Lectures

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 

Monday

Opening Keynote: Identifying the point of it all: Towards a Model of "Digital Infrapuncture"Deb Verhoeven, (Deakin University)

Many leading proponents of the Digital Humanities have recently called for a greater emphasis on understanding its potential for public impact and its capacity for social repair. This provocation is especially acute as the humanities more broadly struggles to attract the large-scale funding and leverage that characterise highly influential STEM initiatives. In the context of diminishing resources and infrastructure investment in the humanities I want to propose an alternative way of thinking about how we can make a difference and how we can more creatively utilize the complexity and diversity of digital humanities effort.
 
"Digital Infrapuncture" is a blended term that describes a combination of infrastructure and acupuncture. It's a way of thinking about how many small-scale but catalytic interventions can have an impact on a larger research field. The goal of infrapuncture is to relieve stress. To work in this model requires us to have a sensitivity to suffering and damage, to understand for example, where it hurts in society. Digital Infrapuncture proposes we select our interventions through an analysis of aggregate social, economic and "ecological" factors, and that we develop them through a dialogue between researchers and invested communities. And finally, as any element of Digital Infrapuncture research affects and is affected by other elements, then we must be mindful of our impact on each other as well.
 

Tuesday

Lecture 1a: ViTA: Visualization for Text AlignmentAlfie Abdul-Rahman, (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford)

In this lecture, I will present a web-based visual analytics approach for detecting similarity between texts. ViTA: Visualization for Text Alignment is the result of our “Commonplace Cultures: Mining Shared Passages in the 18th Century using Sequence Alignment and Visual Analytics” project under the Digging into Data Challenge Program (III) and it is a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the University of Chicago, and the Australian National University. The team comprises of computer scientists and domain experts in the fields of literary studies, intellectual history, and digital humanities. ViTA is a web-based visual analytics approach that allows domain experts to construct and modify a text alignment pipeline by visualizing the tools and connections for a specific method in conjunction with testing inputs and outputs. The construction of the text alignment is similar to that of an image processing pipeline. As the approach was embedded directly in the context of 18th century print culture, this approach was developed in an interdisciplinary manner, and was evaluated in intensive meetings with the domain experts at the design stage as well as after prototyping.

Lecture 1b: Big Data and the Humanities,  Ralph Schroeder, (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford) and Laird Barrett (Taylor & Francis)

Big data is often considered in the context of the sciences and social sciences. In fact, many of the most exciting projects are in the humanities. The talk will cover a range of these projects, highlighting how they contribute to knowledge, their strengths and weaknesses, and ways forward. Particular attention will be paid to data sources, and debates about digital research in the humanities. The talk will also cover emerging publishing models, and how they relate to digital research.

Lecture 1c:  Hidden Museum: Connecting Collections in ContextScott Billings, (Oxford University Museum of Natural History, University of Oxford), Theodore Koterwas, (IT Services, University of Oxford), Jessica Suess, (Oxford University Museums, University of Oxford)

Over the past nine months Oxford University Museums and Oxford University IT Services have been collaborating on a research project to look at best practice in terms of delivering collections content to users within museum and gallery spaces via their mobile device. A notoriously ‘heads down’ experience, the project has explored methods for utilising personal mobile devices to facilitate ‘heads up’ interactions with objects and displays, creating a hybrid physical-digital experience. In this lecture Scott, Ted and Jess will share the key findings from this research project covering key principles around usability, access and content triggering; best practice in using video, looking at when and how to use video to complement rather than distract from displays; and principles for developing interactives that provide a learning experience that enhances engagement with objects, as opposed to online features and games that focus on the technology rather than the displays. This lecture will suggest best practice principles for delivering digital collections content in museum and gallery spaces and should be interesting for anyone considering methods for encouraging public engagement with their research content in gallery spaces, historic sites or other venues.

 

Wednesday

Lecture 2a: Imaging Beyond the Institution: How DIY Digitization Impacts Research,  Judith Siefring, (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford)
The sight of readers taking their own photographs of books, manuscripts and other objects in special collections reading rooms and museum study spaces is becoming increasingly commonplace. This kind of ‘DIY digitization’ reflects changing technologies but also evolving research practices and institutional policies. Its prevalence warrants proper reflection. Why do users want to take their own photographs of special collections? What are the curatorial concerns around allowing them to do so? How does this relate to institutional digital collections delivery? How is user-led photography changing research? And what challenges does it pose for research libraries like the Bodleian and for individual researchers?
 
This lecture will explore the research behind the John Fell-funded DIY Digitization project, a collaboration between colleagues from the Bodleian Libraries, the Oxford University English Faculty, and the Oxford e-Research Centre.
 
