Incredible 19th-Century Botanical Catalog Put Online and Made Interactive

“Designer Nicholas Rougeux has spent the last year combining his love for data visualization with his tech skills to lovingly restore and place 19th-century texts online. After the success of Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours and the geometry tome Byrne’s Euclid, Rougeux is tackling a new topic—botanical illustration.

 

After scouring the internet for different 19th-century botanical catalogs, Rougeux set his sights on Illustrations of the Natural Orders of Plants by Elizabeth Twining. This 1868 two-volume catalog is the second edition of a work first published in 1849 (volume 1) and 1855 (volume 2). The rare first edition can go for upward of £40,000 (about $49,000), but luckily for Rougeux, the second edition is available for consultation online at the Internet Archive (volume 1, volume 2) and the Biodiversity Heritage Library….”

#metoo Digital Media Collection

“The #metoo Digital Media Collection is a digital project of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. This project will document the digital footprint of the #metoo movement and the accompanying political, legal, and social battles in the United States and will collect social media, news articles, statements of denial and/or apology, Web-forum conversations, legislation, lawsuits, statistical studies, Fortune 500 companies’ employment manuals, hashtags related to #metoo, and more. The material in the collection will date from 2007 with the creation of the #metoo hashtag by Tarana Burke and will end when #metoo activity subsides. The collection will be made available for interdisciplinary research on #metoo….”

Team Awarded Grant to Help Digital Humanities Scholars Navigate Legal Issues of Text Data Mining – UC Berkeley Library Update

“We are thrilled to share that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $165,000 grant to a UC Berkeley-led team of legal experts, librarians, and scholars who will help humanities researchers and staff navigate complex legal questions in cutting-edge digital research….

Until now, humanities researchers conducting text data mining have had to navigate a thicket of legal issues without much guidance or assistance. For instance, imagine the researchers needed to scrape content about Egyptian artifacts from online sites or databases, or download videos about Egyptian tomb excavations, in order to conduct their automated analysis. And then imagine the researchers also want to share these content-rich data sets with others to encourage research reproducibility or enable other researchers to query the data sets with new questions. This kind of work can raise issues of copyright, contract, and privacy law, not to mention ethics if there are issues of, say, indigenous knowledge or cultural heritage materials plausibly at risk. Indeed, in a recent study of humanities scholars’ text analysis needs, participants noted that access to and use of copyright-protected texts was a “frequent obstacle” in their ability to select appropriate texts for text data mining. 

Potential legal hurdles do not just deter text data mining research; they also bias it toward particular topics and sources of data. In response to confusion over copyright, website terms of use, and other perceived legal roadblocks, some digital humanities researchers have gravitated to low-friction research questions and texts to avoid decision-making about rights-protected data. They use texts that have entered into the public domain or use materials that have been flexibly licensed through initiatives such as Creative Commons or Open Data Commons. When researchers limit their research to such sources, it is inevitably skewed, leaving important questions unanswered, and rendering resulting findings less broadly applicable. A growing body of research also demonstrates how race, gender, and other biases found in openly available texts have contributed to and exacerbated bias in developing artificial intelligence tools. …

The In/Visible, In/Audible Labor of Digitizing the Public Domain

Abstract:  In this article I call for more recognition of and scholarly engagement with public, volunteer digital humanities projects, using the example of LibriVox.org to consider what public, sustainable, digital humanities work can look like beyond the contexts of institutional sponsorship. Thousands of volunteers are using LibriVox to collaboratively produce free audiobook versions of texts in the US public domain. The work of finding, selecting, and preparing texts to be digitized and published in audio form is complex and slow, and not all of this labor is ultimately visible, valued, or rewarded. Drawing on an ethnographic study of 12 years of archived discourse and documentation, I interrogate digital traces of the processes by which several LibriVox versions of Anne of Green Gables have come into being, watching for ways in which policies and infrastructure have been influenced by variously visible and invisible forms of work. Making visible the intricate, unique, archived experiences of the crowdsourcing community of LibriVox volunteers and their tools adds to still-emerging discussions about how to value extra-institutional, public, distributed digital humanities work.

