Free workshop—Working with digital text: a hands-on introduction to basic computational techniques

Register by email: see below for details


 

 

What: Working with digital text: a hands-on introduction to basic computational techniques

When: 10:00—16:30, Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February 2018

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

Open to members of the University

Free

Registration is required: please email Emma Stanford with your name, ox.ac.uk email address, department and study/career level

This introductory two-day workshop will help students and researchers get to grips with basic computational analysis methods. It is aimed at an introductory level and will be useful to anyone seeking to work with large amounts of textual data. The workshop builds sequentially on its sessions and attendance at both days is required.

Over two days of demonstrations and hands-on training sessions, the workshop will cover:

  • Online text corpora: What’s out there and how to use it
  • The surprising amount of text-mining you can do with Microsoft Word, Excel and Notepad
  • XML, XPath and XQuery: Textual encoding and getting answers back
  • Using statistics to avoid your own gaffes and spot other people’s
  • Beginning Python programming for the working with text at scale

Please note that catering is not provided.

The workshop is part of the Travelling Roadshow led by Gabriel Egan, Director of the Centre for Textual Studies at De Montfort University, with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is hosted by the Wolfson College Digital Research Cluster and the Bodleian Libraries’ Centre for Digital Scholarship.

NOTE: attendees are requested to bring a laptop with the latest version of Python and oXygen XML Editor. As a member of the University, using your Single Sign-On you can download oXygen and the required licence free of charge, via IT Services’ Software Registration and Download. If you cannot bring a laptop with you, please let us know before the day.

Registration

Registration is required as places are limited. The event is open to members of the University of Oxford only.

To register, please email Emma Stanford (emma.stanford@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) with:

  • Your name
  • Your ox.ac.uk email address
  • Your department and study/career level

Deletion is not the end: making an academic article stick on Wikipedia

Identity fusion is a concept central to a lot of research in social psychology and cognitive anthropology. So it is understandable that a member of an anthropology research group wrote an explanation of this concept for Wikipedia, explaining the idea to the widest possible audience and citing the key papers.

Unfortunately, writing an article and getting it accepted by Wikipedia are different things. The draft was rejected multiple times and eventually deleted, removing hours of work. Many academics have at least heard of a similar experience and it can be very discouraging. However, these stories can have a happy ending. We were able to get the draft back and post it as an article where it became one of the top two search engine hits for its topic. This article is about that process, and what academics can do to make sure their articles are accepted by Wikipedia. Continue reading

Free event–Making the most of digitized images: a IIIF workshop

IIIF workshopWhat: Making the most of digitized images: a IIIF workshop

Who: Emma Stanford and Tim Dungate

When: 13.00-16.00, 26 January 2018

Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library

Access: open to all

Admission: free

Registration: required

Learn how to use free tools to make the most of digitized library and museum images with the International Image Interoperability Framework. Want to compare Blake etchings or make your own IIIFrankenstein? In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn:

  • how to compare and manipulate digitized images using Mirador;
  • how to save and share your comparison;
  • what to do if the images you need aren’t available via IIIF; and
  • how to remix images from different manuscripts or collections into a new sequence for research or teaching.

All welcome; no technical or research experience necessary. Please bring your own laptop if you have one. Some of the more advanced tasks will require a text editor such as Sublime Text or Notepad++, both of which can be downloaded for free.

Public lecture—Digital scholarship: Intersection, Scale, and Social Machines

David De Roure, photograph credit Angela Guyton
What: Digital scholarship: Intersection, Scale, and Social Machines 

Who: David De Roure

When: 17:15—18:15, Monday 11 December 2017

Where: Wolfson College: Leonard Wolfson Auditorium (map)

Access: open to all

Admission: free

Registration: not required
 

Today we are witnessing many shifts in scholarly practice, in and across multiple disciplines, as researchers embrace digital techniques to tackle established questions in new ways and new questions afforded by our increasingly digital society and digitised collections.

 

These methods include computational techniques but also citizen science, and the notion of Social Machines provides a lens onto this scholarly ecosystem. Looking ahead we see greater citizen engagement and increasing automation, with massive data supply through living in the Internet of Things and the adoption of machine learning. Ultimately this is about the role of the human in the future of research, and with it the ethics of responsible innovation.

 

Please join us for this public lecture and stay to continue the conversation at a drinks reception immediately following the talk.

 

David De Roure is Professor of e-Research at University of Oxford and Supernumerary Fellow at Wolfson College. Focused on advancing digital scholarship, David works closely with multiple disciplines including social sciences (studying social machines), humanities (computational musicology and experimental humanities), engineering (Internet of Things), and computer science (large scale distributed systems and social computing). He has extensive experience in hypertext, Web Science, Linked Data, and Internet of Things. Drawing on this broad interdisciplinary background he is a frequent speaker and writer on the future of digital scholarship and scholarly communications. His previous roles include Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre, and Strategic Advisor to the UK Economic and Social Research Council.

 

This public lecture is co-hosted by Wolfson College’s Digital Research Cluster, the University of Oxford e-Research Centre, and the Centre for Digital Scholarship as part of the workshop Enabling Digital Scholarship: present and future.

