The Music of Sound: call for contributions

Image from Johns Hopkins University: http://hub.jhu.edu/2012/11/07/timbre-hearing-prosthetics/.

The University of Oxford e-Research Centre and Centre for Digital Scholarship are delighted to announce a day’s symposium on sonification.

What: The Music of Sound: a sonification symposium

When:10:00–16:00, 21 April 2017

Where: University of Oxford e-Research Centre (directions)

Access: all are welcome to attend and to submit a proposal for a contribution (see below)

Admission: £20; £10 for students and unwaged

Registration: registration is required by 10 April 2017

Sounds surround us everywhere, and in our urban and industrial environments we are permanently immersed in music and noise—alarms, vending machines, phones have familiarized us with mechanical sound as signal. Sonifications, or audiograms, are attracting attention as a method of re-presenting data, yet this area of study continues to be less studied than, for example, visual analytics.

The celebrations of Ada Lovelace’s 200th birthday demonstrated a larger interest in the intersection of machinery, music, and culture, and pushed existing disciplinary boundaries. The symposium will build on this and we look forward to developing ideas and approaches together.

We invite proposals for papers (including audio-papers) and posters on sound, its production, reception, public engagement, technologies, sonic re-presentation, and exploration of the sonic world from all fields of research and learning.

Proposal submissions

Proposals must be submitted online.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 20 March 2017.

Acceptances will be notified by Monday 27 March 2017.

All submissions should include a title, abstract, a brief biography of each author, and up to five keywords.

Word counts apply to the text of the abstract, excluding titles, biographies and keywords.

Speakers will be given 30 minutes each for papers and audio-papers: 20 minutes for presentation, and 10 minutes for discussion. Lightning talks to present the posters will be given 5 minutes each, with discussion taking place during poster sessions.

Proposals should not exceed 300 words.

Brain Diaries: Brain imaging then and now

 

Image: http://uphe.org/air-pollution-health/the-brain/

This talk is part of Oxford Neuroscience‘s Brain Diaries event and talk series.

What: Brain imaging then and now

Who: Chrystalina Antoniades and Alexandra Franklin

When: 13.00—14.00, Monday 20 March 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking is required

We know people have been thinking about brains since ancient Egyptian times. From the sixth century BCE people began to understand that the brain was the home of the mind. As the scientific method developed, study of the brain formed part of this rational approach to new knowledge.

Technological advances have played their part in both understanding and communicating knowledge about the brain. These have included images of the brain, from the introduction of engravings in printed books to the latest diagnostic imaging used by hospital neurologists.

You are warmly invited to a talk by two experts in these disparate but related fields, Dr Alexandra Franklin (Bodleian Special Collections) and Professor Chrystalina Antoniades (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences).

Alex will show books from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries illustrating medical treatments of the eyes and brain, and Chrystalina will present how the technological advances of the last few decades have changed the way we can diagnose brain disorders.

This talk forms part of the Brain Diaries series of events revealing how the latest neuroscience is transforming what we know about the lifelong development of our brains, from birth to the end of life. It is a partnership with Oxford Neuroscience.

Professor Chrystalina Antoniades is an Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford and a lecturer in medicine at Brasenose college. She has recently set up her own research group, the NeuroMetrology Lab. She has been awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for public engagement and is passionate about engaging her research with the public.

Dr Alexandra Franklin is the Coordinator of the Centre for the Study of the Book, part of the Bodleian Libraries’ Special Collections. She coordinates programmes aimed at making Special Collections material more accessible to students, researchers, and the public.

His Majesty, Mrs Brown: letters from the second catalogue of Bodleian Student Editions

Mike Webb (Curator of Early Modern Archives and Manuscripts) writes:

The second Bodleian Student Editions catalogue is now available online through Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO). These letters were transcribed in the second of the Bodleian Libraries Manuscript and Textual Editing Workshops, held in the Centre for Digital Scholarship in the Weston Library on 1 December 2016. Details of the workshop programme, along with an account of the first workshop, can be found here.

Bodleian Student Editions participants working with the letters

Participants transcribing letters at a Michaelmas term workshop

The letters used in this workshop were in a volume of the Carte manuscripts, which mainly comprises the papers of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond (1610-1688), Lord Lieutenant of Ireland three times between 1643 and 1685. Six letters written by women to Ormond in April and May 1660 were selected, all in MS. Carte 214. Women used italic script in the seventeenth century as most were not taught the ‘secretary hand’ used in legal and administrative documents of the period, and often in private letters also. Italic hands are easier to read for those not formally trained in palaeography, and so more suitable for these workshops, which offer a wide-ranging introduction to undergraduates and postgraduates of all disciplines, many of whom had never previously worked with original manuscripts.

