Research Uncovered—Crowdsourcing and Humanities Research

victoria-van-hyningWhat: Crowdsourcing and Humanities Research

Who: Victoria Van Hyning

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 17 May 2016

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

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required 

Is crowdsourcing a viable tool for literary historians and critics to use in their research? How might the fruits of crowdsourced projects be used for both close and ‘distant’ reading in the humanities? This talk will provide an overview of ‘Shakespeare’s World’: a collaboration between the world-leading academic crowdsourcing group called (Oxford) the Folger Shakespeare Library which heads up the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) project, and the Oxford English Dictionary. ‘Shakespeare’s World’ invites members of the public to transcribe manuscript material from the Folger collection. The outcomes will be incorporated into the Folger catalogue, and be made freely available for research. This talk will provide some early findings and visualizations of the resulting data.

Dr Victoria Van Hyning completed her doctoral work at the University of Sheffield, in the department of English Language and Literature, where she held a British Library co-doctoral award. Her work focused on English nuns in exile between 1550 and 1800, and their literary activities. Shortly after completing her doctoral studies she began work at Zooniverse, in Oxford, as the Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow, and led the development of AnnoTate (with Tate Britain), Science Gossip (with the Biodiversity Heritage Library) and ‘Shakespeare’s World’. She now holds a three year British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in the English Faculty at Oxford, is the Humanities PI of Zooniverse, and a JRF at Pembroke College.

Access: If you have a University or Bodleian Reader’s card, you can get to the Centre for Digital Scholarship through the Mackerras Reading Room on the first floor of the Weston Library, around the gallery. If you do not have access to the Weston Library you are more than welcome to attend the talk: please contact Pip Willcox before the event (

You can download a flyer for this talk.

Numbers into Notes—Ada Lovelace and Music

Ada Lovelace’s significant contributions were celebrated and discussed at the Ada Lovelace Symposium last week, marking the bicentennial of her birth on 10 December 1815.  Lovelace brought important early insights into mathematics and computation, especially in the context of the Analytical Engine proposed by her collaborator Charles Babbage. She also brought her vision and computational intuitions to music, asking whether “the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent”.


Photo: Pip Willcox

On 30 November we explored mathematics, computation, and music through a performance of ‘Ada sketches‘, a short operatic work by composed by Emily Howard and part of her Lovelace Trilogy. More than a performance, this event with Emily Howard and musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music involved mathematical explanation and engaged the audience in composition, turning numbers into notes. We revisited this work at the Ada Lovelace Symposium through an interactive display and a conversation on stage between David De Roure and Emily Howard, herself a mathematician, computer scientist and musician.

This also featured an extract of Howard’s work ‘Mesmerism’, another part of the Trilogy, and illustrated numbers and notes by generating a number sequence on a simulator of the Analytical Engine and developing the output as a musical theme—an exercise inspired by discussions at a music hack day held at Goldsmiths in October. The evening saw world premières of  ‘An algorithmic study on ADA’ and ‘ADA’, composed by James Whitbourn, performed by mixed-voice contemporary choir with violin and harp.

The event was supported by digital music research projects Transforming Musicology (AHRC, led by Goldsmiths, University of London) and “FAST” (EPSRC, led by Queen Mary University of London), and organized at University of Oxford by a partnership of the e-Research Centre, Centre for Digital Scholarship, and The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities, in collaboration with symposium organizer Professor Ursula Martin, the Mathematical Institute, and Department of Computer Science.  The performance was supported by the Royal Northern College of Music, Leverhulme Trust and University of Liverpool.

—David De Roure, University of Oxford e-Research Centre

Data Management Plans for the University of Oxford

DMP Online logoMembers of the BDLSS Research Data Management team have been working with colleagues in IT Services to produce a version of Data Management Plans Online which is tailored specifically for Oxford researchers.

The DMP Online is a free web-based service from the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) which enables researchers to create a Data Management Plan (DMP) for their research project.

Users of the service have previously been able to view guidance from their appropriate funding body and/or the DCC, but anyone creating a plan and specifying the University of Oxford as their institution will now see further guidance which directs them to a range of Oxford services and information sources that will be of use in producing DMPs for Oxford research projects.

—David Tomkins

ORA Data is awarded the Data Seal of Approval

DSA_2014_2015The Oxford Research Archive for Data (ORA-Data), which is managed by BDLSS on behalf of the University, has been awarded the Data Seal of Approval.

The Seal represents an international, peer-reviewed standard which certifies a data archive according to sixteen essential criteria for good practice, thereby providing evidence of compliance with key Research Data Management (RDM) principles and denoting the archive as a “Trusted Digital Repository.

—David Tomkins

Continued growth of ORCIDs at Oxford

ORCID is rapidly becoming the de facto author identifier so that authors have their work attributed and also so that over time research administrative burden is reduced and improved.

ORCID is increasingly becoming the method of choice by funders and publishers globally to unambiguously link people to their publications and grants. Already Wellcome Trust requires that award applicants have an ORCID.

The numbers of Oxford scholarly authors obtaining and linking their ORCIDs to Oxford is growing steadily. The number of Oxford linked ORCIDs currently (3 December 2015) stands at over 2,100. As more services, publishers, and funders adopt ORCIDs and more authors use them, Oxford authors will see further benefits of having an ORCID.

Bodleian Digital Library is delighted to announce that it will be running an ORCID implementation scoping study (January – April 2016) to define how ORCIDs should be used across the University within diverse systems such as Symplectic, ORA, systems in IT Services, PRAS, and other relevant systems. Please encourage Oxford researchers to obtain and link their ORCID. For more information about ORCIDs at Oxford see

—Sally Rumsey

Exploring the UK Web: an introduction to web archives as scholarly resources

This event is organized by the Bodleian Libraries’ Department of Special Collections.

