Posts Tagged ‘digital collections’

  • One+ Language: Three+ Scripts?

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    My research and teaching is based in Hindi and Urdu.  Although arguably different spectrums of the same language, they are written in different scripts.  Hindi, which in general has more Sanskrit vocabulary  is written in a left-to-right devanagari (देवनागरी) script and Urdu, which draws more on Persian and Arabic, in a right-to-left Perso-Arabic script called nastaleeq (نستعلیق).  Both scripts are generally but not entirely phonetic.

    In a series of small projects, I have explored the possibility of creating a meta-notation that will encapsulate enough information to allow the representation both scripts, as well as phonetic transcription and diacritic-based transliteration, of any given text (http://bit.ly/cYnMCi ; http://bit.ly/krcUT3).  The overall goal of my project is to use digital technology to override the limitations of the division between these scripts/languages.  My interest is in encoding more phonetic of etymological information about texts than Unicode will allow, so that digital texts can be used for both advanced humanities research as well as for language pedagogy.

    My  particular research interest is in Urdu poetry, which is among the most prized literary genres in South Asia.  I have explored ways of building on the class-based lexer/parsers used for script conversion in order to facilitate computational prosody of Urdu poetic texts.  Urdu meter is based on length rather than stressed syllables.  Using the meta-notion therefore would allow that these popular texts could be read not only in Hindi and transliteration but also exposed as sound in time.  How can that be visualized?

  • Digital Databases, Oral History and K-12 Education

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    My interests are twofold.  First, I am interested in knowing how individuals have made oral histories available in a digital format.  What programs have you used and found successful or problematic for audio files? What meta-data do you include with your recordings? How do you tag your materials to make the database useful to users?  Have you had to make decisions to exclude certain materials from access to the general public?

    My second interest is in discussing how we make digital databases accessible AND useful to K-12 instructors.  In particular, I am interested in linking databased objects to State Educational Standards, so that teachers can quickly and easily find materials to supplement their curriculum.  Are there other ways to make digital databases useful for K-12 classrooms?  Should a certain level of contextual information be included with each object?  I’d like to discuss successes and failures that others have had interacting with K-12 instructors while trying to make their digital databases useful to a varied public.

  • Bibliographic connective tissue

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    “Instead of collecting from the vast information world for our patron base, we will collect unique materials from our patron base to preserve and present to the world” – Dorothea Salo.

    I’m in the small (but mighty) camp of librarians who hold that the future of librarianship is dependent on turning our collections work inside out.  While we deal with this profound re-understanding of our collecting and preservation work,  libraries must also, as Dave Lankes has recently put it, facilitate knowledge creation in our communities.  In other words, we need to re-consider and re-imagine how the library can act as a platform for research, scholarship, teaching, and conversation.

    At my place of work, we have an open source library catalogue (Evergreen), an open source learning management system (Sakai), and an open source course reserves system (Syrup). We are in the process of rebuilding the library website in Drupal 7 and developing our own discovery layer called jamun.  Creating and strengthening the bibliographic connective tissue between these systems so works can be readily found, read, used and re-used is what is consuming me at the moment (…that, and games and maps).

  • Putting Content in Context: Geo-Locating Images and Audio with WhatWasThere and Broadcastr

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    In this era of rapid digitization, I fear that we may be losing our sense of place. Comments such as “It’s the content, not the carrier,” imply that no significance should be attached to previous technologies, but does the same hold true for location? Photos stripped of their origin often lose their significance, especially those of places and events. Being able to leverage technologies such as WhatWasThere.com to see the changes between the past and the present can provide significant platforms for discussion (e.g. the loss of buildings and commerce in Detroit) in addition to chronicling local history.

    Aural history faces similar problems, which I will illustrate through my local bands project that features ska, alternative, and punk music from Livingston County in the 1990s. Originally designed for storytelling, Broadcastr.com can handle 4 MB audio clips, which you can use to preserve and disseminate a variety of aural content including (but not limited to) oral histories, campus walks, music, poetry readings, birdcalls, or any material could be enhanced by cartographic context.

    Both WhatWasThere and Broadcastr have iPhone apps and Broadcastr just released their Android app. For example, with the WhatWasThere app, you can take a virtual walk through the history of Ann Arbor and other cities as an immersive experience.

  • Narrow topic for GL THAT Camp 2011

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    I’d really like to work with others in exploration of Recollection http://recollection.zepheira.com/ the “free platform for generating and customizing views, (interactive maps, timelines, facets, tag clouds) that allow users to experience your digital collections”

    Trevor Owens, Digital Archivist, NDIIPP, National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program, Office of Strategic Initiatives, Library of Congress welcomes application for beta testers/users if anyone wants to join in.