Sound Engineering

In “Sound Engineering: Toward a Theory of Multimodal Soundness,” author Jody Shipka argues for the “purposeful choosing, experimentation, and communicative flexibility” of all mediums. This week’s reflection asks us to consider: “In what ways does your project leverage the affordances of the digital tools you selected—in what ways is your project soundly engineered?”

Purely on the basis of being a Digital Scholarship project, all the summer fellows have chosen atypical mediums for displaying their information in contrast to the normal scholarly paper. In terms of my own project, I have deliberately chosen mediums that move viewers through my information chronologically. This decision resulted in my choice of the platform Scalar. With Scalar, it is (relatively) easy to define a path for viewers to follow with a singular click. It is also easy to link different pages of information with similar backgrounds, either with a tag or physical link which I have done throughout the project. This decision was important in order to demonstrate how I argue that the college’s engagement with the community has evolved over time.

In addition to this, my project is primarily defined by words and images. I made the decision to include many images in order to more strongly connect viewers to projects of the past along with more superficial aesthetics. For example, I have chosen to use the carousel widget in order to display the many images I have gathered in a compact space, in chronological order. This moves viewers through time, from the beginning to the end of a particular service partnership. Videos created by the Center for Public Service over time have also been linked. The purpose of this is to include more engaging mediums as available.

TimelineJS is an additional example of a digital tool selected in order to “soundly engineer” my project. Firstly, it provides an overview of all of the service projects that will be discussed in depth throughout my site. Additionally, it provides links to explore that in-depth information as a viewer prefers. It also provides the option of continuing to move chronologically through all the projects, carrying on my time-oriented theme throughout the project.

Overall, my project is “soundly engineered” to be more engaging and reach a wider audience than a traditional academic paper. Strong visuals and ease of use were carefully considered to achieve this overarching goal. As a result, I focused on one primary digital tool (timelineJS) with a more time-consuming platform (Scalar). It is important to note as Shipka does that my project is soundly engineered “for now.” Inevitably factors will change over time. Nevertheless, I believe that careful planning from the early stages of DSSF has helped me achieve soundness “for now.”

Reflection 6- Erik Carneal

My project, with much of the digital humanities as a whole, uses digital tools to present my argument in a nice flow. This is focusing on the practical side of my website that makes sure each page and function serves an important role on the website. My project specifically used the digital tools TimelineJs and Voyant Tools. I choose both of these tools because they offered me a way to complete my argument and make my site as a whole seem more sound. Firstly, Timeline Js provided a visual way to show the progression of the articles and how close to Election Day they were published. This helps the reader better understand the nature of these articles and puts a timeline into the readers head that shows how close to election day they got. My other digital tool, Voyant Tools, is a program that allowed me to run a number of text analysis tests that provided me with useful and interactive visuals. These visuals present useful date, but also do so in a way that keeps the viewer interested because of the interactivity and general pleasing aesthetic. Overall, Voyant Tools contributed to the soundness of my site by having that useful interactive element which better presents the argument on a digital platform. In the article Sound Engineering: Toward a theory of multi model soundness by Jody Shkipa, she says in regard to what makes a project sound, “The specific conditions in, under, or with which the final product will be experienced by its audience—this involves determining or otherwise structuring the delivery, reception and/or circulation of their work”. It’s important to have this mindset when in completing the project. The way the audience is able to receive the information and easily navigate the site are very important when it comes to determining the soundness. I believe both my TimelineJs and Voyant Tools visuals betters the viewer’s ability to flow through not only my website by to flow through my argument.

I had originally had the ideas of also implementing a visual interactive map, but once I had the demo embedded it became clear the it disrupted the flow of my project. This trial and error is important to keeping the site’s soundness. If I had kept the map, it would have been visually pleasing but it would have confused the viewer and steered them away from the actual argument. An important tactic that I have noticed seems to work is to read through and navigate through your site as if you’d never seen it before. Coming in with a blank slate allows you to see where the site’s argument becomes weak and what elements of the site disrupt the soundness. It is also very useful to do this with a friend or a colleague that has never carefully navigated the site before. Soundness is an important factor for all websites, not just those in the Digital Humanities, and will always be an important part of the website making process.


Sound Engineering

Visual novels themselves combine a number of different digital tools to tell a story. They share a narrative through the use of not only text, but also audio, visuals, and gameplay. Creating a website has given a visual and interactive aspect to my research that embodies what a visual novel is, using different digital tools and forms of media to tell a story that could have been told in the form of plain text for a very different experience.

With a website I can present an abundance of screenshots and other images that allow for a more effective presentation than an essay would have been. In addition to images, instead of just describing different types of gameplay I’m able to link and embed videos that show exactly what I’m talking about. My project also includes a timeline going through the past of visual novels, and I believe that an interactive timeline of images and videos is much more interesting than just writing a list of dates and events.

