The 2022 Cultural Heritage Data School, organised by Cambridge Digital Humanities in March, drew participants from the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) sector and academia to an intensive application-only teaching programme that explored the techniques for creating, visualising, and analysing digital archives and collections.

The programme was designed around the pipeline for digital collections and archives, encompassing the fundamental principles and practical techniques involved in creating, discovering, visualising, analysing, and preserving digital collections and archives.

The school covered a variety of topics, including:

  • Project design, data collection and wrangling
  • Introduction to text-mining with R
  • Digital text markup and TEI
  • Named Entity Recognition with Python
  • Basic Principles of Data Visualisation
  • Data sustainability, preservation and destruction

Chloe Bolsover

Senior Library Assistant (Research Engagement)
University of Reading

My current project is supporting the establishment of a new Digital Humanities Hub which is based within the Library. It is a significant cross-University project which aims to enhance the quality of research at Reading by promoting innovation through digital tools and methodologies in Digital Humanities as a field.

I provide research support and write content in the form of resources for the Hub. Currently, the specific resource that I am working on is for collections which includes guidance on aspects researchers must consider in the preliminary stages of a project, e.g. digitisation, metadata and data sustainability. Attending the school has helped me to revise areas of the resource so that it is more informed. The school has enabled me to develop the knowledge I need to have a technical support role with the Hub. Modules covering a research project lifecycle and data sustainability has also provided me with a critical perspective of how an academic approaches a Digital Humanities project.

I believe that the Cultural Heritage Data School should be international, as it creates a network of GLAM professionals with similar interests. I have had the opportunity to become part of the Anti-Colonial Archives Working Group (ACAWG) which aims to develop decolonial and anti-racist methodologies through sharing good practices and developing resources and training sessions.

Mark Louie Lugue

University of the Philippines

Participating at the Cambridge Digital Humanities’ Cultural Heritage Data School did not only expose me to useful digital tools and methodologies in conducting humanities research, but also impressed upon me the importance of the mindset that constantly thinks carefully about the relationship of data and cultural form. The experience of culture and the arts—although possessing analytical attributes—may not completely be captured by categories and constructs that govern data. In as much as the gesture of making and utilizing data is concerned with narrowing those gaps, it also must continue being cognizant of such limitations.

The data school also underscored overt and covert power dynamics in the process of capturing and processing data. Placed in the context of the diverse cultures of the world, existing categories and constructs may have certain biases that may not be open to postcolonial specificities. It is for this very reason that I believe that the data schools need to continue being ‘international’ in a sense that they remain open and encouraging to participants from geographies outside of the dominant Euro-America. This will allow the uncovering of various cases that can help develop a more inclusive approach to research using data and other digital means.

  • Posted 9 Aug 2022
  • Contributor Ayesha Ulhaq
  • Tags

Cambridge Digital Humanities

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