Digital Approaches to the History of Science: two workshops

Book a place at the first workshop, 28 September! 

You are warmly invited to join us at day-long workshops on Digital Approaches to the History of Science. These workshops are supported and co-organized by the Reading Euclid project, the Newton Project, the Royal Society, and the Centre for Digital Scholarship.

Digital Approaches to the History of Science

—Life out of a coffin—

When: 10:00—17:00,  Thursday 28 September

Where: Faculty of History, University of Oxford, 41–47 George Street OX1 2BE (map)

Access: all are welcome—see below for information on travel bursaries

Admission: free, refreshments and lunch included

Registration is required for each workshop: register for workshop 1, 28 September

This pair of one-day workshops will showcase and explore some of the work currently being done at the intersection of digital scholarship and the history of science. Visualizing networks of correspondence, mapping intellectual geographies, mining textual corpora: many modes of digital scholarship have special relevance to the problems and methods of the history of science, and the last few years have seen the launch of a number of new platforms and projects in this area.

With contributions from projects around the UK, these two workshops will be an opportunity to share ideas, to reflect on what is being achieved and to consider what might be done next.

Workshop 1: Thursday 28 September

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Pierpaolo Dondio: Publishing the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
  • Kathryn Eccles: Cabinet Project
  • Louisiane Ferlier: The Royal Society Journal Collection: Science in the Making?
  • Rob Iliffe: Newton Project
  • Lauren Kassell: Casebooks Project
  • Alison Pearn: Darwin Correspondence
  • Anna Henry: Sloane’s Minute Books

Workshop 2

Details of Workshop 2 will be announced shortly, when registration will open.

We have taken inspiration from William Stukely’s isolation and seek to converse, as it were, out of a coffin:

in my situation at Stamford there was not one person, clergy or lay, that had any taste or love of learning or ingenuity, so that I was as much dead in converse as in a coffin

Travel bursaries

We are delighted to be able to offer travel bursaries to enable students and early career researchers (up to 3 years beyond the award of most recent degree) to attend. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please contact co-organizer Yelda Nasifoglu on yelda.nasifoglu@history.ox.ac.uk, providing:

  • Your name
  • Your institution
  • Your level of study/year of award of most recent degree
  • Travelling from
  • Estimate of travel cost

These workshops are organized by:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotation:

Lukis, ed. ‘Family Memoirs’, vol. I (1882), p.109, cited in Michael Reed, ‘The cultural role of small towns in England, 1600–1800’, in Peter Clark, Small Towns in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: CUP, 1882), p.147, via Google Books.

Images:

Tycho Brahe, Tabulae Rudolphinae (Ulm, 1627), frontispiece. Bodleian Library Savile Q 14. Edited in Photoshop by Yelda Nasifoglu.

René Descartes, Principia philosophiae (Amsterdam, 1644), ‘Cartesian network of vortices of celestial motion’, p. 110. Bodleian Library Savile T 22. Edited in Photoshop by Yelda Nasifoglu.

A step forward in the sharing of open data about theses

Title page of Marie Curie’s doctoral thesis; Yale University via Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain

Theses, particularly doctoral theses, are an important part of the scholarly record. Some are published and become influential books in their own right. As well as demonstrating the author’s ability to do original research, a thesis gives a snapshot of its author’s intellectual development at a formative time. This post reports on work sharing open data about thousands of theses, with links back to their full text in a repository.

The Oxford Research Archive (ORA) has 3237 Oxford doctoral theses on open access for anyone to download and read. Some of the authors have gone on to highly accomplished careers, such as the psychologist Professor Dorothy Bishop or the economist Sir John Vickers. During the confirmation hearings that eventually saw Neil Gorsuch appointed to the US Supreme Court, the interest in his background was such that TIME magazine wrote an article analysing his thesis and linking to ORA. This may well have been prompted by our linking the thesis from the top Google hit about Gorsuch; his Wikipedia biography. Continue reading

Research Uncovered—Historiography at Scale: People, Places, and Professions in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

BOOK TICKETS!

We are delighted to co-host this Research Uncovered talk with Oxford University Press’s ODNB and TORCH.

