Curated visualisations

I have been studying Economics as a major of my arts degree for the past three years and, being able to combine my set of data skills which I have developed in Economics for the past three years and visualisation techniques I have acquired in DH, to deliver an argument and reach a logical conclusion, made this assignment very fascinating. Coming from an Economic background, I’m extremely interested in everyday data, the study of how people use resources and the reasons behind decision making. The first dataset I have chosen and find very interesting to analyse is the Population and the changes in Ireland in the past 15 years. Population in Ireland has certainly been a trend that has changed numerous of times in this country, certainly in the past decade. There are many key components that come to mind when you think of population. Such as, emigration, death rates, birth rates and immigration. In my opinion immigration played a vital role in Irish population figures since early 2000. Which I hope to prove in this blog using stats from the Organisation for Economical Co-Operation and development (OECD) and Central Statistics Office (CSO) and using various visualisation tools to support my argument about Irish population figures during the years 2002 to 2014. However key events such as the Celtic tiger, which was regarded as the rapid economical growth which took place from the early 1990’s to the mid 2000’s and the Irish recession which was the economic downturn post 2008, certainly had immediate effects on immigration in Ireland.

This was originally meant to be a group project but last minute changes meant I did this project on my own. I thought this would make it more challenging, however, collecting all this data on my own meant it was more precise and it was something I enjoyed doing but was also use to, in many previous assignments in my Economic lectures. Firstly, I gathered all my information on the population in Ireland from 2002 to 2014 from the OECD. I used the annual total growth as a percentage of the population as I believe that would give me a more precise and easy to read data. Once I gathered all my information I then used a visualisation tool called Datamatic.io which is funded by google DNI initiative and very easy to use. It’s also partly free and if you have a gmail account, you can just access it through that without signing up or registering which is very beneficial. Following the collection of my data from the OECD, I then used a multiple lines chart to visualise and present this data as shown below.

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Figure 1

As shown in my graph above from 2002 to 2003 there is a small decrease from 1.82% to 1.601% and from 2003 to 2004 a small increase from 1.601% to 1.641%. However, after 2004 there was a rapid increase as figures doubled from 1.641% to 3.376% in the year 2007. However, post 2007, total annual growth rate as a percentage of the population began to rapidly decrease and from 3.376% in 2007 to its lowest amount in that period to 0.168% in 2013 where it then increased to 0.366% in 2014. I decided to investigate more data that would positively correlate to this and below is the total number of deaths in Ireland for the period 2007-2014 which I got from the CSO and then, created a bar chart to represent the data. However there were no unusual figures in the death rates that could correspond to the rapid decrease in population from the year 2007 as the death rate figures remained similar throughout that period and even decreased in 2009 from 28,380 to 27,961 people in 2010 which couldn’t correspond to figure 1, where the annual growth rate as a percentage of the population decreased.

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Figure 2

Following the unsuccessful attempt of comparing the annual growth as a percentage of the Irish population to the death rates I decided to compare it to the Immigration figures for that period. I downloaded the immigration datasets as CSV files from the CSO and used my Datamic editor tool to present this data. At this point I knew the figures but I didn’t know if there was going to be a good comparison between both datasets until I created my linear chart. I thought it would be best to create this data in the same format as figure 1, because if the linear chart looked similar to the one in figure 1, it would mean I had a successful comparison.

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Figure 3

The datasets on immigration in Ireland and the linear function in figure 3 was the splitting image of the linear chart I had created in figure 1 which would explain the rapid increase and decrease in the Irish population from 2002 to 2014. Similarly to figure 1, my linear chart from figure 3 had also decreased from 2002 with approximately 66.9 (thousand) immigrants to 60.0 (thousand) in 2003. Similarly in figure 1, my linear chart also had a rapid increase from 2004 to 2007 where the number of immigrants increased from 58.5 (thousand) to 151.1 (thousand) and, where the figure also doubled in that period. In similar fashion to my first linear chart, in figure 3 there is also a rapid decrease from 2007 to 2010 where the amount of immigrants falls to 41.8 (thousand), which is also an enormous decline.

Concluding that data I knew there were various questions that remained to explore. Such as, the reasons that specifically in that period immigration rose rapidly and also declined. Where were the immigrants coming from and for what reasons. The next piece of data I explored for this project was certainly my favourite, as it is very unusual and one I’m not familiarised with but heavenly enjoyed doing. I decided to explore the countries these immigrants were coming from. Below is a shaded map of EU countries and a dataset that illustrates where the majority of immigrants came from during the period 2002 to 2014. Using the visualisation tool Datamatic editor and that statistics from the CSO, I was able to create a shaded map of the EU representing how many immigrants came from each country. It also answers the reason for such a rapid increase in the annual growth rate in Ireland as a percentage of the population.

 

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Figure 4

As we can see from figure 4 above, the majority immigrating action came from Eastern European countries which had in fact joined the EU on the 1st of May 2004. Prior to 2004, immigrating figures were steady in Ireland but soon after figures began to rise rapidly. The 10 new countries to join the EU were Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. It was the largest single enlargement in terms of people and number of countries ever since the European Union was created. Ireland of course from the mid 1990’s to approximately 2006 had a period of rapid real economic growth fuelled by foreign investment and a subsequent property bubble which rendered the real economy uncompetitive. That time was also known as the Celtic Tiger period as explained above. The Irish economy expanded at an average rate of 9.4% between 1995 and 2000, and continued to grow at an average rate of 5.9% during the following decade up until 2008. These countries that just joined the European Union meant they could now travel to other EU countries and saw Ireland as an opportunity as there economy was flourishing. In the CSO the figures for the 10 new joined countries only begin from 2004 where they joined the EU and from 2004 to 2014 they occupy 40% of the overall immigration action that took place in Ireland which explains the rapid growth in figure 1 from 2004 to 2007. The UK also occupies a heavy amount of immigrating action which took place during the period of 2002-2014 as its also heavily coloured in my data.

