Upcoming talks and travel

Trinity lecture poster

Trinity lecture poster

I’m concentrating on finishing my PhD, so I’m not saying yes to things until June 2015. In the meantime, my edited volume on ‘Crowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage’ for Ashgate, featuring chapters from some of the most amazing people working in the field has just been published (October 2014). (I know I’m biased, but seriously.) For a limited time, you can read my introduction on Ashgate’s website: Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage: Introduction.

From September – December 2014 I’m based at Trinity College Dublin for a CENDARI Visiting Research Fellowship. If you might be in Dublin over that time, let me know!

In October I gave a paper asking Where is the revolution in citizen history? The place of crowdsourcing in public history at the Public History in a Digital World: The Revolution Reconsidered conference in Amsterdam, ran a workshop on visualising collections at the Geffrye Museum and presented in an online seminar on ‘Crowdsourcing 101: Fundamentals and Case Studies’. In November I’m giving a paper on Citizen History and its discontents for the IHR Digital History seminar series, launching my book, Crowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage at UCL then keynoting at New Zealand’s National Digital Forum (talking about the Participatory Commons), and I’ll also be in London for the Museums Computer Group’s UKMW14: Museums Beyond the Web. In December I’m presenting on ‘Linking lived experiences of the First World War: a pilot with WWI collections‘ at the Trinity College Long Room Hub. In January I return to my PhD for the last few months of writing-up. After the thesis, I’ve got some workshops and travel for talks already booked in for March and May 2015, but I’ll also be available for freelance or permanent work around mid-2015.

Some recent papers

I’ve stopped updating this while I finish my thesis, but…

In August 2014 I taught ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’ with Ben Brumfield at the HILT Summer School (Humanities Intensive Learning + Teaching) at MITH in Maryland. In July I presented “Lightweight usability testing for digital humanities projects (AKA, ‘testing doesn’t have to be taxing’)” in the Introduction to Digital Humanities strand of the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School 2014 then I went to Lausanne to present ‘Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic’ at Digital Humanities 2014 with fellow alumni of 2013’s One Week One Tool. In April 2014 I was a keynote speaker at the 3rd international Sharing is Caring seminar, in May I was in Bristol for the Museums Computer Group’s Museums Get Mobile and in Boston for THATCamp NE.

Here’s a summary of talks, fellowships, writing, etc in 2013, 2012 and 2011. You can also follow me on twitter (@mia_out) for updates.

Previous papers are generally listed at miaridge.com or on my blog, Open Objects.

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Lecture: ‘A pilot with public participation in historical research: linking lived experiences of the First World War’, Trinity College Dublin

Trinity lecture poster

Trinity lecture poster

As part of my Visiting Research Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room Hub I gave a lecture on ‘A pilot with public participation in historical research: linking lived experiences of the First World War‘.

The abstract and podcast are below, and there’s further information about my CENDARI Fellowship here.

Abstract: The centenary of World War One and the digitisation of records from a range of museums, libraries and archives has inspired many members of the public to research the lives of WWI soldiers. But it is not always easy to find or interpret military records. What was it like to be in a particular battalion or regiment at a particular time. Can a ‘collaborative collection’ help provide context for individual soldiers’ experience of the war by linking personal diaries, letters and memoirs to places, people and events? What kinds of digital infrastructure are needed to support research on soldiers in the Great War? This lecture explores the potential for collaborating with members of the general public and academic or amateur historians to transcribe and link disparate online collections of World War One material. What are the challenges and opportunities for participatory digital history?

Thursday, 04 December 2014 | 13:00 | Trinity Long Room Hub

A lecture by Visiting Research Fellow at the Trinity Long Room Hub, Mia Ridge (The Open University). Mia is a Transnational Access fellow, funded by the CENDARI project (Collaborative European Digital Archive Infrastructure).

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Keynote: ‘Collaborative collections through a participatory commons’, 2014 National Digital Forum conference

I was delighted to be invited to present at New Zealand’s 2014 National Digital Forum conference in Wellington. I was asked to speak on my work on the ‘participatory commons’. As a focus for explaining the need for a participatory commons, I asked, ‘What could we create if museums, libraries and archives pooled their collections and invited specialists and enthusiasts to help link and enhance their records?’.

