Committee for Computing in the Arts

HCU Report: June to October 1998

1. Major activities

During the summer vacation, we organized our second Text Encoding Summer School, and also ran a very successful international conference on Teaching and Language Corpora (TALC98). HCU staff presented papers at the International ALLC-ACH Conference held this year in Debrecen, and at the third Digital Resources in the Humanities conference (DRH98) held this year at Glasgow University, which is part-sponsored by the HCU.

Several HCU staff, in particular Dr Lee, worked closely with the Humanities faculties during the recruitment of new Humanities IT Support Staff. Mr Stephens will take on the job of informally co-ordinating support for the new appointees.

The Humanities Computing Development Team is now established and has already begun work on four new projects: a separate report on the first few months of this major new development is attached.

As noted in the report for June, we are continuing to expand our programme of seminars and courses; a separate report summarizes the training and courses so far provided this year, together with suggestions for new courses under consideration.

The JTAP Project which lead to the establishment of the Wilfred Owen Digital Archive was completed in October, receiving a large number of very positive reviews, including a lengthy report in the THES. It won first prize in the local Internet Teaching Awards run by OxTalent and will be submitted as Oxford's entry for the annual UCISA awards.

CTI Textual Studies was commissioned by the AHDS to produce a report on current IT needs in the Humanities, which was published in September as Scholars' Information Requirements in a Digital Age, edited by Sarah Porter and Daniel Greenstein, AHDS, 1998. Following publication of the Higher Education Funding Councils' evaluation of CTI and TLTSN (the Atkins report) CTI Textual Studies has begun a process of consultation as to the feasibility of participating in a bid to host a new subject centre. The CTI is likely to be funded until the end of 1999. The Centre has developed an exit strategy which concentrates on a publications programme, particularly an expanded Guide to Digital Resources, and a one-day conference, rather than workshops and conferences. The publications will serve to consolidate the achievements of the Centre over the last decade. Key also to the Centre's strategy is collaborating with other programmes and projects, an example of which is UK-Hum-IT, an email list and associated Web page for representatives of HEFC-funded humanities projects. The Centre is also represented on a number of conference programme committees and national project advisory boards.

Work on the ASTER (Assisting Small-group Teaching by Electronic Resources) TLTP 3 Project continues. With the departure of Sophie Clarke and until the Project Officer is in place in Jan 1999, one or two graduate studentds will be recruited to carry out an initial literature survey.

The Oxford Text Archive's new website, with much improved searching and delivery facilities, went live during the summer, and is now a major component of the AHDS integrated catalogue. Following the departure of Dr Warwick, the Archive has taken over responsibility for distribution of the British National Corpus, and has established a new joint appointment with the English Faculty to promote the use of textual resources in the faculty. Further details of the OTA's extensive activities are provided in its latest report to the AHDS, and a brief article in Humanities Computing in Oxford, no 19.

Work on the CEDARS (CURL Exemplars for Digital ARchiveS) project has continued, involving several meetings with project partners at Leeds and Cambridge, as well as a special one day conference at Warwick chaired by the HCU Manager. A project officer has now been appointed to work fulltime on the project.

The HCU has submitted notice of its intention to respond to the recent JISC tender for offers to host specialist Gateways. The plan is to develop the Humbul gateway, initially in collaboration with existing gateways for Classics and Theology at Oxford, for Modern Languages at Hull, and for Philosophy at Liverpool.

University Committees

The following HCU staff serve on University committees:

Staffing changes

There have been a number of changes in staff at the Unit, leading to a major recruitment exercise carried out during September and October.

Dr Lee, head of the CHC, was seconded for 9 months from 1st November to work on a scoping study investigating digitization projects at Oxford, commissioned by the Mellon Foundation and managed by John Tuck, the deputy librarian. It is planned to recruit a second junior IT support officer to assist existing CHC staff in his absence as soon as possible.

During the summer, Jakob Fix and Claire Warwick both resigned their posts to take up appointments in Paris and Sheffield respectively. Sophie Clark transferred fulltime to the post of IT Officer in the Classics faculty, but continues to be located in the HCU. Sarah Porter resigned her post as CTI Project Officer on her appointment as HCDT Co-ordinator in September. Paul Groves transferred from JTAP Project Officer to HCDT Project Officer, following completion of the JTAP project.

The following new staff have been recruited to fill these vacancies and others:

In addition, recruitment to two further posts (CTI Information Officer and Assistant CHC IT Support Officer) is currently ongoing: it is hoped to complete this process before the new year, bringing the total HCU establishment to 16.5 FTE.