What: Historiography at Scale: People, Places, and Professions in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Who: Chris Warren

When: 13:00—14:00, Friday 9 June 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: recommended

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, published initially in 2004, is the work of roughly 10,000 scholars, runs to 60 volumes in print, and is made up of more than 62 million words. So immense is the ODNB that one early reviewer complained, ‘reviewing it is like exploring a continent by rowing boat’: ‘If you were to read one life in the new DNB every day you would take 137 years to finish it.’  Information overload is not a new problem in the humanities, but Christopher Howse’s analogy helpfully suggests why an engine of some sort might be desirable in studying historiography at scale. In this presentation, Chris will use digital humanities methods to map the people, places, and professions of the ODNB in a new way.

Christopher Warren is Associate Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at Carnegie Mellon University, where he teaches early modern studies, law and literature, and digital humanities. He is the author of Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (OUP, 2015), which was awarded the 2016 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature by the Sixteenth Century Society. With Daniel Shore, he is co-founder of Six Degrees of Francis Bacon, a collaborative reconstruction of Britain’s early modern social network. His articles have appeared in journals including HumanityLaw, Culture, and the HumanitiesThe European Journal of International LawEnglish Literary Renaissance; and Digital Humanities Quarterly. His current projects include work on anachronism and presentism in the history of international law and a “distant reading” of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Research Uncovered—Good vibrations: digital seismology with mammals, ocean noise, earth’s abyss, Marsquakes, sound, supercomputers and psychology

BOOK TICKETS!

What: Good vibrations: digital seismology with mammals, ocean noise, earth’s abyss, Marsquakes, sound, supercomputers and psychology

Who: Tarje Nissen-Meyer

When: 13:00—14:00, Tuesday 13 June 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Registration: required

Seismology, the science of understanding elastic vibrations beneath the surface, is a considerably young discipline. However, it has already contributed to a wide range of research topics such as deciphering the deep Earth’s and Sun’s interior, natural hazard assessment and earthquake physics. Seismic methods also play a pivotal role in nuclear monitoring, hydrocarbon exploration and various forensic tasks.

Digital high-precision instruments and sophisticated computer models nowadays allow us to detect and understand ground vibrations at scales from microcracks to planets, thereby facilitating a seismic shift in the breadth of  applications. In this talk, I will present examples of this fascinating multi-disciplinary diversification such as using seismometers to hunt for extraterrestrial life, detecting remote landslides and glacier dynamics, unraveling vibration noise to infer ocean waves and hurricanes, listening to seismicity and earthquake waves, elephants’ use of seismic communication, simulating waves on supercomputers and conceding our human imprint to assessing our experiment Earth.

Tarje Nissen-Meyer is Associate Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences, and a Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. He is also an adjunct scientist at Lamont-Doherty Observatory, Columbia University, New York. His research encompasses computational seismology from global to local scales. He is the main author of the axisymmetric spectral-element method AxiSEM which is used by a number of groups around the world. Having moved from ETH Zurich in Sept 2013, he continues to supervise PhD students there, and collaborates with many other groups abroad.

Research Uncovered—OUP’s Interactive Academic Articles


What: OUP’s Interactive Academic Articles

Who: Richard O’Beirne and Martin Hadley

When: 13:00—14:00, Tuesday 6 June 2017

Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Registration: required

Access: please meet at 12.55 by the Information Desk in the Weston Library’s Blackwell Hall

As data becomes more integral to research publications, the question of how to display the data obviously but unobtrusively to the reader becomes more difficult. Academic Publishers are looking for technologies that allow them to bridge the data gap between publication and research data deposits easily.

In this presentation, OUP reports on a pilot project with IT Services to convert originally static data visualizations within publications into rich, interactive and explorative tools. The R web framework Shiny was used to allow researchers to develop the interactive tools themselves, negating the need for expensive dedicated web developers, and providing the ability to pull data directly from data repositories such as Figshare.

OUP will continue to build on the lessons learned from this project and hopes to work with more researchers to build interactive data visualizations to accompany their publications.

Richard O’Beirne is the Journals and Digital Strategy Manager (Global Academic Business) at Oxford University Press.

Martin Hadley is an Academic Research Technology Specialist at the University of Oxford’s IT Services.

Image credit: OUP University of Oxford IT Services Live Data Project.

Research Uncovered—The Role of Biographical Data in Digital Scholarship: Reassembling the Digital Self

Book a place!


