Archive for April, 2009

InterFace 2009: Second Call for Papers

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The InterFace 2009 2nd Call for Papers is now out. Please note that the deadline for submission (and thus attendance) is now looming!


InterFace 2009: Second Call for Papers


InterFace 2009:
1st National Symposium for Humanities and Technology
9-10 July, University of Southampton, UK.

InterFace is a new type of annual event. Part conference, part workshop, part networking opportunity, it will bring together postdocs, early career academics and postgraduate researchers from the fields of Information Technology and the Humanities in order to foster cutting-edge collaboration. As well as having a focus on Digital Humanities, it will also be an important forum for Humanities contributions to Computer Science. The event will furthermore provide a permanent web presence for communication between delegates both during, and following, the conference.

Delegate numbers are limited to 80 (half representing each sector) and all participants will be expected to present a poster or a ‘lightning talk’ (a two minute presentation) as a stimulus for discussion and networking sessions.  Delegates can also expect to receive illuminating keynote talks from world-leading experts, presentations on successful interdisciplinary projects, ‘Insider’s Guides’ and workshops. The registration fee for the two-day event is £30. For a full overview of the event, please visit the website.

Confirmed Speakers


* Willard McCarty
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, KCL

* Dame Wendy Hall, President of the Association of Computing Machinery
University of Southampton

Insider’s Guides:

* Stephen Brown, De Montfort University
Knowledge Media Design, De Montfort University

* Ed Parsons
Geospatial Technologist, Google

* Sarah Porter
Head of Innovation, JISC

Project Showcase:

* Mary Orr & Mark Weal, University of Southampton
Digital Flaubert

* Adrian Bell, University of Reading
The Soldier in Later Medieval England

* Kathy Buckner, Centre for Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University
e-Participation Projects in Action: a socio-technical perspective


1) Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)
Arianna Ciula, European Science Foundation & Sebastian Rahtz, Oxford University

2) Visualisation
Manuel Lima,

3) EPrints Respositories: Managing Data for Mash-ups
Leslie Carr & Adam Field

4) Interdisciplinarity & the Media
Jon Copley & Claire Ainsworth

Paper Submissions:

If you are interested in attending, please submit an original paper, of 1500 words or less, describing an idea or concept you wish to present. Please indicate whether you would prefer to produce a poster or perform a 2-minute lightning talk. Papers must be produced as a PDF or in Microsoft Word (.doc) format and submitted through our EasyChair page:

– Register for an easy chair account:
– Log in:
– Click New Submission at the top of the page and fill in the form.

Make sure you:
– Select your preference of lightning talk or poster.
– Select whether you are representing humanities or technology.
– Attach and upload your paper.
If you encounter any problems, please e-mail

Papers should focus on potential (and realistic) areas for collaboration between the Technology and Humanities Sectors, either by addressing particular problems, new developments, or both. Prior work may be presented where relevant but the nature of the paper must be forward-looking. As such, the scope is extremely broad but topics might include:


* 3D immersive environments
* Pervasive technologies
* Online collaboration
* Natural language processing
* Sensor networks
* The Semantic Web
* Agent based modelling
* Web Science


* Spatial cognition
* Text editing and analysis
* New Media
* Linguistics
* Applied sociodynamics & social network analysis
* Archaeological reconstruction
* Information Ethics
* Dynamic logics
* Electronic corpora

Due to the limited number of places, papers will be subject to review by committee and applicants notified by email as to their acceptance. All accepted papers will be published online one week in advance of the conference.

Important Dates:

* Paper Submission Deadline: 1 May 2009
* Acceptances Announced: 18 May 2009
* Conference: 9th-10th July 2009

For further information, please visit the conference website ( or e-mail

Ancient World and e-Science (report)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

On Saturday April 4, 2009, a panel on “Ancient World and e-Science”, organized by the Digital Classicist, was held at the Classical Association Annual Meeting at the University of Glasgow (full abstracts in GoogleDoc). The speakers and titles listed were:

  • Ryan Baumann & Gabriel Bodard, 3D Visualization and Digitization of Epigraphic Materials
  • Stuart Dunn, Seeing into the Past: Visualization, the ancient world, and the e-Science programme
  • Brian Fuchs, Rashmi Singhal, Jazz Mack Smith, & Gregory Crane, PhiloGrid: A Web Toolkit for the Ancient World
  • Caroline Macé, Ilse deVos, & Philippe Baret, Can phylogenetics methods help to cure contaminated textual traditions?

