14.0818 news from the HCU

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Thu Apr 26 2001 - 03:06:26 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 818.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 07:58:23 +0100
             From: Frances Condron
             Subject: news from the Humanities Computing Unit, Oxford

    News from the Humanities Computing Unit, University of Oxford

    The HCU has redesigned its main Web site, largely to provide more
    information about our work, and the many projects currently running with
    the HCU. What do you think of the new site? We'd love to hear your
    views - please email Frances.Condron@oucs.ox.ac.uk

    23rd - 27th July 2001

    The Humanities Computing Unit is running a week-long series of seminars on
    humanities computing, from the 23rd to 27th July 2001. Each seminar lasts
    a full day, and includes a practical, hands-on element as well as formal
    presentations. In addition to picking up practical skills and learning how
    to manage digital projects, you will have the opportunity to consult with
    staff about your research projects. All teaching will be carried out by
    members of the Humanities Computing Unit and Oxford University Computing
    Services, and will take place at Oxford University Computing Services, 13
    Banbury Road, Oxford.

    The programme
    The Summer Seminars have two parallel strands - one on creating and
    working with digital resources, the other covering a broader range of
    humanities computing issues. You can book on one or more of the seminars
    in either strand

    Strand 1: creating and working with digital resources
    23/07/01 Digital resource creation: essential factors for a successful
    24/07/01 Putting your database on the Web
    25/07/01 Publishing with XML and the TEI (day 1)
    26/07/01 Publishing with XML and the TEI (day 2)
    27/07/01 Records to go: cataloguing and using online humanities resources
    in the Humbul Humanities Hub

    Strand 2: humanities computing and multimedia resources
    23/07/01 An introduction to humanities computing
    24/07/01 Advanced use of the Internet
    25/07/01 Creating and using multimedia resources
    26/07/01 Creating and using digital video
    27/07/01 Putting your database on the Web (repeat)

    Who should come?
    You should come if you work, or plan to work, with digital texts,
    databases, or multimedia, especially in a research context. You should be
    familiar with the concepts of HTML, and with using the Internet. You will
    leave with a clear sense of the principles and processes of digitization
    and resource creation and delivery, and be able to identify those areas
    where you need to learn more.

    How much will it cost?
    Each seminar costs 65 (the fee for students is 35). This includes lunch
    and refreshments, but not accommodation. There will be a reduction for
    those attending the full week.

    Interested? Contact:
    Jenny Newman, tel: +44 (0)1865 273221; fax: +44 (0)1865
    273275; email: Jenny.Newman@oucs.ox.ac.uk

    THE SHOCK OF THE OLD: A Fresh Look at Innovation and Information
    Technology in Traditional University Teaching

    Two projects in which the HCU is involved - ASTER and OxTALENT - ran a
    conference on educational technology in Oxford at the end of March
    2001. It explored the impact of communication and information technologies
    on teaching and learning in a traditional setting. Speakers from Oxford
    and around the UK gave examples of innovative practice, focusing on the
    contextual factors which determine the success or otherwise of using new
    technologies in teaching and learning. The conference was an opportunity
    to find out about developments in a range of subject areas, and to discuss
    the opportunities available for adapting teaching and learning practices
    and resources between disciplines. The conference website contains all the
    abstracts and a growing number of presentations from the conference.

    The first day of the conference focused on integrating communication and
    information technologies into teaching and learning. Dr Glenn Black,
    Pro-Vice Chancellor (academic) opened the conference, outlining the ways
    in which Oxford is developing resources and support for using new
    technologies in teaching and learning, while preserving and enhancing
    traditional practices. Speakers from different institutions spoke about
    their experiences in using particular tools such as email and
    computer-aided assessment, and how their use can be both successful and
    problematic. The second day looked in more detail at strategies for
    managing change - barriers and opportunities for introducing new practices
    within a department, comparisons between distance and full-time teaching
    and learning, meeting disciplinary needs and the potential for adapting
    practices between disciplines. The conference also saw the first public
    presentation on the OxTALENT survey of the use of IT in teaching and
    learning at Oxford. The conference ended with a discussion of the
    practices and needs of individual disciplines and how information
    technology can support these.

    The conference was a successful event, with over 100 delegates from around
    the UK (and beyond) attending. It would not have been possible without the
    support of many groups within the University - the Computing Laboratory
    provided facilities and wonderful help; the Institute for the Advancement
    of University Learning subsidised members of the university attending the
    event; the Warden of Rhodes House hosted the conference wine
    reception; administrative support and general assistance was provided by
    the HCU.