However, Things began to change in Ireland when it fell into a recession in 2008. The economy underwent a dramatic reversal from 2008, with GDP contracting by 14% and unemployment levels rising to 14% by 2011. Ireland was not seen as the land of dreams for these multinationals, as unemployment was rising. I think many of these people decided to go back home and this would explain the decrease in annual growth rate as a percentage of Irish population as people no longer wanted to immigrate to Ireland hence the rapid decrease post 2008 as there was a decrease in employment, there was no reason to immigrate to Ireland. There was also the forecast of no new jobs would be added to the Irish economy for the first time since 1991. In 2008, Ireland’s unemployment rate reached 6.1%, highest since 1991.(7)

The rapid changed in the annual growth rates as a percentage of Ireland’s population can be compared to the immigration figures during the years 2002-2014. During the years of the Celtic Tiger, many saw Ireland as an opportunity for a better life and during the years between 2004 and 2007 it wasn’t an increase in birth rates but an increase in immigration increased the growth of the population in Ireland. The impact of 10 new countries joining the EU on the 1st of May also played a vital role in immigration figures rising in Ireland. Following the Economic crash in 2008 in Ireland which resulted in the loss of jobs and an increase in unemployment didn’t portray Ireland as the land of dreams anymore and immigration was rapidly decreasing to it’s lowest point in a long time which had a severe impact on the annual growth rate of population in Ireland.

 

Bibliography

  1. Figure 1, ‘Population annual growth rate as a (%) 2002-2014′  Available on : https://goo.gl/ZB19CA
  2. Figure 2, ‘Death rates in Ireland (2007-2014)’ Available on : https://goo.gl/9uyEVW
  3. Figure 3, ‘Immigrants in Ireland (2002-2014)’ Available on : https://goo.gl/4JGQHt
  4. Figure 4, ‘Heath map of immigrants from EU to Ireland’ Available on : https://goo.gl/1Rvw5U
  5. Hickey, R. (2011). ‘Irish economy in perspective’  Department of Finance. Available on : http://www.finance.gov.ie/sites/default/files/irisheconomyjune2011.pdf Accessed on (March 19, 2017)
  6. http://ec.europa.eu/ireland/key-eu-policy-areas/economy/irelands-economic-crisis/index_en.htm
  7. RTÉ news: ‘20-year low in economic growth predicted’ RTÉ 14 March 2008. Accessed 19th March 2017
  8. OECD (2016). Population total annual growth rate (%) 2002-2014′ OECD. Available on : https://data.oecd.org/pop/population.htm , Accessed on (March 19, 2017)
  9. CSO (2016). ‘Estimated Immigration (thousand)’  CSO. Available on : http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?Maintable=PEA18&PLanguage=0 , Accessed on (March 19, 2017)

My experience of contributing in a community-engaged project through Zooniverse

As part of an assignment for my Digital Humanities course we were asked to collaborate on a community-engaged project. I chose a website called Zooniverse, which lets people all over the world collaborate on projects from various topics. The project I have chosen to do was ‘operation war diary’ which explored soldiers’ diaries from the First World War. It was a chance to contribute to history, something that I’m extremely passionate about, and aligns with my field of studies, as History is something I studied in College.  In this project I had to annotate and tag diaries from the First World War. Although, I do find this topic very interesting, it wasn’t just for this reason that I chose this project. This project stood out for being interesting, but it also required time and effort to carry out, and posed to be challenging, because unlike some of the other projects where I just had to click on some images or write some figures, for this project I had to look at the diaries and do a number of tasks which made my experience challenging and intense, which I enjoyed. Having examined the Diary, I had to carry out numerous activities, from tagging the names of the people involved, dates and location to their role in the army and the army life. The contribution I made can create a detailed index about the people who appear in these diaries and can help people learn more about what they were doing. The main objectives of this project is to enhance The National Archives catalog descriptions for the unit war diaries. To provide evidence about the stories of these individuals that feature in the project about the lives of the first world war project and to present academics and the public with large amounts of accurate data to help them gain a better understanding of how the war was fought. What also made this project attractive to me was how all the data provided by operation war diary will be available to everyone free of charge, when this project is complete, which is resourceful to historians like myself and ensures that all the information gathered here will be preserved, accessible and helpful to future generations and will provide people with information about the war for years to come, free of charge. Inaccurate information on the tool is prevented as several identical accounts of the same information from numerous different sources will be needed to verify any information before it is provided.

 

 

When I first became aware of this assignment I was intrigued as it was similar to an assignment I did last year where I had to contribute to my local area on ‘open street map’ , where my tasks were to develop and update the geospatial data in my local area which was freely reusable. This assignment was similar in a way that both projects required scholars and the public to contribute and make changes which would benefit the project but then it would be easily accessed by anyone, once the project is complete. You’re doing tasks which contribute this project but by doing so it’ll benefit everyone. However, it doesn’t seem like you’re doing a project because it seems like you’re playing a game and it is immensely satisfying and addictive. When I first went onto Zooniverse, there were plenty of different projects to choose from, varying from Biology and Climate all the way to Physics and Space. In those different categories you then had a number of projects to choose from. At first I did play around with a number of projects which excited me like ‘Galazy Zoo’ in the space section which was fascinating but you were given questions and you were asked to click on which you thought was the main answer. Having a major interest in History I participated in a number of projects in the History section however, I decided ‘operation war diary’ was the most interesting but also challenging as there were a number of tasks you must carry out per diary. How challenging the project is, is very evident in the fact there is a 10 minute tutorial to introduce you to the project and to familiarise yourself with it. You must first decide on the page type as different types of pages contain different pieces of information which will result in different types of tags. I found this very beneficial as it means you won’t always be doing the same thing and tagging the same information as different types of pages will acquire different information.

