Last year’s #DCDC17 conference, hosted by The National Archives and Research Libraries UK (RLUK), was an opportunity to analyse how we assess the value of our collections and partnerships, whilst advancing our digital technologies to enable engagement by communities, researchers and academics.
Professor Geoffrey Crossick (RLUK) gave the opening keynote, suggesting that the cultural value of collections lies in engagement, and that our cultural institutions play an important role in enabling individuals to become reflective and engaged citizens.
Hannah Petrie works in Digital Humanities Archives and Documentation in the College’s Digital Humanities Team. Her expertise includes working with archived data, documenting research projects on the web, and text encoding with TEI. She is currently contributing to an XQuery- and XSLT-based text archive system as part of an AHRC research project. She attended this conference along with two of her colleagues from Exeter: Graham Fereday from the Digital Humanities team, and PhD student Helen Angear.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities conference in Manchester, along with my colleague Graham Fereday and Exeter PhD student Helen Angear. DCDC is a national conference organised by The National Archives and Research Libraries UK.
This was the first time we had attended the DCDC conference, but judging by the conversations I had in the networking sessions, we were far from the only ones attending for the first time. My colleagues Graham and Helen were also presenting a paper in the Linked Open Data session, about our project Hardy’s Correspondents, digitising the collection of letters written to Thomas Hardy held at Dorset County Museum. Our talk was about reviving the conversations between Hardy and his correspondents by collating the two sides of correspondence for the first time, using TEI/XML text encoding within an eXist-db database to recreate that conversation. The talk was videoed, and, since I originally published this post, has been made available to watch on YouTube (‘Reviving epistolary conversations: linked data and dialogic approaches to letter collections’ in the conference schedule):
DCDC16 | Reviving Epistolary Conversations – University of Exeter
In contrast to the huge scale of the previous conference in Kraków, Autumn has offered an opportunity to attend something a little more manageable. The Digitial Humanities Congress is hosted biennially by the Humanities Research Institute in Sheffield, and is a national conference that attracts international audiences.
In a very varied programme, the speakers covered topics such as musicology, text mining and analysis, semantic encoding and infrastructural issues. An early highlight was a series of papers, introduced by Marilyn Deegan, on the ‘Academic Book of the Future’, which discussed the potential shape of academic outputs, and specifically monographs, as the move to digital and open access opens up new possibilities. Creating works with greater interactivity and engagement, that can link directly to open access source material, and provide insight through well-designed interactive visualisations and access to raw data were all high on the wish-list, with some intriguing experiments.
Digitising using the conservation cradle in the Special Collections
Hannah Petrie works in Digital Humanities Archives and Documentation in the College’s Digital Humanities Team. Her expertise includes working with archived data, documenting research projects on the web, and text encoding with TEI. She is currently contributing to an XQuery- and XSLT-based text archive system as part of an AHRC research project. She was awarded an ADHO early career bursary, which enabled her to attend this conference. She attended this conference along with five of her colleagues from Exeter: Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman, Graham Fereday and Rich Holding from the Digital Humanities team, and PhD student Richard Graham.
This was my first time attending the annual Digital Humanities conference, and it’s certainly the biggest conference I’ve ever attended. We were told that at final count, there were 902 delegates from 45 different countries (to put it in perspective, the Digital Humanities congress that I attended in Sheffield in 2014 had 100 delegates). I went along with four of my colleagues from our Digital Humanities team in Exeter and one PhD student.
The main lecture theatre that we congregated in for the plenaries was impressively huge, and must have seated around 1200 people. The scale of the conference was reflected by the number of parallel sessions on offer. Eleven sessions ran concurrently throughout most of the conference, meaning that each one involved a difficult decision. Checking Storify feeds of tweet highlights from the conference, I felt like there was at least another conference-worth of additional material. I sometimes wanted to attend two or three sessions that were running at the same time, and wished that some of the sessions could have been recorded so that we could listen to the ones we missed afterwards.