Although the SHARD project ended some time ago, in July 2012. The project identified four basic principles of digital preservation for researchers – start early, explain it, store it safely and share it. The only thing I would change is a little re-arrangement, putting ‘Share It’ as the first step. As someone working in digital preservation, I see many things lost or threatened mainly because nobody really saw a good reason to preserve them until it was almost too late. For researchers, engrossed in research, finding, creating and using data, writing research outputs, managing projects and keeping funders happy, it’s easy to forget digital preservation, or just not think about it at all. Having a positive reason to preserve moves digital preservation up the agenda. And sharing gives us that reason.
Sharing your research material and data is beneficial. In one way or another, the main reason to carry out preservation at all, on any level, is to be able to share your work with others, now and in the future. Sharing can help you gain more impact, enhance your reputation and increase your chances of being funded as more and more research funders are asking for plans for digital preservation in their calls. It makes your work not only accessible, but usable. Investigate making use of repositories and data centres as places to both safely archive and also share your work. Remember to be sensible with sharing, and use redaction or embargo when required.
Start early is key to any successful approach to digital preservation, and one that we also teach to digital archivists. It’s simple really. The sooner you start thinking about what you want to preserve and how and when that is going to be done, the more chance you have of not hitting problems ahead. Early planning also means you can include everyone who is involved in a research project in the discussion, which can also help to identify and issues you might not have thought about.
Explain it is the next step in sending your research materials into the future. Context is vital in digital preservation. Material and data without any context has no meaning. If it has not meaning, there is little point in preserving it. Provide context through explaining any subject-specific terms, learning about and applying suitable metadata to describe our content and describing your research process. Then future researchers will be able to make sense of your work.
Store it safely is the step that many people think is covered by backing up your work. Quite simply – backup is not preservation and it’s not enough to make sure your content. You need to store multiple copies in different locations, use open source file formats to help your files stay readable into the future and be careful how you and others handle and access files. You also need to be selective. There’s no need to keep everything, and it’s costly to do so. Seek advice from a library or preservation service about how best to store content for preservation.
TheData Preservation Online Training resource is available onPORTand guides students through the reasons to preserve and share data and challenges that they might face. Stephanie Taylor is a senior consultant on research technologies in the Arts Research Technologies division of the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC). For more details about the work done on SHARD see theULCC da Blog.
The Institute of Historical research are pleased to announce the release of InScribe Module 2: Script. This is the second instalment from the online platform InScribe: Palaeography Learning Materials and follows the introductory module released in January 2013.
The study of pre-modern scripts involves being able to identify specific letters, understand what is written down in a hand that is not necessarily familiar to us today, and being able to recognise the indicators that tell us the origin and date of production. The study of scripts in this way (Palaeography) is a useful skill to process especially for students who study any aspect of the pre-modern world.
Knowledge of the basic principles of Palaeography and the main features of particular script formats is an unavoidable requirement for anyone with an interest in the Middle Ages and a need to refer to primary sources. InScribe has been developed with that in mind. It is not a resource for expert Palaeographers, rather it is aimed at students that are required to consult primary sources (either medieval manuscripts or documents) and offers them with a chance to acquire the required knowledge and skills. Users are presented with a variety of textual and audiovisual resources that cover the whole medieval period with a focus on the English context. Besides detailed descriptions of each script, the student is given the opportunity to put that in practice by transcribing a range of selected manuscripts in the newly-developed transcription tool.
InScribe Module 2: Script
After the success of the introductory (free) module on General Palaeography, the School of Advanced Study have produced a new, second online module for our successful InScribe palaeography course. This module focuses on scripts, providing an opportunity to determine the origin and date of production of any given manuscript from medieval Britain. It starts with Insular Minuscule (a script form popular in sixth-century Britain) and ends with Gothic types in the 16th century. The module’s contents include:
Section 1 Introduction
Section 2 Insular Minuscule
Section 3 Anglo-Saxon and Caroline minuscule
Section 4 The Protogothic Transition
Section 5 The Gothic Explosion
As with the previous module, the Scripts module contains advice, videos showing Palaeographers as work, and various opportunities to practise your transcription and identification skills using digital copies of manuscript pages.