Other activities

The HCU is currently engaged in a strategic review, with a view to setting out short, medium, and long term goals for its development in line with University and Faculties IT policies, and also to review its own Mission statement. A draft of the latter document will be circulated for comment to the CCA before the end of the year.

Conferences etc.

Events attended by HCU staff, June-Oct 1998

3-4 JunParis, Bibliotheque nationale de FranceBibliotheques virtuelles: etats des lieuxAM attended
6 JunOxford, English FacultyComputing and English daySP attended
10 JunOxford, OUCSWorkshop on JTAP CoMentor projectSL organised; SP attended
11 JunSOAS, LondonBCS Electronic and Multimedia Publishing SG Education and the InternetMGP attended
15 JunBirminghamTLTP 3 Project Planning WorkshopMF attended
25 JunOxfordIT Support Staff ConferenceLB spoke on Life after HTML; SL spoke on The Datasets Working Party; MF attended; SP attended
29 Jun-1 JulLibrary of CongressSpecial Conference on TEI HeaderLB attended
29 Jun-1 JulBath, UKOLNConference on Information Landscapes for a Learning SocietySL attended; MGP attended
7 JulBirminghamBritish Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies Society ConferenceMF spoke on The problems of finding religion in cyberspace
5-10 JunLajos Kossuth Univ, Debrecen, HungaryALLC/ACH '98CS Presented paper Organizing Information in a De-centred Enviroment;SP spoke on User responses to online teaching of Literature;PG spoke on the Wilfred Owen Multimedia Archive;SL organized session on Virtual Seminars, and spoke on Web Tutorials; AM attended
12-3 JulLancaster UniversityMinority Languages and Language Engineering WorkshopLB attended
16 JulBristolALT-C 1999 planning meetingSP attended
7-8 SepEdinburgh University Dept ItalianInternational Seminar on Literature Philology and ComputersLB spoke on The hermeneutic implications of text encoding
9-12 SepGlasgow UniversityDigital Resources in the Humanities (DRH98) AM spoke on Digital Text Centres; LB spoke on Encoding the Lampeter Corpus; MF spoke on CTI Textual Studies 1984-1999: what have we learnt?and exhibited; SL spoke on Purchasing the Electronic Dataset: The Virtual Pound of Flesh; CS spoke on Accessing the Electronic Dataset: Chasing the moving goalpost; SP spoke on Scholarly Use of Digital Resources in the Humanities
17 SepLondonJISC workshop on subject gatewaysSL attended
16 SepLoughboroughworkshop on SuperJournals projectSL attended
17 SeptLeeds MetropolitanCTI WorkshopMF organised
18-22 SepReykjavik2nd Arnamagnĉan Digitisation WorkshopLB spoke on TEI Encoding of Manuscripts
21 SepOxfordAssociation for Learning Technology Conference (ALT-C 98)SL spoke on Online teaching of literature: the JTAP Virtual Seminars ProjectMF chaired, & hosted HCU exhibition;SP spoke on Less technology, more learning: using email discussion lists in teaching
23-5 SepHeidelberg? conference,JF spoke on Introducing the Oxford Text Archive and AHDS
25-8 SepBergen, NorwayConference on the Future of the Humanities in the Digital AgeLB gave plenary Computing for, in, and of the humanities, and participated in 2 AcoHum Workshop sessions
2-4 OctChicagoText Encoding Initiative Planning MeetingLB attended
7 OctRoyal Scottish AcademyCTI Workshop MF gave Introduction to the CTI and exhibited
7 OctBristolALT-C 1999 planning meetingSP attended
10 OctOPEN UNIVERSITYHumanities & Arts Network ConferenceMF gave paper on Supporting C&IT in the humanities: Oxford's Humanities Computing Unit; LB attended
20 OctLondonSeminar for AHRB grant applicantsAM spoke on Going Digital
26-8 Oct West Virginia UniversitySL presented two papers and ran workshop on JTAP project
31 OctCorpus Christi, OxfordText and Commentary in the Electronic AgeLB spoke on Encoding Hermeneutics; MF spoke on Online desktop commentary: the case of the Starr Report; MP spoke on Creating Electronic Scholarly Editions.
3-4 NovYorkCTI ForumMF attended
6 NovOxford Brookes Univ.Anthropology, Epistemology and Technology conferenceSP talked on 'Using the internet for teaching and learning'
7 NovShrewsburyWilfred Owen 80th anniversarySL presented poster session