Curating an Exhibit

While we enter the final 6 weeks of course, and begin racing full speed ahead, I thought I should reflect on our final project a bit more. More specifically, I wanted to take you all on a journey which I call Curating an Exhibit. Luckily for us, we have a physical and digital space. Throughout this blog posting I encourage you to reflect critically on the spaces that we have and think about what aspects of this we can include within our exhibits.


When curating an exhibit there are many questions that we must ask ourselves. Lynsay did an amazing job highlighting these during our conversation today regarding a design brief.

Who is our audience?

What do we want them to know (when they come to the exhibit and visit our website)?

How can we engage them?

What purpose to they have (and reason) to want to visit our website?

What items will make them want to come to the exhibit?

Who are our stakeholders and how do they influence our exhibits?

Similar to writing a paper, as curators we have an intention which we can call a thesis. This thesis is one that is persistent throughout the entire exhibit. It is an underlying theme or message that guides and influences our work. This doesn’t have to a repeated phrase or even mentioned within the exhibit itself but we as the curators must remember this within our work. This thesis will inspire not only us, but the visitors as well. This can be related to Marc’s question of “how do we reach a target audience that is beyond the notion of ‘people like us’’? If we identify our target audience, we can then identify those who exist outside of it? Why would those people be interested in our exhibit, and how can we intentionally build those ideas into our framework?

In order to truly be successful with this, we need cohesion across all the teams. My role as the project manager to assist with this cohesion. If you are waiting for something and the other team has past the deadline, my job is to help the team and you while we waiting. We must be transparent and trust each other in the different areas.

Here are the list of dates and deadlines that we discussed in class, with a few extras and adjustments. Remember if you are unable to complete a task by the deadline, do not worry! Just communicate and let everyone know.

February 28: Finalized Exhibit Layout (Hard deadline, March 2)

March 1: Design Brief for Website (After reviewing exhibit layout) (Hard deadline, March 3)

March 3: QR Codes (Information on how to make them gathered)

March 5: List of all content required for website (Hard deadline, March 8)

March 8: 3 poster designs created and ready to be printed (Hard deadline, March 10)

March 20: Website Beta ready to launch (Hard deadline, March 25)

March 21: Pamphlet created (based on exhibit and website) (Hard deadline, March 26)

March 22: Exhibit set-up (Hard deadline based on change of exhibition dates)

I will be adding more deadlines to Trello based on the tasks that everyone is completing. Remember if you are unsure please ask, and it is better to overshare than underscore in a group project!

The Beginning of the End

Happy Saturday everyone! I thought I would title this blog post “The Beginning of the End” since we are already two weeks into the semester, meaning that there is only 10 weeks left…

As we enter second semester in full swing, I have had time to reflect on our first semester and look ahead to what our final semester will bring us. Being able to lead the first seminar alongside Nick was a great way to kick off the semester for myself. I was able to start the semester by thinking deeply and broadly about this topic. It was great for all of us as a group to dive into the idea of what is digital history and considering all the implications, positives and have a deep conversation was useful. There are many layers and underpinnings when it comes to understanding digital history that I think we would need more than a blog post to truly develop these thoughts. One way that I think we can summarize our thoughts would be to truly use our final project as a way to synthesize our thoughts and materialize all of our ideas and notions of what we believe digital history to be. I think an important thought to consider, and something that we have brought up, is what legacy do we want to leave behind? Hopefully our project lasts beyond this semester and that we are able to provide light on the manuscripts that Carleton has and raise some awareness about the importance and pertinence of manuscript studies within post-secondary education.

In Veronica’s most recent blog post, she brought up the excellent point about pushing our own limits and seeing where this project can take us. In the first semester, I think we really doubted ourselves and our abilities (I mean I know I did especially when it can to deciphering what my text was saying!). With this semester however, I feel like we really have “sunk our feet in” sort of say and have the fundamentals to be extremely successful. Each of us brings something unique to the table and if we play to our strengths, this project will turn out better than what we expect.

Now, this blog post has turned into a motivational speech therefore I want to turn back to consider the practicalities of the final project. I have taken on the role of Project Manager which means that I will have to “have my hands” in everything. I think this role will be important to create a brand, form consistency and ensure that we remain true to ourselves while creating this project. What will this project be you may ask (for anyone reading this outside of our course), well follow our Instagram, medieval_book for updates and more information! We have recently reached over 100 followers without even posting content yet. I am excited to see where we leave our digital footprint this semester.

Week 13: Back from the Break

Happy Saturday everyone! 

For this week’s class please come prepared with 3-5 points on how the holiday break should be longer, we will then compile a 15 page essay and submit it to the dean – JUST KIDDING. The breaks are just not quite long enough.

As for the readings, these ones are SUPER interesting. The Patrick Sahle one was interesting but if we are being honest, I found myself getting lost in his ideas, so I recommend starting with that one. I had a hard time narrowing down the questions to come prepared to have a grand discussion.  Best of luck!

Questions to Consider

Before doing the readings, did you have some preconceived notions about what digitizing history meant to the several mediums that exist? To explain this question…were you aware that digitizing manuscripts means that you no longer are using the physical print copy? Are there are tools in your daily life that have been replaced by digital versions (i.e for me, I no longer use a paper map but rather just google maps on my phone)

Jon Bath and others, bring up McKitterick’s point of “each new technology does not replace the previous one. Rather it augments it and offers alternatives” Do agree with this idea?

