2015: an overview

An incomplete list of publications, papers, etc. from 2015.

In December 2015 I was in Glasgow and Berlin to talk about crowdsourcing in history and cultural heritage. I was also invited to give a lecture on ‘Digital History’ for Digital Humanities @ Universität Bern and gave an Introduction to Information Visualisation for the CHASE doctoral training programme.

On October 26 I was at the British Museum for the Museums Computer Group’s annual conference and gave a talk on ‘Crowdsourcing, scholarship and the academy’ for the School of Advanced Studies in London, and another on Choosy crowds and the machine age: challenges for the future of humanities crowdsourcing, KCL. I also started working as a Digital Curator with the British Library.

In early September I was in Estonia for the ‘Community Involvement in Theme Museums‘ conference (2nd – 3rd) and then at Kings College London on ‘Choosy crowds and the machine age: challenges for the future of humanities crowdsourcing‘ for Citizen Humanities Comes of Age: Crowdsourcing for the Humanities in the 21st Century (9th – 10th).

Over the summer I worked on the Hidden Museum Project with the Oxford University Museums, testing QR codes, beacons and other methods for delivering different kinds of content on mobile devices in the Museum of the History of Science, the Museum of Natural History and the Ashmolean. Ben Brumfield and I consulted and wrote for the Wellcome Library on the Wellcome Library Transcribing Recipes crowdsourcing project.

In July I spoke on ‘Open Data: Trends and Practice within Cultural Heritage. AKA, the good, the bad, and the unstructured…’ at Pelagios: Linked Pasts and on ‘Let Your Projects Shine: Lightweight Usability Testing for Digital Humanities Projects’ at Oxford’s Digital Humanities Summer School.

In the last week of July I taught ‘Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage’ with Ben Brumfield at the HILT Summer School (Humanities Intensive Learning + Teaching) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Indianapolis, Indiana.

In late June/early July, I was in Sydney for Digital Humanities 2015, gave a half-day workshop on Linking humanities data geospatially with Pelagios and Recogito with Leif Isaksen, and presented a paper (‘Small ontologies, loosely joined’: linked open data for the First World War) in a panel on Linked Open Data and the First World War at Digital Humanities 2015 (based on my experiences as a Fellow at Trinity College Dublin working on histories of World War One with the CENDARI project).

In June 2015 I submitted my thesis (!), presented at Connected Life in Oxford and taught a workshop on Information Visualisation for CHASE Arts and Humanities in the Digital Age.

In May 2015 I gave a keynote on Crowdsourcing our cultural heritage at Nordiske Arkivdage 2015 in Copenhagen and taught a workshop on scholarly data visualisation at the University of St Andrews.

Exercises for CHASE’s Introduction to Information Visualisation

These exercises were prepared for the CHASE Arts and Humanities in the Digital Age event’s workshop on Information Visualisation but they’re also useful for people who want to learn more about data visualisations in cultural heritage and the humanities.

Exercise 1: compare simple text tools

Time: c. 5 minutes.

Goal: compare the ability of two different tools to help you understand a new text corpus

1.     Load the word cloud site

2.     Then, grab some text:

  • Open another browser tab
  • Go to http://pastebin.com/Nd0a86tm
  • Select and copy the 8 lines of text. The easiest way is to click into the box under ‘RAW Paste Data’
  • Paste them into the text box on the Wordle site and hit ‘go’
  • You can customise your visualisation using the menu. Which options create a more informative visualisation?

3.     Load the word tree site

  • Go to http://www.jasondavies.com/wordtree/
  • Paste the text into the ‘Paste Text’ box and hit ‘Generate WordTree!’ (Grab the text again from Step 2 if necessary)
  • You can click on words on the screen – which words produce the most options?

4.     Discuss

Bearing in mind that this is an unusual corpus, which tool gave you a better sense of its content? Why?

Are these tools better for exploring or explaining data? Why?

If tidying up the data provided – removing punctuation, making spelling consistent, etc – would improve the visualisation, then try editing the text and re-running the visualisation. Did it help? What else could you do?

Exercise 2: exploring scholarly data visualisations

Time: c. 10-15 minutes.

Goal: get hands-on experience and practice critical analysis.

Pair up with your neighbour to explore and discuss one of the visualisations listed on the following page.

