Week Beginning 10th September 2012

It was Fresher’s Week at the University this week, so University Avenue was mobbed, with loud music blaring from vans and free noodles on offer to passers by.  It’s definitely a sign of getting middle-aged when you can walk through a throng of people handing out advertising bumf to students and not one leaflet is pushed in your direction.

My second week as Digital Humanities Research Officer was spent meeting people in the School, emailing more people and gathering further information on the wide range of current and legacy projects that have a digital component in the School.

A big thing this week was the first meeting of the SCS Digital Resources Owners Group, which took place on Tuesday.  This was a really useful meeting, bringing together people involved in projects with a digital component from across the School so we know what’s going on, what the current priorities for development are and what’s on the horizon.  The meeting really helped to define what tasks I should and shouldn’t be tackling.  For example, itmy responsibility.  Instead this was considered an administrative task and ideally the School will get someone else to manage such updates, although I will help in identifying problems with the pages.

At the meeting it was agreed that my current priorities should be working with the Cullen project, fixing the issues that exist when using the Corpora sites with Internet Explorer and looking into updating the STELLA teaching resources to use HTML5 so that web and app versions can be released.

Also this week I had very useful meetings with Marc Alexander and Jane Stuart-Smith, which gave me further insight into the projects associated with STELLA and GULP respectively.  There was also a post-work beer on Monday evening for the prospective tenants of the top floor of 13 University Gardens, and it was great to meet such people as Jenny Bann, Tamara Rathcke, Brian Jose and Ellen Bramwell for the first time.

Speaking about the top floor of 13 University Gardens, the building work there has still not been completed so as of yet I’m still based next door in HATII.  There was some talk of it maybe taking until October before the big move can take place so we’ll just need to see how that goes.  Thankfully my HATII colleagues are managing to cope with my continued presence with good grace.

Last week I started compiling a spreadsheet of projects within the School that have a digital component.  I’m documenting each project’s name, its type (e.g. if it’s a STELLA resource, a Thesaurus resource etc), associated URLs, a note as to whether there is an associated digital resource available, a project description, the primary contact for the project, whether I have spoken to the contact about development / redevelopment of any associated digital resource, the funder, the status (i.e. Active or Inactive), the priority for redevelopment and some further notes.  I’ve managed to complete the list this week, with a total of 70 projects listed.  I will send the document to the participants of the DROG to see if they know of are any further important projects I’ve missed off.

Also this week I attended the Cullen project’s induction workshop for new transcribers, which was a really useful couple of hours.  I found out lots about the editing and transcription process and Mark gave a demonstration of the Cullen database system as well, which was really useful to see.  It seems like the project is really going well and all the groundwork is in place and very well established.

Next week I have meetings arranged with the Mapping Metaphor project and some further meetings with SCS staff to discuss projects past and present.  I’m also hoping to be able to get started on the modernisation of one of the STELLA teaching packages, which should be an enjoyable task.

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