Do you believe that once an object becomes digitized that it loses its value? (Would seeing the Mona Lisa online evoke the same feelings as going to see it in person?) Furthermore, Once a text is digitized, does it still remain the same? If we were to keep the text the exact same but lose all the physical aspects would it be the same object?

After completing all the readings, what do you think digital history means? (Including Digital scholarly editing, digitizing history and etc)

Enjoy the rest of your break, and see you on Monday! 🙂

What the %!@* are emojis?!

Automatically, when you read that title I am sure you filled in %!@* with your own thoughts, but what I really meant was “heck”. It is interesting to see how we have programmed our brains into reading symbols.

What the heck are emojis, and how do they fit into this medieval history class? Well, in the next 400 words or so,  I hope to bring some insight into this thought.

For me, transcribing my manuscript was extremely difficult. What I found even more frustrating was that we have endless resources online that could have assisted me (such as Latin abbreviations, alphabets and even guides on how manuscripts were written). Even with this resources, I was at a loss because I was not even sure what I was searching for. This got me thinking about emojis, and the language that we use every day. Are we documenting the meanings that we transcribe to emojis, and is that information even important enough for someone to consider documenting?

Let’s play a game. Take a look at these emojis and in the comments, leave your guesses to what movies you think that have been described in these emoji scenes. For us, this might be easy (or not). Imagine, however, in a hundred years (or longer), someone else trying to transcribe the meaning of the emojis. We have given emojis new meanings (the peach, and eggplant are just two examples of emojis that have new innuendos – not in this image, but in the context of texting now).

For example, the first one is the movie “Sex and the City” Image from:

This is important to consider because our use of language reveals how our society reflects language. I would argue that we do not value language as much as those in medieval times did (or so I think that they did). We tend to skip words, ignore punctuation and add in images as often as we can. We limit ourselves to 240 characters or an Instagram caption. I do not think that we master linguists (honestly, I have no idea if linguists is a word and I think that proves my point), have decided that we can get our point across in as few words as possible, but rather I think we have become – lazy.

Emojis, can do the work for us. Just as abbreviations did the work for the monks who transcribed manuscript on manuscript. I think, their abbreviations were justified as they were probably sore from writing for hours as a day, versus us, taking one minutes (probably less) to send out a tweet.  It is important for us to examine how we use language in relation to how medieval manuscript transcribers used language. When we make parallels in our work, we will soon begin to understand their work better. I do not think that we are going to be finding any emojis in manuscripts any time soon, however, perhaps the emoji is the modern abbreviation (even more advanced than lol or rofl).

For your enjoyment, I have included a few emoji idioms to see if we can decipher what they say… Now we know how students in 3018 will feel deciphering our texts (if we live past clime change of course).

First one, “Hot Potato” Image from:

Preparation for Leading a Seminar

This week I got to dabble in the art of “leading a seminar”. Perhaps in the medieval times we would have had wine to enhance this conversation… (I actually know quite little about medieval history so if that is inaccurate I apologize – this perhaps will be my tragic flaw but only time will reveal that). My knowledge does however extend to seminar leading and Github.

This week we looked at open source notebooks, their implications, barriers and how we can directly apply this to our class. I decided to put together some tips for others leading a seminar on things that I did that I found useful and useless.


– Do the readings twice. Read them the first time to make notes and raise questions (as if you were not leading the seminar). The second time around, read them and think about what material left you with unanswered questions. Or think about how to relate the article to that week’s discussion.
– Review the readings once again prior to the lecture. I did the readings a week in advance and had to review them the morning of to make sure I remembered everything.
– Take notes on Hypothesis. Hypothesis (although can be horrible) has it perks – my personal favourite is that I will never lose my notes. As well when others are doing the readings they can see what you are thinking about. As well, if you highlight the important parts then people are more likely to read those sections.
– Create your broad questions for discussion and post those. Then on your own time, make questions that are “lead-offs’. These are questions for when nobody responds, you can ask this question and perhaps it will trigger their minds to think about the topic differently.
– Answer your own questions. Not everybody will be talkative so make sure to bring your own ideas to the table.


– Making more than 5 broad questions. More often than not, you will find yourselves deep into conversation therefore creating more questions than necessary isn’t always the best. (I mean the ones you post, not the specific lead-off ones).
– Doing all the work. You want to make sure that you are not the only doing the readings for the week. You are definitely leading the seminar and making sure there are no silences but you want to make sure everyone isn’t piggybacking off of you. After all, we are working as a team.

I personally really enjoyed leading a seminar. I tried to ask questions that I knew would A) stir the pot and get discussion going and B) that would get people thinking. A lot of the questions that I asked were designed to have many different view points and answers. I wanted to make sure that I was limiting my own bias and allowing people to have a space for their own opinions. I think a topic like open source notebooks is hard because there are not really any right or wrong answers to this topic. It is still something that we are learning about even now. It will be definitely interesting to see how are topics evolve as we get further into our own projects and into the class.