The Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School (DHOxSS) is the annual training event at the University of Oxford which took place this year on 14 -18 July 2014. This year it took place primarily at Wolfson College and IT Services. The DHOxSS is a chance for for lecturers, researchers, project managers, research assistants, students, and anyone interested in Digital Humanities to learn new skills and find out about the DH research taking place in Oxford. DHOxSS delegates are introduced to a range of topics including the creation, management, analysis, modelling, visualization, or publication of digital data for the humanities. Each delegate follows one of the five-day workshops and supplements this with additional keynotes and morning parallel lectures. For more general information see: http://dhoxss.humanities.ox.ac.uk/2014/about.html
DHOxSS 2014 Organisational Committee
The organisation of DHOxSS is a collaborative undertaking and overseen by an organisational committee representing the major DH stakeholders at the University of Oxford. For DHOxSS 2014 the organisation committee consisted of:
- James Cummings, Director of DHOxSS, (IT Services)
- Ylva Berglund Prytz (IT Services)
- David De Roure (Oxford e-Research Centre)
- Linda Edgar (IT Services)
- Andrew Fairweather-Tall (Humanities Division)
- Christine Madsen (Bodleian Libraries)
- Eric Meyer (Oxford Internet Institute)
- Kevin Page (Oxford e-Research Centre)
- John Pybus (Oxford e-Research Centre)
- Sebastian Rahtz (IT Services)
- Pip Willcox (Bodleian Libraries)
- Kathryn Wenczek (IT Services)
- Martin Wynne (IT Services)
Content of DHOxSS 2014
The DHOxSS has a fairly regular daily structure of:
- 9:30-10:30 Additional Plenary Keynotes or Parallel Lectures
- 10:30-11:00 Break
- 11:00-12:30 Individual Workshops
- 12:30-13:30 Lunch
- 13:30 – 14:00 Travel Time for those switching venues
- 14:00-16:00 Workshops Continue
- 16:00-16:30 Break
- 16:30-17:30 Workshops Continue
- Evening Events
Additional Plenary Keynotes or Parallel Lectures
Each morning DHOxSS 2014 started with either a plenary (opening or closing) keynote lecture or a choice of three parallel lectures. Delegates registered their choices when booking onto the DHOxSS which enabled us to put each in the most suitable room available to us at Wolfson College.
- Monday: Opening Keynote: Community, Community of Practice, and the Methodological Commons, Ray Siemens (Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria)
- Tuesday: A choice of:
- 1A: Restoration and revelation: how digital images are far more than simply photographs in the digital medium,
Julia Craig-McFeely (Faculty of Music, University of Oxford),
- 1B: Creating and Sustaining DH Teams: Scaling from the Smaller to the Larger, from the Individual to the Institution and Beyond, Lynne Siemens (School of Public Administration, University of Victoria), or
- 1C: Panel — Scholarly Digital Editing, Pip Willcox (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford) (Chair), Lou Burnard (Lou Burnard Consulting), Eugene Giddens (Department of English, Communication, Film and Media, Anglia Ruskin University), Eleanor Lowe (Department of English and Modern Languages, Oxford Brookes University), Judith Siefring (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), and Ray Siemens (Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria)
- Wednesday: A choice of:
- 2A: If a picture is worth 1000 words what’s a medium quality scan worth?, David Zeitlyn (School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford),
- 2B: Obtaining the Unobtainable: The Holy Grail of Seed Funding for Small-Scale Digital Projects, Emma Goodwin(Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Oxford), or
- 2C: Panel — The Future of Data Access and Preservation, David De Roure (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford) (Chair), William Kilbride (Digital Preservation Coalition), Christine Madsen (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Carole L. Palmer (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Allen H. Renear (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Kenji Takeda (Microsoft)
- Thursday: A choice of:
- 3A: Ancient Lives: Classics and Digital Humanities at Oxford, James Brusuelas (Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford),
- 3B: The Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese Lexicon, Kerri Russell (Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford) and Zixi You (Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford / University of Central Lancashire), or
- 3C: Electrifying the ‘Via Lucis’: communication technologies and republics of letters, past, present and future, Howard Hotson (Faculty of History, University of Oxford)
- Friday: Closing Keynote: Beyond Digital Humanities: Skills, Application and Collaboration, Melissa Terras (Department of Information Studies, University College London)
All workshops at DHOxSS run for the full 5 days. Delegates chose a single workshop and stayed with that workshop for the entire week. They are not usually allowed to switch workshops part-way through since this causes problems for workshop organisers and in some workshops it is difficult for those who switch to catch up. Each year some do, and this year there was a £25 administration fee for doing so to discourage it. All workshops had at least one organiser local to the University of Oxford, who acts as the point of contact for organisational and administrative queries concerning the workshop. Workshop organisers were responsible for designing and running the program of the workshop, providing the necessary information about it, liaising with the speakers, and ensuring it runs smoothly. Organisers also often were speakers on that workshop.
