Chapter: ‘The contributions of family and local historians to British history online’

Participatory Heritage, edited by Henriette Roued-Cunliffe and Andrea Copeland, has just been published by Facet.

My chapter is ‘The contributions of family and local historians to British history online‘. My abstract:

Community history projects across Britain have collected and created images, indexes and transcriptions of historical documents ranging from newspaper articles and photographs, to wills and biographical records. Based on analysis of community- and institutionally-led participatory history sites, and interviews with family and local historians, this chapter discusses common models for projects in which community historians cooperated to create digital resources. For decades, family and local historians have organised or contributed to projects to collect, digitise and publish historical sources about British history. What drives amateur historians to voluntarily spend their time digitising cultural heritage? How do they cooperatively or collaboratively create resources? And what challenges do they face?

Mia Ridge is a Digital Curator in the British Library’s Digital Scholarship team. She has a PhD in digital humanities (2015, Department of History, Open University) entitled Making Digital History: the impact of digitality on public participation and scholarly practices in historical research. Previously, she conducted human-computer interaction-based research on crowdsourcing in cultural heritage.

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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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Workshop: Data visualisation as a gateway to programming

I was invited to run a workshop at THATCamp Feminisms West at Scripps College in Claremont, California, and thought ‘Data visualisations as gateway to programming’ would be a good way to provide a gentle introduction to ‘computational thinking’ by working through the effects different data structures have on potential visualisations in ManyEyes, the online visualisation tool. I also prepared some material on basic concepts in programming and put together a page of ‘Inspiring women through history’ mapped across time and space that contained heavily commented code that suggested various things to try to get a sense of how code (in this case, JavaScript, HTML, CSS) works. My slides are below, you can play with content prepared for ManyEyes, or ‘view source’ at the ‘inspiring women’ link above, save the file to your hard drive and have a play.

 

Resources for ‘Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research’

Woodcut of the statue described by the prophet Daniel, from Lorenz Faust’s Anatomia statuae Danielis (“An anatomy of Daniel’s statue”), 1585.
Woodcut, An anatomy of Daniel’s statue, 1585.

A collection of links for further reading for the British Library’s Digital Scholarship course on ‘Data Visualisation for Analysis in Scholarly Research’. I update this each time I teach the course, so please leave a comment if you know of any great sources I’ve missed. Slides and exercises for each version of the workshop are below. Many thanks to workshop participants for their feedback, as it directly helps make the next version more effective. And of course huge thanks to Nora McGregor and the British Library’s Digital Scholarship team!

Last updated September 2015. Between course revisions I add interesting visualisations to my Scholarly Vision tumblr and pinboard.

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Links and slides for ‘Learning to play like a programmer: Web mash-ups and scripting for beginners’

Workshop abstract: Learning to play like a programmer: web mash-ups and scripting for beginners.

Slides (pdf): Play Like A Programmer workshop DH2012

Links for the Digital Humanities pre-conference workshop ‘Learning to play like a programmer: Web mash-ups and scripting for beginners’

My contact details

Twitter: @mia_out, blog openobjects.org.uk, homepage miaridge.com

Text editors

Online javascript console

Data to play with

Visualisation tools

Resources to keep learning

About learning to code

On hack days

Going further with debugging

Workshop: Learning to play like a programmer: web mash-ups and scripting for beginners

Half day tutorial for the pre-conference workshops for Digital Humanities 2012: Learning to play like a programmer: web mash-ups and scripting for beginners.

Abstract:

Have you ever wanted to be able to express your ideas for digital humanities data-based projects more clearly, or wanted to know more about hack days and coding but been too afraid to ask?

In this hands-on tutorial led by an experienced web programmer, attendees will learn how to use online tools to create visualisations to explore humanities data sets while learning how computer scripts interact with data in digital applications.

Attendees will learn the basic principles of programming by playing with small snippets of code in a fun and supportive environment. The instructor will use accessible analogies to help participants understand and remember technical concepts. Working in pairs, participants will undertake short exercises and put into practice the scripting concepts they are learning about. The tutorial structure encourages attendees to reflect on their experiences and consolidate what they have learned from the exercises with the goal of providing deeper insight into computational thinking.

The tutorial aims to help humanists without a technical background understand more about the creation and delivery of digital humanities data resources. In doing so, this tutorial is designed to support greater diversity in the ‘digital’ part of the digital humanities community.

This tutorial is aimed at people who want to learn enough to get started playing with simple code to manipulate data, or gain an insight into how programming works. No technical knowledge is assumed. Attendees are asked to bring their own laptops or net books.

The tutorial will include:

  • what a humanities data set is and how to access one
  • how web scripting languages work (using JavaScript as an example)
  • how to sketch out your ideas in pseudo-code
  • the value of visualisation tools in understanding the shape of a data set
  • prepared exercises: ‘hello world’, using script libraries for mash-ups, creating your first mash-up using a live cultural dataset (e.g. a timeline or map),
  • how to find further resources and keep learning

Related link: Links and slides for ‘Learning to play like a programmer: Web mash-ups and scripting for beginners’

Workshop: Hacking and mash-ups for beginners at MCN2011

I ran a three and a half hour pre-conference workshop (abstract below) at MCN2011 on Hacking and mash-ups for beginners at MCN2011slides below, and I’m happy to share the exercises on request.

Have you ever wanted to be able to express your ideas for digital collections more clearly, or thought that a hack day sounds like fun but need a way to get started with basic web scripting? In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to use online tools to create interesting visualisations to explore a cultural dataset and create your own simple ‘mash-up’.

The workshop will be a fun, supportive environment where you will learn by playing with small snippets of code. No scripting knowledge is assumed.

Hack4Europe! UK Winner in the category ‘Audience award’

Screenshot of adding an object to a blog post with ‘Share What You See’

Owen Stephens and I won the ‘Audience Award’ for our ‘Share What You See’ hack at Europeana’s Hack4Europe! UK held at the British Library in June 2011. Not bad, considering we’d met for the first time the day before and managed to make a new WordPress plugin in about six hours.

I blogged about the hackday and our project at ‘Share What You See’ at hack4europe London.

‘Share What You See’ is a WordPress plugin designed to make a museum and gallery visit more personal, memorable and sociable.  There’s always that one object that made you laugh, reminded you of friends or family, or was just really striking.  The plugin lets you search for the object in the Europeana collection (by title, and hopefully by venue or accession number), and instantly create a blog post about it (screenshot below) to share it with others. Once you’ve found your object, the plugin automatically inserts an image of it, plus the title, description and venue name. You can then add your own text and whatever other media you like.

Research, design and code: metadata crowdsourcing games for museums

For more information, see the page about my MSc Dissertation: crowdsourcing games for museums. The beta games I made are hosted at Museum Metadata Games (and have recently been updated to include some of the million images the British Library have released on Flickr Commons). The initial data was loaded from APIs from the Science Museum and Powerhouse Museum.

screenshot
The ‘Dora’ tagging game