By Rachel Schnepper on September 18, 2014
After an exceptionally busy summer, we are thrilled to be able to announce the release of Annotation Studio 2.0. The new version of Annotation Studio offers the following features:
- Anchored annotations that correspond to the text currently visible
- Touch capability so that Annotation Studio can be used on mobile devices
- Upload of very basic PDF files
- Slide-in menus with context aware tools
- Private subdomains (e.g., MassU.annotationstudio.org) hosted by HyperStudio
- Improved annotation sidebar
- Wider document view
- Breadcrumb navigation
- Expanded help forum at support.annotationstudio.org
User feedback has been incredibly important to determining which features were added to Annotation Studio 2.0. We have listened carefully to what the Annotation Studio community was saying, what both instructors and students liked and disliked about Annotation Studio. Accordingly, we have endeavored to preserve what users like best about the application, namely its simplicity and ease of use, while nonetheless adding the features and functions they wanted.
In the weeks to come, we will continue to add new features, including increased functionality to the PDF uploader. As we do so, we hope to continue to hear back from the Annotation Studio community. We encourage you to make use of the Annotation Studio support forum, where users can learn from one another. We hope you continue to share with us how you are using Annotation Studio, like the subjects of our pedagogy case studies. Our goal is to make a tool that reflects the user’s needs, and we can’t do that without your feedback.
Please check out the new version of Annotation Studio here!
By Kurt Fendt on November 20, 2013
We are looking for a part-time Communications Officer to coordinate HyperStudio’s outreach activities, specifically for our NEH-funded Annotation Studio project. Please see the job description and requirements below. Applications will be accepted through MIT’s Human Resources website (link below).
Job Number: 10653
Functional Area: Communications
Department: Comparative Media Studies
Location: Cambridge, MA
Employment Type: Part-Time Temporary
Employment Category: Exempt
Visa Sponsorship Available: No
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, Comparative Media Studies/Writing (part-time, 45-50%), to provide outreach and project support to the HyperStudio – Laboratory for Digital Humanities. Will plan and coordinate interactions with educators and developers within and outside of MIT to help them adopt and use HyperStudio’s Annotation Studio web application; work closely with the studio’s team members to develop and implement outreach and adoption strategies for other HyperStudio projects; coordinate the development and assessment of curricular modules for Annotation Studio and organize workshops and additional outreach activities for educators and developers; and maintain public project websites and develop social media strategies for Annotation Studio and other HyperStudio projects.
REQUIRED: strong interpersonal, communication, writing, analytical, and organizational skills; accuracy and an eye for detail; strong computer skills that include experience with web, social media, and cloud-based tools; ability to work both independently with limited supervision and as part of a team; flexibility and resourcefulness; and the ability to multitask. Must enjoy contact with students and teaching staff and be able to use discretion, sensitivity, and tact in all interactions. Humanities and/or education background a plus. Job #10653-P
Schedule to be determined, but will include working 15 to 20 hours/week. The initial appointment is for one year, with the possibility of renewal.
In addition to a CV, please submit a cover letter explaining your qualifications, experience, and reasons for interest in the position; the names of three references; and links to relevant samples of your work. References and links may be included in your cover letter or resume.
and search for job id 10653
By Jason Lipshin on July 23, 2013
As a scholar who subscribes to a “big tent” conception of digital humanities, I must admit that I was initially a bit nervous about attending DH 2013 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As the annual international conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, DH 2013 is one of the oldest and most established conferences supporting emerging work in the field of digital humanities, but it also has its roots in old school “humanities computing.” For those who are unfamiliar with the history of the field, humanities computing is the predecessor to digital humanities in its current form and is often associated with work in text mining Shakespeare, using word frequencies to understand an author’s style, or experimenting with TEI to compare different aspects of a text. Although much of this work can be extremely interesting and rigorous in terms of its play with computational affordances, I consider myself much more oriented towards flavors of DH with roots in digital art, design, experimental “multimodal scholarship,” and digital media studies. The distinctions between these camps are, of course, getting fuzzier by the minute, but the history and reputation of the conference implicitly reinforces these boundaries. And if there's one thing I've learned in my short time on the conference circuit, when you’re presenting, it certainly pays to know the composition of your audience.