Open Access 2.0: Rethinking Open Access

“The open access movement has empowered museums to connect with their audiences by providing unprecedented access to digital collections. Now that a number of museums have had an open access policy for the better part of a decade, how have their policies stood the test of time? How have their policies made an impact on their institutions and communities? Have standards of “openness” changed? How can policies be updated to address changes in community practice? What lessons can those still advocating for an initial open access policy at their institution learn from early innovators? Representatives from several museums with open access policies will share how their policies are evolving and lessons learned from their experiences implementing open access, and a representative from Creative Commons will give an update on the work the OpenGLAM community is doing to support open access policies….Key Outcomes: After attending this session, participants from institutions with open access policies will be ready to review their policies for areas that may need updating. Participants who are still lobbying for open access at their museum will come away with strategies for gaining institutional support for open access and crafting a policy that reflects current practice.”

The Right to Read is the Right To Mine: But Not When Blocked by Technical Protection Measures – LIBER

“Our Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group is working with LACA to gather evidence about what happens when Technical Protection Measures (TPMs) block researchers from accessing content because they have attempted text and data mining. 

The survey asks questions related to the type of content blocked, how the issue was solved and how long it took for access to return to business as usual. …”

The Right to Read is the Right To Mine: But Not When Blocked by Technical Protection Measures – LIBER

“Our Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group is working with LACA to gather evidence about what happens when Technical Protection Measures (TPMs) block researchers from accessing content because they have attempted text and data mining. 

The survey asks questions related to the type of content blocked, how the issue was solved and how long it took for access to return to business as usual. …”

As technology like AI propels us into the future, it can also play an important role in preserving our past – Microsoft on the Issues

“Our new AI for Cultural Heritage program will use artificial intelligence to work with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to help preserve the languages we speak, the places we live and the artifacts we treasure. It will build on recent work we’ve pursued using various aspect of AI in each of these areas, such as:

  • Work in New York , where we have collaborated with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MIT to explore ways in which AI can make The Met’s Open Access collection accessible, discoverable and useful to the 3.9 billion internet-connected people worldwide.
  • Work in Paris at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, where we have partnered with two French companies, HoloForge Interactive and Iconem, to create an entirely new museum experience with mixed reality and AI that paid homage to Mont-Saint-Michel, a French cultural icon off the coast of Normandy.
  • And in southwestern Mexico, where we’re engaged as part of our ongoing efforts to preserve languages around the world to capture and translate Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomiusing AI to make them more accessible to people around the world….”

An International Knowledge Base for all Heritage Institutions (Part 1*) – SocietyByte

Heritage institutions are places in which works of art, historical records, and other objects of cultural or scientific interest are sheltered and made accessible to the public. The equivalent of that in the digital world, is already taking shape, through digitization and sharing of digital-born or digitized objects on online platforms. In this article we shed light on how the issue of structured data about heritage institutions is being tackled by Wikipedia, and its sister Wikidata, through their “Sum of All GLAM” project.[1].

Access to these objects, and information about them, is provided and mediated both through platforms maintained by the heritage sector itself and through more general-purpose platforms, which often serve as a first point of entry for the wider public. These platforms include Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia, which also happen to be among the most visited websites on the Web. In this emerging data and platform ecosystem, Wikipedia and related Wikimedia projects play a special role as they are community-driven, non-profit endeavours. Moreover, these projects are working hard to make data and information available in a free, connected and structured manner, for anybody to re-use.

There are various layers of information about heritage institutions, ranging from descriptions of institutions themselves and descriptions of their collections, to descriptions of individual items. There may be digital representations of these items, and in some cases even searchable content within the items. Figure 1 illustrates how the top four layers of data and information are currently addressed in Wikipedia, with Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons increasingly focussing on providing structured and linked data alongside the unstructured or semi-structured encyclopaedic information contained in Wikipedia articles….”