 

Photograph: by kind permission of Angela Guyton.

Semantic data and the stories we’re not telling

One of my earliest memories of television was James Burke’s series Connections. It was fascinating yet accessible: each episode explored technology, history, science and society, jumping across topics based on historical connections or charming coincidences. One episode started with the stone fireplace and ended with Concorde.

In a digital utopia, we would each be our own James Burke, creating and sharing intellectual journeys by following the connections that interest us. We are not there yet. Many very valuable databases exist online, but the connections between them are obscured rather than celebrated, and this is an obstacle for anyone using those data in education or research. In a previous post I described the problems that come from the fact that things have different names in different databases, and described a semantic web approach to link them together.

Building on this approach, web applications can help people create their own stories; choosing their own path through sources of reliable information, building unexpected connections. In this post I describe three design principles behind these applications. Let’s start with a story.

Continue reading

Research Uncovered—The artist sleeps and the audience performs

Book tickets!


What: The artist sleeps and the audience performs

Who: Menaka PP Bora, David de Min, and Sebastiano Ludovico

When: 13:00—14:00, Monday 27 November 2017

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: open to all

Admission: free

Registration is required

Blending technology and performance art for new experiences in viewing Bodleian collections

This performance talk highlights a new way for people to experience and interpret visual arts collections through performance and the latest technology in mobile apps, Velapp, the ‘world’s most natural video editor’. The talk uses Velapp to explore the challenges and opportunities posed by new technology on artistic responses to heritage collections.

During the talk the audience is invited to play with a sample Velapp mobile phone app, learning to shoot film and simultaneously edit while enjoying the performance of items from the Bodleian’s collections. This technological intervention enables members of the audience to produce mobile films while they watch the performance, editing as they continue to film. The experience becomes more entertaining and immersive.

Dr. Menaka PP Bora is a multi- award winning performing artist, choreographer, ethnomusicologist, actor, and broadcaster. Besides touring her sell-out solo shows in the ‘world dance’ scene and regularly appearing as Guest Speaker on BBC Radio, she is Bodleian’s Affiliated Artist and winner of the highly prestigious Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships 2016.

 

David de Min is a Tech Enterpreneur and Founder and CEO of Velapp. David is currently working on one of the most game-changing projects for the UK technology industry which will be very high profile, hugely impact the tech sector/economy, firmly place the UK on the map as a game changer in the tech world and drive phenomenal positive social change across Europe.

 

Sebastiano Ludovico is a talented young Artist and Tech Investor belonging to the Sicilian royal family in Italy. Based in London, Sebastiano exhibited his paintings at solo exhibitions from the age of 5 years. His works of art are particularly appreciated by Hollywood stars and international pop music artists and all funds raised from sales of his work are donated directly to children’s foundations and other charities, in particular the Samuel L. Jackson Foundation with whom he has collaborated with for the last 4 years.

This performance talk is hosted by the Centre for Digital Scholarship as part of the Research Uncovered series of public talks.

Bodleian Student Editions 2017–2018

Please note that these workshops are now fully subscribed for this academic year, 2017–2018. To express an interest in future workshops, please email Pip Willcox.

Textual editing workshops for undergraduates and postgraduates

Elizabeth Wagstaff letter, 2 May 1621

A collaboration between the Bodleian’s Department of Special Collections and Centre for Digital Scholarship, and Cultures of Knowledge, a project based at the Faculty of History

We are looking for enthusiastic undergraduates and postgraduates from any discipline to take part in workshops in textual editing culminating in the publication of a citable transcription.

Join the waiting list: see below for details

After a hugely successful pilot run—from which published transcriptions can be seen here—these workshops are in their second year, and are scheduled to take place on the following dates:

Michaelmas Term 2017

  • 10:00–16:30 Thursday 7th week, 23 November

Hilary Term 2018

  • 10:00–16:30 Wednesday 3rd week, 31 January
  • 10:00–16:30 Thursday 7th week, 1 March

Trinity Term 2018

  • 10:00–16:30 Wednesday 3rd week, 9 May
  • 10:00–16:30 Thursday 7th week, 7 June

Textual editing is the process by which a manuscript reaches its audience in print or digital form. The texts we read in printed books are dependent on the choices of editors across the years, some obscured more than others. The past few years have seen an insurgence in interest in curated media, and the advent of new means of distribution has inspired increasingly charged debates about what is chosen to be edited, by whom and for whom.

These workshops give students the opportunity to examine these questions of research practice in a space designed around the sources at the heart of them. The Bodleian Libraries’ vast collections give students direct access to important ideas free from years of mediation, and to authorial processes in their entirety, while new digital tools allow greater space to showcase the lives of ordinary people who may not feature in traditional narrative history.

Our focus is on letters of the early modern period: a unique, obsolescent medium, by which the ideas which shaped our civilisation were communicated and developed. Participants will study previously unpublished manuscripts from Bodleian collections, working with Bodleian curators and staff of Cultures of Knowledge (http://www.culturesofknowledge.org), to produce a digital transcription, which will be published on the flagship resource site of Cultures of Knowledge, Early Modern Letters Online (http://emlo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk), as ‘Bodleian Student Editions’.

