2012: a busy year already

By Claire L H Warwick, on 14 February 2012

We are little more than a month into 2012 and already we have seen a lot of changes at UCLDH, so I thought it might be a good idea to write briefly about a few of them. It’s especially good to welcome back Melissa Terras, who was on maternity leave and sabbatical last year. Now that she is back full time we thought it would be a good idea formally to recognise her extremely important contribution to the centre, so from now on she and I are going to be Co-Directors. This makes sure that UCLDH still has the level of attention it deserves despite the fact that I’m now also Head of UCL Information Studies. I’m really looking forward to working with her as Co-Director, as we have on so many DH projects in the past.

One of the new initiatives that Melissa is leading is the creation of a new Multi-Modal Document Digitisation Suite. This is a joint initiative funded by the faculties of Arts and Humanities and Engineering and also by UCL Library services. A room has been found in the basement of the current Science Library, which will be converted to a secure digitisation suite, according to best practice guidelines. This will provide an excellent new facility for our growing number of research collaborations in document imaging, and a space that can also be used for teaching and research on the MA/MSc in DH. We are looking forward to offering a hands-on Digitisation module, and will be liaising closely with UCL Library and UCL Special Collections to digitise real content held at UCL as part of the student training program.

This year we have been concentrating a lot of our efforts on the Masters programme, and on teaching in general, and have welcomed several new PhD students to the centre. In this context, we’re especially pleased to be part of a new AHRC Skills training initiative in DH that has just been funded. It will be led by Cambridge, and we’ll be collaborating with DDH at KCL and HATII at Glasgow to develop a new training programme in the use of social media for research for early career scholars and PhD students. We’ve been doing rather well on AHRC networks of various kinds just recently. Melissa and I are also looking forward to starting work on the Community‐powered transformations network led by David Gauntlett of the University of Westminster. Melissa will also be collaborating on the Dig Where You Stand project, led by our DIS colleague Andrew Flinn. More about all these projects will appear here soon.

We haven’t been able to run our usual events programme this year. This is partly because we’ve been establishing the new MA programme and also because, for various complicated administrative reasons we have been unable to replace Rosella lo Conte, who left in the summer, as Centre Co-ordinator. We should be advertising for a new coordinator in the next month or so (watch this space…) but until we do we just don’t have the person-power to run events. However, fear not, they’ll be back next academic year, and until then everyone is welcome to attend the newly revitalised DDH London discussion group. We are delighted that its organisation is now shared between PhD students at UCLDH, DDH (the department!) and Goldsmiths, and are looking forward to hearing about what they are planning to discuss at future meetings.

Finally, I’d like to welcome a new member of staff to UCLDH. Dave Beavan has joined us from Glasgow University to be our new Research Manager. Dave will be helping us to develop, coordinate and run new research proposals, and is keen to meet people at UCL and beyond who would like to work with us on DH research. So please do get in touch with Dave if you have an idea you’d like to discuss or are looking for possible research collaborators.