Witches and Trolls; Examining the Danish Folklore Storymap

The Witchhunter and Trollfinder HGIS map is an interactive map that displays the folklore collections of Evald Tang Kristensen on an interactive georeferenced map of Denmark. The purpose  of this map is to display the instances of folklore sightings recorded in the writings of Kristensen for the specific creatures mentioned on the map. As well this map includes the accompanying story of the creatures sighted in the stories with the place in order to create a sense of the mythical world  Denmark was portrayed as in these tales. This map has no direct instructions but rather the user is left to figure out how to use it on their own. On the side of the map are several layers with creature names and instances of mythical behaviours such as ” Witches and their Sport” and “Water Spirits”.  When one of the layers is turned on the map will indicate with varying sizes of bar graphs for symbology where the instance took place, and if a specific point is selected the accompanying folklore story will appear in Danish below the map. of this map is to display the instances of folklore sightings recorded in the writings of Kristensen for the specific creatures mentioned on the map. As well this map includes the accompanying story of the creatures sighted in the stories with the place in order to create a sense of the mythical world  Denmark was portrayed as in these tales. This map has no direct instructions but rather the user is left to figure out how to use it on their own. On the side of the map are several layers with creature names and instances of mythical behaviours such as ” Witches and their Sport” and “Water Spirits”.  When one of the layers is turned on the map will indicate with varying sizes of bar graphs for symbology where the instance took place, and if a specific point is selected the accompanying folklore story will appear in Danish below the map.

The Witch Hunter and Troll Finder map is excellent for visualizing  danish folklore and provides ample background information for each individual story on the map which is well georeferenced and layered upon modern topology. However, the symbology and layout of the map are confusing for the user; the symbols for each layer are all the same, meaning that one could not combine multiple sightings of creatures to see where they overlapped. As well, the stories are only provided in their original Danish as primary sources rather than having a translation into English available even though the map legend is in English. There is no coherent narrative present, rather all of the stories are left to be explored individually rather than as a whole collection. The only people to which this map could be of any use would be those who could read both English and Danish and who have an interest in the spatial world of Kristensen’s folklore. Overall this map falls short of the potential capabilities it contains; if the symbologies differed and if translations into a more commonly used language were available this map could be a useful and interesting tool for many people to explore and learn from.

Assignment #3 Digital Maps

I had a lot of fun looking at the AfricaMap because it gives so much information on everything. On this interactive map you can look at languages and family dynamics, conflict data, religions, and even the trans-atlantic slave trade. The first thing that caught my attention was all of the colours when you first get to the site and from there I was set.

This site is super easy to navigate which makes it accessible and interesting for almost everyone. You can click on specific tabs and overlays on the and get rid of other ones, or have them overlap and compare some things such as comparing language and religion. Also, when you go to the side to click on a specific tab of information, as your cursor is over top a blurb comes up about that topic. For example, there is one part where you can see Rwanda memorial sites, but as you scroll over it there is information about the Rwandan genocide which I find really informative. Despite knowing about most of these events already, it was interesting to see how they word the information in such a small amount of space so that it’s not a major paragraph but still informative. Below there is a photo of the side where the overlays are, the blurb on the Rwandan genocide (this one was a bit longer) and where the memorials are located on the map.

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This digital map can be very useful for how we understand the history of Africa as a nation. While it didn’t cover all of the history of Africa, naturally, it did a pretty good job in covering the basics. There are interactive geo-referenced maps to see what specific places were like in the past, it is entirely interactive and it’s attentive to the reader. Nothing about this map lost my attention, I was looking at it for hours!

The ONLY thing I would say about this map and the way the site works is to go back and check that all overlays on the side, for example some of the ones under the trans-Atlantic slave trade, work. Some of the links I clicked on for it to come up on the map did not work and so it was a bit disappointing that I couldn’t exactly see where everything was, but I could still read about it.

Despite that, I think this map does a really good job in bringing African history to life and being able to see how things have changed and where events played out. It could be used as a historical document even because of all the different ways you could look at things and visualize Africa. This map was really interesting and definitely broadened my knowledge of African history.