Once again, the students were fully engaged with the letters and by the end of the day had produced excellent transcriptions. The punctuation and spelling of the originals proved to be challenging—it is often necessary to read the transcript to yourself before you can believe what is in front of you! I found in checking the transcripts that there are so many strange spellings in these letters that inevitably in a short workshop some were accidentally modernised. A good example of unorthodox spelling can be found in a letter from Ormond’s wife, Elizabeth, on 21 May 1660:

I will make the troubell of this leter the briuefer, and only desier, that I may reseve your derections consarninge my comminge over, whoe am the mene time indevoringe to put My Selfe into a redenes to obbay the first sommons that shall Come from you.

As this passage indicates, the letters were written at a significant moment in British history, the Restoration of Charles II. This letter and one from Lady Bristol contained some intriguing references to various women who were not all they appeared to be. One of the pairs of students realised that there was something odd about ‘Mrs Brown’ and suggested this might be a pseudonym for the King. We did not have time in the workshop to confirm this, but the hunch turned out to be correct. Mrs Brown, Mrs Carlton, Mrs Eyres and Frances Parsifall (who, oddly, was the addressee of one of Lady Bristol’s letters) turned out to be none other than King Charles II, Edward Hyde, the Earl of Bristol and Ormond himself respectively. These pseudonyms are listed in the published Calendar of the Clarendon State Papers (another of the Bodleian’s great collections of seventeenth-century state papers). Lady Bristol mentions having written to Mrs Carlton, and sure enough, her letter can be found in the Clarendon papers. Lady Bristol became confused herself with the subterfuge, suddenly changing the gender of her husband ‘Mrs Eyres’ for whom she was seeking a place in the new regime:

let mee beseech your favour and charity in making sure of som place for your absent frind Mrs Eyres with Mrs Browen which can only preserve her … from those misseries that [her deleted] his faithfullnes hath brought on him … for his adhering to Miss Browen, and her father … [i.e. Charles II and Charles I]

Afterwards, we again collected feedback from the participants, who enjoyed the wide variety of activities—there were several requests for more workshops on each of the three strands—and the collaboration with other students:

I think people from different disciplines bring different frameworks of analyses to the table and ask questions you might not think of.

One student highlighted the workshop’s ‘applicability’ to the diverse sources that the participants are studying as its ‘most important aspect’, facilitated by the nature of Early Modern Letters Online as

a valuable corpus that can be put in the context of other projects in other fields.

The opportunity to integrate initial training with increased availability of our collections is immensely important to us at the Bodleian, a sentiment which the students seem to share: one participant wrote

I love that you come out of the seminar with a citable transcription.

—Mike Webb
Curator of Early Modern Archives and Manuscripts, Bodleian Libraries

Making Numbers into Notes: the making of Ada Lovelace’s generative music

This talk is part of the Oxford Women’s International Festival.

What: Making Numbers into Notes: the making of Ada Lovelace’s generative music

Who: David De Roure

When: 14.00—15.00, Tuesday 7 March 2017

Where: St Luke’s Chapel, Woodstock Road, OX2 6GG (map

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required for the preceding talk: no booking is necessary for this demonstration

What would have happened if Charles Babbage had built the analytical engine, and Ada Lovelace had programmed it to generate music? Our “making” experiments have involved a variety of techniques, from a software simulator, a web app and the use of a computer algebra system, to construction of arduino micro controller hardware, agent based simulation and scripting for modern professional audio tools.  This talk will demonstrate some of these tools, and invite attendees to engage with us in taking the experiment forward.

This demonstration follows the Research Uncovered talk, The imagination of Ada Lovelace: creative computing and experimental humanities. If you would like to attend this talk, please book a place. There will be a short break between the two sessions.

The imagination of Ada Lovelace: creative computing and experimental humanities

In the 200 years since Ada Lovelace’s birth, she has been celebrated, neglected, and taken up as a symbol for any number of causes and ideas. A symposium to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth narrated many of these, including accounts of her generative relationship with Charles Babbage and his Difference and Analytical Engines.

This talk traces some of paths the idea of Lovelace  and her imagination of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine has taken, what basis they have in her life, and what they tell us about the devices and desires of their scholarship and society. It includes an account of our experimental humanities work in response to both Lovelace and the operatic Ada sketches of composer Emily Howard: we created a web application, Numbers into Notes, (an earlier version of which was described by David De Roure in a previous Research Uncovered talk) to produce music from maths through programming a digital simulation of the Analytical Engine, after Lovelace’s idea that “the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent”.

