Monday, 28 April 2014

A Centenary History of Swansea City FC

This project is headed by Dr. Martin Johnes and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in conjunction with Swansea University and the Swansea City Supporters’ Trust.

The ‘Swans100’ project is exploring, conserving and celebrating the heritage of Swansea City FC and commemorates Swansea City FC’s centenary. It has established an online archive, consisting of fans’ memories, photographs and other historic documents. The online archive that was created for the project includes education packs that schools can use to utilise football to teach maths, literacy and history. The project ran two museum exhibitions, community events, a children’s competition and produced a book of fan memories. Although essentially seen as completed the project still accepts submission to the ever growing digital archive that it has conceived.

Project website:
(Alex Berry)

Sunday, 27 April 2014

85,000 historic films available from British Pathe & YouTube

If you have not explored the British Pathe channel on Youtube, take a look.

From the British Pathe blog:

Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. This unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world.

“Our hope is that everyone, everywhere who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them,” says Alastair White, General Manager of British Pathé. “This archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that.”

This clip shows the aftermath of gales in the Bristol Channel, as the former battleship Warspite is aground off Cornwall and the SS Samtampa is lost off Porthcawl with the loss of 47 lives - including the loss of all the crew of the Mumbles Lifeboat during the rescue attempt. (more info)

The Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BCE

This work has been the recipient of the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant, worth £158,220, and is headed by Dr. Kasia Szpakowska with the support of two PhD students, Zuzanna Bennett (Swansea University) and Felicitas Weber (Bonn University), at Swansea University for three years starting in January 2013.

The Project explores the world of demons in 2nd millennium BC Ancient Egypt (2000-1000 BC or Middle-New Kingdoms). The term “demon” is used within the project as categorizing term that includes ghosts, guardians, monsters, and other supernatural entities that appear between the categories of god, man, and king. It aims to provide a data-driven classification of Ancient Egyptian demons and related paraphernalia from the second millennium BCE. To establish an interactive database, accessible through a website, allowing data to be shared and augmented by other scholars and researchers and to apply new methods of data visualization to convey the results effectively and engagingly to scholars and the public alike.

Project Website:
(Alex Berry)

What are the odds?

'What are the odds? Capturing and exploring data created by online political gambling markets': Headed up by Dr. Matthew Wall on an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project – worth £76,001 – along with his Co-Investigators (Dr Stephen Lindsay – Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Swansea University and Dr Rory Costello – Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick).

The project will last for 15 months and builds on the intuition that the odds offered on gambling markets inform us about participants’ perception of the likelihood of possible outcomes for a given event. As these odds are published online, it is possible to gather them automatically, and to compile records of how the markets fluctuate over time. The project aims to gather information from these betting websites and analyse them in regard to referendum and election results and their odds.

This research that will be useful in judging shifts in electoral trends during a campaign at much more regular intervals than traditional polling. What are the odds?’ is a cross disciplinary project between political scientists and computer scientists. It aims to create a bespoke project website with a ‘research’ face containing the open-source tools, techniques and data generated by the project. The project received funding that allowed the employment of a Computer Science student at Swansea University who will develop and test an algorithm for scraping and analysing the data created by these online political gambling markets.
(Alex Berry)

The early History of the internet in Wales

Dr Rhys Jones' work is currently being written as a chapter for the Routledge Companion to Comparative Internet Studies (forthcoming in 2015).

It focusses on the portrayal of the Internet in the English-language press in Wales, and in the Welsh-language press, 1990-1996. These are the years when the Internet could be regarded as being in its infancy. Taken as a whole across both languages, the press articles demonstrate competing and complementary discourses regarding a new technology during a relatively early stage of its enculturation: the largely technophilic attitude towards new media during this time, characterised as ‘Internetphilia’ by Patelis (2000), is critically analysed, together with elements of moral panic in some other stories.

In a comparative context, the Welsh-language press emphasises language, cultural pressures and nationhood as the key factors likely to be shaped by the internet. The English-language articles, whilst concerned about Wales as a nation, adopt the rhetoric of the ‘information superhighway’ as a key driver of economic progress.
(Alex Berry)

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Twitter and the Welsh Language

Work from Dr. Rhys Jones recently published jointly with D. Cunliffe and Z.R. Honeycutt : ‘Twitter and the Welsh language’, in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol. 14 No. 7, pp. 653-671).

The project used an online questionnaire in order to gain an insight into the thoughts and feelings of Welsh speakers towards Twitter. It showed that Twitter provided a new domain for the production and consumption of the Welsh language, as well as enabling new connections between members of the Welsh-speaking community. It was in turn also a new domain for the production and consumption of the English language by Welsh speakers.

The intention is to continue research in this area via the use of further online questionnaires in order to gain a wider insight into the impact of Twitter.
(Alex Berry)

National Library of Wales: projects

NLW Research leads, or is a partner in, a number of collaborative e-Research projects. Current projects include:
  • Cymru1914
    Funded by JISC, this is a mass digitization project in collaboration with the special collections and archives of Wales to digitize the hidden sources about the impact of WW1 on all aspects of Welsh life: language, culture, politics, and community.
  • Europeana Cloud
    Europeana Cloud is a Best Practice Network, coordinated by The European Library, designed to establish a cloud-based system for Europeana and its aggregators.  Europeana Cloud will provide new content, new metadata, a new linked storage system, new tools and services for researchers and a new platform - Europeana Research
  • Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities (NeDiMAH)
    European Science Foundation Research Networking Programme documenting and classifying the practice of digital humanities across Europe. NeDiMAH builds on the AHRC ICT Methods Network to document how academic researchers engage with digital content, and the emergence of new approaches to linking, annotating, and using digital content.
  • The Great War and the Valleys
    An online exhibition reflecting on the reality of The Great War on the town of Merthyr Tydfil and the Cynon Valley at the heart of the south Wales coalfield.
  • Wales1900
    This project will develop a crowdsourcing platform for placenames of Wales, working in partnership with Galaxy Zoo, the People's Collection, Wales, and the University of Wales.
  • The Snows of Yesteryear
    Funded by the AHRC Landscape and Environment Programme, this research Network will investigate resilience and vulnerability to extreme weather in Wales, in collaboration with climate scientists and performance researchers.

The National Library of Wales (NLW) was one of 19 leading European research libraries involved in the Europeana Libraries Project, which, in a two-year period from 2011, aimed to provide free access to 5 million digital objects on the European Library and Europeana websites. Reflecting NLW's commitment to digitisation and allowing free access to digitized collections, the NLW aimed to provide the Europeana Libraries project with over 100,000 pages of text-based material, over 5,000 images from its Welsh Landscape collection of topographical prints, over 4,000 images from the John Thomas photographic collection and over 120,000 images from the Geoff Charles photographic collection.

Delighted Beauty

We want to make digital tools to help us explore world culture, by comparing how the same work is translated differently, over time and space, in the same and different languages.  We want to develop text analysis and data visualization tools which will contribute to cross-cultural understandings and enable new research, new learning and teaching.”
A piece of work initially funded by RIAH (Research Institute for Arts and Humanities) and more recently by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council under their Digital Transformations’ theme: AH/J012483/1
It aims to apply the power of digital media in order to come to a greater understanding of images of world culture via the use of an innovative idea the ‘Translation Array’. The project’s initial global cultural text used as a case study for this idea was Shakespeare’s Othello. The project has carefully analysed the multitude of translations of this work via the creation of a system to clearly overlay these variations and present them in a clear format for comparison and investigation. The project is still on going and can be visited at its own website here:
(Alex Berry)

Austin's Cultural Campus

ARCW Digital Preservation Group 2009 report

Sally McInnes & Vicky Phillips 29th October 2009 On behalf of ARCW Digital Preservation Group
Recommendations and action plan
  1. Key policies and procedures – Provide advice and guidance on the types of key policies and procedures required to facilitate the deposit and preservation of digital material.
  2. Key documents relating to digital preservation – Raise awareness of the importance of the creation of key documentation, such as policy documents, digital preservation plans and provide templates.
  3. File formats – Provide training and guidance on file formats, such as the definition of file formats, issues to consider when selecting file formats, proprietary vs Open Formats etc.
  4. Digital material selection criteria – Raise awareness of the need to update selection criteria policies in order to incorporate digital material. Provide guidance on possible selection criteria.
  5. Digital preservation work of organisations and projects – Circulate information about relevant activities and projects. Create an easily accessible resource, which draws information together in one place. Create a mailing list to raise awareness of new initiatives.
  6. Standards – Raise awareness of standards and their importance. Provide examples of standards and their implementation.
  7. Data schemas – Raise awareness of the data schemas that are available and how these are used to safeguard digital material. Consider the creation of generic schemas.
  8. Digital and technological obsolescence – Raise awareness of digital obsolescence with in relation to storage media and file formats. Provide advice, guidance and training regarding the migration of these to robust storage media and the selection of appropriate file formats suitable for archiving. Ensure that measures in are in place to safeguard the integrity of the files. (Demonstrate use of open source software such as DROID so that Archives are able to discover exactly what is contained within their collection of digital material. Assist with implementation of Gaip or CDAS/Prometheus)
  9. Accessioning procedures – Provide advice and guidance on procedures and workflows relating to the accession of digital material and the content of forms / documents that will enable the accessioning process, e.g. metadata information, rights clearance.
  10. Providing access to material – Provide advice and guidance on the various ways of providing access to material, the potential rights issues, and awareness of the issues relating to the nature and level of access.
  11. Records Managers – raise awareness of digital preservation within the Records Management field. Provide advice and guidance on the embedding of digital preservation within the lifecycle management of electronic records and promote an integrated approach to digital preservation.
  12. Raising awareness at organizational level – Raise awareness of the critical role of digital preservation in maintaining access to information at the organizational level. Support collaboration between organisations through the sharing of knowledge, skills and expertise and applications for funding.
  13. Relationship with ICT support – Promote and sustain the working relationship with ICT support to ensure a robust, appropriate and integrated technical infrastructure.
  14. Open source software and tools – Raise awareness of the existence of relevant tools and share knowledge and experience of their implementation within Wales.
  15. Digital preservation projects and resources – Raise awareness of the numerous projects and resources regarding digital preservation that are available free of charge. These contain invaluable information and guidance for archives.
  16. Infrastructure of repository – Consider the options for developing institutional repositories at a local, regional or national level and undertake a feasibility and cost evaluation of the options.

About the Digital Adventure

In any great project there will be more than one strand, more than one thread, that will weave a path through activities, through participants, joining together communities in new endeavours.
The promise of the Digital Adventure is to create a truly great and global, welsh digital heartland. It should invigorate the local economy in Wales through encouraging the digital service infrastructure that will sustain the adventure; it should bring together the story, the community and the institutions; it should use the adventure to reflect the historical, technological, linguistic, cultural and political identities of Wales; and it should inspire academic research through Welsh Studies in a new, broadened guise that supports Wales’ own great adventure.
This digital adventure will require Welsh Institutions to come together in a way as yet unforeseen, adopting and creating methods as yet unknown, as exponential digital development is inherently impossible to plan. If we can build it, someone will do something completely unexpected and unexplored with it. The challenge is to build it, and build it in a way that will support a vibrant, emergent, digital and welsh culture.