Author: Ellie Laloudakis

The Days of an Omekan

Shortly after being assigned to the Archivists group and looking over what the previous website group had accomplished, we decided that we needed to create a more personal connection to Walter Harding’s story. While there was a lot of information about his work and the scholarly contributions he made to Henry David Thoreau’s legacy, we wanted to know more about Walter Harding himself.

After consulting with Liz Argentieri, an archivist of Milne Library, and asking about Harding’s relatives, she pointed us in Allen Harding’s direction. With the help of Professor Schacht, we contacted Mr. Harding by email and set up a conference call. We tried to do the call over Skype at first, but there were a few technical difficulties, so we switched over to a conference call on a cell phone.

The interview itself went wonderfully! Mr. Harding was very generous with his time and the iInterview with Allen Harding Screen Shotnformation he gave us, filling us with cool stories about his father. We learned how Walter Harding came to be at Geneseo (would you have guessed that it was his wife’s attachment to the town that made them stay there?), that he enjoyed camping and birdwatching, and that every summer their family would make trips to different universities where Walter Harding did research and work.After the interview, we started to transcribe an audio file we made of the discussion. We also received a few emails from Allen Harding containing some really wonderful photographs of
Allen Harding throughout the years. After transcribing and editing the interview, we uploaded it to the site, putting some pictures alongside each question to add a little flavor to the page. All of the photographs, however, are also uploaded under their own area of the website with captions.

The audio transcription along with other files were uploaded onto our website, using Omeka as our host network. Omeka allows users to pick from several different themes, varying in color and layout. We felt that the initial layout the previous students chose was unsophisticated an did not fit the vibe and image we wanted to create. After deciding on a theme we felt represented Walter Harding and his life, we began to upload the documents (letters,photographs, newspaper clippings, etc.) we found in the Harding Archives located downstairs in Milne.

A great deal of our efforts as a group went in to familiarizing ourselves with the contributions to literature and scholarship that Professor Walter Harding made. Together, we spent our time pouring through documents in the archives of Milne Library in order to gauge a sense of how Professor Harding’s impact has influenced us as students of SUNY Geneseo, as scholars of English literature, and as appreciators of the works of Henry David Thoreau. Despite the numerous documents we had accessed, however, it was but a fraction of Professor Harding’s collection and bibliography. It was our job to select a few items from that prolific collection of literature that we felt would best represent the legacy of Professor Harding’s 26-year tenure with SUNY Geneseo and put together a website which told a story of this man’s career.

We used scanners from Milne to upload the documents onto our laptops. After naming each file and assigning it to its specific folder, we were ready to start uploading everything onto the website!

We all were excited to begin work on the website. Dr. Schacht encouraged us to think of something new we could add to the site. He wanted us to create an exhibit as if the website was a museum and create a new area where interested parties could go to explore and learn.

After countless trips to the library going through archives, we all were struck with inspiration. Walter Harding had done so much in his life, impacting so many around him. He influenced his students at Geneseo, people across the country, and even other countries. His contributions about Thoreau and his works has made a lasting impact on our society.

That is why for the website, we created three different collections about his contributions to SUNY Geneseo, the nation, and then the world. It was so easy to go through the archives and find amazing documents and information for each section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most exciting moments was when we found a letter from Albert Einstein to Walter Harding. We didn’t realize that Harding even know him! We later discovered that he would write to all sorts of different people to see what they thought about Thoreau’s writings.

While we at Geneseo have all heard of Walter Harding one way or another, we didn’t realize until after we found so many various letters, newspaper clippings, and other documents that he was such a well known figure. Without, Thoreau truly would not be as well read or respected as he is today.

Working on the website was such a fun experience, since we got to learn more about this amazing man, and also design and create a whole world for people.

Students: Kathryn Bockino, Kevin P. Feeley, Corinne Green, Angeliki Ellie Laloudakis, Danielle Pesin, and Emma Wang

Faculty: Dr. Paul Schacht, Liz Argentieri

The Power of Twitter

This is a personal post about a recent tragedy in my home town. Please read with sensitivity.

