Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Digital Storytelling 106 Documentary

Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Digital Storytelling 106 is a Computer Science class that was created and is headquartered at the University of Mary Washington. Prior to 2010, the class was taught by University adjunct Professor Alan Dean. Dean’s approach to the class was focused primarily on the art of storytelling, and secondly on the technology used to convey those stories. In 2010, Jim Groom, an Instructional Technologist in the Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies, was asked to take over additional sections of the class. Groom’s conceptualization of DS106 was that of a creative, collaborative online community. Because the class already relied heavily on Web technologies, Groom opened his section of the course up to the broader online community. In Groom’s massive open online course, individuals on the Internet are able to recommend and complete various assignments and contribute to the class without being enrolled at the University of Mary Washington.  This entirely novel conceptualization of what constitutes a “class” has taken DS106 in fascinating and unique directions, including DS Radio and a short-lived DS Television Station, as well as a freewheeling summer murder mystery known as the “Summer of Oblivion.” In this documentary, Jim Groom and Alan Dean, as well as a variety of former students and interested faculty, discuss the history, implications, and future of DS106. Bibliography: Burtis, Martha. Interviewed by Caitlin Murphy and Nicole Steck, December 10 , 2011, DuPont Hall, Fredericksburg, Va. Dean, Alan. Interviewed by Joe Calpin, December 14, 2011, Dean residence, Prince George, Va. Ellis, Leigh Ann. Interviewed by Joe Calpin, December 13, 2011, Ellis residence, Fredericksburg, Va. Girard, Charlie. Interviewed by Caitlin Murphy, November 28, 2011, Monroe Hall, Fredericksburg, Va. Groom, Jim. Interviewed by Nicole Steck and Caitlin Murphy, December 10, 2011 , Groom residence, Fredericksburg, Va. Owens, Tim. Interviewed by Joe Calpin, December 14, 2011, DuPont Hall, Fredericksburg, Va. Whalen, Zach. Interviewed by Caitlin Murphy, December 13, 2011, Combs Hall, Fredericksburg, Va. Woodward, Tom. Interviewed by Joe Calpin, December 3, 2011, Henrico County School, Henrico, Va.
Image Sources:

First presentations of the semester

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Mike demonstrates stylized cave paintings.  Joe demonstrates talking drums.  Kyle demonstrates cuneiform (and plays with a talking drum).

Blog Post for Week 5: Television

Friday, September 30th, 2011

While reading Edgerton for Thursday, I was intrigued in the amount of popular television shows that tried to incorporate historical events into the show’s plot.  Furthermore, I thought it was interesting seeing the show’s take on historical events like Dark Skies integrating alien life into major historical events of the 2oth century.  While that particular show did not catch on, I definitely think there is a market in television for historical documentaries, popular history, or even fabricated history in popular culture.  The major problems facing these kinds of shows is the relationship between actual historians and producers.  Edgerton believes that very few films and shows do what “real” historians do.  While I agree with him to the point that most television shows and films dramatize historical to some extent, I still find most of them very engaging and informative.  I don’t think that these shows can be cited as primary or secondary sources just yet, I do believe they have significant value in the lives of most people.

Newspaper Production in the Life of Joseph Pulitzer

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

The spread of information through newspaper print and publishing went through a massive makeover at the turn of the 20th century.  From the early 1900’s to the present, journalists have followed 3 major rules: “accuracy, accuracy, and accuracy.”[1]  These three rules have established modern journalism as people know today.  This radical system of publication was the creation of one man named Joseph Pulitzer.

After moving to New York from St. Louis to take over the failing New York World, Pulitzer began to change the layout of the newspaper immediately.  The first difference in the World that could be seen was the headlines of the newspaper.  Before Pulitzer, the World published newspaper with boring headlines that took up too much space, for instance: “Bench Show of Dogs: Prizes Awarded on the Second Day of the Meeting in Madison Square Garden.”[2]  Just a few weeks after Pulitzer took the reigns at the Herald, headlines looked very different: “Baptized in Blood.”[3]  The story summarized the deaths of 11 people at the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge on a Sunday where a riot broke out.[4]

These luring headlines enticed readers to take a look, but the stories themselves made the people, and more importantly, the editors want to read the newspaper.  Pulitzer’s formula for success was very simple, to write a story so simple that anyone could read, but also so colorful that no one would forget.[5]  Another technique Pulitzer encouraged his journalists to incorporate in articles were interviews.[6]  A new idea at the time, Pulitzer wanted the voices of the city to be heard as in the articles the World published.

In complete harmony with pushing the boundaries of the text itself in journal articles, Pulitzer in addition integrated pictures into the stories he published.  As Jack Shafer states in “The Lost World of Joseph Pulitzer,” halftone photos, dramatic and comic illustrations, inset graphics, hand-lettered headlines, and buckets of color enlivened these artful pages.[7]  The picture inlayed with the text of an article gives the World a three-dimensional quality that is very real and engaging with the reader, a quality only the World possessed at the beginning.

At a time when radio wasn’t for sale to the public, television was still a theory, and film had not reached its full potential, the newspaper was the only source of information and even entertainment.  Pulitzer was able to give the subscribers of the World both the entertainment they wanted, and the accurate information they needed to live their lives.

[1]               Judith Sheppard, “Playing defense,” American Journalism Review, September 1998, 49.

[2]               James McGrath Morris, “Man of the World,” Wilson Quarterly 34, Winter2010, 28-33.

[3]               Ibid.

[4]               Ibid.

[5]               Ibid.

[6]               Ibid.

[7]               Jack Shafer, The Lost World of Joseph Pulitzer, (accessed September 28, 2011).

Criteria for timelines

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Creativity–Events going beyond the syllabus,

Meets need of basic information (events, citations, basic description, dates, no typos, correct categorization)

Going beyond the basics (images, descriptions)

Wide breadth of information for your category


And you thought our timeline is going to be complicated…

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Check out this 1859 attempt to chart history on a grid.


[Hat Tip to Miriam Posner for the link.]

Examples of timelines

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Check out this interactive timeline about the evolution of the web (it works best in Chrome or an up-to-date browser.  It’s a bit infographic, bit timeline, bit website.  What ideas might we glean from it about the way we might present our own information in our timeline of the Information Age?

[Hat-tip to former student, Chris Darder, for pointing this out to me.]

And for the kind of interactive timelines UMW students have created using the Simile timeline widget, see:

And for other, non-UMW examples, see


Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Welcome to my blog for History of the Information Age!

My name is Caitlin Murphy, and I am a senior double majoring in History and Digital Media Studies. In this space, I will be discussing my thoughts on the technology, both modern and otherwise. While I like to think I have a basic grasp of modern technology, I don’t know nearly as much as I’d like, or how we have the technology we have today.

I signed up for the History of the Information Age because I am very interested in digital media. Technology is integral to how the world exists as we know it, and I think the study of that is necessary for understanding the modern world. Not just how it is used now or how it can be used in the future, but also it’s evolution and history. I’ve taken several digital media classes, but never within the context of history, and I wanted to explore that aspect of it. I also enjoy learning the way we have been integrating interesting (but sometimes seemingly useless) modern technology into our culture for ages, and how this has changed the way life is today. Exploring the history of film and propaganda would be fascinating as well.

Zotero and the class bibliography

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Our group class bibliography is available at

This is a great post on using the newest version of Zotero.


Coming soon….

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

….the new site for the fall 2011 history of the Information Age course at UMW.