JISC last year supported a workshop looking into the issues related to creating, exploiting and sustaining gazeeteers of UK place names. It was hosted by the Institute for Name Studies at the University of Nottingham, and organised by Professor Lorna Hughes (now of the National Library of Wales) and Dr Paul Ell (Queen’s University Belfast)
The discoveries of the workshop were
- Current contemporary place‐name gazetteers are not fit for purpose in linking historical resources. They lack chronological depth and do not attempt comprehensively to record variant place‐names. Spatio‐temporal gazetteers should link to contemporary gazetteers but cannot be seen as merely an extension of existing resources.
- England is unique in the British Isles in that through the work of the English Place‐Names Survey a very comprehensive analogue historical gazetteer exists. Interim findings from the CHALICE Project indicate that EPNS content can be digitised using optical character recognition software and the content restructured to form an electronic gazetteer. The development of a gazetteer will be a significant and costly undertaking but, reflecting close to 80‐years of detailed archival work by EPNS which directly records place‐name variants from a large variety of historical sources, such a project represents very good value for money.
- For Ireland, Scotland and Wales nothing approaching the comprehensiveness of EPNS exists although place‐name work is taking place. Here it would be desirable to access current work and augment this with readily available place‐name lists. For Ireland a key source is likely to be the Census which from 1861 publishes a hierarchical gazetteer for townlands. With 60,000 townlands listed this in itself provides significant content. For Wales and Scotland, Vision of Britain provides a growing number of place‐names. Separate, but interlinked, projects for each country would most likely attract funding. The extensiveness of a gazetteer will depend on the ingestion of existing digital content (which for Ireland is significant), the work of place‐name scholars to interlink variant names over time, and crowd sourcing to further populate and verify the content. A ready crowd sourcing audience is most clearly in place for Ireland reflecting the interest in Irish Studies and the relevance to genealogists reflecting the Irish diaspora.
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JISC hosted the New Strategies for Digital Content conference in London on March 18 2011.
The event looked at two themes
Presentations and links related to the day are below.
Paola Marchionni, New Strategies for Digital Content
Nancy Maron, Sustainability Myths
Andy McGregor, Joining Up Content
Alastair Dunning, Impact, Aggregation, Partnership
Peter Kaufman’s presentation, Partnerships and Things is available to download as a pdf
Projects featured during break out sessions
(Links to specific JISC-funded project are included)
Morning Session 1
• LIFE-SHARE (University of Leeds),
• Centre for Digital Asia, Africa and the Middle East (SOAS),
• Look Here (Visual Arts Data Service)
• Digitisation at Leicester (University of Leicester)
• RunCoCo (University of Oxford)
• VERDI, University of Kent
Morning Session 2
• CHICC (University of Manchester)
• LSE Digitisation strategy (London School of Economics)
• OCRopodium (King’s College London)
• Cambridge University Digitisation strategy (Cambridge University)
• National History Museum
Afternoon Session 1
Afternoon Session 2
• Clustering and Enhancing Digital Archives for Research (University of East London)
• Mapping Crime (University of Oxford)
• GrassPortal (University of Sheffield)
• Black Country History (Wolverhampton Arts & Heritage)
• Wellcome Trust Digital Library (Wellcome Trust)
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If you are involved in crowdsourcing, collections or digital projects you are invited to attend a one day conference at Oxford University on 26th May which will celebrate the joys and challenges of community collections.
It will be hosted by the RunCoco project and sponsored by JISC. The conference will be of interest to learning technologists, librarians, museums, community groups, archivists and researchers.
Through ‘crowdsourced’ community collections the general public or members of a particular group are invited to contribute to a project by uploading their own content or adding information to existing resources.
This event will be an opportunity to reflect upon the range of models of crowdsourcing and community engagement projects in higher education.
The event will feature stories of success from Arfon Smith (The Zooniverse, Galaxy Zoo, Old Weather and Citizen Cyberscience), Valerie Wallace and Tim Causer (University College London), Jane Ellison (BBC), Mog (University of Glamorgan and the Welsh digital storytelling project), Chris Wild (The Retroscope), Hope Wolf (Kings College London), Gail Durbin (V&A) and Stuart Lee (The Great War Archive and Woruldhord).
The conference website is available now for registration at: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ltg/events/beyond2011/
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JISC held a programme meeting for the 22 new projects in its eContent programme for 2011, in Oxford on 28/9 March.
The presentations from the day are available below:
Paola Marchionni, Working with JISC
Alastair Dunning, Being a Good Data Provider
Sarah Fahmy, Partnerships and Collaboration
Paola Marchionni, Improving usage and impact of digitised resources
Summary of the Programme Meeting, Catherine Grout
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The universities of Oxford and Cambridge have recently completed a project to create digital versions of the catalogue records that describe their world renowned collections of Islamic manuscripts
Available from a common search engine at http://www.fihrist.org.uk/, users can now search over detailed descriptions of over 10,000 texts.
The term Fihrist comes from the book written by the 10th-century Islamic scholar Ibn al-Nadim, who wrote the Kitāb al-Fihrist, which he described as “an Index of the books of all nations, Arabs and non-Arabs alike, which are extant in the Arabic language and script, on every branch of knowledge/”
Facetted search allows for users to break down searching by author, classmark, library, date and subject heading.
This adds to completed Islamic Studies projects at the University of Birmingham, the School of African and Oriental Studies and the digitisation of Ph.D. theses, hosted by the British Library’s Ethos service
JISC is also funding the development of a gateway that will create the beginnings of a union catalogue for Islamic Studies manuscripts held in the UK. This project, including the same Oxford team, is just getting under way, and the first phase will be complete in late summer 2011.