Yesterday, as part of the New Direction in the DH seminar we had a talk by Terhi Nurmikko, a PhD student in the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre and a member of the Archaeological Computing Research Group at the University of Southampton. Continue reading Seminar: Cuneiform documents and Linked Data for the ancient world
Last Thursday (8th March), as part of the New Direction in the DH seminar we hosted a very interesting talk by Emma Bayne and Ruth Roberts about the most recent digital developments of the National Archives online presence.
Discovery and the Digital Challenge
Emma Bayne and Ruth Roberts talked about the changes to the National Archives online services. This includes the development of a new service – the Discovery Service. This is based on a new architecture and allows improved access to the National Archives Catalogue and digitised material. Features include a new taxonomy-based search and an API to allow bulk downloads of data.
They also discussed about some of the challenges facing the National Archives in delivering large quantities of digital images of records online – moving from a gigabyte scale to a petabyte scale in a short period of time.
Recording of the seminar:
If you’re interested you can listen again to the seminar (~1hr) by clicking here.
I’m very glad to be joining the Department of Digital Humanities and looking forward to contributing to this blog as and when I can. I’ll use this blog for posts relating closely to the Department of Digital Humanities. You’ll be able to find more more wide-ranging blogging on digitalriffs.blogspot.com. It was a great privilege to have the opportunity last night to give an inaugural lecture right at the beginning of my term of office as Head of Department and to try and map out some of the issues I think we need to address both as a Department and as a discipline. I promised to make available the text of my lecture via this blog, so here it is:
‘An Electric Current of the Imagination’: What the Digital Humanities Are and What They Might Become
Lecture by Andrew Prescott, King’s College London, 25 January 2012
It is a great honour for me to become head of this academic department devoted to the study of the digital humanities. When I first saw experiments in the digital imaging of books and manuscripts in the British Library twenty years ago, it was impossible to imagine that they would develop into an intellectual activity on a scale warranting an academic department. The fact that King’s College London has led the way in this process is due to the work of many pioneers, and I cannot start this lecture without acknowledging their achievements and saying what a pleasure it is to join them now as a colleague. Above all, it is essential to honour the contribution of Professor Harold Short who is without doubt the father of the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. Harold has been an outstanding international pioneer of the digital humanities, and I feel honoured and humbled to follow in his footsteps. Continue reading An Electric Current of the Imagination
Decoding Digital Humanities London (DDHL) is a series of informal monthly meetings for anyone interested in research at the intersection of computational technologies and the humanities. These gatherings provide an opportunity to discuss readings and raise questions, but also to mingle and share ideas with others in the field of digital humanities.
The series was founded at University College London and is now aiming at involving a larger number of institutions across London. PhD, MA students and staff at UCL, King’s College London and Goldmisth’s University of London are amongst the organizers this year.
The first meeting will be on January 31st at 6.30pm at The Plough (upstairs), 27 Museum st, WC1A 1LH. We will discuss the Digital Humanities Manifesto: http://tcp.hypotheses.org/411.
No registration is needed but an email would be appreciated. Please write to email@example.com.
At yesterday’s (23 November) Internal Research Seminar, Elena Pierazzo and Miguel Vieira presented Tablet apps, or the future of Digital Scholarly Editions, a preview of the paper that they will give tomorrow at the study-day “The Future of the Book“.
The paper discussed those opportunities that tablet device could offer for the digital publication of scholarly editions. This work stemmed from Patricia Searl’s MA dissertation, who completed her Digital Humanities MA at DDH last year.
The main issue arises from the apparent lack of use of digital scholarly editions published on the web. The speakers found particularly worrying the fact that these editions are never part of undergraduate syllabi, even though they usually offer high quality scholarly texts with free, open access.
Tablet devices are user-friendly, portable and create a stronger sense of ownership compared to websites. This makes for an experience closer to reading from a book, but would it be true for digital scholarly editions? Would it work for editions that need sophisticated ways of presenting historical evidence and editorial work? The presenters believe that the eBook model would probably not be sufficient, but the “App” paradigm might.
Enhanced eBooks already exploit this idea by introducing a highly interactive, almost ludic component to the digital edition. Nonetheless, none of these apps have been connected to scholarly work so far. The speakers noticed, for example, how it is impossible to find an editor of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land enhanced eBook (see image).