Post 3: Digital Mapping

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After using the interactive map about the Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761 I found that digital mapping can be very helpful in understanding history. This online HGIS  project is about the slave revolt in Jamaica, it shows how the revolt progressed through the year of 1760-1761. The people of Jamaica rose up against the British killing many of them and destroying their property. The map shows three different phases of the slave revolt, it indicates who was involved as well as when and where fights occurred. The map does a great job of showing how the slaves(rebels) moved across the land. On the site there is a video that goes through each of the points on the map and shows the movement from one area to another. This aspect of the interactive map is one that I found very useful, it really helped paint a picture of how the slaves moved around the land during the revolt. Another feature that I found helpful was the timeline which has different points that you can click. Each point brings you to a spot on the map and gives you some information about what happened at that spot on that day. It is easy to get caught up in the story of  hi”story” but by providing dates, locations and the actual paths that the people of the past walked it makes it more real. I think this map does a good job of getting people to realize that the past has shaped our lives today.  The only thing that I would say could be improved is just the overall lay out of the site. Once you have clicked on the video that walks you through the map it is a little bit difficult to get back to the home page. Overall I think this map is a great tool that provides a lot of information which helps bring  hi”story” alive.

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Blog Post #2: Digital Archives

Online digital archives store historical maps, pictures, books, scholarly articles that enables users to access the enhancement of rich varied collections. These are usually arranged in an organized manner to display specific themes or ideas online. In the past, it was time consuming and expensive to access historical information where the archives were and now we are lucky to have information readily available. The History archives discussed in class consisted of Acestry.ca, Medici Achieve Project and The Darwin correspondence project. These three archives showcase the advancement tool for historians and each serves different purposes with their own benefits and limitations.

Ancestry.ca has been advertised on T.V where it reaches out to people who want to find about their own family’s history out of their own interest. This website supposedly provides background history and other important information (deaths, ethnicity, marriages etc) that people can obtain. Even for an adopted child, that child can know about their relations through DNA collected and locate them from any city/country although it requires a fee which is expensive. Another limitation is that even though a lot of information are uploaded online, there may be some information that may not be uploaded. Even so, information can be leaked to companies to use part of their network. Security breaches can also occur and be dangerous.

In memory- Ancestry launches historic WWII collection

Darwin Correspondence project is managed by the University of Cambridge and provides historians with free access to the letters and complete picture of the timeline of Charles Darwin work (scientific studies/ personal life/ important information) through the internet like no other website. This helps historians to analyze the information and search specific information with minimal effort. This archive is highly organized as this archive categorizes their information so it is easily searchable by themes/keywords rather than sorting through the letters individually. The Darwin Correspondence Project also does a fair job to display the information through a blend of both media and text maintaining a professional look. Since the archive is managed by the University of Cambridge it is a limitation because they have control over the story and some historians may think the information is biased. Another limitation is that some information is missing and the authors are asking to fix the puzzle.

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The Medici Archive project is free and can be used worldwide. It is designed to explore the various forms of primary sources that includes scholarly articles, journals etc as it makes it available to anyone who may need to use these primary documents (historians) and further their research. The Medici Archive primarily consists of letters. It also is a very secure website that requires a login for entry. A limitation of this archive is that the format of the page seems clustered and there are more images than writing. This draws attention away from the relevant information with distracting clustered media.

Post 2: Exploring online archives 

The world today is full of information that includes records, archives, documents, biography which historians can study and question to refine the understanding of the past. In other words, digital archives is a beneficial advancement tool in historical research. For example, when viewing the three online history archives which includes Ancestry.ca, Medici Archive Project and The Darwin correspondence project, the approach I chose illustrates the importance of questioning, understanding and articulating the context of creation for three different audiences and forms of information.  In discussing this, online archiving is a revolutionary way of storing information in a way of being accessible worldwide that will also educate the scholars of the future. But also, the website itself is organized in such a way online users can be searched by the specific topic or author. In other words, the archive serves the purpose of organizing, maintaining information for long term access and preservation for future purposes. The varieties of digital archives also serves a different vision of the nature of the concept of an archive. This means having different forms of sources of collections like emails, digital videos, photos, letters will allow one to have information that is accessible to them and can bring upon one’s attention.