I undertook a step by step approach as on your left side of your diary you were given a column of different kinds of categories you might have to tag such as dates, time, person, army life, etc. I had a talk button in the right top corner if you wanted to discuss any relevant information. I could also add hashtags which would enable me to link my page to similar pages in talk, which I found very beneficial and helpful as I could see what other people were talking about during similar projects and let other people see the work I have carried out. Following my step by step approach once I finished the tutorial I was excited to sign up straight away and get underway. There are a number of diaries you can work on categorised from different years, locations and even the role of the individuals during the war. At first I struggled reading some of the information but even if you’re not sure of the information, you may always go into the chat and hashtag different sections and there may be other people who also aren’t sure of some of the information and are provided with answers. There were individuals who couldn’t read some of the information so I added in comments to help them. It’s enjoyable from the fact that even if you’re stuck and don’t know something you may still get help from others as ye are all working towards the same goal.  Following on my step by step approach I began completing all different types of projects with different divisions and dates to explore as much projects as possible and before I knew it, I lost track of time and hours had passed by.

zooniverse

Above is a screenshot from my phone of what the project looks like, it’s user-friendly and what I really enjoyed was the way I could go on Zooniverse and contribute on this project from my phone which is very easy to use. You don’t just have to go on a laptop or computer to use the website, you may also bring it anywhere you want and use it on your phone which I find very beneficial. The app is very detailed as there are a lot of information given such as dates, places and different types of jobs the people in these diaries had. However, there are also negative aspects associated with this tool. For example, some of the information provided may be biased as it is the information of British soldiers and their accounts of the First World War and not the accounts of the opposition or from neutral perspective.  Another issue I have discovered would be how do we really know if this information is actual information from soldiers from the First World War, and not just history rewritten at a later stage providing false information to change the course of history to suit specific people, cultures and stories?

The implications of what I contributed as a method and using the mechanics such as the tagging and programming to make it all work. Through methodology there is the risk of making mistakes, however, through the use of ‘wisdom of the crowds’ results that even if one individual makes a mistake, the many other that follow will come along and correct the information. It relates in a way that my contribution in this project will let people use this tool to access information and make that information more accurate and user friendly thanks to my contribution. My contribution that I have made online is certainly easier and quicker using tools and process than an individual having to carry out all that work physically. To conclude I hope my contribution to this project will let fellow historians have easy access to this information as it is online, resulting on them saving from travel expense but also not having to pay for such information as it will be available free of charge to everyone. I hope the work I have and will continue to contribute in my spare time will result in this project being complete sooner than expected but I also hope through sharing it with my hashtags and with the public that it’ll encourage others to take up this project. It’s a project we complete collectively and need as many individuals as possible to participate because at the end of the day it’ll be available to us and generations down the line.

I learned a lot about this experience, while completing this project I was also doing external readings and research about Zooniverse and about my project. I learned how Zooniverse consists of over 1 million registered volunteers and has headquarters at Oxford University and Adler Planetarium and is owned by Citizen Science Alliance. It’s interesting the methodologies such as crowd sourcing the material is the success behind this company and the difference the work we do by collaborating on such a project differs to what they do in archives. I learned how as an collective group by collaborating on a community project, you may achieve a lot more. There are certainly techniques and work that I did in this project that will certainly have an impact on my work or others as historians. This kind of projects are very important for historians as its because of these collective projects we can hold on and preserve the information, which would let future generation to access it. It’s because of these projects like ‘war diary’ that we know what was really happening through times of war and having this primary sources is important to historians and scholars as this information enables them to study and learn about these events. I feel like I have developed and transcribed information that I hope will help future historians carrying out their work specifically on this topic, as I believe this project and future projects I will carry out will impact the work I carry out as a historian. I believe this project enabled me to understand more about the work historians do and has given me a better insight into how I can manage these projects but also by learning history by doing so which will benefit the future work I will carry out as a historian.

Hope you enjoyed my blog about my experience of exploring Zooniverse and my contribution to this community-engaged project. It was an enjoyable experience for me, and it is something I will continue to do in my spare time as I believe is very important to preserve historic information that is accessible to future generations, and I enjoyed playing with and exploring this tool.

 

Until next time, thank you for reading.

[1] https://www.operationwardiary.org/?_ga=1.60140333.1084244537.1487765467#/

[2] https://www.operationwardiary.org/?_ga=1.138594419.1961270087.1487772863#/about

Response to creating a Digital Artifact

For my digital artifact I have chosen to team-up with my colleague Senan Clancy. We met up regularly during the week between lectures to discuss the topic for our digital artifact also with the help of our tutor Jessica Jones. First of all I needed a better understanding of a digital artifact and what it was about because I wasn’t entirely sure. If you just did a simple search of ‘what is a digital artifact into Google it shows up with over 700’000 results. A digital artifact is any type of item produced or stored in an digital/electronic version. That means that we had many topics to choose from. For example, we could have created any digital document such as a presentation, programmes, audio files, images or even photographs.1

We decided on a video file where we would do research and then talk about the topic that would interest us in the digital humanities area. We both did a little bit of research and I read over my own and my colleagues blogs to try and find an interesting topic to come up with for our digital artifact. We did discuss several topics from gaming to literature but we both agreed that open access would be an interesting topic that we could both gather sufficient information on but also had a bit of background knowledge which would benefit our digital artifact, as it is a topic we discussed in several lectures in the past. We both agreed to do research on open access and increase our knowledge on the topic so we could discuss it for our digital artifact and we could create a video file doing so. I did do a blog about openness and open access in my second year of college which you may access here to get a little bit of background information : https://maciekbeczek.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/critical-response-to-openness/

Firstly, I searched ‘open access’ and got several information on the pros and cons of it and why some people may oppose open access. I strongly agree with open access as funding for research is provided by the state from taxpayers money so it is a public good which should be provided with no costs, to increase the human knowledge. I strongly oppose the idea of scholars having to pay extra money for information that is funded by the state out of taxpayers money which is the public and we as scholars, shouldn’t pay extra for that information.

