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
Registration: not required
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.
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
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.
This performance talk is hosted by the Centre for Digital Scholarship as part of the Research Uncovered series of public talks.
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
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:
- Special Collections handling
- Palaeography and transcription
- Metadata curation, analysis, and input into Early Modern Letters Online
- Research and publication ethics
- 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, email@example.com, and include:
- your ox.ac.uk email address
- your department
- your level and year of study
- particular access requirements
- 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.
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
13:00—14:00, Monday 5 February 2018
Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)
Access: open to all
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
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
Register by email: see below for detailsWhat: Making Sense of Negotiated Text at Scale: a workshop
When: 11:30—14:30, Thursday 30 November 2017
Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library (map)
Open to all
Registration is required: please email Pip Willcox with your name, email address, and access and dietary requirements
How do we evaluate the relationship between different iterations of ideas in text form?
- Nicholas Cole and Alfie Abdul-Rahman: The Quill Project
- Radoslaw Zubek, David Doyle, and Abhishek Dasgupta: Measuring Government Policy with Text Analysis project
- David Price: DebateGraph—Exploring the Intention to Withdraw from the Union
- Félix Krawatzek: Buying Words? The impact of donations on political language
This workshop brings together experts from four projects which are using digital methods to analyze, understand, and re-present negotiated texts. Taking UK government policy documents, the creation of the American Constitution, current political debate, and the economic cost of political language as their subject matter, each speaker will outline the motivation for their work and the approaches they have taken towards answering questions such as:
- Are government regulations becoming more or less business friendly?
- Which State’s representatives contributed the most successful proposals to the American Constitution?
- What common threads of agreement are there in differing political viewpoints?
- How much money does it take to change the language in the US Congress?
This workshop will be of interest to people working in history, politics, computational linguistics, visualization, or the application of digital innovation to research.
Alfie Abdul-Rahman is a Research Associate at the University of Oxford e-Research Centre where she develops web-based visualization tools for humanities scholars, including for the Quill Project.
Nicholas Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College Oxford, specializing in the history of political thought and American Constitutional History, and directs the Quill Project.
Abhishek Dasgupta is a doctoral student at Exeter College, studying Foundations, Logic, and Structures in the Department of Computer Science.
David Doyle is an Associate Professor of Latin American Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St Hugh’s College, and co-investigator of the Fell-funded Measuring Government Policy with Text Analysis project.
Félix Krawatzek is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow based at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations and a Research Fellow at Nuffield College.
David Price co-founded DebateGraph with the former Australian cabinet minister Peter Baldwin and has led DebateGraph’s projects with, amongst others, the UK Prime Minister’s Office, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, CNN, the European Commission, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Radoslaw Zubek is an Associate Professor of European Politics, a Tutorial Fellow at Hertford College, and principal investigator of the Fell-funded Measuring Government Policy with Text Analysis project.
This workshop is convened by:
- Centre for Digital Scholarship
- TORCH Negotiated Text Network
- TORCH Critical Visualization Network
- Quill Project
- Measuring Government Policy with Text Analysis
To register, please email Pip Willcox (firstname.lastname@example.org) with:
- Your name
- Your email address
- Access or dietary requirements
Image credit: Global Academic Forum
‘Digital Approaches to the History of Science’, the first of two planned workshops on this topic, was held at the History Faculty in Oxford on 28 September 2018. A total of nearly sixty attendees assembled to hear presentations from a selection of the most exciting current projects in this field from around the UK.
Professor Rob Iliffe, representing the Newton Project, addressed the ongoing challenges and complexity of digitizing and presenting the manuscript writings of Isaac Newton, and Alison Pearn spoke of the related issues faced by the digital side of the ongoing Darwin Correspondence Project. Lauren Kassell, of the Casebooks Project, introduced a very different type of material and spoke of the need to find new ways of representing, encoding and searching the mass of information contained in early modern medical-astrological casebooks.
After lunch two speakers discussed from complementary perspectives the opportunities represented by the very rich archive of The Royal Society. Louisiane Ferlier discussed the digitization of Royal Society journals and the work needed to clean and link the metadata about the articles in them. Pierpaolo Dondio described his work modelling and visualising the network of authors, editors and referees who controlled the content of those paper, and provided examples of the kinds of research outcomes such work can produce. A final talk turned to the use of digital humanities resources in the university classroom: Kathryn Eccles and Howard Hotson described the Cabinet Project, which has made a rich ecology of digital images and objects available to students on a growing list of Oxford undergraduate papers.
Rich discussions took place both around the individual presentations and over lunch and coffee, and this sell-out event has certainly stimulated interest and ongoing discussion about the distinctive opportunities for history of science created by digital scholarship and resources.
The event was supported by the Centre for Digital Scholarship (Bodleian Libraries), ‘Reading Euclid‘, The Royal Society and the Newton Project, and was organized jointly by the Centre for Digital Scholarship and ‘Reading Euclid’. The date for the second workshop will be announced shortly.
—Benjamin Wardhaugh, ‘Reading Euclid’
Top image credit: 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.
The SWORDV3 project team are looking for expressions of interest from potential stakeholders as they develop a new technical standard and community and governance mechanisms for this updated version of SWORD. From the DPC announcement:
Expressions of interest are sought to become stakeholders in the project: to make suggestions, review activities and meet as required over the coming months.
In particular, the project team is interested in making contact with people who may wish to develop SWORD V3 libraries for their preferred platforms or languages since the aim is to provide some support for such activities during the project. Please contact one of the project team (ideally by mid-October) if you are interested in participating, and indicate if you are interested in the technical or community aspects of the project (or both!).
On the technical side, the project is creating a document that brings together the change requests and new use cases that have collected since the release of SWORDV2, culled from the github site, message posts and preliminary discussions with some stakeholders earlier this year. This has also suggested a way forward that breaks with SWORD’s AtomPub roots in order to provide a more up-to-date and flexible protocol. This will be circulated to stakeholders soon.
On the community side, a similar document outlining possible models for developing the SWORD community in the future will be circulated soon. This is a much more open set of choices since the SWORD user-base has expanded considerably since its first conception, and we are open to further suggestions! The final arrangements must be aligned with community wishes in order to be an effective sustainable solution.