I want to preface this post with a disclaimer: I am not very skilled when it comes to technology. That being said, lab 3 was definitely difficult for me. I think that I get really nervous with directions for technology. I found that with this lab, one of the hardest things was the directions. When I look at the sheets with the steps on how to complete the lab, I get a bit anxious. I think it is mostly because, with this lab, like a lot of other things, if you mess up or skip on of the step or even a sub-step, the whole project is jeopardized. Also, I really prefer to work in a group or as a class instead of doing the labs alone. That’s why I love when we start the lab in class because I really think that I would not be able to complete any lab without doing this first.
Though, there were some difficulties, I feel like once I sat down and got going on the eight metadatas, it got a little easier. By the third round, I was getting the hang of it. (even though there is still a part of me that isn’t sure if I even did it right because it was getting simpler as I was going). One of the areas that gave me a little trouble with this lab was finding the data itself. Finding the plain text, copying it, opening it in TextEdit, saving it to my folder, etc. all of this, though time consuming, was easy enough. When I couldn’t find some of the categories of metadata over and over again, I started getting a little frustrated, but since the lab report said to leave the category blank if you couldn’t find it, that is what I did for a lot of it.
Though I am not 100% sure exactly what metadata is, if I had to guess, I would say that it is the metadata that we compiled—like the categories: author name, author date of birth (death), title, source, year, edition, etc. Literary data could be all of the business aspects that go into the work, basically everything that has to do with the piece just not the actual prose or poetry. Data is complied information, which if you think about it a certain way, a piece of prose could be data too. But data is also usually used to calculate something. So now I am wondering what we are calculating with literary data?
Could it be that literary data is a part of close reading? This is something I am just thinking of now as I am writing this. However, earlier when I was thinking about this lab and what I was going to write about, I was thinking that collecting the metadata reminded me of the concept of “distant reading” posed by Franco Moretti in Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History. The way we complied the metadata made me think of his graph “British Hegemonic Forms,” because it was more of a generalization and did not really tell us anything about the text itself.