In a series of three interesting posts, Lisa Spiro, Director of the Digital Media Center and the Educational Technology Research and Assessment Cooperative at Rice University's Fondren Library, has reviewed 2007's major digital humanities developments: "Digital Humanities in 2007 [Part 1 of 3]," "Digital Humanities in 2007 [Part 2 of 3]," and "Digital Humanities in 2007 [Part 3 of 3]."
Lisa Spiro, Director of the Digital Media Center and the Educational Technology Research and Assessment Cooperative at Rice University's Fondren Library, has established the Digital Scholarship in the Humanities weblog.
Here's a selection of recent posts:
The Perseus Digital Library Project has released both the source code for Perseus 4.0 and a significant amount of the project's digital content. The Perseus Java Hopper code is open source; the content is under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States license.
Since planning began in 1985, the Perseus Digital Library Project has explored what happens when libraries move online. . . .
Our flagship collection, under development since 1987, covers the history, literature and culture of the Greco-Roman world. We are applying what we have learned from Classics to other subjects within the humanities and beyond. We have studied many problems over the past two decades, but our current research centers on personalization: organizing what you see to meet your needs.
We collect texts, images, datasets and other primary materials. We assemble and carefully structure encyclopedias, maps, grammars, dictionaries and other reference works. At present, 1.1 million manually created and 30 million automatically generated links connect the 100 million words and 75,000 images in the core Perseus collections. 850,000 reference articles provide background on 450,000 people, places, organizations, dictionary definitions, grammatical functions and other topics.
The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities has posted a description of its IMLS-funded Our Americas Archive Project.
Here's an excerpt:
Rice University, in partnership with the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland has received a three-year National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the amount of $979,578 for the Our Americas Archive Project (OAAP), with an additional $980,613 provided in cost share by the institutions. The project will develop an innovative approach to helping users search, browse, analyze, and share content from distributed online collections. OAAP will incorporate recent Web 2.0 technologies to help users discover and use relevant source materials in languages other than English and will improve users’ ability to find relevant materials using domain-specific vocabulary searches. Two online collections of materials in English and Spanish, The Early Americas Digital Archive (EADA), and a new digital archive of materials to be developed at Rice, will provide an initial corpus for testing the tools. Rice principle investigators, Geneva Henry (Executive Director, Digital Library Initiative) and Caroline Levander (HRC Director), along with MITH co-PI Neil Fraistat are undertaking this innovative digital humanities project with a view to supporting scholarly inquiry into the Americas from a hemispheric perspective. As Geneva Henry says, “our goal is to develop new ways of doing research as well as new objects of study—to create a new, interactive community of scholarly inquiry.”
Two significant online collections of materials in English and Spanish supporting the interdisciplinary field of hemispheric American Studies—Maryland’s Early Americas Digital Archive (EADA) [http://www.mith2.umd.edu/eada/] and a new digital archive of multilingual materials being developed at Rice [http://rudr.rice.edu/handle/1911/9219]—provide an initial corpus for developing and testing these new digital tools. The two multilingual archives illustrate the complex politics and histories that characterize the American hemisphere, but they also provide unique opportunities to further digital research in the humanities. Geographic visualization as well as new social tagging and tag cloud cluster models are just some of the new interface techniques that the Our Americas Archive Partnership will develop with the goal of creating innovative research pathways. As Caroline Levander comments, “we see this as a first step in furthering scholarly dialogue and research across borders by making hemispheric material available open access worldwide. Our goal is to further develop innovative research tools that will help generate a collaborative, transnational research community.” Ralph Bauer, MITH Fellow, general editor of the Early Americas Digital Archive, and collaborator on the project adds, “the added digital materials and tools to navigate seamlessly through these two collections is enabling new forms of scholarship. Because the OAAP makes available materials that are dispersed in different geographic locations, it facilitates collaboration and intellectual exchange among an international audience. The digital medium offers rich opportunities for multicultural exchanges and is therefore uniquely suited for a hemispheric approach to history.”
