours with two or three to go), why were we?  Nothing was much easier to read in person, as those of us who stumbled reading aloud can attest (writing still spidery, bleeding through paper, plastic protection on many items reflected flourescent glare, etc.).  We couldn’t touch anything (though, good lord, we certainly breathed all over it), couldn’t feel the paper, the wood, the leather, the hair (the hair!).

Whitman's hair, deathbed edition, photo by MNS 10/24/09

Whitman's hair, deathbed edition, photo by MNS 10/24/09

I couldn’t even smell the leather of that haversack or of its decay, and I have one good super-sniffer.

cue to tears: the haversack, photo by MNS 10/24/09

cue to tears: the haversack, photo by MNS 10/24/09

Obviously, what I am suggesting is this: the artifacts of the Library of Congress archive were in some ways no more accessible or immediate (indeed, let’s be honest, a lot LESS accessible or even immediate if we mean time instead of proximity) than the digitized images of those artifacts online.  I saw that the inside of the haversack is brown canvas.  Brendon found a fingerprint and will NOT entertain suggestions that it belongs to anyone but Walt Whitman.  But tears?

Presence.  Through the blog we are present to each other online even when we are physically apart during the week (or have never seen each other: hallooo out there, Brooklyn, Camden, and Novi Sad!).  Agreed.  But finally Saturday we were (good) old-fashioned groupies, we were Whitman lovers, and we were bodies (finer than prayer, but, geez, we were a bit rank by Hour Ten of the marathon).  We desired the physical–the textured, the pasted, the water-stained.  We may have cried because the broken skins of brittle pages and fragile covers, the light-sensitive [associative digression: Whitman’s Camden eyeglasses: so small, and with one lens protectively glazed over after strokes] and subsequently entombed haversack, and the tickets to a lecture on Lincoln long since delivered were as close to Whitman (brittle, entombed…) as we are going to get, as present as we can be.  Unlike the wounded soldiers, we won’t get the healing presence of his 200-pound, hirsute, maroon-coated, deep-pocketed self.  But it turns out that the digitized can’t hold a gas lamp to the physically present, and even if it’s paper and not flesh, I’ll take it.  Whitmaniacs, pass the tissues.

Sunday, September 20th, 2009 | Author:

Dr. Earnhart and I were bemoaning the fact that the online 1867 edition doesn’t include cover shots (something like glamour shots, but a little more satisfying).  I wanted to provide this link to another element of the vast Whitman Archive that supplements a little , though 1867 has many fewer images than other editions.  But if you look just above 1867 in the history, you’ll also see Drum-Taps and Sequel to Drum-Taps as they were first published before getting stuck into Leaves in a most ragtag fashion.  For those who really love history of the book/material artifacts/publishing history, the whole thing is definitely worth reading, or at least scrolling through, for its stellar images.

Darn, I wish I could figure out how to stick-ify this post.

Category: Uncategorized  | Tags: , , ,  | 4 Comments
Friday, September 11th, 2009 | Author:

This afternoon I heard a lecture by Dan Cohen called “The Future of the Digital University,” and as I listened I started this list of words and phrases he said, in the order he said them, that seemed to me to be about WW as much as about the digital world, showing yet again the crazy nexus at which we are working:





thought leadership



the everywhere library


60 million



simplified interface

accessible, discoverable

unusual, indicative case studies

hamstrung by traditional ways



public domain

macro- and micro-


spider symbolism


galaxy zoo

sky objects


boundaries are permeable

help from the crowd


search and retrieval



Category: Uncategorized  | Tags: , , ,  | One Comment
Friday, August 28th, 2009 | Author:

I have the flip-cams.  Let’s roll, people.

Category: Uncategorized  | Tags: ,  | One Comment
Thursday, June 18th, 2009 | Author:

Random notes from training:

Tech support is new group where faculty and students can post tech questions for help from members and Jim.

Matt and Jim will add tabs for fora and will fix course blogs so they draw in essential feeds.  We should each think about what feeds we want for course blogs and individually arrange them with techies.  (Grab URL for RSS feed of specific tag on a site like delicious, then go to widgets in dashboard of own blog to add RSS feed and  paste in address.)

Note re: Delicious.  Use bookmarking tools to add buttons to browsers and then you can just click the button from website you want to save and it will automatically save to account and will let you add tags, description, etc.