The workshops for DHOxSS 2014 were:
- Introduction to Digital Humanities
- Taking Control: Practical Scripting for Digital Humanities Projects
- Data Curation and Access for the Digital Humanities
- A Humanities Web of Data: Publishing, Linking and Querying on the Semantic Web
- Using the Text Encoding Initiative for Digital Scholarly Editions
1. Introduction to Digital Humanities
The Introduction to Digital Humanities workshop at DHOxSS 2014 was organised by Pip Willcox (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford). This was the most popular workshop at the summer school and included a survey of many Digital Humanities topics with contributions from many speakers: Alfie Abdul Rahman (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), John Coleman (Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics, University of Oxford), James Cummings (IT Services, University of Oxford), David De Roure (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), J. Stephen Downie (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Kathryn Eccles (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), Amanda Flynn (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Alexandra Franklin (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), David Howell (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Zena Kamash (School of Archaeology, University of Oxford), William Kilbride (Digital Preservation Coalition), Matthew Kimberley (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Ruth Kirkham (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), Eric Meyer (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), Meriel Patrick (IT Services, University of Oxford), Michael Popham (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), John Pybus (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), Mia Ridge (Open University), Judith Siefring (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Ségolène Tarte (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), Pip Willcox (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Abigail Williams (Faculty of English, University of Oxford) and James Wilson (IT Services, University of Oxford).
2. Taking Control: Practical Scripting for Digital Humanities Projects
The Taking Control: Practical Scripting for Digital Humanities Projects workshop at DHOxSS 2014 was organised by Sebastian Rahtz (IT Services, University of Oxford). This workshop taught students the skills of transforming data from one format to another for a variety of purposes. It included talks from Alexander Dutton (IT Services, University of Oxford), Janet McKnight (IT Services, University of Oxford), Sebastian Rahtz (IT Services, University of Oxford) and Scott Wilson (IT Services, University of Oxford).
3. Data Curation and Access for the Digital Humanities
The Data Curation and Access for the Digital Humanities workshop at DHOxSS 2014 was organised by Kevin Page (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford) and Megan Senseney (CIRSS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).This workshop provided a strong introductory grounding in data curation concepts and practices, focusing on the special issues and challenges of validity and meaning for reuse of humanities research data. As part of this workshop invited experts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign participated and helped organise this workshop. We are especially indebted to them for this. This workshop included talks from: Lair Barrett (Taylor & Francis / Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), Jonathan Bright (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), J. Stephen Downie (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Tanya Gray Jones (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Scott Hale (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), Neil Jefferies (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Kevin Page (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), Carole L. Palmer (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Allen H. Renear (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Sally Rumsey (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), Ralph Schroeder (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), Megan Senseney (CIRSS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Nicholas Weber (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).
4. A Humanities Web of Data: Publishing, Linking and Querying on the Semantic Web
The A Humanities Web of Data: Publishing, Linking and Querying on the Semantic Web workshop at DHOxSS 2014 was organised by Kevin Page (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford). This workshop introduced the concepts and technologies behind the Semantic Web and taught attendees to publish their research so that it is available as Linked Data, using distinct but interwoven models to represent services, data collections, workflows, and — so to simplify the rapid development of integrated applications to explore specific findings — the domain of an application. Talks on this workshop were provided by: David De Roure (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), Dominic Oldman (British Museum), Kevin Page (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford), John Pybus (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford) and Sebastian Rahtz (IT Services, University of Oxford).
5. Using the Text Encoding Initiative for Digital Scholarly Editions
The Using the Text Encoding Initiative for Digital Scholarly Editions workshop at DHOxSS 2014 was organised by James Cummings and Lou Burnard. This workshop provided a mix of lectures and practical exercises introducing the use of the TEI Guidelines for the creation of scholarly digital editions. Marjorie Burghart (L’Ecole des Hautes Etude en Sciences Sociales, Lyon / DiXiT), Lou Burnard (Lou Burnard Consulting), James Cummings (IT Services, University of Oxford) and Magdalena Turska (IT Services / DiXiT, University of Oxford).