For example, Darwin Correspondence archive was founded in 1974 which included letters written by or to Darwin by from the largest single category of Darwins working papers put together by University of Cambridge. The letters consisted about his life and number of information about his timeline and correspondents. Not only that, but the letters provide information for historians as it is a very useful tool for understanding his life and providing the best experience of users. One is also able to browse using keywords, the authors names/topics that will allow to pinpoint the specific source. In other words, it gives the ability for others to search a specific keyword on the archive in accordance to Charles Darwin. This will give minimal search effort and time. In addition, this archive does appeal to a wide range of online users as it easy to access.  However, the limitation to this archive is that since it was put together by Cambridge University( a private organization), they have control over the documentations as it is a well organized digital archive and free. But on the other hand, outside users cannot find any other site just like this archive as it detailed and can only access bits of information from other webpages.

Secondly, Medici archive project archive includes scholarly articles, academic projects and the names of the contributors along with their credentials. It is well organized as it covers specific topics in accordance to the documents that are arranged. Just like this archive, the German History archive contains numerous amounts of documents and images which relate to the significance of the historical events since 1500 CE. The downfall to this archive to this is that since it has not been updated in  quite a while, users may have the difficulty in finding the content they want and the attention is brings to the site. In relation to the Medici archive, the site also contains past conferences, maps, pictures and documents that makes this archive useful as it also captions explaining the collection of the source. A downfall to the medici archive is that numerous amounts of pictures is displayed which can draw the attention of users into the images instead of the information.

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Thirdly, Ancestry.ca allows one to search family ancestry as it can also be known as a genetic database as discussed in lab. This website is good for those who are interested in their background history and ethnicity of previous marriages, deaths etc. They are able to collect and store DNA as it later can be used to search anything that matches to you . From any city to country to around the globe, it allows one to also determine the ethnic background of one and also relations you may have on this planet. Besides all this, the site has numerous amounts of limitations as one being that confidential information can be released to the public or to online hackers and can lead to misinformation. In other words, this site can be inaccurate. Secondly, this site is not free to access as you need to pay in order to access. Overall, the subscription fee is expensive and the information you are providing about your family and you is unclear to what you are getting!

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Digital Archives

The assignment that we have been assignment requests us to speak upon the three archives which were discussed in class. Digital archives can be explained as collections of digital information objects which are intentionally used for long-term access. These archives can be used as a huge advantage for the general public as they are easy to access since they can be used as long as there is a internet connection. The first archive I will analyze is the German History in Documents and Images. This archive is filled with information regarding German history from the 1500-present. This archive is very good in the means of locating and analyzing historic figures and events that have occurredgermany-sun-sky-bamberg-2x1 within numerous periods of German history. This is a great archive for students as well as professors, to dig deep into German history with the convenience of it on a computer. This website provides high level of information for historians, as they are capable of researching and achieving quick information regarding German history. The limitation of this archive is that the formatting of this website is minimal, and not all the information we want to obtain can be gained through here. More information about German history can be gained through other website, but it would’ve been more convenient if all that information was stored into one archive, that way historians and students alike can cite to one source of information rather than various.

The next archive I would like to speak upon is the Darwin Correspondence Project. This project is filled with complete information, letters and such of Charles Darwin. This enables historians to read and analyze numerous letters and timelines of Charles Darwin, as well as numerous of other correspondents. The archive is setup in such a way that allows the viewer to easily find information through different tabs from letters, commentary, people and resources. This is a huge advantage for historians as they are able to view old letters of Charles Darwin that cannot be found on other websites and is rarely available online. The limitation of this archive is that it is owned by the University of Cambridge, and copyrights and such are owned by them so that outside sources cannot obtain the information so easily. However, the limitation is quite marginal, as citation and such are not, overall this archive is quite good and enables us to view more history from all the use of a computer. charles-darwin-quotes

HIST 2P26 blog 2

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The Darwin correspondence project is a very useful tool for understanding the life’s work of Charles Darwin from middle school level to graduate studies and research. It offers a wide range of original sources (or scans thereof) about his communications up to 1872. The archive not only provides a lot of information but makes it simple to browse and access whether it be by author, keyword, topic or keyword. Each correspondence can be filtered further by adding more details such as address and document type making looking for a specific source quite simple. The drawback of this project however is that it is funded and controlled by Cambridge University, a private organisation and while I personally believe that the sources are most likely to be legitimate it does mean they have the control over the story will be explored and in which light the readers will see the source(s).

