UCLDH wins CSDH/SCHN Outstanding Contribution Award

By Julianne Nyhan, on 4 June 2014

Julianne Nyhan and the other founding members (Geoffrey Rockwell, Stan Ruecker, Peter Organisciak, Megan Meredith-Lobay and Kamal Ranaweera) of A Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities (Day of DH) (2009-2012) have won the 2014 CSDH/SCHN Outstanding Contribution Award.  The following description of the project and award is given on the CSDH/SCHN site:

Day of DH is an annual community documentation project that brings together digital humanists from around the world to document what they do on one day in the spring of each year. Its goal has been to have participants reflect on a fundamental question, “just what do computing humanists really do?” Participants document their day through photographs and commentary using one of the Day of DH blogs.
The Day of DH initiative has received significant attention far beyond its evolving community of participants. The team published an essay on the project in Digital Humanities Quarterly. The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a story on it. Definitions of the digital humanities from the project have been republished in collections such as Debates in the Digital Humanities and Defining Digital Humanities. It has directly inspired projects such as the Day of Archaeology. It has also inspired other communities within digital humanities. The first DíaHD (Día de Humanidades Digitales) was held on June 10, 2013 for those who speak and work in Spanish and Portuguese.
Day of DH has now become a centerNet initiative that moves from institution to institution. The successful transition to a sustainable international initiative is a sign of the impact of this initiative’s origins in Canada.
CSDH/SCHN is honoured to commemorate this founding Canadian group and its extraordinary contribution to the global digital humanities community.

Digital Classicist London Seminars

By Simon Mahony, on 2 June 2014

The first of this Summer’s Digital Classicist & Institute of Classical Studies seminars is this Friday.

Ségolène Tarte (Oxford)
‘On Cognition and the Digital in the Study of Ancient Textual Artefacts’
 
Friday June 6 at 16:30 in room 103 (Holden), Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Scholars studying Ancient Textual Artefacts endeavour to create knowledge through the decipherment, transcription, transliteration, edition, commentary, and contextualization of textual artefacts, thereby transforming data and information into knowledge and meaning.  Their task is hence intrinsically interpretative, and relies heavily on the mobilization of both perceptual and conceptual cognitive processes. This talk will present a number of conceptual and perceptual processes that were identified through ethnographic studies of scholars at work and linked to the cognitive sciences literature. Some show embodied cognition at work, others show the role of unconscious knowledge in the act of interpretation of Ancient Textual Artefacts.

Full abstract

The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

ALL WELCOME

The full 2014 programme is available on the Digital Classicist website

The British Library Big Data Experiment

By Sarah Davenport, on 30 May 2014

If you are an arts and humanities researcher, please consider signing up for this focus group:

The British Library Big Data Experiment – call for focus group (6 June 2014, British Library)

The British Library and University College London are working together on an experimental approach to opening up the digital collections at the BL to a wider academic audience, particularly to benefit those undertaking research in the arts and humanities. UCL Computer Science and UCLDH are helping to shape the development of these systems, but it is vitally important that we have access to the thoughts of academic researchers who wish to have improved access to the BL’s digital content, or have opinions about what they need to help undertake their research.

To start the process, they are looking for a small number of researchers in the arts and humanities to attend a focus group at the British Library on the afternoon of 6th June 2014. The focus group will inform and shape the MSc project work of a team of Systems Engineering students from University College London working on experimental platforms for access to and interrogation of the British Library’s public domain digital collections using the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. Arts and humanities researchers from a range of backgrounds, both thematic and technical, are welcomed.

For further details or to register your interest, please contact James Baker (Curator, Digital Research, British Library) at james.baker@bl.uk.

Cross-Currents – Rural Cultural Practice and the Digital Economy in India and the UK

By Chris J Dillon, on 23 May 2014

Monday 12 – Wednesday 14 May at IIIT-B

The purpose of this workshop at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore was to promote knowledge exchange between academics in the UK and India as well as with the IT industry in Bangalore, focusing on how digital technologies can be used to develop cultural, arts, heritage and relevant business practices at the community level in rural areas.

img: temple carvings

temple carvings

I’ve written short notes on each session below, with links to further information when available for those interested in the various areas. There was a very warm atmosphere.

Are you working on something similar and interested in adding an Indian dimension? Why not contact the people who gave the talks.

Day 1

The workshop was opened by Professor Debabrata Das, Dean Academics and R&D, IIT-B and Dr David Beel, University of Aberdeen.

