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					Exemplar Projects in Humanities
       Grid Computing

                Paul S. Ell
  Centre for Data Digitisation & Analysis
             Queen’s Belfast

                ISGC 2007
                 Summary

n   e-Science and the arts and humanities
n   Vision of Britain exemplar
n   Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative
n   Virtual Vellum
n   Irish Studies
n   The way forward
                 Grid technologies
    In the UK the Arts and Humanities Research Council has argued
    “Grid technologies fall into three main strands, with different
    degrees of significance for the A&H:”

    The three aspects of e-Science are likely to have varying impacts in
    the humanities and arts
n   Access Gird: Is this really distance learning with a better internet
    connection? Are humanities scholars going to change the
    fundamental way they do research?
n   Computation Grid: Do humanities and arts scholars need high-
    powered computing power?
n   Data Grid: The key technology that will fundamentally change
    scholarship in the humanities and arts. Also the key challenges
    Unique challenges in the
humanities and arts: The Data Grid
n   In the humanities the data grid is less concerned with
    moving large amounts of data around…
n   Heterogeneous, fragmented, partial, disparate e-
    resources
n   Information overload - the digital deluge
n   Resource discovery problems
n   Interface and data harvesting problems
n   Integratory difficulties
n   Data in ever more complex multimedia formats - not just
    text but numbers, images, objects, video, sound files
n   How to organise data - by subject, by chronology, by
    location - or all three…
n   But there are exemplars…
        The proof: early exemplars
      The Vision of Britain through time
n   Based on a ‘traditional’ HGIS of
    quantitative data and polygons
n   Supplemented with additional e-resources
    – historical gazetteers describing places in
    time, travellers tales, historical maps
n   Materials organised by place, time and
    subject
Historical maps
Census reports
Historical Gazetteers
Travellers’ Tales
An integrated resource
        The proof: early exemplars
    The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative
n   UC Berkeley-based project with almost 1,000
    humanities and arts academic affiliates from
    around the world holding spatially referenced e-
    resources
n   Metadata that allows registered distributed
    datasets to be retrieved on the fly at object level
n   Software – TimeMap – which allows retrieved
    data to be selected and visualised and exported
        The Proof: Virtual Vellum
n   Provides distributed
    access to research-
    quality digitisations of
    folios
n   Involves around 20
    organisations around
    the world
n   Easy access and
    preservation
        The Proof: Irish Studies

n   Poorly defined subject area
n   No cohesive e-resources currently exist
n   But quite a lot of e-resources data our
    there - Database of Irish Historical
    Statistics, Act of Union Virtual Library,
    Historical Hansard, JSTOR journals
n   Challenge to bring these together
    e-Science infrastructural needs
n   Examples ‘fixed’ to a degree
n   Need for e-infrastructure – place name gazetteers (JISC
    EPNS Project); chronological gazetteers (‘Going Places in
    the Catalog: Time Periods’ from US National Leadership
    Grant for Libraries); subject indexes (ECAI ‘Support for
    the Learner: What, Where, When, and Who’ – second
    NLGL grant)
n   Need for a subject based geo-temporal data browser??
    How is the ‘stuff’ that’s retrieved going to be managed?
n   Enhanced metadata or context sensitive intelligent
    searching
                    Conclusions
n   The Data Grid will be the key area of e-Science activity
    in the humanities and arts
n   Data Grid based e-Science in the humanities and arts is
    far more challenging than in the sciences
n   Key infrastructure is required together with enhanced
    search capabilities
n   Opportunity for fundamental change in humanities and
    arts research
n   Chance to fully exploit the vast array of e-resources
    already available
n   Humanities scholars will not need to change the way
    they work
Integrating e-resources by place and chronology: GIS e-Science: statistics, maps, photographs, text,
manuscripts, existing e-resources, websites, museum objects . . .

				
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posted:7/27/2013
language:English
pages:36