What is Necessary Information?

In one of the workshops this past week, the cohort was asked to do an exercise. To be more conscious of how we handled ourselves while presenting, we were given a slideshow with only a title and asked to explain the following pictures in three minutes.

Explaining was no problem. The point of the exercise was to practice presentation skills, not sharing information. My problem was that I took too long. I felt the need to give background information that was unnecessary. I knew this was a problem I had, yet I still felt the need to include this information to orient my audience.

That is what I am working on in my presentations- finding a balance between time and information. Since my project divulges information through audio, I need to make sure the necessary information is there. However, I also need to be brief so that I don’t meander and lose my audience. Finding the balance in there will strengthen my project as a whole.


Emma Lewis

Are you a nerd?

Do you consider yourself a nerd? What classifies someone as a nerd? Is there a nerd spectrum? These are all questions that I have had over the last few days. This was not something I had thought about until someone told me that they didn’t think I was a nerd. This surprised me because I have always classified myself as a nerd.

I looked up some definitions of nerd and they are kind of mean. You can look them up on your own.

There are also some quizzes you can take.

What Percent Nerdy Are You?

How Nerdy Are You?

What do you think? Is there one way to classify nerd? From the people that I have talked to being a nerd has no concrete definition and it is not exclusive.

Elevator Speeches

I love the term “elevator speech.” The idea of being in an elevator with a stranger and having to talk to them sounds like so much fun! I love talking to strangers (and friends). I guess that is my extroverted self! The following are scenarios that are actually possible .

It’s the start of the fall semester and you’re early for a class. Your professor is already in the classroom. They make small talk and ask how your summer went.

My summer was really great. I spent it here, at Gettysburg, in the Library. I was a Digital Scholarship Summer Fellow. The fellowship consisted of 6 students and a cohort of several people in the library who helped us and taught us how to use different tools. The goal of my project was to research sheet music during the Civil War and presents it digitally. I research the song Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!. I looked at the cover, researched the composer, and did other background research. I really enjoyed learning more about the Civil War and the implications of music. Then I created a website that showcased my research. For example the sheet music cover has five vignettes on it. Each image has a caption and the caption is a song that composer of my piece, George Frederick Root, wrote. With the digital tool that I used, you can click on each one of the images to learn more about the cover. It is really interactive. If you would like to look at my website here is the link.

A librarian from another school is visiting Musselman Library and you happen to be studying on the Main floor; a member of the digital scholarship committee introduces you both and you find out quickly that the librarian is really excited about digital scholarship work.

Last summer I really learned a lot about digital scholarship and digital humanities. I am really excited to see how the field will progress over the next few years. My project looked at the song Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!. I researched the cover, researched the composer, and did other background research. I really enjoyed learning more about the Civil War and the implications of music. I used WordPress as the platform of my website. I then used Storymaps JS to annotate the sheet music cover. I also used TimelineJS to create a timeline that would help to provide context to the song. I believe that because I presented my work digitally, it can be more easily understood by others. If you would like to see my project, here is the link. It was so nice meeting you! I would love to continue this conversation and hear about your work with digital scholarship.

Discussing DH with a Wider Audience

Explaining what I’ve been doing this summer has been hard. People want to know what DH is and what exactly the acronym DSSF stands for. I find it difficult to explain a nebulous term like DH succinctly, so much so that nebulous seems to be the only word I have for it, and I sometimes mess up the acronym.

However, explaining this program is a necessary skill. That is why, this past week, the DSSF cohort focused on “elevator speeches” to explain our projects in a short, easily understandable way. I chose from a list of situations, and the outcomes are written below.

  • You’re in line in Servo with one of your friends and they heard you did “some thing with computers” over the summer.

Yeah, the thing with computers was a Digital Scholarship Fellowship. Basically, I created a humanities project completely online. So, I had to learn how to use different platforms, websites, and a some coding along with researching to create this project. We are run through the library, so a lot of our links can be found on the library website. You can actually see all of the projects, including mine, online.

We used Gettysburg Sites to create them. Every student can make an account with this, so that’s pretty cool. We had a lot of discussions throughout the fellowship about how students as a whole could use Digital Scholarship, maybe introducing new forms of projects and  allowing students to see how their scholarship can work in real world situations. I can show you all of the sites made through this program. I’m always looking for feedback. Have a nice lunch! We can talk more later.

  • You’re at a job fair and the recruiter is looking over your resume; they ask you, “What’s this Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship?

The Digital Summer Scholarship Fellowship, DSSF, is a library program that gives students a summer to work and create a Digital Scholarship project. Essentially, students learn skills to create public facing websites that are their project. It isn’t a research paper put online, but a truly digital project form.

