Thursday, 28 July 2011

Quick PhD update from InterFace 2011

It feels like ages since I've posted, so since I've had to put together a 2 minute lightning talk for the Interface 2011 conference at UCL (for people working in the intersection of humanities and technology), I thought I'd post it here as an update.  I'm a few months into the PhD but am still very much working out the details of the shape of my project and I expect that how my core questions around crowdsourcing, digitisation, geolocation, researchers and historical materials fit together will change as I get further into my research. [Basically I'm acknowledging that I may look back at this and cringe.]

Notes for 2 minute lightning talk, Interface 2011
'Crowdsourcing the geolocation of historical materials through participant digitisation' 
Hi, I'm Mia, I'm working on a PhD in Digital Humanities in the History department at the Open University.
I'm working on issues around crowdsourcing the digitisation and geolocation of historical materials. I'm looking at 'participant digitisation' so I'll be conducting research and building tools to support various types of researchers in digitising, transcribing and geolocating primary and secondary sources.
I'll also create a spatial interface that brings together the digitised content from all participant digitisers. The interface will support the management of sources based on what I've learned about how historians evaluate potential sources.
The overall process has three main stages: research and observation that leads to iterative cycles of designing, building and testing the interfaces, and finally evaluation and analysis on the tools and the impact of geolocated (ad hoc) collections on the practice of historical research.


  1. Here's an example from San Francisco:

    Crowd-sourced alignment of a newly-scanned batch of 1905 Sanborn maps onto contemporary web maps.

  2. Thanks Tyler! I've had a play with maptcha, it was kinda addictive.

    Cheers, Mia