We gathered our information and discussed what kind of video file we will create. We first of all decided to create a video where one of us was a rich Microsoft CEO who was against open access and the other a student who supported open access. It would have been an argument where they discussed why they were for and against open access. However, we felt that it wouldn’t last long enough so we then thought of just a similar idea of us having a conversation as students and one of us being for and the other against open access but we faced similar problems of not being able to talk for a long enough period. So, we decided to create a video clip as two scholars discussing the history of open access, the pros and cons, the impact the work of Aaron Swartz have in this day and age but also where do we go from here in relation to open access

We recorded the video clip from my Phone. We kept the first attempt and that is the video clip we used for the creation of our digital artifact. We both agreed that other attempts weren’t as enjoyable or interesting because it almost seemed like we would be reading it from a script because of all the practices we had recording the rest. In stark contrast to our first attempt where the video file is very passive and enjoyable for viewers to watch but also very interesting where they gain information about open access and the pros and cons. You will also gain information about the work of Aaron Swartz and his contribution to the work that is still on going about public knowledge and open access. I don’t want to spoil too much what is said in the digital artifact as you’ll have to watch it for yourself to find out but it is certainly worth a watch.

After we completed the video file we continued to create the digital artifact by posting the clip on YouTube. However, we were restricted to an extent of editing the file on YouTube. To be honest, Senan and I don’t know much about technology so our video file is plain. However, it is very realistic and passive as we used our first recording for the creation of the digital artifact without any practices or previous attempts. We met up during our study week in college and shared what we knew about open access. We thought our first attempt was just going to be a practice one so we decided to not use any notes or drafts and work with what we have learned. We asked our tutor Jessica Jones on her opinion of the video file and she liked it, she said it was very interesting and enjoyable to watch but also very passive and poses a positive impact on our digital artifact. The ending of our digital artifact is quiet unusual but it’s where we think it also completes our video as it proves to our meaning of how our digital artifact is passive but I also think it puts a bit of humour on our work. We did try and create another video file to edit and replace the ending of our video file but YouTube restricted editing and we decided it would be better to remain with our original Video file as we thought it would be best for the creation of our digital artifact.

It was an enjoyable and an quiet unusual experience but certainly one I would love to do all over again.We hope you enjoy our digital artifact and we would certainly love and appreciate some feedback, You may access the digital artifact at the following link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe7XcVao57Y

  1. Espinoza. R (September 2006) what are digital artefacts? Retrieved (10 December 2016) 0n: http://rossanaelearningtools.blogspot.ie/2006/09/what-are-digital-artefacts.html

Reflection on Pedro’s lecture on Catalonia and conflict in Spain

http://pedrolodigital.cat/ <– link to Pedro’s website

I must say I was very surprised about and impressed by Catalan culture and history. The lecture certainly caught me by surprise as I didn’t think I would enjoy it and find it as fascinating as I did. What struck me the most about this lecture was the comparison to the situation in Catalan and what occurred in Ireland almost 100 years ago, as it was very similar. Just like Ireland wanted independence from Britain, Catalan wants independence from Spain.

 

What was certainly unusual is how a writer from Catalan Manuel de Pedrolo was portrayed as Spanish on Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia is meant to be freely editable, it restricts this writer’s nationality to Spanish and does not permit an edit to change it to Catalan. However, Wikipedia is supposed to be editable by users and if Irish writers and poets like, for example, Seamus Heaney’s nationality was English on Wikipedia due to the history in this country, it would certainly result in uproar and the Irish people would demand for that to be changed immediately.

 

Catalan history is interesting at the moment because what happened in Ireland a 100 years ago when they wanted independence from Britain is now happening in Catalonia and Spain. I was very surprised how Catalan was not a minority language but in stark contrast a very popular one as it is spoken by around 9.5 million people mainly in Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Island and the French region of Rousillon. It is also the 14th most spoken language in Europe so there is no surprise they want the support of their own state.1

 

It would also benefit them economically as Catalonia has a tax deficit compared to the Spanish state of around 8% of its GDP which in 2010 amounted to €16,000,000,000 of Catalan taxes which were paid to Madrid and not reinvested to Catalonia. This makes Catalonia the highest taxed region in Europe which results in it schools, health service, infrastructure and other services suffer compared to other regions in Spain.2 Also despite Barcelona’s airport being the busiest airport in Spain still has no metro connection, very poor train service and out of date roads compared to the Madrid airport in Spain.

 

AENA the central airport authority in Spain prioritize intercontinental flights to Madrid, results in there being no direct flights from many destinations to Barcelona which clearly has an effect on tourism and multinational business in Catalonia not only the airport that is affected as the Port of Barcelona is one of the busiest in Europe and It’s so profitable that it subsidizes other ports around Spain. However, it also took years for the Spanish government to agree to a Mediterranean corridor which will let goods be brought into north Europe as ships from Asia that currently dock in Rotterdam (Holland) could access the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal which will be quicker and easier to access.4 It will certainly benefit the economy and both Catalonia and Europe have kept trying to persuade the idea of the Mediterranean corridor. However, the central government in Spain has been blocking it for years clearly worrying that it would certainly benefit the Catalan economy and the Catalan area. However after a lot of persuading in recent years, the Spanish central government has finally agreed for the Mediterranean corridor which is scheduled to go ahead in the year 2020.5

 

We can certainly tell why Catalonia is so badly seeking to get independence. Not many people know about the issues and conflict happening currently in Spain. The only thing I heard about this issue before Pedro’s lecture was about the big Rivalry in football in Spain between Barcelona and Real Madrid. It even led to Barcelona defender Gerard Pique wanting to retire from the Spanish national team due to receiving criticism to not respecting the Spanish jersey and playing to his fullest potential because he is Catalan.

However, a deeper understanding of the conflict and through Pedro’s lecture and what he is trying to demonstrate, will certainly result in people understanding the history in Spain and the reasons for Catalonia seeking independence from Spain. It was a fascinating lecture which taught me a lot and not just about Catalan history but also their culture. I think Pedro is doing great work but also very interesting work which I’m sure he is very passionate about and will gain much recognition from people all over the world.

