Friday 30 May 2008

More Fun with the Flickr API

Flickrvision plots, on a map of the world, where images have been loaded up to Flickr from. One picture appears every couple of seconds. Available as a flat map of the world (classic view), or a spinning 3D globe.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Just in time

Fun collection of pictures taken Just At The Right Time from Bling it Blog. Some are clearly staged/advertorial - but some just joyfully random.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Taking Pictures in Public Places

This week, we're working on the book cover (Digital Images for the Information Professional) and I needed some copyright free images to use. I had mocked up a cover for the publisher, which Ashgate liked, using images from Flickr available under a Creative Commons license, but its all round easier to use images you own yourself. So, since Husband was in London he kindly agreed to capture the last piece needed for a montage: a busy street scene (Oxford Street) filled with people. It will be tweaked and transformed, and most people wont be recognisable, but we needed the raw image.

Which led to an interesting discussion about photographing in public places, and photographing crowds of people (not least because of the people objecting to having a photographer standing in Oxford Street taking pictures of them. I do this myself when am featured in images, so cant complain).

On Boing Boing today, there was an interesting post about this. In the UK, there have been various concerns about the rights people have in taking pictures in public places (whereas we are the society under most surveillance from CCTV, etc). There was even a very popular petition on started on the Number 10 website about this, even though there are no real laws to stop people taking pictures at the moment. Current have produced a very interesting short documentary called "You cant picture this", by Opencircuit, about the current state of the law in taking pictures in public places: and the attitude of the police in the film demonstrates how misunderstood this area is. Well worth 6 minutes of your time.

Who knew?

... Dr Seuss coined the word "Nerd"? [link]

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Tag Galaxy

Another way to explore online images. Tag Galaxy, built using the Flickr API, allows you to explore flickr tags in a solar-system type visualisation of different planets. An interesting student thesis project.

Monday 19 May 2008

Classic Boris

From A Don's Life:
10 things Londoners need to know about having a Classicist in County Hall [link]

Wednesday 14 May 2008

No News is No News

For various reasons (mostly involving crutches) I'm watching far too much news in the evenings at the moment. Which is why I found this video, from Pixelsurgeon, oddly compelling. Proof that sometimes, there is just no news...

Tuesday 13 May 2008

How to find Images

Excellent overview of how to find images on the internet, with lots of juicy links, from Random Knowledge.


Interesting rumblings in the digital humanities community about the University of Chicago's Project Bamboo: a Mellon funded, new project, described on their website:

a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary, and inter-organizational effort that brings together researchers in arts and humanities, computer scientists, information scientists, librarians, and campus information technologists to tackle the question:
How can we advance arts and humanities research through the development of shared technology services?

Looks interesting. Read the proposal which sets out their aims and objectives. A lot of money for an 18 month project to discover, you know, how we can help those arts and humanities scholarly types actually use these darn computery digitally things, and provide some infrastructure to help them. (I'm particularly loving the line:
"is the state of arts and humanities technology akin to driving in the 1890s? For many in the humanities, computers are like horseless carriages of the late 19th century..."

This may be true for some, and its an interesting proposal to sort out What Needs To Be Done to aid scholars in using computational power and tools in their research. But there is very little evidence that they've done their homework to what efforts have gone into this before, and no mention of the digital humanities community/communities (such as ADHO, ALLC, ACH, SDH/SEMI, TEI) and the hundreds of scholars already treading this path or trying to deal with the concerns raised in the proposal. No mention of things like the Methods Network, or AHDS, or any other initiatives in this area (including evidence for success, and reasons for failure). Those listed on the proposal are not the scholars you would expect, who have been working on this for years. There is no real mention on users, use, and usefulness - you can ask a bunch of academics what they *need* or *want* till they are blue in the face, but actually what they will use is generally different.

Which is not to say that this project wont come up with some interesting, and useful findings. It may very well jolt us out of our cosy digital humanities burrow, so its a case of watch this space. But its the first many of us have heard about it, and for many reasons, the words "wheel" and "reinvent" come to mind. But I'm willing to be proved wrong on that one.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Acropolis Museum

Interesting preview video of the New Acropolis museum, introduced by chairman Professor Dimitrios Pandermalis, from the BBC. [link]

Humanities Scholars and the Electronic Monograph

There's an interesting to and fro going on at the Centre for the Study of Architecture newsletter, about whether electronic monographs are a useful, feasible, achievable, or appropriate means for humanities scholars to publish their research. Discussion between Judith Winters (editor, Internet Archaeology) and Harrison Eiteljorg II (Editor, CSA) in response to an article Harrison Eiteljorg published in CSA called "The Electronic Monograph: A Scholarly Necessity or the Never-Reached
Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow?
". [link]

Ending the Empire?

Interesting overview column on who will break Google's monopoly in today's Times. [link]

Friday 2 May 2008

Misplacing the Domesday Book

A nice animation to round off the week... what would happen if data protection policies were ignored, and the domesday book was lost....

Wills Online

Another addition to the growing amount of genealogical material appearing online - the Origins Network have recently published an index of 28,000 wills from Surrey, England, from the 15th to the 19th Centuries.

An interesting if rather hyperbolic overview appeared in the Guardian, yesterday:
A vivid snapshot of social history, the wills show the importance of small items in less plentiful times: hay, kettles, blankets, butter, bacon, grain and livestock are commonly treasured things passed on to relatives and friends. Everything from a "pair of old stockings" to "gold bodkins" is given away, although wealthier folk list luxuries such as sweetwood boxes and "my best beaver hat". [link]

(The article failed to stress that you had to subscribe (ie pay) to access them. Genealogy is big business, remember). Still, a very interesting collection - and worth a look at the overview to see the range of material available, and free access to some sample highlights which manage to capture some snapshots of thoughts and worries of the time.

Thursday 1 May 2008

Digital Classicist Summer Seminars

Interesting line up just announced for the summer lecture list of work in process papers in the Digital Classicist series. Worth trotting along to Senate House (London) for, of a friday afternoon.
Very friendly crowd, and good discussions tend to follow.

Vintage Patterns

S7659 Gallery
Originally uploaded by sandritocat
Today's random digitised ephemera is from the "Vintage Patterns" pool on Flickr (which has 885 members, 4266 images, so is a pretty impressive archive based on community input).

One of the reasons I love Flickr is the way it encourages groups of interested individuals to pool images of their collections together - creating hundreds of micro online museums/archives, many of which provide detailed and sometimes exhaustive metadata about the type of items which normally go under the institutional radar.

I love not only the history of fashion element to the vintage patterns pool, but the history of graphic art and design.