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romefortuneBPcoverWe are entering an age where social media has created a strong platform for never before heard or seen artists to bind themselves to the grassroots a young, up and coming hip-hop culture. Atlanta in particular, has been a hotbed of a trap sound highlighted by artists such as Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug and the Migos to name a few. All have a sound that can only be described as coming straight out of Atlanta.

Trap has become the signature sound of the South, as an avid fan base craves the heavy base and 808 drum beat that keep the clubs open till the sun comes up. This  almost generic trap sound has spawned certain fans to search for something that need not be played in a club-enter Rome Fortune. Growing up during the “Freaknik” era, Fortune was able to get a full dose of how prevalent Atlanta music had become, through such influences as Outkast, Dungeon Family and Raheem the Dream, all of whose styles can be found sprinkled through the eclectic sound that is Rome Fortune.

As a man who has seen all sides of Atlanta culture, the Atlanta rapper’s sound can be placed somewhere in the spectrum of Funktronica and and spoken word/g-funk music; in other words, Rome has created a sound that is unique to himself, something he says that he strives for during an interview with Complex Magazine.

Lyrically, Rome Fortune uses his smooth talking to strike a chord with his female audience, as the different life experiences  and interactions he has had with women make up the body of his style. Whether your hanging kicking it with a girl your trying to set a good vibe with or playing music in the background to create a soothing environment for company, Rome Fortune is the sound for you.

Going back to our first week, I have come to really appreciate how broad history has become and how broad it will become in the future. Before taking the class, I was not aware of the archives in the basement of the Dana Porter Library nor did I know how much information could be found through programming. This class has taught me a great deal on what being a Historian truly means. There are more avenues to research than just going to the library and delving myself in books. Digital History is strongly on the rise, as is the technological boom. With more historical artifacts and documents becoming available to us over the web, it is up to us to continue to advance our skill set in research so that we can keep up with the ever evolving world that is historical research.

I have become very encouraged by the end of this class, by the vast array of things I have learned. My knowledge of how to research has improved immensely now that I have been introduced to different forms of digital research. In the future, I can cut my research time almost in half if i please, using such programs as programming historian or Python. I can also have more credible sources from the archive situated in the library. There is so much about digital research that students have yet to figure out and it is up to us to spread the word.

Entering the class, I was not a big fan of coding. I often found it to be bland, and it certainly wasn’t one of my strengths. After using python, my overall view was that it can be a useful tool for historians to use. One thing that I have noticed about Python is the code volume; you can get a lot more done with little code on python as opposed to other programs I have used in the past. This is where the speed of a computer comes into play. A few lines of Python code allowed me to sort out articles of information at a much faster clip than if I would have done it myself.

Programming Historian was also a very user friendly tool that allowed me to ease into coding. For someone who knows very little about coding, I was able to pick things up fair quickly. Again, this all goes back to time saving. Historians usually spend vast amounts of time digging through archives, which to some may be enjoyable; however, for the common Historian, using a program such as Python saves a great deal of time, and really narrows down the search for you through a few lines of code. The beautiful thing about Python is that you can manipulate the code to suit what you are specifically looking for in Python’s large library of information. As more and more collections become digitized, the use for programs such as Python become more and more relevant in the world of digital history.

What I did find frustrating however was when errors popped up. As a first time coder, I often made typos in the code, thus causing errors to occur. There were some occasions where i double and triple checked to make sure my line of code was correct, but again there would be errors that occurred. For this type of a problem, I did not know where to turn or what to fix, which again often frustrated me. As I progressed from lesson to lesson, coding became more complex, thus forcing me to write more lines of code for little information; the level of efficiency went down as it took longer to write lines of code, the harder the lessons became.

Last week we discussed archival history and textual analysis. We looked at the preservation of books that were centuries old, extraordinary to say the least. The class discussed how such tools would be of use to Historians of the future, as the art of preservation is creeping further from it’s humidity controlled basement roots, to the new age of digital preservation. We were fortunate enough to be exposed to both forms of preservation and it is up to us to decide what are the benefits and flaws of both.

Web articles such as Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books proved to be another useful tool in the gathering of digital data as it gave us access to a large corpus of digitalized books; 4% to be exact, of all books ever printed. It’s information like this that is available to so many students, not just in the faculty of history; however, there is little exposure of information of this kind available to students out there. For example, I was not aware that the University of Waterloo had such a distinguished and renowned archive of books, dating back hundreds of years; books with a vast array of information about the time period all at our disposal. Primary sources lay right under our very nose, almost literally and we were unaware of it.