Lecture 2b: Linked Data and Leitmotifs – Digitally Researching the Reception of Richard Wagner’s Music-Dramas,  Carolin Rindfleisch, (Faculty of Music, University of Oxford)

Richard Wagner’s music, and particularly his composition with ‘leitmotifs’ (musical entities with a characteristic identity, that are used to construct musical form and to convey musical meaning) have been interpreted differently in a wide variety of academic as well as audience-aimed introductory literature. A comprehensive analysis of these interpretations can help us find out how Wagner’s music-dramas have been heard, seen and understood in different historical and cultural environments. Using this example, the lecture presents how methods and techniques of Linked Data and Semantic Web can facilitate a large-scale reception study that can deal with a wide range of source material and still compare interpretations in detail. It will discuss different ways of digitally enhancing the study of the reception and interpretation of artworks, and address the question of how we can reconcile these methods with more traditional methodologies in the Humanities. It will focus particularly on presenting the design of an ontology that not only enables the linking and structuring of digitised source material, but also enables the systematic representation and comparison of the interpretations contained in the sources.

 
Lecture 2c: Graphic Motifs as an Aid to Handwritten Archive Transcription and SearchingChris Powell, (The Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford)
Institutions like Universities and Museums possess considerable volumes of handwritten personal archives, the content of which may be of research interest. However, these archives remain largely untranscribed and their content unknown. We describe our early investigation of word shape analysis, and particularly the decomposition of those shapes in to graphic motifs, as an assistive technology for the researcher wishing to transcribe entire documents, or to locate likely pages of interest within untranscribed documents. 
 

Thursday

Lecture 3a: An Evidence-based Assessment and Visualization of the Distribution, Sale, and Reception of Books in the RenaissanceCristina Dondi, (Modern Languages, University of Oxford)

The five-year ERC-funded 15cBOOKTRADE Project has developed digital tools to investigate, on solid and extensive evidence, the impact of the introduction of printing on early modern society. The Material Evidence in Incunabula is a database specifically designed to record and search the material evidence of 15th-century printed books: ownership, decoration, binding, manuscript annotations, stamps, prices, etc. Locating and dating any of these elements enables the movement of books across Europe and the US to be tracked throughout the centuries, from place of production to the books’ present locations. The TEXT-inc database describes the content of 15th-century editions in great detail and systematically – main and secondary texts, and paratexts. It also identifies the various people involved in the preparation of the editions, to understand the social network surrounding the introduction of printing in Early Modern Europe, and to study the transmission of texts in print. The project is also experimenting with image-matching software applied to 15th-century Venetian illustration, and with the scientific visualisation of data to display the movement of these books over the five-hundred year period of their existence. 

 
Lecture 3b: Building and Analyzing a Semantic NetworkMaria Telegina, (Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford)
The history of graph (network) theory (GNT) started with an attempt to find a single walking path, which crosses, once and only once, each of the seven bridges of old Königsberg; this is known as the Seven Bridges of Königsberg Problem. Since 1736, when Leonhard Euler proved the problem to be unsolvable using a very simple graph, GNT was developed, and it rapidly came to be used in a number of fields. Nowadays, GNT is actively used in a wide variety of disciplines from mathematics and physics to sociology and linguistics, as our world is full of systems, which can be represented and analyzed as networks. The main focus of this talk is a presentation of a network analysis, based on a semantic network constructed on Japanese temporal and spatial lexical items. The network is based on the results of a free word association experiment conducted in Tokyo in 2015. Due to the nature of the material, the network is highly clustered and has a relatively short average path length; in other words, it is a good example of a small world network. As the general framework of GNT, along with some practical information on how to build and analyze a network in R or Gephi will also be presented, the contents of this talk are also relevant to analyses of any system with coupled elements.
 
 
Lecture 3c: Crowdsourcing for GLAM and Research ProjectsVictoria Van Hyning, (Faculty of English, University of Oxford)

This talk will give a brief introduction to crowdsourcing and outline how it might be used in GLAM and academic research. It will then focus on Zooniverse.org, the world leading academic crowdsourcing platform. Victoria will present a few examples of Zooniverse projects in the sciences and humanities, ranging from galaxy formation to penguin ecology, to full-text manuscript transcription projects created in partnership with Tate museums and archives, and the Folger Shakespeare library in Washington, D.C. This talk will present a few hypotheses and working principles about how to build projects to handle difficult material, such as early modern manuscripts and ancient Greek papyri, and suggest ways in which scholars can engage the public in order to further their own research. Zooniverse hosts a free open platform where you can build your own project. The talk will include a brief demo of the project builder. The project builder will be of particular interest to researchers with limited funding or who would like to use crowdsourcing in a teaching or small research team environment or just to experiment. 

 

Friday

Closing Keynote: Open Access and Digital Humanities – Opening up to the WorldIsabel Galina, (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)

For over a decade now Open Access (OA) has fundamentally changed the way scholarly publishing works.  In the Digital Humanities (DH) the development of new types of scholarly publications in the form of digital projects presents an interesting scenario for the continuation of the OA movement.  In this talk I will discuss how DH projects disrupt traditional scholarly communication and publishing systems, focusing on the role of authors, editors, publishers and libraries and how as digital humanists we contribute to shaping these new systems through the various roles we assume in DH project development.  Additionally, I will discuss how these new DH publishing models may also serve to increase geographical and linguistic diversity in our field. Currently research and researchers from peripheral countries are sorely underrepresented in international scholarly publishing. Viewing DH as a transformative motor in academia gives us the opportunity to propose new models that adequately incorporate digital scholarly output on a global scale and increase the visibility of countries on the periphery little favoured by the traditional scholarly publishing model.