I made a public history project that was a ‘choose your own adventure’ style audio tour of the streets of Gettysburg. As of now, I have one of the main roads, Baltimore Street, done. Because this is a digital project, I can easily add more to it. The project can grow with my research. If you’d like to see my website, I put the link on my resume. Feel free to listen to it and leave feedback, I am always looking for other perspectives to help this grow.

To make the projects, everyone in the cohort had to learn basic coding and website platforms. We worked together closely, as there are three fellows chosen every year. The program helped to increase my digital literacy,  and I can now use a variety of tools to make websites and digital visuals. The program has a website you can look at to learn more about this program. I can also answer any questions you may have.



Emma Lewis

That One Where I Show How Awkward I Get

These are elevator speeches I wrote, and included the scenarios in front of it. Just picture the tone being awkward and trying my best.

It’s the start of the fall semester and you’re early for a class. Your professor is already in the classroom. They make small talk and ask how your summer went.

Good morning! My summer went well, I stayed on campus. I was doing research with the library and working more with digital scholarship and web design. I worked with some lithographs in Special Collections that are absolutely gorgeous, and I made a digital exhibit analyzing origins and inspiration behind the art pieces. I used some of the digital tools we learned about to annotate them and mapped out the points of where they came from. I’d be happy to come in to your office hours and give you a tour of it if you’re interested, or just email you the link at a later time?

You’re at a job fair and the recruiter is looking over your resume; they ask you, “What’s this Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship?”

Thank you so much for asking! It was a summer research fellowship that I did with the library at Gettysburg College where I learned a lot about digital tools, web design, and definitely improved my research skills. The tools I used I’ve seen in multiple publications online, including USA Today, but the platform I used was WordPress. I used them to build a digital art exhibit with some lithographs of 1890s posters we had in Gettysburg’s Special Collections that annotated the pieces and mapped out the location of each event the posters advertised. It definitely improved my computer and technology skills, and if you give me your contact information I’d be happy to send you the link along with a digital copy of my resume.


Archives of the Present… In The Future

This will make sense when I start talking about the nukes.

I’m still fresh off of the talks from Dr. Titus and Dr. Isherwood about the Jack Peirs and Vietnam War protests that we talked about today, and Dr. Isherwood made a point about the Peirs letters that kind of got my brain gears turning. He talked about how the physical letter itself can kind of tell the reader where Peirs is- if he’s on the line he’s writing in pencil from a notebook, and behind the line he’s writing in pen and on stationary. It’s interesting that we’re using that less now- it’s still present and there are sticklers for the written word vs. digital items, but at the end of the day the paper documents are being transitioned out by a generation who’s having trouble seeing their value.

I was also watching House of Cards this weekend and at one point, the nuclear codes are pulled out and there’s a paper binder of instructions enclosed in the briefcase. The person I was watching with remarked that he was surprised it was still paper and not digitized or on a laptop. I wasn’t- these are the nuclear codes, and putting this on paper reduces the risk of hacking or theft. If you also think about it, this system may have updated but it’s technically been around since the late 1940s, early 1950s. That also kind of got me thinking about more value of paper.

We’re moving into the digital age where we’re not sending many physical letters anymore unless it’s bills or random magazines that don’t have much as far as archival value. The things we send are usually emails or direct chat messages and if 2016 should have taught you anything, those can be deleted. Maybe not permanently to the extent we would hope, but still making them tougher to find. The problem is that if the worst happens and the internet blows up, or someone screws up and deletes a whole website, we may never get that stuff back. Then what? We have an entire era of personal accounts, photos, and correspondence of life just deleted, erased. Obviously paper can be burned or thrown away… but the archival and sentimental value of paper correspondence can lead to more preservation of it.

I acknowledge my own role in this risk too- most of my pictures are digital, and I have a blog that I’m not shamelessly plugging at all that documents my own thoughts on current events and personal experiences. Arguably the hipsters are helping with this problem with the return of Polaroids/instant film and printing photos on Shutterstock, but they’re expensive and decreases availability. And honestly, I’m awful at keeping a regular journal on pen and paper. The transition is making the documentation more elite, and that’s sad too.

Bringing it sort of back to the Peirs project, are people really documenting what goes on outside of social media, computers, and the internet anymore? Are people documenting personal accounts and wars and historical events this way, or again, is someone going to be able to wipe them off the internet or hack into it to delete it? Are we at risk of losing the personal and human aspect of history in the digital era?

If the worst doesn’t happen, what are archives going to look like in the future, and will they be at risk to hacking, ransomware, etc.? Is this what the future is of spy movie style museum theft?

Just wanted to get some thoughts out. Maybe we should look into somehow preserving blogs like this on paper for future viewership… just in case.