In terms of structural soundness, I’ve organized my topics into a who/what/when/where/why/how format that I’m currently working to make a bit more sensible. I really like my format but it’s not particularly straightforward when it comes to what each word is representing within my project without actually exploring the entire menu. I’m hoping to find a way to fix this without completely compromising the design of how I’ve organized everything thus far.

While my project does not contain an abundant amount of literal sound and is currently structurally questionable, I still think the digital tools and media that I have combined present information in a more suitable fashion than an essay would have. Since the realm of visual novels is continuously developing, the content of my project is subject to change over time and luckily a website can easily reflect that. As the topic I’m discussing emphasizes the visual and interactive experience so much, it only makes sense that my project would do the same.

Soundly Engineered

A good example of how Constructing the Past is soundly engineered can be seen by looking at the menu bar. I wanted it to be pretty minimal when I first made it with only three items on it. But after some feedback and discussion I realized it would work better to add a little bit more to it. The first three items on the menu bar were, About/Welcome (I have yet to settle on a final name for it), Buildings, and Photo Gallery. The About menu contains the information about the project and the History of the College. But History of the College could also work as it’s own menu bar since it is not necessarily a sub-category of any of the information. Another menu bar that I am thinking of adding is one about the conclusions of the project and the connections between the other buildings. I have yet to come up with an encompassing name for it yet but would add this to my menu bar to stand alone with no subcategories. This would bring it up to five items to select from in the menu bar.

The most important item in the menu bar is the Buildings item. It lists the three buildings I am looking at and the subcategories that they have, Timelines, History, and Looking At (Which is not the final name). I decided to put them all under one tab because that means that potentially more buildings could be added to the analysis of the campus community. If they were all up in the menu then it makes it seem like those are the only buildings to look at when using buildings to analyze the campus. Those are just the ones I chose. By having them under a building tab it shows the potential to add more since many other buildings on campus would work and could potentially be added. This is soundly designed it was an active choice to represent how the information is organized.

This project is also soundly engineered because before starting this project I looked into what resources or documents existed.  I had already talked with the McPhersons, went to the Adams County Historical Society to look at information on the Breidenbaugh family, and talking to people at facilities to determine what information they had on the buildings and to see the Brua Architectural plans that they had. This project was guided by the information that I had already gathered. I could have found other buildings to focus on, and in my research I found many other buildings that would reflect the changes that were made and their reflection on the campus community. But I chose the three that I did because I was interested in them and had the information. I thought through all the planning of this project before starting it and checked that the information that I would need to complete it would be possible to get. This helps insure it is soundly engineered because potential directions of the project have been explored. I am also ensuring that it is soundly designed by giving my process for deciding things here, like the students did in Sound Engineering: Toward a Theory of Multimodal Soundness in Jody Shipka’s article.

Unite Past

Hi Everyone,


Today I will try to answer our main question:

In what ways does your project leverage the affordances of the digital tools you selected—in what ways is your project soundly engineered?

As you know the digital tool that I have selected is the 3D multi platform engine, called Unity, where I am able to build content for the Augmented Reality project and export it to the mobile phones. In addition to Unity, I am also using a software that enhances Augmented Reality usage, which I will be talking later, called Wikitude SDK for Unity.

In my project, I want to use Augmented Reality to make a mobile application to show the history of Gettysburg College Campus, and show how the campus has changed over time, especially during 1890s to 1920s. Because I want to engage my audience with the history, I want to use a lot of interactivity with the user and Unity is allowing me to do it.

First of all, in Unity I can make interactive buttons for the user and make user decide what they want to see and Unity has a very big collection of User Interface (UI) Design options, which I can use. For example, I am able to not only put text to talk about the historical facts of the campus to the application, but I can also put many images to show how the campus was looking in the past and the user can compare it with the campus in the present, with which the user can interact.

Secondly, Unity allows me to connect the user with past (history of the college), present (the current college campus), and future (the modern technology that is still evolving.) In Unity, I can present the history but also I can engage people through using mobile phones that they are using in their daily life, so it will be an approach toward present people to interest them with history with a modern digital tool. Also, because I want my project to reach as many people on campus as possible, Unity allows me to enlarge my audience by having a multi platform development, which means that I can create my project in Unity and then build my application and export it to both Android and iOS phones, which is what a majority of people on our campus are using. So now I do not have to create two separate projects for Android and iOS, but I can only make one and then can easily build applications for both platforms without any changes.

My project also demands the application to be able to recognize buildings of the campus in the real world with the camera of the phone, so I am using the Wikitude software that has a function of 3D object recognition and scene recognition that helps me to recognize the objects in the real life. Because of the scene recognition, the new function of Wikitude, I am able to recognize the buildings on our campus and then combining with Unity, I am able to let the user interact with the history through using the modern technology.

Have a good weekend,



Project Rough Draft

Here is a link to my rough draft. I still need to add more content. I reached a setback in research yesterday that caused me to have trouble working on Indonesia and the Philippines more. I plan to work on content for a bit longer.