DHOxSS 2014 featured a Poster Session at the welcoming reception at the Oxford University’s Natural History Museum. This is was a lovely location for a reception and poster session and it was enjoyed by all. Presenter’s contributions were peer-reviewed by the DHOxSS Organisational Committee. Presenters were either attending the DHOxSS 2014 or were members of the University of Oxford. This poster session has several benefits in that it enables delegates to present the work they are undertaking to other participants at the DHOxSS, but also helps to justify their participation in this training event in some institutions. Moreover, participation by members of the University of Oxford who are not speakers or delegates at the DHOxSS gives an additional dissemination route advertising the DH work of the University.
- James Cummings (IT Services, University of Oxford) CatCor: Correspondence of Catherine the Great
- Rebecca Dowson; Margaret Linley (Simon Fraser University) Book Ecology and Migrating Collections: SFU Lake District Digital Humanities Project
- Bronwen Hudson (University of Vermont)
- Clare Hutton (Loughborough University) Collating Joyce’s Ulysses in the Digital Environment
- Alison Kay (Northumbria University)
- Hestiasari Rante; Michael Lund; Heidi Schelhowe (University of Bremen / Electronics Engineering Polytechnic Institute of Surabaya) A digital tool to support children understanding and designing the traditional batik patterns within a museum context
- Vincent Razanajao; Francisco Bosch-Puche; Elizabeth Fleming (Griffith Institute, University of Oxford) The Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues, Reliefs, and Paintings
- Magdalena Turska et al. (IT Services, University of Oxford) The DiXiT Project
- Sarah Wilkin and Ylva Berglund Prytz (IT Services, University of Oxford) The Oxford Community Collection Model
- Pip Willcox (Curator of Digital Special Collections, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford) The Bodleian First Folio project
- Nicola Wilson (University of Reading) Modernist Archives Publishing Project
- Martin Wynne (IT Services, University of Oxford) CLARIN
- Mary Erica Zimmer (Boston University) Browsing the Bookshops of Paul’s Cross Churchyard
Tuesday Evening — Guided Walking Tour of “Oxford Past and Present”
On the evening of Tuesday 15 July 2014, there was an Oxford Official Guided Walking Tour of “Oxford Past and Present”. This is the tourist information office’s main introductory tour of Oxford. The guides led delegates through the heart of the historic city centre illustrating the history of Oxford and its University and describing the architecture and traditions of its most famous buildings and institutions.
Wednesday Evening — DHOxSS Dinner at Wadham College
On the evening of Wednesday 16 July 2014 the DHOxSS Dinner was held in Wadham College Hall. A pre-dinner drinks reception was followed by a three-course meal in a stunning Oxford setting! A menu for the DHOxSS dinner is still available. There was no specific dress code for the event. The cost of the DHOxSS dinner (£52.50) was not included in the registration fee.
Friday Evening — Informal Pub Trip
On the Friday evening just after DHOxSS ended some organisers and delegates of DHOxSS 2014 walked from Wolfson College lodge to the nearby Victoria Arms public house. It is described on their website as: “The Victoria Arms sits on the banks of The Cherwell River, just a short way from the dreaming spires of Oxford city centre, but you could be in the depths of the countryside. With large sweeping gardens down to the river we are a perfect spot in the summer, whether you walk, drive or come by river on a punt.”
The DHOxSS 2014 three teaching venues, all within a 20-30 minute walk of each other. A Google Map of the important venues and routes is available at: http://tinyurl.com/dhoxss2014-map.
Videos, Podcasts, Photos, and Social Media
This year, prior to the DHOxSS, two videos were created advertising Digital Humanities at Oxford. These included one on the DHOxSS itself:
as well as one more generally on Digital Humanities at Oxford:
As part of our commitment to the creation of open educational resources the DHOxSS filmed the opening keynotes and additional parallel lectures. These are available at http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/digital-humanities-oxford-summer-school.
At DHOxSS 2014 the budget for this was postponed until other expenses had been finalised. It is recommended that this be included in the initial budget for DHOxSS 2015.
As of DHOxSS 2014, an open flickr group https://www.flickr.com/groups/dhoxss was created and some attendees uploaded photos.
The @DHOxSS twitter account was used extensively before and during DHOxSS 2014, and one delegate created an archive of @DHOxSS and #DHOxSS tweets. Various other social media were used as advertising locations, including popular DH mailing lists.
Mobile Events App
We trialled an event app http://guidebook.com/g/rbkxa9vs/ which received 106 unique downloads. The points of access for these were: iOS: 36; Android:28; Web:42. The guidebook.com events app enabled us to provide information concerning the summer school, maps, a detailed (and personalisable) schedule, information on evening events, sponsors, as well as various connections to social media. The use of mobile event apps may become an expected part of events like DHOxSS and the summer school should consider leveraging any solution adopted by DHOxSS stakeholders.
