All posts by Gabriel Bodard

Digital Humanities seminar, spring 2015

The Digital Humanities research seminar will run fortnightly, on Tuesday evenings during term, in the Anatomy Museum on the Strand campus (with one exception, on February 5, which is a lunchtime meeting in the Drury Lane 2nd floor seminar room). We hope to discuss the place of DH within the arts and humanities and within the academy as a whole. All are welcome.

When: 18:15 start (except Feb 5, 12, Mar 10, 20)
Where: Anatomy Museum, Strand Building 6th Floor
King’s College London, Strand London WC2R 2LS (except Feb 5/Mar 10/Mar 20)

January 20, 2015:
Richard Gartner, Giles Greenway, Faith Lawrence, Jennifer Pybus (King’s College London)
Round table: Big Data in the Digital Humanities

February 5 (NB: Thursday, 13:00 start, in 26-29 Drury Lane, room 212):
Clare Hooper (University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre)
Understanding Disciplinary Presence in Interdisciplinary Fields: analysing contributions in the Digital Humanities and Web Science

February 12 (NB: Thursday, 14:00 start, in 26-29 Drury Lane, room 212):
Michael Lesk (Rutgers)
The Convergence of Curation

February 17:
Ségolène Tarte (University of Oxford)
Of Features and Models: A reflexive account of image processing experiences across classics and trauma surgery
(Joint seminar with Classics Department)

March 3:
Julianne Nyhan (University College London)
Were Humanists and Digital Humanities always so very different? An investigation of the earliest contributions to Humanist

March 10 (NB: 17:30 start, in Council Room K2.29):
Irene Polinskaya (KCL), Askold Ivantchik (Bordeaux) & Gabriel Bodard (KCL)
Byzantine Inscriptions of the Northern Black Sea (details)

March 17:
Marilyn Deegan, Simon Tanner (KCL), Sam Rayner (UCL), et alii.
Panel: Future of the Academic Book

March 20 (NB: Friday, 12:30 start, in 26-29 Drury Lane, room 212):
Nicole Coleman (Stanford)
Palladio: Visual Tools for Thinking Through Data

Linking Ancient People, Places, Objects and Texts

Linking Ancient People, Places, Objects and Texts
a round table discussion
Gabriel Bodard (KCL), Daniel Pett (British Museum), Humphrey Southall (Portsmouth), Charlotte Tupman (KCL); with response by Eleanor Robson (UCL)

18:00, Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Anatomy Museum, Strand Building 6th Floor
King’s College London, Strand London WC2R 2LS

As classicists and ancient historians have become increasingly reliant on large online research tools over recent years, it has become ever more imperative to find ways of integrating those tools. Linked Open Data (LOD) has the potential to leverage both the connectivity, accessibility and universal standards of the Web, and the power, structure and semantics of relational data. This potential is being used by several scholars and projects in the area of ancient world and historical studies. The SNAP:DRGN project ( is using LOD to bring together many technically varied databases and authorities lists of ancient persons into a single virtual authority file; the Pleiades gazetteer and service projects such as Pelagios and PastPlace are creating open vocabularies for historical places and networks of references to them. Museums and other heritage institutions are at the forefront of work to encode semantic archaeological and material culture data, and projects such as Sharing Ancient Wisdoms ( and the Homer Multitext ( are developing citation protocols and an ontology for relating texts with variants, translations and influences.

The panel will introduce some of these key projects and concepts, and then the audience will be invited to participate in open discussion of the issues and potentials of Linked Ancient World Data.

Transformative Works Discussion Group

The inaugural meeting of Transformative Works Discussion Group will be *5:30, November 6th* in the Department of Digital Humanities Seminar room (second level of the KCL, Drury Lane building). We hope that the discussion group will then continue on the first Thursday of each month.

In honour of Halloween, the meeting will include a presentation: “Non-humanity Never Looked So Good: Romance From the Long Tail to the Long Tentacle”.

Anyone (students, researchers, staff etc) who has an interest in the area of fandom and transformative works, whether text, image, film, audio or transmedia, or the communities/technology that surround them are invited to attend. We hope that this discussion group will give people working in this area a chance to exchange information and ideas in a friendly, interdisciplinary setting. To this end we would also like to give people an opportunity to volunteer to do a short presentation of their work or nominate a paper for review and discussion. If you are interested in presenting or nominating a discussion topic then please email

Please circulate this information around your departments and to anyone else you think might be interested as these early meetings will be vital to gauging ongoing viability.