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Personally, I would consider Ancestry.ca to be closer to a genetic database than an archive. They ultimately are in a constant process of enlarging their records by collecting and storing DNA. This is then comparing your own DNA and in turn then used to search for any connections to you, the paying client. By determining your ethnicity and any relations you might have across the globe. This could be of great interest for people who are interested in their own personal history and ethnicity but because this remains a new project I feel its efficacy has yet to come into full effect… If like me, you have played any of the old Assassin’s creed games this project might make rise an eyebrow. Its not always a great idea to hand confidential information which can easily identify you for private companies to then use as part of their network may in time be a cause for concern especially in this time of security breaches and data breaches.

The Medici Archive was originally to be a mass digitization and online storage of some 6429 volumes of letters and sources from 1537 to 1743 of Tuscany and Europe but turned out to be much more than that. Today the online archive is one of the largest of its kind and has helped many researchers of various fields by providing sources and documentation to help further them into their field. It has also grown into an online institution as it provides online courses with new and “unpublished” materials. One of the few drawbacks of this archive is that it can get a bit overwhelming with the sheer number of sources unless you are looking for about specific topic. I have also found the site the be slow at times (at least during my use) and takes time to load every page.

Overall, I believe that online digital archives are a great tool for preservation and accessibility to sources and brings great benefits when sharing knowledge online overcoming distances and time zones and greatly reducing the costs of research. While there will be a slight loss of “human touch” on future research papers and that these archives will rarely be able to have all the information researchers and students need for their papers they can be of great use as a starting point and pointers to relating topics.

The amount of information at our fingertips is as close to infinite as it has ever been before

Digital Archives Analysis

The digital archives that were assigned to look at in class encompass a wide array of different topics. Each with their own set of limitations as well as benefits. Before getting into what the limitations and benefits it is important to understand what a digital archive is. An archive is a collection of pictures, primary sources and a large number of academic documents that are typically arranged and organized in a manner to display a specific idea or theme about a single topic. A digital archive is exactly that but is offered in an online platform.

Each of these documents offers something different. The archive on German history is very well organized and broken down into different time periods of German history. It contains mainly primary sources, which are broken down further into pictures, documents and maps. Each of these sources is accompanied by a caption of writing that is typically a paragraph or two.  I found that of the archives given the German history archive was the easiest to navigate and had the most easily accessible “useful” information.  If writing an essay on any point of time in German history this archive would become very useful.

All of these archives have their own limitations and benefits though. The first benefit is that all of these archives have a plethora of information organized for one topic on an online platform. For a historian this is very useful because it does not involve going to a bunch of webpages to find bits and pieces of information that can otherwise have been found on the well organized digital archive. The second benefit of these digital archives is that they are available at the touch of a couple of buttons.keyboard To get access to other archives involves travelling to the places that the history is about or the places that the historian did their research. This is truly valuable as I can gather enough information for a project on The Medici family from my own home rather than travelling to Florence because as much as I would like to I cannot. I mean we could do a class trip look at how beautiful it is.florence.jpg The third benefit is that excluding Ancestry.com all of these archives are absolutely free. Any human can appreciate a good deal and having an abundance of information at your fingertips for something that is essentially free is beneficial. money swag cash make it rain buy GIF Again, it beats the cost of travel and time that it would take to get to places. The fourth benefit is that these pages can be quick searched. Having the ability to type in a key phrase or word to gather information in a more efficient manner is helpful to every single historian cutting down time to do research.

