Digital Archive Site

For my analysis, I plan on using the Hurricane Katrina/Wilma Digital Archive site (the one that is off of the September 11th Digital Archive site). I have decided to choose this site because it is one of the more recent digital archives that have probably been posted. I have also chosen this site because this is fairly recent material it will be interesting to see what types of formats have been used for this archive.

Preserving Digital History

I think the assigned article that we had to read brought up many good arguments about why ‘preserving the past’ digitally is – and isn’t – a good idea.

Many of us have probably run into the same problem with preserving content on the Internet – you may be working on a web page, writing an e-mail to a friend, writing a post for class – you click the button to transmit the information, and then find that the information did not go through, and everything that you had written is lost and unable to be retrieved. Web pages can be easily "lost" due to bad code, a bad server, a bad host…. numerous reasons, and all of the information stored on it is usually lost for good.

I can see why this author is worried about how we are increasingly turning towards the Internet to preserve our information and how unreliable the Internet is for storing information. Most pages are not backlogged, so if they are lost, they are lost forever.

I also found some valid arguments in his ideas about copyrights… it is easy to find information and "steal" it off the internet without giving the person proper credit. The Internet is just not as organized as literary sources such as books and magazines, and it is harder to cite information that you use off of there than from a book.

American Memory

I found the American Memory site to be interesting, but not all that user-friendly. Maybe it’s a work in progress. I tried to browse through the different categories (ex. War and Military, Women’s History) and found myself losing attention – there are so many links on this site bunched together that it is overwhelming. I was most surprised when I tried to research the Vietnam War and found that under "War and Military", there is no specific category for the Vietnam War, although it lists just about every other war that the United States has been involved in. It does, however, pull up some finds under the search engine query, but not too many. I was definitely disappointed to see this, especially since Vietnam is so recent – isn’t it more pertinant to the American history today than say, the Spanish-American War?

While I would probably find this site useful to search information on these various topics, I think that this doesn’t provide me with more, or better, information than I could find by using a Google search. The one good thing about this site is that it presents the information in an organized manner, and the site also provides you with its own search engine.

Lexia to Perplexia vs. The Bomar Gene

Lexia to Perplexia has narratives that play with different “computer language”. In the narratives, there are words that look like HTML tags and computer file extensions, such as “” and “transmission exe.tension”. It also plays with different mathematical equations in the text. Clicking on the links either brings up other narratives, or makes some type of image come up. It can make text shift positions, it can make pictures come up, and it can make your screens change. You can also change the background and make text appear or disappear just by running your mouse over a certain spot on the screen. I definitely did not understand the plot here.

In The Bomar Gene, you click on a part of the “gene” that scrolls by, and that will bring up text underneath that gives you a fragment of the story. There is also other text that scrolls underneath. In some lexia, there are also puzzles that the reader must figure out.

Lexia to Perplexia is similar to the Bomar Gene in that running your cursor over the text and clicking the links has different results. Sometimes it pulls up more text, sometimes it pulls up another page, sometimes it shifts the position of the text, etc. Most of the examples of hypertext we’ve studied so far have only one function of the link: to take us to another lexia. With both of these sites, the function of the link is very dynamic. Both of these sites also incorporate Flash animations into their sites to give us changing graphics, flashing text, and interactive links. The Bomar Gene is a little easier and more interesting to figure out, since it gives you clues how to work each link and seems to have a bigger variation of graphics.

You – getting punched, Me – in J’Paul’s Window

by Random Guy on Craigslist

So,

Monday night

Just after the football game ended,

I look out the window

Across the street

There you are,

Just sitting there

            On the sidewalk,

Clearly hammered,

            Chatting on the phone.

I thought you might be cute,

But couldn’t tell

            From where I was sitting.

Your friend came over,

I got up

            To check out the both of you.

I was going to cross the street,

            To say hello,

Then something happened.

Your friend grabbed your cell phone,

Threw it down

            On the concrete sidewalk (hard)

Screaming about something

            I couldn’t understand.

Then, she proceeded

To start punching you in the head,

Rapidly,

                        Furiously.

I thought you were in trouble.

You, however,

            Must not have thought so.

You started punching back,

From your seated position,

Continuing to take blow after blow to the face.

I found your ability to

            Defend yourself

            From the backed against the wall position

            So hot,

                        So sexy.

I really was impressed

            Once the punching stopped

            And the serious cussing out

            Of each other began.

While pulling your thong,

            Back down into your jeans,

You didn’t even miss one seconds’ opportunity

to scream at her,

            Wishing her death

right there next to

            Pizzeria Uno’s.

So amazingly attractive.

Wanna go cell phone shopping

            sometime?

Form vs. Content with ‘Poetry Generators’

I thought looking at all of these different ‘poetry generators’ was pretty interesting. I had never thought of a Mad Libs-type generator to be something that would relate to what we’ve been studying in class, but it is, because it requires the reader’s interactivity to function.

Reworking the ‘personal ad’ into a poem made me think again about the importance of form with regards to content. A personal ad seems like a personal ad until you play around with the structure of the lines, the spacing, the indentation, and the formatting – then you can reconstruct it into a poem and give the same words, or content, entirely different meaning.

These ‘poetry generators’ function on a similar concept – they take random words, and place them in a way so that they form poetry. Even "Conversation", which does not use words at all, just sound, can be manipulated in different ways so that it has different ‘effects’ on the reader/viewer.

By using these poetry generators, we are able to play around with how different forms can give the same words entirely different meanings.

Understanding VORN

"Understanding VORN" seems to be a lot different than a lot of the other examples of Textual Media that we’ve studied, since it relies mostly on the input of the internet rather than the input of the reader. The only interactivity that the reader has with this program is to press the "Shuffle" button to mix up the images, and the rest of the input the program does itself by pictures from various blogs on the Internet.

VORN also doesn’t provide the reader with any text to read, unless you click the picture and click to the link to the corresponding blog. The text there, however, was not created by the author of VORN, it was created by the blog user whose picture was pulled by the VORN program. The links also don’t give us any more depth or insight to the purpose of "VORN" – VORN does not have an underlying storyline. The only theme to this is that each picture is pulled from a blog because the picture name either starts with the letter "V", "O", "R", or "N".

This is interesting to play with, but it leaves the reader wondering – what is the purpose of this? The title, "Understanding VORN", also seems to be misleading – what exactly is there to understand? I went to the "About" section to find out, and what it told me was that "the chaotic, unpredictable nature of UNDERSTANDING VORN reflects the chaotic, unpredictable nature of VORN Magazine". As a reader, I would have never figured that out from just playing this game.

The Color of Television

The Color of Television has a lot of similarities to a lot of the other hypertexts that we have read so far this semester. First of all, there are many different storylines going on at once. Here, they are differentiated by different columns and different fonts, with both varying font type and font color. There are also hyperlinks that you can click that will take you to different places within the text. These hyperlinks are not only words, but also symbols. This hypertext also contains graphics within the text.

There seems to be a fragmented main storyline, broken up by a side column with quotations in it. The quotations have hyperlinks within them that take you to different places in the text. The hyperlinks within the text are symbols instead of words.

With most of the other hypertexts that we have read, such as "Hegirascope" and "Afternoon", different fragments or ‘pages’ of the text are given a separate page. In The Color of Television, many fragments are run on the same page, and the only way we can differentiate between them is the fact that either they have their own column or the text color is different.

Interestingly, like "Hegirascope" and "Afternoon", The Color of Television also seems to have a preoccupation with war, especially nuclear war.