Programme

09.00-10.00 Keynote Andreas Fickers – “If content is king, context is its crown”: Doing digital media history in the age of abundance (slides PDF)
10.00-10.45 Session Data collection & Exploration 
Kleppe – Tracing the afterlife of iconic photographs using IPTC (slides SlideShare )
-Ordelman – Using computer vision to facilitate exploration of television archives (slides PDF)
10.45-11.00 Break
11.00-12.00 Keynote Arjan van Hessen – Infrastructures: will they be used? (slides PDF )
12.00-13.00 Lunch
13.00-14.30 Session Exploration & Analysis
Baaren & Van Gorp – ‘Disclosed’ readings of transmedia content: a demonstration of TROVe (slides PDF)
Nyhan & Flinn – Oral History, audio-visual materials and Digital Humanities: a new ‘grand challenge’? (slides SlideShare)
Huang & Lawaetz – Radio Sound and the Measuring of Sensuous Voice Qualities (slides PDF)
Clement – The Hermeneutics of Distant Listening to Spoken Word Texts with High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship (slides PDF)
14.30-14.45 Coffee break
14.45-16.00 Session Analysis & Presentation
Van Gorp, Olesen, Fossati, & Noordegraaf – Emerging Cinema/Emerging Methods: Developing a Tool for EYE’s Jean Desmet Collection (slides PDF)
Henderson – The EVIA Digital Archive Project: A Time-Based Media Annotation and Online Access System for Digital Humanities Research, Teaching, and Collaboration (slides PDF)
Sanders & Hagedoorn – How to publish AV research online (slides PDF)
16.00-17.00 Synthesis & Concluding remarks

Keynotes

“If content is king, context is its crown”: Doing digital media history in the age of abundance

The recent trends towards digitization and online dissemination of historical sources force the community of professional historians to rethink their traditional research methodologies and practices. Basically, this lecture aims at reflecting on a number of epistemological and methodological challenges of doing digital media history:

  • How does the digitization of sources and its online accessibility affect the classical concept of “archive”? (redefinition of archival evidence)
  • What new search strategies are necessary in order to cope with the masses of information at hand? (new heuristics of search)
  • How to critically interpret digital sources in terms of their authenticity and reliability? (questioning the concept of “original” in digital era)
  • How to make use of new digital tools and techniques for the analysis and / or visualization of large data sets? (appropriating digital literacy)
  • What new forms of storytelling do digital environments offer for the historian? (multimedia and transmedia storytelling)

Special attention will be paid to the observation that there seems to be a growing gap between the fast development of new techniques and tools for doing digital history and the rather slow appropriation of such tools and techniques by the historical community. Digital literacy – especially in the field of media studies and history – it seems, can’t keep pace with the rhythm of innovation in digital technologies.

About Andreas Fickers

Andreas Fickers is Professor for Contemporary and Digital History at the Faculty of Language, Literature, Humanities, Arts, and Education / Luxembourg University . After finishing high school in Belgium, he studied history, philosophy and sociology at the universities of Aachen (G) and Reims (F), specializing on the history of science and technology and the sociology and philosophy of knowledge. Fickers rejoined Aachen University as research and teaching assistant in contemporary history after practical courses at the German Museum for science and technology in Munich and Bonn. His interest in media technologies resulted in a deeper concern for media history (especially radio and television). In 2003 Fickers was appointed Assistant Professor for television history at the department for Media and Culture at Utrecht University, and set up a broader research agenda for a comparative European history of television. In October 2007, he was appointed Associate Professor for Comparative Media History at Maastricht University and became a member of the department of Arts and Culture and the research group Science, Technology and Society. Since September 2013 Fickers works as Professor for Contemporary History at Luxemburg University with a special focus on epistemological and methodological issues concerning digital historiography. His scholarly ambition is to bridge theoretical and methodological approaches from various disciplines (especially from history of technology, media and cultural studies) in order to further develop my ideas of a cultural history of media technologies in the digital age. Fickers is engaged in several European research networks, such as the Tensions of Europe network and the European Television History Network. He is editor-in-chief of the open access e-journal on European television history and culture VIEW, a European multi-media platform for television research.

His complete CV can be found here.

Infrastructures: will they be used?

The need to handle massive amounts of digitized or digital born audiovisual data that can be used for academic research, not only calls for reconsidering traditional methodological approaches, but also for building solid and sustainable infrastructures. This means creating or converting content according to international accepted standards, facilitating continuous and persistent access to tools and data, and developing a long term preservation policy. Meeting these goals is only possible if institutions join forces across disciplinary boundaries and collectively invest in high cost services.

These requirements have to be met for any data, but the nature of this type of sources – unstructured pixels, color scales and sound waves, asks for interventions at many levels. With regard to online access and providing easy traffic of this type of data there is the need for device- and bandwidth dependent streaming facilities. To be able to analyze the content, tools are needed that enable quantitative measurements of use of color, speed of movements, but foremost tools that support the annotation and interpretation of the verbal and non verbal layers of the document. We need to know the who, when, where and why at document and fragment level. At present the speedily development of speech and image recognition is helping to counter the backlog in metadata attribution.

The hardest challenge though, lies in finding a compromise with the owners of the data  who perceive the charging of copyright fees as rightful in all circumstances (money),  and in creating commitment from a broader community of scholars then the circle of media-studies mindset). Especially in the realm of contemporary history, the use of a photo, film, interview recording or documentary, should be as ubiquitous as written documents are for any scholar. This lecture will address the issues described above and offer examples of various successful and non-successful attempts of applying Digital Humanities principles to research based on audiovisual and oral history sources.

About Arjan van Hessen

Arjan van Hessen has been a researcher of speech and language technology since 1986 when he started his PhD in Phonetics. After his PhD he got a 3 year position as Post-Doc at the Universities of Dusseldorf and Ulm. Thereafter he moved to Lernout and Hauspie, a software company in Brussels where he was working on speech recognition. Once back in the Netherlands, he decided to work partially in the industry (ComSys, 1999-2002 and Telecats, since 20002) and partially at the Human Media Interaction group at the University of Twente. His main interest is speech recognition and the use of HLT in the industrial, the cultural heritage and the academic world, as can be seen in the OH-project BalkanVoices. Since 2009 he is member of the executive board of CLARIN-NL, a 6-year NWO infrastructure programme targeted to increase the use of HLT in the humanities. Since 2012 he is working for CLARIN-ERIC, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium stated to make digital language resources available to scholars and researchers of all disciplines, in particular humanities and social sciences.

Other activities:

  • Member of the board of NOTaS, an organisation of Dutch HLT-SMEs and HLT-Universities, targeted to boost the use of HLT in the Netherlands (and abroad).
  • Member of board of Stichting Levende herinneringen, an oral history project focussed on the preservation of the recorded memories of people who lived in Dutch Indonesia
  • Member of the executive board of CLARIAH, the successor of CLARIN.

His CV (in Dutch) can be found here.

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