Each year we ask our interns to write a blog post at the end of their time working with us looking back on their time in the DH Lab. Here is the third of this year’s blogs from Isabel:
Hi, my name’s Isabel and I’m a third year History student and intern at the Digital Humanities Lab and this year I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy my second year at the lab.
Recently, I’ve been spending my time getting to grips with photogrammetry and 3D modelling. On top of photographing and processing lot of palaeolithic flints and ancient pottery from the archaeology department’s teaching packs, one of my main projects I worked on was fully processing a small ornament from a physical object, to a digital model, to a physical object again in the form of two differently printed 3D prints. I started with the original Egyptian pyramid ornament, photographing it in the photogrammetry set up in the lab space. Then, these photos had to be processed in computer software which aligned the images into one digital 3d model.
Once this was completed, I printed the first 3D model in our Ultimaker 3D printer in white and finally I printed a green resin model in the form lab printer and had a look to see how different the results were.
This year I also got to spend a lot of time with the RTI dome. On the one hand this meant creating RTI images of the archeology from the teaching packs so that people could better see the markings and lines on the side where the pottery had been cut and which showed more information about how the pottery was made. On the other hand, this also meant experiemtnsing with some of my own objects to see how they would look under RTI. I experimented with a necklace of mine with bronze age chain on it to see what the different RTI photos would show me.
And finally, I got to have a bit of fun at Halloween this year when I printed a glow in the dark pumpkin pot!
Each year we ask our interns to write a blog post at the end of their time working with us looking back on their time in the DH Lab. Here is the first of this year’s blogs from Jane-Marie:
I am Jane Marie a final year Art History, Visual Culture and Classical studies student. I remember visiting the digital humanities lab on my open day at the university. I was immediately impressed at their wide range of technologies and the opportunity to become an intern at the lab.
Before starting the university, I had completed and art foundation course in graphic communication this meant I had some computer skills before I started the internship. At the end of my first year, I completed a short internship with the University of Exeter’s special collections team cataloguing the university’s Leonard Baskin Prints. Both experiences provided me with the necessary skills and interest to start my internship at the Digital Humanities lab.
Some of the modules I have taken during my time at university have been directly related to Digital Humanities. In my second year I took the AHVC Field study module as part of which we created a walking tour of Florence. From this module I learned digital mapping and audio editing skills. In my final year I took the ‘Hacking the Humanities: how to run successful digital projects’ module which paired very nicely with my work at the Digital Humanities lab.
Over the year as Digital Humanities Intern, I have assisted on a range of projects from digitisation to podcast editing. The most interesting and different project I have worked on is filming the CRAB Lab bees on the top of the Washington Singer Building.
I had no idea that there were any beehives on the Exeter university campus so to get to see them up close and personal was an amazing opportunity. I assisted in the filming of the video and had to wear a bee suit in the process. I was the responsible for the editing of the video.
The challenge when editing this video was knowing what of all the information Zoe, the beekeeper, had told us was the most important to include. We also had a lot of “Bee-role” footage to intersperse with the talking. Another challenge I found was controlling the audio levels across the different bits of footage. As we where filming in a working lab space there was some background noise that needed to be removed from the footage. While editing I learned how to edit the audio to remove the sound without distorting the audio. This example shows the problem-solving skills you develop when working with the digital humanities.
Along side the projects we have also completed training in all aspects of the lab from the 3D printers to Photogrammetry. This has helped me build confidence in using the technologies of the lab as well as introduce me to unfamiliar skills which I found challenging such as coding. Completing these challenges as a group made them less daunting.
Overall, my experience at the digital humanities lab has been an incredible opportunity to learn a range of different skills some of which I found quite challenging and others I immediately clicked with. It has been wonderful working with the other amazing interns, the DHL team and aiding academics in their research and outreach.
Hi, I’m Heide, a second year English Undergraduate. I first encountered the Exeter Digital Humanities Lab during the Festival of Discovery after my first year, but I had already unconsciously experienced Digital Humanities throughout my degree, through online resources such as EEBO (Early English Books Online), The Hardy Correspondents and many other archive websites that I used to research primary sources.
My first hands on experience with digital humanities was during my year one Rethinking Shakespeare module (EAS1041), where we used TEI text encoding to combine differences in Folio and Quarto texts for scholarly consideration. The digitally encoded text provides a more interactive text for study, as different textual variants can be easily seen and more equally considered. The accessibility of the digital texts and the significant scholarly applications inspired me to look further into the previously unknown field of digital humanities by applying to be an intern.