Instructions

  1. In your browser, go to one of the sites below
  2. Take a few minutes to explore the visualisation
  3. Then discuss with your neighbour:
    • What do you think is being presented here?
    • Can you easily see where to start and how to use it?
    • What stories or trends can you start to see?
    • Does it work better at one scale over another?
    • Do you find it more effective at aggregate or detail level?
    • Does it present an argument or provide a space for you to explore and develop one?
    • What arguments (statements about the data) does the site present?
    • What have you learned from visualisation that you might not have learned from looking at the data or reading a description of it?
  4. Be prepared to report back to the group. e.g. summarise the site’s purpose, visualisation formats and data types, or share unresolved questions or the most interesting parts of your discussion


University of Richmond, ‘Visualizing Emancipation’

http://www.americanpast.org/emancipation/

Further information: http://dirt.terrypbrock.com/2012/04/visualizing-emancipation-examining-its-process-through-digital-tools/

Stanford ‘Mapping the Republic of Letters’

http://www.stanford.edu/group/toolingup/rplviz/rplviz.swf

Further information: http://openglam.org/2012/03/21/mapping-the-republic-of-letters/, http://danbri.org/words/2010/11/22/603

Locating London’s Past

http://www.locatinglondon.org/

GAPVis Ancient Places

http://gap.alexandriaarchive.org/gapvis/index.html#index

Further information: http://googleancientplaces.wordpress.com/

Digital Harlem :: Everyday Life 1915-1930

http://digitalharlem.org/

Further information: http://digitalharlemblog.wordpress.com/ http://writinghistory.trincoll.edu/evidence/robertson-2012-spring/

Digital Public Library of America’s timeline, map, bookshelf

http://dp.la/

Further information: http://dp.la/info/ and http://dp.la/info/news/blog/

Orbis

http://orbis.stanford.edu/

Further information: http://hestia.open.ac.uk/updating-orbis/

Lost Change

http://tracemedia.co.uk/lostchange/

Further information: http://blog.britishmuseum.org/2014/02/19/lost-change-mapping-coins-from-the-portable-antiquities-scheme/

The State of the Union in Context

http://benschmidt.org/poli/2015-SOTU

Further exercises

Learn more: explore and analyse more visualisations

Sketch out ideas for a visualisation

  • Work out what data you need and the best way to prepare and present it. http://www.dear-data.com has some lovely examples of creative sketches.

Create your own visualisations

These sites can be used with your own or public data:

If you have sensitive data you must check whether any data you load will be made public.

Talk: Designing Successful Heritage Crowdsourcing Projects, Berlin

I was invited to Berlin to give a public lecture on ‘Designing Heritage Crowdsourcing Projects’ at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institute of the Free University of Berlin on 7 December 2015.

Abstract: Based on a review of the most successful international crowdsourcing projects, this talk will look at the attributes of successful crowdsourcing projects in cultural heritage, including interface and interaction design, participation in community discussion, and understanding participant motivations.

Report: Wellcome Library Transcribing Recipes crowdsourcing project

A report that Ben Brumfield and I wrote for Wellcome Library about possible solutions for a culinary and medical recipes crowdsourced transcription project. It was finalised in September, and in the way of things marks a particular moment in time as well as a specific context. The report is available at http://www.slideshare.net/Wellcome/wellcome-library-transcribing-recipes-report
Christy Henshaw, who commissioned the report, has kindly made it available online for reference by other organisations. Her blurb is below:
The Wellcome Library, in considering a project to digitise and transcribe recipe manuscripts using crowdsourcing technologies, commissioned this report from Ben Brumfield and Mia Ridge in Summer 2015. The report addresses issues specific to this project, and to the Wellcome Library’s digital infrastructure.

 

Talk and workshop: Crowdsourcing in the Cultural Sector: approaches, challenges and issues, Glasgow

Slides for the Crowd-sourcing, Co-creation and Co-curation in the Cultural Sector workshop by the Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation

I was also invited to run a workshop on the basics of crowdsourcing in cultural heritage for a Knowledge Exchange Event, jointly organised by the Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation and the Museums Galleries Scotland Digital Transformation Network. Aimed at cultural heritage professionals, it was a hands-on exploration and exchange of different approaches to crowd-sourcing and co-creation.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum!