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Category: Intro to Digital Studies (Page 1 of 2)

Methodology Module Summary

Although it took me awhile to figure out what to do for the methodology module, I am very happy with the project I ended up choosing. As I explained in my first post, I decided to the the image visualization module. My original plan for this was to look at a series of movies, then I changed it to covers from billboard top 100 songs. Neither of these plans worked out, so I decided to change things up again. As I explained in my second post, I chose to look at Taylor Swift songs, planning to eventually focus on how her music videos have changed over the years along with her own personal evolution. In my third post, I explained the process of downloading, extracting, and visualizing the different music videos. My fourth post contained the resulting images that I created using the frames from the videos.

I have enjoyed working on this project so far, although it has been frustrating at times. Extracting frames and generating images is definitely time consuming. I am looking forward to continuing the project by using the information I have learned throughout this module to further explore and analyze my findings by hand-coding my own website.

Methodology Images

Picture to Burn:

barcode showing average colors

You Belong With Me:

barcode showing average colors

Back to December:

barcode showing average colors

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together:

barcode showing average colors

Shake It Off:

barcode showing average colors

Look What You Made Me Do:

barcode showing average colors

Methodology Progress

The first step that I took toward visualizing Taylor Swift’s music videos was to download the YouTube videos. I did this through Command Prompt by using youtube-dl. Once the videos were downloaded, I used FFMPEG to extract frames from the videos. This was a more complicated process than I was expecting. We practiced extracting the frames in class, and I thought I remembered the process, but it turns out that I didn’t. I failed to extract the frames many times before realizing that I needed to be very specific with the code that I used. Once I figured this out, it was pretty easy to extract the rest of the frames, although it was very time consuming.

Once I had all the frames extracted, I used IMJ to generate various barcodes, montages, and plots. I thought it was pretty fun to watch them generate in front of my eyes! I decided to extract a barcode, a barcode showing only the average colors, a montage, and a plot from each video. This took quite a bit of time. I had trouble saving some of the images after I generated them, but I solved this problem by taking screenshots when I needed to. I will share the generated images in my next post.

Methodology Module Updated Goals

In the time since my last post, I have begun to work on my project. After going through many billboard top 100 lists and starting to compile images, I realized that my goals for this project were way too big. It was taking me hours to download the images, and I was ending up with much fewer images than I wanted. As opposed to thousands of images, I was spending hours trying to download mere hundreds.

I decided to switch the theme of my project. I am still doing the methodology module, but I came up with a new idea. People always talk about Taylor Swift and her evolution throughout the years from a young country star to a more mature pop artist. I had the idea to look at her most popular music video from each of her six albums. I will compare them and see how the videos change throughout the years. Most people consider her music to be darker and more mature than it used to be, so I will see if this is obvious in her music videos.

Methodology Module Goals

I have gone back and forth quite a bit about what to do for the Digital Methodology Module. From the beginning, I have been planning to do the image visualization option. At first, I thought it would be really cool to look at a series of movies, such as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. I wanted to make barcodes or plots of the individual movies and then compare them. For both of those series, the movies tend to get darker as they go, and I wanted to see how much you could tell about the individual movies by using software to compare them.

However, I soon realized that this plan wasn’t going to work. I didn’t have any of the movies downloaded to my computer, and none of them were on YouTube. I also realized the huge amount of space that it would take up on my computer. I began to look for another option on YouTube. I found a movie that was in the public domain, but was in black and white. I considered using this for awhile, and even downloaded it to my computer, but decided that I wanted to experiment with colors.

I began to think of other ideas for the project. One of the first things that came to mind was music. Music is such a big part of so many people’s lives, and tells us a lot about the opinions and current happenings of society. I decided to look at music throughout the years by comparing album covers of the top 10 songs every week. I currently am planning on looking at multiple years worth of music and comparing them to each other. I hope to find out how music has changed over the years, how long most songs stay in the top positions, and what this tells us about society.

I am excited about this project, and I think that it will be very interesting. I am a little nervous about how time consuming it will be, but I am already working to plan out how to get everything done and create a final project that teaches me something and that I am proud of.

Digital Culture Reflection

My goal for the digital culture module was to learn more about blogging and experiment with different types of blog posts. I wanted to blog 2-3 times a week, and this ended up being my 5th blog for the 1 ½ weeks that I worked on this project. I blogged more than 10 times overall, but many of those blogs were for my other class, so I’m not counting them for this project.

I wrote various different kinds of blog posts. For the first post, I talked about how food and my ethnic history have intertwined throughout my life and about how food has gone along with many major events in my life.

For the second post, I went on a photo journey of my college experience so far. It was so fun to look back through all of my pictures! I found multiple photos that I had forgotten about.