On May 10, 2014, I woke up, checked my email, text messages, and Facebook. Friends from home (Farmingdale, N.Y) were posting RIP statuses. I immediately looked up what had happened – there was a deadly car crash killing four kids from Farmingdale High School. After making necessary phone calls and finding out my brother was not involved, I jumped on every social networking site to find out more.

Each news article I read, such as this one speaks about the crash. Many news articles and videos are stating that police will not release the names of those who died. I found out who passed away in 10 minutes by scrolling through my Facebook and seeing my friends’ statuses. Is Facebook more powerful than newscasters?

The point of this blog post is the aftermath of this tragedy. I want to point out the beautiful and powerful side of social networking sites. My hometown has a unique trait: its pride. It doesn’t matter how far you go or how old you grow, you always have Daler Pride. Whether you’re on the football team, or the marching band, you have an immense sense of pride in being a Daler. There’s a hashtag on Twitter, #DalerStrong for those lives lost. My Twitter page has blown up with this hashtag and support from every Farmingdale graduate, current student, teacher, and superintendent. Below are some snapshots from Twitter when I searched #DalerStrong. I am absolutely baffled yet humbled by the amount of support everyone is showing during this hard time. Twitter suddenly had this power to reconnect all of us; I connected with my best friend from high school that I no longer talk to, I saw my ex-partner post one as well. At the end of the day, it connected all of us, whether we knew each other or not. Twitter became this place for all of us to show our support, our grief, and our love for each other and our town. Adults have, and will continue to criticize younger generations such as mine that we post too many personal things, and that social networks are ruining people and relationships. In some cases, I would agree; my brother and I keep our phones on the table during dinner. Nevertheless, it is moments like this one that social networks truly show their benefits. Without Facebook, I would have never known what happened. Without my cell phone, I would have never been able to iMessage my brother to make sure he was okay. Without Google, I would have never been able to read more on what happened and what people have to say about it. And finally, without Twitter, my community, my Farmingdale family would not be able to join together and support each other. This horrible tragedy made me realize something quite beautiful: the perpetual togetherness of my town.

“Once a Daler, Always a Daler.”

#DalerStrong

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Emotional Facebook Video Shares

I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline and a friend of mine shared this video.

I really liked the message it was sending; technology is wonderful, but it shouldn’t be everything.  People are spending more time in front of screen with headphones in seclusion than ever before. I understand what the man is talking about. For example when he brings up that having a group chat is not the same as hanging out with friends, we are secluding ourselves from life. While we believe we are submerged in this mass social media with constant flow of attention and socialization, we technically aren’t. We’re in our beds in pajamas with headphones on a Saturday night when we should be at a bar having a beer and meeting new people.

I agree with him, do you?

‘A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words’

Picture and gif blog posts can be just as informative as compared to long text posts.

Here is an example of what I mean. I found this blog post while scrolling through my Tumblr Dashboard. I thought it was very interesting to see people in period clothing using modern day technology.

It would be really interesting to see what it would look like reversed; modern day people situated in daily activities with no form of technology whatsoever.

(Maybe we can do an English 340 pic set? :p)

Traveling with Technology

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A week ago I was driving down King Street, Charleston SC soaking up the 75 degree weather while glancing at the palm trees.

Unfortunately, Spring Break only lasts a week, and I was forced (literally pushed out of the car) to go to the airport to fly back to the good ol’ 585.

On my flight, I always read the ‘SkyMall’ magazine to see what innovative (and not so innovative) products are being sold.

Here are the two I found the most interesting:

The Portable Wifi Signal Booster

This is a fantastic idea! In a technological era, this product represents the easiness of access, anywhere, at any time.

