By Chris J Dillon, on 30 January 2014
By Sarah Davenport, on 21 January 2014
UCLDH are pleased to announce the Stephen Robertson prize for the best dissertation in the UCL MA/MSc in Digital Humanities, sponsored by Microsoft.
Stephen Robertson obtained his PhD (on the experimental evaluation of information retrieval systems) from UCL, from what was the School of Library, Archive, and Information Studies (now Department of Information Studies), in 1975. Starting as a part-time student, Robertson was given a Royal Society Scientific Information Research Fellowship in 1973, which allowed him to pursue his PhD and related research interests for five years. Following this, he moved to the Department of Information Science at City University, where he remained for 20 years, with eight as Head of Department, and founding and running a research centre, one of whose research tools was the Okapi system (first an online library catalogue and then a free-text search system, prefiguring the current web search engines). Robertson was recipient of the 1998 Tony Kent Strix Award (from the Institute of Information Scientists, now part of CILIP). In 1998 Robertson moved to Microsoft Research in Cambridge, where he led a small group of researchers in information retrieval, making significant contributions to Microsoft products and services, including the current Microsoft web search system, Bing. The Gerard Salton Award (ACM SIGIR) followed in 2000, and in 2003 he became a Fellow of Girton College, University of Cambridge. Recently retired, Robertson is now Professor Emeritus at City University, and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Computer Science at UCL.
The first recipient of the £500 prize will be named from the finishing cohort of UCL Digital Humanities MA/MSc students in November 2014, and the prize will continue for 5 years in the first instance. We thank Microsoft, and Stephen Robertson, for their generosity.
By Vasileios Routsis, on 12 December 2013
Authors: Christina Kamposiori & Vasileios Routsis
Monday 9th December 2013 saw our conference ‘Affective Experiences: media art, design & research’ which took place at the Parasol Unit: foundation for contemporary art. This conference was a great opportunity to close the conversations we started on February on the context of the AHRC funded project ‘New Media, Audiences and Affective Experiences’.
The project aimed to establish a platform for creative dialogue and collaboration for doctoral students from City University London, Kings College London, Middlesex University, New London Graduate School (NLGS) and University College London in the academic fields of Creative Industries and Practice, Art and Design and Digital Humanities. In this context, we were honoured to represent UCLDH as a distinguished partner of this collaborative effort. During the lifetime of the project, we organised three seminars that took place at the City University London, discussing research methods in the direction of understanding audience engagement and cultural experience through digital technologies.
Through our one day conference we aimed to bring together artists, PhD students and established academics and researchers from a variety of disciplines, including art and design, cultural and creative industries, media studies, museum studies and the digital humanities. Participants presented their research and discussed new developments on understanding and measuring affect and audience experience in the digital age.
In particular, our keynote and panel speakers addressed issues from a wide and diverse spectrum of perspectives, ranging from the theoretical aspects of affect and perception in relation to audience experience to the more practice-based ones. For example, we had the opportunity to hear from artists and museum professionals on the innovative ways they used to engage with audiences, such as interactive installations, experiments and digital applications. In addition, we looked on methodologies and applications for furthering audience/user related-research; that is also when Professor Melissa Terras presented Textal.
Concluding, this conference was a stimulating experience and we hope that the end of this project will be a start for new collaborations and discussions on the issues of affect, audience/user experience and digital technologies in the Arts & Humanities and Culture.
Special thanks to Irida Ntalla, PhD Candidate at City University London (project’s principal co-ordinator), Marianne Markowski, PhD Candidate at Middlesex University (programme committee member), Anastasia-Yvoni Spiliopoulou, UCL Digital Humanities MA Graduate (conference volunteer) and Kathianne Hingwan (conference volunteer) for the great collaboration!
By Chris J Dillon, on 4 December 2013
I atttended the recent ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires. It was upbeat as the first New gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains), e.g. .游戏, .онлайн, .みんな and .today have been delegated.
The New gTLDs Program is widely regarded as a success and many are predicting that the new addresses will increasingly displace the old .com addresses.
At the airport on the way home, it turned out that my passport was somehow unsullied by an entry stamp and so I was lucky to be able to persuade Immigration I wasn’t an illegal in time for the flight.
Announcing Seaha – Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology
By Melissa M Terras, on 22 November 2013
Today, David Willets announced the new set of Centres for Doctoral Training in Engineering Sciences, funded by the Engineering and Physcial Sciences Research Council. We’re really pleased to say that UCL have secured funding for a Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology, which will fund 60 doctoral students in the next 8 years in using advanced technology in the area of cultural heritage. Seaha is EPSRC’s single largest investment to date in heritage science and engineering research.
Led by May Cassar from the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, UCLDH’s own Melissa Terras is one of the UCL Co-I’s, alongside Stuart Robson (Civil and Geomatic Engineering) and Matija Strlic (Bartlett), working in partnership with the University of Oxford (led by Heather Viles) and the University of Brighton (led by David Arnold), as well as a range of industry partners including the Tate, English Heritage, the Natural History Museum, Leica Geosystems and the National Physical Laboratory.
By Sarah Davenport, on 5 November 2013
Earlier this year, UCLDH hosted a prize workshop where teams could pitch for £5000 worth of funding to develop a research prototype, which was supported by an award to the Grand Challenges from the UCL Annual Fund, which relies on the contributions of UCL alumni to support scholarships, research and work across UCL. Here we reveal the work of the winning team, comprising of George Neris (UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage, Bartlett), Jia Liu (UCL Archaeology), and Peter Williams (UCL Information Studies), as they unveil UCL Connections…
UCL Connections project summary
University College London is a world-renowned institution across multiple academic fields. However, as is the case across Higher Education, departments often work in isolation and members of staff and students are disconnected from each other: unaware of the teams and heritage around them. Additionally, the true spirit, the everyday life and the history of UCL is often difficult to portray to the public via current media.