The University College Dublin has launched the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive Repository.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
VRLA is a digital archive containing a number of digitised collections from UCD’s holdings, of use and interest to Irish humanities researchers. The IVRLA has developed a sophisticated interface enabling users to browse, search, tag and cite digital objects and view or download them in a variety of file formats. This interface sits on top of an open source repository architecture that functions as the IVRLA’s base content store. An elaborate collection model has been developed ensuring all content is viewed within context and structure. This model is particularly suited for organic primary source collections and enables hierarchy and sub-division in how objects are arranged and held within collections.
A cross-institutional team has built a a simulation of Rome as it was in 320 A.D. called Rome Reborn 1.0.
Here’s an excerpt from the press release:
Rome’s Mayor Walter Veltroni will officiate at the first public viewing of "Rome Reborn 1.0," a 10-year project based at the University of Virginia and begun at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to use advanced technology to digitally rebuild ancient Rome. The event will take place at 2 p.m. in the Palazzo Senatorio on the Campidoglio. An international team of archaeologists, architects and computer specialists from Italy, the United States, Britain and Germany employed the same high-tech tools used for simulating contemporary cities such as laser scanners and virtual reality to build the biggest, most complete simulation of an historic city ever created. "Rome Reborn 1.0" shows almost the entire city within the 13-mile-long Aurelian Walls as it appeared in A.D. 320. At that time Rome was the multicultural capital of the western world and had reached the peak of its development with an estimated population of one million.
"Rome Reborn 1.0" is a true 3D model that runs in real time. Users can navigate through the model with complete freedom, moving up, down, left and right at will. They can enter important public buildings such as the Roman Senate House, the Colosseum, or the Temple of Venus and Rome, the ancient city’s largest place of worship.
As new discoveries are made, "Rome Reborn 1.0" can be easily updated to reflect the latest knowledge about the ancient city. In future releases, the "Rome Reborn" project will include other phases in the evolution of the city from the late Bronze Age in the 10th century B.C. to the Gothic Wars in the 6th century A.D. Video clips and still images of "Rome Reborn 1.0" can be viewed at www.romereborn.virginia.edu. . . .
The "Rome Reborn" project was begun at UCLA in 1996 by professors Favro and Frischer. They collaborated with UCLA students from classics, architecture and urban design who fashioned the digital models with continuous advice from expert archaeologists. As the project evolved, it became collaborative at an international scale. In 2004, the project moved its administrative home to the University of Virginia, while work in progress continued at UCLA. In the same year, a cooperative research agreement was signed with the Politecnico di Milano. . . .
Many individuals and institutions contributed to "Rome Reborn" including the Politecnico di Milano (http://www.polimi.it), UCLA (http://www.etc.ucla.edu/), and the University of Virginia (www.iath.virginia.edu). The advisors of the project included scholars from the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Museum of Roman Civilization (Rome), Bath University, Bryn Mawr College, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, the German Archaeological Institute, Ohio University, UCLA, the University of Florence, the University of Lecce, the University of Rome ("La Sapienza"), the University of Virginia and the Vatican Museums.
Several individuals, including John Unsworth, have issued a call for the formation of a network of digital humanities centers.
Here’s an excerpt from the call:
If you represent something that you would consider a digital humanities center, anywhere in the world, we are interested in including you in a developing network of such centers. The purpose of this network is cooperative and collaborative action that will benefit digital humanities and allied fields in general, and centers as humanities cyberinfrastructure in particular. It comes out of a meeting hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the University of Maryland, College Park, April 12-13, 2007 in Washington, D.C., responding in part to the report of the American Council of Learned Societies report on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences, published in 2006.
We leave the definition of "digital humanities" up to you, but we intend to be inclusive, and we know that there will be cross-over into the social sciences, media studies, digital arts, and other related areas. If you think your center is a digital humanities center, in whole or in part, then we’d be glad to have you as part of the network. This might include humanities centers with a strong interest in or focus on digital platforms. The definition of "center" is only slightly more prescriptive: a center should be larger than a single project, and it should have some history or promise of persistence.
Some early initiatives are likely to include
- workshops and training opportunities for faculty, staff, and students
- developing collaborative teams that are, in effect, pre-positioned to apply for predictable multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary, multi-national funding opportunities, beginning with an upcoming RFP that invites applications for supercomputing in the humanities
- exchanging information about tools development, best practices, organizational strategies, standards efforts, and new digital collections, through a digital humanities portal
For further information (including how to respond), see the call.
Position papers from the NSF/JISC Repositories Workshop are now available.