Digital Humanities Seminar

We invite all who are interested to join us for the Autumn Digital Humanities seminar at King’s College London. The seminars are on Tuesday afternoons at 18:00, and held in the Anatomy Museum (ATM) on the 6th floor of the King’s Building on the Strand campus (with exceptions clearly marked below).


Peter Stokes, Stewart Brookes, Giancarlo Buomprisco (KCL), Elaine
Treharne (Stanford), Donald Scragg (Manchester)
Digital Resource and Database for Palaeography, Manuscript Studies and Diplomatic (DigiPal) launch event (Room K2.29)

Weds 22-Oct-2014 *17:30 start*
Helma Dik (University of Chicago)
Philologia ex machina: Are we getting any closer? (Room K0.20)
*Note: this event is on a Wednesday at 17:30, and is a joint seminar with the Classics department*

Timo Honkela (National Library of Finland, Helsinki)
Text Mining for Digital Humanities (ATM)

Tobias Blanke (KCL) et alii.
Book launch: Digital Asset Ecosystems: Rethinking crowds and clouds (ATM)

Gabriel Bodard (KCL), Daniel Pett (British Museum), Humphrey Southall (Portsmouth), Charlotte Tupman (KCL)
Round table: Linking ancient people, places, objects and texts (ATM)

DH2014: SNAP:DRGN poster

Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies: Data and Relation in Greco-Roman Names

(This poster was also presented in the Ontologies for Prosopography pre-conference workshop on Tuesday July 8.)

In the poster session on Thursday July 10, this was up for two hours, was photographed several times, and Sebastian Rahtz and myself mostly chatted with many people who came over and expressed an interest in it. At least two, possibly three, of these people will turn out to be new project partners who we wouldn’t have known about otherwise, so I call this a win!

If you want to see the poster in full-size, you can find it on the wall in Drury Lane, in the corridor opposite room 220.

PHEME: Computing Veracity in Social Media

(Guest post from Dr Anna Kolliakou, who gave a guest seminar in DDH a few weeks ago. Anna and Robert would be very interested in collaborating with anyone in DH who has interests in their project.)

Computing Veracity in Social Media

From a business and government point of view there is an increasing need to interpret and act upon information from large-volume media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and newswire. However, knowledge gathered from online sources and social media comes with a major caveat – it cannot always be trusted. Pheme will investigate models and algorithms for automatic extraction and verification of four kinds of rumours (uncertain information or speculation, disputed information or controversy, misinformation and disinformation) and their textual expressions.

Veracity intelligence is an inherently multi-disciplinary problem, which can only be addressed successfully by bringing together currently disjoint research on language technologies, web science, social network analysis, and information visualisation. Therefore, we are seeking to develop cross-disciplinary social semantic methods for veracity intelligence, drawing on the strengths of these four disciplines. The Department of Digital Humanities, an international leader for the application of technology in social sciences, was the appropriate platform for researchers from the SLAM Biomedical Research Centre at KCL, one of PHEME’s partners, to present their proposed work in veracity intelligence for mental healthcare with an aim to develop academic collaborations with academics interested in social media analysis, NLP and text mining. For more information…

Seminar: June 2, 2014: Robert Stewart and Anna Kolliakou

Social media poses three major computational challenges, dubbed by Gartner the 3Vs of big data: volume, velocity, and variety. PHEME will focus on a fourth crucial but hitherto largely unstudied, big data challenge: veracity. The relationship between clinicians and their patients has already been changed by the internet in three waves. First, the provision of pharmaceutical data, diagnostic information and advice from drug companies and health care providers created a new source for self-directed diagnosis. Secondly, co-creation sites like Wikipedia and patient support forums (e.g. PatientsLikeMe) have more recently added a discursive element to the didactic material of the first wave. Thirdly, the social media revolution has acted as an accelerant and magnifier to the second wave.

Prof Robert Stewart and Dr Anna Kolliakou, from the SLAM Biomedical Research Centre at King’s College London, have started the process of re-tooling medical information systems to compete with this new context. This will facilitate practical applications in the healthcare domain, to enable clinicians, public health professionals and health policy makers to analyse high-volume, high-variety, and high-velocity internet content for emerging medically-related patterns, rumours, and other health-related issues. This analysis may in turn be used (i) to develop educational materials for patients and the public, by addressing concerns and misconceptions and (ii) to link to analysis of the electronic health records.

