Tuesday, 16 December 2008
If you're feeling really cheery, I've been involved in doing some fundraising for the baby unit at the Lister Hospital, Stevenage, and if you're looking for a xmas charidee to give a donation to, then here you go.
Mines is a brandy and babycham, come the drinks order. Merry Xmas!
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Paul did most of the research, I just helped him polish and polish and buff and polish it into good shape. A fun project for me to be involved in - and an interesting read about the issues regarding preserving our gaming heritage.
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Call for Papers: Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture
Editors Brent Nelson (University of Saskatchewan) and Melissa Terras
(University College London) invite submissions for a collection of
essays on “Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture” to
be published in the New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance
Studies Series edited by Ray Siemens and William Bowen.
This collection of essays will build on the accomplishments of recent
scholarship on materiality by bringing together innovative research
on the theory and praxis of digitizing material cultures from roughly
500 A.D. to 1700 A.D. Scholars of the medieval and early modern
periods have begun to pay more attention to the material world not
only as a means of cultural experience, but also as a shaping
influence upon culture and society, looking at the world of material
objects as both an area of study and a rich source of evidence for
interpreting the past. Digital media enable new ways of evoking,
representing, recovering, and simulating these materials in
non-traditional, non-textual (or para-textual) ways and present new
possibilities for recuperating and accumulating material from across
vast distances and time, enabling both preservation and comparative
analysis that is otherwise impossible or impractical. Digital
mediation also poses practical and theoretical challenges, both
logistical (such as gaining access to materials) and intellectual
(for example, the relationship between text and object). This volume
of essays will promote the deployment of digital technologies to the
study of material culture by bringing together expertise garnered
from complete and current digital projects, while looking forward to
new possibilities for digital applications; it will both take stock
of the current state of theory and practice and advance new
developments in digitization of material culture. The editors welcome
submissions from all disciplines on any research that addresses the
use of digital means for representing and investigating material
culture as expressed in such diverse areas as:
• travelers’ accounts, navigational charts and cartography
• collections and inventories
• numismatics, antiquarianism and early archaeology
• theatre and staging (props, costumes, stages, theatres)
• the visual arts of drawing, painting, sculpture, print making, and
• model making
• paper making and book printing, production, and binding
• manuscripts, emblems, and illustrations
• palimpsests and three-dimensional writing
• instruments (magic, alchemical, and scientific)
• arts and crafts
• the anatomical and cultural body
We welcome approaches that are practical and/or theoretical, general
in application or particular and project-based. Submissions should
present fresh advances in methodologies and applications of digital
technologies, including but not limited to:
• XML and databases and computational interpretation
• three-dimensional computer modeling, Second Life and virtual worlds
• virtual research environments
• mapping technology
• image capture, processing, and interpretation
• 3-D laser scanning, synchrotron, or X-ray imaging and analysis
• artificial intelligence, process modeling, and knowledge representation
Papers might address such topics and issues as:
• the value of inter-disciplinarity (as between technical and
• relationships between image and object; object and text; text and image
• the metadata of material culture
• curatorial and archival practice
• mediating the material object and its textual representations
• imaging and data gathering (databases and textbases)
• the relationship between the abstract and the material text
• haptic, visual, and auditory simulation
• tools and techniques for paleographic analysis
Enquiries and proposals should be sent to brent.nelson[at]usask.ca by
10 January 2009. Complete essays of 5,000-6,000 words in length will
be due on 1 May 2009.
Monday, 24 November 2008
And it promptly fell over under the weight of 10 million hits per hour.
The wierd thing about this is that the majority of people were searching for "mona lisa". (Andy Warhol famously commented, when the Mona Lisa visited New York in the 1960s, that they should have just sent a facsimile. And it seems that nowadays, that's what the Internet is delivering, and what people want to see).
It seems to reveal something about how people use digital libraries and archives. Woohoo, lots of stuff has been digitised! great! What shall we look up first? Erm..... dunno.... think of something famous that we already probably know....
As part of the LAIRAH research project, we demonstrated that some subjects were the most popular - or most requested - in digitised resources and collections. The Census, witchcraft, suffragettes, shakespeare, chaucer, WWI, WWII... I guess we can now add "Mona Lisa" to that list.
Questions. How many people wont ever come back to this website once it relaunches, given the 404? and really, how exciting is the entry on the Mona Lisa?
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Friday, 14 November 2008
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Apparently, China have just formally defined Internet Addiction as a disease...