There was a slight change to the line-up on the day as Stuart Dunn’s attempts to reach Glasgow were scuppered by the incompetence of a budget airline: the three remaining papers were followed by 20 minutes open discussion, and then slightly early adjournment to the hotel bar.

Baumann spoke about the difficulties of reading, photographing, and visualizing curse tablets in general, and the steatite fragments from Amathous in Cyprus especially, which are translucent and therefore resistent to both normal photography and even the laser imaging used to take high-resolution 3-D images of inscribed objects. He then showed examples of a lead tablet (DT 25) which has degraded further in the century since it was transcribed, and argued that the high quality imaging this project is piloting is an important conservation exercise as well as having potential for improving the interpretation and transcription of the texts. The remainder of the presentation was a demonstration of some of the techniques for taking and manipulating 3-D readings using the laser scanner.

Fuchs gave a detailed history of and report on the PhiloGrid services, created by Imperial College London and the Perseus Project as part of a JISC/NEH Transatlantic collaborative digitization grant from 2008-09. He summarised the objectives and achievements of the project, including the mounting of Perseus web services such as lexical and morphological tools, the construction of a citation framework based on FRBR, and the digitization of new content. He also gave an introduction to and invited all present to attend a workshop on Arabic web services to be held at Imperial College London on Wednesday May 13 (further details to be announced here soon).

Macé and de Vos introduced the work carried out by classicists and generic biologists at the Université Catholique de Louvain on using statistical and probabilistic phylogenetic software to try and reconstruct the stemma of a contaminated manuscript tradition. They tested the phylogenetic algorithms for fitness for this task by creating a fictional manuscript tradition for a small section of the text of Proclus, including both horizontal and vertical contamination. Two phylogenetic methods—parsimony analysis and bootstrap analysis—were applied to the data, with mixed results. Vertical contamination in particular still defeats the generic technologies, but further work may improve the accuracy of such tools. (This work, needless to say, will also result in more robust algorithms and methodologies for the biologists, so this is a true e-Science interdisciplinary collaboration that really does have research interest for both fields.)

Many thanks to all who contributed to this panel, including the audience members who took part in the lively discussion afterward. Clearly there is a call for discussion of e-Science issues at Classics venues.

Digital Imaging and Human Rights Justice

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

A very exciting story reported by Xeni Jardin on the Boingboing blog a couple weeks ago (Tech Forensics in Guatemala–first prefigured in a piece two years earlier), that links some of the imaging techniques beloved of we digital philology types with new evidence for human rights abuses in Central America in the 1980s. (I think this is of Digital Classicist significance because there are several cool projects working on sophisticated means to image and decypher damaged, degraded, and fragile documents–not least among which is the EDUCE project in Kentucky, where this blog is hosted.)

This story, which is best read in full at the Boingboing link above, involves an archive of police records including evidence of the abuse and murder of “subversives”–teachers, students, journalists, campaigners, and the like–which was dumped in the basement of an old detention centre and has mouldered and rotted for 25 years. The digitization and decypherment of these records has led to the arrest and prosecution of at least one police office for the murder of a civilian in 1984. Although this is a grim story, it is heartening to hear that the work we do so painstakingly to reconstruct ancient texts has applications with current social value as well. (I’ll keep working on those curse tablets, then!) I don’t know if any digital humanities scholars were involved in this work, but would be interested to hear if anyone has any insight into that.

New MA programme in Digital Asset Management

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Something of interest to all digital humanists.

The Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH) in collaboration with the Centre for e-Research both at King’s College London has just launched its new Masters Programme in Digital Asset Management. This complements CCH’s existing graduate programmes: MA Digital Humanities, MA Digital Culture and Technology, PhD (Digital Humanities).

There is a promotional flyer with full details at:

All details about graduate study at CCH are at: