Archive for the 'Digital Humanities' Category

Digital Humanities Project Starter Workshop

By Sarah Davenport, on 26 February 2013

Thursday 25 April & Friday 26 April 2013

Forms part of UCL’s Digital Humanities Month, April 2013, supported by the Grand Challenge of Cultural Interaction

- £5,000 project starter prize for the best cross-disciplinary digital humanities project

- Only 12-16 places are available

- Open to all disciplines across UCL. You don’t have to be a humanities researcher or a computer scientist to apply

- Apply by 9am, Monday, 25th March 2013

Who can pitch the best project, and win seed funding (£5,000) to undertake a new project at the juncture of computing and the humanities? This is your opportunity to spend one and a half days working in cross-disciplinary project groups to formulate research proposals which will be judged by an expert panel.

This innovative workshop, led by a professional facilitator, will aim to stimulate new thinking about digital humanities and to catalyse collaborations across UCL with researchers who work in disparate subject areas.

Please see the Intercultural Interaction website for further details and information on how to apply.

News about further Digital Humanities Month events to follow.  Watch this space!

QRator at the Museum of Brands

By Sarah Davenport, on 25 February 2013

QRator has now been rolled out to the Museum  of Brands, offering an interactive experience for visitors via the QRator iPads and the website.  Further details can be found on the QRator website.

'What people study when they study Twitter', a talk by Professor Shirley Williams, University of Reading

By Sarah Davenport, on 18 February 2013

Shirley Williams from the University of Reading will be visiting UCLDH to give a talk on Thursday 28th February, 5.30pm, room G31.  All are welcome and there will be a drinks reception in the Arts and Humanities Common room afterwards.

Registration is required for this event: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/5560547748

Abstract:

The microblogging system Twitter was introduced in 2006, and since then over a thousand academic papers have appeared across a range of journals and conferences reporting on studies of Twitter and its use. Twitter’s open interface means that researchers are able to collect vast quantities of data and we are seeing studies undertaken by large teams in which billions of tweets are collected and reviewed with the help of automated tools, alongside smaller studies undertaken by individual or small groups of researchers (Williams, Terras, & Warwick, in press). For example:

  • Dodds, Harris, Kloumann, Bliss, and Danforth (2011) in their paper “Temporal patterns of happiness and information in a global social network: Hedonometrics and Twitter” describe the collection of 46 billion words over 33 months, and their methodological approach which includes language assessment using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.
  • Lindgren and Lundstrom (2011) in the paper “Pirate culture and hacktivist mobilization: The cultural and social protocols of #Wikileaks on Twitter” include  detailed study of 1029 tweets collected from 439 Twitter accounts over a two month period,  using the #Wikileaks hashtag, they include in their methodological approach the use of relational text analysis to produce a network from their text corpus describing the linguistic space.
  • Kierkegaard (2010) in her paper “Twitter thou doeth?” considers the potential litigation minefield related to Twitter,  citing cases with legal implications, the paper is not related to a collection of Twitter data.

In this presentation we identify the basic data used within Twitter studies, leading to  a categorization of the data set size. Additionally using open coded content analysis other important categories are also identified, relating to the primary methodology, domain and aspect of the study.

The Global Lab Podcast – digital humanities, augmented reality and museums

By Sarah Davenport, on 15 February 2013

Melissa Terras talks Digital Humanities on the latest episode of the Global Lab podcast: http://www.thegloballab.com

Social Interpretation – applying the principles of social media to relationships with cultural objects

By Sarah Davenport, on 8 February 2013

Claire Ross writes about the Social Interpretation project:

The Social Interpretation project was a one year Research and Development exercise joint funded by the NESTA / Arts Council / AHRC digital R&D Fund, and Imperial War Museums (IWM).  At its heart, it aimed to bring successful social interactions already found online and apply them across IWM’s collections – making social objects out of museums objects.  The aim being to increase spread and engagement of  IWM collections.

Museums’ objects have too often been seen as purely historical objects. They aren’t. Rather, they are social objects, inspiring emotional attachment, discussion, debate and action. This project is at the forefront of capturing and representing what audiences feel and say in response to our collections and subjects.

Social Interpretation aimed to holistically represent the discussions about, and sharing of, our objects by audiences. The intention was to do this seamlessly across all of the museums digital outputs (in-gallery, on-mobile and on-line). Making museums objects truly social.

The project essentially applied the models and insight found in social networks, and successful interactions online generally, and applying them wholesale to museum collections.

You can find out more about the project process at http://blogs.iwm.org.uk/social-interpretation/.

Or Read the final report from NESTA: http://www.artsdigitalrnd.org.uk/sites/default/files/case-study-documents/Digital_RandD_CaseStdy_SocialInterpretation.pdf

Or Watch a snazzy video.

Digital Partnership Event Summary

By Sarah Davenport, on 5 February 2013

Event date: 31 January 2013

Slides from the presentations are available here:

John Hindmarch’s Presentation

Jack Ashby’s Presentation

Matthew Cock’s Presentation

Jane MacDonald’s Presentation

Digital innovation and how museums and universities can partner to achieve this was the focus of this workshop. John Hindmarch, a PhD student at UCLDH, started the afternoon with his experience with the scanning of the recently decommissioned Shipping Gallery at the Science Museum. With museums being finite in display capacity, it is impossible to have every artefact on display forever. This raises the question about how we can preserve not only an exhibition, but also an experience? The Shipping Gallery was the largest gallery in the museum and largely unchanged since 1950’s. Locked in the Science Museum for five nights, Scanlabs and John took 275 individual scans equaling 265 GB of data! Even the 7-minute video we were shown used only 10% of the data and took 48 hours to render. There are definite accessibility benefits to digitizing decommissioned spaces, but there are obvious setbacks such as copyright issues of the boats that were on display and the high cost of such a project.

