Partially modelled 3D laser scan of c 8th Century stone slab - Marigold decoration in lower right

Partially modelled 3D laser scan of c 8th Century stone slab - Marigold decoration in lower right
Marigold stone slab, from Tullylease in North Cork, Ireland, a partially modelled 3D laser scan, screenshot from Rapidform Software shows damage and flaking to the surface of the stone.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Scholarships for Digital Arts and Humanities PhD projects at University College Cork

Applications are sought for five scholarships amounting to 12,000 euro per year each over four years (not including tuition), for graduate students entering the Digital Arts and Humanities PhD program in September 2012.  Include in your project description an account of how you plan to utilize the digital to enhance collection visibility and utility.  Return to program page for application details.

The projects are based on a number of collections in Special Collections in the Boole Library, University College Cork Ireland.

These include:

The Bantry House Papers
The Grehan Estate Papers
The Sean O Riada collection
The Murphy's Brewery Archive
George Boole Papers
The Frank O'Connor collection.

More detail is available here:   please contact Prof. Brendan Dooley with queries.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Report on March 26th Plenary at CAA Southampton 2012 by Jeremy Huggett

Huggett is going to consider some philosphical questions in relation to Archaeological Computing.

He begins with a reference from IEEE Computer Archaeology 2011 - "... the emerging field of computational archaeology..." and the characterisation of the discipline as an 'emerging' field, which it is not.  Huggett examines the terms archaeological informatics, archaeological computing, computer archaeology, computational archaeology, archaeological information science google  - and performs a text analysis, using google, google scholar, and ngrams to measure and chart the terminology over time.

What has everyone been doing for over 20 years if the field is emerging?  Clearly that is a nonsense!

He also examines why we use certain terms - and often it is for tactical convenience, to get money, jobs, grants, create centres - these terms, these word choices are political.

The term Digital Archaeology is used too in an Internet Weekly magazine US and Europe - to look at the history of computing...

He asks, does the usage of certain terms make any difference at all?

Yes - as in process of naming and renaming, questioning academic legitimacy, thinking about the intellectual core of the discipline, considering rigour, and the value of the contributions we make in what he calls an 'Anxiety discourse'...  I recognise this too from a DH standpoint.

This is part of discipline building... and refers repeatedly to DH (Digital Humanities)...

There is only 'one' journal - Archeologicia E Calcolatori - I'd argue this point, as Hugget's own Internet Archaeology has been very useful for me in the past

Again he gives an good example from DH - with humanities scholars not citing DH journals...

All of these acts on the impact of a discipline - the naming of journals, citation etc

Is the discipline transformative he asks? Are we making an impact - are AC scholars equally good in their topic?  Is AC simply a methodology or a series of techniques?  Can it give something new to the discipline?

His apt Southampton example is the human genome project, and he asks where is our grand challenge?
These disciplinary concerns and anxieties are reflected in DH too - and the focus on words, meaning and definition also made me feel at home in this plenary.  It was a provoking, motivating presentation.  My reportage is limited by my typing speed, but I do hope that the overall sense of the talk was conveyed.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

NeDiMAH Info Viz Workshop - CFP

Call for participation, 2nd NeDiMAH infoviz workshop
Visual Tools and Methods in Digital Humanities: Representing, Reading, and Thinking about Knowledge Creation...
21st of July 2012 in Hamburg alongside the DH conference.

 Exploring the shifting intersection between more descriptive and analytical uses of visual components in digital environments and interpretative research tools - we will theorize 'new' readings and question shifts in representation within the digital sphere. The barriers between more descriptive and more analytical approaches are also constantly shifting as researchers become more and more acquainted with formulating research needs in a digital context, but also as a result of technologies becoming increasingly user-friendly and hence inviting collaboration between specialists and non-specialists within the same context. The workshop’s general aim will be to define critical reading principles both for research itself but also for creating digital tools for different aspects of the research process. We will aim at understanding how different research questions can arise from these methods in terms of open data, collaboration, remediation, place, space and performance, impact and outreach. We invite teams of researchers and developers where knowledge of information visualization is  used as a key component of their work. We encourage participants to elaborate on the tensions and added-values when working across disciplines - both humanities and information sciences. Contributions should contain well defined technical and scholarly research considerations. The synergy effect of working together needs to be well defined.  Objectives: - To create an understanding of why visualization is used, to what end? - How does the visualization relate to the theoretical orientation of the research? - To critically analyze the impact of the methods for visualization both in terms of finding new knowledge as well as better communicating the result of research.To investigate how digital visual methods can be utilized to support unanticipated research questions. -  Collaborative work for explorative methods and research with structured datasets (complex or simple, large or small)