Chinese doctors released the country's first diagnostic definition of Internet addiction over the weekend, amid efforts to address an increasing number of psychological problems that reportedly result from Internet overuse.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Have already found my first typo (the whole copy-editor-changing-the-word-losing-to-loosing thing, grrrrr)... but in general: its all smiles here. Hurrah!
Monday, 27 October 2008
Friday, 24 October 2008
We're working like daemons to get try and get the issue up by the TEI meeting in London at the start of November. If not completely finished by then, it wont be long behind. I'm really looking forward to seeing this issue up - its a very fine testament to Ross Scaife's legacy.
Friday, 17 October 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
The Secret Museum of Mankind
Published in 1935, the Secret Museum is a mystery book. It has no author or credits, no copyright, no date, no page numbers, no index. Published by "Manhattan House" and sold by "Metro Publications", both of New York, its "Five Volumes in One" was pure hype: it had never been released in any other form.
Advertised as "World's Greatest Collection of Strange & Secret Photographs" and marketed mainly to overheated adolescents (see the 1942 Keen ad, left), it consists of nothing but photos and captions with no further exposition.
Good example of the type of quirky digital edition only a keen amateur would put together. And what a strange imperialistic text....
Monday, 13 October 2008
We all have our set of "essential" websites we have to check first thing in the morning. Depending what mood I'm in, I'll have a sneaky peek at fffound, or http://www.booooooom.com/, (or etsy, if I'm in the mood for shopping), to see what the "creatives" are up to these days. I was particularly taken by this work by Nicolas Burrows. Sums up how I've started the day for the past 15? years...
Friday, 3 October 2008
Monday, 29 September 2008
Photography and children go hand in hand. Susan Sontag said
Cameras go with family life. Not to take pictures of one’s children, particularly when they are small, is a sign of parental indifference… Those ghostly traces, photography, supply the presence of dispersed relatives. A family’s photograph album is generally about the extended family (Sontag 1979, On Photography, p. 8-9).A child born today will probably have more photographs taken of them in the first year than a child born 50 years ago would have had in their lifetime, given the affordances of point-and-click digital cameras. The silent problem, though, is that folks are so lackadaisical in their approach to long term maintenance of personal digital image collections, that most of these digital images will not be around in 50 years time. Discuss.
"Official" photography of babies is still big business, even in the digital era. In the UK, a few hours after giving birth, you are accosted by the "Bounty Lady", sponsored by the government and industry, to provide you with all the forms you need to register the birth, sign up for child support benefit, and get your hands on child trust fund money. In return for all your details, you also get a bag full of samples of pampers and fairy liquid and the enviromentally-unsound like (and research shows that folk tend to stick with the brands they are presented with when their baby is first born. Kerching!). Then the Bounty Lady sticks a Digital camera in your baby's face (oooh, fancy), and for the bargain price of only £30 or so you can have a Digital print of your wee lamb. At least, I think that was the cost of the smallest package - I was still out of it, having been awake for 3 days by that point.
We smiled smugly and pointed out our range of digital cameras and camcorders which we had with us, and neglected to pay the inflated fee for the snapshot. (You'll have to be my friend on facebook to see such video classics as "Thumper throws shapes" and "Rhythm is a Dancing Baby".) Every single other new mother on the ward stumped up for the costly point and click snap.
In a few weeks, the Bounty Lady (or other commercial equivalent) is turning up to mother and baby group, again, to take a snapshot of all the babies, and charge inflated prices for photo-printed tat just in time for xmas. I'm tempted to take along the DSLR and practice my photography skills with other folk's kids for free. Then they can trot down to the interweb and get whatever they want printed up themselves at normal prices. But maybe that's not the way to win any new friends (or get a free pack of environmentally-unsound pampers). Just say cheese like everyone else...
I really should just enable google analytics on this blog and have done (although I dont know why, given that google owns blogger, that they cant let you switch on analytics automatically without grubbing around in the source code yourself).
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
I just watched a fascinating documentary called "The Mona Lisa Curse", by the art critic Robert Hughes. A very personal polemic about how the financial markets now own - and ruin - what we call "art", by treating it as a commodity and ignoring the underlying artistic statements, comments, and visions inherent in the work. Art is stripped down to a series of icons which now change hands again and again for exorbitant sums of money. (You can still watch this online for a few days, if you have a spare hour its worth taking a look, if just to see all the footage of the NYC art world in the 60s, and Hughes' telling off of the modern collectors who have no idea about what art is, beyond its financial value).