In this seminar, they will be discussing the development of 4 main demonstration studies that aim to:

  1. Identify social media preferences and dislikes about certain medication and treatment options and how these present in clinical records
  2. Monitor the emergence of novel psychoactive substances in social media and identify if and how promptly they appear in clinical records
  3. Explore how mental health stigma arises in social media and presents in clinical records
  4. Ascertain the type of influence social media might have on young people at risk of self-harm or suicide

SNAP:DRGN consultation workshop

Last week we held the first workshop of the SNAP:DRGN (Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies: Data and Relations in Greco-roman Names) project, here in King’s College London.

As announced in our press release the SNAP:DRGN project aims to recommend standards for linking together basic identities and information about the entities in various person-databases relating to the ancient world, with a view to facilitating the production of a federated network including millions of ancient person-records, compatible with the Linked Ancient World Data graph. At this workshop (see Workshop slides and recap) we presented our preliminary proposals, data models and ontology for feedback to a representative group of scholars from both the classical prosopography/onomaastics and Linked Open Data communities. We also spoke to several people with large datasets that might be contributed to the SNAP graph.

It was decided that SNAP:DRGN will attempt to address recommendations to five key use-cases of networked prosopographical data:

  1. Putting prosopographical data online, including stable URIs and openly-accessible data and metadata in standard formats (not defined by us).
  2. Contibuting a summary of said data, including identifiers for all persons and a simplifed subset of core identifying information about each entity, to the SNAP graph to that it can be built upon and referred to by other projects.
  3. Annotating SNAP entities to establish alignment and identify co-references between related datasets.
  4. Marking-up online documents to identify personal names within them to persons identified in the SNAP graph and its constituent databases.
  5. Adding relationships between persons, both within and between databases: person X is the daughter of person Y; person A in one database was killed in battle by person B in another database.

The SNAP:DRGN project will continue to work on the “Cookbook“, the summary of recommendations and examples for these five use-cases, over the coming months, in the run-up to adding several new datasets to the graph. We are also experimenting in a modest way with tool and implementations for working with the vast graph of ancient persons created: named entity recognition (NER) workflows for finding new personal names in texts; co-reference resolution for finding overlap and links between datasets; search and browse tools and APIs. This work will be reported on the SNAP:DRGN blog, and in conferences and seminars throughout the year.

Digital Classicist CFP (2014)

The Digital Classicist London seminars have since 2006 provided a forum for research into the ancient world that employs digital and other quantitative methods. The seminars, hosted by the Institute of Classical Studies, are on Friday afternoons from June to mid-August in Senate House, London.

We welcome contributions from students as well as from established researchers and practitioners. We welcome high-quality papers discussing individual projects and their immediate context, but also accommodate broader theoretical consideration of the use of digital technology in Classical studies. The content should be of interest both to classicists, ancient historians or archaeologists, and to information specialists or digital humanists, and should have an academic research agenda relevant to at least one of those fields.

There is a budget to assist with travel to London (usually from within the UK, but we have occasionally been able to assist international presenters to attend).

To submit a proposal for consideration, email an abstract of approximately 500 words to by midnight UTC on March 9th, 2014.

Further information and details of past seminars are available at:

EpiDoc training workshop, Rome

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

At the beginning of October I ran a pre-conference tutorial on EpiDoc markup and tools at the TEI members’ meeting in Rome, co-taught with Ryan Baumann of Duke University. (Tutorial abstract on conference site.) We were hosted in the brand spanking new Vetreria Sciarra building of La Sapienza, on Via dei Volsci.

The first day of the tutorial was focused on EpiDoc recommendations for TEI encoding of epigraphic and papyrological texts. Continue reading EpiDoc training workshop, Rome

Gerhard Brey, 25 August 1954 – 8 February 2012

Gerhard Andreas Brey, our friend and until recently colleague here at DDH, died peacefully on the night of 8 February 2012 after a short battle with cancer. Gerhard was a Senior Research Fellow in the Department, having worked with us since 2004, and was a valued colleague and collaborator until September 2011 when he became a casualty of recent redundancies.

There was a private funeral for family and friends in February; we plan to hold an academic celebration of Gerhard’s life later in the year. In the meantime there is a page for donations to Cancer Research UK in memory of Gerhard at

Gerhard was born in Laufen, Bavaria, into a home shared with his close extended family. Continue reading Gerhard Brey, 25 August 1954 – 8 February 2012