Resource: ScanTent device and DocScan mobile app – Preserving our cultural heritage with a smartphone
About the resource:
The READ project is a big proponent of digitisation on demand using smartphones.
A typical mobile phone camera can capture relatively high-quality images of historical documents, which can then be used for preservation, research and even as training data for Automated Text Recognition using our Transkribus platform.
The Computer Vision Lab at the Technical University of Vienna (one of the READ project partners) have created the ScanTent device and the DocScan mobile app to make it easier for people to digitise documents in this way.
From the CFP:
This is the full Call for Contributions for the 16th International Conference on Digital Preservation, iPRES 2019. Deadline for all submissions is 18 March 2019. All submissions and presentations should be in English.
The theme for iPRES 2019 – Eye on the Horizon– aims to broaden the voices and approaches participating in the conference. In keeping with the theme, we will embrace creative proposals that demonstrate how research and theory directly impact and influence practice at all levels. iPRES brings together a wide range of practitioners, researchers, educators, providers, students, and others to share lessons learned from engaging in digital preservation, including recent practice, research, developments, and innovations.
About the funding:
Want to learn more about digital humanities skills, methods, and inquiry? The Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria has a tradition of transformative training.
The University of Virginia, as a sponsoring institution of DHSI, provides 5 tuition-free fellowships to attend a Digital Humanities Summer Institute course or workshop during the summer of 2019. Students, staff, non-TT faculty, and those without access to research travel funds are especially encouraged to apply.
The fellowships entirely cover the cost of course tuition for one course, using a code at the time of registration (rather than reimbursement afterward). These fellowships do not cover travel (to Victoria, B.C.), meals, or lodging, so applicants should be prepared to fund these out of pocket or by locating additional funding sources on your own.
From the ad:
The Library of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) at New York University seeks an Assistant Research Scholar to help develop, implement, and extend its digital projects and to participate in the scholarly life of the ISAW community. A key component of the ISAW Library’s mission is to provide access to and support for new and innovative forms of digital scholarship, scholarly communication, and pedagogy in the ancient studies. The Assistant Research Scholar will help the ISAW Library fulfill this charge by collaborating with a diverse group of academic professionals at ISAW and the NYU Division of Libraries on projects related to all or some of the following: digital libraries (e.g., the Ancient World Digital Library and Ancient World Image Bank); linked-data bibliography; digital publication; mapping projects (e.g., Pleiades); archaeological databases; digital preservation and repository projects for ancient studies scholarship; and instruction in a variety of digital tools and techniques, with the aim of helping ISAW faculty, students, and visiting research scholars take full advantage of emerging digital resources and techniques in their research and teaching. The Assistant Research Scholar will be expected to develop or pursue an independent research agenda in any area of ancient studies and library or information studies or the digital humanities. As a member of the ISAW Library team, the Assistant Research Scholar will also have core responsibilities in library operations, bibliographic and grant research, public services, and special projects associated with ISAW’s print collection and public programming.
From the report:
…One could argue that the Internet provides a similarly serendipitous space. Not only has the web changed the ways in which we, as researchers and as teachers, interact with each other and with the general public, but it also reshaped the concept of academic presence altogether. Through social media, academic social networking sites (ASNS), and blogging and micro-blogging platforms, that space has now become less ephemeral and more democratic – think, for example, of the considerably lower (financial, physical, and cultural) barriers to access its resources, compared to an academic conference.
From the CFP:
#Right2Left at #DHSI2019 is interested in exploring challenges, opportunities, and implications that are distinctive to digital work in languages written from right to left such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Syriac. We are soliciting proposals for a half-day workshop to take place on 8 June 2019, between the first and second week of DHSI.
Topics for exploration might include:
- multi-directional texts
- digital methods and RTL scripts
- RTL workarounds
- pre-Unicode histories of RTL digital environments
- LTR transliteration/approximation of RTL languages
- digital literacies in RTL environments
- minimal RTL computing
- digital pedagogy for RTL languages
- RTL TEI XML
- localisation for RTL cultures
- rethinking DH for RTL languages
- RTL digital cultures and the humanities
- RTL digitality for research and pedagogy in the social sciences
- RTL digital cultures and public users’ behaviour
From the CFP:
The Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) is excited to announce that its 49th Conference to be held from June 2-9, 2019, on the happy island of Aruba, will focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which are the framework of the UN 2030 agenda. Our conference theme is: Access and opportunity for all: Caribbean Libraries, Archives and Museums Supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In September 2015 the member states of the United Nations (UN) adopted “Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development which includes Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spanning economic, environmental and social development. Caribbean librarians and other information professionals contribute to improved outcomes across the SDGs by promoting universal literacy, closing gaps in access to information, advancing digital inclusion, serving as the heart of the research and academic community and preserving and providing access to the world’s culture and heritage.”