The sessions are standalone, but participants in last year’s workshops have gone on to further transcription work with Bodleian collections and with research projects around the country, as well as producing the first scholarship on some of the manuscripts by incorporating material in their own research (from undergraduate to doctorate level). The first-hand experience with primary sources, and citable transcription, extremely useful for those wishing to apply for postgraduate study in areas where this is valued: one participant last year successfully proceeded from a BA in Biological Sciences to an MA in Early Modern Literature on the basis of having attended.

The sessions provide a hands-on introduction to the following:

  1. Special Collections handling
  2. Palaeography and transcription
  3. Metadata curation, analysis, and input into Early Modern Letters Online
  4. Research and publication ethics
  5. Digital tools for scholarship and further training available

To hear about future textual editing workshops and other events as they are advertised, please join the digital scholarship mailing list.

Participation is open to students registered for any course at the University of Oxford. If you would like to participate or to join the waiting list, please contact Carmen Bohne, Special Collections Administrator, carmen.bohne@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, and include:

  1. your ox.ac.uk email address
  2. your department
  3. your level and year of study
  4. particular access requirements
  5. particular dietary requirements

Please note that registration is only open for Michaelmas term’s workshop. You may register your interest in subsequent workshops: please state the dates on which you are available. Places are limited and will be confirmed for each term’s workshops at the start of that term.

The Bodleian Libraries welcome thoughts and queries from students of all levels on ways in which the use of archival material can facilitate your research. For an idea of the range of collections in the Weston, visit the exhibition Bodleian Treasures: 24 Pairs in the Treasury gallery in Blackwell Hall (http://treasures.bodleian.ox.ac.uk), where some famous items are illuminated through juxtaposition to less known items that prompt reflection on the concept of a treasure. Our next themed exhibition, Designing English, showcasing the graphic design of mediaeval manuscripts in English from Bodleian collections, will open in the ST Lee Gallery on 1 December. For the first two months it will be shown alongside Redesigning the medieval book, a display of contemporary book arts inspired by the exhibition and created as part of a workshop and competition run in collaboration with the English Faculty.

Research Uncovered—Reassembling the University: The Idea of a University in a Digital Age

With apologies for the short notice, this talk is cancelled due to ill health. We hope to reschedule it.


What: Reassembling the University: The Idea of a University in a Digital Age

Who: David M. Berry, University of Sussex

When: 13:00—14:00, Monday 5 February 2018

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: open to all

Admission: free

In times of deep economic and political uncertainty there is a pressing need to revisit the constellations of concepts grounding the idea of a university. This talk will examine the relevance of ideas that assembled the university in differing historical periods to think about how we might reassemble these notions for possible new constellations of an idea of a university in a digital age.

 

David M. Berry is Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Sussex and a visiting scholar at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. His recent books include Critical Theory and the Digital (2014), Postdigital Aesthetics: Art, Computation and Design (2015, with Michael Dieter) and Digital Humanities: Knowledge and Critique in a Digital Age (2017, with Anders Fagerjord). He was recently awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for his new research on “Reassembling the University: The Idea of a University in a Digital Age”.

 

Creating Wikipedia articles from research data

Hillfort images shared on Wikimedia Commons

The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland is a collaboration between the Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh and Cork, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It provides a definitive list of hillfort sites in the British Isles- more than four thousand in total. As well as publishing a lot of fieldwork done by expert archaeologists, the site uses crowdsourcing, in that some of the sites were visited by volunteer investigators. The site invites users—expert or amateur—to submit their own photographs of the hillforts.

The Atlas launched in June 2017 and generated national media coverage. An issue for any newly-launched site is how to get incoming links from other sites; how to plumb the site into the existing paths by which people find information. This case study describes how, by sharing selected data from the Atlas, we were able to create thousands of incoming links from Wikipedia and related apps and sites, and to encourage the creation and use of hillfort articles in Wikipedia. Continue reading

Turning a historical book into a data set

A series of books published around the turn of the 20th century are crucial to modern bibliographic research: they are biographical dictionaries of booksellers and printers, including addresses, dates and significant works printed. Some of these books are out of copyright and available as scanned pages, allowing us not only to copy them into new formats, but adapt them into new kinds of resource.

These scanned books could be made more useful to researchers in a number of ways. Text could be meaningfully segmented, by dictionary entry rather than by page or paragraph. The book’s internal and external citations can become links, for instance linking a proper name to identifiers for the named person. The book can even have an open data representation which other data sets can hook on to, for example to say that a person is described in the book.

This case study describes the transformation of one of these books, Henry Plomer’s A Dictionary of the Booksellers and Printers who Were at Work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1641 to 1667 using Wikisource, part of the Wikimedia family of sites. As a collaborative platform, Wikisource allowed Bodleian staff to work with Wikisource volunteers. We benefited from many kinds of volunteer labour, from correcting simple errors in the text to creating custom wiki-code to speed up the process.

A lot of important data sets only currently exist in the form of printed books, including catalogues, dictionaries and encyclopedias. We adopted a process that has already been used on some large, multi-volume works and could be used for many more. Continue reading