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Seminar part 2

March 27, 2012 in Afternoon, Communication, Lab, Learning, Outside

The next two speakers at the Digital Scholarship in Practice in the Humanities were Liz Fitzgerald and Jan Parker.

Liz spoke about her role in the Pelagios project, and the challenges of linking data provided by a number of partners, all using different formats. Besides their valuable work on georeferencing ancient placenames, they are also developing embeddable widgets for their content. Something I really admire is the fact that they are using their blog to report on the project’s progress. Just tonight, they posted the results of a user survey they did, and explained how it is going to help them develop their work further.

Jan Parker spoke about the idea of the “Big Tent” Digital Humanities, and engaged the audience in a lively debate about who could call herself / himself a Digital Humanist. I quoted Stephen Ramsay and Mark Sample on the making versus sharing emphasis, with my vote going towards sharing and collaboration.

After the seminar was officially over, Jan and I continued our discussion outside over a cup of coffee, thanks to the beautiful weather on this day of DH. I left with ideas and inspiration for my own research and for the Digital Humanities Thematic Research Network (number one: devise a shorter name for our group!). Perhaps I am getting better at networking after all?

Digital Scholarship in the Humanities seminar, part 1

March 27, 2012 in Afternoon, Lab, Learning

Our colleagues from the Institute of Educational Technology here at the OU hosted a great seminar today, and gave me plenty of inspiration for further work.

First up was Martin Weller, who blogs as The Ed Techie. Martin gave an inspiring presentation on “Digital Scholarship: 10 lessons in 10 videos”. Briefly, his ten points were that Digital Scholarship

  1. Is not just for geeks
  2. Has researchers caught in a dilemma: embrace the new ways, or continue with the old ones that lead to tenure and promotion?
  3. Interdisciplinarity now resides in the network
  4. We are all broadcasters now: in a long tail content production system, all academic outputs can be turned into digital resources
  5. We are operating in an attention economy: universities are based around a pedagogy of scarcity, but what is the pedagogy of abundance?
  6. We need to rethink research: start now and do something useful, without waiting for the money to come around
  7. New skills will be required: video editing, visualisation, networking, analytics, data curation, writing for online audiences
  8. It’ll impact even if you ignore it: e.g. conferences nowadays are amplified digitally
  9. It’s about alternatives: the old models (e.g. in publishing) are not dead, but they live in a new ecosystem
  10. Don’t just focus on the risks: think also of the benefits of open systems

Martin’s presentation is available on Slideshare if you want to know more.

The next two speakers in a later post!

Interlude: After the meeting

March 27, 2012 in Meeting, Morning, Office, Uncategorized

The meeting of the Digital Humanities Steering Committee is just over, and I am left with a clearer roadmap of my next few weeks here at the Open University.

Firstly, I must get to know all the people currently working on DH projects. I have recently joined the wonderful team behind the Reading Experience Database, and later this week I will meet with the Open Arts Archive and the Commodities of Empire project. I have visited the Pelagios project, and thrown a few ideas about widgets at their workshop. Next on the list is going to be the Making Britain project and database. This will be face-to-face collaboration, rather than the digital kind, but with DH aims in mind. We are organising a session of our seminar to showcase these projects.

Secondly, I need to figure out the best way for the Open University to support present and future DH projects as an institution. Do we need technical support? If so, of what kind, and for how many hours per week per project? As the DH Research Associate, it is my job and the Steering Committee’s to make a case with the Faculty and the University. The seminar session will help with this too.

Thirdly, I really need to work more on our website and our blog. I am not a natural blogger, but I have to be the public face of our DH endeavours here at the OU. Thankfully, I am not alone in this effort either! Our secretary Heather Scott is a gifted amateur photographer, and will provide images for the blog header.

Now, to the seminars!

A morning’s work

March 27, 2012 in Communication, Email, Morning, Office

It’s the morning of my first Day of DH, which promises to be an interesting one here at the Open University main campus in Milton Keynes. Later on today we will hold the monthly meeting of the Digital Humanities Steering Committee, to be followed by the latest in our Digital Humanities in Practice seminar series, Digital Scholarship in Practice in the Humanities. I am eager to listen to our colleagues from the Institute of Educational Technology, and work with the Steering Committee to increase awareness and adoption of Digital Humanities here in the OU.

For now, it is a normal morning routine for me. First thing is checking my various email addresses. I am working with my colleague Justin Tonra on a proposal for a conference, and I see from his email that, true to his word as always, he has submitted our abstract. We put the finishing touches to it yesterday via Skype and a shared Google Doc, since he is based in Virginia and I in the UK. Instant collaboration across geographical barriers is one thing that I am glad is a part of my “life of Digital Humanities”.

After email, it is the turn of Google Reader, my first port of call for news and developments in DH and beyond, though my other research interests of Irish Studies and Book History are not as well represented among my blog subscriptions. I tag interesting items for later reference, open the ones that require filing in Zotero or bookmarking (in the case of resources, rather than posts or articles).

Now it is time for Twitter, which I both love and dread first thing in the morning, as I know that the very active US-based DHers I follow will have tweeted abundantly while I was asleep here in the UK. But wait, what is this? Could it be a Windows update? More after the multiple downloads and the inevitable restart…

About me

March 7, 2012 in Biography

I am Research Associate in Digital Humanities with the Faculty of Arts, The Open University. My job is to promote the development of Digital Humanities at the Open University,  in line with our  mission of being “open to people, places, methods and ideas”.

For a list of our DH projects, see Our blog can be found here:

My own research interests are digital editions, 19th-century Irish literature, and book history. With Justin Tonra, I am one of the editors of the Thomas Moore Archive (to be launched soon!), dedicated to Irish poet, satirist, songwriter and biographer Thomas Moore (1779-1852).  In my spare time, I enjoy trying to represent  Moore’s 1819 tour of Italy in the shape of a blog at