Professor Alan Dix, University of Birmingham, spoke about Technology at the edge – connectivity issues in India, Wales and Tiree.

Rajeev Kuchhal spoke on Rural enterprises involving IT – connectivity and IT resource issues in India and Africa.

Dr Leanne Townsend, University of Aberdeen spoke about SIRA (Satellite Internet for Rural Access).
Broadband access can solve issues in rural areas, if it’s available. Broadband Delivery UK is attacking this problem and running pilot projects. SIRA is looking at satellite broadband, especially for the creative industries. She mentioned several case studies.

Dr Prithvi Raj spoke on the Digital Hampi (Heritage) Project.
I spoke to him and he agreed to put me in contact with people working on language at Hampi.

I gave a short presentation on Bridge to China.

Professor Navjyoti Singh spoke about Community Empowerment through Local Information Generalization and Utilization.

Dr David Beel and Dr Gemma Webster, Univ. of Aberdeen presented the CURIOS project about how digital archives can support local interest in local heritage and contribute to community regeneration and strengthened community cohesion. It has developed software tools to help remote rural communities collaboratively to maintain and present information about their cultural heritage. The objective is to investigate the use of semantic web / linked data technology to build a general, flexible and “future proof” software platform that could help such projects to come into existence and be sustainable over time.

T.B. Dinesh, Janastu spoke on Re-narration culture and the social Web. Janastu only uses open source software. Web pages recognise users and produce Web pages in another language. The Indian Digital Hampi website lists all the groups working on the project. It is likely that Dinesh will be visiting UCL in June.

Jonathan Sapsed, University of Brighton spoke about Superfusion – how arts and digital technology are combining to boost economic growth.

  • The Brighton Fuse
  • How the Creative-Digital-IT cluster is recasting economic value
  • The intersection between STEM and A&H creates growth.
  • They found that fusion is linked to growth – super fused companies grow three ties more- quickly.
  • A&H is key to interdisciplinary interaction and innovation and economic growth.

Magda Tyzlik-Carver presented the University of the Village project via Skype.

Vijayanand and Lokesh Bhat spoke on the Use of digital technologies for a community cooperative initiative – history and field experiences.

Emile Devereux spoke about LawDigital: Digital cartography, participatory media, and the limits of legal discourse via video and Skype. This concerned simplifying legal language.

Helen Pritchard spoke on the Affectsphere of computational practices.

Day 2

This was a visit to Mysore, an old town about four hours away from Bangalore by bus. It has wide avenues and spacious buildings designed to be naturally cool.

Our first visit was to the Oriental Research Institute, followed by the Folklore Museum.

We had an Indian lunch at the Vishwa-Kshema Trust.
In 1996 a group of young men established an informal but active group to vivify the most enduring, ageless and immortal wisdom of Hindu lore and culture with a focus on the younger generation. Since then, Sanskrit awareness, Yoga and Meditation camps and social welfare activities including regular performance of Vedic rituals have been conducted in various parts of the country. These informal activities culminated in the year 2000 in the birth of “VISHVAKSHEMA”, a registered public charitable trust, with a clear idea of its objectives, philosophy and mission.

We made a visit to the MYRA School of Business where we were welcomed by Dr Shalini Urs, the Executive Director.

On the way home we made a visit to Mysore Palace to se a dispay of electric lights, unfortunately beyond the specification of my camera.

Day 3

Narasimhan M.G., Samskrti Foundaiton, Mysore spoke about An indigenous cryptographic system. The encryption works in a matrix.

M.A. Alwar spoke on A detailed bibliography of important manuscripts available on science and technology in ancient India. This included very useful website for practising Indian scripts – one of the best systems I’ve ever seen!

Nandini spoke on IT for Change – Exploring ICT possibilities for empowering marginalised women’s collectives.

I ran the “Languages and Scripts” research theme session.
ICANN is looking for experts for its Neo Brahmi Generation Panel.
There was a suggestion for a wiki based at UCL on Indian scripts for scholars and dealing initially with Sanskrit, with plans for Hindi and other Indian languages.

Amusing moment

Lack of rain caused hydroelectric problems in the Bangalore area and one became used to the power going off. The water supply is not affected at such times – as I discovered having a shower.


Further information: www.cross-currents.appspot.com and #XCurrents on Twitter.

