Upcoming talks and travel

I’m concentrating on finishing my PhD in 2014, so I’m not giving many talks.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 will be published in October 2014. (I know I’m biased, but seriously.)

From September – December 2014 I’ll be based at Trinity College Dublin for a CENDARI Visiting Research Fellowship.

In October I’m giving a paper at the Public History in a Digital World: The Revolution Reconsidered conference in Amsterdam and running a workshop at the Geffrye Museum. In November I’m keynoting at New Zealand’s National Digital Forum (talking about the Participatory Commons). I’ll also be in London for the Museums Computer Group’s UKMW14: Museums Beyond the Web. 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 in 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 HILT (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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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: Continue reading

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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’. It starts in late September and runs for 12 weeks. 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 (which should be complete by then).

My motives in posting my proposal are partly selfish – it’s an ambitious project which requires tackling community building, user experience design, historical materials and programming, and I’ll be drawing on the expertise of many people, starting now! Specific questions I’d love help with are:

  • do you have any family or local records relating to World War One that you’d like to share through this project?
  • do you know of relevant personal records held by museums, libraries or archives that are either already digitised or could be digitised within my timeframe?
  • do you have suggestions for specific software applications or code libraries that would be useful for this project?
  • can you offer or help negotiate access to official records?
  • on a lighter note, who or what should I see, meet or do while I’m in Dublin?

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.

Trinity College Dublin Long Room Hub

Trinity College Dublin Long Room Hub

Bridging collections with a participatory Commons: a pilot with World War One archives

Research Questions

I propose a pilot project to test the potential for a ‘participatory Commons’ based on World War One collections. A participatory Commons aggregates collections from memory institutions – archives, libraries, museums – and ‘shoebox archives’ of diaries, letters, photos, etc from the public, and enhances those records with the help of the public and historians. ‘Crowdsourcing’, or asking the public to help with a larger project such as digitising documents by undertaking ‘micro-tasks’ such as transcribing small sections of text, is an increasingly common method for engaging the public in ‘citizen history’. Historians can also contribute by sharing the content or knowledge around the personal record collections they create while conducting archival research. The coming centenary of WWI will create huge levels of public interest, and participatory projects such as this are ideally situated to convert this interest into action, however small.

My project would create a prototype participatory Commons in which a combination of text mining, named entity recognition and crowdsourcing will be used to link official and unofficial WWI archival collections by matching names, dates, places and events in private diaries, letters, photos and ephemera with those recorded in official records.

Specific technical and historical research questions include:

  • What customisation does software for entity recognition require to recognise historic personal and place names?
  • What are the best interface and interaction design strategies for encouraging members of the public to transcribe, index and describe historic documents?
  • What logistical and intellectual issues arise for researchers using a participatory Commons?
  • Would outputs like maps, geospatial search and place name indexes help researchers discover content from unexpected sources and from archives in other languages?
  • What are the benefits of combining official accounts with the lived experiences of WWI as represented by personal diaries, photos and letters?

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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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VALA 2014 Keynote: Open Objects: ‘Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations’

In February 2014 I was invited to Melbourne to give a keynote on ‘GLAM making’ at VALA2014 (VALA – Libraries, Technology and the Future). I’ve shared my slides and a storify of tweets from my session at Open Objects: ‘Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations’ at VALA 2014.

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Guest post: ‘Digital myth’ for Museums Association site

I was asked to comment on the recent report, Digital Culture: How arts and cultural organisations in England use technology for the Museums Association website. My post, Digital myth: Museums need to explode the myth they are technologically backward is live on their site now.

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2013: an overview

A seriously incomplete retrospective of what I got up to in 2013… For PhD updates, check my PhD.

Highlights of the second half of 2013 included presenting at Speaking in Code at UVA’s Scholars’ Lab, organising the MCG’s Museums on the Web 2013 conference at Tate Modern with the Museums Computer Group, collaborating on ‘Let’s Get Real’ with Culture24, the publication of two peer-reviewed articles – From Tagging to Theorizing: Deepening Engagement with Cultural Heritage through Crowdsourcing for Curator Journal and Creating Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives through Design with Don Lafreniere and Scott Nesbit for the International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, based on our work at the Summer 2012 NEH Advanced Institute on Spatial Narrative and Deep Maps: Explorations in the Spatial Humanities – and last but absolutely not least, creating Serendip-o-matic with 12 other wonderful digital scholars at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media’s One Week | One Tool institute.)

In November 2013 I presented at Sustainable History: Ensuring today’s digital history survives and at the Herrenhausen Digital Humanities conference.

