Monthly Archives: June 2011

DH’11 Poster: Virtual Touch

© A. Bentkowska-Kafel & D. Prytherch

In case you didn’t know, touching is exciting!

We can ‘turn’ a page of a virtual manuscript, look round a virtual statue, ‘walk-through’ a virtual building, our avatar can ‘perform’ in a virtual amphitheatre or ‘sit’ and watch others acting. Wouldn’t it be exiting to also be able to ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ the virtual objects around us? Over the years very many 3D computer models of artefacts have been created, and many got neglected. Their use in  research and education could be much wider, and benefit new users, if optimised for haptic display. As part of the Digital Arts and Culture module, our DH postgraduates have tried and tested a haptic system in the classroom. They ‘handled’ 3D models of museum objects that cannot be touched by the public. Students’ feedback was very encouraging: this is an exciting area of technology! We, the Digital Humanists should try to influence its future development by voicing our needs and expectations.

You are invited to have your say at ART AND SCIENCE OF TOUCH

Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, David Prytherch and Christos Giachritsis

Our DH’11 poster can be seen in Gabby’s photo right behind Raffaele Viglianti, see Gabby’s post of 21 June.

DDH posters at DH2011

Colleagues from DDH presented four posters at the Digital Humanities conference in Stanford this year. As far as I can see all posters were popular, and despite the unfortunate fact that they were only up for a few hours on the afternoon of the poster session itself (so I doubt anybody had the chance to see everything they might have been interested in) it was a good fun session with lots of interaction and interest all around.

I managed to snap a couple of shots of our colleagues in action:

John Bradley and Timothy Hill, When WordHoard met Pliny: breaking down of interaction silos between applications

John presented this poster on the subject of some recent developments he and Tim have been making on his award-winning research organization and annotation tool, Pliny (not an acronym, but named after the Roman polymath writer Pliny the Elder), and in the short time I was nearby he interacted enthusiastically with a steady stream of visitors. John said, “Yes quite a few people came over to talk about the poster. Because I’ve been building Pliny for some years, a lot of questions were from people who didn’t know about it at all and so I needed to explain; I should maybe also have brought along my first ever poster which gives the background to the whole project. But I did have the opportunity to talk to some of them about the topic of this poster, which is our approach to applying annotations to moving targets, such as dynamic web pages.”


Gerhard Brey, The Wellcome Arabic Manuscript Cataloguing Partnership

Gerhard’s poster is on a very cool project which involves digitizing and cataloguing some 500 manuscripts in collaboration with the Wellcome Library and the Biblioteca Alexandrina, and is exemplary both in digital innovation and curatorial practice. As we’d expect, he engaged with his visitors on the whole range from pedantic technical queries to large-scale theoretical discussion. Gerhard told me, “I was surprised by just how many people were so interested in the project; a dozen people stopped and asked me detailed questions about it, for example about the unique qualities and peculiarities of Arabic manuscripts, or how the projects tools could be applicable to Persian texts. I think there are a lot of opportunities for further work in this area.”

Eleonora Litta, Geoffroy Noel and Elena Pierazzo, Modelling a Web-based editing environment for critical editions

Eleonora presented this poster on an editorial environment developed at King’s for the scholars involved in the Early English Laws project. The corner of the room she was based in was so crowded I didn’t get a chance to ask her about the poster and the project itself, but afterwards she told me, “What struck me was that so many of the people who came and spoke to me asked the same thing: namely whether I thought the editorial framework we had implemented for EEL was repurposable for other projects creating digital critical editions. This is clearly something that a lot of people are thinking about.”

Raffaele Viglianti, Adapting EATS for crowdsourcing: Register Medicorum Medii Aevi

Raffaele’s poster is on the RMMA project, which involves collecting and relating prosopographical records of mediaeval doctors from the Byzantine, Arabic, Anglo-Saxon and neighboring worlds, by many different scholars with potentially very different interests and needs, into a single controlled dataset with editorial board, rigorous publication standards and stable versions. Raffaele said, “There was a lot of general interest; a couple of people from the field of mediaeval medicine were interested in contributing, and several others were interested in the publication mechanism and the system that includes peer review as well as collaborative authorship.”