Duration of the workshop

The workshop is intended to be for 1 day, 8.30 - 4.30 on the 21st of July 2012 in Hamburg alongside the DH conference.

Dates and submission:

Participants are expected to contribute with a short paper of max 1,000 words describing their contributions. The deadline for the submission will be the 13th of April and notification to accepted contributors will be  by the 23rd April. Successful contributors will have their travel and accommodation funded by NeDiMAH .

Target audience (12-15 participants)

Examples could be:
  • Travel narratives - linguistic research
  • Textual analysis
  • Network Analysis
  • Internet Culture Studies
  • Archaeology, Environmental and Site Reconstructions
  • Historical Narratives and Cultural Heritage Studies
  • Illustration/Visual Art Research Exhibitions
  • Urban History
  • Population Studies
  • Place Name & Culture Studies

Program committee :

1.       Fredrik Palm, HUMlab, Umeå University
2.       Stuart Dunn (DARIAH), Kings College London
3.       Simon Lindgren, Professor in Sociology Umeå University
4.       Orla Murphy, University College Cork 

The workshop is part of the NEDIMAH-network. The NeDiMAH Network will examine the practice of, and evidence for, advanced ICT methods in the arts and humanities across Europe, and articulate these findings in a series of outputs and publications. To accomplish this, NeDiMAH will provide a locus of networking and interdisciplinary exchange of expertise among the trans-European community of digital arts and humanities researchers, as well as those engaged with creating and curating scholarly and cultural heritage digital collections. NeDiMAH will maximise the value of national and international e-research infrastructure initiatives by developing a methodological layer that allows arts and humanities researchers to develop, refine and share research methods that allow them to create and make best use of digital methods and collections. Better contextualization of ICT Methods will also build human capacity, and be of particular benefit for early stage researchers.

For more information about NeDiMAH see

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stefano Odorico - Interactive i-docs and film

Odorico speaking at the IRCHSS supported New Cinema: Changing Audiences Conference at University College Cork, defines interactivity as either semi-closed, semi-open, completely open...

He resists a unitary definition of this new emerging genre: web documentary / idoc / new genre... This is a new format that crosses the boundaries of Old Media and the New (if you acknowledge the binary!) cross media ( maps, blogs, etc) and locative digital technology are used frequently in these productions intercut with standard linear video.

Refers to Lev Manovich considering the differences between the Database and the Narrative... I agree that Manovich's work (2001) is foundational in engaging with multivalent forms that resist the linear.

idocs - have gained the status of film... interacting as they do with internet, mobile forms, gps and other emerging forms. Web non fiction finds alternative ways of distribution too.


Bearing Witness: Five Years of the Iraq War (Ecer and Ahmad,2008)
A Year at War (The NYT, 2010)
Five years later: Hurricane Katrina (USA Today, 2010)

And in particular:
Prison Valley by David Dufresne & Philippe Brault - here a user has to register, before starting, and is given an identity within the platform, this film, this production takes us on a journey (with a motel as a homebase) in a linear video like a classical documentary, but every couple of minutes the user is given options to look at extra material, or to log in to forums... the individual is now no longer a viewer, or a user, but part of the experience... another revolutionary feature involves interaction with the story's subject, we are also encouraged to develop the story on twitter, or on a frequently updated internal blog.

Another example is Homeless Nation... also HIGHRISE is another excellent example of such a project - at sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada.

Phillipe Brodeur

Brodeur as a practising professional in the tranmedia domain is very engaging speaking on how the revolution will be televised - it will be live, linear, and VOD (video on demand). He speaks about 'personalised' tv as the future.

