By Simon Mahony, on 2 December 2017
I was very pleased to be invited to represent UCL at the 2017 International Graduate Scholarship Fair in Beijing, organised by the China Scholarship Council. It is a really huge event with representatives from all the major universities worldwide. Together with a colleague from UCL Recruitment we had a continuous stream of excited students throughout the day, wanting to find out more about studying at UCL.
The trip to Beijing made possible other opportunities for networking with the growing Digital Humanities community in China. This, supported with funding from UCL Global Engagement, prompted a meeting at Peking University (PKU) where I gave a presentation about UCL and the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities. PKU is a strategic partner of UCL and I anticipate further connections being made with the DH people there over the coming year.
I was hosted by the PKU Library and met with staff from there and Tsinghua University.
The funding from UCL Global Engagement allowed me to extend the trip to Shanghai and Hangzhou. Visiting my contacts at the Shanghai Institute of Design coincided with their students’ sports day and I was invited to join in the prize giving.
This was followed by a guest lecture at Hangzhou Normal University, introducing the students on their Digital Media Programme to UCL and to our Digital Humanities research and practice.
The visit to Hangzhou made possible a meeting and the start of building connections with the Digital Humanities group at Zhejiang University City College (ZUCC). I was hosted at a very impressive hotel by the Dean and Director of their Department of Visual Communication Design and discussed several of their projects. I have been invited back so expect more on this plus photos at a later date.
By Melissa M Terras, on 17 November 2017
Melissa Terras, Julianne Nyhan, Edward Vanhoutte, and Inna Kizhner are pleased to announce the launch of the Russian edition of their book “Defining Digital Humanities“, published by Siberian Federal University Press. The Russian edition is a translation of the English edition and the text is freely available in Open Access (CC-BY), allowing anyone to take, share, download, reuse, and remix, in any way – as long as there is attribution. Please do circulate to colleagues who may be interested in the Russian edition of this book!
Гуманитарные науки проходят через период значительных изменений, когда объективность научных исследований, необходимость поддерживать выводы анализом данных становятся важной частью работы ученого. Цифровые гуманитарные науки делают важный вклад в развитие этих изменений. Важным этапом на пути становления цифровых гуманитарных наук в России стал перевод книги “Defining Digital Humanities. A Reader” под редакцией Мелиссы Террас, Джулианны Найхан и Эдварда Ванхута. Книга вышла в Издательстве Сибирского федерального университета и будет полезна ученым и преподавателям для оценки разных точек зрения на новое направление. Полный текст книги доступен для образовательных и научных целей, а также для некоммерческого распространения (лицензия Creative Commons BY – NC) по ссылке http://lib3.sfu-kras.
New publications: ‘Computation and the Humanities’ and ‘Digitally reconstructing the Great Parchment Book’
By Lucy J Stagg, on 17 November 2017
UCLDH are happy to announce two recent publications.
We have an open access version of the book Computation and the Humanities: Towards an Oral History of Digital Humanities, by Julianne Nyhan and Andrew Flinn, published by Springer as part of the Springer Series on Cultural Computing book series (SSCC).
We also have an article on Digitally reconstructing the Great Parchment Book: 3D recovery of fire-damaged historical documents published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, Volume 32, Issue 4, 1 December 2017, Pages 887–917.
Related to this, the Great Parchment Book blog recently announced:
an open access set of 326 XML documents containing encoded transcriptions of the individual folios of the Great Parchment Book is now available via UCL Discovery.
By Lucy J Stagg, on 30 October 2017
On 4th October 2017 UCLDH were delighted to meet with over 15 delegates from the Academy of Finland’s DIGIHUM programme, with the aim of sharing the latest British and Finnish research in digital humanities, and strengthening collaborations between the two. DIGIHUM is a multidisciplinary four-year programme, described on their website as:
designed to address novel methods and techniques in which digital technology and state-of-the-art computational science methods are used for collecting, managing and analysing data in humanities and social sciences research as well as for modelling humanities and social science phenomena.
UCLDH presented on three projects:
DIGIHUM delegates gave presentations on the following projects:
- Interfacing Structured and Unstructured Data in Sociolinguistic Research on Language Change (STRATAS) | presentation
- Digital Face | presentation
- Computational History and the Transformation of Public Discourse in Finland, 1640-1910 | presentation
- Oceanic Exchanges: Tracing Global Information Networks in Historical Newspaper Repositories, 1840–1914 | presentation
Various shared areas of investigation came out of the meeting, including manuscript studies, text and analysis tools, big data and high performance computing, OCR challenges and the social aspects of digital humanities.
By Lucy J Stagg, on 11 September 2017
Our wonderful Director, Prof. Melissa Terras, is leaving UCL in October 2017 to take up a new position as Chair of Digital Cultural Heritage at the new Edinburgh Futures Institute, University of Edinburgh.
Melissa joined UCL in 2003; she was Deputy Director at UCLDH’s founding in 2010, and has been Director since May 2013. In that time UCLDH has become one of the most visible and leading centres in its field in the UK, according to the Times Higher and the National Library of France.  
In her time at UCLDH she’s been part of many projects (including QRator, Transcribe Bentham, The Great Parchment Book and Textal), served as General Editor for Digital Humanities Quarterly, published a ton of stuff and served as Secretary for the European Association for Digital Humanities until 2013. She gave her inaugural lecture, ‘A Decade in Digital Humanities’ in May 2014.