Tab for Resources on frontpage which we will build together– links to MLA citation, WW Archive, etc.  Also a Press tab for articles etc.

Two central sites for aggregation: course blogs and LFW home site.

Jim and Matt will set up various editions for annotation for each class.

Mechanics/Ideas for shared annotation assignment:

  • we will all start with 1855 Song and use it for image gloss assignment so classes complement each other.  Specific words from text will be linked to blog post glosses. 
  • March planning notes divide eras of WW writing for different classes– after the initial image gloss annotations of Song, class annotations will focus on additions to Leaves for particular era–e.g., Camden may do very late poem additions, or Fred may do Drum Taps, Lincoln poems, etc.  Annotations can be linked to visual, will be researched as appropriate, could be secondary criticism, primary or historical research, local geographical supplements, etc.  Jesse Merandy’s article on “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” in Mickle Street Review is an example of deep annotation of single poem.
  • faculty should communicate schedule for annotations and exact poems as those are decided in course planning over summer

Some final product ideas: video, mp3 reading, online museum entry, essay, deep annotation or scholarly edition, wikipedia entry, cinepoems or mashups like documentary on WW and Camden——> projects that are designed to educate wider public

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 | Author:

Groups and BuddyPress:  Fora.  Can be public or private.  Could be used e.g. by students working on shared projects for discussion.  Group wire is like Facebook wall; can also notify by email that something has been posted on the wall.  Archiving group information.  Groups could be formed across class/campus lines–e.g., for students interested in Whitman and sexuality.  Member profiles can be way that students find each other by clicking on terms that will identify shared interests.

 Change profile by going to My Account.

Planning blog now has summer assignments for faculty.

Collaborative work: supplementary, collective knowledge building AND dialogic exchange

  • Material culture entries across campuses: ask students to compare, to consider two together, to take two from other campuses and discuss re: WW text, etc.
  • required comments and reading
  • shared projects like annotations
  • field trip documentation
  • feeds: Matt and Jim will work out best way that each person in/teaching a class will be able to view in one place all the posts happening across the site.  Will include group wires– can and should it include forum posts?

Flickr account for each class.  Make album, make slideshow, and take embed url to make it a blog post.  Flickr feed on LFW homepage sidebar.  Tag all images that go to Flickr Whitman20 to feed it in.

whitman20 is now tag for all outside sites (flickr, delicious, etc.) to draw in to project




Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 | Author:

General info and planning:

  • International Whitman Symposium in Italy focus on 1860 edition, esp. for graduate students– Karen will post link when website is ready
  • Library of America + WW archive for other editions, facsimiles, etc.
  • Begin with 1855 as shared base text
  • WW archive has summary descriptions of various editions

From Jim:

Looking for Whitman as immediate, collaborative space.  Disorientation because your blog is portal or home page but actually we have linked spaces controlled by individuals that feed into readable central site.  Individual–>course—> uberblog of all five courses (Looking for Whitman).  Clicking on individual posts links you back to place it was first written (Ty’s, student’s, course, etc.). 

  • Support tab on LFW site has FAQs and instructions for using WordPress, in text and video. 

If our students make videos (e.g. reading at sites for “where I found Whitman” assignment or cinepoems), they can put it on youtube  (10 minute time limit) or blip.tv (unlimited time, can set up own site or course site) and then upload it through Anarchy onto blog: simply uploading from computer may not work because of size of videos.  Audio files such as podcasts can be uploaded with Upload/Insert Audio button right from computer (own files or downloaded from internet) or with URL into Anarchy.

 LibriVox as resource for audio files (mp3 advised over ogg or mediaplayer files).  Archive.org as another source.

  • Possible or optional collaborative project for our classes: good recordings of WW texts for Librivox.
  • Consider making a Help group on our site for collaborative support on tech issues.


  • TAGS: Frontpage as tab that will send any post to the main LFW site; this is functional use of tagging to send posts to specific spaces.  Tags as key terms and issues also may be used by students to help follow shared interests.  We can have a tagcloud that will include tags from all campuses.  Encourage students to use tags generously as key words for their thinking.  Adding tags is one way to get students to think critically about what they are writing/reading.  Choice of keywords/tags can be topic for discussion in classes since it indicates students’ critical processing of work.