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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

links wot caught my eye #6

  • Transcribing handwritten documents. A very useful compilation of projects using digitised handwritten documents, including some fine examples of how transcription has been done and of technology you can use if you're doing the same. (Google Docs, you probably need to sign in)
  • A/B testing (Read Write Web). We're thinking about following the Powerhouse Museum's lead and trying some A/B testing when we launch our new websites. I'd been considering using an ad server to try some of this (and because it could do other things in terms of serving up content dynamically) but really these look like a better place to start.
  • Outta the box geo shiz with OSGeo4W. I've looked before at GRASS, got as far as downloading it and then chickened out. Well I just realised that the people responsible for it also run a project to package GRASS and a bunch of other GIS-related software into an easy, Windows-friendly installation package/interface. It makes it a doddle to find an install a wide variety of such tools to let you do everything from tile making to map service creation to web map serving.
    That said, GRASS is still not easy to jump into for the geo-noob, and if you don't have anyone to hold your hand then one of the challenges of map-related software is to work out exacxtly what jobs you need to accomplish to get where you want to go, and then to find out which software will do that job for you. I can't really help you there but reading aroung the OSGeo site will.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

links wot caught my eye #5

Digital linguistics, API news and some conferences
  • New insights into the 1641 Irish Rebellion revealed (AHRC) and more (Past Horizons) A nice example of what digital analysis of texts now makes possible. As the article says, and quite aside from the interest of the results themselves, doing this sort of analysis would have been a lifetime's work previously. Needless to say, IWM has a large quantity of texts. I'm just itching to see what digital humanists could do with a sample of them - once duly digitised, of course.
  • Europeana's API available. This is great news, albeit it not without caveats, chiefly that access is limited to Europeana's network of non-commercial partners (there are about 1500 of them). Although I knew that the issue of data licences for API usage was unresolved after November's plenary I suppose I'd assumed that it must have been fixed. But then, that's no small order: getting that number of data providers to sign up to anything is a massive challenge, and I'm glad that Europeana decided that, rather than letting this hold up the API, they'd launch it for a more limited audience initially and work on the recalcitrant partners. I'd recommend reading David Haskiya's blog post for an informative Q&A on the what and why of the API launch.
    I played with the alpha of the API last year and put together the Mashificator with it, but you can see several other examples of it in use here.
  • And in more Europeana news, EuropeanaConnect is the geeking heart of . It's EuropeanaTech conference in Vienna, October shd be good [to plagiarise my own tweet]
  • Oh and finally, I see that DISH2011 is in the planning. It will be in December this year and from what I heard of the last DISH in 2009 it should be well worth attending. Keep an eye here for news