American Social History Online

Sunday, June 1st, 2008 | susan harum

If any of you lose the blue paperclip, here’s the link to American Social History Online.  We welcome partnerships with you and your institution.   If you are interested in contributing a collection of 19th and/or 20th century digital primary resources (MODS only, please), or would like to collaborate in other ways, please contact us.

THATCamp on flickr

Saturday, May 31st, 2008 | Finn Arne Jørgensen

Hi all,

I started a THATCamp set on flickr – so far it only has one picture, but I’m sure it will grow.

If any of you upload pictures to your own accounts, please use the “thatcamp” tag.

Zotero hacking, making big collections hackable, intro to hacking with Processing

Friday, May 30th, 2008 | dan chudnov

Is it obvious I’m a total hack?

The project I wrote up in my application was to demo adding Zeroconf to Zotero, with the goal of having a little tool for anybody with a Zotero collection to run to let them instantly see and “borrow from” the collections of people nearby, like in the same office, or in the same coffeeshop, or in the same part of the library stacks. I’ve made a lot of progress on this and with the help of a few Zotero- and otherwise code/network-savvy campers I think we can finish this well enough to pull off a compelling demo of the idea.

If you’re not already a coder, but might like to learn to hack some, I recently started a video tutorial series called learn2code. The goal is to introduce basic concepts of programming using the Processing computer art platform. Processing is very easy to learn and incredibly fun to use, and can make a magnificent platform for data visualization and interaction. I’d love to do a quick session introducing Processing, since it might be a tool you can use in your work, and it really is a lot of fun!

Also, I spend most of my time working on something called the World Digital Library. We’re prepping for a spring ’09 release, but in the meantime, we’ve learned a lot about how to build an app like this (multi-lingual faceted search with Solr was a big one), and I’d enjoy the chance to give a tour of what we’ve done so far. More importantly, though, I’d like to learn from you what we might be able to do at the Library of Congress (where I work) to help make our resources like WDL and others more useful in digital humanities work.

Visualization and Interface for Variorum and Critical Editions, Text and Video

Friday, May 30th, 2008 | elena razlogova

How do we move from print versions of variorum editions, to marked-up versions, to basic and (yet non-existent but imaginable) sophisticated visual interpretations of them?

A project I’m currently working on seeks to bring together several existing standards and tools some of which – (TEI) standards for markup of digital texts, collaborative annotation, and timelines – have been proposed for discussion. I would like to offer some of our thoughts about possible directions for visualization in collaborative variorum and critical editions, as well as ask for suggestions.

I’m working, with Sean Gurd, a classics scholar at Concordia University in Montreal, on a tool for collaborative comparison and annotation of classical (and potentially any other) texts. Such a tool would display a visual timeline of a given classical text, with versions of it from antiquity to our own time, with translations, linked to commentaries made in published sources, plus ongoing users’ comments.

The idea takes off from Sean’s work on different versions of Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides, where he argues that in most cases there are no “originals” for classical texts – they are often known only in excerpts, translations, or annotated versions that are much younger than the missing “original.” In such cases, versions, translations, and commentaries constitute the work itself. A digital representation of such a “work in progress” would make real something that so far exists only as an abstraction.

When we looked for interface models for this project, we couldn’t find them at such major classics websites as the Perseus Digital Library or the Thesaurus Linguae Graeca – these are great compendiums of texts but have minimal user interaction features. Neither the wiki versioning interface in Wikipedia, nor the Simile Timeline seem entirely adequate. Sadly, the most evocative versioning/timeline interface so far seems to come from the timeline of backups in Leopard Mac OS. And while there is nothing wrong with borrowing from major industrial designers – Zotero borrowed some of it interface features from iTunes – ideally digital humanities should try to develop their own comparably elegant interface designs.

Elena (of Concordia Digital History Lab, Concordia University, Montreal)

P.S. I’m also interested in crashing a related suggested session on analyzing video/audio and critical video editions because I work on Vertov, the video analysis tool that came up in the discussion.

International infrastructures for digital history?

Friday, May 30th, 2008 | Finn Arne Jørgensen

I want to think a bit broader about digital history and the wider historical community, particularly in an international setting. In the US, digital history has definitely gained momentum, whereas in for instance Norway, the term “digital history” has not even been used. We have some projects that would classify as digital history, but in general these are one-way digital presentations of material rather than truly collaborative web 2.0-style projects.

I am working on a Norwegian-language article on digital history for the major history journal in Norway, and I find it quite challenging to translate much of the context of doing digital history. Since we don’t have many large, visible digital history projects, showing the relevance of digital approaches to mainstream historians is hard. Being at THATcamp will hopefully give me some help here, but for now I’d be interested in thinking about ways to make digital history more international. The Zotero people have done a great job here (I have translated parts of Zotero to Norwegian), but I think digital history projects that want to be truly open to the larger community has to consider the localization issue.

What Camp? THATCamp!

Short for “The Humanities and Technology Camp”, THATCamp is a BarCamp-style, user-generated “unconference” on digital humanities. THATCamp is organized and hosted by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, Digital Campus, and THATPodcast. Learn more….