“Her passion for research, towards the work that we do in the department, and in academia overall, is contagious. If I were to sum Melissa up in four words, it would be something like this: Profound. Dedicated. Empowering. Dynamic. I couldn’t have asked for a better supervisor.” Kinda Dahlan, PhD. student
“For me, Mel is the embodiment of Digital Humanities: a vibrant mix of creativity and technical expertise. It has been hugely refreshing to have a strong, loud and proud female academic role model. UCLDH, and UCL, will not be the same without her.” Dr Claire Bailey-Ross, former supervisee
“Melissa’s deep understanding of Digital Humanities, being a pioneer of this field herself, and her invaluable insight greatly benefitted, not only my PhD. studies, but also myself as an academic and a professional” Foteini Valeonti, Founder of USEUM and supervisee
Anyone who knows Melissa and would like to attend her leaving event on 10th October please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send the details on to you.
 “leading departments at University College London” (Times Higher Education: 2015)
 “Les plus visibles appartiennent au monde anglo-saxon : à Londres avec UCL” (Bulletin des Bibliotheques de France: 2012)
By Lucy J Stagg, on 14 July 2017
UCLDH are delighted to announce one of our team members, Pete Williams, has won a grant from Brazilian funding body CONFAP – FAPIMEG (Conselho Nacional Das Fundações De Amparo À Pesquisa – Fundações De Amparo À Pesquisa Do Estado De Minas Gerais) to work in Brazil for a month to continue his British Academy Fellowship research on learning disabilities and technology and to give a small number of talks on his past work.
By Simon Mahony, on 10 July 2017
Following an invitation at our last Industry Advisory Panel meeting, some of the UCLDH Management Team had an away-day to visit the IBM IT Heritage Museum and archive at the IBM research and development centre at Hursley.
We were given an amazing tour of the IBM Museum with many working models of old equipment, lovingly restored to working order through the efforts of the volunteers.
Exhibits were not limited to mechanical machines but also included early networked and stand-alone PCs, and portables with many being brought back to life. Hardware, logic chips, software and the all-important, and often overlooked middleware, that are so central to all online transactions are represented there too.
There is also the archive which consists of photographs (prints and slide transparencies), software and manuals, as well as books and an assortment of ephemera. Documents of all sorts, including schematic diagrams of circuitry are there.
Anything and everything ‘badged’ as IBM has a place in the various collections, including merchandising and publicity material. An interesting exhibit was the service engineer’s workplace with tools and spare parts.
The day was concluded with a round table discussion, bringing in other colleagues and industry partners online, looking at possible ways to collaborate and progress things to the advantage of us all.
By Oliver W Duke-Williams, on 13 June 2017
Oliver Duke-Williams of UCLDH gave a talk on ‘Coding Early Computers’ on June 10th as part of Invisible Numbers, a group show taking place as part of the E17 Art Trail; the show continues until June 18th.
The E17 Art Trail is a biennial event in Walthamstow, London; the 2017 edition is the largest so far, with over 7000 contributors, and is centred on the theme of STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths, and exploring artistic themes within STEM areas.
One part of the show is E A Newman & Pilot ACE: Turing’s Legacy; put together by historian Kirstin Sibley and illustrator Andrew Baker, it brings into the spotlight Edward (‘Ted’) Newman, who worked alongside Alan Turing and others in the development of the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE). Newman – who graduated from UCL in 1938 with a BSc in Physics – was born and grew up in Walthamstow, but is not commonly recognised (either locally or more widely) for his pioneering work in computing. This lack of recognition thus fits well with the show’s ‘Invisible’ signifier.
Kirstin and Andrew asked Oliver to join them to describe and explain the significance of the Pilot ACE computer for a general audience, and also to provide technical advice for a series of infographics which described the ACE and Newman’s contribution. This was a good opportunity to showcase ideas and research by academics to a public audience; the talks were standing-room only, and the gallery itself recorded over 700 visitors in the show’s opening weekend.
By Oliver W Duke-Williams, on 9 June 2017
‘Painting with Light’ (9th June) is being delivered by Martin Zaltz Austwick and me, together with friends from CASA and Geography. In this workshop we will produce a series of images floating in space using an experimental device known as a PixelStick, while discussing the history of St Michaels Church and parish. The PixelStick produces images that are visible yet indecipherable to the naked eye, but are revealed when viewed through long-exposure photographs.
‘Invisible Numbers’ (10th June) is a collective of several artists; part of it is about a locally born (and UCL alumnus) computing pioneer, for which I’m doing a talk on early British computing.
By Simon Mahony, on 3 June 2017
I was pleased to be welcomed back to the Shanghai Institute of Design in April as a follow up to the workshop I ran their earlier this year. It was fortunate that the dates coincided with the UCL Provost’s visit to Shanghai and I was able to join a drinks reception and to meet up with many former UCL students.
The students at the Shanghai Institute are always welcoming and I took the opportunity to help out in a couple of their language classes.
The President of the Shanghai Institute arranged for me to visit colleagues of his at Hangzhou Normal University and have talks about Digital Humanities in particular and UCL more generally. Hangzhou is a major Chinese city and capital of the Zhejiang Province in East China. The city hosted the 2016 G20 summit and is also famous for the West Lake and vast unspoiled park and wetlands. Hangzhou Normal is situated beyond the parkland to the West of Hangzhou in the e-commerce area dominated by Alibaba, the online retail giant.
Of particular particular interest was the work of the students on the Digital Medial Programme.
What was particularly fascinating, and especially as coming from a city campus such as UCL, was our tour of the University with its expansive campus with open spaces and ornamental gardens connected by a series of stone bridges over their own river meandering around the buildings.
The designers had build in tranquil spaces and given much attention to detail and landscaping, making the university a place of beauty as well as learning. I’ve been invited to give a guest lecture in their Digital Publishing series and look forward to futher visits.