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Ersatz digitisation

By richardlehane, August 27th, 2010 § 3

Digitisation projects undertaken by libraries, archives and museums aim at the precise and authentic representation of source material. Unfortunately the expense of these exacting standards has greatly limited the amount of digitisation achieved. Much more ‘digitisation’ has been undertaken by researchers and visitors themselves using digital cameras to make reference copies of material for personal use.

If shared, to what extent could these ersatz versions stand-in for the real thing? What are the collaborative, copyright and trust issues that might stand in the way?

If desirable, what kind of platform could enable this kind of sharing? E.g. A voluntary organisation, along the lines of the US “International Amateur Scanning League” or a website, like the prototype, that “liberates” content from the websites of libraries, archives and museums to make it more accessible as semantic data.

Easy single source publishing.

By fearless_ck, August 27th, 2010 § 6

Here is a proposal for a session or at least discussion…

In the 1990s there was much talk about the promise of single-source publishing: write once, output to many media (web, print etc). A decade later, can we really do that? Businesses are still wedded to the document model (Word, Excel) with all the problems of documents running around uncontrolled in the wild. Google docs is a tantalising possibility but so limited in delivery… Surely we all want to write/create once and then publish to PDF (consistent with our corporate branding) as well as web, email, Twitter feed and RSS.

I wanna build this…


By wragge, August 27th, 2010 Comments Off

Summaries of all the BootCamp sessions are up on the BootCamp page.

For some sessions you might need to do a bit of preparation, so check out the details now!

Extending Zotero

By wragge, August 26th, 2010 § 1

If you haven’t tried Zotero, well… you should. It’s a Firefox add-on that’s makes it much easier to manage your research.

But what interests me most about Zotero is not its capabilities as a citation manager, but as a platform for capturing, manipulating and sharing structured data from a wide variety of research sources.

At the heart of Zotero are a series of ‘translators’ that extract data from web pages and save it into a database. Anyone with a little Javascript knowledge can write a translator and contribute it to Zotero. These community-developed translators enable Zotero to capture data not just from library catalogues, but from archival finding aids, document and image collections, museum databases and more.

Once you’ve captured the data you can start to do things with it. Zotero has a built-in timeline display and there’s a plugin that will look for location information and map it. There’s also some really interesting work going on to integrate AXE for xml annotations, and all sorts of future possibilities.

And of course your data can be shared via the Zotero website (and in the future through the Internet Archive), and accessed through a web api. So there are also great opportunities for re-using and integrating this data into other sites and applications.

I’ve written translators for the National Archives of Australia collection database, the Australian Dictionary of Biography and, most recently, the National Library of Australia’s newspapers project. I have plans for a lot more (though of course not the time!). Depending on people’s interests, I thought I might give a brief intro to Zotero and then walk through the process of writing a translator. You can also help me to choose which translator to tackle next!

There are a few frustrations. The Zotero data model is still rather focused on publications and citations. I’ve tried to hack this a bit in my NAA translator by using machine tags to provide semantic relations and custom fields, but I’m hoping that this sort of semantic extensibility will be included in future versions of Zotero.

But in order to help make Zotero do what we want, we have to engage with the developers and the community, we have to contribute ideas, code and comments.

Brain food

By wragge, August 25th, 2010 Comments Off

What can we not accomplish with ideas to nourish the mind and coffee to make us all jittery and hyperactive?

THATCamp Canberra will have liberal quantities of both.

Your menu:
Saturday breakfast — fruit platters and scones
Saturday lunch — wraps (50% vegetarian)
Sunday breakfast — fruit platters and danishes

There will also be a coffee cart available throughout, dispensing caffeinated and other beverages, along with a variety of snacks. You’ll have to pay for these, but yes — it’s real coffee!

There’s no formal conference dinner but a booking has been made at the Asian Cafe (32 West Row Civic — see map) for 7.30pm. If you’d like to come, add your name to the list. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of transport available for out-of-towners.

