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The UO Owns a 50-Million-Pixel Screen. Here’s Why You Should Use It.

Posted in DH Blog

By: Hayley Brazier and Heidi Kaufman

Thank you for joining us on the DH@UO blog! On Friday, October 19 at 3:00pm, we are co-hosting a workshop in Price Science Library’s Visualization Lab (“Viz Lab”). Our Humanities in the Viz Lab workshop will introduce faculty and graduate students to the Lab’s massive 50-million-pixel screen. We sat down with Price Science Commons Visualization’s Lab Specialist and PhD candidate Courtney Floyd, who convinced us that we should run to the Viz Lab pronto to see how amazing our texts appear projected on the giant wall.

Map indicating the location of the Price Science Library
Location of the Viz Lab in the Price Science Library

 

DH@UO: What’s the significance of having the Viz Lab at UO?

Picture of Courtney Floyd smiling with a window behind her.
Courtney Floyd

Courtney Floyd: The Viz Lab enables us to study materials in unusual ways by enlarging and projecting them on an enormous wall. The room’s technology capabilities display images at an extraordinarily high-resolution (50-million-pixels), which helps us to see finer details—and data—than what we might see on our computer screens. Those who have experienced the lab have been amazed at the nuance and detail in images they’ve been studying for years. The Viz Lab is also amazing because it fosters engaged collaborative work in the classroom. Students can work in groups to view, manipulate, and annotate images. Instructors have used this tool to help their classes think about images at the start of a new project or to invite engaged classroom discussions and investigations mid-way through a unit. 

DH: How do you envision scholars, humanities-based in particular, using the Lab?

CF: As a humanities scholar, I see the Viz Lab as a particularly useful resource at two stages of research:

  1. The invention and planning stage, when we’re trying to assess data, generate new, innovative questions, and observe subtle patterns in our work
  2. The presentation stage, when it’s time to share your work and solicit feedback from colleagues and collaborators

Similarly, instructors will find the  Viz Lab to be a space to create and advance our thinking about an argument or text in collaborative, interactive ways.   

The Viz Lab changes the way you interact with your data, whether you’re shifting from looking at medieval manuscripts to working with high resolution scans of their pages or shifting from viewing a spreadsheet on a 13-inch  laptop screen to a spreadsheet on the Viz Wall. Even if you don’t think of your data / research as visual, the Viz Lab is a resource worth exploring. But you don’t have to take my word for it! Come see for yourself. The Frankenreads event is a great way to learn about the space, but I am also happy to schedule tours and provide project consultations.

DH: Tell us a little about your upcoming event, Frankenreads ?

CF: Frankenreads is an international celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) organized by the Keats-Shelley Association of America and supported by the NEH. Events are being held from October 24th-31st at universities and in local communities. (www.frankenreads.org)

World map displaying dozens of pens where Frankenreads events will be held
Frankenreads events are being held around the world (photo source: https://frankenreads.org/)

I’m working with Celeste Reeb (Ph.D. Candidate, English) to organize a number of events on campus and in the local community. In the Viz Lab, we will be hosting a two-day open house event during which interested faculty and students can come and try out some entry-level data visualization tools. We are also working to facilitate some pop-up readings of passages from Frankenstein (email me if you are interested!) and one or more film screenings at local businesses. You can find all of the details on our UO Blog Site (http://blogs.uoregon.edu/frankenreads), but I’ll list the details for the Viz Lab event here:

30th 10-2 Visualizing Frankenstein Open House (PSC Viz Lab)

31st 10-12 Visualizing Frankenstein Open House (PSC Viz Lab)

DH: Why is it beneficial for DH enthusiasts to attend both the Humanities in the Viz Lab workshop and the Frankenreads events?

CF: DH@UO’s workshop will give attendees a sense of the pedagogical (and technological) possibilities of the space, whereas the Viz Lab Frankenreads event will provide attendees the opportunity to:

  • Learn how digital tools have been used to study Frankenstein
  • Learn about common digital tools used for data visualization
  • Gain hands-on experience working with Voyant, a tool for digital text analysis
  • Gain hands-on experience working with Palladio for the creation of maps and timelines used in the study of texts
  • Gain hands-on experience working with Sonic Visualiser which enables sound visibility
  • Gain hands-on experience working with the Viz Lab and Viz Wall to analyze and display data

If you are interested in learning more about the Viz Lab or reserving the Lab for research or instructional use, please feel free to contact me at cfloyd3@uoregon.edu. You can also complete an online reservation request at the following URL: https://library.uoregon.edu/scilib/viz-lab-reservation

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Thank you, Courtney, for sitting down with us! If you’ve never even thought to use this amazing resource, simply reach out to Courtney. She’s eager to show new people how they can integrate this tool in courses and research projects. We hope to see you at both the Humanities in the Viz Lab and Frankenreads events. And while you are filling in your fall calendar, please consider attending our other DH workshops, which are free and open to the public. You can see a list of our workshops by browsing the flyer below or visiting the Workshop Series tab on our website.

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