Posts Tagged art history

DMVI Social Networking Workshop

On Thursday 17 March, we held the second Enhancing DMVI workshop. The theme of the day was social networking, and the broad aim was to investigate the ways in which online communities (after the fashion of sites such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace) might be encouraged to participate in the processes of tagging, analysing and commenting on digital representations of Victorian art. The participants (to all of whom the DMVI team extend many thanks) were an eclectic cross-section, consisting of students and staff from a number of Cardiff University departments, including English Literature, Language and Communication, Computer Science and Libraries/Archives.

The first session was an exercise designed to highlight some of the practical issues involved in tagging images. Participants were split into groups, and asked to provide keywords for a set of pictures, which had been taken from various websites which employ iconographic descriptors (‘tags’). The groups’ tags were then compared with the pre-existing sets of words – with some interesting results. In this part of the workshop, we also wanted to explore the possibility of employing established high-level categories, based on those used for DMVI, and compare the results when users’ tagged inside and outside an external framework.

The second session introduced the group to DMVI’s prototype Facebook App and online-tagging pages, and involved analysis of the some of the practical problems relating to user-generated iconographic description. As well as getting feedback on the webpage structure and point of entry, we also wanted to look at what might motivate people to come to and use such a site, and to think about the research aims that might be served by creating and maintaining an online community of taggers (not only for humanities scholars, but also for the computer scientists who would necessarily design and deliver any such system, and who have their own research interests to consider). A number of existing social-networking sites, and their methods of attracting and retaining users were discussed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Visiting speaker, 15 Mar 2011: Juliet John on Dickens and mass culture

Juliet John will be presenting her paper, ‘Dickens, Mass Culture and the Machine’ at 5.15pm on Tuesday, 15 March 2011. The talk will take place in the Cardiff Humanities Building, Room 2.48.

That the idea of Dickens and the adjective ‘Dickensian’ continue to have a cultural resonance which extends beyond the book-buying public almost two centuries after Dickens’s birth is testimony to his sense of himself as a mass cultural artist.

This paper contends that Dickens’s popularity is unique, different even from that of Shakespeare because, writing in ‘the first age of mass culture’, Dickens was instinctively aware of the changed context of art, or of the need for popular art to find its place in an age of mechanical reproduction. It examines Dickens’s attitudes to Culture and the machine, looking forward to the importance of machines to Dickens’s afterlives, and back to the real and symbolic importance of machines in his own day. Read the rest of this entry »

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DMVI Iconclass mapping

This post was supplied by Etienne Posthumus, member of the Arkyves project.

The Database of Mid-Victorian Wood-Engraved Illustration contains records and images of 868 literary illustrations that were published in or around 1862, providing bibliographical and iconographical details, as well as the ability for users to view images at exceptionally high quality.

The project has an extensive iconographic classification, allowing fine-grained browsing and searching capabilities. The iconographic taxonomy used was tailor made to fit the purposes of the project, and is immensely useful for the study of Victorian culture.

Due to the fact that the iconographic description was done systematically, it is possible to ‘map’ the system used by DMVI to other classification systems. One of the widely used Iconographical systems used internationally is Iconclass. One of the benefits of performing such a mapping is that the Iconclass system is widely used internationally, and has become a de facto standard for subject classification. The other more interesting benefit to the DMVI project is the fact that Iconclass is mulit-lingual, with the textual descriptions available in English, German, French and Italian with other language versions in progress.

In the last quarter of 2010 a project was started to map the DMVI classification to Iconclass by the members of the Arkyves project. The mapping has been completed, and the contents of DMVI can now also be searched and browsed iconographically in German, French and Italian in addition to the existing English version. The contents of DMVI can also be studied in a wider context of art & illustration, by seeing similar images and text from other collections for the same iconographical concept.

DMVI Iconclass mapping can be viewed here.

The Iconclass mapping will be integrated with the DMVI project as part of the ongoing enhancement project.