1.  Burgen, S (November 2012). Catalan: a language that has survived against the odds. Retrieved (December 14, 2016). on:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/22/catalan-language-survived

2. Botto-Tornielli, S (November 2014). Economic impacts of Catalonia’s bid for independence. Retrieved (December 14, 2016). on: http://www.yaleeconomicreview.org/archives/2223

3. Macias, P (August 2015). The disputed capture of Asian flights. Retrieved (December 14, 2016). on: http://www.ara.cat/en/THE-DISPUTED-CAPTURE-ASIAN-FLIGHTS_0_1421858034.html

4. Catalan News Agency (2011). Mediterranean Railway Corridor. Retrieved (December 14 2016). on: http://www.catalannewsagency.com/mediterranean-railway-corridor/2

5. Torne, J (March 2011). The Mediterranean corridor will be a reality in 2020. Retrieved (December 14 2016). on: http://www.catalannewsagency.com/mediterranean-railway-corridor/item/the-mediterranean-rail-corridor-will-be-a-reality-in-2020?category_id=43

Impact of eSports on the gaming world

 

For my final assignment I wanted to focus on sports as it is something I’m very fascinated by. However, I came across something I didn’t think even existed and with the help of my tutor Jessica Jones I got a better understanding of it but it was also quite an unusual topic. The gaming world has been so developed in recent years that it is now considered a sport. ESport is a form of video game competition that includes games such as first person shooter, real time strategy and fighting.1 However, these aren’t competitions that just anybody can compete in. It is particularly between professionals battling it out in tournaments such as The League of Legends World Championships, The Evolution Championship series and even the Smite World Championship which provide live broadcasts of the competition, prize money for winners and even salaries to competitors.2

 

One of the first video game competitions took place on 19th October 1972 at Stanford University, where students were invited for the game Spacewar and were competing for a year-long subscription for rolling stone.3 (The popular magazine that includes music and movies reviews). There were other eSport competitions such as 1990 Nintendo World Championships. However it wasn’t until recent times that the games have received massive recognition. It was the emergence of online streaming services that have helped the growth of eSports. The most common method of watching tournaments is via Twitch, an online streaming platform launched in 2011, which streams popular eSports competitions.4 During the 2013 Internationals, Twitch recorded 4.5 million unique views, with viewers watching for an average of two hours.5

 

There is a strong debate to labelling video games as sport thanks to the growth of popularity of eSports. The games have become so popular that in 2013 Canadian League of Legends player Danny Shiphtur Le became the first ever professional gamer to receive a visa, which was in category of Internationally Recognised Athletes.6 Also, in 2016, the French government started working on a project to try and recognise eSports in the country.7

 

esports-betting8

This is how popular eSports is. All the people sitting there that you might say to just watch people compete on a number of screens. It has grown so much in popularity that you’re now able to make bets on who you think is going to win. Similar to physical sports such as football, rugby and boxing.9 The eSports market generated $325 million of revenue in 2015 in the US and is expected to make $493 million in 2016. It 2015 the total 2015 eSports spectators was 226 million people.10 Some people might say it’s not a sport and it’s only a game but I’m sure this is only the start and it’s only going to grow in the coming years.

 

Bibliography:

1. Hamari, J & Sjoblom, M (2015). What is eSports and why do people watch it. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2686182

2. Keach, S (2015). What are eSports? a beginners guide to pro gaming. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/what-are-esports-a-beginner-s-guide-to-pro-gaming

3. Good, O (2012). Today is the 40th anniversary of the world’s first known Video  Gaming Tournament. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://kotaku.com/5953371/today-is-the-40th-anniversary-of-the-worlds-first-known-video-gaming-tournament

4. Popper, B (2013). Field of streams: How twitch made video games a spectator sport. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/30/4719766/twitch-raises-20-million-esports-market-booming

5. Warr, P (2014). eSports in numbers: five mind-blowing facts. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://www.redbull.com/ca/en/esports/stories/1331644628389/esports-in-numbers-five-mind-blowing-stats

6. LeJacq, Y (2013). Score! Professional video gamers awarded athletic visas. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100904370

7. Auxent, A (2015). The French government recognizes eSports, but who gets to decide what eSports is. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://esportsobserver.com/the-french-government-recognizes-esports-but-who-gets-to-decide-what-esports-is/

8. E-Sports, (2015). eSports betting website guide and review. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://e-sports.net/esports-betting/

9. E-Sports, (2015). eSports betting website guide and review. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://e-sports.net/esports-betting/

10. Warr, P (2014). eSports in numbers: five mind-blowing facts. Retrieved (December 13, 2016) on: http://www.redbull.com/ca/en/esports/stories/1331644628389/esports-in-numbers-five-mind-blowing-stats

 

The advancment of Virtual Reality and how it can change our lives

Often find yourself sitting at home on a rainy day and have nothing to do? This can now be changed forever with the introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) and apps that can let you visit museums and other attractions around the world. VR is a computer technology that uses software to generate realistic images and sounds that replicate a real environment. The technology is so advanced that it can stimulate a users physical presence in an environment and enable the user to interact with their surroundings. VR places us inside an experience but instead of just viewing a screen in front of us, we are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. The technology is so advanced that it’s now being used by Oculus, Sony, HTC, Samsung and google. The tool only requires three things which are a PC, console or smartphone to run the app or game, a headset which secures a display in front of your eyes (including your phones display) and some sort of input  which could include head tracking, controllers, hand tracking, on device buttons or trackpads.1 The main aim of the VR, whether it’s for a game or app is to make the Virtual Reality experience so real that we forget we’re in a game and wearing these accessories and to act as we would in the real world.