As a conceptual framework rather than a literal technical architecture, every bit of clearly licensed content with (ideally) structured data published around it makes a contribution to ‘the commons’. In my keynote I explored some reasons why building tightly-focused projects on top of that content can help motivate participation in crowdsourcing and citizen history, and some reasons why it’s still hard (hint: it needs great content supported by relevant structured data), using my TCD/CENDARI research project on ‘lived experiences of World War One‘ as an example.

The video is now online.

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Seminar: ‘Citizen History and its discontents’, Institute of Historical Research Digital History seminar

I was invited to give a talk on my work in the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) Seminar in Digital History series.  I talked about ‘Citizen History and its discontents':

‘An increasing number of crowdsourcing projects are making claims about ‘citizen history’ – but are they really helping people become historians, or are they overstating their contribution? Can citizen history projects succeed without communities of experts and peers to nurture sparks of historical curiosity and support novice historians in learning the skills of the discipline? Through a series of case studies this paper offers a critical examination of claims around citizen history.’

The video and slides are linked from the IHR Seminar in Digital History site.

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Seminar: ‘Crowdsourcing 101: Fundamentals and Case Studies’

The Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives (CCLA) organised an online seminar on Crowdsourcing 101: Fundamentals and Case Studies. I was invited to present an overview of ‘fundamentals’ in crowdsourcing in cultural heritage, including examples of successful projects, typical data input and output types, common tasks, and ways to think motivations for participation and levels of engagement. From the OCLC’s page:

This webinar will explore crowdsourcing techniques used increasingly by organizations and institutions seeking to gather vast amounts of new knowledge and participation from online contributors.

Crowdsourcing techniques are increasingly being utilized by organizations and institutions—including libraries and museums—seeking to gather vast amounts of new knowledge and participation from online contributors. In this fast-paced hour-long introduction, you’ll get a handle on “Crowdsourcing Fundamentals” from leading voice in the field Mia Ridge, along with first-person accounts from two exemplar crowdsourcing projects (NYPL, Zooniverse). Learn the basics about implementing crowdsourcing techniques, securing funding, engaging users, and assessing the quality of crowdsourced data, as well as the advantages and challenges of utilizing crowdsourcing.

This webinar is part of the newly formed Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives (CCLA). Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the goal of CCLA is to forge national/international partnerships to advance the use of crowdsourcing technologies, tools, user experiences, and platforms to help libraries, museums, archives, and more.’

Slides, video and chat notes are available on the OCLC’s page.

If you found this post useful, you might be interested in my book, Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage.

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Conference paper: Where is the revolution in citizen history? The place of crowdsourcing in public history

I gave a paper asking ‘Where is the revolution in citizen history? The place of crowdsourcing in public history’ at the IFPH-FIHP International Conference ‘Public History in a Digital World: The Revolution Reconsidered’, in Amsterdam 23-25 October 2014 #IFPH2014.

My paper was based on my PhD research so I won’t share my notes until after I’ve submitted my thesis, but here’s my proposal:

When the term ‘citizen history’ was used in a 2011 blog post about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Children of the Lodz Ghetto project, which asked members of the public to investigate specific tightly defined research questions,[1] it seemed to herald a new participatory movement in public history. Citizen history is the use of digital platforms to distribute, coordinate and validate contributions by members of the public to historic research projects. The complexity of the task and the level of public involvement ranges from simple contributions through crowdsourced observation, transcription or categorisation tasks to independent research on set questions, or even co-defining the research question in co-created projects.[2] Through this active engagement with historical material, some crowdsourcing contributors become citizen historians as they develop an interest in researching the histories of the individuals, events or places they have encountered during participatory tasks.

But despite the promise of crowdsourcing as a form of active engagement with history, this potential revolution in public history may have stalled. Non-heritage sector organisations like Ancestry and FamilySearch are working with museums, archives and libraries to digitise and transcribe records relevant to family historians, and most of the major citizen history projects are based on software created for scientific crowdsourcing, while public history projects seem to follow traditional broadcast and exhibition-based models.

Based on a critical analysis of existing history crowdsourcing and participatory public history projects, this short paper will ask why public history projects are not actively engaging the public in making history.

 

If you found this post useful, you might be interested in my book, Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage.

