Blog Post #3: Article Critique

JaneAustenCassandraWatercolourArticle: “Teaching Jane Austen in Bits and Bytes: Digitizing Undergraduate Archival Research” by Bridget Draxler


For this blog post, I elected to combine my passion for Jane Austen with my new found appreciation of Digital Humanities (DH). I felt this approach would help bridge my understanding of DH with the help of Jane Austen. The article “Teaching Jane Austen in Bits and Bytes: Digitizing Undergraduate Archival Research” by Bridget Draxler discusses how her undergraduate students used various digital tools to analyze Jane Austen from new and refreshing angles.The article examines four areas: the role of the archive, the use of a digital literary timeline, the impact of the digital archives in the classroom, and the future of Jane Austen studies in the digital age.

The article argues that approaching Jane Austen through the use of digital archives enables undergraduate students to access primary resources that enable them to approach assignments with a greater level of detail and thereby improving the quality of their work. I was most interested in how Draxler students curated their own digital exhibit to present their discoveries. She discusses the pros and cons of her approach to digital integration in the classroom.

Draxler does a wonderful job explaining digital literacy and important considerations when incorporating digital tools as part of the learning experience. As she points out, not everyone is well versed or at the same level when it comes to technology. The stereotype that every millennial university student is well versed in technology is false and needs to be addressed when creating a DH curriculum. This connects to her title of integrating the technology in bits and bytes. She provides concrete examples of programs incorporating digital literacy successfully and thereby strengthens her argument on how to thoughtfully create successful digital curriculum.

In the section of her article that covers the future, Draxler connects the future of digital studies of Jane Austen to collaborating with librarians, curators, and archivists. She points out the importance of creating these partnerships and recognizes their skills as essential to understanding the nuances of digital curation, digital preservation, publication, and metadata. Draxler, goes on further to encourage other researchers to collaborate with librarians, curators, and archivists and to credit them for their contributions to the researching process.

The article makes numerous connections to other sites and tools. Sometimes the layering of sources within the paper was slightly overwhelming. I felt like I was never going to finish reading this article because I had another link to follow and read. Furthermore, not all of the links were still working. The embedding of links requires constant maintenance to keep the article helpful and current.

This article is successful in connecting with its intended audience of researchers and educators. She provides strong arguments on the benefits of blending Jane Austen and technology in a thoughtful way. The article provides numerous embedded links to outside sources to reinforce her argument and provide a stronger context. Overall, this article highlights the potential new opportunities for digital analyses of Jane Austen and how the digital tools create new and engaging ways to examine the subject.

Other Recommended Readings:

The Digital Afterlives of Jane Austen: Janeites at the Keyboard by Kylie Mirmohammadi

An eBook examining the modern adaptations of Jane Austen’s work on the internet.

Digital Curation for Digital Natives by Elizabeth Yakel; Paul Conway; Margaret Hedstrom; David Wallace

An article examining University of Michigan’s School of Information implementation of digital curriculum.

A Lively Mind: Your Brain On Jane Austen

NPR article/radio clip of how a group of neuroscientists are studying “literary neuroscience” with the help of Jane Austen. An amazing blend of humanities, science and technology.


Cassandra Austen (1773-1845) – Owned by the Austen family; Kirkham, Margaret. “Portraits”. Jane Austen in Context. Ed. Janet Todd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.


DH & Theatre

My presentation will be a discipline/tool hybrid. Below are my suggested readings: Dima, M. (2013). Engaging theatre audiences before the play : The design of playful interactive storytelling experiences, 1–5. Retrieved from Sabel, David. 2011. NT Live Report, Digital Broadcast … Continue reading

Blog Post Response- DH Newbie


I’m in my sixth week of my Digital Humanities (DH) class #LIS9372 and I’m still not quite sure about DH. During my search for this week’s assignment, I came across an interesting blog. This blog/vlog post by Tom Scheinfeldt was helpful for a beginner in the field. In his blog/vlog titled “Getting into Digital Humanities: A top-ten list”, Tom discusses his suggestions on how best to approach the field.

Here’s his list below: (my comments are in blue)

10) Enter the circle (read, tweet, blog)My professor strongly agrees and has created assignments around this suggestion.

9) Start with partnersSymbiotic relationship

8) Attend THATCampConnect at conferences

7) Write grants, not papersPotentially my last assignment

6) Release early and oftenDon’t be shy

5) Stop worrying about the definition of DHEasier said than done

4) Digital is always publicOpen access…interesting

3) Must. Try. New. Things.-Done, done and done! I’m tweeting which is very new for me!

2) Break somethingThat shouldn’t be too difficult!

1) Lather, rinse, repeatOk!

Tom goes into great detail on the best ways to approach DHas a beginner. I found his post to be helpful and encouraging from a newbie perspective. I think my professor and he must seem to be on the same wavelength in regards to being active on Twitter and blogging to connect with the DH community. His most refreshing statement was “Stop worrying about the definition of DH”. Sometimes, I feel that I struggle with the concept and definition of DH. I’m aware that this is an ongoing discussion in the community but from a beginner’s point of view, a tangible definition would be helpful. However, I’m aware that DH is not something you can put into a box and label. DH appears to be an ever growing and evolving field of study. I imagine by the time everyone involved in DH agreed on a definition it would be irrelevant. Here’s a link to the blog/vlog:

I hope this blog post helps other newbies find some comfort and clarity with the DH field.



