Let me start off by saying I’m a little torn. I think the proposal by the AHA is necessary and an option that all new PhDs should have. That is not to say I do not support open access, because I think that is a great growing method of dissemination as well. However, open access is pointless if it is not done willingly. To be forced into open access has the potential to create resentment and a tendency to shy away from it in the future. I’m not so sure Kathleen Fitzpatrick would agree with me, as she says in her book, “The production of knowledge is of course the academy’s very reason for being, and if we cling to an outdated system from the establishment and measurement of authority at the very same time that the nature of authority is shifting around us, we run the risk of becoming increasingly irrelevant to the dominant ways of knowing of contemporary culture.” She makes a point to note the outdated nature of the traditional monograph and how it is still needed, despite that. However, she seems to see the real problem being with the publishers and how they need to start moving to being a service to the universities instead of a place of business. I think that is not going to happen any time soon and is not even reasonable since she herself states how little financial support the university presses receive from the universities. Disseminating knowledge is not free, and it never will be.

I think this is one of the main issues with requiring students to make their completed dissertations open access. The university presses are not a service to the universities, they are their own entity, a business. I can see why William Cronon took the time to defend allowing the option for an embargo. While I have no way of knowing just based on his post whether his claims are all true, it is certainly enough to make you think. Are there publishers out there who would think twice about publishing my revised future dissertation if the original was open access? How many publishers out there truly do not care? Is the difference here truly between open access journals and open access books? Are students better off leaving certain evidence out like he suggests?

It’s all quite frightening for someone considering going into academia. As much as we would all love for digital work to mean as much to institutions as the traditional monograph, the vast majority are much more impressed with a published book than a published article. And if having the original dissertation online would hinder my chances for having a revised version published, I would certainly want the option to embargo it.

However, I would agree with the AHA in that an embargo would not mean completely restricting access to the work. Having the book available through inter-library loan (1 or 2 copies) seems completely reasonable. Even the option of having a digital copy available only at the institution would be viable. Would this slow the sharing of said scholar’s work? Absolutely it would. Is this a problem? I can see how it could be, even a step backwards. The best point Cronon made, though, is how this choice should be in the hands of the writer. Giving the option of open access to new PhDs promotes the method without forcing it into their careers.

I thought the perspective on the readings this week were interesting. I enjoyed reading about how the different ways to think about history can affect a classroom. I found Sam Wineburg’s  6 ways to think like a historian eye-opening. Although I have acquired and used all these skills over the years, it was not something I had thought about or even realized. At this point, it all comes as second nature to me, which I suppose it part of his point. These skills come easily to historians, but not necessarily everyone else. His following article with Daisy Martin did a great job of demonstrating the importance of teaching those skills and some of the ways it can be done. I especially liked that they made videos of people thinking aloud for the Historical Thinking Matters website. I was originally confused how listening or watching someone question a text aloud as they go would be helpful. My first thought was that it would actually confuse students, they may have no idea where the questions are coming from. However, that problem was avoided well by choosing subjects outside of someone’s focus and offering an explanation after the video on why the questions were relevant. I think the way this project was handled is a good example of how to approach this digitally. However, I think the same consideration needs to be made inside a classroom. Would you still get the desired effect if you had to follow a “thinking aloud” with an explanation?

I thought the different ways the teachers in Ways of Seeing approached pictorial pedagogy to be interesting and enlightening. I think the activity of presenting the two different portraits of the Native American to be particularly interesting. When I first looked at it, I thought about assimilation and the different ways the dominant race has depicted Native Americans for their personal agendas over the years. The addition of providing primary sources for students to look through to dig deeper into the history is fantastic. There is so much that could be uncovered and I could see this exercise easily adjusted to any other subject (with the right images, of course).

The biggest aspect I got from the reading was that an educator cannot assume their way is correct. Everyone will learn differently and it is important to first observe what is happening before any problems can be fixed.


For my lesson plan, I was not sure at first what I wanted to do or how to go about creating a lesson plan. Having edited plenty for the Education department at the RRCHNM, I know what I have is the roughest of rough drafts; only an idea, even. However, I think it does a good job depicting what I have in mind.

I decided to focus on the sourcing skill for historical thinking. In my first year of undergrad in my communications class, the professor showed us a website that was built with a bias and provided false information. Taking from that experience, I went searching for that website. The website is written by a white supremacy group about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If you have not already looked at it, I encourage you to do so. Just reading the links will cause any of us to raise our eyebrows. What is concerning about this website is that in a google search, this website comes up on the first page. Imagine how many people see this website for that reason alone.

