Archive for the 'Events' Category

'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:


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.

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.

London Seminar in Digital Text and Scholarship 2012-2013: Dr David Berry

By Sarah Davenport, on 11 January 2013

The seminar is held at the Institute of English Studies (IES), Room 234, Senate House, at 17.30, with a wine reception to follow.

17 January 2013: Dr David Berry, University of Swansea

Critical Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities have been criticised, perhaps unfairly, for being narrow and lacking cultural critique, most notably by Geert Lovink and Alan Liu. In this paper I want to look at the way in which digital humanities as a field of research can address these critiques. This ranges from the particular research agendas that have become prominent within digital humanities itself, and which are strongly related to prior research interests drawn (or not) from the humanities themselves, and to the new research agenda that is driven primarily in relation to big data, gamification, MOOCs, and the so-called “industrialised” digital humanities. Whilst digital humanities have created critical versions of archives, tools, platforms, etc. and have begun to explore approaches to the use of the computational, how should digital humanities respond to the issues raised by the computational in society, economics, politics, or culture. Does the call for “more hack, less yack”, calling for digital humanists to “do” rather than “talk”, imply a reluctance to engage critically, or can discussions informed by the hashtag #transformDH, for example, help us to develop a more critical digital humanities. In what ways can hacking and “building” be undertaken in a critical vein and how can these “critical” practices inform theoretical discussions of digital humanities.

For further details please see the IES website:

UCLDH: Ryan Baumann – visiting speaker

By Sarah Davenport, on 10 January 2013

UCLDH is pleased to announce that Ryan Baumann will be visiting to give an informal talk.  Ryan is currently based at the Harvard Centre for Hellenic Studies, working on tools for digital commentary, and has previously worked with EDUCE at the University of Kentucky Centre for Visualization and Virtual Environments

His talk at UCLDH will detail various imaging techniques and their applications to ancient text-bearing artifacts, including 3D laser, micro-CT, and multispectral imaging. Using examples from real-world problems and data, the appropriateness of applying different techniques to different artifacts will be discussed.

All welcome.

Time: 17:30

Date: Wednesday 16th January

Location: G31 Foster Court

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

Register FREE at

UCLDH: Rethinking Text-Dictionary Interfaces by Toma Tasovac

By Julianne Nyhan, on 30 October 2012

UCLDH is pleased to announce the following lecture by Toma Tasovac on 29th November 2012 at 17:30.

Title: Rethinking Text-Dictionary Interfaces: Deformative Lexical Annotations in Digital Editions

Abstract: Despite claims about the radical nature of electronic textuality, on-screen texts in digital editions remain largely static. Most annotated digital editions of literary works follow the typographic and editorial conventions of the print medium: they reinforce a clear separation of text and paratext while ignoring the potential of more playful strategies, such as Jerome McGann’s deformative criticism. In this talk I explore a new kind of text-dictionary interface that embeds and animates lexical annotations directly inside the on-screen text. The result is a dynamic, deformative interface that destabilizes the text’s self-enclosed identity and becomes a platform for the user’s cognitive, aesthetic and performative interaction with the digital object.

About the speaker: Toma Tasovac is the Director of the Center for Digital Humanities (Belgrade, Serbia). Further information about his work is available: •

The talk will be followed by a reception at 6:30pm, in the Foster Court, Arts and Humanities Staff Common room, UCL.

Please register here in order to reserve a place:

Digital Engagement in Archaeology

By Anne Welsh, on 10 October 2012

Registration is now open for this event, which features UCLDH Co-Director, Melissa Terras.

Full post by Lorna Richardson, on the UCLDIS Student Blog.

eHumanities Seminar in Leipzig

By Simon Mahony, on 9 October 2012

I’m very pleased to have been invited to open the 2012 Leipzig e-Humanities Seminar series. Their new e-Humanities Centre is a collaborative venture between the computer scientists and humanities scholars there. My title for the talk is The Digital Classicist: building a Digital Humanities Community. I’ve been asked to analyze and present my experiences with helping to build this cross-disciplinary community and particularly as the organizers tell me that they have modeled their series on the long-running and successful Digital Classicist one. I’m very much looking forward to visiting Leipzig and regret that I will not be able to stay for longer.

Showing the Arts and Humanities Matter

By Melissa M Terras, on 11 July 2012

4 Humanites logo

UCLDH are pleased to be organising a free, one day symposium at UCL in conjunction with 4Humanities, Arts Emergency, and UCL Department of Information Studies.

Government and private support for the Arts and Humanities—for research, teaching, preservation, and creative renewal in such fields as literature, history, languages, philosophy, classics, art history, and cultural studies – is in decline. What can we do to demonstrate that the Arts and Humanities matter?

This free, one day symposium, on 18th September 2012 at UCL, will feature leading figures in understanding, demonstrating, and advocating for the Arts and Humanities. The symposium will also mark the launch of the 4Humanities@UCL chapter.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Professor Alan Liu, University of California Santa Barbara, and 4Humanities founder
  • Dr Rüdiger Klein, European Alliance for the Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Amy Westwell and Oliver Milne, The Free Hetherington Campaign
  • Neil Griffiths, Arts Emergency
  • Dr Anna Upchurch, University of Leeds, and Dr Eleonora Belfiore, University of Warwick
  • Professor Andrew Prescott, King’s College London.

More information will be posted soon at The symposium is free to attend, and all with an interest in this area are welcome, although please do register in advance at

4Humanities@UCL is supported by UCL Enterprise, as part of the Knowledge Transfer and Enterprise Scheme at UCL in 2012.

Digital Classicist & Institute of Classical Studies Seminar, Summer 2012

By Simon Mahony, on 25 May 2012

Digital ClassicistThe full programme for the annual Digital Classicist & Institute of Classical Studies Seminar series is available on our 2012 seminar page. As always, abstracts are there in advance and the slides and audiocast will appear soon after each seminar. Previous seminars and other Digital Classicist events (conference panels etc) are on the main seminar page.

Looking through, you will see that most, if not all, range far beyond an interest in the ancient world. Each paper must have an innovative digital component and many incorporate Digital Humanities techniques and methodologies. The series seeks to 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 scientists or digital humanists, as well as having an academic research agenda relevant to at least one of those fields.

All are welcome; these are public events with no need to book.