The concept of Virtual Reality was first brought up in 1935 by Stanley G. Weinbaum’s. In his science fiction short story “Pygmalion’s Spectacles” he describes a virtual reality system with holographic recording of fictional experiences which included smell and touch.2 However the first VR wasn’t created till 1962 when Morton Heilig created the Sensorama which was a mechanical and multimodal technology which could display stereoscopic 3-D images in a wide-angle view. Howard Rheingold in his book (Virtual Reality in 1991) spoke of his trial of the Sensorama of a short film piece of a bike ride through Brooklyn which was created in the 1950’s and he was still impressed with what it could do, almost 40 years later.3 sensorama-main-bw4

However it wasn’t till 1980’s when Sega master system 3D glasses which included a flickering headset that recreated the effect of 3D in a private setting and Nintendo in 1995 introducing a 3D red and black based headset which all set the stage for today’s technology.5

However to recent advancement of the VR is certainly very useful and beneficial. The reason it’s getting such acknowledgment now compared to a couple of years ago is because now it is not only used for gaming. VR has come a long way and it is now possible to visit museums and heritage centers across the world without leaving your favorite sofa in your sitting room or even your bed. Couple of years ago, VR’s main purpose was creating a more sense of reality in gaming, however now we can use the VR to visit museums and art gallaries without moving from home which engages with a broader number of people (including students and researchers). WoofbertVR is an app the gives people the opportunity to visit art virtually, anywhere in the world. The app lets you discover the Courtauld Gallery in London from your home. It is an important aspect for scholars, providing them with a new and cheaper way of studying as the app lets you witness a picture from as long as the year 1882. The main objective of woofbertVR is to put the user in the center and the possibility to look at cultural, historical and philosophical aspects from a different angle. Scholars can now instead of having to pay to go and see these museums and spend money on travel and stay, can just visit them from their home without spending hundreds of euros.6

However it’s not all good as a lot of people experience Virtual Reality Sickness which enable you to experience symptoms which is very similar to motion sickness, including, headaches, discomfort, nausea and stomach awareness. However, Virtual Reality sickness is different from motion sickness because it can more be caused by moving images rather than actual motion itself.7 However I do believe everything has a negative impact in some sort of way and nothing is perfect in this world but people do vary in their susceptibility to Virtual Reality Sickness, which base some on gender, age or even experience.

vr

Here is what a Samsung VR headset looks like which shows it in the image above on my head where I am having quiet some experiencing Visual Reality and enjoying it. It certainly seems much easier to use than the sensorama which was created in the 1960’s. It has certainly advanced in recent years but with the ability of catering for a broader number of people and not just gamer’s, it will only grow in popularity and get more attention. It is growing in popularity and the immersive environment created through VR can be so similar to the real world and real experience that it is also used for simulations for pilots and combat training. It is certainly life changing and thanks to the VR we can now visit a museum on the other side of the world, without spending any money or even moving from  our bed.

 

 

 

Bibliography

1 Charara, S. (October 2016). Explained: How does VR actually work? Retrieved (November 29, 2016) on: https://www.wareable.com/vr/how-does-vr-work-explained

2 Weinbaum,S. (October 2007). Pygmalion’s Spectacles. Retrieved (November 29, 2016) on: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22893/22893-h/22893-h.htm

3 Rheingold, H. (1991). Virtual Reality. USA: The University of Chicago Press Retrieved (November 29, 2016) on: https://books.google.ie/books?id=gcc8BAAAQBAJ&dq=Rheingold,+H.+(1991).+Virtual+Reality.+USA:+The+University+of+Chicago+Press

4 Image. Retrieved (November 30, 2016) on: https://www.freeflyvr.com/time-travel-through-virtual-reality/

5 Workman, R. (March 2014). A brief history of video game virtual reality, and why this time it will be different. Retrieved (November 30, 2016) on: https://www.primagames.com/games/killzone-shadow-fall/feature/brief-history-video-game-virtual-reality-and-why-time-will-be-different

6 Beck, J. (June 2016). VR and museums. Retrieved (November 30, 2016) on: http://www.virtual-reality-in-tourism.com/vr-and-museums/

7 Pappas, S. (April 2016). Why does Virtual Reality make some people sick? Retrieved (December 5, 2016) on: http://www.livescience.com/54478-why-vr-makes-you-sick.html

Textual Humanities Getting Intimate with Text – Voyant Tools

The advancement in technology over the years and the digital age progressing causes ways to interpret and present data to transform in numerous ways. With the development of new technology we can now present data like never before. Information can now be digitally visualised in order to help our understanding and clarity of our text. Texts can often be difficult to follow or to understand and with the support of tools like ‘Voyant tools’ ‘Wordle’ or even ‘Raw’ we can now transform these texts into the most simplest way and make them more clear easier to understand. The new advancement in technology and the development of these tools can transform future texts visualisation and clarity.

i can see clearly now

The tool I have chosen to process, visualise and analyse my text was Voyant tools. I never actually heard of Voyant tools before this year and didn’t really think much of this assignment at the start and didn’t think I would interact as much with it as I did and certainly didn’t think I would enjoy it. I am highly interested in research and presenting data and I think that’s the reason I enjoyed this assignment so much and interacted with it as much as I did. Voyant tools is a web-base, which you may visualisation, analyse and process your text into a simpler form. It may be accessed by anyone and it is free to use since it is an open source and it may be used in a variety of languages. It’s designed to make it easy to work for anyone that wishes to use it  and it may be used with your own text or collection of texts in a variety of formats, including plain text, HTML, XML, PDF, RTF, and MS Word. (http://voyant-tools.org/voyant-logo-tiny

The text I have chosen to visualise for this assignment was The Great Gatsby. The reason for this was because I have read the text recently and wanted to know would Voyant tools be accurate in helping me visualise this text in many different formats since the text was still fresh in my memory I wanted to know how good Voyant tools really was and wanted to experience the different kind of ways I could visualise and analyse this text. What makes this tool really fascinating is that you can view this text in all different formats and trends. I used the cirrus option, then I used the links option which visualises the different links between the words in the text, I then used the trends tool and at the end I also used the collocates option which revealed the amount of times a certain word has been used in the text. I had to edit my text as the word ‘page’ came up most frequently which wasn’t actually in the text but was just used for the number of pages in the text.

