Archive for December, 2009

We seek solutions…

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Listening to a paper at the IEEE 2009 conference in Oxford by Jeff Dozier on ‘the End of Stationarity’ (although more likely you want to check out his contribution to The Fourth Paradigm), the speaker passed a memorable quote on us. It’s a quote from Energy Secretary Designate Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who has been an outspoken advocate of strong action on climate change:

We seek solutions… We don’t seek – dare I say this – just scientific papers any more.

As Alfalab is striving for its own small sort of climate change, I couldn’t fail to notice how aptly Chu’s comment describes some of the things we’re trying to advocate.

Alfalab in Oxford

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

At this week’s fifth IEEE e-Science conference, held in Oxford, UK from Dec 9-11, Alfalab and its members  are presenting a paper in the Art, Humanities and e-Social Science theme. This paper is entitled Alfalab, Construction and Deconstruction of a Digital Humanities Experiment, by Joris van Zundert (Huygens Institute), Douwe Zeldenrust (Meertens Institute) and Anne Beaulieu (VKS).

The paper will  be published in the proceedings, and here is the abstract:

This paper presents project ‘Alfalab’. Alfalab is a collaborative frame work project of the Royal
Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). It explores the success and fail factors for virtual
research collaboration and supporting digital infrastructure in the Humanities. It does so by
delivering a virtual research environment engineered through a virtual R&D collaborative and by drawing in use cases and feedback from Humanities researchers from two research fields: textual
historical text research and historical GIS-application. The motivation for the project is found in a number of commonly stated factors that seem to be inhibiting general application of virtualized research
infrastructure in the Humanities. The paper outlines the project’s motivation, key characteristics and
implementation. One of the pilot applications is described in greater detail.

Digging into Data Challenge Winners

Friday, December 4th, 2009

An international grant competition Digging into Data Challenge, sponsored by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), has announced the 2009 Awardees. The following eight projects have been selected as the new grant winners:

Structural Analysis of Large Amounts of Music Information

Digging into the Enlightenment: Mapping the Republic of Letters

Using Zotero and TAPoR on the Old Bailey Proceedings: Data Mining with Criminal Intent

Towards Dynamic Variorum Editions

Digging into Image Data to Answer Authorship Related Questions

Harvesting Speech Datasets for Linguistic Research on the Web

Railroads and the Making of Modern America—Tools for Spatio-Temporal Correlation, Analysis, and Visualization

Mining a Year of Speech

For more information see

Cultural Heritage Online

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

An international conference Cultural Heritage Online – Empowering Users: An Active Role of User Communities will be held on 15-16 December 2009 in Florence, Italy. The conference is jointly organized by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage, the US Library of Congress, and the Foundation Rinascimento Digitale.

Observing that the Internet continues to have a significant impact on cultural heritage and humanist research communities—by affecting the way they work, use, exchange and produce knowledge—this conference explores, analyzes, and evaluates the state of the art and future trends in cultural contents on the web.

The conference addresses a wide range of issues within the main topics of Cultural Heritage and Interactive Web, Digital Humanities, Digital Preservation and the like, and it brings together prominent international scholars, such as Dan Cohen, the George Mason University professor and the Director  of the Center for History and New Media; Laura Campbell, the Director of the National Digital Library of the Library of Congress; Daniel Teruggi, the Head of Research and Coordinator of the Presto Space project, Institut national de l’Audiovisuel, and many other experts in the field of digital humanities.

At the conference plenary session, the Alfalab team member, Smiljana Antonijevic, will present her work on trust in online Interaction.