Upon arriving at the conference, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find scholars from many camps present and conversing in relative harmony. In addition to the humanities computing mainstays, there were also programmers using computer vision to identify dance techniques, literature scholars experimenting with sound art, and even historians using 3-D printing to better understand historical artifacts. Defining what is and what isn’t digital humanities in such an environment is increasingly difficult, but the flip side of this lack of definition is an exciting sense of openness and experimentation. Scholars were tinkering, hacking, failing, and experimenting with the affordances of non-textual forms, while always trying to keep in mind the implications of this work for asking traditional humanities questions.
One of the more interesting talks that I attended was Jentery Sayers’ “Made to Make: Expanding Digital Humanities Through Desktop Fabrication.” As a self-described media archeologist, Jentery is very interested in the materiality of historical artifacts (particularly 19th and 20th century sound technologies) and has begun using 3-D printing in order to better understand this materiality. Leading a “maker lab” on humanities-oriented fabrication at the University of Victoria, Jentery has already begun producing a series of “maker kits for cultural history,” allowing, for instance, students or scholars interested in the history of radio or the telegraph to build their own. Drawing on recent work by Jonathan Sterne, Wendy Chun, Matt Kirschenbaum, and Jeffrey Schnapp, Jentery is interested in “how the hermeneutics of screwing around” with these technologies can fold back into theoretical reflection.
Another fascinating talk that I attended was Michael Aeschbach’s “Dyadic Pulsations as a Signature of Sustainability in Correspondence Networks.” Although Michael’s talk fit much more easily into traditional DH paradigms than Jentery’s, I thought it was equally innovative for the way that it proposed a new direction for research in data visualization. At the core of Michael’s talk was the argument that data viz research has traditionally privileged spatial approaches like topological analysis and graph theory over the temporal. Temporal approaches like measuring response time in a communication exchange between two participants, Michael argues, can be extremely instructive in measuring the “sustainability” or “health” of a communication network. Although he took the long standing Usenet discussion group as his primary case study, he also mentioned that this approach could be applied to non-online phenomena – for instance, mapping the temporality of letter correspondences in Stanford’s “Republic of Letters” project. Many historians in the audience, including Brown’s DH librarian Jean Bauer, seemed to be extremely excited about this possibility.
I delivered my own talk, “Visualizing Centuries: Data Visualization and the Comedie Francaise Registers Project,” on Friday morning to a fairly packed crowd. As an overview of HyperStudio’s use of data visualization in order to understand a large archive of theatrical ticket sales, the talk seemed to strike a chord across many different disciplines, with positive feedback coming from theater historians, computer scientists, and statisticians alike. In particular, many questions following the talk seemed to address the unique dynamism of our data visualization tools and the ways that they allow the user to dynamically combine multiple parameters to help facilitate what we have termed an “exploratory research process.” One scholar was particularly struck by my notion of “combinatorial research” and how this process of combinatorial play might facilitate intellectual exploration, while many others were interested in the ways that our tools could become open source and generalizable enough to be applied to other kinds of data. Hearing such positive feedback was incredibly gratifying, especially after having worked on the project for almost a year.
In all, I felt that attending DH 2013 was an extremely valuable experience, both in terms of promoting HyperStudio’s own work and learning about emerging work in the field. Although I’m still very new to the conference circuit, I’ve already had many wonderfully stimulating discussions, met many like-minded grad students and faculty, and received many encouraging words about my work. Certainly, all of the fault-lines and fissures, boundary work and growing pains of a field in transition are ever present. But so is the nascent sense of an ever expanding scholarly community.
By Jason Lipshin on December 5, 2012
As is often the case with DH conferences, this year’s Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science was something of a grab bag. Featuring a hodge podge of panels on everything from network analysis and data visualization, to locative media and alternate reality games, the conference certainly lived up to the ethos of inclusiveness often characterized as DH’s “big tent.” And yet, despite the diversity of research questions being addressed, I also think that the conference had a great sense of coherence, with a lot of scholars operating in the tradition of humanities computing. Coming out of disciplines such as classics, English, and history, many of the scholars at DHCS were interested in mining large corpuses of data, visualizing such data, and analyzing the results to ask new kinds of research questions.
Although I found many of the projects interesting, two presentations stood out as particularly relevant to the kind of work being done at Hyperstudio. On the first morning of the conference, Diane Cline from the University of Cincinnati presented a fascinating project working firmly within the humanities computing vein. Drawing on her dual background as a classicist and an intelligence analyst for the NSA, she attempted to apply the insights of network analysis and graph theory to study what she called “the social network of Alexander the Great.” Using the NodeXL program created by Ben Schneiderman (of “Direct Manipulation” fame) from the University of Maryland, Cline color-coded each edge within her network to indicate the type of relationship, whether it be family, officer, courtier, enemy, ally, or peer. Affording a kind of macro scale view which is alien to the classicist’s typical tool set, Cline argued that she was able to see “the bridges, brokers, and hubs” which were central to Alexander’s relationships, contributing a new understanding of her topic that would have been unavailable to her without the tool.