From the ad:
Think of all the things you learned in elementary school: How to read. How to write. How to count. How to do add, subtract, multiply, and divide. These are all learned skills, things that we are not innately born knowing how to do.
Just like these, reading graphs is a skill. We might be taught how to read line, bar, and pie charts in elementary school because they have been around longer than others and are used the most. But there is a wide array of graph types outside of these standard types that we can use to visualize data. In the right context—with the right content—some of these graphs are inherently better than standard graphs while other times they enable us see patterns and relationships that might not be as apparent in standard forms. I’m a big believer in helping people better understand how to read all kinds of graphs—the concept of a ‘graphic literacy’ that is a learned skill like any other…
Last week, I was offered the opportunity to work with my youngest workshop attendees when I visited my son’s 4th-grade classroom… This year, I focused on data visualization and tried to educate and entertain them at the same time.
I approached the class with three goals in mind: First, I wanted to show them different graphs. Second, I wanted them to do something. And third, I wanted them to have fun. Here’s how I approached the day, followed by some reflections.
About the resource:
A comprehensive database tracking more than 2,000 of the earliest surviving music compositions using ‘canonic’ techniques has been developed by a team of Australian university researchers.
Music teachers, students, performers, composers and music lovers can browse the online database to find these earliest examples of multipart music using techniques of pervasive melodic imitation – that is, where the same melody or its transformation occurs successively or even simultaneously in different parts – from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.
“These 200 years saw an unprecedented period of musical innovation,” University of New England (UNE) music historian Dr Jason Stoessel said.
“Typically people associate canon with later composers like Bach or Pachelbel. Yet all techniques for composing canons arose and flourished in this earlier period of music.”
From the CFP:
Informed Experiences, Designing Consent is a symposium interrogating the intersections of consent and the design of interactive media and technologies. The symposium is hosted at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions and the HASTAC Scholars fellowship program on April 6, 2019. It is organized by Michael Anthony DeAnda, Elisabeth Hildt, Kelly Laas, and Leilasadat Mirghaderi.
Informed Experiences, Designing Consent is a one-day event intended to bring together researchers, scholars, practitioners, and designers to consider the implications of theoretical, social, and material aspects of consent and design. Some examples of topics include: consent to participate in social media, user agreement, consent in gaming, informed consent to data collection and use, consent in digital humanities research. This workshop will consider ethical approaches to each of these respective fields of study and development. This event emphasizes theory and practice, structured on an iterative process of Learn, Make, Reflect. Here, participants will begin by listening to a panel on the topic of consent and design, then move to a group maker breakout session to design based off key concepts from the panel and return together to reflect on the process.
From the report:
In October 2018, I participated in the WMQ-UCI Digital Research in Early America workshop hosted by Sharon Block and Josh Piker at University of California-Irvine. This post aims to give those who weren’t able to attend an idea of the conversations and common themes of the new scholarship presented. Most broadly, the workshop was a productive forum to think about what we as historians are able to know about the past and how we work around those limits, digitally or traditionally.
Many of the projects featured at the two-day event examine well-known archival materials in new ways to interrogate their limits and their potentials, and examine archival silences in historiographically significant ways.
From the report:
The following list was compiled out of the Symposium for Indigenous New Media (#SINM18), which was held as part of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) in June, 2018. We welcome your feedback and suggestions in the comments below.
- Be a good relation
- building meaningful relationships with community and individuals.
- It requires time and emotional labour that needs to be recognized by department heads and tenure committees
- Reaching out, being in touch, giving people the opportunity to comment on drafts and final reports.
- People over tools: it means letting a project go often times it means rethinking your research schedule—no matter how mind-blowing and useful the tool you have designed might be.
The 19th century saw something of an explosion in periodicals. For example, the number of newspapers in Britain alone leapt from 550 in 1846 to more than 2,400 just 60 years later. For humanities scholars, tracking information in such a huge mass of publications poses a daunting challenge.
Digital humanities efforts have made some headway in creating tools that allow scholars to search across all of that text. But the challenge becomes significantly more complex when trying to make sense of the thousands of images also found in newspapers of the period.
