Facing challenges

One challenge of any idea, is figuring out how to get those ideas out of your head, and into a format that presents that idea the best way possible. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is finding technology that helps me accomplish specifically what I hoped to accomplish, and finding ways to apply technologies I know how to use in ways that overall benefit my project. The way I have overcome (or started to overcome) these challenges is partially with the help of Courtney, Carrie, and Jill who recommended technologies to use, and ways of using technologies in ways that are beneficial to my project. Another way I am tackling these challenges is by finding technologies that almost do what I would like them to do, and seeing if and how I can twist and push this technology to work for my project. Essentially, to face my challenges I asked for help, and I am finding technologies that I can push to be useful for my work.

Questions and Answers

The best year to create a comprehensive history of the Campus Theatre would have been 1941 — the year it opened. 77 years later and it’s a little more challenging.

5 weeks into the summer research and I seem to learn something new about the shape of my project every day. One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is how in-depth I could be getting while digitizing this cinema’s history. What facets of the history of the theater will receive the most attention? For a while it seemed like the only answer to this question was, “I’m not sure yet. I’m trying to figure it out by the end of the week.” After many of these weeks in digital scholarship limbo, I think I’ve come up with an answer.

As one might expect, an obstacle that I face on a day-to-day basis is finding data in archives and newspaper articles relevant to my research. What a project of this scale needs is time and though the eight weeks that the program affords might not be enough to cover the entire history of the Campus Theatre in as much depth as I’d like, it does allow for a more focused study into a smaller time frame of the theater’s history.

After giving it much thought, my research will now be focused on The Campus Theatre’s first five years of existence with special attention paid to its role in the war effort during World War II and  the implications of the programming at the time. In digitizing the first year of screenings at the Campus Theatre, one can see a trend in the type of films they began to show as the war escalated with more and more war-related films being shown subsequent to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

In changing the scope I hope to use the tools and resources associated with digital scholarship to present and visualize a more meaningful set of data represented in these first five years than I could have done with the first seven decades of the theatre’s history in the allotted time frame. The goal of my research is now centered around more so discovering more about what types of films were being produced during this time period, what types of films were being sent to a small single-screen art deco theatre in central Pennsylvania and what this says about film production, distribution and exhibition during this period. My research will also present the types of things that the Campus Theatre did to assist the war effort. In its first year after its founding, it held many U.S.O. events and was an outlet where war bonds and stamps were sold.

As of now, I am excited to see what other information this period of time tells us about our history.

Finding A Way Soon…

“I don’t know where my path is yet. I’m just walking on it” – Olivia Newton-John

Every time I think I have handled a new way to present my project, there is always another way of executing it. That’s what it most frustrating right now, providing a clear, and concise project while also proving the point I am trying to highlight. It feels like there isn’t an end to the road that I am going on. Right now, I’m in the middle of looking at the history of mental disorders and the treatments that were provided into making them more tolerable….This is a very different route I am going after now after trying to prove that diversity is a problem within films that portray mental illness. The problem with the portrayal of mental illness is that it’s very ambiguous that to portray in the movies because if it’s not explicit, then it’s all based on assumption.

Considering that I am dealing with a very general topic with no specific guidelines like the Vito Russo Test, or the Bechdel Test, it can get frustrating trying to create one without having all the necessary credentials first. I plan on overcoming these challenges right now by continuously studying hard and reading as much as I can on the history of the cultural identity attached to mental illness and how films during that time portrayed mental illness. There is no clear concise answer yet, but I feel that isn’t the basis for a good research plan. I’m hoping that the films that I chose from the list of films that have mental illness TREATMENT will have a better correlation of ideas than the previous approach. I will continue to look at films that have treatment in them, including ECT, and antipsychotic medicines integrated into the story of the films and see if these portrayals are tied to the era that they are released in. I’ve gotten specific about the films that I chose. Either the films have to have a character with a diagnosed mental illness, and there have to be signs of psychiatry in practice or mental institutions as being a part of the plot. This way, I am keeping the data set of films specific, but hopefully, they provide some correlation.

I have read about 5 different articles that are probably useless to me now, but there’s still more to read on this topic that I can use to prove my point. Although there are a lot of issues, there seems to be more information that I have not yet read.

Troubleshooting

So far, as I work on ArcGIS, I have stumbled many times. Luckily, many of my mistakes are remedied by a simple adjustment.

One issue I came across was that in ArcGIS, I could not get certain areas to load information when I was enriching data. The issue was that a button is automatically clicked that made only the areas that within my screen were enriched. So one problem was solved by simply unclicking a button.

Another issue I came across was a “duplicate field name” issue that did not let me upload data. At first, I just changed field names, but now it is appearing for me again no matter how many times I change the names. I don’t know what is wrong, but I will meet with Janine again over this next week to sort it out. I feel like it will be another easy fix, but I don’t know.

Also, I am not sure how I want to design my web page. I am not a big fan of the storymaps interface, but I am not a website designer either. I would prefer something that allows me to provide more information. I am afraid that if I embed the map into a different hosting site, however, the map will lag. I will figure out my plans to make a web page shortly–I will most likely use storymaps but I just don’t like it at the moment.

Other than these few issues, I think my biggest issue is motivation! Summer beckons and I have found myself spending too much time tanning. I am working on changing my ways–and it is somewhat working? It’s Sunday night and I’m working on my project..so that’s progress! Once I get a good amount of work done, I think that the motivation will come back!

 

This week is the 4th! Happy Birthday America!