Digitization is an exciting aspect of digital humanities. After the various activities. I realized it is difficult to have a photograph convey everything that an individual wants because it is a two-dimensional image rather than a three-dimensional video or model of the object. The photographs I took cannot convey sound, smell, and are not a three hundred and sixty complete views of the object. Photographs are helpful for identifying the object’s color and size if it is not taken at an angle. It is hard to convey the object’s weight within a photograph but the viewer could remember objects that he has held or used in the past. When I photograph paintings, buildings, and landscapes for fun I realize how sometimes the product may not convey the meaning of the photo. This assignment confirmed my prior attempts at photography. Photographs do not create a completely detailed depiction of an event or object because it is simply a two-dimensional product unable to effectively convey sound, smell, depth, or weight as if the viewer was observing the object. Digitized photographs do not capture texture or edges if a specific object is distorted such as zooming in on a specific section or if it is captured at an angle.
Digitized videos allow for a three hundred and sixty-degree view of an object and allow the viewer to identify various subsequent characteristics in addition to those listed above such as texture, edges, and depth. Nevertheless, it is difficult to convey sound on digitized video unless the sound is created and it is impossible to convey smell on video as there is nothing close to the video that conveys smell. Photographs and videos make the most sense to catalog objects and artifacts if the archivist or curator does not have access to the original or if the original is too fragile to be displayed. Photographs and OCR make the most sense when working with text because it can display a clear image or reproduction of the text and allow it to be legible for an audience. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that OCR software may not produce an exact replica of text if the original has been damaged or obscured.
Conservation, preservation, and digitization are dependent on an item’s condition such as the Gutenberg Bible, a ceramic bowl from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, or Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. The previous three examples have been carefully preserved but many objects within museums and archives worldwide have deteriorated from the passage of time, accumulated dust, or have been damaged by other means. Fragile objects should be photographed or recorded through video to allow the public to experience the object or a model.
Throughout the above activities, I have been thinking back to my class HIST 697 Clio II Computational History with Dr. Lincoln Mullen at George Mason University when we learned about mapping, text analysis, and data visualizations. It is interesting to consider how digitized reproductions or digital media convey meaning to viewers. Various authors that we have read maintain different opinions on whether digital reproductions are capable and represent vivid examples to convey meaning rather than observing the original object or artifact rather than a reproduction, photograph, or video.
A digital humanist’s ability to work with digital representations changes based on how he or she views the specific image or object. A digital representation such as a photograph or video does not convey exactly how the object should be used. Various aspects that convey meaning are lost when we digitize artifacts because the experience is different when looking through a camera lens or computer screen compared to observing an object with our own eyes. Smell and sound to an extent are lost from photographs and videos unless the individual who captured the object made a video with sound. The only way to truly understand and use objects captured through digital representation is to hold and use the objects displayed. Digitization is an exciting tool for digital humanities that allows individuals to obtain some meaning about an object’s structure and function without holding the object. Digitization requires trial and error as well as the technical computer ability to position objects and convert them to new media as well as patience to capture a moment on video or photograph to attempt to convey as much meaning as possible.