Giving a museum professionals side of view on a digital project, Jack Ashby, the manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology, spoke about QRator. Using radical trust of visitors, QRator invites visitors to share their comments to provoking questions about social and ethical issues related to natural history. He spoke about the importance of the symbiotic relationship between museums and universities. Museums want to engage visitors further and universities need a public space to fulfill their public engagement agenda. Next up was Matthew Cock, Head of Web, speaking about the British Museums Collection Online and how university research helped understand the viewership and use of the site. Using 30-question survey, UCLDH researchers teamed with the British Museum culminated over 2,657 respondents. The results helped drive a user-centered redesign incorporating direct feedback from the survey of the site. Limitations, such as self-selectiveness and length of the survey, were an issue. One-question, targeted surveys help to increase responses by decreasing length. Paired with Google Analytics to trigger questions based upon visitor page interactions, British Museum was able to get the responses they needed but without the length of the previous survey.

Lastly, Jane MacDonald, Project Administrator at Edinburgh College of Art of Tales of Things, spoke about the innovative site that used QR codes and RFID to link to the ‘stories’ of objects and what Jane referred to as a capacity to extend the ‘social history’ of that object. Partnered with university researchers, the Tales of Things sought to capture and share social experiences surrounding things from a shoe to a sewing machine using ‘ghost objects’ in museums. However powerful an object can be for eliciting stories, the project faced the obstacles of QR codes and interaction outside the museum. A new project she is working on is an application attaching information about attractions to taxi number plates.

An open discussion between the audience and speakers sparked conversation about how practical expensive technology could be in a museum setting. Yes, scanning an entire gallery is extremely expensive and time/resource consuming, but is it worth it? Arguably it increases accessibility and the ability to for virtual visitors to experience an exhibition from anywhere. Another issue brought up is how do we compare a virtual experience to actually visiting. For example, how can we measure user interaction with a virtual object? Furthermore, how can museums and universities work together to achieve a standard for measuring user interaction for comparison virtually and in real-life? Can you even compare them? These questions and many more are ones that universities and museums will have to consider when thinking about how to achieve digital innovation.

The Bentham Project Research Associate opportunity

By Sarah Davenport, on 17 December 2012

The Bentham Project is currently advertising for a Research Associate (60% FTE) to work on a newly funded initiative called tranScriptorium.

The following text is taken from the advertisement:

The Bentham Project, in collaboration with partners from across Europe, has recently received a grant for a project entitled tranScriptorium, which aims to develop innovative, efficient, and cost-effective solutions for the indexing, search and full transcription of digital images of manuscripts, using modern, holistic Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology.

The role holder will work with tranScriptorium partners (especially the University of London Computer Centre), to design and develop an HTR crowdsourcing platform, analyse the user needs and requirements of transcript correctors and visitors, carry out beta testing of the platform to ensure full functionality, and be responsible for the running of the crowdsourcing platform on a day-to-day basis.

The post is funded for 21 months in the first instance.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 4 January 2013. To apply, or for further information, please see the full job advert.

Digital Partnerships: Museums and Digital Humanities Workshop

By Sarah Davenport, on 17 December 2012

Registration is now open for a workshop, hosted by UCLDH, on 31st January 2013 beginning at 1:30pm

About: Digital Partnerships’ will focus on how museums and universities can work together when it comes to digital innovation. A drinks reception will be hosted afterwards at the Grant Museum of Zoology nearby.

It will explore digital innovation and the relationships between museums, universities and their users. Digital innovation means that museums now find themselves in a new environment in which visitors can interact to create, curate, organise and share their own experiences. Leading to big questions around how we research and understand digital innovation in a cultural context. This event will bring researchers and museum professionals together to consider innovative practices, and develop new research ideas.

Speakers: Matthew Cock, Head of Web at the British Museum; Jane MacDonald, ToTEM Project Administrator at Edinburgh College of Art; John Hindmarch, PhD student at UCL; and Jack Ashby, Manager at the Grant.

Full program viewable at the Eventbrite site below.

Email Rachel directly with any questions at rachel.kasbohm.11@ucl.ac.uk.

Register FREE at http://digital-partnerships.eventbrite.co.uk/

Slade Archive Project

By Sarah Davenport, on 13 December 2012

We are pleased to announce that UCLDH will be working with the Slade School of Fine Art on a pilot project to see what is held in the Slade Archive and to look at ways in which the information can be made available to a wider audience.  The project is funded by a UCL Arts & Humanities Small Research Grant.

For further information please see the project blog.

Social Media Knowledge Exchange

By Simon Mahony, on 16 November 2012


UCL is one of the institutions participating in the AHRC SMKE project led by the University of Cambridge.

This is a collaborative project that aims to give research students and early career researchers in the Arts and Humanities opportunities for knowledge exchange with social media practitioners in academia, museums, archives, libraries, and the voluntary sector.

Second Round Call for Proposals: Deadline 7 December 2012

The SMKE Scholarship scheme has already provided funding for six projects and has opened funding of up to £1,000 for additional knowledge exchange projects to run in academic year 2012-3. SMKE Scholars must be postgraduate students or early career researchers in the Arts and Humanities in any of the five participating institutions.