What has this got to do with digital humanities? Hughes traces the phenomenon of art as commodity to a world tour made by the Mona Lisa in the 1960s. I quote from the documentary
over a million americans filed past it... I had this premonition.... it managed to turn the mona lisa into a kind of 15th century television set....
in 1963, in new york, the mona lisa was now treated like a photo in a magazine, to be quickly scanned and then discarded. When Andy Warhol heard that the painting was coming to new york, he quipped "why dont they just have someone copy it and send the copy? no-one would know the difference". The work I had once so admired conjured up a nightmarish vision of the future of art. With swarms of passive art imbibers lining up to be processed by therapeutic culture shots. This glimpse into the future saw something quite real: the orgy of consumption that would tear open the art scene...
The documentary is about finances, and how money has ruined the art world. It didnt touch on modern media, really. But I wonder about this idea of reproduction and facsimile, about image and reproduction. How is digitisation any different? Is it a good thing to divorce the fetishisation of the material object from the "icon" it represents? We are now merrily creating and disseminating Warhol's copies of masterpieces (and apprenticeship-pieces) via imaging and network technologies. How are these used? what evidence is there that this furthers research and study? Are we just feeding Hughes' "passive art imbibers" via new media?
Friday, 19 September 2008
Thursday, 18 September 2008
(Those of you who know me will know its the first time I've really been out and about for about 5 months - given I've been learning to walk again - and I was pleased to be able to hobble about without even crutches for a few hours, inbetween being dropped off and picked up at the door. (Thanks, Os.) It was great to chew the fat/ shoot the breeze / smoke the peace pipe with some friends and colleagues over a coffee or two, and to see a few papers. (Thanks to Claire Warwick who gave the VERA paper, given my head is still a little addled). A nice intro back into academia. I'm not actually back from maternity leave until April, but I dont think you can really switch your brain off entirely for that long - and I have no plans to!).
But while it was grand for me on a personal level, I noticed the conference was a little.... quiet. Tumbleweedy. Some of the usual suspects weren't there, and there didnt seem to be too many non-usual suspects filling up the numbers - the attendance at the couple of sessions I went to was relatively poor. I wonder whether I hit the conference at a lull, or is this says something about the tides of our subject? Is it usual wax and wane, or are people moving onto other conferences, other topic matters, other more subject-based meetings?
I've argued before that digital humanities will be a true success when the technologies are just integrated into usual working practices within the various domains in the humanities, and there will be no need for conferences about "using computers" as people will just be using computers in the humanities, without a big hoopla. There should come a time where conferences on, say, English Lit or History will welcome those using computational methods as bona fide scholars. Is that where we are already? I suspect not yet. But DRHA felt a long way from the heady days of, say, Sheffield 2000 or Glasgow 98, which both had a large attendance, and a real buzz about the subject.
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
Friday, 5 September 2008
Friday, 29 August 2008
Art Bought OnlineGenius. Hope to get to go and see it. We have quite a collection of artworks adorning our walls from ebay - its a great place to get unusual prints for cheap. (I'd tell you the name of my favourite dealer, but you may bid the prices up....)
A range of images and objects have been selected by Hayward Curatorial Associate Tom Morton and purchased from the auction site eBay.co.uk over a two-week period in August 2008. The chosen pieces reflect Britain's 'hidden' art - works that have occupied people's homes rather than the public space of a gallery, offered for sale through the democratic marketplace of the internet. View Basket comprises everything from Victorian paintings to original comic art, from customised action figures to ephemera by leading art world figures. An ever-expanding selection of works fill the gallery as new items arrive during the run of the exhibition, reflecting the project's open-ended nature. It also includes a display of the improvised and sometimes highly idiosyncratic packaging in which these items have been sent to The Hayward. When the exhibition ends the works will become part of The Hayward's archive.
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Which would be entirely not-a-stress, if some helpful copy-editor hadnt gone through and changed the grammar at least once on every page, to "fix" sentences until they dont make sense. And I'm having to keep an eye out for those, as well as my own typos.
They've put "the" in front of everything, for some the wierd the reason.
Original text: 40,000 books from Harvard will be digitized.
"Corrected" version: The 40,000 books from the Harvard will be digitized.