At the start of my internship, I had little technical knowledge about digital photography and technology, however, the DH Lab provided all the training basics. Every week I enjoyed learning new things: Basic Camera skills, Photogrammetry, RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imagery), 3D Modelling and Printing, Photoshop, Audio and Visual recording and editing… The list really does go on! I loved all of the training across the lab and attempted to partake in as many varied projects as I could throughout my internship. One of our training sessions was on photogrammetry, where we brought in our own objects to produce a model. I brought in one of my crochet projects – a kind of awkward looking rabbit (who can be found on one of the Digital Humanities information slides in the Breakout space!). The software wasn’t a great fan of the object, and fabric itself is not the best suited to photogrammetry, so it turned out a little bit wonky (as seen below).
My first projects consisted of 2D digitization in Lab 1, using the A0 copystand. I digitized many letters , and I still enjoy discussing the adorable wax seals to this day. The experience of touching and reading documents and artefacts that would commonly be sealed away in a private collection or museum is such an amazing and interesting experience. I also helped to digitise a collection of Arabic postcards and documents and the Exeter University Fine Art Committee documents. I also used Lab 1 to photograph and reverse negatives of Arabic documents for study in the Lawforms project. Alongside the other interns I helped with inbox and reception management, as well as social media contributions for the Lab and university projects, such as promotional material for the Famine Tales Project.
I also worked on digitising cassette tapes of interviews with Devonshire farmers to convert them into a digital format using the Audio-Visual Lab (AV Lab, Lab 3). As someone who grew up in Devon it was very interesting to hear personal interviews of the locals, and often quite entertaining.
I worked on a larger RTI project to digitize archaeological arrowheads for a university colleague at Exeter. RTI (Reflectance transformation imagery) is performed by capturing images of a static object with a static camera but with changing light angles (check out the DH Lab RTI demonstration page here: https://humanities-research.exeter.ac.uk/rti/). These images are then put into a software called RTI_builder and the process is followed to create an interactive RTI model. Here is a “normals” (the colours correspond to the direction of the surface) of one of the arrowheads:
And a regular screen capture of the object’s other side here:
I also worked on several of my own digitisation projects, including handwritten letters from my Grandma as well as wedding photos from my Aunt. I worked on this alongside all of the projects at the Lab, and it was nice to digitise some of my own family history.
I found working as an intern at Digital Humanities an invaluable experience and recommend it to anybody looking for any experience in the field for job opportunities and personal experience. Don’t let lack of digital experience daunt you – the lab is very welcoming and provides all necessary training help to all interns!
What a year! I have loved working at the Digital Humanities Lab over my third year at Exeter – I have had the opportunity to try so many different activities and have seen a side of the History Faculty and Department I would not normally get to experience as a student. Most enlightening has been the gradual process of understand just how much work goes into conserving and storing the documents we use in our daily studies, and it has given me a new appreciation for the feat of achievement of many of our digital archives. I have particularly enjoyed working with the Drama department’s new Podcasting studio; its accessible format and set-up making it really easy to create podcasts with other students and friends, and I hope to continue this project in my career as a way of enjoying more public debates on history. The most useful advice I could give to someone applying to the Lab or who has already got a place on the internship team is to try everything – and to not be afraid to ask questions. All the staff are super friendly and helpful, and it’s always a great idea to start off slow, learn the techniques properly and learn how to best use and approach each type of archival material, giving you the skills to work more efficiently as the year progresses.
A typical day in the Lab starts with me digitising the most recent documents, photographs or journals that have been brought in – I have partially loved digitising a collection of journals written in the late 1800s by local Devon women, to showcase their artistic, literary and poetic skill. Working with this was challenging, especially as the books were often badly bound or produced on thin, cheap paper, and so they had to be handled slowly and carefully. I used my training from the Special Collections team to plan how to approach each challenge in digitising such a varied type of document. I have also enjoyed seeing the various people and departments who use the Labs photography and recording equipment on a weekly basis to improve course delivery and structure. Learning how to integrate these technologies into future education approaches and lesson planning is the future of education, and will open up the Humanities to a much greater variety of abilities, learning approaches and stages- and as a protective future teacher this has been truly exciting to experience first-hand and have a ‘hands on’ impact on digitisation delivery at the University.
I have really enjoyed my time at the Lab, and can’t recommend enough applying for an internship – you’ll lean so much about the complex and intriguing world of document preservation, and get a new-found appreciation for our brilliant archives and libraries.
Hi, I’m Isabel, a second-year history student and intern at the Digital Humanities Lab.
I have been interested in the Digital Humanities Lab since my first open day before coming to Exeter. What inspired me was the idea that modern technology could expand our understanding of history and build on our current knowledge of the past in brand new ways. I wanted to find out what the Lab had to offer and what opportunities might be out there in the changing world of historical research.
The biggest project I’ve been a part of this year has been working with the Disability Namibia Team (@NoBODYexcluded). I’ve led, recorded and edited interviews, ran website design and supported the social media outreach of this wonderful project which aims to build a network of disability activists, scholars, clergy, artists and political representatives to explore religio-cultural narratives of embodiment and disability in Namibia. It’s been wonderful to be a part of such a multidisciplinary project and something I would never have been able to do as an undergraduate outside of the internship.
