“What's your method?” Building an ontology for digital research methods in the arts and humanities

workshop / tutorial
  1. 1. Panos Constantopoulos

    No affiliation given

  2. 2. Costis Dallas

    No affiliation given

  3. 3. Lorna Hughes

    No affiliation given

  4. 4. Manfred Thaller

    No affiliation given

Work text
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Digital research methods in the arts and humanities have been the focus of important systematic work for more than a decade, taking the form of a digital (computational) methods taxonomy developed by AHDS in the UK, and then expanded and reused in several digital humanities initatives internationally. The taxonomy was adopted as the conceptual structure for a series of ICT Guides for digital arts and humanities in the UK, the arts-humanities.net portal of digital humanities projects, tools, methods, expert centres, researchers, and papers, and the Database of Research and Projects in Ireland (DRAPIer, Digital Humanities Observatory). It was recently refined by DARIAH-DE in collaboration with the Bamboo DiRT project. It is now the focus of a joint project by the Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities (NEDIMAH) and DARIAH-EU, which aims to develop an ontology of digital research methods in the arts and humanities: a formal conceptualization of digital research methods and their context of scholarly use, which can be used to adequately represent the domain of arts and humanities scholarly practice in the digital age. These include equally methods of information seeking, use and modification of digital resources used in scholarly work, and computational methods used by humanities scholars in all phases of the scholarly research lifecycle, from the generation of a research question or topic, to the representation, visualisation and analysis of research data and sources, and to scholarly publication and communication.

Workshop structure
This workshop aims to engage participants in the theory and practice of developing an ontology for digital research methods in the arts and humanities, through an interactive modeling activity, led by a team of experts in humanities digital research methods and ontology building. Participants will be introduced to the background and state-of-the-art regarding the domain of digital computational methods in the arts and humanities, as well as to the scholarly processes and “research primitives” associated with digital methods, tools and services. They will also be provided with a graduated introduction to ontologies, to the main concepts and techniques involved in developing an ontology, and to a conceptual model of research scholarly activity suitable for representing the application of digital methods for arts and humanities research. They will then be invited to share and discuss short informal accounts of their own scholarly work, focusing on the use of digital sources, tools, and services, which will provide the basis for a conceptual analysis and ontology building hands-on exercise, based on identifying conceptual relationships and integrating the insights derived by individual digital research experiences into a shared conceptualisation under the guidance of workshop leaders.

Workshop participants
The workshop will be of interest to both advanced digital humanities scholars and to digitally-enabled humanities researchers, or those not currently using digital tools and methods but interested to do so in the foreseeable future. It will be open to those occupied with the study of textual and visual resources, material and intangible cultural heritage, quantitative and qualitative modes of analysis, and a variety of epistemological stances within digital humanities. In addition, the workshop may be attractive to STS scholars interested in understanding scholarly practice, as well as to computer scientists, information scientists and others interested in the relationship between digital humanities and digital infrastructures. Participants will not be required to have prior knowledge in the field of ontology engineering, but should be familiar with particular research methods in the arts and humanities, interested in reflexive analysis of humanities research practices, and prepared to engage, under the guidance of workshop leaders, with formal methodologies of ontology modelling.

Benefits for participants include the opportunity to share experiences, reflect critically on, and discuss the methods employed in digitally-based humanities research; to conceptualise specific digital research methods in the context of particular kinds of research, types of resources, and digital tools and services; and, to enhance their understanding of and get acquainted with basic ontology building techniques useful in the domain of digital humanities.