Here’s an excerpt from the Workshop’s Welcome and Themes page:
Here is some background information. A series of recent studies and reports have highlighted the ever-growing importance for all academic fields of data and information in digital formats. Studies have looked at digital information in science and in the humanities; at the role of data in Cyberinfrastructure; at repositories for large-scale digital libraries; and at the challenges of archiving and preservation of digital information. The goal of this workshop is to unite these separate studies. The NSF and JISC share two principal objectives: to develop a road map for research over the next ten years and what to support in the near term.
Here are the position papers:
- Bill Arms: "Repositories for Large-Scale Digital Libraries"
- Fran Berman, Brian E. C. Schottlaender: "The Need for Formalized Trust in Digital Repository Collaborative Infrastructure"
- Laura E. Campbell: "How Digital Technologies Have Changed the Library of Congress: Inside and Outside"
- Sayeed Choudhury: "The Relationship between Data and Scholarly Communication"
- Bas Cordewener: "Institutional Repositories in the Netherlands, a National and International Perspective"
- Gregory Crane: "Repositories, Cyberinfrastructure and the Humanities"
- Linda Frueh: "Access Tools: Bridging Individuals to Information"
- Jerry Goldman and Andrew Gruen: "Complexity and Scale in Audio Archives"
- Babak Hamidzadeh: "Scale: A Repository Challenge"
- Ken Hamma: "Professionally Indisposed to Change"
- Rick Luce: "NSF/JISC Repositories Workshop Position Paper "
- Janet H. Murray: "Genre Creation as Cognition and Collective Knowledge Making"
- Peter Murray-Rust: "Data-Driven Science—A Scientist’s View"
- Michael L. Nelson: "I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care"
- Joyce Ray: "Discussion Group on Individual Users"
- Jürgen Renn: "From Research Challenges of the Humanities to the Epistemic Web (Web 3.0)"
- David Rosenthal: "Engineering Issues in Preserving Large Databases " (PDF)
- Abby Smith: "Thoughts on Scale and Complexity"
- Beth Stewart: "NEH and Digital Humanities"
- Eric F. Van de Velde: "Workshop on Data-Driven Science & Scholarship: Organizations"
- Donald J. Waters: "Doing Much More Than We Have So Far Attempted"
Dan Cohen has created a Digital Humanities Wiki in response to "a common need expressed at the digital humanities centers summit at NEH in April, 2007."
It currently includes sections on:
A Companion to Digital Humanities is now freely available in digital form.
This important 2004 book was edited by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth. It includes chapters by such notable experts as Howard Besser, Greg Crane, Susan Hockey, Willard McCarty, Allen H. Renear, Abby Smith, C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, John Unsworth, and Perry Willett (to name just a few).
Collex is a set of tools designed to aid students and scholars working in networked archives and federated repositories of humanities materials: a sophisticated COLLections and EXhibits mechanism for the semantic web.
Collex allows users to collect, annotate, and tag online objects and to repurpose them in illustrated, interlinked essays or exhibits. It functions within any modern web browser without recourse to plugins or downloads and is fully networked as a server-side application. By saving information about user activity (the construction of annotated collections and exhibits) as ‘remixable’ metadata, the Collex system writes current practice into the scholarly record and permits knowledge discovery based not only on the characteristics or ‘facets’ of digital objects, but also on the contexts in which they are placed by a community of scholars.
A detailed description of the project is available in "COLLEX: Semantic Collections & Exhibits for the Remixable Web."
You can see Collex in action at the NINES (a Networked Interface for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship) project, which also uses IVANHOE ("a shared, online playspace for readers interested in exploring how acts of interpretation get made and reflecting on what those acts mean or might mean") and Juxta ("a cross-platform tool for collating and analyzing any kind or number of textual objects").
The About 9s page identifies key objectives of the NINES project as follows:
- It will create a robust framework to support the authority of digital scholarship and its relevance in tenure and other scholarly assessment procedures.
- It will help to establish a real, practical publishing alternative to the paper-based academic publishing system, which is in an accelerating state of crisis.
- It will address in a coordinated and practical way the question of how to sustain scholarly and educational projects that have been built in digital forms.
- It will establish a base for promoting new modes of criticism and scholarship promised by digital tools.