There does happen to be limitations. First, just like other archives some of the digital archives have a mass of information that is difficult to navigate. The massiveness of the digital archives like The Medici archive is a deterrent to using this platform. The second limitation is for sites like the German History archive that uses pictures, you cannot feel or touch the picture. You can’t see what it was painted on or printed on which does not allow for the historian to fully grasp the history. The final limitation is that ancestry.ca is not free. Access to that archive costs hard=earned money and this is a dangerous thing for all historians. Historians should be pushing for things to become accessible and more available to the public not charging for them. If it continues on that archives push to create a monetary gain from their services this will become an issue and will be a huge limitation to students and the average citizen who will not put monetary resources to historic research and will most likely pick other alternatives to consume their time.

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Blog Post #2

Historical archives are useful tools when doing research, specifically research that could benefit using multiple sources. The sources provided in the syllabus are examples of informational archives. They provide a large amount of information that is accessible and searchable in one area. Archives are beneficial to historians because they can access any type of document, letter, biography, essay, that was uploaded to the archive just by searching for specific terms. For example, the Darwin Correspondence Project Archive gives the ability to search all items on the archive that has something to do with Charles Darwin, or that he produced. This helps when doing large amounts of research because it can gather you lots of information with minimal searching effort. Limitations met by archives is that it can only search items that were accepted into the archive which could pose bi330px-Charles_Robert_Darwin_by_John_Collieras on the organizer or suppliers part.

Delving into Digital Archives

Digital archives are an amazing advancement in historical research and education since its advent. Once upon a time, historians were required to rummage around in physical archives where they would spend a great amount of time, money, and energy to find desired documents. However, with today’s digital archives like the Darwin Correspondence Project, I can search in an instant through thousands of historical documents to find letters pertaining to initial scientific research on early humans by Darwin and his contacts. Not only would this have been impossible to find through physical archives in a comparable time frame, but access to such documents would be mostly limited to research professionals. The outlined digital archives among others provide access to primary source materials to anyone connected to the internet promotes the spread of historical knowledge and understanding as well as spreads detailed evidence of historical events and timelines.

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The German History in Documents and Images (GHDI) archive, contains countless documents and images which contribute to significant instances within important German historical events since 1500 CE. Within my short time sifting through the archive I found several interesting artifacts such as Hitler’s “Scorched Earth” Degree, where Hitler ordered the annihilation of German infrastructure. Historians could find a great deal of research from the documents found within this archive. However, this digital archive is far from perfect. The web interface is atrocious, as the website only takes up have of the webpage and the design seemingly has not been updated since 2009. When any website has a poor user interface, especially digital archives, the user will have difficulty finding their desired content. So, although the GHDI has some useful documents, the outdated interface and lack of a search function makes its longevity questionable.

 

As the digital archive describes itself, “The Dartmouth Dante Project (DDP) is a searchable full-text database containing more than seventy commentaries on Dante’s Divine Comedy – the Commedia”. The archive contains these 75 commentaries span across almost 700 years. The archive is definitely very useful for any historian studying the Commedia and looks to collect research from these commentaries. Unlike GHDI’s digital archive, the DDP archive has a search function. This greatly helps narrow desired content much easier for a user. Despite this the DDP is still outdated, however this is not a huge burden on the users of the archive as the search has additional tools to find the exact line, translation, version of any commentary. The DDP also features the Dante Lab Reader, a web application, which improves the reading experience when compared to the format of the homepages of the DDP.

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The Darwin Correspondence Project has the most up-to-date web design by far. This is unsurprising considering the archive is served through the University of Cambridge. The DCP digital archive does a fantastic job at appealing to a wide range of users. The main search tools make it easy for students and historians to quickly access and narrow searches relating to Charles Darwin’s letters. The DCP archive also provides education for 2 groups aged 7-11 and 11-14. Furthermore, the archive features a timeline of Darwin’s life, which might not be of great help to historians, but it does help students consume historical knowledge easier.  Of the three digital archives, the DCP is easily the best at providing the best experience for any of its users.

 

Since their advent, digital archives have and continue to improve public historic knowledge. However, the experience a digital archive should create for their users, whether historians or children, should be considered.