Here are few DH blogs that might be helpful. (Regularly updated with interesting and relevant DH content) (Information based blog) (Eclectic DH blog)

Image Source: Alter, Tony (2013). Symbiotic Relationship. [Online image]. Retrieved from

Tool Critique-Canada Kissing Map


The purpose of this tool is for Canadians to share their kissing stories and pin the locations on Google map. The posts are anonymous, no more than 500 characters and encourage users to creatively describe their most memorable kisses. The site outlines the different type of kisses with a variety of coloured push pins. For instance, a green pin is a first kiss, a blue pin is a last kiss, a red pin is a hot and heavy kiss, a yellow is a friends and family kiss, and a purple pin is all other kisses.kiss-map-toronto-558x372The map was born out of a desire to share the most memorable kissing locations in Toronto, Ontario. Chris Kay Fraser started the map after reflecting on all of her memorable kissing locations in the City of Toronto. After her initial post, the map went viral, and it quickly became clear people across the world wanted to share their stories. The map now features national and international kissing stories.

The layout of the website is not overly crowed with advertisements. The overall look of the website is pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate and provides basic information on the concept. Another great feature is the simple instructions on how to use this creative writing platform. The only downside is the instructional audio file is currently unavailable.

The site provides clear and simple instructions on how to post, and in five simple steps one can post a kissing story. Another weakness of the tool is the lack of contact information available to the users. The only section that allows users to contact the system administrator is by applying to sponsor the website. However, the site is regularly updated and the latest posts are featured on the main page. Finally, users are able to post national and international kissing stories and locations.

I feel like this tool is a great opportunity to practice creative writing skills and anonymously share. It’s cute and appealing because everyone has a kissing story to share, and the anonymity allows for creative freedom. As part of my evaluation of the tool, I decided to post my own kissing story. If you wish to join me here’s a link to the site: Snip20150603_6

P.S. This tool reminds me 0c41e2d24d1b534c16631cf40f7ae427of the Paris Bridge’s Love Locks where lovers attach a pad lock with their inscribed initials to the bridge and throw the key into the Seine river. Très romantique! Unfortunately, this will no longer be possible as the locks are being removed due to the weight causing a panel of the bridge to collapse. For more information on this story, please visit the link below to the New York Times article.

Never fear! Parisian Officials have created solution to this issue with a site for lovers to share their love by posting pictures on this website: I’m still nostalgic for the lock and key gesture and I don’t feel the alternative is very romantic. Perhaps Paris Official should have looked at the Canada Kissing Map for inspiration.

The role of the Librarian

Below is an amusing flashback in time to librarianship from the late 1940’s. This clip, The Librarian 1947 Vocational Guidance Films, illustrates the various role librarians have in academic libraries, public libraries and special libraries. The clip highlights the social interaction between the patron and the librarian in the traditional reference interview. Over the last sixty-years much has shifted in the field of librarianship; technology has become one of the major challenges facing libraries. Gone are the days of simply finding resources in the stacks. The librarians of today may not appear to work the same way as the librarians of sixty-years ago, but they share the same values and struggles. Librarians provide an essential service to the community; perhaps how this service is delivered has changed but the principals have remained the same. I found the YouTube video to be a romantic view of the noble librarian profession

The clip provides two core values for anyone thinking about being a librarian a love for books and a love for people. Which is a slightly simplified statement because a love for books will not necessarily make a good librarian. Nor do I believe  a love for people is mandatory. A love for people is certainly helpful but I would argue it depends on the type of librarian. An outreach librarian needs to love people and have a desire to connect with the community. Whereas, a library catalogue specialist or a systems administrator may not necessarily need to have the same love for human interaction because they may not come into contact with the public. I think a passion for knowledge and information would be more helpful to anyone contemplating a career in an information organization. The librarians of today may not find themselves in the traditional library setting. Librarians are finding opportunities in non-traditional work environments that do not necessarily involve books and/or people. For example, the following job titles require an MLIS but don’t have the standard librarian title: Creative Project Manager, Directory of Community Services, Web Analytic Manager, and Documentation Specialist. These are just a few of the potential opportunities for MLIS graduates.

Overall, the goal of librarians has not changed: to provide a fundamental service to the community. The major shift in librarianship stems from the integration of technology and higher education. However, the same theories apply when accessing information through traditional print or digital databases. The community has needs that a librarian can fulfill by facilitating public access to information.  The landscape of libraries may be changing but the role of the librarian remains the same. Librarians of today are facilitators who are making access to information easier and accessible for everyone.

This Youtube clip provides an ideal overview of the library profession from sixty-years ago and highlights some of the core values of librarianship that still hold true. Enjoy!

Continue reading