Week 10: Digitizing and Sourcing Images and Text

Real versus non-real on the web

There is not doubt that there is no replacement for actually traveling to and visiting an historical place.  I find it to be much less of an issue when it comes to the written word.  Text is text, though as the reading this week pointed out inaccuracies in text due occur.  I ran into this problem myself when putting together a continuity binder.  Unfortunately, not all of the documents contained within the hard copy of the continuity binder could be found saved on the shared drive or SharePoint site.  Faced with that I had two choices, retype the documents or scan them into the computer.  I scanned the documents, which come up in .pdf format.  The next step was converting that .pdf into a word document that could be edited (I do not remember the name of the program for the live of me right now).  There was no problem with the scanned documents in the .pdf format, however, converted those documents to Word would put spaces where spaces did not belong or some pieces of the text would be missing.  That goes to show that dealing with text can even be frustrating when it is put into digital format.  I will also point out that when doing the assignment last week, I had trouble because it was difficult to continuously go back to the paper fragments to determine which pieces I wanted to write about.  I actually ended up printing out the fragments and piecing them together.  I could then circle or underline in pen those part of the paper I wanted to return to and write about.  That proved to be much more efficient than clicking back and forth on the computer, trying to remember which fragment it was in, and find the excerpt I wanted to write about within that fragment. 

There is no competition to viewing well-known paintings in reality (unless you count the crowds you have to deal with at place like the Louvre).  Most photographers will tell you they prefer to blow their images up when they print them.  Photographic images that hang on walls are large and unrestricted, unlike the images online, which can only be viewed ideally in a certain.  Though to some extent I like digital images versus when they are printed (at least when it comes to photo’s).   I love how video captures events in real-time.  Though video can be manipulated in the digital realm, which has led to many conspiracy theories.  Sound can be manipulated in the same way.  From that perspective there does exist a loss of integrity, but with improvements in technology much of that loss is also being overcome.   

In another sense, I find putting something in digital format to be no different than an archeologist trying to piece together information based on their findings having little to no knowledge of societies that once existed other than their interpretations of the hieroglyphics.  Digitizing material preserves it.  For Persepolis, that was mentioned last week, without a digital version, the information would be lost.  There are a lot of materials that will not last forever in hard copy, but in the digital world they can be preserved for a lifetime.  There may well be psychological studies that prove people’s realities are distorted somewhere down the line, much like chat rooms were said to stunt people’s social skills without real person-to-person interaction.  For me it is just a different path to discovery.


Explain the real world difficulties of digitizing physical items (especially large or three-dimensional items) and putting them on the web

There are several difficulties with viewing maps on the web. One is the size of the print.  Often times the print is so small on the digital version that it is illegible without zooming in.  Once you zoom in on a map you lose perspective as to where you are relative to the rest of the map.  You only see a small section with the rest hidden to you.  Now mind you the eye focuses in on a section but can maintain realization of location looking at an paper version of map due to peripheral vision.  Maps are large, and as this weeks reading pointed out, large formats make it much more difficult to view certain visuals on a standard size computer screen.  I do not know how one would overcome this difficulty where maps are concerned.  For photo’s solutions include compressing files and converting to either JPEG or GIF formats.  Though nothing will ever compare with viewing works of art in their original raw format.  On the subject of displaying something in 3D, that is an area I am interested in and not a lot of materials in 3D exist out on the World Wide Web presently.  Most 3D items come across of flat, two-dimensional items when displayed on the web.  3D is the newest thing in television and is supposed to render a spectacular image and increase the movie-goers experience.  I do not happen to agree with that sentiment.  I really do not like 3D movies, which is a little ironic considering my interest in 3D.  It could be due in part to being forced to wear glasses in the dark in order to obtain that effect, but for me 3D is not as realistic.  There is something about 3D modeling that seems fake to me.  If there was a way to put a more realistic spin on the images I would love that. 


What other uses that could be done with this map using Google Earth or GIS?

Google Earth/GIS provide aerial views that could only be guessed in 1897.  A person can actually see tops of buildings.  An incredible amount of zooming in is still required. There is no escaping that.  Google Earth allows for street views, albeit not the greatest quality.  I can pull out a specific building on a map, enlarge it, put that building in the upper corner and show where it is in all the confusion of the map.  My experience with Google Earth/GIS has been restricted to the emergency management realm of plotting where an emergency (national disaster or otherwise) has or is taking place and determine the proximity of my companies facility to that disaster to inform leadership of latest information.  I wish I more experience with Google Earth/GIS. 


Write a short explanation of what you can discover about St. Petersburg in 1897 from looking at and analyzing this old map.

There are 12 quarters (Quartiers de Police).  I do not know French, but the police suggests to me that the quadrants are divided up in perhaps police districts.  St. Petersburg is a port.  There are several different channels that flow into the main river – Grandenevka.  I would infer that the city has problems with flooding.  It looks like the numbers represent different landmarks.  Number 381 in the Canal Dekronverksky appears to be a grand building of significance.  The green colored, areas with drawing of bushes or the tops of trees, represent the city parks to me.  The most populated section of city falls in the yellow colored sections of the map.  The amount of roads and landmark numbers increase in that section, and more districts are contained in the area.  It looks like gerrymandering took place.  I can see the locations of several cemeteries (Cimètière de St Mitrophane.  I am not sure what all the black lines in that area represents, but I believe that is on the church grounds.  Another cemetery is plotted (Cimètière de Wolkow) to the right of the first, and I wish I could give a better approximation of the distance, but it is difficult to judge looking at the digital version versus the full paper version laid out in front of me.  There is another cemetery in that area that is not named on the map.  The cemeteries are all in more sparsely populated areas of the city.

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2 Responses to Week 10: Digitizing and Sourcing Images and Text

  1. CTEvans says:

    The “real” v “not real” is just one of my pet thoughts that I have been turning around for a couple of years now. You are right that text is text (pretty much so), but images and objects do present a problem for viewing on the web–not to mention the fact that web safe colors do nor actually coincide with real-life colors. That is an issue.
    With my St. Pete map, I think that it would be interesting if I can superimpose a current Google Earth image to overlay my map and see how much coincides, 2012 v 1897? I need some help with doing that.

  2. Charles Evans says:

    Nicely done. Posted a short comment on your blog.

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