Group-Work: Synopsis and Contribution

I was involved in group 8 in relation to the project for DH1001. We decided upon an audio/visual format for the project in relation to the documentary “The Internet’s Own Boy” (“(55) The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (Must Watch Documentary 2014) – YouTube,” n.d.)

Different opinions were shared through either face-to-face or through social media, and people decided on what they would talk about more in detail. We made a Facebook group to voice our opinions. I contributed by sharing my audio piece in relation to why the documentary was relevant to our course. I decided on this as it is what captured my interest and intrigued me most. I recorded my piece of audio immediately after watching the documentary ensuring I had a clear memory of it and what points I was going to make. I mention Open Access, Python and programming, and internet freedom in my piece.

 As we all had access to equipment whether it be a phone or computer, we recorded ourselves on the topic of Aaron Swartz. Each member of the group analysed the documentary “The Internet’s Own Boy” and recorded audio on certain aspects of it. Each audio segment is only about 1 minute long to keep it all concise. The audio was then edited and combined into one group effort. I recorded my segment on a phone and was able to send the audio file through email.

As I discuss in my piece, the fact the script to download academic journals on JSTOR was written by Aaron using python really piqued my interest. As we are learning python currently, it made me realize the power we all have using programming and languages like python. I decided to include this thought in my audio as I believed it to be extremely relevant and also quite fascinating. As an eager beginner in programming through python, I was curious enough to search for the infamous python script online. Unsurprisingly it was easily found, and I simply couldn’t comprehend how short the code was, it was quite a humbling experience.

I also touch on the subject of open access in my contribution. I believe it is a valuable part of Digital Humanities itself and played a major part in the documentary and of course Aaron’s life. He lived by open access, believing in the freedom of information especially in relation to online academic journals and articles. Aaron was a political activist and fought countless battles against big corporations in relation to open access. I believed this to be relevant to digital humanities as if all our information is locked and confined to a select few, how will we learn and progress? How will we develop new ideas and utilise older material? We simply will not be able to.

I think the project benefitted each of us in relation to our understanding of Digital Humanities as a whole. Learning about real-life applications of programming and the importance of open access has certainly opened my eyes. I hope you find our project to be just as interesting and captivating as I did.


(55) The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (Must Watch Documentary 2014) – YouTube [WWW Document], n.d. URL (accessed 12.6.19).