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Points of Reference / PREFERENCE

Carolyn A. McDonough, Digital Humanities
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Stephen Brier
Project Website: Points of Reference / PREFERENCE

Points of Reference or PREFERENCE is a Humanities References digital blog/tool I conceptualized in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate Program. Inspired by my experience teaching Media Studies 101, PREFERENCE is intended to be a digital pedagogical tool preferred over the use of Google and Wikipedia in the classroom in what I’ve dubbed the “critical moment of encounter with a reference”. References arise often during the study of the humanities and liberal arts. Teaching and learning the facts and import of a reference, is an important exchange that transcends the bounds of a specific Humanities or Liberal Arts course.

PREFERENCE aspires to deliver non-linear, hub-styled information through data visualization to enhance its existing linear timeline in both its interactive design and the imparting of reference-related knowledge. The “hub-as-locus” concept for cross-referencing is a new development in the architecture of PREFERENCE, reflective of Stephen Ramsay’s scholarship and his “search”/”browse” dichotomy. I hope such a non-linear approach will aid me in building out the references while also encouraging visitors to “browse” in an associative way, rather than “search”  in a regimented, algorithmic way. Additionally, PREFERENCE hopes to accommodate reference content contributed by visitors an as experiment in creating a “collaborative aggregate” digital tool.

PREFERENCE does not seek to reinforce the canon, but rather will seek out significant, inclusive, cross-cultural references both concurrent and non-concurrent to those of the dominant Western culture, many of which have come to symbolize the “masterpieces” of civilization. However, PREFERENCE will also acknowledge Western master works in varying contexts, especially when they can serve to illuminate the edges between archetype and stereotype and the realities of colonialism, racism, and appropriation that are inherent within humanity’s cultural production. By revealing and confronting the set of facts and data surrounding the provenance of such references and grouping references together contextually, I hope PREFERENCE becomes an accessed resource. PREFERENCE features an interactive Knight Lab JS3 Timeline with embedded video and static photographic content, with plans to include soundscape design.

PREFERENCE is currently being transferred from its prototype site MomentsThings on The CUNY Academic Commons to its new home Points Of Reference or PREFERENCE also located on The Commons. PREFERENCE is under construction through Spring 2019 with plans to launch in 2019.

[n.b. PREFERENCE visitors must be logged in to the Commons to view the blog and timeline entries]

View a Screen Shot of “Pantheon: Pilot Reference” — Entry on the Timeline — PREFERENCE

“Spend a Moment in the pantheon Under the Oculus”