This is where Paul Fyfe and Qian Ge come in. Fyfe is an associate professor of English at NC State, where Qian Ge is a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering. Together, they have done some exploratory work on how computer vision might be used in the context of analyzing 19th century newspapers.
A paper describing their findings, “Image Analytics and the Nineteenth-Century Illustrated Newspaper,” was published in October in the Journal of Cultural Analytics.
We recently had the chance to pick Fyfe’s brain to learn more about what this unlikely duo learned while attempting to analyze more than 140,000 images from three period newspapers.
The Abstract: What research questions or challenges were you setting out to address with this project?
Paul Fyfe: Our first question was pretty simple: could you even use computer vision approaches to analyze these historical materials? As we discovered, many image analytics tools are intended for photographs. This makes sense, as digital images have proliferated. But the majority of our materials are not photographs. They are engravings made from carved lines and hatches. Can a computer recognize and sort this stuff? And if so, how?
On its release in 2004, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography was called “the greatest book ever” and “a more enthralling read than all the novels ever entered for the Booker Prize put together.”The tabloid The Daily Mail, where these giddy pronouncements appeared, is not known for understatement, but more cautious academic researchers have long held the ODNB in similarly high esteem. Stefan Collini, writing in the London Review of Books, found himself “experiencing a rare, and wholly unironic, feeling that mixes pride and humility with a dash of wonder” when he considered “generations to come making use of this vast consolidation of scholarly accuracy for purposes of their own which may be barely imaginable to us now.” Taking into account both the hardbound version and what most assume is its digital doppelgänger at oxforddnb.com, Noel Malcolm in The Sunday Telegraph called the ODNB “an astonishing piece of work: a colossal, beautiful, fully functional and utterly user-friendly engine of enlightenment.” Reviewers’ initial responses—awe and astonishment—have, until recently, arguably been the responses most appropriate to the ODNB considered in its entirety. The enormous scope of ODNB, which is the work of roughly 10,000 scholars, runs to 60 volumes in print, and is made up of more than 62 million words, quickly defeats the capacities of even those most eager to praise it.
Awe and astonishment have been the most reasonable scholarly responses to the ODNB, that is, until the new possibilities afforded by several key fields that, in combination, form a critical engine suitable for this “engine of enlightenment.” In what follows, I combine insights from information history, digital history, sociology of knowledge, media archeology, history of archives, distant reading, and data visualization to gain further purchase on the ODNB. These fields—which for shorthand I’ll call “digital humanities”—mitigate some of the challenges of studying the ODNB as such. As another early reviewer complained, “If you were to read one life in the new DNB every day you would take 137 years to finish it. So reviewing it is like exploring a continent by rowing boat.” However, the reasons to dedicate critical and computational power to study the ODNB in this way are not limited to the slightly imperialist-sounding work of “exploring a continent.” As former ODNB Senior Research and Publication editor Philip Carter has argued, we now have “the ability to use national biographies both as written collections and as data to make connections and trace patterns that could not be identified without the existence of collective biography in digital form.” Some historical trends and latent ideologies, in other words, only become visible by reading historiography at scale.
From the CFP:
We seek manuscripts that include a novel analysis of data and meaningfully engage with theory on marginalization. We follow Linabary and Corple’s (2018) call to “study up” – start research from the lived experience of such groups for understanding. “Meaningful engagement” includes (but is not limited to): emphasizing the links between marginalization theory and communication research; testing the validity of communication theory not typically applied to marginalized populations; proposing new theoretical constructs that are relevant to marginalization in digital communication; and/or recognizing the need for theoretically interdisciplinary approaches to marginalization in communication. We also welcome manuscripts that engage with methodological approaches to marginality and social media (e.g., Brock, 2016; Linabary and Corple, 2018), as these are important building blocks for successful and ethical research.
From the resource:
In the mapping workshops that we offer, a recurrent question refers to where to get the data. Every time students attend one of these workshops, all the datasets are given to them, so it is understandable that many might wonder where the instructors get this information from. This is what inspired us to develop a new workshop this semester, Finding Data for Mapping: Tips and Tricks. But since not everyone could be present for the workshop on October 3, I’m taking the opportunity now to share a few of the tips and tricks we discussed to find data to make maps for your academic or pedagogic work. In a way, this will be a “prequel” (since they’re so popular nowadays) and a complement to the Intro to Mapping using QGIS post of a few years back.
