Current Research Projects
I’m currently working on a variety of research projects – from the small scale to the large scale, from internally funded projects at UCL, to EU funded H2020 projects. I’m involved in various projects that are ongoing:
Catalogue of Digital Editions has been gathering digital editions in an attempt to survey and identify best practice in the field of digital scholarly editing. Other cataloguing initiatives do not provide the granular analysis of features necessary to understand the rationale and methodology behind the creation of an edition. The Catalogue is useful as it provides an accessible record of standards and building tools used, and thus an insight into past, present and future projects.
CrossCult aims to make reflective history a reality in the European cultural context by enabling the re-interpretation of European (hi)stories through cross-border interconnections among cultural digital resources, citizen viewpoints and physical venues. The project has two main goals. The first goal is to lower cultural EU barriers and create unique cross-border perspectives, by connecting existing digital historical resources and by creating new ones through the participation of the public. The second goal is to provide long-lasting experiences of social learning and entertainment that will help towards the better understanding and re-interpretation of European history.
Under the direction of the University College London (UCL), this international, multidisciplinary project assesses the feasibility of using nondestructive digital imaging technology to make texts visible in images of papyrus in mummy mask cartonnages for open research and analysis. Data will be made freely available and lessons-learned published on findings and imaging methodologies for further research.
READ (Recognition and Enrichment of Archival Documents) is an e-Infrastructure project funded by the European Commission and combines research, services and network building. It is focused on making archival material more accessible through the development of cutting-edge technologies. Research is carried out in Pattern Recognition, Document Image Analysis, Computer Vision, and Natural Language Processing. Leading research groups from these fields are taking part in the project and will set new standards in Handwritten Text Recognition, Key Word Spotting, Layout Analysis, Automatic Writer Identification and related fields.
UCL’s Centre for Digital Humanities has received a UCL Arts and Humanities Small Research Grant to work with the Slade to undertake a pilot project with the Slade Archive – to see what is there, and how it can be exploited. We will explore ways in which this underused resource can be made more accessible through new research, online resources and publications. The project will trial various online platforms and tools to help unearth, track and bridge together the varied histories of the School, its former staff and students, and chart their impact in the art world – both nationally and internationally.
TEI by Example is concerned with developing an online resource for teaching TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). Featuring freely available online tutorials walking individuals through the different stages in marking up a document in TEI, these online tutorials will provide examples for users of all levels. Examples will be provided of different document types, with varying degrees in the granularity of markup, to provide a useful teaching and reference aid for those involved in the marking up of texts.
Textal is a text analysis app for iPhone and iPad. It allows you to create wordclouds from your favourite text, website, tweet stream, or document. Textal then allows you to interact with the wordcloud, to drill down further and explore the statistics and the relationships between words in the text. It has been designed to be an easy introduction to text-analysis, whilst providing useful functionality missing from previous implementations of wordclouds. Textal transforms wordclouds into useful tools for analysis, research, and play.
The Transcribe Bentham initiative is a highly innovative and novel attempt to aid in the transcription of Bentham’s work. A digitisation project will provide high quality scans of the papers, whilst an online transcription tool will be developed which will allow volunteers to contribute to the transcription effort. It provides a “crowdsourcing” tool which will be used to manage contributions from the wider audience interested in Bentham’s work, including school students, and amateur historians.
tranScriptorium aims to develop innovative, efficient and cost-effective solutions for the indexing, search and full transcription of historical handwritten document images, using modern, holistic Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology. tranScriptorium is a STREP of the Seventh Framework Programme in the ICT for Learning and Access to Cultural Resources challenge.
USEUM is the first ever crowdsourced art gallery exhibiting thousands of paintings, drawings and illustrations from the 14th century until today. USEUM creates a discourse between museums, artists and art lovers, who are an essential part of USEUM. Members of the platform can rate, curate, document and even upload artworks to USEUM’s Exhibition. The goal of USEUM is to make art more accessible to Internet users, by creating an online art gallery people can turn to when looking up artists, paintings, illustrations, or other related content, instead of going on a generic search engine.
Projects are not always long-lived: the nature of Digital Humanities research means that many are pilots, and short term projects can lead to useful research. Projects are also funding dependent, and can come to a natural end. Here I list projects I have been involved in which are complete.
Bluclobber AKA Enabling Complex Analysis of Large Scale Digital Collections. Lots of money has been spent digitising heritage collections. Digitised heritage collections are data. But non-computationally trained scholars don’t know what to ask of large quantities of data. Often they do not have access to high performance computing facilities. We aim to address this fundamental problem by extending research data management processes in order to enable novel research and a deeper understanding of emerging research needs.
Digital transformations mean that cultural and media organisations now find themselves in a new environment in which communities of participants interact to create, curate, organise and support cultural experiences. This research network draws together participants who believe that creative organisations need to explore the new relationships, new opportunities and new research questions created by digital transformations. The network will explore and investigate the opportunities, affordances and risks of this model through a network with world-leading partners, based around four themes: Production and creativity; Business models, rights and ownership; Design; and Learning.
The Image, Text, Interpretation: e-Science, Technology and Documents project (also known as eSAD: e-Science and Ancient Documents) aims to use computing technologies to aid experts in reading ancient documents in their complex task. The project, being undertaken at the University of Oxford with input from University College London, is funded under the AHRC-EPSRC-JISC Arts and Humanities e-Science Initiative, and will run until the end of 2011. The project’s work focusses on creating tools which can aid the reading of damaged texts like the stilus tablets from Vindolanda. Furthermore, the project explores how an Interpretation Support System (ISS) can be used in the day-to-day reading of ancient documents and keep track of how the documents are interpreted and read. A combination of image processing tools and an ontology-based support system is being developed to facilitate the work of experts in decipherment by recording and tracking their hypotheses about reading and interpretation as they develop.