Show us your speedos

By wragge, August 25th, 2010 § 10

During lunch on Saturday will be inviting people to make lightning presentations of no more than 3 minutes. In US THATCamp parlance these are ‘dork shorts’, but the Australian translation — ‘boardies’ — doesn’t seem to quite work. Speed-os perhaps? Stubbies?

Anyway, think of them as showcase opportunities, or elevator pitches — a chance to briefly show off a project you’ve been working on or thinking about.

So start thinking now about what you’d like to present. Leave a comment and link below if you’d like to be added to the line-up.

How does one maintain a [digital] library?

By michaelhoney, August 24th, 2010 § 2

Most of the texts that I read a generation ago for my degrees are viewable still as a couple of shelves of books in my study. But more and more of our reading is online, invisible, evanescent. Instapaper and Delicious can help – but how do I keep track of what I read and what I know? I’m interested in finding ways to organise and visualise what I’m thinking.

I’m also interested in what happens when, as seems inevitable, our outboard brains start being shared. Do I want my idiosyncratic associations made public? By somehow reifying those connections, do I ossify them? What kind of thinking does this represent?

Evidence of ‘digital’ me/us

By drage, August 23rd, 2010 § 3

I am interested in talking about the implications of online social (digital) technologies and how their role as evidence of  the actions of an individual participating within a group as well as in the broader context of online groups and communities.

When I say evidence I mean how the material generated from interaction from social tech is identified as a record – ownership, communication and sharing.  When is this material considered a record and how does the media it is created on impact on it?  What role or place does this information/process have in social history, cultural heritage and institutional collections, if any?

I also wonder about other places of social media where a ‘traditional’ record is being augmented by online interactions – participatory archives, or even just the flickr collection of an archival institution  - what role does the participant have as part of the ever-evolving record (both online and in the institution’s collection)?

How much should a humanist know?

By Kerry, August 23rd, 2010 § 3

Hello all, How about a session discussing the question of how much technical knowledge or programming language a humanist should aquire to be able to claim to be a digital humanist or to feel confident in working with digital tools?

A recent post on the Humanist discussion list on the subject of getting involved stated:

“I think, rather than envisioning some program or initiative to spur the development of code literacy among humanists, or the creation of an amazing and intuitive new programming language that makes semantic sense to humanists, that the only real way to change this situation is for scholars to think that understanding data structures and code is necessary for the study and use of digital scholarly media.” ([Humanist] 24.270 getting involved)

While another contributor to the thread said:

“… I think that digital humanity producers need to understand how information moves in the world of electronic production.  How does this still-new medium impact writing and narrative structure and visualization and so forth.  I believe that the future relationship between scholarship and electronic publication is too important to wait for scholars to become conversant in XML or TEI.  That said, I do think that scholars need to understand what XML and TEI, or whatever, do — how it shapes their product.  But I do not think they need to be able to do it themselves.” ([Humanist] 24.265 getting involved)

Is Willard McCarty right when he says, “The solution to the problem seems to be to involve educating the imaginations of these colleagues. And it seems to me that the way to do this is somehow to involve them in hands-on making of digital things. I see far too much standing back and talking about static results engineered by someone else, too little engagement, too little scholarly craftsmanship.” ([Humanist] 24.263 getting involved, but how?)

How much should we learn? And how do we know it’s worth learning?

Conference Profile Network Visualisation

By joannemihelcic, August 23rd, 2010 § 3

One of the things that amazes me everytime I go to a conference is how interesting people are in terms of their interests – personal, professional and academic. If you’re lucky and socialise effectively you may meet people who have similar interests or simply inspire you to approach your topic from a different perspective.

I’m curious to see how a simple tool could be developed and used for mapping these interests and specialties from the profiles of individuals – maybe when they register for a conference/unconference. Could this be done in a way that participants can see possible common themes, relationships, hot spots for finding people or workshopping?

This could be useful for conference organisers as well as participants.

Would love to know of any tools – if any – are already out there.