From the ad:
The Data Science Institute (DSI) at Vanderbilt University invites applications for its first cohort of DSI postdoctoral fellows. Fellows will be expected to carry out an independent research program in collaboration with one or more faculty mentors who are affiliated with the DSI. Fellows will come from a diverse range of backgrounds and domains, but their work will generally fall into one of three categories: (1) foundational data science – i.e., the development of data science methods, (2) the application of data science to one or more fields in the physical, life and social sciences, engineering, or humanities (3) the study of the impact of data on society and its institutions. Fellows will be expected to interact with each other and with students, faculty and researchers affiliated with the DSI, and to contribute to the vibrant culture of the DSI.
“Learn from the Past, Organize the Future, Make Democracy Work.” This is the mission statement that greets visitors at the SNCC Digital Gateway—a wide-ranging, collaborative website that documents and animates the history of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Founded in April 1960 under the guidance of veteran activist Ella Baker, SNCC became a leading civil rights organization due to countless young organizers who engaged in voter registration, political education, and direct action. The SNCC Digital Gateway chronicles the rise of the organization, as well as its major protests, local leaders, and evolving ideological framework. The site offers an unparalleled look into SNCC’s ideological and organizational history and is a brilliant model of democratic, digital engagement.Learning from the Past
At its founding, SNCC organizers looked to previous leaders, organizers, and organizations to formulate their activist strategies. The Digital Gateway offers the opportunity for visitors to do the same by familiarizing guests with the people, places, and events that comprised SNCC. When guests visit the “People” section, they will learn more about the mentors, organizers, and administrators that helped create and sustain SNCC. The site creators foreground the work of well-known organizers such as Bernice Johnson Reagon, but they also detail the work of lesser-known activists like Annette Jones. Perhaps most impressive is the list of Freedom Summer Volunteers who took part in the historic 10-week program in 1964. Freedom Summer brought student volunteers to Mississippi to engage in widespread Black voter registration, develop freedom schools, and support political and civic literacy. The sheer number of names and organizations compiled attest to the enormity of the project and how young people fundamentally changed the definition and scope of democratic engagement in the late twentieth century.
Visitors can ideologically, visually, and audibly contextualize individual activists via the “Timeline” section of the site. In this section, site collaborators divided SNCC’s history into five periods in order to highlight the different organizational and ideological phases of the group. The timeline begins with “SNCC Origins and Founding,” which spans from 1943 to 1960. It then progresses through “Direct Action to Voter Registration” (1960-1962) to detail SNCC’s turn to Freedom Parties (1962-1965), and eventually, Black Power (1965-1969). The creators conclude the timeline with the “1968-Present” section. Here, the authors show how former SNCC workers still collaborate with the movement—most notably by endorsing the Movement for Black Lives platform in 2016.
In a previous post, we explored how using language models and the idea of “perplexity” can allow us to study stereotypes in movie character roles using their dialogue as a basis. We examined a corpus of 750 Hollywood films, released between 1970 and 2014, and tried to model assumptions from the research that people of colour are more often criminalized or depicted in criminal roles than white actors.
In this post, we want to discuss how entropy, and information theory, can also be a useful approach to this kind of research. It is a measure of how “surprising” an event is (i.e., how much “information” it carries), based on the probability of that event occurring – the less probable, the more surprising. In the previous post, we used a crime language model, built from crime TV shows, to approximate film character dialogue (not limited to any genre). A perplexity score, measuring how surprising the new dialogue was, told us how different the dialogue was from the model.
In coming up with potential models to explore the feature of the “criminality” of a role, we discovered a huge flaw in this kind of research: creating a model for stereotyping presupposes an existing stereotype that you, the researcher, have to define. In an effort to call attention to pigeonholing and tokenism, your own biases, however subconscious, will undoubtedly come forward.
One method to circumvent this is to get rid of a particular (and potentially subjective) language model and search for more general linguistic variability between groups. Forget any model or any expectation of how these groups would sound, and ask, how similar do the groups sound to each other?
So, we tried a new approach. Sticking with information theory and the idea of surprisal, we turned to Kullback-Leibler divergence (KLD), or relative entropy. Instead of building a model to which the dialogue will be compared, the dialogue of one group will serve as the the model to approximate the dialogue of another. KLD, then, is valuable because of the asymmetry it offers. Corpus A serves as the model for Corpus B, and we get a surprisal score, telling us how well Corpus B predicts the words that we find in Corpus A. Then we go the other way, seeing how well Corpus A predicts the words we find in Corpus B. These two directions will not necessarily yield the same result, because one corpus could be far more varied than the other, but include all of the same words that the other has.