The third post was a collection of some different quotes that have been meaningful to me lately. I thought that this might be a fun blog post to do regularly. It would be interesting in the future to look back on the different quotes that I chose at different times and to see what was going on in my life that caused me to choose the ones that I did.

Going into this module, I have to admit that I was a little nervous. I am currently in another class that I blog 5-10 times a week for, so doing even more blogging seemed overwhelming. However, I ended up really enjoying the project. Although I really don’t have time to continue blogging regularly, it is something that I would love to do again sometime in the future.

I also downloaded Google Analytics and installed the Monster Insights plugin. These programs allowed me to track the number of people visiting my site every day, along with how many people read each post. I actually had more readers than I was expected, with almost 20 different people viewing my blog during the time of the project. A lot of this has to do with the fact that my blog is connected to a feed for my other class, but I still had some views on my blogs for this project.

the visitor stats for my blog

Overall, I am happy with how this project went. I ended up both learning more and enjoying it more than I had expected. It was also nice to be in a group with other people and to be able to talk to them about their progress and to help each other out. I understand now why people enjoy blogging so much. It’s like being able to look back on your life and see the things that you have worked toward and are proud of.

Smells Like Love and Sauerkraut

Growing up as the granddaughter of Polish and Italian immigrants, it’s not surprising that food has been a huge part of my life. This, combined with the fact that I was born and lived in Pittsburgh for my younger years, has resulted in many food experiences that tie me to my ethnic background and fill me with a sense of gratefulness and respect.

In my family, food is a love language. I have many fond memories of being at my Ciocia Bebe’s house and being stuffed with homemade pierogies fried in butter until I could barely move. To her, they weren’t just food. It was like love and kindness were stuffed inside of those delicious filled dumplings.

On the Polish side of my family, nothing says “I love you” quite like the sharing of oplatki on Christmas Eve. Those thin, tasteless wafers stand for the love and care that we all feel for one another. Each person gets a small rectangle of the unleavened bread and goes around the room breaking off small pieces of the others wafers, wishing them a merry Christmas and good fortune in the coming year. This beautiful tradition has been continued down the generations and is a reminder of our heritage.

It’s the same on the other side as well. To me, Christmas brings thoughts of hand-pressed ravioli, minestra maritata (wedding soup), hand-rolled meatballs, and freshly baked cannoli and pizzelles. I realized that I honestly wasn’t sure what the average American family ate on Christmas until Googling it as I wrote this post! For my family, Christmas is a celebration of culture and food passed down from generations.

I lived in Pittsburgh for the early years of my life before moving to Virginia. Almost all of my extended family remains there, which means that I have spent a good part of my life traveling back and forth. Pittsburgh’s multicultural heritage is shown through its food and rich ethnic traditions. The Strip District is a wonderful example of the melting pot of cultures that make the city unique, with its variety of customs and cuisines.

One example of a tradition that both sides of my family (all living near Pittsburgh) share is carried out on New Year’s Eve. Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and kielbasa are served and thought to bring good luck. This is what I have eaten every year for as long as I can remember. Although my immediate family is not able to travel to Pennsylvania as often as we used to, we have still upheld this tradition. In times like these, when we are not able to be with our extended family, food still connects us.

A dish that I have eaten countless times throughout my life is called kluski z kapusta, or noodles and cabbage. This cheap, simple meal, passed down by my Polish grandmother, is an example of one of the many ways that the culture and traditions of the generations before me continue to stay alive. You can find the recipe below.


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups chopped or sliced cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 package (8 oz.) egg noodles

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion. Saute until soft. Add cabbage. Saute 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook noodles in salted boiling water as directed on package. Drain well. Stir noodles into cabbage. Cook 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently.

Throughout my life, food has been much more to me than just something to eat. It has been a way to give and receive love, to carry on tradition, and to remember those who came before me. One day, when I have my own family, I know that I will continue to carry on this delicious language of love.

Digital Culture

Yesterday in DGST 101, my group mates and I chose blogging for our digital culture module. My goal is to blog 2-3 times a week until the project is over. I downloaded Google Analytics to track the amount of people who read my blog and to see which posts do better and why. I hope to write a variety of posts and experiment with new topics and integrated media.

Here are a few ideas that I have for some posts:

  • the history of blogging
  • how does blogging influence politics?
  • tips for graduating high school seniors
  • my favorite college memories so far
  • book review
  • stories behind my favorite recipes
  • my goals for 2019
  • a list post
  • an open letter
  • worst to best rankings
  • something I am passionate about
  • an “all about me” post

I am looking forward to consistently blogging and learning about myself while improving my skills. At the end of the two weeks, I will write a reflection post on the things I have learned and my different takeaways from the project.

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