This collaborative research was supported through the following EPSRC project: Fusing Semantic and Audio Technologies for Intelligent Music Production and Consumption (EP/L019981/1). This talk was first given as a Digital Scholarship Seminar at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway.

David De Roure is Professor of e-Research and Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre. He has strategic responsibility for Digital Humanities at Oxford and directed the national Digital Social Research programme for ESRC, for whom he is now a strategic adviser. His personal research is in Computational Musicology, Web Science, and Internet of Things. He is a frequent speaker and writer on digital scholarship and the future of scholarly communications.

Pip Willcox is the Head of the Centre for Digital Scholarship at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and a Senior Research at the Oxford e-Research Centre. She co-directs the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School and convenes its introductory workshop strand. With a background in textual editing and book history, her current work investigates narrative and the intersection between the material and the digital, exploring the experimental humanities.

Digital Methods—Introduction to Visualization in Digital Scholarship

Book a place!

AlfieAbdul-RahmanWhat: Introduction to Visualization in Digital Scholarship

Who: Alfie Abdul-Rahman

When: 13.00—14.00, Friday 3 February 2017

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

Access: open to all

Booking: reservation is required

In this session, we will consider how visualization can be used in digital scholarship projects. We will cover basic concepts of visualization as well as examine existing visualization techniques and applications.

This seminar first ran as a training session at the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School, on An Introduction to Digital Humanities workshop strand.

Alfie Abdul-Rahman completed her PhD in Computer Science at Swansea University, focusing on the physically-based rendering and algebraic manipulation of volume models. She is a Research Associate at the Oxford e-Research Centre, Oxford University. She has been involved with the Imagery Lenses for Visualizing Text Corpora and Commonplace Cultures: Mining Shared Passages in the 18th Century using Sequence Alignment and Visual Analytics, developing web-based visualization tools for humanities scholars, such as Poem Viewer and ViTA: Visualization for Text Alignment. Her research interests include visualization, computer graphics, and human-computer interaction. Before joining Oxford, she worked as a Research Engineer in HP Labs Bristol on document engineering, and then as a software developer in London, working on multi-format publishing.

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. You will need to check any bags into a locker (£1 returnable deposit) before you head upstairs. 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 (pip.willcox@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

The Centre for Digital Scholarship in Hilary term

About to start our fifth term, we are delighted to announce the Centre for Digital Scholarship’s headline talks and workshops for Hilary term. They are free to attend, but please register, via the links below or What’s On at the Bodleian to ensure a place.

Research Uncovered: public talks on digital scholarship

All talks are 13:00–14:00 on Tuesdays, in the Weston Library’s lecture theatre unless otherwise noted.

Digital Scholarship Workshops

Research Uncovered—The Quill Project: Recreating the process which wrote the United States Constitution

James Madison’s diary written during the Constitutional Convention (image from the Library of Congress)

James Madison’s diary written during the Constitutional Convention (image from the Library of Congress)

BOOK TICKETS!

What: The Quill Project: Recreating the process which wrote the United States Constitution

Who: Nicholas Cole and Alfie Abdul-Rahman

When: 13.00–14.00, Tuesday 14 February 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

The Constitution of the United States was written between May and September 1787 by a group of delegates working in secret and in a highly formal process.  The records of that process include an official journal and a series of private diaries, all of which present significant challenges for general readers and researchers.  Chief among these is the difficulty of understanding and describing the particular context within which decisions were made.

The Quill Project provides an entirely new platform for the study of negotiated texts, developed by Dr Nicholas Cole (Pembroke College) and Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman (Oxford e-Research Centre). We focus especially on the creation of constitutions, treaties, and legislation.

The platform is designed to make it easier to understand the contexts in which decisions are made, the relationship between documents, and the influence of individuals and delegations within a formal process of negotiation.

The structure of decision making at the Constitutional Convention

The structure of decision making at the Constitutional Convention

The Quill Project offers a new, twenty-first century approach to the publication of a digital edition of these records, with an emphasis on interactive visualization, a collaborative approach to material held elsewhere on the internet, and a multi-author approach to the creation of commentaries and other resources needed for a variety of research, teaching, and public-engagement needs. 

This talk will explore the challenges of designing a platform such as this with a wide variety of users in mind, and the opportunities for research and collaboration that are created through taking a new approach to the study of these records.

Dr Nicholas Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, and a member of the History Faculty. 

Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman is a Research Associate at the Oxford e-Research Centre.

Research Uncovered—Interrogating Truth and Objectivity in Syrian Conflict Reporting

Book tickets!

