Recently we welcomed a distinguished guest speaker to the DH Lab, Professor Jane Winters of the School of Advanced Study, University of London, to give a seminar on the current landscape of Digital Humanities (DH) in the UK. Prof. Winters discussed the results of a major new survey, commissioned by the School of Advanced Study, the British Academy, the British Library and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, into DH research, teaching and practice in universities, GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) and the creative industries. The aims of the report were to document the current landscape of DH research, teaching and practice; identify what kind of support this needs; and explore possible demand for a UK-based DH network or association and the nature of the role that such an organisation could play.
Interpreting the statistics of the report for a highly engaged audience, Winters drew out from the facts and figures a picture of a diverse DH landscape, in which respondents identified themselves as belonging to almost forty different research areas. More than three quarters also had extensive involvement in teaching, either in their subject area or in DH. Winters noted that not all digital research and digital scholarship is described by its practitioners as ‘Digital Humanities’, even when it is firmly rooted in the study of Humanities sources and their related areas of specialisation. As researchers within universities, we therefore need to ensure that when we collaborate with creative partners or GLAM institutions, we try to use a common language to describe what we do: this will help not only in the project itself, but also in how we communicate what we do to those outside our particular areas of expertise.
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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
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