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
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.


Second NeDiMAH workshop on Space and Time in the Digital Humanities: “Here and There, Then and Now – Modelling Space and Time in the Humanities”

While in Hamburg for Digital Humanities 2012, I chaired a session on ‘Methods’ and subsequently co-authored a report, “Here and There, Then and Now – Modelling Space and Time in the Humanities” (PDF) for the European Science Foundation (with Leif Isaksen, Shawn Day, and Ryan Shaw) for the Second NeDiMAH workshop on Space and Time in the Digital Humanities: “Here and There, Then and Now – Modelling Space and Time in the Humanities“.

From the workshop abstract:

Spatio-temporal concepts are so ubiquitous that it is easy for us to forget that they are essential to everything we do. All expressions of Human culture are related to the dimensions of space and time in the manner of their production and consumption, the nature of their medium and the way in which they express these concepts themselves. This workshop seeks to identify innovative practices among the Digital Humanities community that explore, critique and re-present the spatial and temporal aspects of culture.

Although space and time are closely related, there are significant differences between them which may be exploited when theorizing and researching the Humanities. Among these are the different natures of their dimensionality (three dimensions vs. one), the seemingly static nature of space but enforced ‘flow’ of time, and the different methods we use to make the communicative leap across spatial and temporal distance. Every medium, whether textual, tactile, illustrative or audible (or some combination of them), exploits space and time differently in order to convey its message. The changes required to express the same concepts in different media (between written and performed music, for example), are often driven by different spatio-temporal requirements. Last of all, the impossibility (and perhaps undesirability) of fully representing a four-dimensional reality (whether real or fictional) mean that authors and artists must decide how to collapse this reality into the spatio-temporal limitations of a chosen medium. The nature of those choices can be as interesting as the expression itself.

This workshop allows those working with digital tools and techniques that manage, analyse and exploit spatial and temporal concepts in the Humanities to present a position paper for the purposes of wider discussion and debate. The position papers will discuss generalized themes related to use of spatio-temporal methods in the Digital Humanities with specific reference to one or more concrete applications or examples. Accepted papers have been divided into three themed sessions: Tools, Methods and Theory. This workshop is part of the ESF-funded NEDIMAH Network and organised by its Working Group on Space and Time. The group will also present its findings from the First NeDiMAH Workshop on Space and Time.

Scholar-in-residence, Cooper-Hewitt

I was invited to spend a week in New York as scholar-in-residence at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, a museum of the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to design.  At the end of the week I presented my results to staff and wrote a post for their ‘Labs’ blog about my experience: Mia Ridge explores the shape of Cooper-Hewitt collections. Or, “what can you learn about 270,000 records in a week?”.

My report was also included in Digital Humanities Now’s Editors’ Choice: Exploring the Cooper-Hewitt Collection Round-Up.

Archive report: Çatalhöyük Archive Report 2007

As the Çatalhöyük Archive Report 2007 is online as a large PDF, I’ve copied my report below. In 2007 I’d worked with the team during the off-season (i.e. when people aren’t on site digging) and on-site. Being on site meant providing general IT and network support (and dealing with occasional oddities like a spontaneously combusting monitor) while working on requirements analysis and database development in the lab. I also contributed to the Çatalhöyük blog during the 2007 season. Continue reading “Archive report: Çatalhöyük Archive Report 2007”

Report: The Tony Dyson Archive Project: Report of a pilot study investigating the creation of a digital archive of medieval property transactions along the City waterfront

A write-up of some requirements analysis and database work I did for a pilot with the Museum of London Archaeology Service on digitising an archive of  medieval property records of the parishes (mostly Hustings Rolls, the records of the medieval Court of Husting).  The report is co-authored with Nick Holder and Nathalie Cohen.

The Tony Dyson Archive Project: Report of a pilot study investigating the creation of a digital archive of medieval property transactions along the City waterfront (PDF)

(PDF version of report, without mapping and plan diagrams.)

Archive report: Çatalhöyük Archive Report 2004

While I’d started working on the project in 2003, 2004 was my first year on site at Çatalhöyük, a research dig at a Neolithic site in Anatolian Turkey.

My role was to discover the data recording, analysis and publication requirements for various specialist labs as well as the dig as a whole while working to clean, merge and centralise various stand-alone Access databases onto a single SQL Server installation.  I worked on specialist databases including Figurines, Pottery, Stamp seals, Human remains, Digital photography, Faunal, Crates, Finds Log, Conservation, Micromorphology, and the shared Diary.

While I was familiar with the single context recording system used on site, as a post-processual site, it was an interesting change from working with MoLAS and I found my previous background as a humanities student informed my understanding of the need to structure the recording of material and formal characteristics of various finds across existing specialisms.

With Rich May I wrote a brief Database & IT Developments report for the Çatalhöyük Archive Report 2004. The impact of the on-going database work is evident in other reports, such as the Figurines 2004 report.