HCU Activity Report, February 1998
Since the last report, the HCU has organized two major activities, briefly
noted at the last CCA meeting : TESS, the HCU summer school, was held in
July, and the conference on Digital Resources for the Humanities was held
in September. Brief reports on both events are available elsewhere. Planning
for similar events in 1998 is now well under way. A second TESS will be
held in July 1998, and will be followed by this year's major international
conference: TALC98 (This is an established biennial conference on the theme
of teaching with language corpora: see http://users.ox.ac.uk/~talc98
for details). Planning is also underway for a further one day symposium
in the "Beyond" series, called Beyond the Hype, provisionally to
be held in 0th week of next term.
Centre for Humanities Computing
CHC publications, seminars, and activities continued according to the established
pattern. Two editions of Humanities Computing in Oxford appeared,
and the start of the academic year was marked by the usual full programme
of faculty-based induction days and training seminars (see HCO for details).
This term we are running two Humanities Training Days, and also repeating
the course on Creating And Using Digital Texts; CHC staff have also
been invited to run a number of lunch time seminars.
The Humanities Bulletin Board (HUMBUL) underwent a major upgrade, and
we are reviewing ways of further developing it as a subject based gateway.
Oxford Text Archive
In March, staff from the OTA attended an important Workshop on computer
applications at the University of Wuerzburg, a report on which is to appear
in the forthcoming issue of Computers and Texts. The AHDS Service Providers
Forum met, and resolved a number of key issues on access and unified cataloguing.
In May, the Archive held its first consultative workshop on metadata
issues, which endorsed the approach being taken by the Archive. Full information
about the OTA's new responsibilities and future planning are available
in its first annual report to the AHDS, copies of which are available on
CTI Centre for Textual Studies
Sarah Porter and Sophie Clarke ran a one-day workshop on 'Teaching and
Learning with the Internet' for staff of Oxford Brookes University. Mike
Fraser and Sophie Clarke ran a training session for staff of the Theology
faculty, University of Oxford. Mike also ran a one-day workshop on
'Computer-Assisted Text Analysis' at the University of Hull; he also gave
a paper as part of the 'History of the Book' seminar
series for the Faculty of History, University of Oxford. Staff from
the Centre presented at the one-day Graduate Training Day run for staff
and postgraduates of Oxford University. Sarah met with staff from Chadwyck-Healey
electronic publishers to advise them on the production of digital teaching
materials, and contributed to the two-day AHDS User Needs Experts workshop.
Mike attended the CTI Centre for Modern Languages Steering Committee meeting,
and a one-day workshop on the use of video-conferencing technology, organised
by the JTAP programme. Sarah participated in a one-day workshop on 'the
impact of technology in higher education' at the University of Aston, and
a two-day training workshop on Electronic publishing design skills. Sophie
attended an SGML training course as preparation for her continued
work on the Gibbon cd-rom project. The Centre staff met with the Chair
of the Advisory Group for a 'brainstorming' session to discuss the Centre's
future role, in preparation for the CTI Review which is currently taking
British National Corpus
The BNC Handbook was published by Edinburgh University Press (and
is now on display in Blackwells). The BNC Online service went live in November,
and it is planned to upgrade the server in the near future to cope with
the prediuctable increase in load. A meeting was held to discuss the possibility
of enhancing the corpus to include linked digitized audio: legal difficulties
need to be resolved before this can be pursued. The vexed question of extending
access to the corpus beyond Europe is still unresolved, as a consequence
of anxieties at the DTI. Dr Warwick continued to support a wide range of
user queries and requests about the corpus, locally and externally, and
to teach workshops on its use. In January she taught a two day workshop
at the University of Paris III; using the BNC is also a component
she teaches for the English Faculty's Language Film and Media course.
Mr Burnard was invited to a workshop organized by Lancaster University
for a Polish team planning to build a corpus of modern Polish on the BNC
model. Both members of staff taught a very successful one day seminar on
using the BNC at Warwick University.
Virtual Seminars Project
The JTAP Virtual Seminars Project approaches its last stages, and
the bulk of its deliverables (four web-based tutorials for teaching literature)
are well on schedule. The Project has attracted additional funding, which
will enable a much larger quantity of digitization to be carried out, to
include all the manuscripts of Owen's poetry, rather than a small sample
as originally envisaged. In collaboration with other parts of the Unit,
an SGML dtd for the whole Owen Archive has been developed, which it is
hoped will have wider interest and usefulness.
Other HCU activities
Proposals for the establishment of a Humanities Computing Development Team
(discussed at an earlier CCA meeting) were finalised and are being discussed
internally within OUCS. A bid to establish the temporary post currently
held by Chris Stephens was prepared.