How Important is Digital Preservation?

Since the delineation between “The Digital World” and “The World” becomes less clear on a daily basis, and advances in technology seem to happen twice as fast, what’s the importance of digital preservation?

So what if those text messages you sent last year are gone? Since nobody uses Lotus 1-2-3, MacPaint, or PageMaker any more, why should we care what happens to the files?

This discussion will look at a few aspects of digital preservation, and why it might be important. Some topics considered:

  • The Digital Dark Age
  • How to know what’s important
  • The long tail of research
  • Preservation for access
  • Hardware/software emulation

Some more conversational fodder can be found here:

Categories: Digital Literacy, Session Proposals | 1 Comment

Crowdsourcing in the Humanities and Cultural Sector

A growing number of academic and collecting institutions are crowdsourcing to create and enhance online collections and resources more cost-effectively, engage the wider community, and enable research. Online volunteers are assisting with a wide range of tasks such as tagging, identification, proofreading, transcription, text encoding, translation, and contextualisation.

For those of us in the early stages of crowdsourcing project development, and others investigating this approach, there are many questions to be addressed:

  • What are the projects that serve as precedents?
  • What are the risks and advantages of crowdsourcing the task?
  • Who is ‘the crowd’ and what are the benefits to the volunteer?
  • What are the resources required, and how long will it take to achieve our objective?
  • Does an appropriate crowdsourcing tool exist, or do we need to build a custom solution?
  • How do we optimize the system and website for participation?
  • What level of volunteer support and moderation is needed for quality control?
  • What metrics should we use to evaluate the project?

I’m keen to talk shop with folks interested in these questions and others.

Categories: Crowdsourcing, Session Proposals | Tags: | 1 Comment

Let’s talk about Linked Data and LODLAM

We’ve (Conal Tuohy, Anna Gerber, Anne Cregan and Ingrid Mason) just run an Introduction to Linked Data workshop at eResearch Australasia 2012 conference (see wiki for presentations).  I won’t be bringing these fabulous computer scientists with me to NZ sadly to get their dose of great coffee, paua fritters and nice locally made tipples but I will be bringing a growing obsession with linked data with me and I’m looking for the similarly obsessed at the Wellington THATCamp.

A kindly participant in the Linked Data workshop we ran said we faced the challenge of working with a wide range of skill sets: made it hard to workshop but boy we had a good session nonetheless.  Discussions and interest in linked data seems to reflect the domain of eResearch and the conversation goes from the technical to the philosophical, to the very pragmatic and back.

Guess it all boils down to whether linked data as an approach is going to solve problems and help to deliver services that researchers need or want to use.  We are certainly working on that premise in the HuNI virtual lab project.  So that seems like a good topic to work on and possibly we could crowd-source more topics to talk about on the day or via comments here.

btw Conal has managed to expose the Australian Women’s Register (“a growing source of information about Australian women and their organisations”) as a graph.  Yeah – even that word had me flustered.  Think of a network of nodes not bar chart like I did!  The cluster at the top is politicians, the cluster at the bottom are sports-people and the interesting complex set of constellations in the middle are a mix of caring professions and more… lots to be discovered by “distant reading” helped massively by connecting that to “close reading” of the data too.

Australian Women's Register as a graph

Australian Women’s Register as a graph | Conal Tuohy | From HuNI virtual laboratory project @HuNIVL

If you’re interested in joining a group working on demonstrators of linked open data, try looking at the lodlam Google group discussions (even join) or follow #linkeddata or #lodlam on Twitter, the LODLAM website or subscribe and keep in touch with the @HuNIVL Humanities Networked Infrastructure virtual lab project (underway in Australia, funded by NeCTAR).

20120108-NodeXL-Twitter-SciFri network graph

CC-BY 2.0 | 20120108-NodeXL-Twitter-SciFri network graph | Marc_Smith



Categories: Session Proposals | 1 Comment

Sign up and propose a session

Welcome! THATCamp W12 kicks off on Thursday 22 November at Victoria University of Wellington and we’d love to see you there. Find out how it works and sign up here.

Check out some of the session proposals below, and when you’re ready, go ahead and propose a session yourself!

Categories: General | Comments Off on Sign up and propose a session

Mapping networks

Mapping the “degrees of separation” of the people attending THATCamp W12
Session proposal by Nancy Marquez

My session proposal idea is to create a network map of the participants in attendance; I’d like to see how people with experience creating this sort of map would think through the planning of a visual representation that communicates information about relationships when there are probably a variety of approaches to the question of how we ‘know’ one another (or know someone who knows the other).

I’m thinking about the usefulness of making particularly well-connected people into nodes (or centres) for the sake of visual clarity over a more layered (and visually unintelligible) complexity, and how to define ‘knowing another person’ whether it takes more than sharing the same work space, one face-to-face conversation, an email reply, or simply ‘feeling that we know’ the other person from conversations with mutual friends/acquaintances.

I also wonder about whether it is possible to visually represent, to good effect, strong links (e.g. having known each other for a minimum amount of time) between the participants BEFORE attending THATCamp W12 versus DURING as we would presumably meet new people we have shared interests or training with and strengthen older ties throughout the day.

