Archive for the 'News' Category

Award for QRator and the Grant Museum

By Claire S Ross, on 17 May 2012

Last night a contingent from UCLDHCASA and Museums and Public Engagement, headed down to the 10th Anniversary Museums and Heritage Awards.

There were 11 awards in total UCL, were up for three: The move of the Grant Museum for Project on A Limited Budget, the Grant Museum’s QRator project for Innovations and Heritage Without Borders for The International Award.

We are proud to announce that we won the Museum and Heritage Award for Excellence, Innovations award for QRator: Visitor Participation Through Social Interpretation.

QRator is a collaborative project developed jointly by UCL Digital Humanities , Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis,  and UCL Museums, with funding from the UCL Public Engagement Unit , to develop new kinds of content, co-curated by the public, and museum staff, to enhance museum interpretation, public engagement and meaning making by establishing new connections to museum exhibit content.

There’s a long list of people who need thanking and who were instrumental in creation, development, implementation and the ongoing support of the QRator project.

From UCL Museums and Public Engagement: Mark Carnall who worked with me originally in trialling QR codes in the Grant Museum and who is the most forward thinking curator I have ever met. Jack Ashby who writes the content and designs the displays for QRator, and who has the patience of a saint.  Susannah Chan from UCL Museums and Public Engagement for inventing the mounts for the iPads. A big thank you to the UCL Public Engagement Unit for their funding and support of the project, Sally MacDonald Director of UCL Museums and Public Engagement who has been a huge driving force behind the project,  it is so refreshing to have Top Down support for digital innovation in the cultural sector.

From UCL CASA: Steve Gray who is an absolutely brilliant developer, and whose skills in usability and interface design are second to none. Andy Hudson Smith, and Ralph and Martin the original team behind Tales of Things from UCL Centre for Advance Spatial Analysis,

From UCLDH: Melissa Terras and Claire Warwick who have been the best support, PhD supervisors I could ever ask for.

Without all of them this project would literally be nothing.

Oh and, a big thank you to the Jar of Moles for being the most discussed specimen!

Registration for CHIPS is open!

By Nicolas E Gold, on 15 May 2012

The CHIPS project on popular music performance with technology (see previous post) is underway.  There is online discussion of the issues getting started here and registration is now open (there is no charge for the event) for the symposium on 7th-8th June.  We have a programme of great speakers lined up.  If you are interested in coming, please register asap as places are limited by the venue capacity.

New AHRC Project at UCLDH: CHIPS – Computer Human Interactive Performance Symposium

By Nicolas E Gold, on 28 March 2012

As part of our expanding programme of research and teaching in computational musicology and computer music at UCL, we are pleased to announce a new AHRC-funded project (prospective PhD and MA/MSc Digital Humanities students may like to note this activity, particularly the COMPGC20 Computer Music module available as an option on the DH degree).

The Computer-Human Interactive Performance Symposium (CHIPS) project is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through the Digital Transformations programme.  The project runs from February to August 2012.

The aim is to explore the likely performance practices (and problems) that would result from having easily deployable, robust, creative, and reliable artificial music performers in mixed human-computer ensembles playing popular music.  There are many systems that go some way to solving the technical problems of computer participation in this kind of music (e.g. beat trackers, chord estimators, interactive improvisers) but as yet no complete systems that can be deployed by non-expert users into common practice performance contexts and be relied upon to underpin the performances of popular music ensembles.

Popular music (e.g. folk, rock, music theatre) plays a central role in the lives of millions of people.   Musicians of all standards from amateur to professional produce music that is heard on radios and televisions, and performed in concert halls and theatres.  Teenagers are motivated to learn instruments and play in bands to emulate their professional idols, serious amateurs play and sing together at open-mike nights, charity concerts, and in churches, and professionals perform in clubs, theatres, and spectacular multimedia shows like Cirque du Soleil and the Blue Man Group.   To learn, rehearse, and perform popular music often requires a musician to be part of an ensemble yet forming such a group can be challenging, particularly for amateur musicians.  Even in established communities such as churches, the demands of everyday life mean that musicians cannot always attend rehearsals or play regularly together.  In professional ensembles, illness can cause the absence of key musicians in rehearsal or performance.  Computer music technology offers the potential to substitute for musicians in these situations, yet reliable, robust, and simple systems that can be quickly set up, and that play musically and creatively do not yet exist.

The project aims to develop the future research agenda for both technical and non technical music computing research in this area, by learning from the issues and experiences of technological adoption in other relevant performance contexts, understanding the technological state of the art in relation to popular music performance, imagining future performance practices incorporating computer “musicians”, and thinking about how to study musicians (human and computer) in this context.

We hope to develop a network of interest around this symposium, beginning with some online discussion ahead of the face to face event on 7th-8th June 2012 and followed by further online activity and follow-up events.  For information, the programme, and registration for the main symposium (presented as part of the CREST Open Workshop (COW) programme), please see the COW web-page here.