Another important tool we discussed in class was Mining the Dispatch. This is a program that was originally created by Robert K. Nelson. The program is unique in the sense that it uses different words or phrases that are usually found together to create topics. This is a similar program to that of N-Gram found on Google. The N-Gram program essentially looks at larger bodies of Data to create topic modeling. Here is an example of Mining the dispatch, “It uses as its evidence nearly the full run of the Richmond Daily Dispatch from the eve of Lincoln’s election in November 1860 to the evacuation of the city in April 1865. It uses as its principle methodology topic modeling, a computational, probabilistic technique to uncover categories and discover patterns in and among texts”.

http://dsl.richmond.edu/dispatch/

 

What was most intriguing to me about last week was our discussion of archives. After reading “Archives in Context and as Context” by Kate Theimer, It gave me a broader understanding of what “archives” really are and how they should be viewed through the digital humanities.  The main gist of the article entailed that the definition of “archive” is something that shouldn’t be separated in regards to the digital community, touching on the opinions of other scholars such as Kenneth Price; “Therefore, it is important to note that the formal definition of “archives” used in the archival community cited here recognizes no differences for electronic records, born digital material, or materials presented on the web. Price’s definition, put forward for a digital humanities audience, may be correct in that community of practice, but it should come as no surprise to digital humanists that archivists have concerns about that definition”. This past week has brought to our attention a great deal of knowledge and tools at our disposal, all of which will help shape the world of digital history for future generations. I am curious as to what we will discuss in the future with Human programming and the tool PYTHON.

Digital archives have become a gateway for us to delve into the past. Just by clicking a single browse button on http://911digitalarchive.org/ we are able to “explore the collection for stories, images, emails, documents, sounds, and videos of September 11”. The very fact that we are able to research with the click of a button over a screen in our living room is astonishing. A decade ago, even investigators who need solid evidence of the horrific accident would have to physically go to the crash site, go to the library and pull up archives of what happened that day and of course video may not have been available online like it is today.

 

The digital archives are not just a means of easy accessibility; they are a method of preservation. Physical evidence often fades, and now matter how advanced our science has become over the years, one cannot truly say that physical evidence will perfectly stay in tact forever. In this digital age we live in, documents being available online is something that is of great convenience, not only to scholars and students, but to all those who wish to learn about world events or natural disasters. Lets take for example the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. The site uses electronic media to record and film natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina and Rita. The beautiful thing about this site is how this electronic information is attained. Just as we are learning in class right now, “the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank contributes to the ongoing effort by historians and archivists to preserve the record of these storms by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts”. These methods are prime examples of information that we’ve been studying and will be studying in class, being used first hand in the world of digital history.

 

Another intriguing fact of digital archives it’s recordings of the present to show future generations of historical events that are happening right now in our world. The occupy archive website gives us a first hand look into the “occupy wall street” movement. The site posts photos and short videos of eyewitness events. In many ways, this site can be said to be a site of the people, the very people who are occupying wall street and suffering due to the American economic crisis. No longer are historical archives made for intellectuals, but made for our every day regular citizens who wish to broaden their knowledge on what is happening around the world. This may lead some to say that it leaves room for digital history to be toyed with, as we read in the “How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit,” article. As discussed in our tutorial today, this is a debate can be beaten over and over again but the results of history becoming available online will not be know for the next decade of so due to the fact that it is in it’s early stages right now. One thing is for certain and it’s that the digital revolution is certainly under way. 

Hello, My name is Suban Sinnadurai. I am currently in my 3A term here at the University of Waterloo. I am a history major and belong to the Arts Faculty. The reason I am taking this course is because the historical world is becoming very digital. We live in an age where almost anything can be found online and as the world changes, we must change with it. My online research skills, I feel, are not on par with my peers; thus I am taking this class to strengthen my research skills in the are of digital research and online databases. Many people ask me what i aspire to do with a degree in History. They often think teaching, but I am first and foremost a history major because I love the topic of history and believe it has great value to what we learn today about the modern world and the future. To understand where we are today and why things are a certain way, we must understand that the past is what brought us to this point. Once I finish my history degree, I aspire to enter Law School. This of course is not an easy goal and I am willing to work hard to achieve it. My interest in regards to the field of law is Human Rights law. The world can often be a cruel place and many of the basic rights of humanity are violated every day. These people do not have many voices to speak on behalf of them and I would like to eventually be able to bring them the justice they deserve. In many ways, human rights becomes an indicator of how the world has evolved and changed; it ties into the historical groundwork that has become modern day history. The rise of the Western world and the downfall of the eastern world during the past few centuries dictates the violations of human rights all across countries who don’t hold power. Countries such as the United States and Britain bask in the glory of their wealth while other countries in Africa and Asia are left to suffer. From this, we can see how truly broad the reach of history really is and how much it has affected us from even before the time we were born. As I write this blog here today, the rights of human beings just like you and I are being violated, but the beauty of the internet is that work is being done to curb such atrocities from happening. Sites such as Wikileaks have revealed vast amounts of information on Governments around the world committing crimes and hiding important information from it’s citizens. The web can be used to do both good and evil, but it is up to us to decide how we use it. I hope to gain important knowledge from this class to help my in my quest to become a lawyer; a lawyer who eventually is able to change the way world operates, a world where we are all treated equally.