The registrations for DHOxSS 2014 were:
|Oxford Students or Staff
This includes one registration attending the OII’s Summer Doctoral Programme who did not attend workshops and at least another one who was unable to attend in the end. Only 11 registrations were from the University of Oxford. Although this is a reduction from 17 at DHOxSS 2013, this is because of the reduction in DHOxSS Oxford bursaries from 10 to 5. It would be beneficial to find other sources of funding or agreements to encourage the training of University of Oxford DPhil students and early-career researchers. The majority of registrations were ‘Standard’ registrations which includes anyone not in education or working for a commercial corporation. Students from any university and staff from the University of Oxford received a slightly discounted registration fee.
This was the first year that DHOxSS had block bookings, where 10+ bookings from a single institution received a 10% discount. This required a single purchase order payment and for the originating institution to aggregate the booking details. This resulted in a booking of 14 registrations from the University of Edinburgh. However, there were additional administrative burdens and we should work to streamline this in some way in the future.
Country of Origin
The majority of DHOxSS 2014 delegates came from the United Kingdom, with 11 from Oxford, 42 from the rest of the UK, and 16 from the USA. If added together Europe as a whole is the second largest contingent after the UK.
||Number of Students
As discussed above there were evening events each night. The numbers below are students who registered for these events.
||Number of Students
|Monday Poster Reception
|Tuesday Walking Tour
|Thursday TORCH Lecture
DHOxSS acted as a broker for accommodation at Wolfson College for the week of DHOxSS 2014. This does not include speaker bookings at Wolfson, Keble, and St Hugh’s colleges.
||Number of Student Accommodation Bookings
Of the 108 students attending workshops 75 were women and 33 were men. This means that 69.44% of DHOxSS 2014 registrants were female. However, a strong caveat must be made here: this is apparent gender, based solely on my own observations. DHOxSS 2014 did not collect gender statistics but I’ve chosen to monitor such metrics unofficially because I want to ensure that we continue to offer a welcoming environment to all those wanting DH training, what workshops are preferred, and how this may compare to other DH events. This means that I have made my own determinations of apparent gender using basic binary categories. Clearly in a modern world this is not sufficient or representative of gender self-identity, but is only intended as a basic metric. I do not think the increase from 67% in 2013 to 69.44% is statistically significant given the increase in numbers this year.
|Data Curation and Access
|Humanities Web of Data
|Introduction to Digital Humanities
I’m not sure if there are any conclusions that can be drawn from the attendance. Clearly we offer a welcoming environment for women interested in DH but do not have any clear data on why this may be so.
We were able to keep the costs for registration the same as the previous couple years because of getting a good deal from Wolfson College. Registration included the costs of the venues, lunch, workshops, speaker’s expenses, and some of the evening events.
|Student (any institution/level) or University of Oxford Staff:You are enrolled as a (full-time or part-time) student at any educational institution at any level or are a member of staff of the University of Oxford
|Standard: You work for an educational institution, library, charity or non-commercial organisation in any capacity
|Commercial: You work for a commercial or corporate organisation
The DHOxSS attempts to be cost-neutral but any profits are put back into the following year’s summer school.
The DHOxSS is only able to run because of the selfless donation of time of the Workshop Organisers, Speakers, Event Administration and others. In 2014, as with previous years, the event administration and overall organisation was donated by IT Services. No speakers were paid to appear at DHOxSS 2014 but reasonable travel and accommodation costs were paid from the income of registration fees. The amount of time in aggregate donated by speakers, organisers, and administration is immense, and we are extremely grateful for this as the event would be impossible without it.
We had 4 sources of income: Registrations, Accommodation, Banquet Tickets and Sponsorship. From these we raised approximately 78,000 pounds. The accommodation expenses were directly passed on with no profit being made. The general headings of expenses (in order of cost) were: hire of venues with day delegate rate including lunches, delegate accommodation, speakers expenses, banquet, welcome drinks reception, registration materials (bags, badges, lanyards, etc.), filming, documentation, a contribution to the TORCH drinks reception, walking tour, and marketing. Precise amounts for each of these (and their breakdown) will be made available to the organisational committee. The most significant costs any year are that for the Venues (and usually this involves a day delegate rate which includes lunch) and when we are handling it the accommodation. Of the income of approximately 78,000 pounds, we had expenses of approximately 77,700 pounds, which includes a deposit for DHOxSS 2015 to St Anne’s College.