A visit to the archive of Fr Roberto Busa S.J. (1913-2011)

By Julianne Nyhan, on 29 April 2014

Last month Julianne Nyhan visited the recently accessioned archive of Fr Roberto Busa S.J. (one of the early pioneers of Digital Humanities) in the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy.  She has given an outline of what is contained in the portion of the archive that she saw on her blog. While there she and Marco Passarotti of CIRCSE also carried out a number of oral history interviews that have revealed much new information about the female punch card operators who worked for, and were trained by, Busa in the 1950s and 60s. Melissa Terras has discussed the punch card operators in a blog post here and another post on the new information gained via the oral history interviews will be posted later this week on Julianne’s blog.

 

Visit to the Institute of Making

By Claire L H Warwick, on 1 April 2014

We are very lucky to have an Institute of Making at UCL. I often walk past its impressive glass front, peer at the collection of things on shelves that can be seen inside, and wonder what on earth they are and what goes on in there. So I was delighted when a group of us from UCLDH were invited to visit and talk about things we have in common with the IoM, and what we might do together. We met the director, Mark Miodownik and Zoe Laughlin, the creative director, who told us about what the institute does. Oddly enough, it’s all about making things, but the kind of things people can make seem to be almost limitless. It’s not just about techie things such as 3D printing: members can indulge in anything that interests them, from farriery to knitting. It turns out that the enticing-looking things on shelves form the materials library: a collection of ‘some of the most extraordinary materials on earth’ as the IoM webpage puts it.

We talked about what kind of things we UCLDH people like to make. Simon was interested in the large, impressive-looking machines, but he was once an engineer. Julianne discussed digital narratives and how people understand spaces and materials both in physical and digital worlds. Claire Ross thought about how the use of the materials library might relate to her PhD work on museum spaces and digital interpretation. Steve talked about some of the cool things that CASA do in terms of making as well as digital, and we mused on future potential for various kinds of collaboration.

In general it was a fascinating visit. We didn’t actually make anything while we were there apart from an important intellectual connection, but I certainly came away with a much clearer sense of what goes on inside that intriguing space.

New Project – MiCLUES

By Nicolas E Gold, on 10 March 2014

We recently started a project called MiCLUES to develop dynamic smartphone-based visitor guidance algorithms and software for the Royal College of Music Museum of Instruments.  The aim is to enable visitors to make better use of the combined physical and digital collections and to chart both curated and personalised paths through the museum.

The project is a collaboration between the RCM and UCL and is funded by Share Academy.  Share Academy is an Arts Council England funded programme that aims to develop and foster relationships between London specialist museums and academics at UCL and the University of the Arts London.  It has funded 15 projects to help establish best practice and produce guidance for the museum and Higher Education sectors. For more information visit the London Museums Group website: www.londonmuseumsgroup.org

AHRC Big Data Project – Digital Music Lab

By Nicolas E Gold, on 10 March 2014

We recently started a new project in the area of big music data.  Digital Music Lab – Analysing Big Music Data is an AHRC project funded under the Big Data call of the Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities Theme. Our goal is to develop research methods and software infrastructure for exploring and analysing large-scale music collections, and to provide researchers and users with datasets and computational tools to analyse music audio, scores and metadata.

The project is being carried out collaboratively between City University London, Queen Mary University of London, University College London, and the British Library.

Sounds Like DNA – a new web installation for generative music at UCL

By Nicolas E Gold, on 10 March 2014

As part of our ongoing research and teaching in computer music here at UCL, we’ve been working with a London theatre company, Penny Dreadful Productions.  They have a new show currently touring called How to Be Immortal which presents three true-life stories about love, death and DNA and explores these through music and drama.  It has been developed with input from UCL scientists.  To give an interactive element to accompany the show, we have collaboratively developed an exciting web installation entitled Sounds Like DNA, where you can generate your own music that interprets DNA codes connected with various characteristics set by sliders.  You can reach the installation here: bit.ly/DNAsound

 

‘An urban contradiction – journey under the sun’, photography exhibition by a DH student

By Sarah Davenport, on 10 March 2014

Eirene Evripidou, one of our Digital Humanities students, has a photography exhibition and book launch coming up at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens.   ‘An Urban Contradiction – Journey under the Sun’ is Eirene’s first photographic exhibition and includes photographs taken in both London and Athens, focusing on the sometimes hidden parts of the urban landscape.

Further details:

An urban contradiction – Journey under the sun

Photography Exhibition by Eirene Evripidou

Official Opening: Tuesday 11 March 2014, at 20:00

Where: Michael Cacoyannis Foundation (Piraeus 206, Tavros) Exhibition Area – 2nd floor

FREE ENTRANCE tel. 0030 210 3418579