Interdisciplinary Research posts

By Claire L H Warwick, on 20 February 2012

I’m delighted to say that the UCL Faculties of Arts and Humanities and Social and Historical Sciences are advertising three new Research Associate posts in interdisciplinary research in Arts and Humanities. Unlike a more traditional Research Fellowship, where an individual goes away and works for three years on an individual project, these must involve work across different disciplines. The people we are hoping to appoint must be able to work on an interdisciplinary topic within a single subject, or create connections between two or more subject areas within the arts and humanities or link arts and humanities research with that in other disciplinary areas. They must also work in a team-based, multi-disciplinary context, whether they decide to do this in the context of an existing group or to found their own.

These posts are likely to be highly competitive, but still, I hope that we shall see some good applicants from DH and from the wider field of Information Studies. Many of us enjoy working across disciplinary boundaries after all, and most of us work in teams. It would also be a great way to further the excellent links we have with other parts of UCL.

If you are interested in applying, please read the guidance notes carefully. I can’t stress too much that these are not like traditional research fellowships, and neither is the application process. Before you apply you must have identified at least one UCL member of staff as a potential mentor and if your research would take place within an existing interdisciplinary centre such as UCLDH, the European Institute or Early Modern Exchanges you must have discussed your proposal with the head of that centre too. Please do get in touch with people as soon as possible before the deadline to discuss your ideas and proposed research: we will not accept applications from people who have not identified individuals and groups that they would like to work with, and gained their support.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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.

LSE's Webbs on the Web project

By Julianne Nyhan, on 14 February 2012

Beatrice Webb, co-founder of both the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Fabian movement, left a fascinating 70-year account of social upheaval and history in the diaries which have now been made freely available online to launch LSE’s digital library. UCLDH collaborated with this project since its early stages: Julianne Nyhan served on the project’s Advisory board and students on the DH MA/MSc programme carried out user testing of the site before it went live.

Two versions of the diaries went live last week: the actual manuscript as well as 8,000 pages of a transcribed version that is cross-referenced with the date fields indexed from
the manuscript version. Both versions can now be viewed side-by- side for comparison. The project, “Webbs on the Web”, was made possible with funding from the Webb Memorial Trust.
Sue Donnelly, head of archives at LSE, said:

Her diaries are remarkably rich. The style is very personal and often introspective but
she can be analytical and gossipy as well at times.

The diaries were chosen as the launch collection for the new LSE Digital Library. LSE is one of the first academic libraries to provide a
digital library, a service which is becoming more and more necessary due to the requirement to collect, preserve and provide access to digital material.
This is compounded by the popularity of social media today and its importance as a historical record, particularly to an institution like LSE.
Ed Fay, manager of the digital library, said:

It is a way of storing potentially anything in digital format. It allows us to archive books, photographs and maps but also blogs, podcasts, social media and
other forms of communication which are increasingly important in academic life. We don’t know exactly what the future will bring but we
needed to build our capacity to respond.

For more details on the digital library contact Ed Fay e.fay@lse.ac.uk
For more information on the content of the Webb diaries or other LSE archive collections contact Sue Donnelly s.donnelly@lse.ac.uk
To view the Webb diaries, visit LSE Digital Library at http://digital.library.lse.ac.uk

Provost's Award for Public Engagement

By Anne Welsh, on 26 January 2012

Claire Ross has won the student category of the Provost’s Awards for Public Engagement.

There is a guest blog post by Hilary Jackson (UCL Public Engagement Unit) on the student blog.

The future scenario for non-Roman script domain names

By Chris J Dillon, on 7 December 2011

On 5 December I gave a presentation at the National Committee for Information Resources on Asia conference at the British Library.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) set up a Fast Track for ccTLDs (country code Top Level Domains) in November 2009.

These include IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names), Internet addresses in non-Latin scripts, e.g. http://실례.테스트.

The ICANN board voted for IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) in June 2011. There will be a big bang of gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains) in late 2012 or early 2013. Applications for this first round need to be made officially by April 12 2012 (but more safely by March 29).

Why is UCL interested?

  • Put UCL and SOAS together and you have the world’s leading centre of linguistic expertise.
  • The New gTLD Programme will be a catalyst for the development of the Internet.
  • There are legal implications e.g. trademarks.
  • There are opportunities for new businesses both legal and otherwise!
  • Further information

London's Global University

By Anne Welsh, on 10 June 2011

Dr Caroline Bressey (Human Geography and Equiano Centre) and I have received Pioneer Award funding to investigate the Black and Asian presence at UCL in its early years.

As well as conducting research, we will stage an exhibition and hold some writing and art workshops during Black History Month 2012.

More details on the UCL DIS staff blog.

Image: UCL Library Services Special Collections. Used with permission.

Summer Interns

By Anne Welsh, on 10 June 2011

We are delighted to announce that over the summer months several students will be completing voluntary internships at UCLDH.

As well as assisting us in three of our projects, the internship programme gives us the opportunity to provide inhouse training on TEI. Julianne Nyhan, Teaching Fellow in Digital Humanities and member of the TEI Council, has developed the programme of activities, and the first sessions, in which interns have been encoding data for the Day of Digital Humanities have already taken place.

Our summer interns are Inga Jones, Eunhae Jung, May Warren and Francine Wood, who are all students on the  MA LIS programme.