Workshop leaders
The workshop will be led by an international team with expert knowledge in the field of digital humanities methods and cultural ontologies, currently involved in a major joint research project of building a digital methods ontology for the arts and humanities under the auspices of NeDiMAH – Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities, and DARIAH-EU – Digital Research Infrstructure for the Arts and Humanities in Europe:

Prof. Panos Constantopoulos is Professor and Dean, Faculty of Information Sciences, Athens University of Economics and Business, and Director of the Digital Curation Unit, IMIS-Athena R.C. (Artemidos 6 & Epidavrou, Maroussi GR 151 25, Greece; p.constantopoulos@dcu.gr). He has previously been Professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of Crete, where he has also served as Department Chairman and Director of Graduate Studies. He has founded and led for twelve years the Information Systems Laboratory and the Centre for Cultural Informatics at the Institute of Computer Science, Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas. He holds a Diploma in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University, and a Doctor of Science in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests are in information systems, knowledge representation and conceptual modelling, ontology engineering, semantic information access, information design, decision support and knowledge management systems, cultural informatics and digital libraries. He has been principal investigator in 35 national and international competitive research projects, in 3 of which he was project co-ordinator. He has about 90 articles published in scientific journals, the proceedings of international scientific conferences, or as chapters in books.

Prof. Costis Dallas is Director of Museum Studies and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto (140, St George str, Toronto ON M5S 3G6; costis.dallas@utoronto.ca). His recent and current work as Research Fellow of the Digital Curation Unit-IMIS, Athena Research Centre, and co-principal investigator in the CARARE, LoCloud, Europeana Cloud and ARIADNE projects, and as Chair of VCC2 Task 2 – “Understanding and expanding scholarly practice” of DARIAH-EU, focuses on understanding knowledge practices and digital research methods in the field of cultural heritage and humanities scholarship, on knowledge representation of material culture, and on the specifications of curation-aware cultural heritage metadata repositories. He is currently engaged in developing a theoretical framework for the digital curation of “thing cultures", integrating historical approaches to the representation and study of cultural objects with methodologies, infrastructures and environments intended for the management, preservation and use of digital information. He holds a DPhil degree in Classical archaeology from the University of Oxford.

Prof. Lorna Hughes is University of Wales Chair in Digital Collections, National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth SY23 3BU, UK; Lorna.hughes@llgc.org.uk). At the National Library of Wales, where she leads a research programme in digital collections, researching and building projects that develop new digital content that addresses specific research or education needs, in partnership with academics and other key stakeholders in Wales and beyond. Her research focuses on the use of digital content in research, teaching, and community engagement. Her publications include the edited volumes Digital Collections: Use, Value and Impact (2011) and Virtual Representations of the Past (2008), and Digitizing Collections: Strategic Issues for the Information Manager (2003). She is Chair and (UK representative) on the ESF Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities (www.nedimah.eu), and the PI on a JISC-funded mass digitization initiative The Welsh Experience of the First World War (cymruww1.llgc.org.uk).

Prof. Manfred Thaller is Professor of Computer Science for the Humanities, University of Cologne (Kerpener Str. 30, Köln; manfred.thaller@uni-koeln.de). His current research interests are in the theory of a Computer Science for the Humanities; non-relational data models; and the relationship between Markup Languages and DBMS. He has been involved in a large number of digital humanities research projects, including, recently: the Digital Manuscript Library of Cologne (CEEC), the German Art Historical Decentralised Imager Archive (Prometheus), the Frankfurt digital library, and the Manuscript server project Duderstadt. He has a long career of academic research, publishing and teaching in modern history, empirical sociology and digital humanities, including appointments at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Vienna, the Max-Planck-Institut for History at Göttingen, and the University of Bergen. He was responsible for the design and implementation of a general data base oriented programming system for history (CLIO/κλειω), while also working on developing a general methodology of historical computer science.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2014
"Digital Cultural Empowerment"

Hosted at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Université de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

July 7, 2014 - July 12, 2014

377 works by 898 authors indexed

XML available from https://github.com/elliewix/DHAnalysis (needs to replace plaintext)

Conference website: https://web.archive.org/web/20161227182033/https://dh2014.org/program/

Attendance: 750 delegates according to Nyhan 2016

Series: ADHO (9)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None