Categories: Mapping, Session Proposals | 1 Comment

National Digital Infrastructure

This is a fairly unwieldy topic, but a lot of my conversations seem to be veering in this direction. I’d like to propose a session to discuss what a future digital humanities infrastructure might look like in New Zealand. We don’t need to ‘go large’ and try for a huge and unachievable project, but we do need to keep up with Europe, and countries like the UK, US and Australia and at least consider what an integrated approach might look like. Some countries have been working on these issues for a while, as expressed in projects like HUNI, Bamboo / DIRT, and groups like JISC. There’s also a wealth of ‘big picture’ reports like Our Cultural Commonwealth. Some of the questions I’d like some bright sparks to consider:

  • What group / organisation would be most appropriate to lead the development of such a strategy?
  • What existing infrastructure components (DigitalNZ, NeSI etc) could we cobble together?
  • What services would we need from such an infrastructure (IAAS, SAAS, basic web hosting etc)?
  • Should such an infrastructure be only for the academic community like the ones overseas seem to be, or would it be better to include central / local government agencies and perhaps the general public too?
  • Is it worth considering next steps, or is the issue too big?


Categories: Session Proposals | 2 Comments

Time to Propose a Session!

Here’s how it works. We have a schedule, but other than the workshops, we don’t have anything planned—you’re the ones who do the planning.

Over the next three weeks you can post your session ideas to the THATCamp W12 blog. Take some time to read other people’s proposals and comment on them if you wish. On the morning of the event we’ll vote for the sessions we want to participate in, and this will become our schedule for the day.

The more thought we put into this, the better it works. Here’s what makes for a good session proposal…

What makes a good session proposal?

It’s NOT a paper, a talk, or a lecture, but an idea for a conversation.

It proposes a topic related to technology and humanities that a group of people can discuss in an hour or so.

We’ll be looking to you to facilitate the sessions you propose, so if you propose a hacking session, you should have the germ of a project to work on; if you propose a workshop, you should be prepared to teach it; if you propose a discussion, you should be prepared to summarize what that is, kick off the discussion, keep it humming, and wrap it up.

Ideally, the session will produce something useful or at least some actionable “next steps”. There are more ideas and guidelines on the THATCamp website.

How do I propose a session?

1. Log in to WordPress with your username and password
2. Go to Posts – Add New
3. Select the category “Session Proposals”
4. Write, publish, and hey presto!

If you haven’t used WordPress before, you may find this helpful:

Alternatively, you can email your session proposal and I’ll post it for you:

Categories: General, Session Proposals | Comments Off on Time to Propose a Session!

What’s brewing at THATCamp Wellington?

It’s not long until New Zealand’s first THATCamp kicks off on 22 November – if you want to sign up you can do so here.

And if you’re wondering whether there will be anyone who shares your interests, check out what the W12 campers have thrown in the pot so far…

  • network mapping
  • linked open data
  • gaming
  • reuse of online collections
  • crowdsourcing
  • visualization
  • data mining
  • Digital Humanities
  • Javascript
  • APIs
  • geospatial mapping
  • authority control
  • auto-tagging
  • transformative learning
  • digitisation
  • mobile access
  • digital archiving
  • licensing of digital content
  • hands-on experience with digital tools

If you want to add your interest/question/obsession to the list and meet like-minded adventurers, sign up here!

Categories: About W12 | 1 Comment

Sign up now!

If you would like to be part of New Zealand’s very first THATCamp at Victoria University of Wellington on Thursday 22 November, sign up here. There are only a limited number of places, so don’t drag your feet! For updates and inspiration we encourage you to follow the blog and THATCamp Wellington on Twitter. The more questions, comments, and ideas shared the merrier, so don’t be shy – and spread the word!

Categories: Register | Comments Off on Sign up now!

At last… New Zealand’s own THATCamp!

Maybe you’ve been to one… perhaps you’ve heard about them… Quite possibly, you’re wondering what IS a THATCamp? Either way, you’re in the right place!

THATCamp Wellington is a user-generated/crowdsourced/everyone in boots n all and no one on the bench ‘unconference’.

It’s inspired by the original THATCamp, organised by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and is one of a growing number of regional THATCamps popping up around the world.

If you’re passionate about the humanities and technology, and want to learn/share/hack/build/brainstorm/discover with like-minded adventurers, THATCamp Wellington 2012 has your name on it. And if that passion needs a little nudge in one direction or the other, this might just be the ticket.

If you’d like to be part of New Zealand’s very first THATCamp at Victoria University of Wellington on Thursday 22 November, we encourage you to follow the blog and THATCamp Wellington on Twitter for updates. The more questions, comments, and ideas shared the merrier, so don’t be shy – and spread the word!

If you’d like to learn more about what makes a THATCamp, go here: THATCamp

And if you’re ready to start thinking about what THATCamp W12 can do for you, and what you can do for THATCamp W12, go here: About W12

Over and out for now,

Categories: About W12 | Comments Off on At last… New Zealand’s own THATCamp!