WNate Rosenblatthat: Interrogating Truth and Objectivity in Syrian Conflict Reporting

Who: Nate Rosenblatt

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 7 February 2017

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

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

The recent uproar over “fake news” in the so-called “Western world” is not new to observers of the ongoing Syrian conflict. For years, participants have fought a physical war as well as one over competing claims of “truth.” This presentation will uncover some of these competing claims from the perspective of an observer, analysing how truth is manipulated and for what purpose, as well as its consequences on how we research and understand conflicts in the digital age.

Nate Rosenblatt is an MSc student in the Sociology Department studying conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2016, Nate conducted ceasefire violations monitoring in Syria by triangulating satellite imagery analysis, social media monitoring, and on the ground reporting. From 2011-2014, Nate helped train and manage field research teams reporting primarily on local governance in the Syrian conflict, and designed and managed research utilizing mapping technology to chart conflict dynamics in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Find him online: @naterosenblatt.

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. You will need to check any bags into a locker (£1 returnable deposit) before you head upstairs. 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 (pip.willcox@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

Representing and Exploring Negotiated Texts: Quill Platform Workshop

Book tickets!The structure of decision making at the Constitutional Convention

 

What: Representing and Exploring Negotiated Texts: Quill Platform Workshop

Who: Nicholas Cole, Alfie Abdul-Rahman, and Grace Mallon

When: 13.30 – 16.30, Wednesday 25 January 2017

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

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

Quill (www.quillproject.net) is a platform for the study of negotiated texts, developed by Dr Nicholas Cole (Pembroke College) and Alfie Abdul-Rahman (Oxford e-Research Centre). We focus especially on the creation of constitutions, treaties, and legislation.

The platform is designed to make it easier to understand the contexts in which decisions are made, the relationship between documents, and the influence of individuals and delegations within a formal process of negotiation. It also allows for more detailed, collaboratively written, commentaries and other supporting material to be presented to users, as appropriate for a range of research, teaching, and public-engagement tasks.  There is a strong emphasis throughout the platform on ways to interface with material presented by other digital platforms.

Quill was originally conceived to assist research in to the documentary history of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in America by presenting researchers with a reconstruction of the documents available to the members of the convention at every single moment of a complicated, four-month-long process, but developed in to a generic platform that can assist with the understanding of any formal process that involves presenting, considering, and voting on changes to a document.

This half-day workshop will guide participants through the range of tools that the Quill platform provides, including the data-entry interfaces.  Users who might wish to bring their own datasets are requested to contact nicholas.cole@history.ox.ac.uk in advance to discuss the suitability of their material for the Quill platform.  Otherwise, the workshop will use records provided by the U.N. on the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://research.un.org/en/undhr/introduction) to guide users through the process of using the editorial and data-entry tools provided by the Quill Platform.

This workshop is aimed at those whose research involved the study of parliamentary or quasi-parliamentary processes and the records that they produce.  It will be an opportunity to discuss the design of the platform and the ways in which it could be used for future research projects.

Objectives:

      • To provide participants with experience using the Quill tools for exploring existing datasets.
      • To give participants an overview of and some experience with the Quill data-entry methodology and tools.
      • To help participants understand the kinds of dataset for which the Quill platform is useful and an opportunity to discuss with them potential future uses.

Participants are requested to bring a laptop to use during the workshop. If you do not have access to a laptop, please let us know beforehand.

This workshop is organized by:

  • Dr Nicholas Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, and a member of the History Faculty. 
  • Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman is a Research Associate at the Oxford e-Research Centre.
  • Grace Mallon is a graduate student at University College, University of Oxford.

Research Uncovered—Revisiting the effect of red on competition in humans

Book tickets!

Laura FortunatoWhat: Revisiting the effect of red on competition in humans

Who: Laura Fortunato

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 28 February 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

Bright red coloration is a signal of male competitive ability in animal species across a range of taxa, including non-human primates. Does the effect of red on competition extend to humans? A landmark study in evolutionary psychology established such an effect through analysis of data for four combat sports at the 2004 Athens Olympics (Hill & Barton 2005). We show that the observed pattern reflects instead a structural bias towards wins by red in the outcomes of the competition. Consistently, we find no effect of red in equivalent data for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which present a structural bias towards wins by blue. These results refute past claims of an effect of red on human competition based on analysis of this system. In turn, this undermines the notion that any effect of red on human behavior is an evolved response shaped by sexual selection. Results from the largest test of the effect to date, based on outcomes of contests in an online game, support this conclusion.

Laura Fortunato is Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Her work, at the interface of anthropology and biology, focuses on the evolution of human social and cultural behaviour.