Finally, the paper also discussed those issues that would be familiar to any smartphone or tablet user, such as cross-device compatibility, keeping up-to-date with new OSs and heavily controlled app “markets”. These issues influence the true user reach, but first of all complicate development quite substantially (even more than, for example, dealing with cross-browser issues).
The paper was followed by a lively discussion. There was general agreement that scholarly editing should get involved in tablet computing; the best way of doing so, however, is yet to be fully understood and provides fertile ground for an exciting new research area.
The DDH Internal Research Seminar series aims at giving a space to DDH staff to present their research and discuss them in an informal environment.
Professor Sukanta Chaudhuri yesterday gave a very interesting talk on the scope, methods and aims of ‘Bichitra’ (literally, ‘the various’), the ongoing project for an online variorum edition of the complete works of Rabindranath Tagore in English and Bengali. The talk (part of this year’s DDH research seminar) highlighted a number of issues I personally wasn’t much familiar with, so in this post I’m summarising them a bit and then highlighting a couple of possible suggestions.
Sukanta Chaudhuri is Professor Emeritus at Jadavpur University, Kolkata (Calcutta), where he was formerly Professor of English and Director of the School of Cultural Texts and Records. His core specializations are in Renaissance literature and in textual studies: he published The Metaphysics of Text from Cambridge University Press in 2010. He has also translated widely from Bengali into English, and is General Editor of the Oxford Tagore Translations.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941), the first nobel laureate of Asia, was arguably the most important icon of modern Indian Renaissance. This recent project on the electronic collation of Tagore texts, called ‘the Bichitra project’, is being developed as part of the national commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of the poet (here’s the official page). This is how the School of Cultural Texts and Records summarizes the project’s scope:
The School is carrying out pioneer work in computer collation of Tagore texts and creation of electronic hypertexts incorporating all variant readings. The first software for this purpose in any Indian language, named “Pathantar” (based on the earlier version “Tafat”), has been developed by the School. Two pilot projects have been carried out using this software, for the play Bisarjan (Sacrifice) and the poetical collection Sonar Tari (The Golden Boat). The CD/DVDs contain all text files of all significant variant versions in manuscript and print, and their collation using the ”Pathantar” software. The DVD of Sonar Tari also contains image files of all the variant versions. These productions are the first output of the series “Jadavpur Electronic Tagore”.
Progressing from these early endeavours, we have now undertaken a two-year project entitled “Bichitra” for a complete electronic variorum edition of all Tagores works in English and Bengali. The project is funded by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and is being conducted in collaboration with Rabindra-Bhavana, Santiniketan. The target is to create a website which will contain (a) images of all significant variant versions, in manuscript and print, of all Tagores works; (b) text files of the same; and (c) collation of all versions applying the “Pathantar” software. To this end, the software itself is being radically redesigned. Simultaneously, manuscript and print material is being obtained and processed from Rabindra-Bhavana, downloaded from various online databases, and acquired from other sources. Work on the project commenced in March 2011 and is expected to end in March 2013, by which time the entire output will be uploaded onto a freely accessible website.
A few interesting points
Food for thought
The situation is striking similar – or not? Would it be feasible to reuse one of these approaches with textual sources?
Another relevant visualization is the one used by popular file-comparison softwares (eg File Merge on a Mac) for showing differences between two files:
– Research report on Bengali NLP engine for TTS [text]
– The Emile corpus, containing fourteen monolingual corpora, including both written and (for some languages) spoken data for fourteen South Asian languages [homepage]
– A complete OCR system for continuous Bengali characters [text]
– Parsing Bengali for Database Interface [text]
– Unsupervised Morphological Parsing of Bengali [text]
– Bangla OCR project, mainly focused on the research and development of an Optical Character Recognizer for Bangla / Bengali script
Any comments and/or ideas?
The THATcamp Kansas and Digital Humanities Forum happened last week at the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, which is part of the University of Kansas in beautiful Lawrence. I had the opportunity to be there and give a talk about some recent stuff I’ve been working on regarding digital prosopography and computer ontologies, so in this blog post I’m summing up a bit the things that caught my attention while at the conference.
The event happened on September 22-24 and consisted of three separate things:
The workshop and THATcamp were both packed with interesting stuff, so I strongly suggest you take a look at the online documentation, which is very comprehensive. In what follows I’ll instead highlight some of the contributed papers which a) I liked and b) I was able to attend (needless to say, this list matches only my individual preference and interests). Hope you’ll find something of interest there too!
