Archive for the 'Media' Category

"Big data and the death of the theorist", article in Wired

By Sarah Davenport, on 25 January 2013

UCLDH co-director Melissa Terras is quoted in an article on the effect big data is having on academic disciplines.

Read the whole article here: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-01/25/big-data-end-of-theory

Day of Archaeology 2012

By Anne Welsh, on 30 May 2012

Posted on behalf of Lorna Richardson.

Following on from the success of 2011, we are happy to announce that this year’s ‘Day of Archaeology’, the public archaeology mass blogging project, is scheduled for *June 29, 2012*. Last year’s event, supported by the Centre for Digital Humanities, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the Archaeology Data Service and L-P Archaeology saw over 400 archaeologists sign up, and almost 450 separate blog posts were created, including lots of photos, video, audio and more. The Day of Archaeology project has been shortlisted top 3 for the British Archaeological Award for the Best Representation of Archaeology in the Media. The award will be presented on the 9th July at the British Museum.

You can read more about the first Day of Archaeology from 2011 on the website. The general hope for the project is that by raising awareness about the truly diverse nature of archaeology, we will also in turn emphasize the vital role that archaeology plays in preserving our past for everyone’s future.

If you would like to find out more, or sign up to write about/film/photograph your archaeological day on the 29th (or as near the day as possible), please email us at dayofarchaeology@gmail.com

Digital Humanities on YouTube

By Simon Mahony, on 21 May 2012

One of our PhD students, Greta Franzini, has put together this YouTube playlist of DH videos and made it available. I’ve been looking through and see there are some familiar names there!

This is a good way of collecting together resources – thanks Greta. Do we have any other examples?

QRator is Wired

By Claire L H Warwick, on 3 March 2011

Well actually it works on wireless. But we are feeling very chuffed indeed that UCLDH’s and CASA’s QRator project is featured in Wired UK today in a report on the opening of the new Grant Museum at UCL. There is also a beautiful photo gallery which includes a picture of the iPad itself in situ in photo 5. QRator will go live at the launch of the new Grant on 17th March and will allow visitors to join in a conversation about museum objects, by scanning QR codes attached to cases in the museum. These then link them to the CASA Tales of Things website where they can record their views. Or visitors can use an interactive label in the form of an iPad on which they can leave a comment and see those that others have left.

This changes fundamentally the way that we interact with museum objects. At the moment the only label we see in a museum is provided by curators. As a result of this world leading work visitors will now be able to see what curators say, but also join in a dialogue with them and with others about the object and the questions that they feel it raises. We’re very excited to be taking part in this work with CASA and UCL Museums, and can only say thank you again for the vision of Claire Ross, UCLDH PhD student, who had the idea in the first place.

Look out for a Digital Excursion to the Grant in May at which you’ll be able to hear all about QRator and play with all the lovely kit.

Web Comics: London Seminar #4

By Claire L H Warwick, on 6 January 2011

We are proud to announce that Ernesto Priego, one of our UCLDH PhD students who has just submitted his thesis will be giving a seminar on Comic Book Markup Language: Challenges and Opportunities on Thursday 13 January in room G32 of Senate House at 5.30. Ernesto is passionate about comics, their phenomenology, and their new existence on the web and mobile platforms and this promises to be a very enjoyable talk as a result. Do join us if you can.

Transcribe Bentham makes the New York Times

By Sarah Davenport, on 27 December 2010

UCLDH’s very own Transcribe Bentham project gets written up in the New York Times:

Starting this fall, the editors have leveraged, if not the wisdom of the crowd, then at least its fingers, inviting anyone — yes, that means you — to help transcribe some of the 40,000 unpublished manuscripts from University College’s collection that have been scanned and put online. In the roughly four months since this Wikipedia-style experiment began, 350 registered users have produced 435 transcripts.

These transcripts, which are reviewed and corrected by editors, will eventually be used for printed editions of the collected works of Bentham, whose preserved corpse, clothed and seated, has greeted visitors to the college since 1850.

Other initiatives have recruited volunteers online, but the Bentham Project is one of the first to try crowd-sourced transcription and to open up a traditionally rarefied scholarly endeavor to the general public, generating both excitement and questions.

Read the full article.

Claire Warwick on "culturomics"

By Rudolf Ammann, on 17 December 2010

Claire Warwick gets quoted in The Guardian on a new project in which Harvard University and Google open millions of digitised books to quantitative analysis:

Claire Warwick, director of the Centre for Digital Humanities at University College London, said that humanities researchers had been using the word-frequency techniques being described by Michel and Aiden for several decades. But the sheer size of their dataset marked it out from the usual tools. “What’s different is that this allows people to not just look at several hundred thousand words or several million words but several million books. So the overview is much bigger. That may bring out some hitherto unexpected ideas.”

The database of 500bn words is thousands of times bigger than any existing research tool, with a sequence of letters that is 1,000 times longer than the human genome. The vast majority, around 72%, is in English with small amounts in French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Russian, and Hebrew.

