Community-powered #digitaltrans in learning workshop

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Digital Transformations Programme, I attended the Community-powered digital transformations in learning workshop at University College London (21 June 2012).

Collaborative Histories and Community Contributed Collections: Reappraising World War I

– Katharine Lindsay, University of Oxford

Part of the JISC World War One Commemoration Programmes, the University of Oxford is undertaking the JISC World War One (WW1) Open Educational Resources (OER) project titled:
World War One Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings.

Having heard about the use of Flickr to run the Great War Archive as part of the First World War Poetry Digital Archive project (JISC Look-Here! workshop, November 2010) it was really interesting to hear how this work is now spreading internationally. For example, a video is available on Irish national television about the project:

Knitting Off-piste: Online and Offline Opportunities for Learning

– Amy Twigger Holroyd, Keep and Share

Keep & Share is an umbrella name for the fashion, knitting and research activities of designer-maker Amy Twigger Holroyd

It was fascinating to hear about Amy’s PhD research. Her research also touches upon the concept of ‘open‬-knitting’ enabling reflexive learning; working with communities offline and online, such as Ravelry, a knitting community and digital platform.

copper knitted cardigan by Annie Ridd

Copper knitted cardigan by Annie Ridd, circa 2003. © Annie Ridd.
Available from: VADS

Find more ‘knitting’ images on VADS, including scanned PDFs of Victorian Knit books from the Winchester School of Art’s Knitting Collections, vintage patterns, and the London College of Fashion Woolmark Archive.

Because We’re Worth It: Sharing Digitally in Fashion and the Arts

– Dr Alison James, University of the Arts London

Some of the projects highlighted included:

And, an open online resource sharing day-to-day arts practice and research of arts staff, students, alumni and practitioners

The relationship between ‘process’ and ‘research’ in the visual arts is particularly relevant for KAPTUR and we have been following this project with interest (Twitter: @ProcessArtsUAL).

Prior to the KAPTUR project VADS and UCA were also working with UAL on repositories for research outputs, customised for the specialised needs of artistic researchers (Kultur 2007-09; Kultivate 2010-11; eNova 2011). UAL Research Online uses the popular EPrints repository software.

Art Maps: Exploring Art and Place through Mobile Learning

– Dr Rebecca Sinker, Tate

Subsequent to involvement in the Google Art Project (February 2011), Tate is currently working on the Art Maps project (Jan-Dec 2012).

Rebecca showed us a really good video about the m-learning experience of their Art Maps app in use, but this is currently not available publicly (I will update this blog if made available in the future). Some of the points I noted down were:

  • The project was about using artworks in the Tate collections to inspire a journey.
  • Users were given the option to collaborate with others; when they did this it helped with their use of the technology.
  • One user (speaking on the video) commented that using voice recording exclusively on his mobile was good, as the journey then wasn’t interrupted by the technology.

Blog posts about themes covered in the video are available here:

Digital literacy versus digital expertise

Dr Caroline Bassett, University of Sussex

Dr Bassett’s presentation discussed the concepts of ‘digital native’ and ‘digital expertise’ and posed questions such as:

  • Technology is evolving so quickly that can any of us describe ourselves as digital natives?
  • Digital literacy is not enough for people to be creators online, what is needed, is digital expertise.

Dr Bassett also mentioned the JISC-funded project Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment? (see also relevant blog posts).

The Bentham Project

Dr Melissa Terras, University College London

Dr Terras kindly stepped in at the last minute to replace Sam Strudwick (Amnesty International), and spoke about The Bentham Project at UCL.

The effort to set-up crowdsourcing of the transcriptions was definitely worth it. Dr Terras posed interesting questions about the nature of their particular digital community; the crowdsourcing maybe encouraged by competition between the transcribers (they have a leader board). Statistics have shown that one user has transcribed 32% of the texts so far and another three regular users have done a further 43% between them. She mentioned a useful article on Crowdsourcing in D-Lib (March 2010).

The transcription project uses the Open Source MediaWiki software; the UCL plugins for this are freely available here:

Another blog post about this #digitaltrans workshop is available here: Problemshares and other #digitaltrans formations


Research Data Hack Day in Manchester

Graham Plumb. 2000. Computer-Related Design. Photo: Dominic Tschudin. Collection: Royal College of Art Photographic Record of Student Work, 1960-2002.
© Royal College of Art

The following blog post is by Carlos Silva, Technical Manager for Kaptur:

The Hack Day started with quick presentations from attendees to find out about our projects, our interests, pose questions and to start assembling teams who shared similar ideas, ambitions and problems.

By the end of the afternoon we were allocated a team and a task to do and started working on a particular problem.

There were four teams which covered the following topics:

  1. Stakeholder Driven Metadata
  2. Dropbox for Institutions
  3. SWORD 2 protocol and Bit Torrent
  4. Data collection from research activities

1. Stakeholder Driven Metadata

Using a metadata map we were trying to map different schemas such as Dublin Core with OAI-PMH and the British Library.

Looking at this from a users perspective, the users will need to follow a certain workflow, for example using a DMP and so on (N.B. view prezi about this).

The team also worked on an example to show different types of handling DOIs and metadata between different schemas:

I mentioned that the Kaptur project involves creating a model of best practice in management of visual arts research data and how using different types of metadata schemas was a problem for some institutions. I also mentioned that researchers in our sector need to handle different types of data and not only large amounts of data but also different metadata schemas and fields that may not be covered by the default Dublin Core or OAI-MPH schemas.

Finally there was an unofficial launch of the Journal of Open Research Software:

2. Dropbox for Institutions

Sparkleshare was mentioned during the presentation, but it was noted that it is unstable to use in production environments.

A blogpost is available here with more information:

3. SWORD 2 protocol and Bit Torrent

SWORD 2 is a protocol for depositing content and its metadata with a repository.

The issue for this group to discuss, was to how to enable any type of file to be deposited.

Big deposits can take a long time to transfer; this isn’t a problem in itself, but there are problems around it. For example you can do partial uploads, however if the transfer is interrupted the repository will not be able to create a record.

Using SWORD and Bit Torrent the team were trying to tackle the problem by splitting the file into chunks, which will allow submitting large files and allow them to upload them into the server despite interruptions.

Advantages could be found immediately: it is secure, you can track it and also limit the number of uploads.

This project won support for further enhancement and will receive two days paid by JISC to further enhance it and develop it.

4. Data collection from research activities

The concept was straightforward: when people start to upload content, information will come not only from the users, but also from the actual file itself.

The team attempted to build an API to do this, however further time was needed to complete this.

Ultimately the project was intended to be a very big feed that will tell what has been done around the whole record such as visits by a researcher, modifications to the file, anything to do with the record so that all that information could be gathered by the System Admin to create reports.