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Interacting with Immersive Worlds 2009

Interacting with Immersive Worlds 2009 will take place on June 15th, 2009, at Brock University in St. Catharine's, Ontario. There will be presentations by delegates from Canada, the United States, and Europe, including four distinguished keynote speakers:

  • Janet Murray, author of the seminal book, Hamlet on the Holodeck
  • Espen Aarseth, one of the world's leading game theorists
  • Geoffrey Rockwell, a leader in multimedia education who directs Canada's most successful digital humanities research project
  • Debora Todd, a bestselling author and game designer, writer and producer.

A full description of the speakers as well as the full conference schedule is available online.

Grant-writing workshop

Carole Ann Fabian

The DHIB will host a grant-writing workshop led by Carole Ann Fabian on Monday, June 1st, from 9:30 to 1:00 pm in Clemens 120. Assisting in the presentation will be Ms. Cynthia Pirson from Sponsored Projects Services. Participants listed here.


Louis Suárez-Potts in front of the Louvre

On January 29th, the DHIB will welcome Louis Suárez-Potts to campus where he will present a lecture entitled The what, why and how (not to mention who) of Open Source -- and why it is important. Suárez-Potts is "community manager" at Sun Microsystems for the open-source project, where he manages community and product development strategy. The lead and co-lead of several projects and the primary spokesperson and representative of, Suárez-Potts also represents the project regarding OpenDocument format (ODF) matters, and is on the OASIS ODF Adoption Technical Committee and is a member of the ODF Alliance. He speaks frequently on the ODF,, education and open source, and community development throughout the world. Suárez-Potts is currently working on several articles regarding open source development and education. Over the past decade or so, he has written articles and given interviews on the topic of open source computing, community building, and cultural studies. From 1995-1999, he was editor and researcher with the Mark Twain Project, where he documented many of Mark Twain’s more than 15,000 signature letters and manuscripts, producing finding aids and informational guides to be used both by the editors and visiting scholars, and helped to research and curate exhibitions of Twain’s work and to initiate a program presenting lectures on Twain to professional and nonprofessional audiences. Suárez-Potts lives in Toronto and received his PhD from U.C. Berkeley.

The lecture will take place on Thursday January 29th at 2:00 pm in Clemens 120.


DHIB members Jeff Good and Thomas Slomka, working with Computer Science Professor Michalis Petropoulos, have been awarded at $24,000 grant from the IRDF fund in the Office of the Vice President for Research. The funded project received a summer start-up grant in 2008 from the DHIB.

The Northeastern North American Indigenous Languages Archive is a new digital language archive whose goals are to preserve recordings of indigenous languages of Northeastern America and to make the data in those recordings accessible in appropriate ways to the academic community and the speaker communities whose languages are represented in the archive's collections. The goal of the present project is to conduct research on how to form a successful pairing of the core preservation functions of the digital archive with modern social networking utilities so that the archive's collections can be effectively mobilized for research and community use. In particular, we seek to develop tools which will detect instances of content created via the social networking tools which is of sufficiently high quality to be promoted to storage in the permanent archive. For example, perhaps a speaker of a language represented in the archive will be able to provide a transcription of an untranscribed recording which would be of value to the wider community and, therefore, should be permanently preserved. Pairing digital archive technologies with social networking tools in this way represents a novel attempt to allow a kind of knowledge repository that is usually relatively static in nature to be continually improved by its users, and raises a number of interesting computational problems, including how high-quality community-generated content can be identified and how to migrate such content from the social network into the archive without breaking any links that content has to other material in the social network.


  • January 22 2008: Meeting of DHI participants, 12:00 to 1:30 pm, 904 Clemens Hall
  • February 19 2008: Meeting of DHI steering committee, 3:00 to 4:00 pm, 904 Clemens Hall
  • March 4 2008: Meeting of DHI steering committee, 3:30 to 5:00 pm, 904 Clemens Hall
  • May 12 2008: Meeting of DHIB Steering Committee (1) to plan the fall event: review feedback on suggested speakers, confirm date and venue, flesh out schedule, make a to-do list, and assign tasks to members; and (2) to review the semester's work and set goals for the coming year.
  • November 17, 2008: Fall business plenary meeting.
  • November 26, 2008: steering committee subgroup meeting with Brock University representative and with University Libraries Special Collections.

Upcoming conference in nearby St. Catharine's, Ontario

The Center for Digital Humanities at Brock University, under the direction of Professor Martin Danahy, is organizing a conference on Interacting with Immersive Worlds on June 15-16, 2009.

DHIB Inaugural Event

Held on September 19th, 2008. See Fall event.

Work in Progress presentations

Humanities Data: Tools for Annotation and Access

APRIL 1st, 3:30-5:00 PM , 930 CLEMENS HALL

The Northeastern North American Indigenous Languages Archive (NNAILA) is a new digital language archive housed at the University at Buffalo within the University Library system. NNAILA is currently in its pilot phase, with a focus on digitizing materials from Onondaga, an Iroquoian language spoken in parts of central New York and in the area near Brantford, Ontario. The archive's primary goals are to preserve recordings of indigenous languages of Northeastern America and to make the data in those recordings accessible to the academic community and to the indigenous communities whose languages are represented in the archive's collections. In order to facilitate access to the archive’s resources by Onondaga community members, especially language teachers and their students, we are developing a web-based toolkit which will allow users to construct and annotate personal digital collections of materials from the archive.

Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a key component of the Semantic Web, an extension of the World Wide Web intended to allow the content of web documents to be machine readable. While not yet widely deployed for use in humanities projects, RDF makes use of a simple, yet powerful, model for encoding relationships among documents and annotations on the data within those documents. This talk will discuss the deployment of RDF in a large linguistic database where it was used to, among other things, separate unstable, contested aspects of the data from stable, uncontested aspects of the data in order to keep the contested data from becoming too closely intermingled with the uncontested data, which would have presented problems for long-term database management. While the particular examples discussed will be drawn from the domain of language classification, many aspects of the discussion will be relevant to any project wishing to create a database designed to facilitate making new discoveries as opposed to simply encoding already known facts.

TEI Rails is a web-based content management system for documents encoded in TEI. The program, released as Free Software under the GPL, includes advanced features for XML-based content collaboration and annotation. This presentation will provide an overview of the TEI Rails system and demonstrate some of its advanced features including support for document versioning, cloning, and semi-automated annotation of content.

English Literature Encoding

APRIL 29th, 3:30 - 4:30, 306 Clemens Hall

  • Ronan Crowley, Department of English.
    “to be wound up for an afterenactment by a Magnificent Transformation”:
    Encoding Joyce’s Draft Material
    (A summary of this presentation will be posted asap)

This presentation showcases some actual XML-encodings of draft material for the fifteenth episode of Ulysses, "Circe," and proposes some XSLT transformations of the data.

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