A critical skill for anyone conducting research in History is their ability to properly manage their digital data. A research project is only as good as the evidence that underlies it and that evidence needs to be clear, sharable, and reusable.
Join us on Monday 14 April 2014 at the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield for a workshop that aims to help postgraduate students and early career researchers to make better use of their data by providing skills training in data management tailored directly toward the Historian.
This is the third and final workshop of the AHRC-funded History DMT (Data Management Training and Guidance) project, which seeks to integrate best practice, good principles, and skills of research data management within the postgraduate curriculum and among early career historians. The workshop will showcase the chief deliverable of the project: a free online training course dedicated to the research data types that historians are most likely to come across in their research.
Further, the workshop will build upon the specialist training workshops which were held at the University of Hull and the Institute of Historical Research (University of London) by exploring the role of data management and training in research.
The workshop is FREE to attend. Academic staff, early career researchers and postgraduate students are welcome.
Please register your interest by contacting Clare Mills firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in your email any dietary or access requirements and if you would like a travel bursary (a limited number of travel bursaries are available for students. If you believe that your costs will be significantly high or have any questions about the bursary please contact email@example.com).
10.30 Coffee & registration
11.15 Introducing the History Data Management Online Training Course
11.45 Student Presentation #1
12.15 Student Presentation #2
13.30 Student Presentation #3
14.00 Managing Data: Understanding Its Role and Impact in a History Research Project
14.30 Group activity: using the course materials, evaluation
15.15 Coffee Break
15.30 Group feedback on the course materials
16.00 Embedding Data Management Training
16.30 Workshop ends
Location: Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield (34 Gell Street, Sheffield S3 7QY)
Event: History DMT workshop
Date: Monday 14th April 2014
For further information about this workshop (including speaker details) check out our workshop home page.
Abstract: In the early decades of the 20th century the London Underground was transformed from being simply a pioneer urban transit system into becoming the most powerful influence on the metropolitan landscape of any world city. This was entirely due to the vision and planning of one individual: Frank Pick (1878-1941) who became managing director of the Underground in the 1920s and the first chief executive of London Transport in 1933. Pick’s ‘total design’ management, through graphics, architecture, communication systems and the design of the entire passenger environment gave the Underground a unique character that is not found on any other metro. His influence is still felt today, an urban design culture which has shaped London’s chaos more than anyone else since Christopher Wren.
Biography: Oliver Green is currently Research Fellow at the London Transport Museum (LTM) and working as an independent museum consultant, lecturer and historian. He began his museum career at the Museum of London in 1974 and was the first Curator of LTM when it opened in 1980. He left to manage local authority museums and cultural services in Colchester, Poole and Buckinghamshire, returning to LTM as its Head Curator in 2001 and leading the curatorial team working on the major lottery funded refurbishment of the Covent Garden museum, which reopened in 2007. He has written and lectured widely on transport art, design and history. His latest book, authored jointly with David Bownes and Sam Mullins, is UNDERGROUND, How the Tube shaped London, published by Penguin Books in association with Transport for London to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Underground.
Abstract: This paper looks at the history of vision in architectural modernity and its failed acknowledgement of the London Underground. While there have been a number of studies of the architecture of Underground stations, including the interiors of the network – the Underground corridors and station platforms – the specificity of the visual regimes that the Underground establishes has been overlooked.
The paper aims to demonstrate that the establishment of the Underground represents modernity’s unacknowledged conjunction of interiority, mobility and imaging, which locates it at an interesting intersection of well-rehearsed arguments regarding the regimes of vision established in the era of the railways, the visual regimes associated with architectural interiors of modernity, and the regime of moving images that emerged at the end of the nineteenth century. In order to do this, I will look at the history of perspective in relation to the architectural interior, as elucidated by Nicholas Temple in Disclosing Horizons; the visual regimes established by the railways earlier in the nineteenth century in the interpretation of Wolfgang Schivelbusch in The Railway Journey; and the conception of mobile imagining in film, offered by Gilles Deleuze in Cinema1 and Cinema 2. The aim is to show that London Underground, as the first underground transportation system of its kind, established a model of mobile architectural imagining that brought together several trajectories of vision, yet remains unacknowledged as such in the histories of modernity.