I firstly visualised my text using the Cirrus option. The Cirrus option is a word cloud that shows the frequency of terms that appear in a piece of digital text. The terms that come up most often are visualised as the larger clouds compared to those words that don’t come up as often, which are visualised as the smaller clouds. Under the Cirrus option, there is a summary of your word cloud which indicates the amount of times the bigger words were used. However, having read the full text and knowing the main characters in the text in came with no surprise that the words most frequently used were ‘Gatsby’ ‘Tom’ ‘Daisy’ and ‘Great’. After that I knew that Voyant Tools was certainly a great tool to use and was very accurate. Although Voyant tools is very accurate, you still need to understand the text to be able to visualise it more clearly as the third most frequent word in the text was ‘Said’. However, maybe if you haven’t read the text you would still be able to realise that the reason for that is because in the text somebody is actually telling the story so tends to use a lot of the word ‘Said’.

I then used the links tool which helps you distinguish between the words which appear to be related in the text. The key words that tend to be most frequently used appear in green. While words that tend to be linked to them most often during the text seem to be in red. Once again this tool proves to be very beneficial and explains how the key words for example like ‘Gatsby’ is highly linked with ‘Daisy’. These are the two main characters of the text. It is also fascinating how the three main characters ‘Gatsby’, ‘Daisy’ and ‘Tom’ seem to be linked using the links tool which makes the tool highly successful since it links my texts in a simple and clear manner.

The third tool I used was the trends tool. This tool was highly beneficial in terms of research if you were carrying out a study it would be highly helpful. It shows me how much the words used most frequently were used in each chapter of my text. If one was carrying out a study this would be very beneficial and time saving for them. I found it very helpful and in the future if carrying out a research I will certainly use Voyant tools and the trend graph option. My final tool used was the collocates option which showed me all the words in the text and how frequently they were used. It was fascinating how this tool shows all the words used in the text which was 50,231 words and 6,418 unique words in the space of a few seconds.

I think it is amazing how quick it takes but also the amount of different ways you may visualise this text in all different shapes and forms. I was fascinated by the detail the Voyant tool provided me with of my text and how even if I hadn’t read my text, I think I would receive a great understanding of it thanks to the Voyant tool. The one thing I found difficult to use in the Voyant tool was saving the trend graphs so I could save it as data or even copy it to my blog. Unfortunately having played with the tool for hours it wouldn’t let me save my data. Being a first time user of the tool it took me hours to find the option where I could save my graphs and once I found it, it kept bringing me out of the site and wouldn’t let me save my graphs. I watched the movie The Great Gatsby and having visualised the text but also edited the text so I’m able to visualise it more clearly thanks to Voyant tools, I would certainly say the greatest way of processing and visualising this text is through the Voyant tools because you’re given so much information in the space of a few seconds, It is an open source so anyone that has internet access may use it and it is certainly less time consuming but also very accurate.

 

Local neighborhood on OpenSteetMap

 

OSM_Logo_design_Ben_Hall.png

I chose this assignment because I felt like I could give back my local area for all that it has done for me and I hope to help others by adding and editing features, to make them more accurate. This assignment was certainly different than all the other assignments I have been given before. Surprisingly, I really got captivated to this assignment and before I knew it, I had spent hours adding and editing features in my local neighborhood on OpenStreetMap. What made this assignment so fascinating is that yes I was doing an assignment but I was also contributing my own local knowledge to my own area and hopefully I will be helping others in the near future. When I first took a look at this assignment I certainly didn’t think it would be as engaging as it was. At first, I was stressing because I never did anything like this before and it was completely new to me. However, in just a matter of minutes of playing around with the tools and getting familiar to the OpenStreetMap site, it got pretty simple and it started to get enjoyable too.

I chose my local area of Midleton town in east Cork because after searching around all different areas and locations on OpenStreetMap, I felt like there were still numerous of features missing and a lot that could be corrected in Midleton. Also, having lived there for almost all of my life, walking around the streets from young age, having tourists come up to me and ask me for directions, I know the most important features I had to add or edit that would benefit others. I began to add features, starting from fast food restaurants to local GAA and soccer pitches to playgrounds and local supermarkets. I also added features such as rivers, roads, railway tracks and I also remember from lectures to add in more detail such as possible areas of flooding or even where it is unsafe to go at nighttime. Before I knew it, hours have passed by and I was naming all the housing estates, correcting features in the Jameson experience and adding a URL, as it is one of the highest tourist attractions in Ireland. It almost felt like I was playing a game where I was creating my own town because it was so addicting, I couldn’t stop. Every time I thought to myself ‘I can stop now I did enough’, I just kept adding and correcting more features.

An_Str_Midleton_Tourist_Hostel-Midleton.gif

Its amazing to think OpenStreetMap was only created in 2004 as a response to limited geographical access especially in the UK. Since then, it has become one of the worlds largest voluntary, crowd sourced projects on the Internet. This is a great example of how important open source projects are and how helpful they may be to everyone in the world. My own skills as a scholar have certainly improved because of this assignment. I did numerous of research to find out different information to include on OpenStreetMap. I increased my skills at mapping and I got more confident using the OpenStreetMap site, since the data and software is owned by me for contributing. However, I don’t think I would have ever experienced anything like this if not this assignment and I am certainly glad I gave it a go.

I learned a lot throughout this experience, how an idea like OpenStreetMap that is free to use can be so beneficial to the public but at the same time it can be extremely enjoyable. OpenStreetMap gave me a chance to help my local neighborhood without having to step outside my front door. OpenStreetMap also gave me the opportunity to work with others and people I haven’t even met before, by being able to update and edit the work they did. Thanks to OpenStreetMap, I contributed to society but also, it feels like I’m part of a community because my work is now noticeable and if in a few years someone updates my work, I can contact them and we can communicate and discuss the numerous of changes that have occurred in my local area which I find highly incredible.  In the future if I ever want to see the changes in my local town I can just go onto OpenStreetMap, I will be able to witness the changes made to my work and how my local town has changed. It benefits the society and others too as they can witness the town, see the mapping that people who contributed have made and it is completely free.

I have enjoyed every minute of this experience and it’s something I’ll certainly be doing in my spare time and contributing as much as I can. Unlike google maps which is copyrighted and owned by multiple organisations, so Google just licenses it and if we were to use it, we would have to pay for it. On OpenStreetMap you can use your local knowledge and contribute by sharing public information for free with others. I certainly think my skills experienced in this assignment can contribute to future works, such as team work and other activities.  I have also gained a lot of confidence in mapping and editing/correcting other peoples work. As before I would be uncomfortable editing/correcting the work of others. OpenStreetMap has showed me how just volunteering a little bit of your time can contribute so much to society. OpenStreetMap is certainly something I will be spending a lot of my free time on in the future.

Find/add and review a DH tool

The DH tool I have chosen to review is Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). My colleagues and I were searching the net and we found this site which was unfamiliar and we haven’t heard of before. We were highly intrigued by this site but it didn’t exist on the DiRT Directory. I was so fascinated by this site I decided to add it to the DiRT Directory and share it with the public. DOAB provides unrestricted access to peer-reviewed academic books and it can be accessed by anyone at any time without any restraint. There are no charges on DOAB, all the information is free to the public. You also don’t have to create an account or be a member, it is really user-friendly. You just go onto DOAB and search any book you want on any topic from nursing to engineering. DOAB were the winners of the IFLA / Brill open access award 2015.

As stated by DOAB, their primary aim is to increase the discoverability of open access books. What is significant about this tool is all the books inside the DOAB database have undergone independent and external peer-review prior to publication and have been made available under an open access license. This results in all the books on DOAB are reputable. All the books are available freely and the publisher can easily be referenced and cited, in this way, one can ensure reliability. The tool is an easy way to access academic books. There is a wide variety of reputable authors and genres, e.g. gaming, humanities and more. There is also an advanced search option which allows the user to specify the search to title, ISBN, author, keywords, abstract, publisher and year. There are also a various number of languages available.

All publications on DOAB must first be submitted by reputable publishers, as this ensures credibility. This unfortunately does not allow day to day users to create and share their research unlike google docs but it results for the information on DOAB to be appropriate and legit. DOAB encourages authors of academic books to share their work publicly as it increases the chance of works coming to the attention of the masses. It benefits the public as its making research immediately and freely available to all.

DOAB allows knowledge to be shared on an unrestricted basis. There are no paywalls in DOAB that restrict access to users, in this way it is user friendly and very universal. DOAB allows publishers to share their information with a wider audience. There are 3552 academic peer-reviewed books from 127 publishers. DOAB proves to be a very accessible tool. The weakness is that one cannot edit or share their own work unless they’re notable publishers or authors. There is also not many research or articles on this tool but the reason for this is because I don’t think many people are aware of this tool.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find any road map on the tool and how far it has come since its establishment. It has a strong community behind it with OAPEN foundation supporting it and is being developed in close cooperation. DOAB is certainly an open source, it can be accessed by anyone once you have an internet connection, all you need to do is go onto DOAB and search any specific topic you’re interested in, there are no costs and no memberships required. You have to be a known publisher to be able to publish on DOAB, but first publishers have to contact DOAB and fill out an application in which they describe their licence policy and then the application is reviewed by DOAB and only if approved by DOAB can the publishers then access DOAB.

First time I went onto DOAB I was able to use the tool right away, there is a search bar and you just choose your topic, all the books with the search results will appear. Which then you can choose whether you would like to access it for free or export citation or you may even buy the book. For my future research I will certainly be using DOAB, it is simple to use and you have all the information required, all you need to do is search your topic of interest. DOAB is an amazing tool for anyone to use and it can be highly beneficial in research since it is a reliable source. Overall the Directory of Open Access Books is a highly beneficial resource that offers its service to everyone.

http://dirtdirectory.org/resources/directory-open-access-books

My experience of writing in Public

There are a lot of challenges facing you when you go to write in public and just the thought of other people reading my work and commenting on it, made me nervous. Of course there are lots of benefits from writing in public but it was just a fear I thought I would never overcome. Sitting in my first few lectures as a Design and Humanities student at the beginning of September, I certainly wouldn’t have thought I would get to this point where I’m writing my own blog about my experience of writing in public. I still remember the first few weeks where our lecturer told us we would have class discussions online and we would all have to share what we thought on a specific topic. My initial thought was that I would be avoiding some of these discussions because I wouldn’t be able to share my opinion with others being able to see it. Unfortunately the discussions went towards our overall mark of the module so I really had to participate.

Trust me, it is not like there is nothing going on in my head, there is lots going on and I almost have an opinion on everything but sharing it with people I don’t really know and knowing they could be judging me just results in all those comments in my head, staying there. I remember our first class discussion about writing in public and I had no idea what to write. I had thoughts in my head what to say but I just couldn’t get them out of my head. However, I decided to wait and see what others wrote in the discussion group. Funny enough, it was similar to what I was thinking and I had nothing to be afraid of. Those who had different thoughts just added new ideas to the table and expanded the discussion. I really started enjoying my experience of writing in public.

From feeling like I was made do something that I didn’t really enjoy doing to actually just constantly writing my opinion and what was on my mind and writing it, was strange. It was weird knowing that other people beside the lecturer and I would see my work and could comment on it. I was always afraid of my friends or family seeing my work, not to even mention people I didn’t really know looking at it. However, I still have a lot to learn as a writer but it was a great experience and the benefits of being a superior writer and being able to write with confidence is great. It even has its advantages on social media where you can comment on anything with confidence. In my opinion, don’t get concerned what others comment on your work, they usually do it to your benefit and to improve you as a writer. Yes, there might be comments that are rude and you might not like, but after all, everyone is entitled to an opinion.