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Department of Information Studies


Student Award for Public Engagement

By Anne Welsh, on 26 January 2012

UCL Department of Information Studies and the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities are proud of Claire Ross, who has won the student category of the Provost’s Awards for Public Engagement.

In this guest blog post, Hilary Jackson (UCL Public Engagement Unit) explains Claire’s award and highlights other public engagement opportunities for students.

For the Public Engagement Unit, the annual Public Engagement Awards are one of the highlights of our year.  Last night’s party was no exception.

The winner of this year’s student category was Claire Ross from the Centre for Digital Humanities and Department of Information Studies.

Claire was nominated for engaging museum visitors with collections at UCL and beyond, using innovative, digital methods and social media applications.  The selection panel loved the fact that this subject is plainly not just Claire’s PhD, but her passion.  What’s great is that Claire’s work, alongside colleagues on the QRator project (amongst others), has enabled the public to influence what’s going on in UCL’s museums and the university more widely.

There’s so much fantastic public engagement going on at UCL that the awards are really only the tip of the iceberg.  The Public Engagement Unit is here to help UCL students and staff to make the best of that work, ensuring there are benefits both for the public and for the UCL community.  We can help with funding, advice, support, recognition, and are working hard to make sure public engagement remains part of UCL’s agenda.

We’d love to hear from you so do get in touch – publicengagement@ucl.ac.uk



Bloomsbury Conference 2011

By Anne Welsh, on 30 June 2011

Research students Alexandra Eveleigh and Claire Ross are speaking at the Fifth Bloomsbury Conference on e-Publishing and e-Publications at UCL this week.

Alexandra is speaking today in the session on the role of intermediaries’ role(s) in the research process, while tomorrow Claire will be presenting how Humanities scholars use social media.

Images: Alexandra: @ammeveleigh ; Claire: by Dr Melissa Terras for UCL Centre for Digital Humanities.

Digital Humanities Summer Institute

By Anne Welsh, on 12 June 2011

Research student Claire Ross has spent the last week at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria. As part of her Digital Fundamentals course, she has been digitizing images of title pages for us to use in teaching Historical Bibliography. You can read about the techniques she tried out – photography and flatbed scanning – on her blog, Digital Nerdosaurus.

Image: by Dr Melissa Terras for UCL Centre for Digital Humanities.

UCLDH Summer Interns

By Anne Welsh, on 10 June 2011

Five students from the MA LIS programme are volunteering as interns at the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities. They are Inga Jones, Eunhae Jung, May Warren and Francine Wood.

Full details on the UCLDH blog.

Breaching the Digital Divide

By Anne Welsh, on 3 June 2011

This week’s Guardian Higher Education Network Panel included Claire Ross, a first year research student in the Centre for Digital Humanities. The issue discussed was how Higher Education uses the Internet. You can read about it on Claire’s blog, Digital Nerdosaurus.

Image: by Dr Melissa Terras for UCL Centre for Digital Humanities.

Dissenting Academies Online

By Anne Welsh, on 14 May 2011

MA LIS student Inga Jones has been involved in the creation of a new digital resource for historians.

Inga is studying part-time at DIS while also working as Leverhulme funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dissenting Academies Project, Dr Williams Centre for Dissenting Studies

The public launch of the project’s Dissenting Academies Online will take place in June. Attendance is free, but places are limited, so it is necessary to register in advance. Full details on the Dr Williams Centre website.

Image: University of Sussex profile page

Playing the Margins: the first workshop

By uczcpeo, on 14 May 2011

On Monday 9th May a group of actors, teachers and researchers joined us for the first Playing the Margins workshop. We gathered in the tranquil setting of the Petrie Museum to discuss annotation practices, past and present. The participants had brought along examples of texts or scripts they had annotated, and described their habits and preferences (or, in some cases, their habit of not writing in books) to the group. This discussion gave us valuable insights into the codes of behaviour governing their annotation practices. These codes varied considerably from one participant to another but were internally consistent and strongly related to the context and purpose of annotation and the ownership of the books or scripts. (more…)

Bright Club Podcast

By Anne Welsh, on 26 April 2011

First year research student Claire Ross is one of the recent interviewees in a Bright Club podcast. You can hear Claire talking about museums, twitter, QRator and just what it means to be a Digital Humanist, on the UCL Museums site.

You can keep up with Claire on her blog.

Image: Claire’s departmental webpage

International Conference on Latin American Cybercultural Studies

By Anne Welsh, on 21 April 2011

Next month, Ernesto Priego (UCLDH) and Ernesto Priani (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico) will present a paper at the International Conference on Latin American Cybercultural Studies.

From the conference abstracts posted in January:

Re-mapping the Total Library: An End-User Comparative Critique of the Biblioteca Digital Mexicana and the World Digital Library // Ernesto Priani (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico) and Ernesto Priego (University College London, UK)

This paper presents a comparative analysis of the newly-launched Biblioteca Digital Mexicana (Mexican Digital Library or BDMex, http://bdmx.mx/; made public on 23 November 2010) and the World Digital Library (WDL, http://www.wdl.org/) from the perspective of the academic end-user.

The Mexican Digital Library is the result of the collaboration between four major Mexican memory institutions and the World Digital Library, sponsored by UNESCO. The BDMex has digitized and made freely available online documents of historical, artistic and literary value dating from 500BC to 1949, presumably with the technical and financial help of the WDL, but this is not made explicit or even apparent from the comparison
of both sites as they currently exist.

The appearance of the BDMex seems belated for at least a decade in comparison to other similar institutional initiatives (Amis, 2000), and the authors present a series of hypotheses based on the end-user experience of its interface in order to interrogate its technical, cultural, financial and political implications.

This paper presents the results of user-testing carried out by the two authors in different contexts, including teaching and research in Mexico and Britain, and presents a series of suggestions for the projects’ improvement, including questions of markup, text analysis, transcription, classification, ontologies, datamining, data curation, searching capabilities, visualisation and user-interface interaction.

Beyond the strictly technical critique, the authors provide practical examples of how both web sites are not precisely “digital libraries” per se (Smith, Dongqing, McAulay, et al 2007) but can nevertheless be used as interesting case studies for textual, cultural and political analyses. Both the BDMex and the WDL raise interesting issues about institutional digital constructions of national identity, and give illuminating insight into the role of digitization as an act of interpretation (Terras 2006; Tarte 2010).

Ernesto is in the final stages of his PhD in the department, and is one of UCL’s HASTAC Scholars.


Image: Gravatar

Day of Archaeology

By Anne Welsh, on 20 April 2011


This is an interview with Lorna Richardson, one of the people behind the first ever Day of Archaeology (29 July 2011).

Lorna is a first year research student at UCL DIS, a member of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, and an Honorary Research Assistant at UCL Institute of Archaeology.

Hopefully, the Day of Archaeology will grow to be as big as the Day of Digital Humanities, to which several DIS staff and students contributed this year.