In July 2013 I chaired a session on Digital Transformations at the Open Culture 2013 conference in London on July 2, gave an invited lightning talk at the Digital Humanities Oxford Summer School 2013, ran a half-day workshop on Crowdsourcing at the Digital Humanities 2013 conference in Nebraska, and had an amazing time making what turned out to be Serendip-o-matic at One Week, One Tool in Virginia (my posts on the process).

In May 2013 I gave an online seminar on crowdsourcing (with a focus on how it might be used in teaching undergraduates wider skills) for the NITLE Shared Academics series. I gave a short paper on ‘Digital participation and public engagement’ at the London Museums Group‘s ‘Museums and Social Media’ at Tate Britain on May 24, and was in Belfast for the Museums Computer Group’s Spring meeting, ‘Engaging Visitors Through Play‘ on May 30 and then Venice for a quick keynote (with Helen Weinstein) for the We Curate kick-off seminar at the start of June. I also gave another full-day workshop on Crowdsourcing at the British Library.

In April 2013 I gave a paper on my PhD research at Digital Impacts: Crowdsourcing in the Arts and Humanities, and a keynote on ‘A Brief History of Open Cultural Data’ at GLAM-WIKI 2013 and did another workshop on ‘Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research‘ for the British Library’s Digital Scholarship Training Programme.

In March 2013 I was in the US for THATCamp Feminisms to do a workshop on Data visualisation as a gateway to programming and gave a paper on ‘New Challenges in Digital History: Sharing Women’s History on Wikipedia‘ at ‘Women’s History in the Digital World‘ at Bryn Mawr. My talk notes are posted on my blog as ‘New challenges in digital history: sharing women’s history on Wikipedia – my draft talk notes’.

In February 2013 I gave a keynote on ‘Crowd-sourcing as participation’ at iSay: Visitor-Generated Content in Heritage Institutions in Leicester and ran a workshop on ‘Data visualisation for humanities researchers’ with Dr. Elton Barker for the CHASE ‘Going Digital‘ doctoral training programme.

In January 2013 I taught all-day workshops on ‘Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research’ and ‘Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions’ for the British Library’s Digital Scholarship Training Programme.

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‘Creating a Digital History Commons through crowdsourcing and participant digitisation’ at Herrenhausen DH Conference

I was awarded a travel grant to attend the Herrenhausen Conference: “(Digital) Humanities Revisited – Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Age” in Hannover, Germany, over December 5-7, 2013. I’d like to thank the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung) for funding travel for 37 early career scholars and for the opportunity to present there.

My lightning talk notes, further information and references for ‘Peer production models for academic and amateur historians: challenges and opportunities’ are below. Obviously the full reference list for my PhD would be huge so below I’ve selected items that relate specifically to my poster and talk. PDF of my poster on ‘Creating a Digital History Commons through crowdsourcing and participant digitisation’.
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Talk: ‘Sustaining Collaboration from Afar’

Presentation on CHNM’s One Week One Tool project, Serendip-o-matic, at ‘Sustainable History: Ensuring today’s digital history survives’, Senate House, London, 28 November 2013.

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Workshop: Data Visualizations as an Introduction to Computational Thinking

I gave a half-day pre-conference workshop on ‘Data Visualizations as an Introduction to Computational Thinking’ for the University of Manchester.

From the event blurb:

Digital Humanities (DH) has grown rapidly in importance in recent years, as interest turns away from technology as an instrumental tool simply for resource discovery and access and towards the need to identify and solve new research challenges for the humanities. As one of the largest concentrations of humanities scholars in the UK, surrounded in turn by the enviable breadth of expertise provided by the University’s technologists and librarians, the University could be a fertile ground for Digital Humanities research.

On 7 November 2013, the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures will be hosting an afternoon workshop for University academics and post-graduates; the event is aimed at exploring the skills and literacies researchers might need as potential digital humanists. This informal, hands on event will provide an opportunity for academics, post-grads to start to ‘think like a programmer’ and learn some computational thinking. Participants will be introduced to new methodologies and tools, including those for manipulating and analysing data using visualization tools. No technological expertise in these areas, only a laptop, curiosity and a willingness to experiment.

Goals of session

  • Provide opportunity for academics, post-grads to start to ‘think like a programmer’ and learn some computational thinking
  • Learn and put into practice some skills for accessing, manipulating and analysing data using visualisation tools
  • Introduce new methodologies and tools
  • Demystify tools, think critically about what’s happening ‘under the hood’, understand the impact of tool choice and data structures
  • Enable dialogue with technologists about project design and tool choice
  • Think about the skills, literacies Digital Humanists need
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