Both delegates and speakers were asked to fill in feedback surveys in order to capture what worked well, and what could improve. A synthesis of this feedback will be provided to the DHOxSS 2015 organisational committee to help improve the DHOxSS for next year. 45 Delegates responded to the survey (at time of writing). A summary of their feed back is:
- Plenary and parallel lectures: Most feedback found these ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ with comments noting some problems with the venue or audio-visual. Any negative comments on content were primarily describing a mismatch between the advertised abstract and the talk so we should remind speakers to take care when crafting their abstracts.
- Workshops: These were ranked on the ‘level of teaching’, ‘speed of teaching’, ‘range of topics’, ‘quality of lectures’, ‘quality of practicals’, and ‘Overall quality of teaching’. All scored highly with mostly ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. The Introduction to DH workshop had some comments about the lack of practicals (this was predominately a lecture-based workshop). Some other workshops received comments that the speed of teaching was occasionally too fast in some technical talks.
- General aspects of the DHOxSS as a whole: Delegates were asked to rank “overall academic content”, “balance of workshops vs lectures”, “balance of academic vs social content”, and “having multiple venues”. Each were almost entirely ranked ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. Suggestions were made that each lecturer should produce a 1-page handout of key terms/points and related reading, several mentioned the distance of Wolfson College to the city centre, but many positive comments were also received.
- Teaching Venues: The teaching venues (Wolfson College: Lecture Theatre, Seminar Rooms 1-3 and Buttery; Pitt Rivers Museum, and IT Services: Isis, Evenlode, and WindrushRooms) were all ranked. Mostly these received ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ ratings, but there were negative comments concerning the Wolfson College rooms relating to the heat (the week of DHOxSS was particular warm and the ‘passively cooled’ rooms of Wolfson’s Auditorium do not seem to cope well with this) and constant noise of staff and college members outside the Buttery. A minority did not think the Pitt Rivers lecture theatre was a satisfactory venue.
- Food and Drink: Delegates ranked the Breakfasts at Wolfson, if staying there, Morning and Afternoon Tea Breaks, and Lunch. Generally these were good, but there were suggests for more variety, more fruit and salad, not only at lunch breaks but fruit as an option instead of biscuits at breaks. Alternatives to tea and coffee were also suggested.
- Evening Events: Delegates ranked the quality of food/drink, locations, quality of event, etc. for each of the evening events. All of these score highly. The location and posters at the welcome reception were praised. The walking tour was a great success. The responses from the banquet thought the after dinner talk was too long, and while the location was excellent, the food perhaps a bit overpriced. The TORCH lecture was ranked well, but some comments indicate that it was seen as too general.
- Overall Organisation: The delagates ranked registration, administration, online payment store, announcements/publicity, joining instructions, support during DHOxSS, website information, a/v and teaching facilities, and wolfson accommodation (if stayed there). These were all ranked quite strongly as ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. with Wolfson’s accommodation receiving a few lower scores. Comments simultaneously thought Wolfson was great and complained about their beds/pillows, while other comments praised the running and communication received from event administrative staff.
- How did they find out about the DHOxSS: Over 90% of respondents found out about DHOxSS from Colleague / Word of Mouth or the Website. Some noted that they found out from colleagues at their University or from an announcement during the DHSI summer school in Victoria.
- Mobile Events App: Those who downloaded the mobile events app were asked to rate its usefulness. 83% (of 21) thought it was good or excellent. Comments noted that the social aspects didn’t really kick off…as social media already fulfils that need, or that it was overly complex for what it provided.
- Workshops/Lectures/Tech for future DHOxSS: Asked to provide suggestions for next year. These ranged wildly with Visualisation, Mapping, Digital Publishing, Corpus Linguistics, and XSLT being mentioned multiple times. A variety of other technologies, tools, and topics were also mentioned: all of these will be fed back the DHOxSS 2015 Organisational Committee.
Plans for DHOxSS 2015
DHOxSS 2015 will be held from the 20-24 July 2015 at St Anne’s College and IT Services. We are starting the planning for this and will be setting the registration charges as soon as we have a clearer idea of all of the expenses. The organisational committee has been re-formed to give a wider distribution across the stakeholders of the University. If you want to subscribe to our DHOxSS announcements mailing list, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and confirm by replying to the confirmation email that gets sent to you. We will notify this mailing list when registration opens.
If you have any additional feedback or suggestions for 2015 do not hesitate to contact the Director: James.Cummings@it.ox.ac.uk.