What: The Role of Biographical Data in Digital Scholarship: Reassembling the Digital Self

Who: Paul Arthur

When: 13:00—14:00, Monday 12 June 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Registration: required

Biography is only one of many disciplines that have been deeply influenced by advances in digital media and computing, and that have required new theoretical approaches to help understand the changes. Yet the digital revolution has arguably had a more profound effect on biography and life writing than on any other branch of literature, perhaps any branch of the arts. At the intersection of biography and digital humanities, key questions can be posed: In what ways does the Web act to co-shape our identities? Do we know ourselves, each other, or historical actors differently? How permanent are the digital records of lives that are being produced? Do we, or will we soon, remember differently? And, what are the research futures for digital biographical research?

Paul Arthur is Chair in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the Centre for Global Issues at Edith Cowan University, Australia. He was previously Professor in Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University. From 2010–2013 he was Deputy Director of the National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University, and Deputy General Editor of the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Recent publications include Migrant Nation (in press, 2017, ed.), Private Lives, Intimate Readings (2015, ed. with Leena Kurvet-Käosaar), and Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, Methods, Theories (2014, ed. with Katherine Bode).

Image credit: https://www.theengineer.co.uk/

Research Uncovered—Safety and Fairness on the Internet

 

 

 

 

What: Safety and Fairness on the Internet

Who: Helena Webb and Menisha Patel

When: 13:00—14:00, Tuesday 23 May 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

The internet is becoming an increasingly dominant feature of social life in the western world. More and more users rely on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to receive news, communicate with others, share content and conduct everyday tasks. As this reliance grows, it is important to ask questions about how we ensure safety and fairness on the internet. For instance, how can we limit the spread of harmful content such as rumour and hate speech on social media? How can we ensure that the algorithms that filter much of the content we see produce results that are both accurate and unbiased? What can we do to protect vulnerable users online?
 
In this talk we describe two projects that seek to advance safety and fairness online. We report on the findings of the Digital Wildfire project, which investigated opportunities for the responsible governance of social media – in particular looking into how we might prevent and limit the spread of hate speech and rumour online whilst also protecting freedom of speech. We also introduce the UnBias project, which investigates the user experience of algorithm-driven internet services and the processes of algorithm design. This project focuses in particular on the perspectives of young people and involves activities that will 1) support user understanding about online environments, 2) raise awareness among online providers about the concerns and rights of internet users, and 3) generate debate about the ‘fair’ operation of algorithms in modern life.
 
 
Helena Webb is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. She works as part of the Human Centred Computing Group, which examines the inter-relationships between computing and social practices. She is interested in communication, organisation and the use of technology in everyday work and life. Most recently she has been working on the Digital Wildfire and UnBias projects.
Menisha Patel is a researcher working within the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.  She is part of the Human Centred Computing Group, and her work focuses around both fine-grained and more systemic level social issues surrounding the design, development and integration of technologies into our world. She is interested in how we can use micro-level approaches, informed by ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, to understand and assess the design and use of technologies both in the workplace and also in prototype form.  Her recent work has been within the field of “responsible research and innovation” (RRI), where she has worked on projects concerning how we can integrate more responsible practice into the research and innovation procedures and processes, to engender more socially and ethically desirable innovation.

 

Research Uncovered—Capture, Model, Interpret: new ways of imaging ancient text artefacts

RTI Dome 7. Credit: Custom Imaging; https://custom-imaging.co.uk/projects/dome-7/

What: Capture, Model, Interpret: new ways of imaging ancient text artefacts

Who: Jacob Dahl and Kirk Martinez

When: 13:00—14:00, Tuesday 30 May 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Imaging systems have been developed over the years to capture images of  objects which are more detailed, have accurate colour and have  revolutionised our records of our cultural heritage. Some objects have subtle surface details which are difficult to capture. We have been using a technique called “reflectance transformation imaging”. This allows the viewer to move a virtual light around to highlight the detail of interest. This talk will explain the technique and show the systems we made to capture hundreds of images.

Seal impression on the proto-Elamite tablet Sb 04832 captured from an RTI dome image made in the Louvre. Credit: Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative; http://cdli.ucla.edu/P008022.

