New Group: Social Software in the Digital Humanities

(This new group on may be of interest to punters.  It is primarily focussed upon ‘social software’ theory, techniques, and applications within the Digital Humanities.  As it is a new group, we are more than open about its skippering within the choppy Web 2 sea).

The aim of this group is to critically discuss and share thoughts about the use of social software applications, techniques, and principles within the Digital Humanities. Join this group here…

For the purpose of this group, the Digital Humanities is defied as the application of computational methods and associated tools to address specific humanities research problems. Distinct from general computing approaches, the banner term ‘Digital Humanities’ is an ‘attitude towards computing’ that is embedded within the research concerns of the disciplines and sub-fields that make up the humanities. The methods employed in the field may be used to uncover new knowledge about corpora or to visualise research data in such a way as to uncover additional insights and meaning. Succinctly the Digital Humanities (or Humanities Computing) is about structuring, analysing and communicating humanistic knowledge in a critical way using computing technology.

And as in many fields, the social and participatory architectural frameworks associated with ‘social software’ is increasing a part of the Digital Humanities. Social software is usually web-based and is a way for researchers to share data and research-labour that comprises of a series of debates about tool, socio-technical design, and concept choice. Social software may be one way to open up new styles of collaboration in the Digital Humanities between software developers, humanists, and audiences. Join in the conversation!

*Suggested topics may include*:

*Collaborative labour arrangements for researchers (collaborative work functions)

*Maintaining on-line communities

*APIs, web services, and mash-ups

*Trends in the blogosphere

*New Social Software Applications

*Community annotation and tagging

*Computer mediated communication

*Service oriented architecture

*Governance (bottom-up or top Down)

*Work-flow analysis

*Designing Research Deliberation


(This images; utilising a matrix approach to critically understanding Web 2.0 design can be found at the medienpaedagogik blog at: )

Who Killed the Electric Car (the Sinclair C5)…

This is a 1980s English version of an electric car; the Sinclair C5. (I think the term ‘car’ is quite generous as it looks more like a go-cart). I am told by my friend Simon at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities that it ran on a washing machine motor (and it was perhaps understandably a commercial disaster and only 12,000 were sold). No license (nor helmet) was required to ‘drive’ the C5. I found a number of them on eBay if you are game; here is a link from an enthusiast (link).



(from BBC web site)

Google: global search trends

Google has released some of its search results. Releasing results like this is extremely important as it gives citizens access to some of the ‘meta-narratives’ that influence our lives. If large corporation such as Google only have acesss to these ‘meta-narratives’; it means that they can manipulate these trends and patterns to their own advantage (link)

What is Internet 2

Ok, you have heard of Web 2.0, but what about Internet 2.0? Internet 2 is a new style of high-capacity networking.

Internet2 is working with Level 3 Communications to provide the U.S. research and education community with a dynamic, innovative and cost-effective hybrid optical and packet network. The new network is designed to provide next-generation production services as well as a platform for the development of new networking ideas and protocols. With community control of the fundamental networking infrastructure, the new Internet2 Network will enable a wide variety of bandwidth-intensive applications under development at campuses and research labs today. The new network is one component of Internet2’s “systems” approach to developing and deploying advanced networking for the research and education community: Network Technologies, Middleware, Security, Performance Measurement, Community Collaboration (link).

Scrap the internet, start over

This will never happen; but interesting story none the same (from the Melbourne Age)

Although it has already taken nearly four decades to get this far in building the internet, some university researchers with the US federal government’s blessing want to scrap all that and start over.
The idea may seem unthinkable, even absurd, but many believe a “clean slate” approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other challenges that have cropped up since UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock helped supervise the first exchange of meaningless test data between two machines on September 2, 1969 (link).

BBC 15 Web Principles

Tom Loosemore, the head of the BBC’s Web 2.0 project, talked at a conference that I gave a gave a demo of ICT Guides at yesterday (called the JISC Conference) on the BBCs web initiative. He has developed a set of good practice principles for the BBC’s Web 2.0 initiatives, which respects the web as a medium in its own right and not something to be civilised by ‘old media’.

Now if we could only get the academic community to stop imposing print publishing ‘ontologies’ on the Web and respect it as a medium in its own right!

We developed these as part of the BBC2.0 project. I’ve been meaning to publish them for a while since they were signed off by the BBC board. They’re perpetually draft.

1. Build web products that meet audience needs: anticipate needs not yet fully articulated by audiences, then meet them with products that set new standards. (nicked from Google) 2. The very best websites do one thing really, really well: do less, but execute perfectly. (again, nicked from Google, with a tip of the hat to Jason Fried)

3. Do not attempt to do everything yourselves: link to other high-quality sites instead. Your users will thank you. Use other people’s content and tools to enhance your site, and vicversasa.

4. Fall forward, fast: make many small bets, iterate wildly, back successes, kill failures, fast.

5. Treat the entire web as a creative canvas: don’t restrict your creativity to your own site.

6. The web is a conversation. Join in: Adopt a relaxed, conversational tone. Admit your mistakes.

7. Any website is only as good as its worst page: Ensure best practice editorial processes are adopted and adhered to.

8. Make sure all your content can be linked to, forever.

9. Remember your granny won’t ever use Second Life: She may come online soon, with very different needs from early-adopters.

10. Maximise routes to content: Develop as many aggregations of content about people, places, topics, channels, networks & time as possible. Optimise your site to rank high in Google.

11. Consistent design and navigation needn’t mean one-size-fits-all: Users should always know they’re on one of your websites, even if they all look very different. Most importantly of all, they know they won’t ever get lost.

12. Accessibility is not an optional extra: Sites designed that way from the ground up work better for all users

13. Let people paste your content on the walls of their virtual homes: Encourage users to take nuggets of content away with them, with links back to your site

14. Link to discussions on the web, don’t host them: Only host web-based discussions where there is a clear rationale

15. Personalisation should be unobtrusive, elegant and transparent: After all, it’s your users’ data. Best respect it (link to ToLoosemoreses blog)