What is Open Access?

In today’s world the internet has become a place where everyone can voice their opinions and concerns about how messed up the ‘real world’ is. I am of the generation who first began having internet in their homes, we were taught how to use Microsoft Office from the age of 7 and so I grew up with technology adapting around me. Due to this, I, like other millennials, are stuck in the middle of generations; the prior, otherwise called the Baby Boomers, who the internet was just trust at in the hope that they may try and adapt to the changing world, then of course you have the Generation Z, those who have been around technology as soon as they are born and are naturally aware of touchscreens, iPad and things like Amazon Alexa. It is my generation, who must both prepare the later generations for the advancement of technology while also contending with the Baby Boomers, who aren’t technological natives, as Barlow puts it in the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace put it, the older generations

‘are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants’.


The fact that the internet can be used to break down boundaries for low income people to gain information for a low amount. This is what the idea of Open Access is all about as Barlow outlined, ‘We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.’ This is one of the most important aspects of the online community, to remember that it is in fact a virtual community where people can share their work and communicate with other people who share their ideals. This is where The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens comes into action. The framework started to be created in 2005 where it aimed to, ‘to provide evidence-based policy support to the European Commission and the Member States on harnessing the potential of digital technologies to innovate education and training practices, improve access to lifelong learning and to deal with the rise of new (digital) skills and competences needed for employment, personal development and social inclusion’ (team 2017). The framework includes 5 competence areas which must be fulfilled in order to make sure the information is accurate and best presented for the online world. These competencies include, Information and data literacy, Communication and collaboration, digital content creation, safety and problem solving.

In conclusion, the use of Open Access in the online world is something that helps to bridge the gap between the lack of knowledge and information overload. It helps to find a medium for across the generations, but it also allows a wider community to access the information without having a to pay to access it.


‘5-Star Open Data’. n.d. Accessed 30 October 2019. http://5stardata.info/en/.

Barlow, John Perry. 2016. ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’. Electronic Frontier Foundation. 20 January 2016. https://www.eff.org/cyberspace-independence.

‘EOSC Vienna Declaration’. n.d. Accessed 30 October 2019. https://eosc-launch.eu/declaration/.

Hagstrom, Stephanie. 2014. ‘The FAIR Data Principles’. FORCE11. 3 September 2014. https://www.force11.org/group/fairgroup/fairprinciples.

team, FPFIS. 2017. ‘DigComp 2.1: The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens with Eight Proficiency Levels and Examples of Use’. Text. EU Science Hub – European Commission. 28 April 2017. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/digcomp-21-digital-competence-framework-citizens-eight-proficiency-levels-and-examples-use.

‘Vienna Principles a Vision for Scholarly Communication’. n.d. Accessed 30 October 2019. https://viennaprinciples.org/.

Working with Computer Vision

Recently I attended a workshop by Dr Giles Birgel in which he spoke about the use of Computer Vision software in Digital Humanities. As someone who is passionate about Digital Curation, I found this workshop hugely beneficial as it gave a look at some of the programmes that can be used in this field. The definition of Computer Vision is ‘gaining high-level understanding from digital images’ (‘Computer Vision’). Dr Birgel gave a few examples in which this can be used for example, for identifying recurring patterns in art pieces or even on book covers.  This interested me a great deal coming from both an DH undergrad and a MA Global Gallery Studies viewpoint as images and art pieces need digital curation around the world. In a lot of cases, the identities of the artists are a mystery due to the loss of the information. Using Computer Vision, it could be possible to identify an artist’s work by scanning and comparing a recognised artwork to an artwork whose artist is unknown. By looking at the style of the painting, Computer Vision can distinguish different features of the paintings which could help to discover who the original artist is. (Brownlee)

Going forward, this kind of technology will be hugely beneficial in transferring the traditional artworks into the digital age. The technology is far from complete and can have many different features and uses in years to come especially with the increase of institutions wanting to digitise their records and pieces in storage.


Brownlee, Jason. ‘A Gentle Introduction to Computer Vision’. Machine Learning Mastery, 18 Mar. 2019, https://machinelearningmastery.com/what-is-computer-vision/.

‘Computer Vision’. Wikipedia, 12 Oct. 2019. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Computer_vision&oldid=920904355.

The Politics of Social Media

During my DH6004 class this week, we watched a film called The Internet’s Own Boy, a documentary about one of the founders of Reddit, Aaron Swartz, who sadly died in 2013 aged just 26. Aside from helping to create Reddit, Swartz became a spokesperson for internet users during campaigns to bring in censorship laws like SOPA which ‘is an acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act. It’s proposed bill that aims to crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that host or facilitate the trading of pirated content’ (SOPA Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters – Jan. 17, 2012).   He was also one of the founders of demandprogress.org which is a project that aims to ‘seek to protect the democratic character of the internet — and wield it to make government accountable and contest concentrated corporate power’ (About Demand Progress – Demand Progress). The conversation about government interference of the internet has been a long one. In the second year of my degree , I wrote about how Twitter was being used as a campaign tool in modern political campaigns.

In more recent years, the Cambridge Analytica scandal had rocked the social media world, as well as the real world.  It was revealed by one whistle-blower that over 50 million user’s data had been mined in order to compile information on potential voters during the American Presidential Election and the Brexit referendum (Cadwalladr and Graham-Harrison). It just goes to show how social media has evolved over the years and how things need to change in order to get back to how sites like Facebook were previously (Mozur et al.).


Aaron Swartz. http://www.aaronsw.com/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

About Demand Progress – Demand Progress. https://demandprogress.org/about/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

admin. ‘Critical Review of Twitter as a Communication Tool.’ Kayleigh Falvey, 26 Oct. 2017, http://kayleighfalvey.com/digital-humanities/write-a-critical-review-of-twitter-as-a-platform-you-may-consider-how-twitter-works-as-a-research-tool-andor-as-a-pedagogical-tool-andor-as-a-communication-tool/.

Cadwalladr, Carole, and Emma Graham-Harrison. ‘Revealed: 50 Million Facebook Profiles Harvested for Cambridge Analytica in Major Data Breach’. The Guardian, 17 Mar. 2018. www.theguardian.com, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analytica-facebook-influence-us-election.

Mozur, Paul, et al. ‘Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web’. The New York Times, 17 Sept. 2017. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/17/technology/facebook-government-regulations.html.

SOPA Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters – Jan. 17, 2012. https://money.cnn.com/2012/01/17/technology/sopa_explained/index.htm#targetText=SOPA%20is%20an%20acronym%20for,the%20trading%20of%20pirated%20content. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.