Recent increased availability of the internet and mobile devices provide unprecedented access to information. Companies and institutions are seeking new ways to utilise this technology and improve engagement with both internal and external stakeholders. Despite the ever-expanding pool of digital data and other assets, a physical presence must also be maintained to provide relevance to individuals without access to such digital tools. UCL currently has no tool to unite the physical, digital, resources (internal/external), and personal experience for research, social or promotional purposes.
Considering the problem outlined above, the research aimed to:
- Create new connections within and outside of UCL – linking the digital and the physical, and the internal and external;
- Champion the heritage, research and social assets of UCL by uniting the physical and digital, the public and the personal;
- Establish an innovative, interactive and attractive online system for UCL to interpret and integrate digital and physical assets.
We developed an online application and User Interface, by utilising UCL-developed software and open-license applications to create a digital map of the university campus. We chose various key physical locations to represent various aspects of the university (heritage, research, leisure etc.) to be the location of ‘connection bubbles’. For a larger project, these will be placed physically at the chosen locations, along with QR Code or similar. For the purposes of this ‘proof of concept’ project, they were situated on a 3D map of the campus which users navigate online.
We started by collecting information on the chosen ‘bubbles’ principally by desk research, although we also interviewed key players such as the Iris database manager, a researcher compiling a ‘Sustainable Living’ resources collection, a representative of UCL Marketing and UCL Volunteering. . All the collected information was organised into a hierarchical schema for uploading onto the database system. The information in the system was then visualised and synthesised with user-friendly UI design.
The final result was a 3D representation on the web of the outside views of Cloisters, the Quad and the street outside. These were superimposed onto a simple Google map. Landmark ‘connection bubbles’ were also overlaid on the map. Once clicked, these appear on a panel on the right side of the screen. Here all layers of information related to the clicked landmark can be found. Some of the landmarks, once clicked, appear directly on the screen as 3D objects (for the purpose of this Minimum Value Prototype one or two objects from the Petrie Collection were thus presented).
Users can create their own bubbles and upload them, along with relevant information web links, to the project, within predefined categories, similar to the YouTube system. The project holds the Geo co-ordinates of the bubble, its brief description and a web link to the user’s page. All other information will be contained outside the project, in the individual user pages.
We also developed a calendar, where users can see, at a glance, what is happening around UCL on a given date – with a click taking them to the individual web page of the event. We needed, of course, to develop a method for users to upload their event.
In nutshell, the system enables people to:
- Access multiple aspects of information in campus, both existing and incoming events: academic events, leisure activities, announcements, landmarks, etc.;
- Post information by creating new bubbles under customised categories(tags);
- Create future events by adding date information in the calendar;
- Add comments for popular events.
In the longer term we hope to establish physical “Totem” sign-posts across campus, indicating and providing information on points of interest. These physical landmarks will be in the form of simple tags, incorporating QR or NFC technology, and/or real totems incorporating same technology. The user, by interacting with the tags/totems through their smartphones will be getting augmented reality information about the referred objects. We also hope to develop an online augmented reality system, allowing users to assign ‘connection bubbles’ to points of interest around UCL and provide tags; comments and media on their related experiences. Regarding the calendar, we are hoping to develop a system whereby the application automatically aggregates data from various sources, primarily UCL Events Calendar.
By Sarah Davenport, on 31 October 2013
UCLDH is working with the Slade Archive Project on a new crowdsourcing project to identify alumni in Slade class photographs. The class photographs have been taken annually since 1931 and former staff, students and members of the public are being asked to help identify the sitters. The photos have been catalogued and are available on a new website, designed by UCLDH, where visitors can zoom in on individual faces.
Further information about the project can be found on the Slade Archive blog and the UCL news site also features an article with comments from Melissa Terras (Director of UCLDH) and Susan Collins (Director of the Slade).
By Simon Mahony, on 26 October 2013
The 2014 OCWC Global Conference is being held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. One of the local organisers is a completing MA/MSc DH student, Davor Orlic.
The 10th annual OpenCourseWare Consortium Global Conference will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on April 23-25, 2014. The OpenCourseWare Consortium and the Knowledge for All Foundation are jointly organizing the event whose special theme is Open Education for a Multicultural World.
Submissions of papers are invited on all topics related to open education for the conference proceedings, and proposals for workshops.
The conference will be organised around four tracks:
- Research and Technology
- Open Educational Policies
- Pedagogical Impact
- Project Dissemination
Submission deadline: December 1st 2013.
By Sarah Davenport, on 23 October 2013
The UCLDH Digital Excursions are resuming and the first visit for 2013-14 is to the UCL Research IT Services data centre, 5.30pm on Tuesday 12th November. If you would like to attend, please see our Events pages for more information. Please note that due to limited places, registration for this events is required.
By Sarah Davenport, on 23 October 2013
Prof Sukanta Chaudhuri (Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University and Visiting Fellow, All Souls Oxford) will be visiting UCLDH on Tuesday 20th November, 5.30pm, to give a talk about Bichitra, a variorum website of the works of Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali and English. All are welcome and refreshments will be available after the talk. Further details can be found on our Events page.