This emphasis on network analysis was also echoed in Hoyt Long’s fascinating presentation on modern Japanese poetry. While many DH projects have thought about citation as a way to quantitatively measure networks of influence, Long’s presentation instead focused on less explicit metrics of influence like poetic style and content. Although these elements are less quantifiable, and thus must be coded by an expert researcher rather than automated by a machine, visualizing these influences helped Long to arrive at new insights about the relationships between different schools of aesthetic thought within Japan, as well as to discern which nodes and clusters were most central. As was the case with so many of the panel discussions that day, he ended his presentation with an advocation for visualization tools as part of the humanistic scholarly process, rather than as a means to simply generate “evidence” as part of a research product.
Overall, I believe DHCS was a successful conference, in that it was able to balance the impulse towards creative (and often, chaotic) interdisciplinary collaboration with a sense of common goals and directions for the future of this particular niche within the digital humanities. Importantly, it also proved to be a great space for meeting and exchanging ideas with researchers who are working on similar issues – I, for one, met many faculty and graduate students located on the east coast, and even some in the greater Boston area, who I believe have many overlaps with Hyperstudio’s research goals. Since Hyperstudio is constantly looking to strengthen its connections with other DH researchers outside of MIT, DHCS proved to be a wonderful space for both getting our ideas out there and for learning from others producing innovative projects in the field.
*All photos are from Peter Leonard.
By Katie Edgerton on November 15, 2012
On Monday, November 19, HyperStudio’s Research Assistants Jia Zhang and Jason Lipshin will be presenting a collaboratively authored paper about HyperStudio’s ongoing Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP) at the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science. Joint authors are: MIT Professor Jeffrey Ravel, HyperStudio’s Executive Director Kurt Fendt, Jia Zhang and Jason Lipshin.
The paper entitled “Visualizing centuries: Deep insights into cultural production before the French Revolution,” centers on the challenges of visualizing historical data. For several years, the HyperStudio team has been working with Professor Ravel in MIT’s History Department and the Comédie-Française in Paris to digitize paper registers containing more than a century of box office sales. This wealth of information – covering over 113 seasons – is a vital resource for theater and literature scholars as well as humanists interested in the political, social, and cultural history of France and the Western world.
The Comédie-Française Registers Project addresses two main audiences. The first is French theatre historians, to whom the project will provide greater disciplinary knowledge by giving them digital access to rare archival materials and offering innovative research tools that allow them to detect patterns in cultural production and consumption in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The second audience is digital humanists. Through the Comédie-Française Registers Project, HyperStudio is developing innovative methodologies that enable macro and micro-level analysis. Many of these methodologies turn on the development of tools for data visualization that can enlighten both the research process as well as the outcome.
These new kinds of data visualizations will enable scholars to address questions beyond the scope of traditional humanistic research methods. For example, what do sales records and repertory trends tell us about changing patterns of author, play, and genre popularity in the years leading up to the French revolution? Integrated research tools such as faceted browsers allow for complex and fine-grained filtering of all data and enable their analysis in novel combinations.
The Comédie-Française Registers Project team will tackle these issues on Monday’s visualization Panel, beginning at 11:15 am in Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago.
For more information, please visit the Comédie-Française Registers Project website.
By Ayse Gursoy on October 10, 2011
Hear ye, hear ye!
Join us for “Fluid Texts and Critical Archives: Textual Studies in the (Digital) Humanities” on Friday Oct. 14th, 1:00 – 2:45 pm., in E51-095. This session – free and open to the public – will be introduced by Wyn Kelley (MIT), followed by a presentation of recent work by HyperStudio – Digital Humanities at MIT and will conclude with a panel discussion with John Bryant (Hofstra University), Amy Earhart (Texas A&M University), Kurt Fendt (MIT), Laura Mandell (Miami University of Ohio), and Martha Nell Smith (University of Maryland). This session is part of the three-day Melville Electronic Library Camp (MEL Camp) at MIT.