Taking from that, I provided three other websites about Martin Luther King Jr. The activity involves students browsing the websites without instruction at first. My thought with this is that once they get the questions that ask them to consider reliability and author’s purpose, any students who did not notice the bias of the above site will then begin to and question the content they see across the web. However, this will only work if they actually click around and read. This is why I suggest having this exercise in a computer lab (teacher can watch the monitors and ensure that everyone has access at one time).

I think this is the most important skill to start with, perhaps that is why Wineburg mentions it first as well. The ability to source content is relevant in everything that everyone does, especially today. How often do we see friends posting ridiculous images about something that has or will happen on Facebook? The yearly “post or Facebook will start charging you” is the most common. If everyone checked sources and reliability before posting or sharing something, perhaps we could have a less ignorant online experience.

My Activity
For my historical thinking activity, I want to encourage students to use their prior background information on a topic to show the importance of sourcing. I have chosen to focus on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but this activity could easily be adapted to fit any subject.

For this activity, a computer lab should be reserved for the class period. This will ensure that all students will have access to a computer and the internet. It also avoids the “I forgot my laptop” excuse.

Before the class period, the teacher will compile a list of websites or pages from websites for the students to look through. They will all be on one subject, one that you can expect the students to have some background knowledge on. You will give the students access to the list of websites once everyone is logged onto the computers. Ask the students to browse the websites without instruction for thirty minutes. After the thirty minutes, hand out a list of questions to be completed by the next class period.

Questions
1] Organize the websites in order of most reliable to least reliable
2] For each website, write 2-3 sentences explaining why the website is reliable or not.
3] Who is the author of each website? Doe each website list an author?
4] What seems to be the purpose of each website? Did the authors have a certain goal in creating it?

Websites
1] First Website
2] Second Website
3] Third Website
4] Fourth Website

The hope is that this assignment will teach students the importance of looking for an author and the author’s intent when doing research. There is a lot of information online and some of it is more reliable than others. Some of it is not reliable at all. The third link is the most important in this activity. From the first page, a historian would not trust the website’s content based on a quick glance. At the beginning of the next class, show students how to find the bias in this website. You can choose to read some of “Truth About the King” with them or show how the link for “Black Invention Myths” takes the reader to a white supremacy website.

Ask students what this means for the content and the purpose of the website. Then start your lesson on the content, hopefully with your students beginning to question everything they read.

Easily the biggest concern with open access is the cost; while there is no cost to the reader to obtain articles from open access journals, there is still a significant cost that the journals must pay to disseminate the information. This was one of the most interesting topics of this week’s readings for me. It is so obvious that there are still costs for open access journals, but this is not something I had thought about at all. I first started to think about this when John Willinksy discussed PLoS Biology and how the authors or institutions supporting the authors paid $1,500 in order to have their work be open access. That number caught me off guard. $1,500 for each article! It is so expensive to offer your work for free!
However, that is due to the nature of our trade. In order for the hard work that historians do to frame an argument and offer a credible view, the readers need to see the view as credible. Rick Anderson does a good job of framing the importance of peer review when disseminating research. His article brought me back to the beginning of the semester when one of the authors discussed tenure-track and posed the question on whether or not digital work would qualify. The problem with digital work for advancing a career arises when it cannot be peer reviewed. Having research reviewed by other historians in the field lends some credibility to the topic. It tells a reader that other historians in the field have read the article and found it to be worth publishing (even for those article only published online).

The chapter by Lawrence Lessig was very helpful in helping me understand all the complications with copyright control when dealing with the Internet. The fact that copyright controls change drastically online is both concerning and fascinating. I have to wonder which form authors and publishers prefer: the traditional copyright structure for analog books, or the copyright structure for online works which provides more control to the authors and publishers. I was shocked with Lessig’s example of a book published online being able to legally be restricted to the amount of times one person can read it in a given amount of time. I understand that each time it is being read a new copy is made, but restricting the amount of times it can be read? That seems absolutely ridiculous to me. I think, perhaps, working through my thoughts as I type, this restriction would make sense with a PDF download; which is likely what Lessig was referring to now that I think about it. Each download of the PDF would create a new copy, but wouldn’t it be easy to restrict the amount of downloads from one IP Address? Under a restriction like that, why would there be any concern of it being “read” more than the allotted amount? Either way, another concern for open access online for historians is respecting the rights of the copyright holder and the copyright holder being able to maintain their rights.

