Happy Holidays!

The fall semester ended a little over a week ago. I am in a state of being not sure what to do with myself. We went to Mexico on vacation for 4 days, which was glorious, and now I find myself being lazy as can be. Until school begins the second week of January, I will catch up at work, finish watching my new television shows (Empire, iZombie, and Blindspot), and do my laundry. Oh, the life.

I often think about what hobbies I will pick up after graduation in May. Maybe reading for pleasure, painting, or bike riding.

Miss you classmates. Hope your holidays are beautiful! Take time for yourself over this break to rejuvenate. You deserve it.

Adventures in Learning

“This course is designed to introduce you to the digital tools and techniques you will need to navigate an increasingly complex world of information.”

I believe the course did exactly what the syllabus said it would do. Professor Takacs took all six of us on a learning adventure this semester. Sometimes there were frustrations (as there always is with technology), but like Ali said in her blog, the sense of achievement and pride after each hurdle was rewarding.

As someone that was already interested in these elements of digital humanities (new term I learned), it was a great experience to learn about new ways of telling stories. As a fan of American history, specifically Tulsa, having a semester long project on something Tulsa or Oklahoma was exciting!

I really appreciated the guest speakers and hands on workshops throughout the semester. There are a lot of courses out there that may attempt to teach you something new and exciting, but do not allow you the time and hands on experience to hone these new skills.

I still have a ways to go, but the skills I developed in this class will help get me there. This course definitely achieved its goal, it helped me find my voice and how to research the information I would need to complete my story and maybe many more to come.

Thanks classmates and Prof Takacs!

Blog 9: Project Update

My research is going well. I believe our trip to the library, mixed with my oral history project will provide the best insight and knowledge about the Tulsa Union Depot. I want to learn from Tulsans, the ones who utilized a major train depot that opened during the Great Depression.
tulsaunion depotWhat did having a passenger train mean to them? Was the train an outlet or an inlet into the city (I am sure it was both somehow). Oklahomans left for war on the train, and some returned. I hope to start to piece together my story over the next two weeks, to tell a story of a big part of Tulsa’s history and what it meant to the city. The newspaper and magazine articles were of great assistance to tell the story of the Depot from opening to close and different struggles the building has faced during it’s eighty four years as a structure in downtown Tulsa. Looking forward to showing and telling our classmates more.

Compare & Contrast: Video Essays

This Land’s Public Secrets: Tate Brady vs. Brad Hennegir’s History of Oklahoma

The first video I watched was History of Oklahoma, followed by a starring role from LeeRoy Chapman in Public Secrets. While both videos told a story, LeeRoy was able to offer narration and details. In the other video, it included tidbits of Oklahoma history, but unfortunately, left wide gaps and gave no information as to why the viewer was looking at the photo they were looking at. There was a lot wrong with the first video essay. The photos were not the best quality and the story told was somewhat of a depressing one, focusing on tragic events in the state’s history. There are positive moments, too! Even though LeeRoy did not realize he was maybe showing Tulsa in a positive light at the time, by telling the negative story of Tate Brady and his role in downtown Tulsa and showing how the neighborhood has somewhat overcome the history and lived on was brilliant. I really enjoyed how he did a live historypin of sorts by placing an old photo on a post near by the site he was talking about. The camera work (probably of just one other person) made the viewer feel like you were hanging with him, experiencing first hand what he was looking at. Like we learned in our reading this week, everyone has a camera and recording can be easy. The talent lies in the way you piece it together. This Land has done a really good job to achieve videos that share history lessons.

Video Essay: Black Towns

I went on a mission to find a video essay I enjoyed other than the two we needed to watch for class. After searching through videos for an hour, I stumbled on this gem. I love the way it was filmed and that it told a story through scenery, interviews, and real life experiences.

MyHistro & PiktoChart

Last week was exciting to learn new skills to apply towards our project. I tested out a couple of the programs. First, I attempted MyHistro.com. This site was easy to navigate, but I had issues when uploading photos. At this time, none of my photos are showing up. I believe they may show up later according to an alert I received. I completed a timeline of the Tulsa Union Depot itself and the many changes it went through over the years. MyHistro: The Life of the Tulsa Union Depot

Added bonus: Save your MyHistro as a PDF and it is similar to a power point presentation, with a generated title slide. 

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Next, I completed the infographic I had been playing around with in class last week. Piktochart was brilliant! I cannot wait to use it again for other projects in school or personal use. I did some research on the current aspect of passenger trains in the United States, even though I am researching a historic element of it in Tulsa. Piktochart does not allow high quality output unless you upgrade, so here is a small version. Click here for a better version. 

Bring Passenger Trains Back!

Choo Choo: Visualize History

I was able to consume a great deal of knowledge on the history of passenger trains in the United States through visualizations. David Staley writes about “How New Technology Will Transform Our Understanding of the Past” and explains different routes historians can take with visualizations.

Infographics may make information look pretty, but are not always the best source for knowledge. Like Miriam stated in her blog, it is extremely easy to lie and companies use infographics all the time to make themselves look better or someone else look worse.

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While this infographic is set to promote Amtrak, it provides the history of passenger trains in a nutshell, even if it is recent. “Trains stop to pick up new passengers at towns along a tour connecting smaller towns to bigger economic centers”. Tulsa Union Depot was built during the Great Depression, and was not the only station going up in a time of crisis, connecting and opening more doors for Tulsans and those in surrounding areas.

Maps and trains go together like peas in a pod, but train maps can be boring when trying to research the passengers riding in those trains. Staley writes maps are “visual abstractions of primary sources, whether the topography of the Earth or the spacial relations between historic events”. I was able to find a timeline blended map, which shows the decline of passenger rails in the United States. You will see more information about the history of passenger rails in my project, but I thought this was an interesting visualization to share (I am searching for a better quality).

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