A couple of days ago the University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute published the Proceedings of the Digital Humanities Congress 2012. It contains 28 articles classified under the following headings: Keynote Presentations; Practising Digital Humanities; Using Digital Resources; Working with Text; Visual Analysis; Knowledge Building. The articles provide an interesting overview of some theories underlying DH as well as of a number of quite diverse DH practices.
Researchers at Trinity College Dublin are developing an interactive website, Fagel Maps, featuring thousands of magnificent pre-1800 maps. This open access Fagel Maps project will comprise 10,000 maps including battle plans, urban streetscapes and architectural drawings. “The website will allow users to view the maps as an image gallery with full zoom functions and also via a Google Maps interface which will overlay these early modern maps on modern topography. The Google interface will include a ‘time’ feature which will allow users to drill down through maps of the same area drawn up at different periods to explore how the area developed. The website will also incorporate a number of novel visualisation tools including 3-D modelling of selected battle plans and urban streetscapes.” For more information see TCD’s press release.
Below is a brief video on the Fagel Maps Project:
The Modernist Journals Project (MJP), a joint digital project of Brown University and The University of Tulsa, is a valuable resource for the study of modernism. Begun in 1995 The Modernist Journals Project’s primary focus has been the digitization of periodicals connected to the rise of modernism in the English-speaking world. The chronological range of the journals is 1890 to 1922. Numerous “little”, though often extremely influential, magazines have now been digitized. They include Scribner’s Magazine, 1910 — 1922; The Blue Review,1913 (edited by John Middleton Murry and Katherine Mansfield); The English Review, 1908 — 1910 (published works by D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, and Ezra Pound); Wheels, 1916-1921 (published work by Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell Sitwell, Helen Rootham, Nancy Cunard, Iris Tree, Aldous Huxley, and Wilfrid Owen) and many others. MJP also has a very useful database of biographies of authors and artists whose work appears in the MJP journals in addition to a number of books and essays about MJP journals and topics.
“Recently, the MJP has also developed new sites that focus on the use of its materials: an expanded set of teaching and research pages, an instructional wiki that allows for user participation, and the MJP Lab, which makes a sampling of MJP data files available to the public and offers examples of the analysis and visualization of MJP data.”
A new pilot initiative, a collaboration between librarians and publishers, in UK public libraries allows members of the public to freely access over one and a half million journal articles.
. . . . Access to Research will provide licensed online access to over 1.5 million journal articles and conference proceedings through library terminals. With 8,400 journals included in the initiative at the moment, this will make content in the fields of Health and Biological Sciences (20%), Social Sciences (18%) and Engineering (14%) available to the public for the first time. Users will also be able to read a wide variety of articles in the fields of Art & Architecture, Business, Environmental Science, History, Journalism, Languages, Politics, Film, Philosophy and Religion, Mathematics and Physics.
Access to Research has been launched under the leadership of the Publishers Licensing Society in response to one of the main recommendations of the Finch Group, a committee convened by the UK government, to explore how access to publicly funded research could be expanded. . . .
For more details see PR Newswire.
Michael Hancher has posted a useful list of recent syllabi of courses in the Digital Humanities. He acknowledges that it is not comprehensive. The syllabi listed tend to have a broadly literary emphasis and to focus on academic rather than the numerous informal DH courses. To supplement his list Hancher suggests consulting another one maintained by Lisa Spiro. Together both lists give a good overview of a large number of Digital Humanities syllabi, examination of which can provide a useful synopsis of the history and swiftly evolving nature of the Digital Humanities.
Proponents of the open access model for academic research notched a huge victory Thursday night when Congress passed a budget that will make about half of taxpayer-funded research available to the public.
Deep inside the $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2014 is a provision that requires federal agencies under the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education portion of the bill with research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research that they fund within 12 months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
On Tuesday Jan Piotrowski published a interesting article “‘Misguided’ Nations Lock Up Valuable Geospatial Data” in SciDevNet. In it he criticizes those developing nations that fail to provide open access to their wealth of geospatial data. He argues that this practice is misguided and counter-productive as open-data policies could offer a greater economic boost than closed ones: “The potential of such data that incudes geographic positioning information, including satellite imagery, to aid fields such as disaster response, agriculture, conservation and city planning far outweighs any potential value from selling the information.” Piotrowski quotes Paul Uhlir, US National Academy of Sciences: “Open data policies are much more economically generative than closed ones.”
California Institute of Technology is the latest US university to implement an open access policy for the publications of its faculty. Starting on January 1, 2014, all faculty will now grant nonexclusive rights to Caltech to disseminate their scholarly publications. The primary goal is to facilitate broader dissemination of Caltech scholarship and to make the copyright process easier when posting papers on faculty and institutional websites. “The policy was also partly motivated by a February 2013 directive from the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy requiring federal agencies to develop plans to make the final results of federally funded research freely available within a year of publication.”
Here’s the news item from Campus Technology.
The British Library has released over a million images onto Flickr Commons. They are all fully open access and may be used, remixed and repurposed by anyone. The images, covering an immense range of subjects, have been taken from a small number of the BL’s 17th, 18th and 19th century books. Now the BL is “looking for new, inventive ways to navigate, find and display these ‘unseen illustrations’. The images were plucked from the pages as part of the ‘Mechanical Curator’, a creation of the British Library Labs project. Each image is individually addressible, online, and Flickr provides an API to access it and the image’s associated description.”
Though the BL obviously knows which book each image comes from, little or nothing may be known about the image itself. Consequently, the BL is seeking the public’s help in describing the images and in ascertaining what they portray. The launching of a crowdsourcing application is being planned for early 2014. For more information about this fascinating open access project see the following BL posting.
Randy Schekman, co-recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, published an article How Journals like Nature, Cell and Science are Damaging Science in the Guardian. It appeared on 9 December, the day before Schekman received his Nobel prize in Stockholm.
In his article Schekman argues that the reputations of such journals as Nature, Cell, and Science are only partly warranted. These journals, he writes, deliberately restrict the number of articles that they publish: “like fashion designers who create limited-edition handbags or suits, they know scarcity stokes demand. . . .The exclusive brands are then marketed with a gimmick called ‘impact factor’ – a score for each journal, measuring the number of times its papers are cited by subsequent research. Better papers, the theory goes, are cited more often, so better journals boast higher scores. Yet it is a deeply flawed measure, pursuing which has become an end in itself – and is as damaging to science as the bonus culture is to banking.” Schekman also contends that editors of prestigious journals often publish articles because they are likely to makes waves and not necessarily because they are of the most scientific value. Furthermore, “[i]n extreme cases, the lure of the luxury journal can encourage the cutting of corners, and contribute to the escalating number of papers that are retracted as flawed or fraudulent.”
Schekman writes that it’d be preferable for scientists to publish in free, open access journals that “have no expensive subscriptions to promote” and that have far less regard for citations. He also recommends that funders and universities pay more attention to the quality of the science in articles than to where they are published.
See the full article.