Toward the end of March I had the wonderful opportunity to present at an inaugural conference on the subject of Women’s History in the Digital World (#WHDigWrld on Twitter), at the Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education (at Bryn Mawr). Not only did this event allow me to meet many people doing wonderful work with digital women’s history, but it also allowed me to bring together people I know from two different projects: HistoricDress.org, and thedigital library at Vassar College.
My recent trip to University College London was a great success* and has left me with a ton of information to digest, ideas to play around with, and questions to ask. (It also left me with a long illness, which is why this first post is extremely late in the making). One of the main points of the DiggingDH project is to question the concept of a ‘center’ – so it was interesting for me to pay a visit to a center which primarily exists in the virtual.
The Centre for Digital Humanities at UCL sits within the Department for Information Studies, is co-directed by Claire Warwick and Melissa Terras and consists of PhD students, a teaching fellow, and a research coordinator. The Centre’s success has allowed for the recent addition of a research manager. The larger management team and affiliated members range much wider than Information Studies, though, so one can imagine getting everyone together might be difficult. There are, however, as Melissa Terras notes, benefits to having a virtual center. It allows the affiliated faculty and staff to limit the time spent on the administrative details and to “just get on with doing the DH stuff”. And this they do: my time at UCL allowed me to grasp only three of the many research projects by this group (QRator, Transcribe Bentham, and Textal).
How, then, does the Centre for DH operate, with no physical location and members scattered throughout campus? Meetings between Centre members often take place sporadically, in various places on UCL campus. New ideas, concepts, or research topics are often conveyed via social media. Also, as on many the university campus, if you look around, there are plenty of people already “doing DH”. Claire Warwick, my first interviewee, notes that the Centre provides a place for those interested in different aspects of Digital Humanities to come together, to hear talks on the subject, and to question how to go about starting digital projects. The members of UCLDH collaborate with people from many different faculties, but also facilitate collaboration between different parts of the university.
Once again this year, RRCHNM collaborated with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to plan and produce the agency’s signature WebWise conference, http://imlswebwise.org/, held March 6-8, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Due to the Center’s experience with unconference formats, RRCHNM’s WebWise team— Sheila Brennan, Sharon Leon, Lisa Rhody, and Tom Scheinfeldt— was asked to reorient WebWise toward a more participatory format, one that allowed conference participants more opportunities to ask questions, to engage with potential collaborators, to learn new skills, and to develop more fully early-stage project ideas.
Two reports have recently been published as the outcome of surveys on special collections within research libraries in the UK and the US. Here are some highlights from the findings.
Today, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its latest report to the President and Congress, Designing a Digital Future: Federally Funded Research and Development in Networking and Information Technology. The report is a Congressionally mandated assessment of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, which coordinates the Nation’s federally-funded research and development (R&D) in areas such as supercomputing, high-speed network ing, cybersecurity, software technology, and information managemen
The internet has already had a major impact on how people find and access information, and now the rising popularity of e-books is helping transformAmericans’ reading habits. In this changing landscape, public libraries are trying to adjust their services to these new realities while still serving the needs of patrons who rely on more traditional resources. In a new survey of Americans’ attitudes and expectations for public libraries, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that many library patrons are eager to see libraries’ digital services expand, yet also feel that print books remain important in the digital age.
Digital Preservation Coalition Technology Watch Report is now available:
The purpose of this paper is to provide a broad overview of digital forensics, with some pointers to resources and tools that may benefit cultural heritage and, specifically, the curation of personal digital archives.
Digital technologies and networks are now part of everyday work in the sciences, and have enhanced access to and use of scientific data, information, and literature significantly. They offer the promise of accelerating the discovery and communication of knowledge, both within the scientific community and in the broader society, as scientific data and information are made openly available online. The focus of this project was on computer-mediated or computational scientific knowledge discovery, taken broadly as any research processes enabled by digital computing technologies. Such technologies may include data mining, information retrieval and extraction, artificial intelligence, distributed grid computing, and others. These technological capabilities support computer-mediated knowledge discovery, which some believe is a new paradigm in the conduct of research. The emphasis was primarily on digitally networked data, rather than on the scientific, technical, and medical literature. The meeting also focused mostly on the advantages of knowledge discovery in open networked environments, although some of the disadvantages were raised as well.
The workshop brought together a set of stakeholders in this area for intensive and structured discussions. The purpose was not to make a final declaration about the directions that should be taken, but to further the examination of trends in computational knowledge discovery in the open networked environments, based on the following questions and tasks:
1. Opportunities and Benefits: What are the opportunities over the next 5 to 10 years associated with the use of computer-mediated scientific knowledge discovery across disciplines in the open online environment? What are the potential benefits to science and society of such techniques?
2. Techniques and Methods for Development and Study of Computer-mediated Scientific Knowledge Discovery: What are the techniques and methods used in government, academia, and industry to study and understand these processes, the validity and reliability of their results, and their impact inside and outside science?
3. Barriers: What are the major scientific, technological, institutional, sociological, and policy barriers to computer-mediated scientific knowledge discovery in the open online environment within the scientific community? What needs to be known and studied about each of these barriers to help achieve the opportunities for interdisciplinary science and complex problem solving?
4. Range of Options: Based on the results obtained in response to items 1-3, define a range of options that can be used by the sponsors of the project, as well as other similar organizations, to obtain and promote a better understanding of the computer-mediated scientific knowledge discovery processes and mechanisms for openly available data and information online across the scientific domains. The objective of defining these options is to improve the activities of the sponsors (and other similar organizations) and the activities of researchers that they fund externally in this emerging research area.
The Future of Scientific Knowledge Discovery in Open Networked Environments: Summary of a Workshop summarizes the responses to these questions and tasks at hand.
This SPEC Kit explores how research institutions are currently organizing staff to support scholarly communication services, and whether their organizational structures have changed since 2007, when member libraries were surveyed about their scholarly communication education initiatives.
The overall goal of TEXTUS is to provide an open-source platform through which scholars and students are able to re-use the vast and expanding amount of digitised cultural heritage material now available through portals such as the Internet Archive, Wikisource and Project Gutenberg. The aim is to enable scholarly communities to easily establish their own instances of TEXTUS catering to their specific community and to enable developers to easily extend the platform itself and develop other apps and services for it.