Digital Humanities Seminar: The British Library Labs, 13 April

British Library Labs logo

Here is the exciting programme for the BL Labs seminar that will take place on Monday 13 April 2015 in the Library Presentation Room at The Open University, Milton Keynes (map and travel advice).

You can also download a detailed programme, including speaker biographies and abstracts for each presentation: BL Labs Talk 13 April 2015.

The event is open to all. Please register with Matthew Pemberton ( if you wish to attend this seminar. A sandwich lunch will be served from 12.15 to registered participants only.


The session organised specifically for Digital Humanities at The Open University will cover a talk about the British Library Labs project which gets scholars to use the British Library’s incredible digital collections for their research and a session on the current Labs’ competition which closes on the 30 April 2015. Bob Nicholson, one of the winners of the 2014 Labs competition will give a first-hand account of what it is like to work with the British Library and its digital content and give an overview of the project he worked on, ‘The Victorian Meme Machine’. Ben O’Steen will give an overview of the ‘Mechanical Curator’ and other interesting experiments with British Library digital content and data. The team will also be providing access to terabytes of data on the day which you will be able to explore to get an idea of the kinds of digital content they have on offer and begin to understand the challenges researchers face when using it for your research / work and ideas. The event will end with a question / answer and discussion session.


1300 – 1330 The British Library Labs Project

Mahendra Mahey, Manager of the British Library Labs

1330 – 1400 The Victorian Meme Machine

Bob Nicholson, Lecturer at Edge Hill University and one of the winners of the 2014 British Library Labs Project competition

1400 – 1430 Mechanical Curator

Ben O’Steen, Technical Lead for British Library Labs

1430 – 1500 Questions, Answers and Discussion

The speakers will be available for questions and a discussion after the talks


Digital Humanities Seminar: Network Science in Archaeology, 2 March

Digital Humanities at The Open University is pleased to present the next event in the Digital Humanities in Practice series.

Let’s get it right: towards best practice guidelines for network science in archaeology and computational modelling of the Roman Economy

Speaker: Tom Brughmans, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Konstanz

Date: 2 March 2015

Time: 12.30-2.30 pm

Location: Library Presentation Room, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

Tom’s abstract: The use of network science techniques for the study of the past shows great potential and has recently become more common practice. Less common but similarly promising is the use of computational modelling to study the Roman economy. However, the particular challenges posed by the application of both these recent methodological developments to the study of the past deserve more critical attention.

In this talk I will introduce these two research interests of mine and I will argue they are in need of best practice guidelines. As a visiting fellow at the Open University, I hope to explore ways of developing such guidelines, educational materials, and disseminating this information among academic and non-academic communities.

A sandwich lunch will be provided. To book a place, please email Matthew Pemberton ( by 25 February 2015.

Tom’s OU profile:

Research blog:

Project website:


Register now for CHASE Digital Humanities training programme

Are you a PhD student funded by CHASE or currently studying at one of the seven funding CHASE institutions? Digital Humanities at the Open University are leading the Arts and Humanities in the Digital Age programme.

CHASE Arts and Humanities in the Digital Age promotional poster

Opening Conference: Friday 20 February 2015, Room 2 Open University,Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, Camden, London NW1 8NP

This training programme is aimed at doctoral students who want to conduct research in an increasingly digital world. You will learn how how to integrate digital methodologies and media with discipline specific questions to develop your own research. Each workshop will comprise a classroom-based session that will immerse you in the key debates of Digital Humanities research and a practical, hands-on session that will train you in particular methodologies and tools. Plenary conferences will open and close the programme.

Visit the Arts and Humanities in the Digital Age training programme blog for more information

Deadline – please apply by 31st January 2015 through CHASE training and development programmes

Digital Humanities seminars, 19 & 26 November

Digital Humanities at The Open University is happy to announce the following two events in its Digital Humanities in Practice series:

 Exploratory Trend and Search Detection

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Heyer, Institut für Informatik/Computer Science Department, Universität Leipzig

Date: 19th November 2014 at 11:30am (11:30 GMT)

Venue: Knowledge Media Institute, Berrill Building, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, MK7 6AA

The talk will present the notion of exploratory search as a means to go beyond “lookup”, like learning or investigating (Marchionini 2006), and sketch its usefulness in new applications such as Digital Humanities. In detail, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Heyer will present a new approach to the analysis of topics and their dynamics over time. Given a large amount of time stamped textual data, we can identify “hotly discussed” concepts by analysing the rate a term changes context. Adopting the notion of volatility from econometrics, context volatility can be used to detect “weak signals” or semantic change independent from pure counts of frequency.

For more information about the event and to follow the podcast live on 19 November, please go to


Valuing Electronic Music

Date: 26 November 2014

Time: 1.00pm-3.00pm (note later start time)

Venue: Arts Music Studio, The Open University Walton Hall, Milton Keynes (directions)


Speakers: Daniel Allington (Department of Applied Linguistics and English Language, Open University);

Byron Dueck (Department of Music, Open University);

Anna Jordanous (School of Computing, University of Kent)

This seminar reports on an AHRC-funded research project combining ethnographic observation and interviewing in London’s electronic music scene with automated collection of quantitative data from the popular SoundCloud website. The presentation will reflect not only upon the findings of the research, which have implications for our understanding of cultural value more generally, but also upon the challenges and rewards of combining situated qualitative research with quantitative analysis of large datasets gathered online.

A sandwich lunch will be served. Please register for the Valuing Electronic Music seminar by emailing Matthew Pemberton ( by 21 November 2014.

Digital Humanities seminar, 17 June: Text Mining for Historical and Literary Research

Information and cursor logo, by Heather Scott

Image by Heather Scott. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The Digital Humanities at The Open University network is pleased to present the next event in the Digital Humanities in Practice series:

Text mining for historical and literary research: the Trading Consequences and Palimpsest projects

Date: 17 June 2014

Time: 2.30pm-4.30pm (note later start time)

Venue: Arts Music Studio, The Open University Walton Hall, Milton Keynes (directions)

Speaker: Dr Beatrice Alex (Informatics, University of Edinburgh)

By collaborating together, computer scientists, historians and literary scholars are developing text mining and visualisation techniques to interrogate, explore and understand digitised historical and literary texts on an entirely new scale.

In this seminar, Dr Beatrice Alex will discuss the challenges she has encountered while building a text mining tool adapted for two interdisciplinary projects in the Humanities: Trading Consequences (, which focuses on commodity trading in the nineteenth century, and Palimpsest (, which is studying fictional and remembered space in literary Edinburgh.

Tea and coffee will be served. Please register for the event by emailing Heather Scott ( by 13 June.