Jacob Dahl is a specialist of the pre-Classical cultures and languages of the Near East. He has written on early Babylonian socio-economic history, early Near Eastern writing systems, and Sumerian literature. He works on the decipherment of proto-Elamite, the last undeciphered writing system from the ancient Near East with a substantial number of sources (more than 1600 tablets divided between the Louvre Museum and the National Museum of Iran). Initially inspired and influenced by archaic cuneiform from Mesopotamia, proto-Elamite was a very short-lived writing system (ca. 3100 – 2900 BC) used across much of what today constitute the Islamic Republic of Iran.As a co-PI of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative he seeks to document and safeguard Mesopotamia’s contribution to our shared world history by making its ancient records available freely online.

Kirk Martinez is a Professor of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. His imaging and image processing research includes the VASARI and MARC projects on high resolution colorimetric imaging,  In Viseum a new system was designed to allow web browsers to view high resolution images (which became IIPimage). He founded the VIPS image processing library. He has developed nine RTI imaging systems and is currently collaborating with Jacob Dahl in Oriental Studies on the
imaging of ancient seals.

Yorkshire Sound Women Network on Tour

What: Oxford meet of the Yorkshire Sound Women Network

Who: Amy V Beeston, Liz Dobson, Pip Willcox

When: 18:00—20:00, Thursday 11 May 2017

Where: The Jam Factory (map)

Access: open to women of all ages

Admission: free

Booking: no booking required: just turn up!

We are delighted to welcome two of the leading lights of the Yorkshire Sound Women Network (YSWN), Liz Dobson and Amy Beeston, to Oxford where we will be co-hosting a meet in a cafe—YSWN on tour!

YSWN’s glorious mission is to inspire and enable more women and girls to explore sound and music technology. This first meeting in Oxford marks the start of our own sister network, supported by the Fusing Semantic and Audio Technologies project.

Women and girls of all ages are invited to come together to meet new people and talk about sound and music technology in an informal setting, tea and cake provided!

There is no pressure to share work with the group, but if there is something you would like to bring along for people to look at/listen to you are more than welcome.

 

If you would like to find out more about YSWN, you can join their mailing list through their Facebook page. There is more information about the network  in Sheffield through the Sheffield YSWN Facebook group or Sheffield YSWN Google group. You can also read more about the series of workshops which took place in Sheffield as part of Catalyst:Festival of Creativity.

For more information about this event, please contact pip.willcox@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. For any queries about YSWN’s events please contact yswnsheffield@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you on 11 May!

Dr Amy V Beeston

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield, working in the ‘Speech and Hearing’ and ‘Music Mind Machine’ research groups. I develop tools to extract meaningful data from audio signals, and am particularly interested in using principles of human audition to improve the performance of machine listeners in everyday environments.

Dr Liz Dobson

I am a senior lecturer in music technology at the University of Huddersfield with an OU PhD in education and social psychology. My academic work examines relationships between community, learning and creative practice in music technology, leading me to create informal communities for knowledge sharing.Â

Pip Willcox

I am the Head of the Centre for Digital Scholarship at the Bodleian Libraries, and a Senior Researcher at the University of Oxford e-Research Centre where I work on the EPSRC project, Fusing Semantic and Audio Technologies for Intelligent Music Production and Consumption (EP/L019981/1). I co-direct the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School and convene its introductory workshop strand. With a background in textual editing and book history, my current work investigates narrative and the intersection between the material and the digital, exploring the experimental humanities.

Ethics and Cybersecurity hackathon

Our colleagues invite applications for a hackathon, 13-14 May 2017.

Ethics and Cybersecurity hackathon – Oxford 13-14 May with Cyber Security Challenge UK

Deadline: 5 May!

Are you interested in the ethical and social effects of technologies? Come to the ethicon event, 13-14 May!

We are very excited to be running a new kind of event here in Oxford. The ‘ethicon’ is a twist on the hackathon. Participants work in teams to design a prototype system to solve a particular challenge. However in addition to thinking through technical details they also need to identify the potential social and ethical effects of the particular technology and find creative ways to address them. To assist with this, participants are put into groups so that students from computer science and social science/humanities/business backgrounds work together and learn from each other. The groups’ ideas are then judged by a panel of experts and prizes are available to the winning teams.

Each team will be made up of two technical undergraduates (from computer science or a related discipline), plus two non-technical team members from areas such as social sciences, philosophy, business (and who have an interest in ethics) from any UK University.  Deadline 5 May.

Details about how you can apply to take part are on their poster and: https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/news-events/part-first-ever-ethicon.

If you have any questions about the event, please email helena.webb@cs.ox.ac.uk.