[1] Elissa Frankle, “More Crowdsourced Scholarship: Citizen History,” Center for the Future of Museums, July 28, 2011,http://futureofmuseums.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-crowdsourced-scholarship-citizen.html

[2] Bonney, Rick, Heidi Ballard, Rebecca Jordan, Ellen McCallie, Tina Phillips, Jenifer Shirk, and Candie C. Wilderman. Public Participation in Scientific Research: Defining the Field and Assessing Its Potential for Informal Science Education. A CAISE Inquiry Group Report. Washington D.C.: Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), July 2009. http://caise.insci.org/uploads/docs/PPSR%20report%20FINAL.pdf.

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Workshop: Visualising Collections, Geffrye Museum

Ananda Rutherford organised a workshop for the Documenting Homes project at the Geffrye Museum, which  is researching visualisation models for presenting the archive and other collections information across digital platforms. The workshop is a chance to explore the role of visualisations in organising, interrogating and interpreting collections in context and to develop critical and planning skills for designing visualisations. It will include guided exercises for turning data in a spreadsheet into simple visualisations and an optional hour for trying out visualisation tools with your own data.

Contact me for the workshop slides and datasets. The exercises are below.

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HILT Summer School: ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’

In August 2014 I taught ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’ with Ben Brumfield at HILT (Humanities Intensive Learning + Teaching) at MITH in Maryland. Thanks to all the participants for making it such a great workshop!

The Course Syllabus and Slide Decks are available for download

If you found this post useful, you might be interested in my book, Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage.

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Conference paper: Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic

The abstract for our Digital Humanities 2014 conference paper is below. Scott’s posted his notes from the first part, my notes for the middle part How did ‘play’ shape the design and experience of creating Serendip-o-matic? are on Open Objects and Brian’s are to follow.

Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic

Amy Papaelias, State University of New York at New Paltz

Brian Croxall, Emory University

Mia Ridge, The Open University

Scott Kleinman, California State University, Northridge

Summary

Who says scholarship can’t be playful? Serendip-o-matic is a “serendipity Feeding the machine animated gifengine” that was created in less than a week by twelve digital humanities scholars, developers, and librarians. Designed to replicate the surprising experience of discovering an unexpected source while browsing library stacks or working in an archive, the visual and algorithmic design of Serendip-o-matic emphasizes playfulness. And since the tool was built by a group of people who were embarking on a difficult task but weren’t yet sure of one another’s names, the process of building Serendip-o-matic was also rather playful, encouraging participants to take risks, make mistakes, and learn something new. In this presentation, we report on how play shaped the creation, design, and marketing of Serendip-o-matic. We conclude by arguing for the benefits of more playful work in academic research and scholarship, as well as considering how such “play” can be evaluated in an academic context.

 

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CENDARI Visiting Research Fellowship: ‘Bridging collections with a participatory Commons: a pilot with World War One archives’

I’ve been awarded a CENDARI Visiting Research Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin for a project called ‘Bridging collections with a participatory Commons: a pilot with World War One archives’. Here’s Trinity’s page about my Fellowship, which runs until mid-December. I’ve decided to be brave and share my thoughts and actions throughout the process, so I thought I’d start as I mean to go on and post my proposal (1500 words, below). CENDARI is a ‘research infrastructure project aimed at integrating digital archives for the medieval and World War One eras’ which ‘aims to leverage innovative technologies to provide historians with the tools by which to contextualise, customise and share their research’ (source) so this research fellowship very neatly complements my PhD research.

You can contact me by leaving a comment below, or via my contact page. If you’d like to follow my progress, you can sign up for (very infrequent) updates at MailChimp: http://eepurl.com/VUXEL or keep an eye out for posts tagged ‘CENDARI Fellowship’ on my blog, Open Objects.

Updates so far:

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Keynote ‘Enriching cultural heritage collections through a Participatory Commons’ at Sharing is Caring

Photo of glider plane against blue sky

Image: Library of Congress

I was invited to Copenhagen to talk about my research on crowdsourcing in cultural heritage at the 3rd international Sharing is Caring seminar on April 1. I’ve posted my notes on Open Objects: Enriching cultural heritage collections through a Participatory Commons platform: a provocation about collaborating with users.

Much of this comes from my PhD research and my previous work in museums, and I’m grateful to everyone who’s commented in person or on twitter so far, particularly as it helps me understand the best ways to explain the Participatory Commons and the research underlying it for different audiences.

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