Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Arts and Humanities and ICT

Following on from my previous blog post about the JISC- Future of Research? conference, the next parallel session I attended was “Evolution and Revolution in ICT and Arts and Humanities research”.

The first presenter was Simon Tanner from King’s College London who spoke about some JISC digitised collections. No slides from this one I’m afraid as he showed us pretty pictures instead!

The next speaker was from Mimas who spoke about “long tails and efficiencies of scale”. The slides for this one are available and of particular relevance to myself and the NGS, was the observation that services have to show –

  • User demand
  • Benefits
  • Impact and value
  • Sustainability

This is something that the NGS has been undertaking recently and will continue to do so as we come up for refunding next year. You may have seen a small flurry of stats etc on the website and we have been undertaking more stats gathering behind the scenes from the proliferation of data available from usage stats and user applications. From this we are building up a picture of user demand, impact and value etc.

We hope that our users will help us by contributing to our forthcoming annual user survey and our follow up roadshow survey. If you have attended any NGS roadshows we would be grateful if you could complete the short survey which will take about a minute to complete! This will help us shape future roadshow events and also analyse the benefits that users get from attending these events.

The final speaker was John Coleman from the University of Oxford who presented on “Large Scale Computational Research in Arts and Humanities”. He started with an interesting fact that in 2008 YouTube was the second most popular search engine with people looking for speech / audio instead of text. He is currently working on a JISC funded project to “mine a year of speech” which aims to annotate a years worth of data in the form of a corpus. To do this he is currently using about 20 computers set up as a cluster in a local lab. However he is now looking at placing the data in several other universities which he says is “like grid computing”. John also highlighted a report available on "ICT Tools for searching, annotation and analysis of audiovisual material" which may be of interest to people.

The JISC Future of Research? conference had some very interesting parallel sessions and I hope it continues next year!

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