Alongside this has been my work with Dr Charlotte Tupman, Research Fellow in Digital Humanities. The project has mainly focused on exploring the OCR – Optical Character Recognition – capabilities of the ABBYY FineReader software when it is presented with a book’s text and measuring its abilities to transform early modern script into computer-readable XML format. My favourite aspect of working on this project has been its investigative nature, finding out how best to use this technology and what might soon be possible as the project advances.
Other than this, my favourite parts have been working with special collections and with the Lab’s 3D printer. As an intern, I had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of working with historical collections, including how to handle things such as books, pamphlets, lantern slides, and photo negatives and I loved that I could learn skills I could take away with me into a future in humanities.
The 3D printer has been a brilliant opportunity to discover my creative capabilities at the DH Lab. Working with the Ultimaker 3D printer, I was able to make two small and adorable models that made great Christmas gifts for friends and family! The first of these was the goose. Initially, the software was uncertain whether it could print something with such an overhang at the neck when there were no materials available for making a temporary support. But, I was able to adapt settings and re-scale where necessary until I could print the goose I have today. The second was this puppy. By this time, I could use what I had learnt from my experience making the goose to confidently scale and print the puppy ready to make a gift at Christmas. So, not only do I know how to set up a 3D printer, operate the software and print anything I’d like, but I now have these two little pets to call my own!
My tips for anyone considering an internship at the Digital Humanities Lab would first be: apply! It’s a brilliant opportunity and a great place to work. This internship has given me an opportunity for a wealth of experience and knowledge unique to the Digital Humanities Lab here at Exeter.
The new academic year has arrived and a lot has been going on behind the scenes to enhance the learning experience of on-campus and remote learners in 2020/21 and for years to come. With the majority of staff and students working from home, much of university life – from seminars, working groups and research conferences to team meetings, cake breaks and crafternoons – has essentially become virtual. Could this be an opportunity to explore new ways and new tools to teach that can bring real value to the future student experience and enables students around the world to continue to study and engage in a learning community? The answer is yes.
Creative and tech-savvy Digital Learning Developers have collaborated with lecturers to prepare engaging teaching resources and module pages on the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE) across all colleges and subject areas. Module conveners took the opportunity to design clear, informative and streamlined content and revamp course material through personal videos, image galleries, cloud documents for collective editing and virtual activities such as weekly Q&A chats, quizzes and virtual gratitude walls to foster class spirit.
Hi, I’m Jordan and I am currently working towards my BA History degree. This year, I have worked as an intern with the Digital Humanities Lab and I will be reflecting on the experience and skills that I developed in this blog post.
One of the best things about working in the labs is the extensive range of possibilities available, which gave me the opportunity to work with 2D, 3D, and Audio-Visual digitisation. My favourite area of work was 3D digitisation in the Makerspace, which houses our 3D printers and 3D workstation. This was an area which I became particularly interested in and one that would be of particular use to any future intern interested in cultural heritage. I loved 3D Digitisation because it required me to create things. 3D has so much potential for education as it creates a hands-on learning experience and makes digital education more accessible and is an area that I would definitely recommend getting into! In addition to my 3D work, I learnt how to code, played with Arduino boards, and also completed highly precise Photoshop stitching on our Saxton’s ‘Atlas of England and Wales’ project. Continue reading →
Our intern cohort of 2019/ 2020 created individual presentations to share their experiences of working in the DH Lab and talk about their digital projects. Find out more about the benefits of the internship to their learning as Humanities undergraduates and the positive impact on their progression and aspirations.
Over the past six months, we have settled into life as interns for the DH Team. Throughout the internship, we’ve become accustomed to supporting and facilitating the research of staff in the College of Humanities, and acting as the first point of contact for all the types of people coming in to use the lab spaces. We’ve undergone training in photogrammetry, Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), and 3D printing… all whilst attempting to formulate an answer to the question “what exactly is digital humanities?”
We’ve been supporting numerous research projects such as Sarah-Jayne Ainsworth’s digitisation of Early Modern Bristol women’s wills, digitising Ronald Duncan micro-cassette tapes and the 2D digitisation of a collection of historic posters from the Northcott Theatre.
In December, the Digital Humanities team recruited six new College of Humanities undergraduates to advisory intern positions, based in the Digital Humanities Lab. The interns commenced work with us at the beginning of the new term. We received an impressively large number of applications and, following a competitive interview process, we were pleased to appoint candidates with a keen interest in the field, enthusiasm, strong problem-solving skills, and an interest in careers within the Digital Humanities.
The team have put together an introduction to their roles below, and some background on their own interests. The team bring with them positive energy and new perspectives on our projects and we welcome them and their ideas to the Digital Humanities Lab research community:
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