By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives, Frankie Perry, Music Manuscripts and Archives Cataloguer and Stella Wisdom, Digital Curator for Contemporary British Collections
The First Annual Event for the UK-Ireland Digital Humanities Association took place on 29th and 30th June 2023 at Senate House, University of London as well as online. The Association “aims to build a collaborative vision for the field, and create new and sustainable long-term partnerships in alignment with the international community”. The programme set across one and half days covered a wide variety of topics and included an opportunity for the Community Interest Groups to meet up.
The British Library was involved in four presentations either as an individual presentation or as part of a collaborative project. In this blog post we hear back from the British Library colleagues who attended.
Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives
I was involved in two collaborative presentations with Sharon Healy (Maynooth University) and Juan-José Boté-Vericad (Universitat de Barcelona). Our first presentation was a lightning talk on day one called 'Finding Web Archives under the ‘Big Tent’ of DH: A Case Study of Ireland and the UK'. This presented one element of a forthcoming chapter in a WARCnet edited collection on web archiving. This presentation reviewed postgraduate courses for the provision of web archiving in information management and digital humanities courses in Britain and Ireland. Our second presentation was part of Panel #2 on day two called 'The Potential of a Reborn Digital Archival Edition for Collating a Corpus of Archived Web Materials'. This presentation outlined a methodology for researchers without coding skills to select, collate and analyse a corpus of archived websites.
The highlight for me was Panel #3, especially the presentation 'Towards a Critical Black Digital Humanities: A Critical Librarian’s Response' by Naomi L.A Smith (University of West London). This presentation and the discussion that followed highlighted some of the challenges as well as some of the positive action steps that can be taken to ensure digital humanities research is more inclusive.
Frankie Perry, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, InterMusE project, University of York / Music Manuscripts and Archives Cataloguer, British Library
I gave a paper with Prof. Rachel Cowgill (University of York) who is Principal Investigator on the InterMusE project – a collaborative venture between musicologists, computer scientists, and archive and library specialists funded by the AHRC’s UK-US New Directions for Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions programme. The British Library is an institutional partner, with Dr Rupert Ridgewell (Lead Curator, Printed Music) as Co-Investigator; the universities of Swansea and Illinois at Urbana-Champagne are further partners, and we’re also working with the University of Waikato. In our paper, we introduced the complexities of sourcing, digitising, and piecing together ephemera relating to historical musical events (eg. concert programmes, flyers, newspaper reviews), using as our case study materials relating to the British Music Society (1918-1933) and its regional centres and branches. We showed the interface of the digital archive built for the project, which uses a combination of the Greenstone Digital Library system, the Mirador Annotation Viewer, and the SimpleAnnotationServer to make materials browsable, searchable, and interactive for musicologists and community users alike.
I really enjoyed the event and the snapshot it provided into current digital humanities research and techniques. I especially enjoyed a paper by Orla Delaney (Cambridge) on 'Database ethnography and the museum object record', and one by Lisa Griffith (Digital Repository of Ireland) and Laura Molloy (CODATA) titled 'Pathways to collaboration – creating and sharing GLAM image collections as data'.
Stella Wisdom, Digital Curator for Contemporary British Collections
My lightning talk 'Collaborating to Curate and Exhibit Complex Digital Literature' reflected on the cooperation between curators, researchers, experimental writers and creative practitioners to plan and produce the British Library’s Digital Storytelling exhibition (2 June 2023 - 15 October 2023). A hands-on display, which explores the ways that digital innovations have transformed and enhanced our narrative experiences. Showcasing eleven examples of electronic literature that invite readers to become a part of the story themselves, through interactive narratives that respond to user input, reading experiences influenced and personalised by data feeds, and works that draw from multiple platforms and audience participation to create immersive story worlds. Preparing and in some cases modifying these interactive works to display them in a public gallery has only been possible through practical collaborations between Library staff with the writers and games studios who created these digital stories. I shared some insights from my experience of this co-curation work and encouraged attendees to visit the exhibition.
It was a pleasure to meet a number of people in real life who I had only previously spoken with online. A personal highlight was hearing Reham Hosny from the University of Cambridge and Minia University speak about 'DH and E-Lit Communities: Intersectional Perspectives'. In the refreshment breaks at this event I chatted with Reham about her novel, Al-Barrah (The Announcer) and she demonstrated to me how both augmented reality and hologram technologies work with the printed book to immerse readers in this thought provoking narrative.