This session will focus on the concept of “fluid texts”, introduced by John Bryant in his 2002 book, The Fluid Text. Looking at works as “fluid texts” calls attention to the processes that go into the construction of a text, and how these processes are often interactions between a writer and an editor, an editor and an audience, a writer and an audience, and so on. What tools does the digital age give us to study texts as fluid texts, and to capture the dynamism of these texts?
The sketches are part of Jia Zhang’s work on textual visualization and reader interaction as a HyperStudio Research Assistant. “They have 2 main objectives, the first is to map interactions recorded on Frankenstein as students/readers/scholars annotate and explore the text to build thicker layers of context around it. The second goal is to be able to express the text as a whole, an object, relating it back to its book format. The end result of this exercise being to design a navigation which will allow people of different levels of expertise to gather around a particular text and to move with ease between the text itself on many scales and different types of supplemental materials.” Jia Zhang is a Graduate Student in Comparative Media Studies (CMS) at MIT.
By Kurt Fendt on October 6, 2011
Check out the premiere of Augmented Harvard by our friends “down the road” at Harvard’s metaLAB. It’s a mystery tour across the Harvard campus, full of curatorial experiments, ranging from an archive of ephemeral Cold War films to a mysterious hanging aluminum tube to a collection of participatory stickers that guide journeys across the campus. Full details can be found here. Have fun!
humanities + digital Conversations: “Listening Faster”, April 22, 1:00 pm, room E14-633 (new Media Lab)
By Kurt Fendt on April 18, 2011
Please join us for the inaugural event of the new series "humanities + digital conversations", jointly organized by MIT's HyperStudio and metaLAB (at) Harvard.
April 22, 2011, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, room E14-633 (New Media Lab building, MIT, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge)
Computers have altered so many aspects of musician's lives, from digital performance, to electronic composition, to how we acquire and share new music, but only recently have they had the potential to transform how we study and analyze music. Michael Scott Cuthbert (MIT) and Matthias Röder (Harvard) introduce the new world of Digital Musicology by showing the techniques and tools that allow scholars to "listen faster": to examine and analyze large repertories of pieces in the time that a human musicologist could only look at and hear a single work. Through computational analysis, clustering techniques, visualization tools, and data-mining of musical works, the landscape of our understanding of music is being shaken and new ground created for the wired music scholar.
View Event Poster (PDF)
Photo credit: photobucket
By Kurt Fendt on April 7, 2011
Please join us for our upcoming StudioTalk by Prof. Eric Klopfer and Scot Osterweil on "Learning Through Play".
Play has no agenda. Children play for their own reasons, and even though their play can exhibit fierce determination, persistence, and a will to mastery, it does so only in the service of goals that children set for themselves. Even as we celebrate the learning that occurs in children’s play, and specifically in digital games, we must acknowledge that such learning looks dramatically different from the world of school. Though starkly different on the face of it, we nevertheless believe the ecologies of play and school can be successfully integrated, something we have witnessed through our own experience as educators and game designers. We will examine these issues through concrete examples of existing best practices, and speculative designs currently under development at MIT’s Education Arcade, and elsewhere.
Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also mark your calendar for our next HyperStudio Talk jointly organized with Harvard's metaLAB on April 22, 1:00 pm:
Prof. Michael Cuthbert (MIT) and Matthias Röder (Harvard) on "Listening Faster – How Digital Humanities is Transforming Music Scholarship"
Image © Andrew Lapara
By Anna van Someren on February 2, 2011
The Humanities Center at Harvard is hosting Digital Humanities 2.0: Emerging Paradigms in the Arts and Humanities, a conversation moderated by John Palfrey with the following media theorists and scholars:
- Anne Burdick, chair of the Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design and Design Editor of Electronic Book Review
- Johanna Drucker, Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor in the Department of Information Studies at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, and author of SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing, (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
- Peter Lunenfeld, professor in the Design | Media Arts department at UCLA, whose books include The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine (MIT, 2011) and Snap to Grid: A User’s Guide to Digital Arts, Media, and Cultures (MIT, 2000)
- Todd Presner, professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies at the University of California Los Angeles, and founder and director of HyperCities, a collaborative, digital mapping platform that explores the layered histories of city spaces
- Jeffrey Schnapp, founder of the Stanford Humanities Lab, prolific author, Berkman Center Fellow, and currently launching a new open source virtual world entitled Sirikata.
Thompson Room, Barker Center 110, 12 Quincy Street Cambridge. The event is free and open to the public, with limited seating.