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In my house back home, the wifi is centrally located in our basement,

next to the household computer. My room is two floors above, making the wifi connection sometimes weak. Usually, I’m using the wifi on my television to stream Netflix, on my iPhone to

scroll through Tumblr, on my Macbook Air to watch cat YouTube videos, and on my iPad to play Candy Crush (yes, I have an Apple

addiction). This product is very innovative, and would really help in easily boosting the wifi signal to all of my devices. It is described as being a simple process: “The device simply plugs into an AC outlet, connects to a wireless network, and rebroadcasts the signal to provide a faster, more reliable WiFi connection.”

Biffy Butler Bidet Sprayer / Digital Accessory Caddy / Toilet Paper Stand

photo 1I had to do a double-take when I saw this product. I know that sometimes extra material is needed when in the bathroom; normally you picture newspapers and magazines. Well, I mean, you can stream newspapers and magazines from iBooks, yes?

It astonishes me that this was actually being sold; on the other hand, I am not surprised at all. For products to be created and put on the market, there is an obvious demand for said product. Are we living in an era where we cannot go without our technological devices for five minutes? 

My train of thought brought me onto the topic of being lonely versus being alone. A lot of people are frightened and uncomfortable of the thought of being alone. Now, I don’t mean on a deserted island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, moreover, I mean simply going for a walk, or standing on line at Starbucks, or sitting in the Quad and listening to Michelle Branch (she’s currently playing on my iTunes). Humankind has become completely wrapped up in always being with others, literally and through technology. We do not feel the pleasure of being allowed time to ourselves, to think for ourselves. By always being bombarded with different social media and access to the thousands of opinions in the world, we do not take the time to form our own thoughts. We simply agree to the thought that sounds the most to our liking. Does anyone take a minute to form his own opinion?

Is technology taking away our sense of self and our ability to form our own true opinions?

And so my two hour flight from South Carolina to Rochester came to an end.

Gaming Shifts From Individual Experience to Mass Experience

Recently, the players of “Twitch Plays Pokémon” beat the game. As fellow classmate, Greg Palermo stated, “The premise is that a bunch of people (reportedly as many as 50,000) control the character 24-7 through a text feed–in other words, by typing “Up,” “Down,” “Left,” “Right,” “A,” “B,” etc.–and try to see if they can actually get anything done.”

It is reported that it took the thousands of players a total of 390 hours to complete the game.

This “social experiment” has led me to look upon past gaming systems their evolution.

Purple Gameboy Color

 

My first interaction with video games was over a decade ago (wow I feel old!). The Gameboy Color let children escape into many different worlds such as Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and the notorious Pokémon. There were many accessories for the Gameboy Colors, such as the

lightnifty light that helped when playing under the covers past your bedtime. In addition, there was the magnifier. I remember

magnifier

thinking how amazing this gaming system was with its accessories. I loved the fact that in an instant I could be riding around on Yoshi or avoiding barrels in Donkey Kong while trying to save the Princess. Playing on my Gameboy Color was the time for my own personal entertainment, in solitary.

 

Children began individually playing with their Gameboy Color in groups during recess or play

cable

dates. It was inevitable that the creators of Gameboy created a way for users to change the gaming experience and play together. The Gameboy Link Cable made it possible for individual users to interact with each other within the same game. This was brand new and amazed many. The old solitary style of playing video games was slowly becoming extinct.

xbox-360-headset-00

 

Years later, Xbox 360 was one gaming platform that came out with the brand new feature of users talking to each other from anywhere in the country via headset. This allowed players to interact more than ever before and paved the way for more mass gaming experiences.

 

“Twitch Plays Pokémon” seems incredible to our generation now because of its premise of linked mass contributions with one goal. Years ago, while I was under the covers with my “worm light” attachment, I would have never guessed that Pokémon would be on the computer, let alone be played by thousands of nerds all over the world.

This achievement and disbelief reminds me of Henry David Thoreau’s statement from “Walden:” “Old deeds for old people and new deeds for new.”

I remember my parents being amazed by all my video games, from the Gameboy Color to the Wii; I guess I’ll have to wait and see what my child will surprise me with!