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
But then you see the definition of real words, like, I dunno, "feminism". And we see the trolls emerge. Are all commonly used web 2.0 sites so sexist? Misogynistic? Abusive? In this brave new t'interweb world, my heart sinks (and blood boils) that the mirror is held up to society, and the same old same old often emerges.
But surely, montages like this are what youtube was created for.
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Friday, 1 August 2008
Ladybird books have just digitised lots of their children's books and put the illustrations online (following renewed interest in the illustrations over the last few years - they've become collectors items.) Naturally, you can buy prints, etc - but a fascinating collection of digitised material. Check out how the computer works...
Monday, 28 July 2008
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
... I'm loving this set of digitised pictures, courtesy of Cursive Buildings, which has taken stereograph pictures from New York Public Library and created simple animated gifs from them. This one shows a buffalo creating a stir in Chicago, circa 1890. More here. Original stereograph here.
Monday, 21 July 2008
There's an open day on site on Wednesday 23rd July in case anyone fancies checking out what the project is trying to achieve:
To showcase the VERA project actually working on site! The excavation itself is probably the best place to show how the technology in the VERA project is actually being used. There will be the opportunity to see real life contexts being recorded and the data uploaded into the Integrated Archaeological Database.More details here, if you feel like heading down to the dig. Weather forecast is sun! (have I just jinxed it?)
Friday, 18 July 2008
Sunday, 13 July 2008
After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples. [link]
Which one of them is thinking "Do Not Want" the loudest?
Friday, 11 July 2008
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Monday, 9 June 2008
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Five years or so ago, I remember researchers cackling with glee at the National Archives enlightened Digital Photography Policy: It became apparent that it was fine to take your own digital camera into TNA and create images of the documents that you needed. No scanners are allowed, for noise reasons. The reading rooms began to fill up with researchers undertaking their own mini-digitisation projects, effectively creating digital versions of material that TNA couldnt possibly digitise themself, due to issues of cost and time.
In the last couple of years, there have been some interesting developments in allowing individuals to share these resulting images, and knowledge, of archival material. Your Archives from TNA has been in beta for a while, providing a wiki based environment to allow users to submit their own material, or browse material posted by others, creating an expanding online resource. Footnote.com (a commercial, fee based website) combines original historical documents in a social networking environment, currently hosting 36.5 million images of historical documents online, submitted by the general public. Individual subscribers are encouraged to discuss, challenge, and share archival evidence.
A description of this shift towards large scale amateur digitisation, combined with social networking, was captured nicely in an article in last week's Boston Globe: Everyone's a Historian Now.
The interesting question will be: how and when will academic historians start to routinely utilise these resources? The lone scholar in the ivory tower now needs good broadband.
UNTIL RECENTLY, IF you were a historian and you wanted to write a fresh account of, say, the Battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II, research was a pretty straightforward business. You would pack your bags and head to the National Archives, and spend months looking for something new in the official combat reports.
Today, however, you might first do something very different: Get online and pull up any of the unofficial websites of the ships that participated in the battle - the USS Pennsylvania, for example, or the USS Washington. Lovingly maintained by former crew members and their descendants, these sites are sprawling, loosely organized repositories of photographs, personal recollections, transcribed log books, and miniature biographies of virtually every person who served on board the ship. Some of these sites even include contact information for surviving crew members and their relatives - perfect for tracking down new diaries, photographs, and letters.
Online gathering spots like these represent a potentially radical change to historical research, a craft that has changed little for decades, if not centuries. By aggregating the grass-roots knowledge and recollections of hundreds, even thousands of people, "crowdsourcing," as it's increasingly called, may transform a discipline that has long been defined and limited by the labors of a single historian toiling in the dusty archives.
Monday, 2 June 2008
I've never used the Microsoft Book Search service, for no real reason other than I tend not to go near MSN search.
An article in last weeks NY Times claims that Microsoft is pulling out of its digitisation program, which was meant to rival Google Books and Google Scholar (MS has so far digitised 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles). It also leaves a lot of libraries in the lurch who, rather than go with the Google model of restricting search results, had chosen to be in league with Microsoft, and the Internet Archive:
Microsoft’s decision also leaves the Internet Archive, the nonprofit digital archive that was paid by Microsoft to scan books, looking for new sources of support. Several major libraries said that they had chosen to work with the Internet Archive rather than with Google, because of restrictions Google placed on the use of the new digital files.Interesting times. Google marches forth, again. Back to the drawing board (begging tin) for some institutions.