    ASTER (Assisting Small-group Teaching through Electronic Resources) is a
    research project exploring how communication and information technologies
    support seminar, tutorial, workshop and lab-based teaching and learning in
    higher education. It is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for
    England through the Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (phase 3).

    OxTALENT (Oxford Teaching And Learning supported by New
    Technology) promotes the use of communication and information technologies
    in teaching and learning at the University of Oxford.


    The HCU in collaboration with the publishers Chadwyck-Healey ran a
    competition entitled Filming Literature. This was open to Oxford
    students only and was based around the students submitting a short digital
    video (max. length 10 minutes) adapting any piece of literature available
    in Chadwyck-Healey's LION service (http://lion.chadwyck.co.uk). The final
    films (Macbeth, The Pardoner's Tale, The Monk, and The Waste Land) will be
    mounted online as part of our website on digital video.


    THE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES GROUP - a new initiative in the HCU

    The Learning Technologies Group is a new initiative by the HCU which
    brings together various projects and initiatives within Oxford looking at
    the use of C&IT in teaching. These are: the Humanities Computing
    Development Team (http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/hcdt/), Project ASTER
    (http://www.hcu.ox.ac.uk/projects.html#other), and OxTALENT
    (http://www.ox.ac.uk/it/groups/oxtalent). The group, therefore, will fill
    a current gap in local services by providing central support for staff who
    wish to make effective use of IT in traditional teaching at Oxford (and to
    a lesser extent in their research). The LTG will be charged with the

    * developing computer-based packages for use in traditional teaching and
    research at Oxford in collaboration with staff and external bodies as
    * investigating and researching into the use of C&IT in traditional
    University teaching and learning, and the latest developments in the field
    * disseminating information about the use of C&IT via publications,
    workshops, and conferences
    * training academics within Oxford in the appropriate use of C&IT for
    teaching and learning in association with other services in Oxford

    The focus of the LTG will be traditional teaching and learning. The
    concentration on the pedagogical implications of developments in C&IT
    means that administratively the LTG is located within the Humanities
    Computing Unit at Oxford. However, many of the activities of the LTG have
    a cross-disciplinary nature and it seeks to investigate the important of
    C&IT for teaching in all departments in the university.

    The staff of the LTG are as follows:
    Dr Stuart Lee (head), Sophie Clarke, Paul Groves, Dr Paul Trafford
    (development team), Dr Frances Condron (research and dissemination), Jenny
    Newman (administrative support). A new post of LTG Research Officer will
    shortly be filled.

    For further information, contact Stuart.Lee@oucs.ox.ac.uk


    The Forster Collection, Pitt Rivers Museum
    The Humanities Computing Development Team (HCDT) has recently launched The
    Forster Collection website, produced in collaboration with the Pitt Rivers
    Museum. The focus of the site is a collection of some 150 objects brought
    back by Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George from Captain Cook's
    Second Great Voyage of Discovery (1772-1775). The two men made detailed
    observations of the natural history and cultures of the islands they
    visited, which included Tahiti, Tonga, New Zealand and Vanuatu, and made
    extensive collections of natural history specimens and ethnographic
    artefacts, including ornaments, clothing, utensils, weapons and musical

    Highlights of the website include an interactive database, written
    specifically for the site and giving detailed entries for each item in the
    collection, high quality photographic images, and a complete scan of the
    Forster's original catalogue with accompanying transcript. Unusually, it
    also allows users to see the entries for the objects in the Museum's
    working database. The site will be of particular use to students studying
    for the University's M.Sc. and M.Phil. in Material Anthropology and Museum
    Ethnography. The website makes the collection easily accessible to anyone
    in the world, and it is hoped that the site will be particularly well used
    by people who live in the Pacific region.

    The collection itself is on permanent display in the Pitt Rivers Museum in
    the Lower Gallery. The Forster Collection website can be seen online at

    Chinese Multimedia CD-ROM

    In 1999 the HCDT completed a successful website to allow staff at the
    Chinese institute to develop effective online learning materials, quickly
    and without the need for specialist technical expertise. This year we have
    taken the project further by aiding the Institute in the creation of a
    CD-ROM edition of the site. The system the HCDT has developed is a full
    resource kit to allow the Institute to create new, customised copies of
    the CD-ROM on demand, and easily add new content. The latest release is a
    supplementary course for elementary to intermediate level students, and
    the availability of a CD-ROM edition means that high bandwidth material
    such as audio and video can now be easily delivered to Chinese learners
    worldwide. The content of the CD-ROM includes video and audio files,
    interactive character writing exercises, interactive grammar drills,
    multiple choice vocabulary tests, and indexes for grammar and
    vocabulary. The CD is currently being tested by students of Chinese across
    a number of UK universities.

    Please see the HCDT website at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/hcdt/ for more
    information about our current projects, and to visit our completed
    projects for the departments of Theology, History, English, Archaeology,
    Chinese, and other.

    Sophie Clarke, email: hcdt@oucs.ox.ac.uk

    The HCU is again running its successful series of Summer Seminars,
    covering various aspects of humanities computing. The OTA will be hosting
    its own day on Monday 23 July, entitled 'Digital resource
    creation: essential factors for a successful project'. This one-day
    seminar is designed to meet the needs of applicants seeking funding from
    the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB). Places will be limited, so
    book early to avoid disappointment. Attendance for the day will be free,
    but preference will be given to AHRB applicants.

    On a related AHRB matter, the deadline for applications for the AHRB
    Resource Enhancement Scheme is 31 May 2001. If any applicants require
    advice with the Technical Appendix portion of the application, they should
    contact the OTA, or other relevant AHDS Service Provider, for assistance.

    Potential users and depositors of the OTA and AHDS should be aware that
    our services are moving away from a purely text based service, to focusing
    on a more subject orientated service, which includes dealing with all
    media types in the areas of literary and linguistic studies. Therefore we
    are actively seeking new deposits in non-textual formats such as images,
    audio/video, and databases. If you know of any digital resources in the
    field of literature and linguistics which require a long-term home, or
    distribution point please get in touch with us.

    As ever the OTA is continually on the look out for new deposits in the
    area of literature and linguistics. Recently the OTA has been working
    closely with staff in the Bodleian Library at Oxford and the University of
    Michigan on a new project, called the Text Creation Partnership. This
    project aims to produce online and searchable full-text reproductions of
    texts from the period 1475-1700, for the Bell and Howell Early English
    Books Online Project. For further details see

    OTA Web site

    As part of our on-going work to upgrade the holdings of the OTA and the
    functionality of our website, we have recently provided an option on our
    website to browse our collection of texts, by author, title, and
    language. While this initial version still has some minor glitches, we
    hope to improve the quality of the browsing option once we have completed
    the retro-conversion of the metadata supplied with each of our texts. Keep
    an eye on the website for further improvements, including a revised and
    expanded FAQ. Also due for Web publication is the second in our series of
    Guides to Good Practice. After the success (and now print publication) of
    our first guide, the second instalment will focus on Finding and Using
    Electronic Texts and should be available online later this summer, with a
    print publication to follow shortly after.

    New Appointments at the OTA

    Two new appointments at the OTA are envisaged in the coming months. The
    first will fill the vacancy for a Resource Development Officer, with
    duties split between the OTA and the University English Faculty. The
    second is a new position, Information Officer (linguistics), funded by the
    AHDS, which will involve the promotion of the linguistic resources already
    held by the OTA, as well as identifying new linguistics resources, which
    would benefit from being accessioned with the OTA. The deadline for
    applications for this second post is the 27th April. If you are
    interested, visit http://ota.ahds.ac.uk/publications/applicationform.html

    Alan Morrison, email: info@ota.ahds.ac.uk

    We are pleased to announce that the Arts and Humanities Research Board
    have awarded funding to the Humbul Humanities Hub as part of their support
    for the Resource Discovery Network. The funding will be used to employ an
    information officer to implement Humbul's marketing and publications
    strategy and provide continuation funding for an existing cataloguing
    officer post.

    Michael Fraser, email: info@humbul.ac.uk

    The full-text version of this edition of 'Humanities Computing in Oxford'
    is available at http://www.hcu.ox.ac.uk/chc/hco.html

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Dr Frances Condron, Humanities Computing Unit, Oxford University
    Computing Services, 13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN.
    Email: frances.condron@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk
    Tel: +44 (0)1865 273280
    URL: http://www.hcu.ox.ac.uk/
    ASTER: http://cti-psy.york.ac.uk/aster/
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