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Digitization

The process of digitization allows for objects to be viewed from anywhere, online. While many aspects of objects can be viewed through digitization there are many that cannot.

Depending on the quality of the picture, a viewer may be able to see the colors, words, and textures of the object. Based on what else is in the photo, one might be able to analyze the size of the object. However, this could be difficult. Through just a picture of the object, digitization does not allow for sounds and smells of objects.

Other forms of digitization might use videography to show these other aspects of the objects. A viewer might be able to get a better understanding of the object’s size, sounds, etc. through taking a video of the object.

Digitization is incredibly useful for documents. The words on the pages of documents, colors used or not used, images or pictures on the document, can all be transcribed through a photo.

Videos are more useful for objects. A viewer can see the many sides of the object in order to better gauge it. A video provides the opportunity for analysis of objects where digitization through merely a photo might not be as successful.

Digitization is great tool to share objects of historical value to all those who wish to see them. By being online in whatever format, people can view these objects and study them, use them for their own research. In many ways, it is like a digital form of archaeology: instead of studying objects through hands-on interactions we can now study objects through images or videos. This allows for a spread of information and knowledge that has not previously been possible.

National Archives and Records Administration

The National Archives and Records Administration home page.

The NARA is the keeper of some of the most important records from the United States Federal Government. According to their site, most of their images are in the public domain and are therefore free to use. To read more about copyright information, scroll down the page to the “Copyright” section.

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Cooper Hewitt

Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper-Hewitt is a museum focused on historic and contemporary design. It is the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to the topic of design.

Much of their content is not copyright restricted and aims to make its collections as accessible as possible. Here you can read more about their open source projects.

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The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

This museum aims to conserve, interpret and exhibit significant pieces of art. Their research institute has also worked to digitize much of their collections and help their images be able to be used freely and without permission.

Some parts of The Getty’s website are under the Creative Commons license.

Also, The Getty Research institute holds rights to many  digital images that are in the public domain. All such images (public domain) are free to be used, without permission under their Open Content project.

The CC and Open Content images are discussed on their Terms of Use/Copyright page.

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A Definition of Digital Public Humanities

Over the past few months, I’ve been telling many people I know that I am taking a graduate certificate course on Digital Public Humanities. The title of this course seems to confuse almost everyone I discuss it with and I’ve had to try to give a definition to something that I honestly, up until that point, knew very little about. Thankfully, our first real coursework in this class has helped me to better understand Digital Humanities. Here, I will try to give a definition to Digital Humanities that I hope will reflect my previous knowledge of this topic to what I have just recently discovered.

Digital Humanities is a method of answering questions posed by humanities disciplines through the use of various tools of the ever-expanding digital world. Scholars, librarians, curators, archivists, students, etc., can better understand questions on culture, community, identity, history, and society through the use of digital tools like mapping, text analysis, digitization, archiving, and many more. Both the world of the digital and the world of humanities can be enhanced through the study of digital humanities. Another major component of digital humanities is collaboration. In this way, ideas, tools, and concepts can be shared to enhance research and study of the humanities.