Friday, 30 May 2008
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Which led to an interesting discussion about photographing in public places, and photographing crowds of people (not least because of the people objecting to having a photographer standing in Oxford Street taking pictures of them. I do this myself when am featured in images, so cant complain).
On Boing Boing today, there was an interesting post about this. In the UK, there have been various concerns about the rights people have in taking pictures in public places (whereas we are the society under most surveillance from CCTV, etc). There was even a very popular petition on started on the Number 10 website about this, even though there are no real laws to stop people taking pictures at the moment. Current have produced a very interesting short documentary called "You cant picture this", by Opencircuit, about the current state of the law in taking pictures in public places: and the attitude of the police in the film demonstrates how misunderstood this area is. Well worth 6 minutes of your time.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Monday, 19 May 2008
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary, and inter-organizational effort that brings together researchers in arts and humanities, computer scientists, information scientists, librarians, and campus information technologists to tackle the question:
How can we advance arts and humanities research through the development of shared technology services?
Looks interesting. Read the proposal which sets out their aims and objectives. A lot of money for an 18 month project to discover, you know, how we can help those arts and humanities scholarly types actually use these darn computery digitally things, and provide some infrastructure to help them. (I'm particularly loving the line:
"is the state of arts and humanities technology akin to driving in the 1890s? For many in the humanities, computers are like horseless carriages of the late 19th century..."
This may be true for some, and its an interesting proposal to sort out What Needs To Be Done to aid scholars in using computational power and tools in their research. But there is very little evidence that they've done their homework to what efforts have gone into this before, and no mention of the digital humanities community/communities (such as ADHO, ALLC, ACH, SDH/SEMI, TEI) and the hundreds of scholars already treading this path or trying to deal with the concerns raised in the proposal. No mention of things like the Methods Network, or AHDS, or any other initiatives in this area (including evidence for success, and reasons for failure). Those listed on the proposal are not the scholars you would expect, who have been working on this for years. There is no real mention on users, use, and usefulness - you can ask a bunch of academics what they *need* or *want* till they are blue in the face, but actually what they will use is generally different.
Which is not to say that this project wont come up with some interesting, and useful findings. It may very well jolt us out of our cosy digital humanities burrow, so its a case of watch this space. But its the first many of us have heard about it, and for many reasons, the words "wheel" and "reinvent" come to mind. But I'm willing to be proved wrong on that one.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow?". [link]
Friday, 2 May 2008
An interesting if rather hyperbolic overview appeared in the Guardian, yesterday:
A vivid snapshot of social history, the wills show the importance of small items in less plentiful times: hay, kettles, blankets, butter, bacon, grain and livestock are commonly treasured things passed on to relatives and friends. Everything from a "pair of old stockings" to "gold bodkins" is given away, although wealthier folk list luxuries such as sweetwood boxes and "my best beaver hat". [link]
(The article failed to stress that you had to subscribe (ie pay) to access them. Genealogy is big business, remember). Still, a very interesting collection - and worth a look at the overview to see the range of material available, and free access to some sample highlights which manage to capture some snapshots of thoughts and worries of the time.
Thursday, 1 May 2008
Very friendly crowd, and good discussions tend to follow.
One of the reasons I love Flickr is the way it encourages groups of interested individuals to pool images of their collections together - creating hundreds of micro online museums/archives, many of which provide detailed and sometimes exhaustive metadata about the type of items which normally go under the institutional radar.
I love not only the history of fashion element to the vintage patterns pool, but the history of graphic art and design.
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Have you seen a truly awful piece of Photoshop work? Clumsy manipulation, senseless comping, lazy cloning and thoughtless retouching are our bread and butter. And yes, deep down, we love Photoshop.
If it is commercial and awful then please let us know!
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Xanadu and Nelson are perfect and unworldly. The web is imperfect and worldly... [link]
(If you are unfamiliar with the whole Xanadu saga, its worth checking out this Wired piece from a few years ago).
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
- There are more than 14 million digital images uploaded to Facebook every day [source]
- The most common tag used on Flickr is "me" [source]
- The phrase "picture element" has been used to describe the individual points in a bitmap since 1927, and this wasnt shortened to pixel until 1965, using the popular abbreviation "pix" used by hollywood gossip columnists [source]
- Images could be sent over telegraph in 1843 - only three or four years after the discovery of "photography" itself. There is a hidden history of electronic, and digital images, which stretches back as far as the invention of the film camera. But you'll have to buy the book to read up on that one.