Biography: Marko Jobst has a DIA from Belgrade University and March, MSc and PhD from The Bartlett, University College London. He is a senior lecturer in Architecture at Greenwich University and has written for The Architects’ Journal on architecture and film. He writes about the London Underground and Gilles Deleuze and is interested in film, philosophy and experimental writing. He also contributes to Mikser in Belgrade.
London Angel Underground station escalators (wikipedia)
Abstract: During the 1920s and 30s, as the Underground network expanded outwards and passenger numbers increased, Tube stations were designed (or redesigned) with a particular emphasis on speeding up and regulating the flow of passengers from the streets onto the trains. The symbolic and spatial centres of these new designs were the automatic escalators, a technology that accorded with the Fordist conveyor belt and which deployed similar logics of individuation, regulated (im)mobility and unthinking, disciplined habit. This paper returns to the early years of the Underground escalator to explore what was at stake within this administrative technology and how it reconfigured the historic relationship between architecture, the Underground environment, and corporeal patterns of movement and attention.
Biography: Richard Hornsey is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and the author of The Spiv and the Architect: Unruly Life in Postwar London (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). He is currently working on a project about the bureaucratisation of movement in interwar London, including an exploration of the administrative choreographies then being built into the Underground. His article ‘Listening to the Tube Map: Rhythm and the Historiography of Urban Map Use’ is coming out in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space in August 2012.
To be effective researchers historians must learn skills to enable them to manage their research processes so that everything they do is recoverable, usable, and useful. This workshop is intended to help postgraduate students and early career researchers to think more about what it is they do, to learn about digital tools that can help them become better and more efficient historians, and to recognise the importance of being able to share that research in terms of both the data/research gathered and in terms of publishing.
This workshop looks at various aspects of the research process, providing guidance, ideas, and training in how to be more efficient and better at the research that you do. It is part of the History DMT (data management training) project between the Institute of Historical Research (London); the Department of History (Hull); and the Humanities Research Institute (Sheffield). The workshop is FREE and refreshments, including lunch are available.
To register for the workshop please fill in a booking form on the Institute of Historical Research website.
A number of bursaries are available to help with travel costs so please indicate if you are interested in one of these in your application.
10.30 Coffee & registration
11.00 Introduction (Matt Phillpott)
11.15 Researchers projects – managing their data
11.45 Bibliographical Tools
12.15 Practical activity
14.00 Sharing Data
14.30 Open Access
15.15 Practical Activity
16.30 Workshop ends
This is the second of three workshops for the History DMT project. The previous workshop was held in Hull in December (see this previous blog post for full details). The third will be held in Sheffield in April. Each session is intended as a standalone; however, if you attend more than one session we believe that this would be highly beneficial.
Location: Senate House (University of London)
Date: 27 February 2014
Places are limited. To reserve a place please fill in the booking form here. If you would like to learn more about the workshop then please contact Matt Phillpott at firstname.lastname@example.org who is happy to help.
Abstract: When we think of Seamus Heaney we tend to turn to the landscapes of his native Co. Derry, to the anxious negotiations of identity and national affiliation articulated via his poetry, to his attempts to situate the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ within a mythological continuum that stretches back to Iron Age times. While it is true that the ‘matter’ of Ireland has remained at or near the centre of his poetry for over forty years, other locations have in fact figured prominently and persistently in his work. One of these locations is London; more specifically, the London Underground. In some respects it is not surprising that the Underground has featured in the work of a poet who has constantly been drawn to what lies beneath the visible ground, has been drawn to the land as a repository of objects, histories, and cultural memories. Heaney is also a poet who has regularly sensed analogies between contemporary local concerns and universal patterns – most obviously in his frequent recourse to classical myth.