We have a TV in our pockets with a smartphone - there is a problem with definition - where our traditional idea of the set - the idiot box - the channel, and how content is mediated through all of that apparatus is changing. He identifies new modes for the transmission of information - and asks... 'What would Google Do?' and also 'What would Facebook Do?'
WWGD - they are organising the world's information
WWFD - they are sharing the world's information

Even with the advent of iplayers, or the rte player, or channel 4 on demand 4OD,
95% of tv is watched within 24 hours of being scheduled (Deloitte, 2012) we are still governed by our schedule and the time of the day - so this new concept of 'Connected tv' - what is it - because it still delivers a real time watercooler effect.

We now have new devices - that map on to the 'Connected tv' experience with the idea of the companion screen, the 'phone, laptop or iPad that we are using while watching a film or tv at home. This idea is not new, when you think about it we have always multitasked with tv - eating, 'phone calls, newspapers etc., except that now we are watching a film on tv while checking out facebook, checking a twitterfeed or flicking through flickr.

Film on TV is no longer just about a 2 hour slot on a schedule - so producers need to maximise the 'event' and build marketing/interest around that slot in order to create that sense of 'event'.

The Connected tv is a SMART tv too - it is no longer the idiot box...

Youtube came out with 100 linear channels - Ireland has 5 channels in 50 years. Brodeur's
Aertv - has created 2 channels since October 2011 - unique Music content, Film linked to the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival JDIFF, what they are doing is unique. The 2009 broadcasting act in Ireland is such that, unlike other domains, - they can stream the national channels while they are happening...

So - you can't compare linear tv with VOD - it is like comparing apples and oranges - we are now in an environment with lots of screens, lots of social media, Netflix (is available on 450 devices) every internet tv will have its own viewing experience (open up device and get a new homepage...).

Brodeur argues that in terms of broadcasting history and development we are now in stage 3 - the consumers are in control! It may take people a lot of time to change their tvs, but the revolution will be televised.

New Cinemas - Changing Audiences

Dr Stephano Baschiera from QUB speaks about "Streaming European Cinema: Online Distribution and the Film Industry in Europe" at the IRCHSS 'New Ideas' Research Project Pilot Workshop, at New Cinemas- Changing Audiences, at UCC, March 10th 2012. He looks at streaming film distributors, particularly Netflix, and the home entertainment market. In particular he looks at Chris Anderson's idea of The Long Tail (2004) applied to Amazon and Netflix.

Often it is not blockbusters, but niche and unique films that are most often downloaded. The digital shift is recognised in MEDIA within the EU, simultaneously the move to streamed distribution is not as negatively regarded as a 'straight to DVD' distribution. There is room for innovation and for small budget films.

Key issues raised:
European cinema is still considered as art cinema -
Geoblocking creates an IP nation, ISP services and national legislation all intervene in terms of publication and access... it seems to me that just as with text, the SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA type legislation seeks to create borders where, say in terms of radio, there are none. This aspect equally affects text.
The power of corporations, especially Hollywood is still significant - they need to grow and Europe is another market.

Social Media too - with merchandising as an end - is in development, using say Facebook, as well as Foursquare, using customer data to push other media and merchandise.

The idea of how publication and distribution happens is equally important for a variety of media - it is interesting to see how theories, and texts central to this discussion are also central to an understanding of how book publication has changed. Paramount is producing Ultra Violet. The Dark Night App is available free - where interactivity with the film is provided at an entry level, the customer then buys other content (also the film Inception is available) to populate the app.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Digital Literacy

The key issue of digital literacy and professional digital education was prevalent across all sessions at the Archaeological Archives as a Resource. Caitriona Crowe's proposed network would address many of the key issues of continuous professional development - as a standards led digital environment will (should be) a basis for any funding by the state or the EU, and we also need to act now to ensure that future work is not hampered by choices now - for instance choosing an xml based entry or record system rather than PDF will help future participants.

The rapidity of technological advance means that upskilling is crucial, but also reinforces the need for basic open standards for digitisation and metadata - robust metadata that withstands the vagaries of software is essential.  Open data is at the centre of these concerns - work paid for by the state must be accessible to the taxpayer - and that means the data, and not just the report of one individual which, while crucial is not the only output necessary for future engagement with our archaeological heritage.