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Other online retailers are available, natch. [link]
ps - I think the Ark of the Covenant may be hidden in a crate in there, somewhere....
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Now I'm knee deep in formatting, before I send it to the publishers at the end of the month. It seems that for the bibliography, when citing online references, they want the date of original publication online, the date last updated, and the date I accessed it. *sigh*. The formatting guidelines are a few years old, from back when the web was spangly and new-ish and proper academics didnt really quote from online resources.
I have over 500 online references to check.... back down the salt (silicon?) mines, one last time....
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Historians of the future, look upon these works, ye mighty, and despair.
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
The last 5,000 words always seem to be the hardest. I hope to have a completed, proof read, ready to format, first draft by the end of next week. Its taken me a year to do, on top of the day job, and so far I'm very happy with how it has turned out. Just that one half-chapter to finish....
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
There's a thorough overview of his contribution to classics, and in particular, digital classics, over at Stoa.
I didnt know Ross terribly well, but whenever I did meet with him, he was always kind, generous, and overall: interested. I first corresponded with him as a Masters student, doing my MA thesis in Greek Art, and here was this professor on email willing to spend some time engaging with a foreign, unknown student they had never met. As a young scholar, whenever I bumped into him from then on at various conferences and symposiums, he was always pleased to see me, always curious, always supportive. His contribution to classics has been great - but I cannot stress enough how much I respected this approachable, kind, scholar, and how much such support meant to a young scholar figuring out how the digital could fit in with the classical.
A great loss.
98% of the world will install IE8 and say, “It has bugs and I can’t see my sites.” They don’t give a flicking flick about your stupid religious enthusiasm for making web browsers which conform to some mythical, platonic “standard” that is not actually implemented anywhere. They don’t want to hear your stories about messy hacks. They want web browsers that work with actual web sites.
From Joel On Software (thanks Os).
Thursday, 13 March 2008
MySpace users who blog are more prone to distress, self-loathing and ranting than MySpace users who don't blog, [link]according to a paper published in Cyber Psychology and Behaviour entitled "Distress, Coping, and Blogging: Comparing New MySpace Users by Their Intention to Blog".
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Monday, 25 February 2008
Friday, 22 February 2008
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Thursday, 14 February 2008
How many times have you asked yourself, 'Did I really need to fly to New York to hear that?
Of course, I sent this blog post from a long distance train.... (god bless wifi).
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
The aim of the project is to provide computational tools to aid those in reading ancient texts, which are often damaged, abraded, and very difficult to read. We're developing image processing tools to aid in cleaning up "dirty" images, and to detect candidate handwriting strokes on difficult text, etc. We're also looking at decision maintenance systems, and how we can build a computational environment which will facilitate the reading of a document, and the documentation of that reading, so that those who come up with a reading can do so integrating the different linguistic and palaeographic datasets available, and keep a note of how and why they reached a certain interpretation. This is something which is crucially missing from the documentation of most readings of difficult texts.
Exciting stuff, huh? I'm now going to start looking at different palaeographic annotation tools which are available, so we can design our own with the best bits incorporated. (If anyone has any ideas regarding image markup tools for letter forms, or can point me to existing systems I dont know about already, do give me a shout).
Monday, 11 February 2008
Now imagine a world where people are able to bid up your items just for fun - and you cant say anything when they dont pay up...
On another note, I took 20 albums to the post office today. Had an interesting conversation with Joan Behind the Counter about how eBay really was the saviour of the Post Office in the UK.
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Online auction site eBay has said it plans to overhaul its feedback system and will ban sellers from leaving negative comments about buyers.
EBay said problems were occurring, and slowing down trade, when buyers left negative comments about sellers who then retaliated with their own views.
Yuhuh. Thats the whole point. Its not just sellers who can be difficult - buyers can renege, refuse to pay, claim items are damaged when they are not, and generally behave like rude, thoughtless people. When you come across a buyer like this, you want to warn the rest of those trading on ebay.
I'm mostly a buyer rather than a seller, and can count on one hand the amount of difficult purchases I have made over the past 5 years, but the feedback mechanism has ensured, until now, that both sides have a fair point. At present, I'm selling almost 50 items on ebay (what a fun weekend of sitting in front of a computer): as a seller I have the right to not sell to someone with poor, low, or negative feedback. I'm selling some rare and valuable things. From now on, should I just trust the market forces to protect me (I'm not a "trader" in the market sense)? Sometimes trade needs to be slowed, and for good reason.