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Enhancing DMVI news

A few updates on the status of the Enhancing DMVI project:

Members of the project team will attend a digital humanities workshop at the University of Bristol on 23 February 2011. The idea is to try and build up a network of academics working in interrelated fields, and to showcase some of the projects and resources that are available at Bristol, Cardiff, and beyond.

Enhancing DMVI’s Social Networking Workshop will take place at Cardiff University on Thursday 17 March 2011, in Room WX3.07/3.14 of the Queen’s Building, The Parade. The aim of this day-long session is to explore both the theory and practice of using a social networking approach to tagging and analysing images.

A prototype social networking application, allowing Facebook users to tag and comment on images from the database, is currently in the early stages of development.

The ICONCLASS mapping, which is being carried out by image database consultants Etienne Posthumus and Hans Brandhorst, is nearing completion. In this phase of the project, the ICONCLASS classification system, which is used by art curation systems throughout the world, has been mapped on to DMVI’s internal metadata system. The addition of ICONCLASS will offer new ways to interrogate and organise the data, and will allow DMVI to be searched in multiple languages.

More soon.

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Enhancing the Database of Mid-Victorian Illustration

Just a quick update to introduce myself and say I’m glad to be back at Cardiff and looking forward to working as the research associate on the new phase of DMVI. I’m still getting to grips with the project programme and trying to get in touch with all of the various people involved, but things are proceeding apace and we’ve got lots to look forward to in the new year.

As a reminder, the elements of the project are as follows: the database will be converted to open source software and remodelled to facilitate web-based data-entry; the iconographic cataloguing system will be extended to allow multi-lingual searches and will be integrated with another popular visual hierarchy, Iconclass; the iconographic system will be made available as an Open Source Image Curation System; the scope for integrating DMVI’s systems with Web 2.0 social networking technologies will be modelled; and the possibilities for developing DMVI as a teaching resource will be explored.

The aim of all this is to make the innovative technologies and methodologies developed by DMVI accessible to the widest possible audience – in terms of language, location, discipline and user profile. Elements of DMVI have already been deployed in other projects dealing with themes as varied as the history of Manchester and the history of Victorian periodicals. After the completion of this programme of research and enhancements, much more will be possible.

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Visiting speaker, 14 Dec 2010: Stuart Sillars on illustrated Shakespeare

Stuart Sillars will be presenting his paper, ‘Illustrated Shakespeare and the Limits of Interpretations’ at 5.15pm on Tuesday, 14 December 2010. The talk will take place in the Cardiff Humanities Building, Room 2.48.

Recent discussions of Shakespeare’s works as print documents have focused on scholarly editions, with illustrated editions still largely neglected, despite their far greater availability from the end of the eighteenth century. From Rowe’s edition of 1709, however, the nature, placing and frequency of illustrations had a major impact on the reading experience of the plays, being both innovative in the integrated narrative of word and image and offering important new ways of configuring the plays in terms wholly of the printed book. The paper will explore some of the operations of this complex identity, and make suggestions about how illustrated editions may be explored as an aesthetic form of parallel, yet quite distinct, identity to that of the plays in production. Read the rest of this entry »

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An introduction to research: CEIR and the DMVI

by Marianne Fisher

My introduction to CEIR came in the summer of 2008, in the form of a month’s research placement. Funded by the Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CUROP) scheme, a fellow-student (Simon Eckstein) and I were tasked with investigating the relationship between text and illustration in various mid-Victorian media, including novels, serials, short stories, poems, magazines, and newspapers. Our main repository of images was the Database of Mid-Victorian Illustration, itself the result of a recent CEIR project which had been funded by the AHRC.

Arriving in the office on our first day, we soon discovered what a complex task we had been set. The relationship between text and image had been little studied, and so there was no established research framework. We had to start from scratch, devising a strategy, methodology and projected outcomes. What were we looking for? How were we to go about finding it? What was important? How could we record what we found? These were the sort of questions which presented themselves—all very different from the security and structure of the undergraduate degrees we had just completed. As an introduction to the fluid nature of humanities research, it could hardly have been better. Read the rest of this entry »

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