A (quite subjective) list of interesting papers
A copy of this article has been posted here too.
This Friday, the University of Reading discusses Digital Humanities at the one-day event DH at Reading.
High-profile Digital Humanities speakers will introduce fundamental topics of research in the field, and will be followed by a round table led by Ph.D. students with a strong DH component in their work.
Elena Pierazzo, from the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College will introduce Medieval and Modern Manuscripts in the Digital Age; while the round table will be joined by the department’s PhD students Øyvind Eide, Tom Salyers and Raffaele Viglianti.
We’re excited to talk DH at Reading and contribute to the dissemination of the disciplines to those institutions interested in participating more to the field.
Europeana is a multilingual digital collection containing more than 15 millions resources that lets you explore Europe’s history from ancient times to the modern day. Europeana API services are web services allowing search and display of Europeana collections in your website and applications. The folks at Europeana have been actively promoting the experimentation with their APIs by organizing ‘hackathons’ – workshops for cultural informatics hackers where new ideas and discussed and implemented.
Some examples of the outputs of the previous hackathon can be found here. Hack4Europe is the most recent of these dissemination activities:
Hack4Europe! is a series of hack days organised by the Europeana Foundation and its partners Collections Trust, Museu Picasso, Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center and Swedish National Heritage Board. The hackathon roadshow will be held simultaneously in 4 locations (London, Barcelona, Poznan and Stockholm) in the week 6 – 12 June and will provide an exciting environment to explore the potential of open cultural data for social and economic growth in Europe.
Each hackathon will bring together up to 30 developers from the hosting country and the surrounding area. They will have access to the diverse and rich Europeana collections containing over 18 million records, Europeana Search API (incl. a test key and technical documentation) and Europeana Linked Open Data Pilot datasets which currently comprise about 3 million Europeana records available under a CC0 license.
There are four hackathons coming up, so if you’re interested make sure you sign up quickly:
Linking Open Data: the Pelagios Ontology Workshop
(A reminder that all KCL colleagues are welcome to attend this event, but registration is essential. To register please visit http://pelagios.eventbrite.com.)
The Pelagios workshop is an open forum for discussing the issues associated with and the infrastructure required for developing methods of linking open data (LOD), specifically geodata. There will be a specific emphasis on places in the ancient world, but the practices discussed should be equally applicable to contemporary named locations. The Pelagios project will also make available a proposal for a lightweight methodology prior to the event in order to focus discussion and elicit critique.
The one-day event will have 3 sessions dedicated to:
1) Issues of referencing ancient and contemporary places online
2) Lightweight ontology approaches
3) Methods for generating, publishing and consuming compliant data
Each session will consist of several short (15 min) papers followed by half an hour of open discussion. The event is FREE to all but places are LIMITED so participants are advised to register early. This is likely to be of interest to anyone working with digital humanities resources with a geospatial component.
10:30-1:00 Session 1: Issues
2:00-3:30 Session 2: Ontology
4:00-5:30 Session 3: Methods
Johan Alhlfeldt (University of Lund) Regnum Francorum online
Ceri Binding (University of Glamorgan) Semantic Technologies Enhancing
Links and Linked data for Archaeological Resources
Gianluca Correndo (University of Southampton) EnAKTing
Claire Grover (University of Edinburgh) Edinburgh Geoparser
Eetu Mäkelä (University of Aalto) CultureSampo
Adam Rabinowitz (University of Texas at Austin) GeoDia
Sebastian Rahtz (University of Oxford) CLAROS
Sven Schade (European Commission)
Monika Solanki (University of Leicester) Tracing Networks
Humphrey Southall (University of Portsmouth) Great Britain Historical
Geographical Information System
Jeni Tennision (Data.gov.uk)
Pelagios Partners also attending are:
Mathieu d’Aquin (KMi, The Open University) LUCERO
Greg Crane (Tufts University) Perseus
Reinhard Foertsch (University of Cologne) Arachne
Sean Gillies (Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU) Pleiades
Mark Hedges, Gabriel Bodard (KCL) SPQR
Rainer Simon (DME, Austrian Institute of Technology) EuropeanaConnect
Elton Barker (The Open University) Google Ancient Places
Leif Isaksen (The University of Southampton) Google Ancient Places