The Great Parchment Book is an early 17th century survey of the County of Londonderry. It is a manuscript that has been completely inaccessible to scholars for over 200 years, since it was heavily damaged in a fire at Guildhall in 1786. It is hoped that the development of new digital methodologies will allow the opening up of the obscured text and enable the production of usable 3-D digital images and a transcription of the complete manuscript. These techniques have never been tried on manuscripts before, and so, if successful, would provide exciting possibilities for other damaged parchment manuscripts in the City of London’s collections and beyond.
The LAIRAH survey will investigate the use of online digital resources in the humanities to determine whether they are sustainable and, how, and why they are used. No systematic studies of the use of such resources has been undertaken, and LAIRAH aims to provide comprehensive, quantitative, qualitative, and robust measures for evaluation of real-time use, utilising deep log analysis techniques on automatically recorded server data. This analysis will provide the basis for follow-up qualitative work. The findings will aid the selection of projects for future funding, and provide evaluatory measures for new projects developing digital online resources for the humanities.
LinkSphere, which is a joint research project with the University of Reading, funded by the JISC Virtual Research Environment 3 programme. The project is aiming to develop a virtual research environment (VRE) which will allow cross-repository searching across various digital collections and archives including (just to name a few) the Silchester IADB, Film Collection, Film, Television and Theatre archive, the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology collections, The Museum of English Rural Life collections and the Cole Museum of Zoology collections) producing a useful user interface to various disparate digital collections.
The PanoptiCam is an online camera that streams what Jeremy Bentham sees while sitting in his cabinet at UCL. Seeing Bentham’s auto-icon can evoke a wide array of emotions from surprise and shock to mirth. PanoptiCam captures people’s reaction using a webcam mounted above the auto-icon, with the camera feed posted to our website in real time, and time lapse photography generating days in the life of Jeremy Bentham’s current, yet
The aim of the MiCLUES project is to explore the potential of smart devices to provide dynamic, rich, reconfigurable contexts and paths through the Royal College of Music’s Museum (RCM) collection. The project will take a small sample from the collection to develop proof-of concept demonstrators and evaluate these through visitor surveys.
Physical sciences, hunting for the exploration of fundamental laws of nature, have played a special role for the natural sciences in the 19th and 20th century. As a discipline they formed an interface between mathematics and other natural sciences, but also between natural sciences, engineering, applied sciences and technological development. Not only have they influenced other sciences, epistemic and social behaviour characterizing this specific scientific community has often functioned as role model for other sciences.
The QRator project is exploring new models for public engagement and informal learning in museums using handheld mobile devices and new interactive digital labels. QRator is creating small printed tags (QR codes) for museum objects, linked to an online database. These will allow the public to view curated information and, most notably, to send back their own interpretation and views via their own mobile phone or interactive digital label. This will enable the public to collaborate and discuss museum concepts and object interpretation with museum curators, and academic researchers.
e-Science allows large datasets to be searched and analysed quickly, efficiently, and in complex and novel ways. Little application has been made of the processing power of grid technologies to humanities data, due to lack of available datasets, and little understanding of or access to e-Science technologies. The ReACH workshop series investigated the potential application of grid computing to a large dataset of interest to historians, humanists, digital consumers, and the general public: historical census records.
How can advances in 3D imaging be best deployed in the cultural and heritage sector? In this 4 year EngD in Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation, sponsored by The Science Museum in conjunction with UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and UCL’s Photogrammetry, 3D Imaging and Metrology group we investigate how models of museum spaces can be captured, reused, and their usefulness for the general public.
Museums’ objects have too often been seen as purely historical objects. They aren’t. Rather, they are social objects, inspiring emotional attachment, discussion, debate and action. This project is at the forefront of capturing and representing what audiences feel and say in response to our collections and subjects. Social Interpretation aims to holistically represent the discussions about, and sharing of, our objects by audiences. We aim to do this seamlessly across all of our outputs (in-gallery, on-mobile and on-line). Social Interpretation is making museums objects truly social.
The ICANN Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information Policy Development Process (PDP) Working Group (the “Working Group”) is concerned with the way that contact information data – commonly referred to as ‘Whois’ – are collected and displayed within generic top-level domains (gTLDs). According to the Charter, the Working Group “is tasked to provide the GNSO Council with a policy recommendation regarding the translation and transliteration of contact information.
The initial aim of Transnational Slade is to explore this impact of art education by examining who was at the Slade, specifically during the 1950s. This decade is important because it was a pivotal decade of change between Britain and its former colonial territories, particularly in the widening of the Commonwealth and the diminishing of the empire. It’s an era when modernism began to enter the work of artists who would play a more visible role in the Independence movements of their countries in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The Virtual Environments for Research in Archaeology project builds on the successful JISC VRE 1 project, Silchester ‘Town Life a research and training excavation of one part of the large Roman town at Silchester. The Silchester excavation aims to trace the site’s development from its origins before the Roman Conquest to its abandonment in the fifth century A.D. The rich and complex finds from the excavation provide the material to populate the research environment, and a working site to investigate the use of advanced Information Technology in an archaeological context.