“In science, huge datasets which people have used super-computing on have led to some fascinating new discoveries that otherwise wouldn’t be possible,” said Warwick. “Whether that’s going to be the same in the arts and humanities, I don’t know yet.”

The scanned books can now be mined for cultural trends with very little effort using Google’s Ngram Viewer:

“One of the ways to use this is to suggest ideas,” said Warwick. “You can look at something like this and say, how fascinating that a certain term seems to occur so commonly and I wonder why that should be.”

On 17 March, Claire will deliver a public Lunch Hour Lecture at UCL on Twitter and Digital Identity.

HASTAC Scholars Program

By Claire S Ross, on 18 August 2010

This post is co-written by Ernesto Priego and Claire Ross.  It is a collective write up on becoming HASTAC Scholars.

HASTAC stands for Humanites, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory. It is a network of individuals and institutions inspired by the possibilities that new technologies offer us for shaping how we learn, teach, communicate, create, and organize our local and global communities.

HASTAC believe that digital spaces provide huge opportunities for informal and formal learning and for collaborative, networked research that extends across traditional disciplines, across the boundaries of academia and community; across the two disciplines of humanities and technology.  It is one of the most exciting online academic projects out there that we know of.

Therefore we are profoundly honoured to have been nominated and selected for the HASTAC Scholars Program. We will be two of more than 145 scholars from around the world who will share their adventures in digital academia through blog posts, tweets and other online resources. We can’t wait to be part of a really vibrant and more importantly digital academic community; it is a fantastic opportunity and a privilege to be part of it.

In the traditional concept of the lone scholar working away in the ivory tower, the idea of communication and sharing ideas has little hold.  Academic research can often seem and in fact be solipsistic. Often the thoroughness required for postgraduate study hyper-specialises subjects and therefore leaves scholars with little time to actually communicate to others what they are doing.   There is also the concept of academic reputation to take into consideration. Interesting questions have been raised about the nature of scholarly activity, authority and academic reputation in the digital age.  Does partaking in blogging damage your academic career, it may enhance your visibility as an academic but it is often not supported by the institution.  It is time to query the factors that have traditionally lead to recognition and promotion in academia and whether or not these are changing in an increasingly socially networked world.

The web is of course changing this traditionalised view of an isolated academic dramatically, and even in an age in which “peer review” and “publish or perish” remain the terms to know, academic culture in the humanities is being quickly transformed. Teachers, researchers, librarians, academic administrators, university students and all possible combinations and variations thereof are now continually sharing publicly what they do and when, where and how they do it.

So everyone else is doing it, but we believe scholars are also using Internet Technologies in a different way. Web 2.0 tools offer unique opportunities for research, teaching and communicating findings to the academic community and the public at large. Scholarly work has now more channels of expression than ever before, and the speed at which this is happening is often daunting. Suddenly the private becomes public and what used to be our time of leisure is now also being examined and affecting our public and private lives. The age of the Internet is indeed an era of intermediacy and blur. Academic culture is being transformed to a more open, inclusive and accessible environment, where sharing and dialogue are commonplace.  Right now Digital Humanities is a very exciting place to be.

But the blurring of boundaries is a cause for great anxiety for some; a reason for excitement for others. There are no easy answers about the implications of the web for humanities research. Thorough, innovative, critical research remains to be done. While some may find collective and public models of online collaboration intimidating and threatening, we believe that doing the walk is essential to doing the talk: the interrogation of scholarly paradigms established on a pre-Internet era can only be carried out through a critical engagement with the tools we are increasingly dependant on to work.

For people studying how Internet technology affects the way we do and think about things (and who study the Internet as a way or ways of thinking too), contributing to the social construction of knowledge inside and outside the brick-and-mortar classroom and library is not just a demand of the times, it is a natural, essential part of our research.  HASTAC knows this well and is indeed, conceptually and pragmatically, an ongoing exercise in 21st century scholarship.

Wikipedia article on UCLDH

By Rudolf Ammann, on 5 August 2010

Hot off the press: Wikipedia has an article on UCLDH now, which we hope to bulk up over time.

While starting the article, we also introduced the new Digital Humanities Centers category, a short but hopefully growing directory of DH Centres represented on Wikipedia. If your institution isn’t listed, add it!

On Harvey Pekar (1939-2010)

By Sarah Davenport, on 16 July 2010

Cover of Best of American Splendor, by Harvey PekarHarvey Pekar, an American writer of nonfiction comics, died on Monday July 12, 2010, aged 70. Pekar achieved fame with his American Splendor comics series, which he started in 1975.

In spite of his faith in the collaborative storytelling power of comic books, Pekar was not afraid of trying out other channels of expression, including television, the opera and the web. He remained critical of American corporate culture until the end.

Here, I offer an appraisal of Pekar’s work at Nieman Storyboard, a Project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.