 

The Wikipedia assignment was an…experience. I decided to look into the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) since that was the topic of my senior thesis and the way I used the World War I Collection previously. The SATC was a very short lived government program that had the goal of keep men in education so the country would not be left with unskilled men while simultaneously training these men for the military. I did a few searches, but this topic currently does not exist on Wikipedia. If I had more time to dedicate to secondary sources research, I would love to create this article. However, I only had one secondary source in my thesis that discussed the SATC (at least that I used); the rest of my sources were primary ones from the Illinois College Archives (ranging from letters, official documents, local newspaper clippings, and articles from the College newspaper The Rambler). Instead of trying my luck with an abundant of primary sources, I decided to edit the page on the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). The SATC and ROTC were linked, in a way, during WWI. Those students who instructors saw real promise in through the SATC were recommended for the ROTC (one of the letters in the collection I am using mentions a student being recommended for the ROTC).
Currently, my edit is still up with no corrections made.

Sorry for this being late. My internet crashed on me and Cox Communications was anything but helpful for nearly two hours.
What’s the problem? Won’t know until Tuesday! But learn from my experience, you can connect directly to your modem and still get internet, yay!
(If you knew that I envy you.)


I was really looking forward to the activities for this week! While I did not have fun with maps last week (sorry Danielle), I had high hopes for the opportunities to visualize in different ways!

Unfortunately, Java crushed all my hopes and dreams in multiple ways.

I had a hard time following some of the readings, especially Johanna Drucker, but even without completely comprehending what each author was saying 100%, they still helped me get an idea of what I can do with these programs. Just that knowledge going in made understanding the activities that much easier.

Likely inspired by our readings, I chose to create a data set of information for banned books. I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any similarities between certain authors or genres. My data ended up being short. I used the top ten contested books for the years 2010-2014 and included the following information in the data: year contested, title, author, and reasons contested. The most interesting information from this is certain books being repeated multiple years (Fig 1) and the frequency of certain reasons (Fig 2). I displayed this in Palladio with a graph for each. Something interesting I noticed, but is not represented in any graphs, is how reasons for a book to be banned would change over the years. There are some interesting trends about what were hot button issues for each year. If this was my field, that is definitely an aspect of this I would look into.
Banned Reasons by Year             Banned Titles by Year
Figure 1                                                                                                Figure 2

The next activity taught me that I didn’t have Java on my computer. Now I do. However, I ran into another problem after Java was installed. Gephi will not open on Windows 10, at least not for me (anyone else have Windows 10 and have a different experience?). Thanks to the cliowired hashtag, I gave Cytoscape a try. Unfortunately, this took a lot longer to download than Gephi did and I wasn’t able to use the wonderful steps provided by Brian Sarnacki. Technology is not working for me tonight. Cytoscape would not install because it said I did not have a proper Java version and the version I did download previously was corrupted. I tried uninstalling and then re-installing Java but no dice. I cannot get Gephi to open or Cytoscape to install.
So that’s frustrating.

Next was Voyant. For this, I decided to take ten books from Project Gutenberg in the Native American category. My first attempt of entering the URLs of the plain text in separate lines did not pan out so I created text files for each of them and then uploaded to Voyant to analyze; this worked and I immediately saw the need for help from the documentation. I had no idea what I was looking at. The first step was entering my stop words. The results were giving me too many a, an, the, that as the most common words in each text. I was surprised at how many times I was editing the stop words; there are so many more words that get in the way than I first thought!
When looking through the tools in the documentation, I was curious about the word bubble one. When I clicked “use it” and it took me back to what looked like the normal Voyant page, I understood what the url link input option was for. I discovered that Java does not work in Microsoft Edge so I switched to Firefox. Java security proceeded to block the plug-in from working so I was not able to see the frequency of words displayed in bubbles. The two tools I was able to get to work were Bubble lines and Cirrus. With Bubble lines, I was disappointed that the words I designated as “Stop words” still showed as the most frequent words. I’m not sure if there is something wrong with its reading or me, but other words I entered disappeared so I am confused, that’s for sure. Cirrus is neat, I like this one. It is very colorful and while it also includes some words I designated as stop words, it also has more than only those words. Overall, I could see this being useful for creating a visualization on the topics the soldiers in my project discuss the most.

Voyant bubblelines voyant cirrus

Lastly, a program running on Java that works for me! It’s a miracle! Mallet GUI was very easy to understand and follow thanks to the Introduction linked in our readings. There is no way I would have known what it was asking as an input and output otherwise! I really enjoyed that it created ten different topics for my different texts. It was interesting exploring each topic and seeing the frequency with which each text appeared in each topic. Some were prominent while others seemed to barely make a dent (a difference from 8923 words to only 20). It is clear that some of these topics are nearly describing an entire text with some extras in there for support. A lot of tweaking needs to be done, and possible choosing texts that have more in common that just being classified under Native American. I would like to try this again but with treaties. I think it would be interesting to see the kind of language used between the government and the tribes.