Additional Tools

Electronic publishing, also referred to as ePublishing, is the digitisation of books, magazines etc in order to publish them online and make them more easily available. EPUB is a widely used open source format which allows books to be published zipped folders. These folders hold a range of information about the books look and layout. CSS style sheets tell the end users devices how to display the data, and using the book format is easily transferable to other devices without having to use the EPUB format.

There are free open source ePub publication programs, such as Sigil, which make the process of creating, managing and distributing an ebook that much easier. Equally free online word processors such as Scrivener which allow the creation of workflows to aid the creation and management of epublications.

WordPress.org is a free cloud hosted blog application, it differs from wordpress.com due to the fact that with the former you need to have arrange you own hosting.

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Social Media Tools

Social media has a fundamental advantage over traditional media. It allows two way communication, essentially the users of social media tools can be both a broadcaster and an audience member. Traditional media is very limited when it comes to two way communication, in essence the broadcaster and the audience are rarely in direct communication.

Social media is said to be transparent, whether this is actually the truth is debatable, it is also said to be engaging, again this is questionable. Certainly there are aspects of social media that are engaging, yet without question the sheer volume of mundane dross that is presented on social media merely highlights the narcissistic shallowness of many of its advocates.  It is also said to be sincere, further doubts must be raised on this claim. Social media is most certainly user driven, again if the driver is to tell the world what you are having for breakfast then this merely increases the bland irrelevant aspect of large parts of the social media community. As with all forms of communication if there is substance the style shouldn’t be secondary. That said aside from the all negatives that are inherent to social media, there are many positives. In particular the instant social media news reporting which can help to be a balance to increasingly propagandised mainstream media.

There are a number of social media applications, the most famous being facebook, twitter and youtube. All of which have some interesting subject matter, the question of privacy needs to be carefully considered when using this applications as their honesty when it comes to such are forever questionable.

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Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) helps to improve the presence of a website or webpage on the net by making it more visible. Three characteristics of a website can be tweaked and tuned to help this process. The layout of the site, the content and in particular the language used can be setup to make the site more prominently listed by search engine results pages (SERPS).

Search engines, for example google or yahoo, use indexing based on keywords and/or search terms. A ranking system is then applied to determine where sites should appear on a results listing. Clearly having private and in some cases highly secretive organisations with the power to alter who appears where on a listing should be of concern to any critically minded individual.

Organic SEO is the term applied to changes made on the website itself, this is called onsite SEO. Using other ways of promoting a website, via social media for example, is called off site SEO. Organic SEO does not include paying for increased traffic to the site. When using third party promotion tools and paying for them, such as Adworks, the term applied is search engine marketing (SEM). Ultimately with both SEO and SEM the use of language is of central importance.

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Copyright

Copyright has a legal basis. It gives the original creator of a piece of work the exclusive rights to that work. Normally such rights are given for a pre-determined period of time. It infers the right to copy and gives the originator the right to be credited for the work and to then allow others to use and/or adapt that work. It allows the originator to determine who can gain financially from the work and it forms a key component of intellectual property rights.

A derivative work includes copyrighted elements of a previous underlying piece of work. In order to be considered a unique piece of work from the original it must bear the stamp of its creator, the transformation must be substantial. Derivation is only protectable when it bears original expression, it’s derived elements are non-protectable.

Fair use of original material needs consideration, rights and privileges of the individual in society to privacy, and as equitably as possible the right to freedom of expression lead to intrepretations of copyright law.

Copyleft adaptations of copyright laws are pieces of work that can are by their very nature are ‘protectable’ from individual copyright law. Copyleft helps to insure that any future use of a work that has been copylefted must also be copylefted.

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Digital Image Management

Image file formats allow the organising and storing of digital images to be standardised. Files are made up of pixels and/or vector data. Ultimately whichever format is used the files are rasterised to pixels when displayed.

A bitmap is a dot matrix data structure normally a rectangular grid of pixels which can viewed on screen and printed on paper.

Image files can be compressed or uncompressed. Lossless compresssion reduces the file size without any degradation of the image quality.  Lossy compression  uses the limitations of the human eye to remove invisible information. It allows variable compression levels and as these increase the file size is reduced. Image degradation can occur at high compression level and this is referred to as pixelation.

Six predominant image file formats were detailed during the lecture. These being

PSD, Adobe photoshop file format, is uncompressed and lossless. TIFF, which stands for Tagged Image File Format, is widely used by graphic artists and photographers. It can be both compressed and uncompressed, lossy and lossless. DNG (digital negative) is based on the TIFF format, it has an open lossless RAW format, and was written by Adobe. Widely used by digital photographers, and because it contains metadata it is a popular format for archivists. GIF (graphic interchange format) was developed by CompuServe in the late 1980’s. It allows animation and it’s lack of colour depth can provide the image with an interesting quality. PNG (portable network graphics) uses lossless compression. It was developed as an improvement to GIF. JPEG (joint photographers expert group)uses lossy compression and allows the production of very small files which can be used for sharing via email and online display.

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Digital Presentation

This weeks task was the creation of a digital presentation using Prezi.

The presentation is a brief introduction into some of the  landscape and habitats found in e Arklow marsh. A  large wetland and flood plain in close proximity to the small urban area of Arklow in south Co.Wicklow.

The presentation has six diffent slides. A mix of simple large text and direction frames highlight the visually strong aspect of the prezi application.  Graphics used are taken from project work undertaken in landscape studio core module.

The presentation is shared publicly on the prezi site, link provided under presentation page.

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Digital Imaging

Task during the past week was to download an image from retouchpro.com and use a software application to alter. Photoshop was used to complete this work.

Two primary tools used, the cloning tool to remove damage in photo, the magic wand
tool to select white out and soften its’ impact. Three adjustments were made. A warm photo filter was added.  HDR toning was changed, bringing out more detail in the image, and finally the contrast was altered.  Image on left is the original downloaded from retouchpro.com. Image on right is post first retouching, several areas of image needing more work, yet the alteration of the image using software application is evident.

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