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Rediscovering Place: Crowdsourcing and participation between community and...

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King's College London

Anatomy Lecture Theatre

King's Building (6th Floor)

London

WC2R2LS

United Kingdom

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In the past ten years, crowdsourcing and citizen participation have become familiar concepts in academic research. Many crowdsourcing and public engagement projects rely on networked communities participating remotely, as was the original implication of the term “crowdsourcing” itself. However, more recent projects have invited participation in ways which are more explicitly tied to place. Community archaeology projects for example are tied to the location of an excavation or survey, and even if projects involving museum or library transcription or digitization are undertaken by remote participants, they exist in the context of those institutions’ physical locations. This half-day symposium will draw on recent research and crowdsourcing activities, in order to examine perspectives of place and network in the citizen humanities. How has the significance of location, once taken as a given in cultural heritage, been influenced by crowdsourcing, and how has this influence manifested itself in both the academy and the broader community?



Programme


Local entertainments: people and places connected via digital projects

Mia Ridge, British Library

The scale of the British Library's collections can be dauntingly vast and impenetrable, so we chose to go local when launching our most recent crowdsourcing project. The Playbills transcription project includes volumes of playbills - ephemeral records of theatrical and musical performances - organised by theatre. This presentation will examine the impact of focusing on local productions on the task of finding willing participants, and reflect on our ability to respond to the preferences and needs of local historical and academic groups.

Bio:

Mia’s PhD in digital humanities (Department of History, Open University) was titled ‘Making digital history: The impact of digitality on public participation and scholarly practices in historical research’.

Formerly Lead Web Developer at the Science Museum Group, Mia has worked internationally as a business analyst, digital consultant and web programmer in the cultural heritage and commercial sectors. Mia has held international fellowships at Trinity College Dublin/CENDARI, Ireland (2014), the Polis Center Institute on ‘Spatial Narrative and Deep Maps’ (2012) and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media One Week One Tool program (2013), and had short Residencies at the Powerhouse Museum (2012) and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum (2012).

Mia has post-graduate qualifications in software development and an MSc in Human-Centred Systems. She is Chair of the Museums Computer Group (MCG) and a member of the Executive Council of the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH).


Recogito: semantic annotations without the pointy brackets

Valeria Vitale, ICS/Pelagios Project

The availability of born digital data as well as digitised collections, is changing the way we study and understand the humanities. This amount of information has even greater potential for research when semantic links can be established, and relationships between entities highlighted. In the last years, the work of projects such as Pelagios’ has shown that connecting historical data according to their common reference to places (expressed via URIs stored in gazetteers) is a particularly powerful approach: information about material culture, archaeological excavations, ancient texts and related scholarship can be connected and cross referenced through the geo-data. Producing semantic annotations usually requires a certain amount of knowledge of digital technologies such as RDF, ontologies and/or text encoding. Although relatively approachable, these techniques can act as a barrier for users that are not already familiar with Linked Open Data. The talk will introduce Recogito, the annotation tool developed by Pelagios that aims to erase some of those barriers, dramatically facilitating the creation and publication of Linked Open Data.

Recogito's intuitive design makes the production of semantic annotation easy and effortless, opening the door of the Linked Open Data ecosystem to different kind of users, including non expert ones, enhancing the overall accessibility of the technology. The annotations produced within the Recogito environment can be finally published or exported, all in well established standard formats, making everything that is created via Recogito already complying to best practice for data sharing and preservation.

Bio:

Valeria Vitale is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Classical Study (University of London) on the A. W. Mellon funded project Pelagios Commons, for which she works as Community Manager and part of the investigative team. After her degree in Communication Science awarded by La Sapienza University in Rome, she worked for several years on the study and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with major Italian cultural institutions. In 2012 she graduated with an MA in Digital Humanities at King’s College London, where she also completed her PhD on the use of Linked Open Data to document 3D visualisations of ancient cultural heritage.

She has an extensive experience in teaching 3D tools and methods to humanists and showing how spatial technologies can enhance the study and understanding of the Past. Valeria has also collaborated with various digital projects that focus on ancient geography, including the Heritage gazetteer of Cyprus, i.Sicily, the Pleiades Gazetteer, the Heritage Gazetteer of Libya and CALCS (Cross-cultural AfterLife of Classical Sites).


Mapping disagreement: crowdsourcing and disputes in web mapping

Stuart Dunn, King's College London

Crowdsourced geographical information platforms such as OpenStreetMap are an integral part of the mobile internet. Being free and open source, they provide base map data for a massive range of applications, programmes and analyses. However, like all maps, they are value laden, and potentially biased. With a particular focus on OpenStreetMap, this presentation will survey the ways in which open source digital mapping platforms handle different perspectives of – and disputes over – place, and what this might mean for the future of web mapping.

Bio:

Stuart Dunn is a Lecturer in Digital Humanities at King's. He started out as an archaeologist, with interests in the history of cartography, digital approaches to landscape studies, and spatial humanities. He currently works on projects in spatial narrative theory, critical GIS, Cypriot cultural heritage, and the archaeology of mobility. Stuart gained an interdisciplinary PhD on Aegean Bronze Age dating methods and palaeovolcanology from the University of Durham in 2002, conducting fieldwork in Melos, Crete and Santorini. In 2006 he became a Research Associate at the Arts and Humanities e-Science Support Centre, having previously worked at the AHRC, after which he became a Lecturer in the Department of Digital Humanities.

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King's College London

Anatomy Lecture Theatre

King's Building (6th Floor)

London

WC2R2LS

United Kingdom

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