Digital Humanities
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Inquiries into culture, meaning, and human value meet emerging technologies and cutting-edge skills at Pratt Institute's School of Information

NYCDH Week: Pinterest

NYCDH Week: Pinterest as Exhibition Gallery
February 10, 2016 -1:00 – 3:00pm
Metropolitan New York Library Council 57 East 11th Street, New York, NY, US, 10003

General Information of the Event

Noreen Whysel provided a unique opportunity to use Pinterest as a technology tool that may display and promote the projects of the Digital Humanities field. After a brief introduction of Pinterest, Ms. Whysel provided an illustrative explanation of how Architecture MPS has promoted its journal articles, conferences and online resources, by exposing it’s relationships with other research, exhibitions, and imagery.

Introduction

Ms. Whysel provided the following introductory steps to use Pinterest.

After creating a free account at pinterest.com, the website will display a series of random images with its corresponding captions. This large visual display will invite inquiring users to click on images they seem attracted to. By selecting one of the images, the user may find relevant information that has been posted, such as comments or points of view about the subject matter. At the bottom of the image, a series of similar images are also displayed in case the user may want to continue exploring the same subject area. If the user prefers to browse through a different subject, s/he may do so by typing the area of interest in the search field that is located on the top right corner of the screen.

1 Pinterest

In order to create a personal display board, the visitor must locate the user’s name on the top right corner of the screen. By clicking on the tab, the user will find a large gray area with another tab that displays “create a board”. Once the user clicks on this new tab, a menu will appear with a series of possibilities for the user to fill: the name of the project or exhibition; a brief description up to 500 words; a category field that provides different subjects that may relate to the project; a map, if the user would like to display a graphic as a background image; secret, if the user is willing to share the project to the public or not; and collaborators in case the project includes the names of people and/or relevant organizations. Then click save!

2 PinterestOn the new board, the user may upload images from different sources to create an exhibition. These resources may be retrieved from a personal archive or may be linked from another website or blog. Once each image is displayed, a brief description and location may be added by clicking on the edit button on each image (located on the top right corner that appears only when the mouse hovers the image.) Each of these images is now considered a pin.

3 Pinterest

 

Example of Architecture MPS

Ms. Whysel also provided the example of how Architecture MPS (http://architecturemps.com) has used Pinterest to draw attention to its images and resources.

  • Every board has a different theme related to the publication issue of the Architecture MPS academic journal, special projects, resource guides (webliography), conference papers, images, and other related resources.
  • Resources are often tagged with the url of the original source, so users may have the opportunity to explore more information on a website or a blog.
  • All the boards create an archive that may be referred to at any time.
  • The subject pins also serve as an advertisement board because they focus on the interests of the users. The categories of pins include: Popular, Everything, Gifts, Videos, Animals and pets, Architecture, Art, Cars and motorcycles, Celebrities, DIY and crafts, Design, Education, Film-music-and-books, Gardening, Geek, Hair and beauty, Health and fitness, History, Holidays and events, Home décor, Humor, Illustrations and posters, Kids and parenting, Men’s fashion, Outdoors, Photography, Products, Quotes, Science and nature, Sports, Tattoos, Technology, Travel, Weddings, and Women`s fashion.
  • By creating a Business Account, Pinterest Analytics (https://business.pinterest.com/en/pinterest-analytics) keeps track of the audience and identifies what their interests are.

4 Pinterest

Workshop

During the workshop, the five participants had plenty of time to interact with Ms. Whysel and share their points of view and experiences related to Pinterest. For example, one of the participants expressed that “pins” are a type of bookmark that allows users to share their topics of interest with their colleagues and friends, by sending them via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Another participant expressed that Pinterest may be used as a launch platform to discover unique DH projects. Another participant expressed a concern about the intellectual property rights of the images, and the instructor referred the participant to the section of “Copyright” that is located at the website.

As a participant, I was particularly interested in locating resources in the DH field. To my surprise, after a brief search, a menu was provided with the themes of infographics, illustrations, products, articles, projects, ideas, and other available subjects in the DH field. This allowed me the possibility to navigate into more specific areas and admire the available resources provided by my colleagues.

5 Pinterest

Conclusion

With new conceptualizations and experimental orientations, DH analyzers constantly seek valid support from the communications discipline in order to assign new significance to their academic field. This is why analyzing symbolic and textual matter in the DH field becomes significantly different, in aim and in method, when it’s shared with a technology tool that is commonly referred to as “social media”. Within this context, books, conferences, and various software products, may appeal to larger audiences in Pinterest, but it also seems like this tool may become a communication channel that may constrain the original message DH research projects. For example, very often users of Pinterest may assume a one-to-one relationship between the subject of interest and the results they may obtain with a search. With this assumption, the images and information that are obtained may not be well-defined for users who are not aware of the complex roles that the DH projects are playing in the academic field. Although the subject of choices is very clear, the results of the images and texts of the DH projects may be very misleading.

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Kirsten Grünberg

Kirsten Grünberg

Kirsten Grünberg’s cultural and academic background has led her to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles in New York City and Costa Rica. She received a Masters in Education at Framingham State University and is currently a Library and Information Science graduate student at Pratt Institute.
Kirsten Grünberg

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