End Of Rant.
Monday, 4 February 2008
digitisation= process uv creatin digital filez by scannin or otherwise convertin analogue materialz. resultin digital copy... or digital surrogate... would then b classed as digital material n then subject 2 same broad challengez involved in preservin access 2 it... as "born digital" materialz.
See this blog lolinated here. As I said, pointless, but cheery.
Friday, 1 February 2008
"The Life Cycle of a Blog Post, From Servers to Spiders to Suits — to You".
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Digitisation: The process of creating digital files by scanning or otherwise converting analogue materials.The resulting digital copy, or digital surrogate, would then be classed as digital material and then subject to the same broad challenges involved in preserving access to it, as "born digital" materials. (From the Digital Preservation Coalition website).
Digitalisation: The administration of digitalis or one of its active constituents to a patient or an animal so that the required physiological changes occur in the body; also, the state of the body resulting from this. (From the Oxford English Dictionary).
So now you know. Spell carefully, my friends....
ps. Yes I know in the early 1960s digitalisation was also used to mean digitisation. But it settled down pretty quickly into digitisation.
pps. Yes, I know policing the interweb for spelling mistakes is a pointless task. I was only pointing out an observation...
Thursday, 24 January 2008
News agencies actively solicit user generated content. You can find out how to submit your prize winning photo journalism, or just-happened-to-be-there shots, to the BBC, here. The short version is, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, although beware, by submitting them you grant the BBC:
a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way that we want.There are other ways to make money of Britney Spears shaving her head, should that be your want, if you find the stalking of innocent celebrities acceptable. But lets suppose that you just want to submit them to the BBC for all to see for free.
How popular is this service?
I wondered. So I asked the BBC (well, filed a Freedom of Information enquiry to their FOI office), and it goes something like this.
They dont keep stats on individual submitters, in case of data protection issues. But in general, on routine days, between 100 and 150 users will email or message in 150 to 250 images from around the globe. On days when something UK-wide happens, such as the snow flurries which covered the country on the 8th February 2007, thousands of users can contribute: in this case, the BBC received 7316 images in 24 hours.
Other peaks in contributions came with the summer floods, the Glasgow Airport terrorist attack, etc. They keep a decent archive of the yourpics contributions that are used.
(The BBC had previously reported submission of over 1000 images and 20 videos from the July 7th 2005 bombs in London, and 6500 images of the fire at the Buncefield Oil Depot, in December 2005, which was one of the largest fires in Europe since the Second World War.)
There, dont say I dont tell you anything.
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
Thursday, 17 January 2008
A pilot project with the Library of Congress,
Your opportunity to contribute to describing the world's public photo collections
There are already some interesting collections up there, like News in the 1910s and 1930s-40s in Color.
The key goals of this pilot project are to firstly give you a taste of the hidden treasures in the huge Library of Congress collection, and secondly to how your input of a tag or two can make the collection even richer.
You're invited to help describe photographs in the Library of Congress' collection on Flickr, by adding tags or leaving comments
It will be interesting to see the range of tags and comments people take the time to put forward (but I'm not sure that comments like "neat train picture :)" are doing much for our understanding of LOC image collections!)
In 1998, 67bn images were made worldwide. We know that because 3bn rolls of film were sold. It is impossible to be accurate, but with a world population of digital cameras exceeding a third of a billion on top of millions of film-using cameras still in use, it is likely that more pictures are taken every year than in the previous 160 years of photography put together. In addition to the other pollutions we have unleashed on ourselves, we may well have to thank digital photography for giving us image pollution.
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Of course, it had to be on a day when I am sneezing like a banshee, but I hope I can see through the lempsip fog to speak intelligently for 15 mins or so!
If you miss the program, fear not: you can listen again for a week or so, online.
update: it went well, I think, although I fear that live radio is not for me on a regular basis!
Friday, 4 January 2008
Which is always tempered with crystal gazing ahoy. How will technology change our future over the next decade? Try the BBC's "Technologies on the rise in 2008" , the BBC's commentator Bill Thompson on "Cloudy visions of the future" , the Sydney Morning Herald's "Ten things that will change your future", and the Guardian's "Facebook is so last year - welcome to the hit websites of 2008".
There, that should keep you from doing some real work for a while.