Author Archives: vagnetti

Codecademy and beyond

I agree with my cohort, Richelle: Codecademy was finicky and frustrating. However, I am grateful to have had some preparation before the Field-school to play around with HTML and JS. HTML is fairly straightforward, like learning a new language. .. the phrases one needs to find the bank, restroom, water, and ice cream. The fundamentals, but JS is like learning a new grammar and that takes time to apply the rules correctly.

Codecademy is always there and available to reference at ones fingertips. It set an expectation for the CHI experience. During the first week I was intimidated by the technology in spite of the realization the only way to learn is to dive into the alphabet soup of HTML and JS.  During the first week of CHI, one was required to have faith in the process and trust where our instructor was leading us. While we had opportunities to play with HTML and JS, as well as WordPress, GitHub, Bootstrap, and Text Wrangler, just to name a few, we were informed of their functions and purposes. Concurrently, we made things which allowed us to embody what we were learning from knowledge shared from our instructor and codecademy.

Each day was different: frustrating, satisfying, exciting, fatiguing, and we as learners were invited to share our experiences in real-time which for me, empowered me to keep trying….as I hopefully emerge out of the analog mire.

Hello from Cynthia

My evolution from the analog age was by default. I am a storyteller and since 1991 I have dedicated a large part of my research and artistic life managing outreach and media collaboration with community-based organizations in documenting the U.S. small farm experience. On the whole, most these projects have generated media deliverables to include oral history interviews, documentary video, and black and white photographs. This repository has been developed in the traveling exhibition, Voices of American Farm Women, the MSU Museum’s Voices Project, and three documentary videos that were aired on public television.

I was inspired by the local food, farm, and land movement across the U.S. and in 2006 enrolled in MSU’s Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures department with a Specialization in Gender, Justice and Environmental Change. My intellectual experience at MSU has helped me focus my skill set and scholarship direction…and now with the CHI fieldschool experience, I plan to share my digital repository with the general public, scholars, and fellow digital storytellers.

In Sardegna, I was fascinated Nuragic civilization-lasting from the (18th century BC) to the 2nd century AD. The Nuragic peoples built conical shaped tower fortresses that can be seen across the landscape. I have learned that around these sites is some of the most fertile soil and indeed there are still natural springs or evidence of natural springs as well as Roman churches near the Nuragic ruins. Another fascinating aspect of Sardegna is the medieval use of land-people were given the freedom to use the land in common. There are rules and governance now shaping local organizations in an effort to maintain these ancient rights. Sardegnians still speak an ancient dialect: in fact there are nearly 270 different dialects, some endangered. Therefore, the old land maps have place names (typonames) that represent how the land was used and by whom. I am in love with Sardegna, for all of these reasons and moreover, the contemporary peoples still have a deep connection to the land and a pastoral way of life. Oh, and I did my dissertation research on a heritage breed of cow, called the Sardo-Modicana.

I am certain that Cultural Heritage Informatics can help communities recognize their cultural capital and in the case of Sardegna, help bridge the gap between disciplines (humanistic/social science/natural sciences). I am part of a feasibility study with faculty in Sardegna to create a Center for Digital Research in the Humanities based upon the assumption that active citizen participation can steer change towards sustainable development. I believe Digital Humanities can be harnessed for strengthening a territories’ cultural capital through interaction, creativity, critical thinking, and innovation. Indeed, by exposing young people to the potential that lies in their digital skill-set embedded in their everyday practices from text-messaging with their cell phone, to social media such as facebook and twitter on their personal computer, to interactive animations or movies on a portable media player, they can teach others, like us born-analog folks.

I am learning to embrace technology, thanks to our fearless leader and all of “you young-folk!” And I love: Interactive Visualization: