HCU Report, February 2000

Major activities

A detailed report on the HCDT's activities is elsewhere. We are now investigating the feasibility of recruiting a new self-funding member of the team to expand on its activities. A major profile-raising exercise will take place in the Divinity School on 13 March, and the next round of project selection will begin shortly.

As noted at the previous meeting, the CHC teaching programme has been overhauled and expanded. A detailed overview is elsewhere on today's agenda. The Centre has been physically re-arranged, and it is planned to upgrade its hardware over summer to reflect an increasing emphasis on multimedia tools and techniques. CHC/HCU staff are creating two virtual training suites in English and in History for the RDN and have offered to produce further Reports, one on Purchasing Decisions for electronic resources (DNER) and another on European Humanities Computing Courses (AcoHum).

At the request of the funding councils, it was agreed to provide a minimal level of support for the CTI Centre for Textual Studies until June. Steve Allen (formerly from CTISS) will be working within the HCU to cover residual support activities, and assist in the preparation of the online version of the Centre's Resources Guide, which was published in print form in January, and will be officially launched on 18 February.

The first of the Oxford Text Archive's Guides to Good Practice has been distributed. Its website has been further enhanced and a new site is now operational. At the request of the outgoing AHDS directorate, an external review of the OTA's collections policies is to be carried out later this term chaired by David Robey.

The new HUMBUL Hub had made good progress, and is the subject of a separate report. The Hub's national management committee met for the first time February 1st. It is planned to recruit an additional support officer later in the year.

Research and Outreach activities

The HCU is organizing a week long series of technical briefings or one day workshops on a range of humanities computing activities to be held this summer. The programme will include multimedia, text encoding, digital library techniques, web-based database delivery, XML, and resource discovery. Publicity for the event will be available later this term: there will be a preferential rate for Oxford attendees.

The series of well-attended lunchtime seminars on Oxford digitization projects continued.

The HCU has submitted a statement of interest in response to the recent call for proposals for AHRB Research Centres. It has also submitted a bid to develop tools for using the DNER in response to the recent JISC 5/99 bid.

Work on the ASTER (Assisting Small-group Teaching by Electronic Resources) TLTP 3 Project continues. The case studies are almost complete, and the project is moving into a more analytic phase.

Work on the EU-funded Master (Manuscript Access through Standardized Electronic records) project continues. Some modifications to the DTD in light of experience gained so far have been proposed, and will be resolved at a meeting later this month in Copenhagen. It is hoped to advertise for a technical officer post to implement software for the system later this month.

Work on the CEDARS (CURL Exemplars for Digital ARchiveS) project continues. A preliminary report on metadata requirement has been distributed for review. There was a Demonstrators Meeting in Cambridge, following which further work on implementation is planned.

University Committees

Following a suggestion at the last CCA, HCU staff have now been asked to serve on the IT committees for Lit Hum (Mr Popham); Theology (Dr Fraser); English (Dr Lee); Modern Languages (Ms Porter); Modern History (Mrs Cooper); Ruskin (Mr Stephens). In addition, Dr Lee continues to chair the Datasets Committee, and is a member of the ODLS Development Team. Mr Burnard continues to attend meetings of the Digital Library Research Group, and is a member of the ODLS Architectures and Metadata Working Group.

Staffing changes

There have been a small number of changes in staff at the Unit over the summer.