It is the argument of this paper that Heaney’s poems of the Underground extend these propensities to look down into land and to draw upon myth. But more importantly I argue that the poems, especially ‘District and Circle’ published in the immediate aftermath of the July 2005 attacks on the London Transport system, forge what I term a poetics of tube travel fully cognizant of the protocols, the anxieties, and the understated but definably present sense of commonality (in fact, an ethics of travel) foregrounded in the era of perceived terrorist threat and counter-terrorist measures. In staging an absolutely quotidian journey on the Underground, Heaney invokes a tremendously vivid range of memories, sensations, histories, and mythological echoes, to reveal what is at stake in any journey by tube beneath the capital. Heaney’s ‘actual’ journey on the District and Circle lines are inevitably coloured by the innumerable journeys his poems and translation have made featured as they have been (several times in fact) on the Poems on the Underground posters. This sense of literary circulation as complement to his actual journeying is something I will also consider in this paper.
Biography: Tom Herron is lecturer in English and Irish Literature at Leeds Metropolitan University. Author of After Bloody Sunday: representation, ethic, justice (Cork UP, 2007) and editor of Harrowing of the Heart: the poetry of Bloody Sunday (Guildhall Press, 2008) and the new edition of Louis MacNeice’s I Crossed the Minch (Polygon, 2007), he has recently completed an edited collection of critical essays for Bloomsbury entitled Irish Writing London (2012). He has written numerous articles on Irish literature and culture and is currently working on a monograph exploring the place of poetry within the public sphere.
Abstract: Historians have noted that the republic depicted in Harrington’s ‘Oceana’ (1656) allowed little room for political debate beyond the confines of the senate. However, ‘Oceana’ did permit the localities to petition Parliament, allowing some channel for the expression of the popular voice, albeit in a form framed by the phylarchs, ‘the princes of the Tribes’. The Harringtonian circle itself engaged in petitioning activity in 1659, as the restoration of the Rump Parliament in May 1659 revived hopes of a new republican constitution. These political interventions were part of a wider petitioning campaign by the ‘well-affected’ in support of a republican settlement. Ruth Mayers, in her work on the revived English Commonwealth, has argued that these petitions provide evidence of popular support for the republic. However, Harrington’s own view of the value of this petitioning activity, as expressed in Valerius and Publicola (1659) was much more pessimistic, seeing the exercise as essentially fruitless.
Harrington’s disappointment was understandable: the petitioning activity of 1659 bore little resemblance to the orderly scheme of political communication from periphery to centre mapped in ‘Oceana’. The cliques of the ‘well-affected’ who submitted supportive petitions represented both a far more exclusive political constituency than the Harringtonians had hoped would be involved in settling a new Commonwealth, and a far more varied cross-section of the political nation than the ‘natural aristocracy’ that Harrington believed alone had the right to ‘debate’. Moreover, this petitioning activity was arguably orchestrated by the Rump and its propagandists rather than representing grassroots support for the Commonwealth. Nonetheless, this paper will suggest that the use of petitioning in 1659 to legitimate both the government and its programme set an important precedent that was followed by the Crown into the Restoration era.
Abstract: The East India Company at Home, Domestic Interiors, Public Histories & Material Cultures’ discusses the context and preliminary findings of a 3-year collaborative research project based in the History Department at University College London. In recent decades, the Georgian country house has featured in films, television, tourism and history as an icon of ‘Englishness’ (and, to a lesser extent, of Scottish, Welsh and British identities). This project contrasts this narrowly national representation of the Georgian country house to the increasingly ‘global’ forces that shaped country house construction, purchasing and furnishing in the Georgian era. Its focus is on both ‘Oriental’ luxury objects and the significance of the country home and its furnishings for the families of the English East India Company. How did the aspiration for an ‘English’ home sustain Company men’s participation in colonialism in India? How (and why) were Indian fortunes domesticated through the purchase of country houses in Britain? What role did Chinese, Indian and Japanese luxuries play in building effective country houses? Addressing these issues has involved the East India Company at Home team in new forms of collaboration, new forms of public history, aimed at illuminating the global underpinnings of British national identities.