UKWebArchiveWhat: Exploring the UK Web: an introduction to web archives as scholarly resources

Who: Jason Webber, Sabine Hartmann, Prof Jane Winters, Dr Gareth Millward, Prof Ralph Schroeder

When: 14.00–16.00, Friday 11 December 2015

Where: Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

Access: registration is essential

‘The Web’, in the 25 years of its existence, has become deeply ingrained in modern life: it is where we find information, communicate, research, share ideas, shop, get entertained, set and follow trends and, increasingly, live our social lives. As much as we rely on traditional paper archives today to find out about the past, for anyone trying to understand life in the late 20th and early 21st century, archived websites will be an invaluable resource.

Join us and our expert panel for an afternoon of exploring the archives of the UK web space, focusing on their potential use for research and teaching. Short presentations will introduce the resources and tools available for web archives research in the UK, and the opportunities (and challenges) they come with in theory and practice: from web archives curation, preservation and research tool development at the British Library, to current research in the Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities (BUDDAH) Project and at the Oxford Internet Institute. Afterwards there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion – your chance to ask everything you ever wanted to know about web archives and to contribute your thoughts and ideas to an emerging discipline.

Jason Webber is the Web Archiving Engagement and Liaison Manager at the British Library. He and his colleague Sabine Hartmann are working with the UK Web Archive and the Legal Deposit Web Archive.
Jane Winters
is Professor of Digital History at the Institute of Historical Research, and Principal Investigator in the BUDDAH Project.
Gareth Millward is a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the BUDDAH Project bursary holders.
Ralph Schroeder is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Digital Coffee Afternoons

The Centre for the Study of the Book has kindly lent us the Visiting Scholars’ Centre to host Digital Coffee Afternoons. If you would like to meet other people interested in working with the Libraries’ digital or digitized collections, please come along!

They will take place 14.00–15.00 on Mondays from Second to Eighth Week:

  • Monday 19 October
  • Monday 26 October
  • Monday 2 November
  • Monday 9 November
  • Monday 16 November
  • Monday 23 November
  • Monday 30 November

Digital Coffee Afternoons are open to anyone with a Bodleian reader’s card.

The Visiting Scholars’ Centre is on the second floor of the Weston Library. You can access it by lift, or by using the staircase nearest the Parks Road entrance.

—Pip Willcox

Digital Drop-Ins

Are you thinking of developing a digital project using library collections? Do you have questions about getting it funded, what approach to take, or what might be possible?

Do you want to know more about depositing your work or searching the Oxford University Research and Data Archives (ORA)?

This term we will be holding regular drop-in surgeries again in the Weston Library’s Centre for Digital Scholarship. They will be held every Monday of term, and are open to any member of the University at the Centre for Digital Scholarship.You don’t need an appointment—just come along!

9.30—11.30: digital projects drop-in
11.30—13.30: ORA and ORA Data drop-in

  • Monday 12 October
  • Monday 19 October
  • Monday 26 October
  • Monday 2 November
  • Monday 9 November
  • Monday 16 November
  • Monday 23 November
  • Monday 30 November


2015. (2)



The Centre for Digital Scholarship is on the first floor of the Weston Library. You can reach it through the Mackerras Reading Room, by going around to the other side of the balcony.

—Pip Willcox

Disseminating our work

We are committed to disseminating our work locally, nationally, and internationally. This is a selected list of recent presentations and papers.

Sarah Barkla and Michael Davis presented ORA to the Research Software Developers Network

  • Michael Popham delivered a paper at DH2015, in Sydney, Australia on the EEBO-TCP’s creation and release into the public domain of 25,000 texts earlier this year.
  • Sally Rumsey gave a talk at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on ‘Research data services at the University of Oxford’ as part of their Research data management: where are we now? event. The slides are available.
  • Emma Stanford presented Digital.Bodleian to a group of Engineering Science alumni as part of the University’s Alumni Weekend.
  • Pip Willcox gave papers on the Bodleian’s First Folio and digital scholarship iniatives at Japanese Association for Digital Humanities 2015 conference at the University of Kyoto; at a research seminar at the University of Tokyo; at Digital Material at NUI Galway with David De Roure; and at Vers une littérature mondiale à l’heure du numérique? at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Sorbonne.

Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School 2015

This year’s Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School (DHOxSS) was the biggest yet, with over 160 participants from around the world coming to Oxford for a week in July. Each participant followed one of eight week-long workshop strands, with keynote and additional lectures for an hour each morning.

Workshops were on subjects as diverse as Digital Musicology, Crowdsourcing for Academic, Library and Museum Environments, and Humanities Data: Curation, Analysis, Access, and Reuse.

DHOxSS’s Organizational Committee is made up of colleagues from across the University, and is profoundly multidisciplinary in its approach to training in many fields of the digital humanities. It is co-directed by James Cummings (IT Services) and Pip Willcox (Bodleian Libraries).

This year there were more than 80 speakers, with two thirds coming from the University of Oxford. A third were invited experts from around the world. The Bodleian provided 12 speakers across several of the workshop strands:

  • Alexandra Franklin
  • Tanya Gray Jones
  • Matthew Holford
  • David Howell
  • Neil Jefferies
  • Matthew Kimberley
  • Liz McCarthy
  • Matthew McGrattan
  • Monica Messaggi Kaya
  • Sally Rumsey
  • Judith Siefring
  • Pip Willcox

Two strands were convened by Bodleian colleagues: Digital Approaches in Medieval and Renaissance Studies by Judith Siefring; and An Introduction to Digital Humanities by Pip Willcox.

The call is currently out for volunteers to convene workshops for DHOxSS 2016.

—Pip Willcox